Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214

Water level fluctuations in a coastal lagoon: El Yali Ramsar wetland, Chile
Alejandro DussaillantaÃ, Pablo Galdamesb, Chi-Le Sunb

´n, Chile Department of Civil Engineering and EULA Environmental Center, Universidad de Concepcio b ´lica, Chile Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Cato Tel: + 56 41 2204320; Fax: + 56 2 354 5850; email: Received 19 September 2007; revised 14 February 2008; accepted 07 March 2008

El Yali coastal reserve is the most important wetland complex in Mediterranean climate central Chile, especially due to the native and foreign bird fauna which arrives here periodically. The coastal lagoon, part of a microtidal estuary (1.2 m tidal range), is a shallow (< 1 m depth) dynamic system and unique site of coexistence of northern halophyte and southern palustrian riparian vegetation. This study identifies and quantifies the effect of forcing variables in the lagoon water level over 1 year of data collection. Transects of piezometers with level sensors were installed between the coastal lagoon and the sea. Monthly water quality data were collected. During the winter rainy season, the lagoon connects with the sea via an ephemeral tidal inlet, producing noticeable daily variations in the water level, up to 80-cm depending on the tides. In contrast, during the season when bar closure of the inlet disconnects the lagoon from the sea, the lagoon level is very stable and only decreases very slowly due to evaporation, which also makes the system hypersaline. During the connection phase, analyses using general pattern, spectral and Fourier analysis of the sea-vs. lagoon-level signals show that two temporal scale hierarchies are relevant: monthly (due to moon cycles) and daily (due to tidal cycles every 12.5 and 24.2-h). A simple diffusion numerical model simulated the water table trends well for the sand bar between the lagoon and the sea, supporting the main effect of the sea level on the lagoon water levels. Keywords: Coastal lagoon; Groundwater; Semi arid area; Riparian; Eutrophication; Fourier

1. Introduction Wetlands are considered among the most productive ecosystems and key service providers to humankind [1–8]. Coastal lagoons in particular,
ÃCorresponding author.

being in the boundary or ecotone between the land and the sea, are delicate and dynamic ecosystems, exposed to frequent fluctuations and alterations. Hydrodynamic processes include forcings by meteorology, tides, winds and spatial/temporal variability of salinity and temperature [1,5–8]. In a coastal lagoon, the spatial

Presented at Multi Functions of Wetland Systems, International Conference of Multiple Roles of Wetlands, June 26–29, 2007, Legnaro (Padova) Italy

0011-9164/09/$– See front matter © 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2008.03.053

The coastal lagoon (Fig. stream flow regime alterations. and is being threatened by human activities directly (cattle trespassing. Portugal [12]. Dussaillant et al. The tide influences the wetland through rising of sea level and promotes a wave of groundwater-level oscillation that diffuses through the system. slowly if through the subsurface. increases hydraulic roughness.11]. wastewater discharges to streams and soils).9]. favouring high biodiversity [6.10].A. a vegetation zonation is produced. relevant studies associated to our investigation include those at other similar Mediterranean regions such as eastern Spain [7. N Coastal lagoon El Yali Pacific Ocean 1 Km (approx. it attracts a mixed diversity of sea and inland species. promotes sediment deposition and inhibits dune propagation due to wind suspension [6]. The most important wetland complex in central Chile is El Yali. Greece [5].g. or fast if surface water mediated [8. We use a combination of field . which represent more than 25% of native Chilean bird species diversity [16]. This investigation thus represents a first step in this direction. 1) attracts particular attention: it is one of the few water bodies that is encapsulated totally inside the reserve. This area presents a high seasonal dynamism (winter–summer). dynamics (seasonal streamflow opens outlet bars in winter months but disconnects the estuary for most of the year). Yali coastal lagoon (CONAF 1998). Australia [13] and Me ´ xico [14]. and ecological importance (habitat for migratory bird. The area has been the subject of some recent ecological studies concerning mainly riparian vegetation distribution [18].g. fish and other species). Plant biodiversity is not very high. plus ˜ o Southern interannual cycles due to El Nin Oscillation (ENSO). urbanization. and is the only wetland area in the neotropics protected by the Ramsar Convention [15]. Our general goal is to understand lagoon hydrology and connections to ecology in this a unique site. halophyte vegetation stabilizes dunes. 1. tourist settlements) and indirectly (high-income crop production. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 203 distribution of salinity usually affects biota and hydraulics of the wetland. as mediated by the lagoon–ocean connectedness through the Yali stream mouth. It is key habitat for migratory birds – more than 115 species. Studies available on coastal wetlands have shown interesting connections between the hydrology and the ecology. Though unique. in particular. Italy [8]. Due to salinity and flooding gradients. Spartina densiflora) and southern distribution limit for typical halophyte species from northern Chile (e. seeking to gain further understanding of the relationship between sea and lagoon water level. On the other hand. several other wetlands in the coastal central region of Chile share a similar context of coastal eroded watersheds undergoing rapid land use changes that may affect coastal ecosystem productivity [17].) Yali Stream Fig. but it is a unique ecosystem being a northern distribution limit for typical palustrian plant species (e. Salicornia fruticosa). as well as its use as a template for other similar functioning systems in central Chile.

