Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Remote Sensing to Identify Groundwater Upwelling Areas in Riparian Zones.

Amy Sprinkle, D.J. Hansen, and Susan White. Univ of Delaware, 152 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 19717

Riparian buffers have been installed across large portions of the agricultural landscape to reduce or eliminate movement of nutrients and sediment from agricultural fields to surface waters.  Although the effectiveness of these buffers is influenced by topography, soil type, vegetation type, width of the buffer and the specific contaminants being addressed, an assumption is usually made that the overall impact of riparian buffers can be predicted by measuring linear feet along a waterway.  In other words, water and associated contaminants are largely assumed to move uniformly through the buffer.  However, recent work suggests that significant amounts of water are delivered through relatively small areas of groundwater upwelling in riparian zones.  The ability to gather and synthesize information on these areas is critical to improving management actions by producers and land managers, and policy-making by strategic decision makers.  Remote sensing may provide timely and accurate information about groundwater upwelling areas for remediation and decision making.