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Testing the Established Hydrogeologic Model of Source Water to the Amargosa River Basin, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California

Andy Zdon, M. Lee Davisson, Adam H. Love | November 15, 2015
Summary

The current conceptual hydrogeologic model established for source water to the Amargosa River was tested in order to help inform management decisions regarding the Amargosa River’s Federal designation as Wild and Scenic through an Act of Congress. The limited availability of water in this region results in the critical need for effective management in the basin to maintain its Wild and Scenic attributes inclusive of habitat for several endangered and threatened species. The use of forensic tools and integration of multiple lines of geologic, hydrogeologic, geochemical, and stable isotopic evidence suggest that the simple historical model for primary groundwater transport through this region is incorrect and that a large supply of regional baseflow does not provide the hydrogeological foundation of the Amargosa River basin. Data collected is consistent with an alternative model requiring complex source mixing and shallow alluvial groundwater that supports river flow. This conclusion also suggests Wild and Scenic conditions in this basin are more precarious than previously understood.

Product Description

The current conceptual hydrogeologic model established for source water to the Amargosa River was tested in order to help inform management decisions regarding the Amargosa River’s Federal designation as Wild and Scenic through an Act of Congress. The limited availability of water in this region results in the critical need for effective management in the basin to maintain its Wild and Scenic attributes inclusive of habitat for several endangered and threatened species. The use of forensic tools and integration of multiple lines of geologic, hydrogeologic, geochemical, and stable isotopic evidence suggest that the simple historical model for primary groundwater transport through this region is incorrect and that a large supply of regional baseflow does not provide the hydrogeological foundation of the Amargosa River basin. Data collected is consistent with an alternative model requiring complex source mixing and shallow alluvial groundwater that supports river flow. This conclusion also suggests Wild and Scenic conditions in this basin are more precarious than previously understood.

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Keywords:

ecosystem management, endangered species, Groundwater Exchange, modeling, transboundary aquifers