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Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J

Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.




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Pinelands Kirkwood-Cohansey

Project Title: Pinelands Kirkwood-Cohansey
Project Number: LJ00BDB
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 02-JAN-2004
Project End Date: 30-JUN-2009

Project Objectives

The study examines the structure and function of the hydrologic system supporting Pinelands aquatic and wetland communities and the hydrologic and ecological response to groundwater-withdrawal stress. USGS components of the study focus on:

  1. aspects of the hydrologic system that control groundwater and surface-water flow, depth to water in wetlands, and interactions between groundwater, wetlands, and surface waters. A particular emphasis of this part of the project is the development of models to evaluate quantitatively the response of the aquifer system in selected study areas to hydrologic stresses.
  2. relations between aquatic communities and stream habitats; and
  3. data management for the project.

Statement of Problem

The work plan addresses two major research questions.  First, what are the probable hydrologic effects of groundwater diversions from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer on stream flows and wetland water levels? Second, what are the probable ecological effects of induced stream-flow and groundwater-level changes on aquatic and wetland communities?

Strategy and Approach

Hydrologic-system Structure and Function

As part of the proposed investigation, relations among hydrologic characteristics of the study areas, including the hydrogeologic framework, hydraulic properties, water-table configurations, and the various components of the hydrologic budget, will be characterized using existing data, field investigations, and physically based deterministic modeling. The central questions that will be addressed concern the hydrologic-system characteristics that influence ecologically important hydrologic regimes and the relations among critical components of the hydrologic budget. Evapotranspiration is an especially important component of the hydrologic budget for which information is presently limited.

Hydrologic controls

Relations between hydrologic-system characteristics and hydrologic-state variables, such as water levels in wetlands, rate of groundwater discharge to streams, and position of start-of-flow, will be characterized through field studies, aquifer tests, and modeling. Central questions to be addressed by this part of the project are how the aquifer system interacts with wetlands and streams and how these interactions are affected by pumping stresses.

Analytical capability

The evaluation of the hydrologic-system response to stresses on interacting hydrologic processes is best achieved through physically based deterministic modeling exercises. Pumping-induced changes in water-level and stream-flow regimes will be simulated and evaluated using established hydrologic-modeling techniques. The results of hydrologic modeling will be integrated with models of the ecological response to hydrologic change.

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