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Evaluation of groundwater resources in the Upper White River Basin within Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, 2020

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Author(s): Leland T. Fuhrig, Andrew J. Long, Alexander O. Headman

Document Type: Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5015
Publisher: United States Geological Survey
Published Year: 2024
Pages: 19
DOI Identifier: 10.3133/sir20245015
ISBN Identifier:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service, investigated groundwater gains and losses on the upper White River within Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. This investigation was conducted using stream discharge measurements at 14 locations within 7 reaches over a 6.5-mile river length from near the White River’s origin at the terminus of the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier to the White River Entrance near the northeast boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Locations selected for the stream discharge measurements were on the main channel of the White River and on tributary streams near their confluence with the White River.

A soil-water-balance (SWB) model analysis was also performed on the White River basin to estimate groundwater recharge throughout the basin during the time of the study. Analyses were made for the White River basin at the sub-basin (zone) scale to determine groundwater input to the stream for individual stream reaches. The gridded SWB model was simulated at a 10-meter (m) horizontal resolution, where recharge simulations were constructed using five spatially distributed datasets. Daily climate data as input for the simulation included gridded daily precipitation and air temperature.

Upon analysis of the seepage run results, three of the seven reaches showed groundwater gains in this study. The SWB model results were used in conjunction with the baseflow gain totals in the reaches to estimate the length of time for recharge to become base flow. Further analysis estimated the rates of groundwater flow in the zones with adjacent gaining reaches. A streamflow gain curve was created from a simple flow model for each of the zones to relate the recharge from the zones to the adjacent reaches on the White River and tributaries. The fit of the streamflow gain curve to the calculated streamflow gain during the seepage run was used to analyze where the recharge from each zone resulted as streamflow gain. Consecutive reach losses from zones D and L were immediately followed downstream by a relatively large gain in zone GH, indicating that the gain in the reach adjacent to zone GH could be from the recharge in zones D and L.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Fuhrig and others (2024) or (Fuhrig et al., 2024)

References Citation:
Fuhrig, L.T., A.J. Long, and A.O. Headman, 2024, Evaluation of groundwater resources in the Upper White River Basin within Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, 2020: Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5015, United States Geological Survey, 19 p., doi: 10.3133/sir20245015.