since the outlet is seasonal [23]. time series analysis and numerical modelling of the lagoon–ocean-level interaction to demonstrate the main influence of sea level on lagoon’s water level and possible connections to riparian groundwater levels.24] that the lagoon hydrologic balance is a function of the following elements with different importance depending on the season (conceptual model in Fig. groundwater discharge from the upland aquifer. dissipative (low gradient) profile beaches and wide surf zones. which together with windy conditions provides a very well mixed water column [23]. Disconnected periods provide very stable water area and volume. with salt marsh vegetation. Following the classification of Cooper [22]. QGS. which mainly occur during storms due to soil saturation [24]. 21]. lagoon water storage. 1). we note that the Yali lagoon is different from the South African systems described by Cooper [22].5-m average depth). QS. sporadic surface channel connection to the ocean. drainage ditch flows. Due to high evaporation potential. Dussaillant et al. where groundwater flows from the watershed aquifer and discharges into the lagoon [20. Study site The climate in the area is Mediterranean with oceanic influence and marked seasonality. QYà from Yali stream. Autumn–winter (May–August) rainfall represents 90% of the annual rainfall. We have postulated [23. mostly during half of the year with negligible flows during the dry season. During dry months. Nevertheless. with only a few cm depth. subsurface flows from/to the ocean due to sea level vs. stream flow is not enough to prevent a bar closure of the outlet to the ocean.2. lagoon evaporation. occasional storm surge over washing.21]. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 observations. Based on local data (station 10-km from lagoon). a period we will refer to as ‘‘disconnected’’. lagoon water is very saline. and several meters wide. i. the lagoon would be a ‘‘nonperched closed estuary’’. E. while potential evaporation in the area has been estimated as 1500-mm [20. RÃ.2-m3/s. one can recognize two distinct groundwater zones: one upslope from the lagoon. 2. particularly as the dry period advances (disconnected phase). the rainy season) the following: S. Methods 2. it is not the objective of this paper but of future work. with an estimated average (there is no gauging station) annual flow of 1. and QDÃ. followed by a long period of seven dry months [19]. in parentheses). and thus a more stable habitat [22]. Note that we do not include stormwater overland flow since the soil is highly permeable sand. Monitoring methods Due to the lagoon configuration. lagoon water level difference. 2): ds à ¼ Rà À E þ Qà Y ðþQD Þ dt þ Qs +QGS +Qà SS ðþQOS Þ ð1Þ where the terms are (an asterisk à indicates that the flux occurs only during winter. and surface water connection with the ocean QSSÃ. mean annual rainfall is 481-mm. being formed by the interplay of Yali streamflow and ocean influence mediated by a mouth that closes in the dry season (Fig. due to tide influence through open inlet part of the year (together with QOS. due to lack of data and monitoring availability. The lagoon is very shallow (less than 0. moreover. This dictates the Yali stream flow regime. The coastal lagoon has an elongated shape parallel to the beach. with no high berm (low sand bar). rainfall. and that we are not reporting estimates for many of the water budget fluxes mentioned above. and the other being the .e. surface inflow. The surface channel typically is also very shallow.1. 2.204 A.

