Application of a Groundwater Classification System and GIS Mapping System for the Lower Ruby Valley Watershed, Southwest Montana

DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.58079   PDF   HTML     5,547 Downloads   8,272 Views   Citations


Classification of groundwater conditions at the watershed scale synthesizes landscape hydrology, provides a mapped summary of groundwater resources, and supports water management decisions. The application of a recently developed watershed-scale groundwater classification methodology is applied and evaluated in the 100,000 hectare lower Ruby Valley watershed of southwestern Montana. The geologic setting, groundwater flow direction, aquifer productivity, water quality, anthropogenic impact to water levels, depth to groundwater, and the degree of connection between groundwater and surface water are key components of the classification scheme. This work describes the hydrogeology of the lower Ruby Valley watershed and illustrates how the classification system is applied to assemble, analyze, and summarize groundwater data. The classification process provides information in summary tables and maps of seamless digital overlays prepared using geographical information system (GIS) software. Groundwater conditions in the watershed are classified as low production bedrock aquifers in the mountainous uplands that recharge the moderate productivity basin-fill sediments. Groundwater levels approach the surface near the Ruby River resulting in sufficient groundwater discharge to maintain stream flow during dry, late summer conditions. The resulting classification data sets provide watershed managers with a standardized organizational tool that represents groundwater conditions at the watershed scale.

Share and Cite:

