Baltimore Ecosystem Study Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2012 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Baseflow Signatures of BES Watersheds
Schwartz, Stu
Co-Authors: Brennan Smith

Abstract: Baseflow Signatures of BES Watersheds Stu Schwartz , Brennan Smith As an integrating signal, baseflow captures infrastructure effects, interbasin transfers, landuse change, and hydrometeorological forcings. Along the BES rural to urban gradient, multimetric baseflow analysis suggests clear endpoints (identifiable as rural forest and agricultural watersheds, and urban watersheds) bounding the response of both intermediate mixed and developing BES watersheds, as well as the HCDN Piedmont watersheds (that are least impacted by human influence) in the Chesapeake Bay drainage area. Single metrics - such as the baseflow index or estimated recharge - can show equifinality in observed baseflow response. Multimetric fingerprinting can help distinguish dominant processes in the observed response of urban streamflow. Anomalies among multiple slowflow characteristics frame a conceptual model of urban hydrologic alteration, suggesting an endpoint mixing model of the dominant processes driving urban hydrologic systems. Within the inherent limitations of the resolution and equifinality in observed streamflow response contrasting responses to land transformation suggest testable hypotheses and frame a multi-metric characterization of the baseflow signatures of the BES Watersheds.