Modeling Fen Hydrology to Inform Recovery of the Endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly
Prasanna V. Sampath, Hua-Sheng Liao, Zachary K. Curtis, Shu-Guang Li, F.ASCE and Christie Deloria
Volume 21, Issue 3, March 2016, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering
It is generally recognized that fens and the rare species they support can only be effectively managed and protected by treating them as part of a larger, connected groundwater system. However, this underlying groundwater system is often not well understood. In this research, a geographic information system (GIS)-enabled, hierarchical modeling approach was applied to simulate the multiscale groundwater flow systems for several critical habitat units of the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly (HED) in Michigan. In particular, models for six habitat units were developed and calibrated to static water level measurements. Reverse particle tracking was used to trace source water and delineate the groundwater contribution areas for the habitat units. The results reveal that the units obtain water from regional groundwater mounds through direct or cascading connections. The travel time for groundwater from the mounds to reach the habitat units varied between 25 days and almost 11 years. These findings suggest that the current approach to fen conservation must be reassessed, from the protection of individual fens to conservation of the broad recharge areas and the multiple fens they support.