The limited availability of water in the Amargosa River basin region creates a critical need for effective management to maintain its Wild and Scenic attributes inclusive of habitat for several endangered and threatened species. The current conceptual hydrogeologic model established for source water to the Amargosa River was tested in order to help inform management decisions regarding the Amargosa River’s Federal designation as Wild and Scenic through an act of Congress. The use of forensic tools and integration of multiple lines of geologic, hydrogeologic, geochemical and stable isotopic evidence suggest that the simple historical model for primary groundwater transport through this region is incorrect and that a large supply of regional baseflow does not provide the hydrogeological foundation of the Amargosa River basin. Data collected is consistent with an alternative model requiring complex source mixing and shallow alluvial groundwater that supports river flow. This conclusion also suggests Wild and Scenic conditions in this basin are more precarious than previously understood.
Andy Zdon, M. Lee Davisson, and Roux Associates’ Dr. Adam Love, are co-authors of the article, “Testing the Established Hydrogeologic Model of Source Water to the Amargosa River Basin, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California” that was published in the Journal of Environmental Forensics in November 2015. The article delves into why the historical hydrogeologic model is deemed insufficient as well as explores an alternative model that better reflects the physical characteristics of the Amargosa River basin while providing conclusion on the Wild and Scenic River conditions.
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