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Surface Water-Groundwater Interaction:


A Study of Hydraulic Flow Paths and Nutrient Dynamics in a Floodplain Reach of a Restored Stream
Celena Alford*, Dylan Cooper**, Carter Gresham** *NC A&T SU, Greensboro, NC; **Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA NSF-REU Fellows, StREAM Lab, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

- Human actions such as urbanization and agriculture often degrade stream ecosystems, including pollution by excess nutrients such as nitrogen - Floodplain reconnection is a common stream restoration technique, and aids in nutrient removal, sediment deposition, protection of the natural stream channel topography, and reducing flood stage - Nutrient removal on floodplains occurs via uptake by plants, reactions at the soil-water interface, and loss to groundwater

Results: Hydraulics

Results: Nutrients
Figure 6. Nutrients Graph. The biggest spikes in nutrients (DOC, NH4, and SRP) are from the "first flush" that is seen at the beginning of the flood at each cross section.

Figure 1. The pipe outlet seen with uorescein dye. Figure 3. Flood 1 Site.

Site Description
Stroubles Creek is a stream in the city of Blacksburg, VA. Our experimental reach is located between a crop field and pastures and is undergoing restoration. During the spring and summer months, there is an abundance of vegetation due to higher seasonal rainfall.The floodplain on which our experiment took place was previously an oxbow of the stream channel. Its reach length is 27.6 meters, and its width is an average of 12 meters.

Figure 7. TASCC Breakthrough Curves. Cross section 3 had a longer curve because it was a mix of storage and quick flow. The differences in the upper and lower peaks for each cross section show the amount of uptake through each cross section. Figure 8. Areal Nutrient Uptake. As a result of the TASCC injection, a higher nutrient uptake per area was seen at cross section 2 than cross section 3.

Figure 4a and b. Site Storage Volume Graphs. - The hydraulic response of the floodplain was very similar in both events -Steady state was reached in Flood 2 and not in Flood 1 -Flood 2 had a quicker increase in storage volume

Conclusions/Further Research
Figure 2. Flood Experiment Site Map. -Similar groundwater and surface water levels before the flood explain the overall similar hydraulic response. -The thicker summer vegetation and better containment methods in the experiment were the likely causes of the floodplain reaching maximum storage capacity sooner. -The "first flush" that released nutrients into the stream water was likely due to former use of the floodplain by cattle. -Water flowing rapidly through the quick path had less nutrients being absorbed over time; less residence time. -Storage zones have a higher areal uptake of nutrients than quick flow zones. -Two more seasonal floods will be conducted. Figure 9. The Flood Team. Members (Carter Gresham, Celena Alford, and Dylan Cooper) in front of the experimental oodplain site.

-Simulated flood to measure nutrient removal and hydraulic storage. - Two consecutive days of flooding, the first was dry antecedent conditions; the second, wet. - Measured water level, conductivity, and soil moisture content on the surface and subsurface of the floodplain before, during, and after the flood experiment. - At two hours in, a TASCC (Tracer Addition for Spiraling Curve Characterization) injection of NaCl (sodium chloride) and NaNO3 (sodium nitrate) was done. - Samples were taken after injection for TDN1, DOC2, NH43, NO34, Cl5, SRP6 - During the day two flood, only a NaCl tracer was injected at hour two.

Figure 5. Flood 2 Site.

To Our Mentors Dr. Erich Hester (CEE), Dr. Durelle Scott (BSE), Nate Jones (BSE) and Chris Guth (CEE).

Dissolved Nitrogen; 2Dissolved Inorganic Carbon; 3Ammonium 4Nitrate; 5Chlorine; 6Soluble Reactive Phosphorous

Thanks to Dr. Cully Hession, Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis, Dr. James Hawdon, Eily Andruszkiewicz, and Kenneth Sears. This research was funded in part by NSF-REU Grant (EEC-1156688), Hester/Scott grant (ENG-1066817). Views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NSF.