4 13. Piezometer lengths were 1 to 2-m deep.24]. Since there is concern of anthropogenic eutrophication from the viewpoint of natural ´n Nacional resource managers (Corporacio Forestal [CONAF]).63 99. so as to investigate aquifer connection (2–3 piezometers in southeast/upslope side) but principally.9 47. and complemented with measurements taken later using a tensioinfiltrometer [23. at least at this stage.28 99.8 44. perpendicular to the beach–lagoon longitudinal axis (Fig. piezometer transects shown) and cross section view of central piezometer transect (bottom. Sea level data in hourly intervals were provided by the Navy Oceanographic Station in San Antonio. with relative height of transducer under the respective piezometer code. who provided field access and support. A summary of the data used is presented in Table 1. Lagoon bottom sediment permeability was estimated using seepage meters installed in five locations and using average measured heads in the 15–20-m vicinity as an approximation. we provide some summarized reference data. seepage meter location shown.2 Fig.2 m (i. 2.75 E SEA LAGOON R QS (Seepage meters) 65. and horizontal spacing. Daily rainfall data are recorded at a station 10 km from the lagoon. Conceptual diagram of hydrological fluxes: plain view (top. Wind data (hourly intensity and direction from 9 am to 6 pm) are registered at another station 15-km from Yali wetland.0 159. assumed to be the same due to Chilean frontal-type rainstorms and same altitude.53 CO1 CO2 CO3 98. . three piezometer transects were installed in 2004–2005. Water levels were initially measured in seasonal scouting campaigns. Dussaillant et al. sea–lagoon connectivity (3 piezometers in northwest/sea side). Typical tide amplitude range is 1.6 27. sand bar between lagoon and ocean. 2).8 15.75 99. and with central transect coding: CP for between the sea and the lagoon and CO for upslope – lower numbers given to piezometers closer to the lagoon. 20 km from the site.5 39. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 205 SEA QSS QOS LAGOON QGS QD QY Piezometer transects CP5 CP4 CP3 CP2 CP1 99. in cursive. including the beach [23]. Saturated hydraulic conductivity was estimated using constant-head permeameter tests on samples collected when piezometers were installed. and there might be interest in comparing to other similar systems worldwide.74 99. starting in January 2006 using TruTrackTM transducer sensors (+À1-cm precision) in 10-min intervals [23].67 99. again at similar altitude and exposition.e. Yali stream mouth is a microtidal estuary).A. For groundwater monitoring.94 99. at the figure bottom) – all numbers in meters.