S. Payne, I. Magruder and W. Woessner, "Application of a Groundwater Classification System and GIS Mapping System for the Lower Ruby Valley Watershed, Southwest Montana," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 8, 2013, pp. 775-791. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.58079.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] C. Lee, R. T. Watson, M. C. Zinyowera and R. H. Moss, “The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability,” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Cambridge University Press, 1998, 517 pages.
[2] H. A. Loáiciga, “Climate Change Impacts in Regional-Scale Aquifers: Principlesand Field Application,” In: K. Sato and Y. Iwasa, Eds., Groundwater Updates, Springer, Tokyo, 2000, pp. 247-252. doi:10.1007/978-4-431-68442-8_41
[3] US Environmental Protection Agency, “Water Resources Impacts and Adaptation.”
[4] W. M. Alley, R. W. Healy, J. W. La Baugh and T. E. Reilly, “Flow and Storage in Groundwater Systems,” Science, Vol. 296, No. 5575, 2002, pp. 1985-1990. doi:10.1126/science.1067123
[5] C. G. Daughton, “Groundwater Recharge and Chemical Contaminants: Challenges in Communicating the Connections and Collisions of Two Disparate Worlds,” Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2004, pp. 127-138. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6592.2004.tb00721.x
[6] W. A. Jury and H. Vaux Jr., “The Role of Science in Solving the World’s Emerging Water Problems,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, No. 44, 2005, pp. 15715-15720. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506467102
[7] C. B. Field, L. D. Mortsch, M. Brklacich, D. L. Forbes, P. Kovacs, J. A. Patz, S. W. Running and M. J. Scott, “North America. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” In: M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden and C. E. Hanson, Eds., Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, pp. 617-652.
[8] E. Kendy, “The False Promise of Sustainable Pumping Rates-Technical Commentary for Groundwater,” Groundwater, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2003, pp. 2-4. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2003.tb02559.x
[9] Z. W. Kundzewicz, L. J. Mata, N. W. Arnell, P. Doll, P. Kabat, B. Jiménez, K. A. Miller, T. Oki, Z. Sen and I. A. Shiklomanov, “Freshwater Resources and Their Management,” In: M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden and C. E. Hanson, Eds., Climate Change 2007. Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, pp. 173-210.
[10] S. B. van de Wetering, “Bridging the Goverance Gap: Strategies to Integrate Water and Land Use Planning,” Public Policy Research Institute, University of Montana, Missoula, 2007, 15 pages.
[11] R. Nelson, “Uncommon Innovation: Developments in Groundwater Management in California,” Working in the West Working Paper 1, Woods Institute for the Environment, The Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University, 2011, p. 38.
[12] S. L. Yaffee, A. F. Phillips, I. C. Frentz, P. W. Hardy, S. M. Maleki and B. E. Thorpe, “Ecosystem Management in the United States: An Assessment of Current Experience,” Island Press, Washington DC, 1996, 351 pages.
[13] M. E. Covert, “A Call for Uniform Groundwater Classification. Environmental Protection,” 2010.
[14] S. M. Payne, “Classification of Aquifers,” PhD Dissertation, University of Montana, 2010.
[15] S. M. Payne and W. W. Woessner, “An Aquifer Classification System and GIS-based Analysis Tool for Watershed Managers in the Western US,” Journal of American Water Resources, Vol. 46, No. 5, 2010, pp. 1003-1023.
[16] S. M. Payne and I. A. Magruder, “Lower Ruby Valley Groundwater Management Plan and Water Resource Data Report, Volume I and II,” Ruby Valley Conservation District, KirK Environmental, LLC Sheridan, 2004, 45 pages.
[17] D. E. Prudic and M. E. Herman, “Ground-Water Flow and Simulated Effects of Development in Paradise Valley, a Basin Tributary to the Humboldt River, in Humboldt County, Nevada,” US Geological Survey, Denver, Professional Paper 1409-F, 1996.
[18] T. G. Rowe and K. K. Allender, “Surface- and Groundwater Characteristics in the Upper Truckee River and Trout Creek Watersheds, South Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, July-December 1996,” Water Resources Investigations Report 00-4001, USGS, Denver, 2000, 39 pages.
[19] C. E. Thodal, “Hydrogeology of the Lake Tahoe Basin California and Nevada, and Results of a Ground-water Quality Monitoring Network, Water Years 1990-92,” Water Resources Investigations Report 97-4072, USGS, Denver, 1997, 53 pages.
[20] J. Gibert, “Groundwater Systems and Their Boundaries; Conceptual Framework and Prospects in Groundwater Ecology,” Verhandlungen des Internationalen Verein Limnologie, Vol. 24, 1991, pp. 1605-1608.
[21] USGS, “Geologic Provinces of the United States: Basin and Range Province in Geologogy of National Parks,” 2004.
[22] E. T. Ruppel, J. M. O’Neill and D. A. Lopez, “Geologic Map of the Dillon 1 Degree by 2 Degree Quadrangle, Idaho and Montana,” USGS Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1803-H, 1993.
[23] Oregon Climate Service, “Montana Average Annual Precipitation, 1961-1990,” Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon, 1998.
[24] WRCC, “1981-2010 NCDC Monthly Normals for Twin Bridges, MT, COOP ID 248430,” Western Regional Climate Center, 2012.
[25] I. A. Magruder, W. W. Woessner and S. W. Running, “Ecohydrologic Process Modeling of Mountain Block Groundwater Recharge,” Ground Water, Vol. 47, No. 6, 2008, pp. 774-785. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2009.00615.x
[26] I. A. Magruder and S. M. Payne, “Ruby Groundwater/ Surface Water Interaction Modeling Project Report,” KirK Engineering & Natural Resources, Inc. Sheridan, 2008, 80 pages.
[27] N. G. Vereiskii and E. A. Vostokova, “Guidebook for Determining the Lithological Composition of Surface Deposits and Depth of Occurance of Ground Waters,” State Geological Committee of the USSR, 1966, 247 pages.
[28] G. B. Maxey, “Hydrostratigraphic Units,” Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1964, pp. 124-129. doi:10.1016/0022-1694(64)90023-X
[29] P. A. Domenico, “Concepts and Models in Groundwater Hydrology,” MaGraw-Hill, New York, 1972, 403 pages.
[30] R. Kreye, K. Ronneseth and M. Wei, “An Aquifer Classification System for Groundwater Management in British Columbia,” Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Water Management Division, Hydrology Branch, 1998.
[31] J. Berardinucci and K. Ronneseth, “Guide to Using the BC Aquifer Classification Maps,” Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, 2002, p. 54.
[32] L. Aller, T. Bennett, J. Lehr, R. Petty and G. Hackett, “DRASTIC: A Standardized System for Evaluating Groundwater Pollution Potential Using Hydrogeologic Setting,” EPA/600/2-87/035, 1987, 622 pages.
[33] R. A. Freeze and J. A. Cherry, “Groundwater,” Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1979, 397 pages.
[34] T. C. Winter, J. W. Harvey, O. L. Frankie and W. M. Alley, “Ground Water and Surface Water: A Single Resource,” USGS Circular 1139, 1998, pp. 1-53.
[35] T. C. Winter, “Relation of Streams, Lakes, and Wetlands to Groundwater Flow Systems,” Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1999, pp. 28-45. doi:10.1007/s100400050178
[36] D. Eamus and R. Froend, “Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems: The Where, What and Why of GDEs,” Australian Journal of Botany, Vol. 54, 2006, pp. 91-96. doi:10.1071/BT06029
[37] M. Hayashi and D. O. Rosenberry, “Effects of Ground Water Exchange on the Hydrology and Ecology of Surface Water,” Ground Water, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2002, pp. 309-316. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2002.tb02659.x
[38] P. J. Hancock, A. J. Boulton and W. F. Humphreys, “Aquifers and Hyporheic Zones: Towards an Ecological Understanding of Groundwater,” Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2005, pp. 98-111. doi:10.1007/s10040-004-0421-6
[39] F. G. Driscoll, “Groundwater and Wells,” 2nd Edition, Johnson Division, St Paul, 1986, p. 1089.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.