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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey


Release: August 7, 2002
Contact:
Bill Simonds
Hydrologist
253-428-3600, ext. 2669

Water Study Helps Sequim-Dungeness Cope with Changes

[Note: The report can be viewed on the Web at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri024161 .]

Water managers faced with changing conditions in the Sequim-Dungeness area will get some help from a scientific study of how Dungeness River water is connected to ground water. Results of the study are released today in a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Clallam County and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

As the population in the area grew roughly 250 percent over the last 20 years, water use shifted from irrigated agriculture to residential, and more ground water was needed. In some places, Dungeness River water seeps into the ground water, and in other places ground water feeds the river. Faced with keeping adequate flows in the Dungeness River for endangered fish while providing enough water for homes and businesses, managers needed to know how water flows between the river and the water-table aquifer.

The USGS studied ground water along the Dungeness River between September 1999 and July 2001. Small-diameter observation pipes, driven into the ground at 27 points along the river, enabled scientists to look at ground water levels beneath the riverbed. Scientists used the water levels to determine the direction in which water was flowing between the river and the aquifer. Other measurements, called seepage runs, helped to determine how much water flowed between the river and the aquifer.

"Knowing where and how much water is moving between the river and ground water gives us an important understanding of how the hydrologic system works," said USGS hydrologist Bill Simonds, lead author of the report. "With this information, a computer model of the system can be built to tell water managers how changes might affect the system in the future."

The report, "Surface Water-Ground Water Interaction Along the Dungeness River and Vertical Hydraulic Conductivity of Streambed Sediments, Clallam County, Washington, September 1999 to July 2001," by F. William Simonds and Kirk A. Sinclair, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4161. Copies can be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone 303-202-4200. It can be viewed on the Web at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri024161. The report is also published as Washington State Department of Ecology Report 02-03-027 and can be accessed on-line at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/biblio/0203027.html.

The USGS, a bureau within the Department of the Interior, serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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