2. Data analysis To analyse the relation between sea level and lagoon depth time series.24].1 +1. Table 2 summarizes the methods.5%Ã +0. Dussaillant et al.1 m/s Range Jan–Nov 2006 Jan–Nov 2006 Jan–Sep 2006 Jan–Sep 2006 which will be published in full in a future paper based on synthesis of ongoing work [23.9 mS/cm 0 to 42% 0.00 mg/L to 50 g/L 0 to 14 0 to 20. Due to the strong dependence of lagoon level on tides while connected to the sea. Measurements included dissolved oxygen.0 to 4.01 mg PO43À/L (+0. pH and conductivity with on-site sensors.82 mg P-PO4/L Triode pH Electrode (Thermo Orion) DO 100 (Oakton)¤ Spectrophotometer DR/2010 (HACH) { { Corrects for temperature for samples between À2 and 358C. Scale adjusts automatically according to the measurement. .5 mg P-PO43À/L 0.0 to 2. to relate sea to lagoon water level.206 Table 1 Summary of data used Type of Data Water level Sea level Rainfall Wind A. including: (1) typical average pattern repetition and residual analysis [25].3.0 and 50.0%. and nutrients from samples stored at 48C.0 to 0.1% +0.0% 0. assuming only lateral flow (Dupuit approximation). when the maximum tidal amplitude differences are registered and therefore higher fluxes are assumed to occur.5 mg N-NO3À/L 0. we used several Table 2 Water quality equipment and methods used Instrument (brand) WT-HR (TruTrack) Sension5 (HACH){ Parameter Temperature Conductivity{ Salinity TDS{ pH OD N-NO3À P-PO4 methods.18C +0.003 mg P-PO4/L) Range À308C to + 708C 0. through a typical impulse response function approach [26]. in connected and disconnected phases.10 mg N-NO3À/L +0.5%Ã +0. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 Unit m m mm m/s Resolution 10-min mean Hourly mean Daily Hourly (9–18 h) Precision +1 cm +1 cm +0. to identify most important frequencies of processes affecting water level. thus reducing to a diffusion-type equation: ›h ›2 h w ÀDÁ 2 ¼ ›t ›x p ð2Þ Precision +0. and (4) a simplified numerical model based on Darcy’s equation applied to an unconfined aquifer. to identify average characteristics of rising and recessing cyclic periods. (2) frequency spectrums. ¤ Corrects for temperature for samples between 0 and 508C and for salinity between 0. Ã From the respective measurement scale.00 mg/L 0 to 200. (3) Fourier analysis. filtered and analyzed with spectrophotometer methods.00 mS/cm to 199. water quality measurements have been done monthly on full moon days.25 mm +0.5%Ã +0.

inducing a daily oscillation in the lagoon water level (Fig. 24. depending on the tide. Dussaillant et al. and p is soil porosity [L3/L3]. 3.5 h and another lesser one at 23. Disconnection during the study period occurred during midSeptember. An analysis of the average pattern (Fig. spectral analysis only reveals a slight peak at period 0.5 h (high tides). Yali streamflow eroded the bar that had closed the stream mouth during the previous dry season (Fig. primarily sand with some gravel. if there was a head difference between sea and lagoon water levels. during the connected phase the lagoon-level amplitude difference averaged 20 cm. for example. the sea (NW) side Ks ranged from 0.4 days (moon cycles). Results and discussion 3.1. measured. measured. the lagoon and the ocean were connected through the outlet.18-mm. Sea data revealed a peak at 12. 3. until water levels stabilized circa 18 September with the bar finally closed (Fig. Then. 3. Conversely. This partial differential equation was solved for h with a fully implicit method.53 to 15-m-dÀ1. given by Eq.80 to 13-m-dÀ1 on the upslope (SE) side. due to rainfall events.015 mdÀ1. When the outlet bar formed and the lagoon disconnected from the ocean.997 days. soil saturated hydraulic conductivity. c).5 m). as discussed further below). there was no apparent relationship between sea level and lagoon level.0137 and standard deviation 0. Soil hydraulics Soils in the vicinity of the lagoon are coarse and relatively homogeneous (D50 = 0. For the recession that followed. From low flows measured in all seepage meters. 3d). Lagoon water level fluctuations During the disconnected phase of the summer–autumn of 2006 (November to June). in the sea recession limb (residual errors in the average pattern with mean 0. the estimated lagoon bottom sediment mean conductivity was estimated as 0. The lagoon . just after high tide. It ranged from 0. measured. using hourly lagoon-water-level and sea-level data as boundary conditions. D is diffusion coefficient. 3 (NB: sea level was converted into relative height above our reference point. when a new inundation cycle was initiated. with k saturated hydraulic conductivity [L/T].43). porosity = 0. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 207 D¼ ka p ð3Þ where h is hydraulic head [L]. and the initial condition being an interpolation between both. The only exceptions were on days of high winds (Fig. 3b. at least an order of magnitude lower than riparian soil Ks reported above. where average sea level was 98. In early winter. Spectral analysis of lagoon (Fig. This implies that probably most of the flow to and from the ocean (QGS) would occur through riparian zones.2 h (tidal daily cycle) and 16. as seen in Fig. estimated.A. 4) for 10-min data from 10 June to 15 September showed that it typically took 4 h to reach peak lagoon level after a sea-level threshold was surpassed by the rising tide (related to the outlet base level. About a week before closure. 3b). w is the rainfall rate [L/T].0705). 5) vs. assumed constant. 3a). This peak was followed by sea level dropping below lagoon level. the periodic fluctuation of water levels was replaced by stepwise increases. a is the aquifer’s thickness [L] (approximately 100 m [27]). it took approximately 13 h to return to initial levels. Ks.2. was measured both in the field (using a tensioinfiltrometer) and in the lab (permeameter measurements from soil samples taken from piezometer installation). varying between 8 and 80 cm (+2 cm). sea levels showed that the most important frequencies in decreasing order are 12. lagoon levels varied almost negligibly.7 h (not shown).

