Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Earth and Ocean Sciences

Sub-Department

Earth and Environmental Resources Management

First Advisor

Daniel L Tufford

Abstract

Isolated wetlands have a slightly depressed topography surrounded by an upland area. There is no direct surface water connection, as with riverine wetlands; however, there is a groundwater connection that allows isolated wetlands to have similar hydrologic functions to riverine wetlands. This study sought to compare surficial aquifer groundwater recharge rates of several isolated and riverine wetlands in the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas by evaluating soil characteristics, water table fluctuations, and precipitation from January 2012 - September 2012. Data analysis indicated no significant difference in mean recharge rates between the isolated and riverine wetlands at each study site. Whereas soil texture was expected to be an important influence on groundwater recharge, factors that caused a significant difference in mean recharge rate between sites were precipitation frequency and precipitation intensity. As a second component to this study, it was shown how the calculated recharge rates can be used to aid in the calibration of the hydrologic modeling program Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF). Using field data as the standard, parameters in the model's PERC function can be manipulated until PERC matches the observed recharge values. Land management implications from this study include the comparative efficacy of the recharge capability of isolated wetlands, the relevance of soil texture below the unsaturated zone when addressing seasonal effects on hydrologic behavior, and the applicability of field data in watershed modeling.

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