HYDROLOGIC CONNECTIVITY AND WATER QUALITY FUNCTION OF COASTAL PLAIN GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED WETLANDS
Eight isolated wetlands are being studied, six in Bladen County, NC and two in Brunswick County, NC. The wetlands, surrounding uplands, and adjacent receiving streams or surface water bodies were cored extensively to determine stratigraphy. Wells were installed in a transect from the wetland to the downstream water body and water level and water quality data are being obtained for a one year period beginning in May of 2010. Aquifer pumping tests will be conducted at three of the sites. Preliminary results indicate an unimpeded groundwater connection between the isolated wetland and its receiving surface water body in all cases. There is some indication of nitrate reduction in some of the well transects. Data collection will be complete in June of 2011. The information on isolated wetlands gained from this study can be used to improve management decisions and provide better protection for these ecosystems.