2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 309-10
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


BAKER, Stuart B., Department of Geology, Kent State University, 221 McGilvrey Hall, 325 S. Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44242 and JEFFERSON, Anne J., Department of Geology, Kent State University, 221 McGilvrey Hall, Kent, OH 44240

Stream restoration is a billion dollar industry with major goals of improving water quality and degraded habitat, yet restoration often falls short of significant improvements in toward these objectives. At present, there are limited data and understanding of the physical and biogeochemical responses to restoration that constrain the potential for water quality and ecological improvements. Hyporheic exchange, the flow of water into and out of the streambed, is an important stream process that serves a critical role in naturally functioning streams, allowing for stream water to interact with the substrate in various processes. Hyporheic flowpaths can be altered by the transport of fine sediment through the stream bed and are thus susceptible to changes in sediment regime and hydraulics, as well as the changes wrought by construction of a restoration project. The goal of this research is to determine the effect of restoration on hyporheic exchange and associated biogeochemical processes. Preliminary results from Kelsey Creek, OH, a second-order stream restored in August 2013, show a slight decrease in average hydraulic conductivity but an increase in heterogeneity from pre-restoration (geometric mean 8.47x10-5 m/s, range 2.67x10-5-3.05x10-4) to four months post-restoration (geometric mean 4.40x10-5 m/s, range 1.18x10-6-1.19x10-3) to ten months post-restoration (geometric mean 1.41x10-5 m/s, range 1.11x10-6-6.40x10-4) in piezometer nests through large constructed riffle structures. These piezometers also indicate dominance of downwelling throughout riffle structures with only isolated locations of upwelling. A stream in Holden Arboretum, OH restored in April 2014 had no significant change in average hydraulic conductivity between 1 and 2 months post-restoration, but many individual piezometers had increases of over 100% or decreases of over 50%. The greater variation in hydraulic conductivities in both restored streams may be adjustment from disturbance to a new dynamic equilibrium. Transient storage and hyporheic exchange were also measured with resazurin injections pre-restoration and post-restoration, and nutrient injections of NH4Cl will compare the nitrogen uptake rates of the restored reach to an unrestored reach downstream.