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Hydrologic Contributions from Springs on the Logan River, Utah

Category: Research
Status:  Completed
Contact:  James Evans
Funding Organization:  Utah State University

Subject:  Logan river, springs
Category:  Research
Data Type:  Water Quantity

Abstract:  The Utah State University Water Initiative has proposed to establish a Laboratory Watershed in the Bear River basin. The Bear River Range is the primary recharge area for the Bear Lake and Cache Valleys, two important sub-basins. The range exhibits snowmelt-dominated flow in the shallow soil or regolith zone, and deep bedrock groundwater flow, controlled by karst and fracture/fault zones. Carbonate rocks (limestone and dolostone) are abundant in the Bear River Range, and these rocks weather by dissolution, producing many sinkholes, caves and springs. As a result, much of the water in streams entering Bear Lake and Cache Valleys originates as springs in the Bear River Range. However, little is known about the flow paths, chemical evolution, and partitioning of the amounts of each component of flow in the system. Further, the locations of the recharge areas for these springs are largely unknown.

This project will be a pilot study that will consist of a time-series of isotopic and water chemistry analyses of the Logan River above Third Dam, and at two of the largest springs that flow into the river. These springs are associated with faults and fracture zones, and likely collect water from a large portion of the range. These data will be used to try to deduce the proportion of hydrologic contribution for the springs and the chemical evolution of the ground water as it flows from these recharge areas to the springs. We will use these results as a springboard for further work to determine the rates and fluxes of water in the different parts of the system. Such data and analyses will be critical for making management decisions regarding the watershed, and will contribute to determining how climate changes might affect this portion of the Bear River watershed.

Organizations:   Utah State University