A Comparison of Hyporheic Transport at a Cross-Vane Structure and Natural Riffle

Samuel J. Smidt, Joseph A. Cullin, Adam S. Ward, Jesse Robinson, Margaret A. Zimmer, Laura K. Lautz, Theodore A. Endreny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


While restoring hyporheic flowpaths has been cited as a benefit to stream restoration structures, little documentation exists confirming that constructed restoration structures induce comparable hyporheic exchange to natural stream features. This study compares a stream restoration structure (cross-vane) to a natural feature (riffle) concurrently in the same stream reach using time-lapsed electrical resistivity (ER) tomography. Using this hydrogeophysical approach, we were able to quantify hyporheic extent and transport beneath the cross-vane structure and the riffle. We interpret from the geophysical data that the cross-vane and the natural riffle induced spatially and temporally unique hyporheic extent and transport, and the cross-vane created both spatially larger and temporally longer hyporheic flowpaths than the natural riffle. Tracer from the 4.67-h injection was detected along flowpaths for 4.6 h at the cross-vane and 4.2 h at the riffle. The spatial extent of the hyporheic zone at the cross-vane was 12% larger than that at the riffle. We compare ER results of this study to vertical fluxes calculated from temperature profiles and conclude significant differences in the interpretation of hyporheic transport from these different field techniques. Results of this study demonstrate a high degree of heterogeneity in transport metrics at both the cross-vane and the riffle and differences between the hyporheic flowpath networks at the two different features. Our results suggest that restoration structures may be capable of creating sufficient exchange flux and timescales of transport to achieve the same ecological functions as natural features, but engineering of the physical and biogeochemical environment may be necessary to realize these benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-871
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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