0 Relative height (m) 98. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 a) 100.5 m relative to the reference used).208 A. (c) connection. changing the lagoon status from disconnected to connected (ZOOM).2 99.0 Relative height (m) 99.0 97.5 Relative height (m) 100. 2 – in mid grey tones).5 99.0 98. sea level (light grey – mean average sea level was 98. with a frontal rain system. and piezometer water level in transect from sea to lagoon (CP2 and CP5 – see Fig. Water-level behaviour during 2006 for lagoon (thick line).8 98. and (d) transition from connection to disconnection during mid September (ZOOM). 6–8 June (Pp bars). that opens the inlet bar by 8 June.0 99. 3.2 98.5 99.8 14-09 Lagoon CP2 CP5 Sea 15-09 16-09 17-09 18-09 19-09 20-09 21-09 Fig.6 98.5 98. Dussaillant et al.5 02-02 CP2 CP5 Sea 07-02 12-02 17-02 22-02 27-02 b) 100. for example periods of: (a) disconnection.5 Lagoon 99.0 Relative height (m) 99.5 98.0 97.5 01-08 0 50 Rain (mm) 100 150 200 250 06-08 11-08 16-08 21-08 26-08 31-08 Pp Lagoon CP2 CP5 Sea d) 99.5 98. . 7–12 August.4 98.0 97. no rainfall but a strong summer S wind event.5 05-06 0 50 Pp Rain (mm) 100 150 200 250 300 07-06 09-06 11-06 13-06 15-06 17-06 Lagoon CP2 CP5 Sea c) 100.0 98. (b) first winter season rainstorm.0 97.0 98.

An analysis of wind data showed that winds were stronger when wind direction was from the SE. an exception occurred on 13 February.A.1 0. Further studies are needed.3 0.95 Relative height (m) 98. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 98. Correlations were negative when wind direction was perpendicular to the lagoon. the overriding . However. Spectral analysis for lagoon water level from July 13 to August 31. 60 50 Spectrum 40 30 20 10 0 0 0. indicating that the slope went upstream instead. rainfall had little effect over lagoon water level. and directed towards the transect area (correlations not shown. level varied little during the day (only a few millimetres) for any tide amplitude.85 98. 2006. including monitoring with a transducer in the extreme SE of the lagoon. In sum. closer to the lagoon longitudinal axis. 4.70 98. when a decrease in the level occurred. These wind effects were most pronounced during the disconnected phase.715).65 98. Based on the data gathered. based on hourly data and time unit of 24 h. attributed to strong winds which probably produced a slope in the lagoon level.75 98.80 98. as well as the reverse direction. average 0. Dussaillant et al. except for those events that opened the outlet bar in the disconnected situation. Typical behaviour pattern in lagoon water level periodical oscillations based on 10 min data from June 10 to September 15.2 0.4 0. 3d). as exemplified for February 2006 (Fig.60 00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 00:00 03:00 209 Time (hours) Fig.5 f (cycles/time unit) Fig. 5.90 98. attributed to an opposite sloping effect. 2006.

