Report Series 2009–5145
Base-flow yields at approximately the annual 75-percent-duration flow were determined for watersheds in the Jefferson County area, WV, from stream-discharge measurements made during October 31 to November 2, 2007. Five discharge measurements of Opequon Creek defined increased flow from 29,000,000 gallons per day (gal/d) at Carters Ford to 51,400,000 gal/d near Vanville. No flow was observed at 45 of 110 additional stream sites inspected, and discharge at the 65 flowing stream sites ranged from 1,940 to 17,100,000 gallons per day (gal/d). Discharge at 28 springs ranged from no flow to 2,430,000 gal/d. Base-flow yields were computed as the change in stream-channel discharge between measurement sites divided by the change in drainage area between the sites. Yields were negative for losing (influent) channel reaches and positive for gaining (effluent) reaches. Channels in 14 watersheds were determined to have lost flow ranging from -9.6 to -1,770 gallons per day per acre (gal/d/acre). Channels in 51 watersheds were determined to have gained flow ranging from 3.4 to 235,000 gal/d/acre.
Water temperature at the stream sites ranged from 5.0 to 16.3 °C (quarry pumpage), and specific conductance ranged from 51 to 881 microsiemens per centimeter (µS/cm). Water temperature at the springs ranged from 11.5 to 15.0 °C, and specific conductance ranged from 22 to 958 µS/cm.
Large springs in some watersheds in western Jefferson County are adjacent to other watersheds with little or no surface-water discharge; this is probably the result of interbasin transfer of groundwater along faults that dissect the area. Most watersheds located adjacent to the Potomac River in northeastern Jefferson County were not flowing during this study; this is most likely because the Potomac River is deeply incised, and groundwater flows directly to it rather than to the local stream systems in these areas. Except for one watershed with a yield of 651 gal/d/acre, no watersheds in northeastern Jefferson County yielded more than 305 gal/d/acre. Base-flow yields of several watersheds in south-central Jefferson County exceeded 400 gal/d/acre, and the effect of the Shenadoah River on base flows in the watershed appears to be less than that of the Potomac River in the northeastern part of the county. In the southeastern part of the county, because of steep relief and low-permeability bedrock, several streams were not flowing at the time of the study, and yields from all flowing streams were all less than 100 gal/d/acre.
On the basis of historical data from 1961 through 2008, the mean and median depths to groundwater in 213 wells in western Jefferson County were 33.4 and 29.3 ft, respectively. Mean and median depths to groundwater in 69 wells in the northeastern county area were 56.0 and 55.0 ft below land surface, respectively. However, mean and median depths to groundwater in 28 wells within 1.5 miles of the Potomac River were 70.0 and 71.3 ft below land surface, respectively. Mean and median depths to groundwater in 108 wells in the south-central county area were 53.9 and 52.8 ft below land surface, respectively. Mean and median depths to groundwater of 26 wells in the southeastern county area were 86.6 and 59.5 ft below land surface, respectively.
First posted September 11, 2009
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Evaldi, R.D., Paybins, K.S., and Kozar, M.D., 2009, Hydrogeologic factors affecting base-flow yields in the Jefferson County area, West Virginia, October-November 2007: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5145, 13 p., 1 plate.
Stream and Spring Measurements
Hydrogeologic Factors Affecting Base-Flow Yields