The University of Sheffield
Catchment Science Centre

Groundwater–surface water interactions, nutrient fluxes and ecological response in river corridors: Translating science into effective management.

Smith JWN, Bonell M, Gibert J, McDowell WH, Sudicky EA, Turner JV and Harris RC. 2008. Hydrological Processes, 22, 151-157. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6902

Abstract

A summary is provided of the second in a series of Integrated Science Initiative workshops supported by the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. The workshop brought together hydrologists, ecologists, biogeochemists, hydrogeologists and natural resource managers to discuss the processes that occur in hyporheic and riparian ecotones. The principal objectives were to share new ideas on the importance of biogeochemical processes that affect nutrients at the groundwater–surface water interface, to understand the impact of nutrient flux on stream (principally hyporheic) ecology, and to identify the management strategies for river corridors to mitigate the effects of nutrients applied to land and discharged via groundwater into rivers. The workshop concluded that: (1) more interdisciplinary research and environmental management practices are needed to better understand, predict and manage processes at the interface of environmental compartments; (2) the goal of environmental regulations to improve ecological health requires a holistic approach integrating our understanding of the ecological, hydrological, biogeochemical and physical processes; (3) upscaling spatially and temporally variable processes remains difficult and may hinder translation of research at micro-scales (molecular to grain size) into macro-scale (reach to catchment) decision-making; (4) scientists need to better communicate existing research to river managers, while smanagers must better communicate policy and regulatory-driven science requirements to researchers. Existing models, such as those that simulate stream–hyporheic exchange, are not widely known and rarely used by environmental managers.