Figure 7 shows results for the best-fit parameter values in the high-end range for k (approximately 10À4 m sÀ1.8 98. see Section 3. The smaller scale mismatch is attributed to differing salinities between boundary conditions and possibly other density-dependent effects. Modelling simulations for water levels in the central transect. this would be improbable during 99.67 m. 1. as seen in Fig. 2006.3.1 99 98. it corresponded to the maximum sea level. Water level numerical analysis A Fourier analysis performed in MatlabTM (Fig. probably due to the highly conductive porous media. at 98. and initial recession was controlled by fast outflow through the outlet with descending sea level. dampening the recession drop. 6. 3).3 Relative height (m) the connected phase due to negligible dry season streamflow.0270 for sea and lagoon hydraulic heads. 3c). The results adjusted well for the general trends in amplitude oscillations and periods. stream water flows in. the vertical beach boundary condition might be 99. approximately 15–20 cm above mean sea level during connected phase).6 14-07 16-07 18-07 20-07 22-07 Time (hours) Simulated Real 24-07 26-07 28-07 30-07 Fig. Fourier analysis for lagoon water level from July 13 to August 31.4 99. i. 3. were done for the range of k values measured. 7. To include partially some adjustment due to density dependence. Nevertheless.5) fit the sea–lagoon relation very well. based on hourly data. with rainfall the groundwater level between lagoon and ocean increased very quickly (Fig. the recession took place at a slower rate. This is supported by our field physical interpretation of the level data series (Fig. in accordance with the values reported.1). 3).e. But once the lagoon level reached outlet level (and if sea level was lower than outlet base level. using the Dupuit approximation given in Eq. water levels for the boundary conditions (sea and lagoon level data) were corrected as a linear function of salinity content. with an appropriate threshold related to the outlet base level (98. Initial conditions were an interpolation between both boundary conditions on July 14. Additionally.67 m in Fig. probably linked to slower porous media flow through the sand berm to the ocean (Fig. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 influence on lagoon level was sea-level fluctuations.9 98.0291 and 1. 3): when the lagoon level reached a peak.7 98.2 99. . 2006. which explains why it took 2–3 days for the initial condition error to propagate and finally diffuse. Another possibility is that once the level drops below a certain level. Dussaillant et al. using the Ghyben–Herzberg equation that provides an empirical first approximation in natural (more or less static) coastal aquifers [23]. 6) applied to hourly sea and lagoon time series revealed that a simple impulse response function of exponential form exp(Àt/2.210 A. respectively. This approach resulted in multipliers 1.

with a maximum in the latter of 12 mg LÀ1).4 102.0 100.4. affecting this kind of simulation. Dissolved oxygen did not show a defined spatial pattern (groundwater 2–4 mg LÀ1. Phosphate in groundwater exhibited (data not shown) a gradient of progressive decrease towards the sea with some very high values upslope from the lagoon and in nearby drainage ditches discharging into the lagoon. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 211 a) Relative height (m) 102. Groundwater discharge from upslope into the lagoon was fresh (average conductivity lower than 0.1.0 12-07 Model (Ksϭ1. nearer the seaside).5 to 7. saturated hydraulic conductivity Ks reported) vs. organic deposits of past poultry operations. the diffusivity coefficient D. Annual mean conductivity for the lagoon was 51. there is an artificial plateau in the graph).6 and 8. as well as cattle illegally introduced into the wetland area for grazing. Possible sources include agricultural fertilizers. Water quality Concerning water quality.8 101. over 1.A.7 is the maximum recordable relative height by this piezometer. (b) CP5 (close to topographic peak of sand dune.8 12-07 Model (Ksϭ6. 3.0 101.9 mS cmÀ1 for 2006. 3.4 101. Dussaillant et al. groundwater pH averaged 7.1 (range: 6. computed from Eq.7ϫ10Ϫ4) CP5 17-07 22-07 27-07 01-08 06-08 11-08 16-08 21-08 26-08 31-08 Fig. 2): (a) CP2 (closer to lagoon in riparian vegetation area.3 Â 10À2 m2/s.2 101.4 102. increasing to 4–5 close to the lagoon).7 mS cmÀ1.2 102. sea and lagoon 7–9 mg LÀ1. Modelling results (thin line.43. 8. was 2.6 101. for the central transect piezometers (see Fig. note that since 101.6 101. showed a narrow . respectively.6).0 101.2 102.2ϫ10Ϫ5) CP2 17-07 22-07 27-07 01-08 06-08 11-08 16-08 21-08 26-08 31-08 b) Relative height (m) 102. 7. however.4 101.8 101.2 101. Lagoon phosphate concentrations. Given the aquifer estimated depth of 100 m and soil porosity of 0. while lagoon and sea values were very stable. with values ranging from 20 to 100 mS cmÀ1 (higher values in summer as would be expected). Increased salinity/conductivity in the lagoon was linked to seawater intrusion and evaporation in the shallow system.5 mg/ L P-PO4. piezometer data (thick line) comparison of groundwater levels for the sand bar between the lagoon and the sea. known to happen in this type of system [28].

