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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • surface water
  • ground water
  • benthic
  • stream ecology
  • biogeochemistry
  • water quality

Index Terms

  • 1830 Hydrology: Groundwater/surface water interaction
  • 0408 Biogeosciences: Benthic processes
  • 0439 Biogeosciences: Ecosystems, structure and dynamics
  • 0481 Biogeosciences: Restoration



Hyporheic Restoration in Streams and Rivers

E. T. Hester and M. N. Gooseff

The hyporheic zone is the area of mixing of surface and groundwater beneath and adjacent to streams and rivers. The unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of the hyporheic zone, often different from both surface water and deeper groundwater, create unique habitat for organisms. Exchange of water between surface water and the hyporheic zone additionally creates hyporheic functions such as nutrient processing, toxin mineralization, and thermal buffering, which benefit surface water ecosystems and humans downstream. Human activities have reduced hyporheic exchange through impacts such as channel simplification and introduction of fine sediment that clogs the bed. Efforts to improve ecological conditions in impaired streams and rivers have increased dramatically in recent decades. Nevertheless, the value of restoring hyporheic exchange, where it has been lost due to human actions (hyporheic restoration) as a component of stream and river restoration, is only beginning to be acknowledged. Further, guidance for accomplishing hyporheic restoration is scarce. Nevertheless, due to considerable recent interest in the hyporheic zone and its functions, data that could inform hyporheic restoration efforts are already fairly common. Here we lay out possible goals for hyporheic restoration and summarize engineering data that already exist in the scientific literature. We also lay out the hyporheic restoration process and set that within the largest context of stream and river restoration and watershed planning. Finally, we present our future vision for future research, creating design and management guidance, and government leadership.

Citation: Hester, E. T., and M. N. Gooseff (2011), Hyporheic restoration in streams and rivers, in Stream Restoration in Dynamic Fluvial Systems: Scientific Approaches, Analyses, and Tools, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 194, edited by A. Simon, S. J. Bennett and J. M. Castro, pp. 167–187, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2010GM000966.

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