Skip to Main Content
Channel water balance and exchange with subsurface flow along a mountain headwater stream in Montana, United StatesAuthor(s): R.A. Payn; M.N. Gooseff; B.L. McGlynn; K.E. Bencala; S.M. Wondzell
Source: Water Resources Research. 45. W11427: 14 p
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
View PDF (5.4 MB)
DescriptionChannel water balances of contiguous reaches along streams represent a poorly understood scale of stream-subsurface interaction. We measured reach water balances along a headwater stream in Montana, United States, during summer base flow recessions. Reach water balances were estimated from series of tracer tests in 13 consecutive reaches delineated evenly along a 2.6-km valley segment. For each reach, we estimated net change in discharge, gross hydrologic loss, and gross hydrologic gain from tracer dilution and mass recovery. Four series of tracer tests were performed during relatively high, intermediate, and low base flow conditions. The relative distribution of channel water along the stream was strongly related to a transition in valley structure, with a general increase in gross losses through the recession. During tracer tests at intermediate and low flows, there were frequent substantial losses of tracer mass (>10%) that could not be explained by net loss in flow over the reach, indicating that many of the study reaches were concurrently losing and gaining water. For example, one reach with little net change in discharge exchanged nearly 20% of upstream flow with gains and losses along the reach. These substantial bidirectional exchanges suggest that some channel interactions with subsurface flow paths were not measurable by net change in flow or transient storage of recovered tracer. Understanding bidirectional channel water balances in stream reaches along valleys is critical to an accurate assessment of stream solute fate and transport and to a full assessment of exchanges between the stream channel and surrounding subsurface.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationPayn, R.A.; Gooseff, M.N.; McGlynn, B.L.; Bencala, K.E.; Wondzell, S.M. 2009. Channel water balance and exchange with subsurface flow along a mountain headwater stream in Montana, United States. Water Resources Research. 45. W11427: 14 p.
Keywordshyporheic, stream-tracer experiments, headwater streams, baseflow
- How does rapidly changing discharge during storm events affect transient storage and channel water balance in a headwater mountain stream?
- Variations in surface water-ground water interactions along a headwater mountain stream: comparisons between transient storage and water balance analyses
- Effect of morphology and discharge on hyporheic exchange flows in two small streams in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, USA.
XML: View XML