except for those rains that change the phase from disconnected to connected. Varas and E. Irarra ´ zaval and R. Numerical analysis results show that a simple exponential impulse response function relates the sea forcing to lagoon level during the connected phase. as the pattern. as we have observed since 2003. Apparently.5 mg/L P-PO4. Data were provided by the Navy. dampening is enough to minimize the effect of groundwater pressure wave. Additionally. Nitrate results are under revision due to possible interferences in the method. Farin CONAF. ˜ o events and general interansea storms. The bar is occasionally overtopped by storms. In the near future. to continue our study of this system. 4. The upper hierarchical level is seasonal: lagoon level responds to the lagoon surface water being connected to or disconnected from the ocean through the outlet. complete water balance. that likely relates to illegal cattle entrance and past poultry operation waste. E. Tyler for fruitful field discussions. Aravena. Ferna ´ ndez.2 h). Sepu ´ lveda and Agrosuper S.5 and 24. which could affect lagoon water level temporarily. Acknowledgements Authors would like to thank our collaborator. Also. Paste ´ n for providing the equipment. the lagoon level is generally independent of sea level. El Nin nual variability will affect water exchanges. as well as a phosphate high-concentration zone just upslope of the lagoon. Conversely. Cienfuegos. W. and the managers of ecologist J. F. even though there is a 150 m porous sand bar between the two. a simple Dupuit numerical model gives a reasonable approximation of piezometer water-level trends between the sea and the lagoon. we hope to use the tools presented here.M. Palma. (through C. Mignot and all the people who helped us in the coastal . Water quality monitoring has shown the potential presence of a double salt wedge. During disconnection (summer-autumn).and lagoon-level dynamics. these are overridden by the oceanlevel factor. Special thanks are due to P. that interact with the higher temporal scale hierarchy.g. Nevertheless. initial evidence suggests that this is the limiting nutrient in the lagoon and riparian area [18]. Direccio ´ n Meteorolo ´ gica de Chile and Direccio ´n General de Aguas. Useful suggestions for data analysis were provided by B. Wind effects can be important particularly during the disconnected phase.1–0. Rainfall events seem to be not an important driver for lagoon level. during the connection phase two lower level temporal scale hierarchies are relevant: monthly (moon cycles every 16. while in the connected phase. examining topics such as water level versus plant distribution relationships for different scenarios in sea. such events were not observed during our data collection in 2006. Vives) provided private reports. as well as J. / Desalination 246 (2009) 202–214 range: 0. Barthelemy and S. density-dependent modelling. This will be investigated further since it is a cause of concern for the management of this unique coastal wetland. even though there are salinity and beach slope effects that deserve further attention. complemented with additional ones (e. so we plan to continue monitoring and incorporating new data into our analyses. Packman.A. ˜ a. extensive data gathering) and findings by an ecology team working in the area. We would like to thank also A. M.4 days on average) and daily (tidal cycles every 12. Dussaillant et al. Conclusions Based on our initial observations and data collection. Our results suggest that these factors can be organized hierarchically. Yali lagoon water-level dynamics appear to be driven by sea level and streamflow variability. that is. P. spectral and Fourier analyses have shown. and are not reported here.212 A.

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