Paper No. 26
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
EFFECT OF GROUNDWATER SPRINGS ON THE HYDROLOGY AND WATER QUALITY OF THE LITTLE CHAZY RIVER
The headwaters of the Little Chazy River originate in upland forests on the northeastern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Clinton County, New York. The river flows across the Altona Flat Rock sandstone-pavement pine barren before descending through forests, transitional ecosystems, and agricultural land to its mouth on Lake Champlain. Undergraduate research conducted as part of the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at Plattsburgh State University has shown that mainstream baseflow water temperature and water chemistry varies significantly throughout the watershed with geology, land-use, physiography, and local hydrogeological conditions. In this study, stream discharge and temperature were monitored at 9 stream gauging stations in the watershed. Five additional water-temperature dataloggers were installed along a relatively steep, 6-km-long reach between the pine barren and the lowland agricultural land, where several springs discharge directly into the main channel. The locations of spring inflow to the Little Chazy River in this reach were determined by walking the mainstream at baseflow and measuring water temperature, pH and specific conductivity at approximately 0.25-km intervals using a YSI Hydrolab. Spring inputs are marked by pronounced decreases in water temperature. Stream discharge does not change significantly within the reach beyond that which can be explained by the spring inputs. Water samples collected from the mainstream, monitoring wells on Altona Flat Rock, artesian wells and springs in the upper Little Chazy River watershed show insignificant differences in major-element water chemistry. Thus, while groundwater springs significantly affect water temperature within the reach, they had relatively little effect on baseflow water chemistry.