Ground Water Modeling to Evaluate a Planned Restoration of a Montane Meadow

Friday, 19 December 2014
Chris Curtis, California State University Chico, Geological and Environmental Sciences Department, Chico, CA, United States
Meadows are biologically diverse systems where a melting pot of hydrologic, geologic, and ecologic conditions cumulate. Due to their lush vegetation, water resources, and cool temperature meadows have long been utilized for human use. Through neglectful practices and extreme weather events meadows across the west have been degraded. Round Meadow, located 4 km southwest of Pinecrest Lake in the Stanislaus National Forest in California suffered a severe flood in the 1960’s which largely contributed to its current degraded state. To restore Round Meadow’s natural ecohydrologic functions a meadow restoration has been planned. In this research, MODFLOW models are linked with R script to simulate the snowmelt, streamflow and groundwater flow at Round Meadow. HyperNiche2 is used to model foliar cover. Two versions of “pond and plug” restoration are simulated without and with a divergent stream channel. It is found that moist meadow cover is increased by 0.61 and 1.32 hectares respectively over degraded conditions. The meadow aquifer was recharged as result of restorations and modeling suggests increased late year base flows.