Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MALZONE, Jonathan, Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, 411 Cooke Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260 and LOWRY, Christopher, Geology, University at Buffalo, 411 Cooke Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260,

The Cattaraugus Creek Watershed drains 551 mi2 of Western New York into Lake Erie. The EPA labels Cattaraugus Creek as category II, which is defined as needing data to determine threats to quality, though resource use remains safe. The Cattaraugus Creek Watershed water quality is challenged by nutrient loads from agricultural non-point sources. Water quality within the creek is affected by the hyporheic zone, having the potential to remove non-point source pollution (denitrification) and immobilize certain contaminants. Using SSURGO (Soil Survey Geographic Database) data in ArcGIS, maps of the soil properties provide evidence for hyporheic activity in discrete stream reaches. SSURGO data allows the characterization of the watershed soil properties in terms of hydrologic variables, soil taxonomy, and chemical processes. SSURGO data was downloaded and manipulated to produce maps comparing surface properties of the Cattaraugus Creek Watershed in order to locate stream reaches for potential hyporheic exchange. Preliminary data suggests by designating the recharge zones, permeability, and other variables, key areas of groundwater-surface water interactions can be highlighted for field investigation. Western New York surface geology consists of a variety of glacial features and deposits over the landscape. Hyporheic flow paths in stream reaches where water contacts glaciofluvial versus glaciolacustrine sediments will likely exert control on hyporheic activity. Changes in stream reach permeability will induce recharge and discharge. Other glacial features such as kames and drumlins cut by streams provide a more permeable substrate for hyporheic activity. Spatial distribution of vegetation and soil chemistry also provides clues for areas of groundwater chemistry. Acidic soils draining into stream reaches will mobilize and provide the hyporheic zone with nutrients for biota. Using SSURGO data, areas of presumed hyporheic activity are highlighted for field investigation. Such data will make field investigations more efficient as well as provide data to develop areas where groundwater-surface water interactions can be enhanced to dissipate nutrient loads.