Discussion: "Meadow Restoration Increases Baseflow and Groundwater Storage in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California"

We discuss a recent paper which evaluated the hydrologic changes resulting from a pond-and-plug meadow restoration project in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. In the study, measurements of streamflow into and out of the meadow suggested late-summer baseflow increased as much as five-fold when compared with prerestoration conditions. However, the volume of streamflow attributed to the restored meadow (49,000–96,000 m3 over four months) would require that 2.5–4.8 m of saturated meadow soils drain during sum- mer months. The groundwater data from this meadow record only 0.45 m of change over this timeframe, which is less than might be expected from plant use alone (0.75 m), suggesting this restored meadow may be acting as a water sink throughout summer rather than a source.

Nash, Caroline S.; Grant, Gordon E.; Selker, John S.; Wondzell, Steven M. 2019. Discussion: “Meadow restoration increases baseflow and groundwater storage in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California” by Luke J.H. Hunt, Julie Fair, and Maxwell Odland. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 50(3): 2657-2660.

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