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Determination of Ground-Water and Surface-Water Interactions Using Multiple Methods, In and Near Fish Creek, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

J. D. Wheeler1, C. A. Eddy-Miller2, J. E. Constantz3, D. J. Leemon4

1Hydrologic Technician, USGS Wyoming WSC, 1225 Market Street, Riverton, WY, 82501; PH (307) 856-3771; email:
2Hydrologist, USGS Wyoming WSC, 521 Progress Circle, Suite 6, Cheyenne, WY, 82007; PH (307) 775-9167; email:
3Research Hydrologist, USGS Branch of Regional Research, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA, 94025; PH (650) 329-4655; email:
4Water Resource Specialist, Teton Conservation District, 230 E. Broadway, Suite 2A, Jackson, WY, 83001; PH (307) 733-2110; email:


In 2004, a study began examining interactions between shallow ground water and surface water in and near Fish Creek, a 25 kilometer (km) long tributary to the Snake River in western Wyoming. Initially, the study involved two components; (1) a seepage run to identify ground-water gain or loss to Fish Creek over six independent reaches of the creek, and (2) heat flux measurements to develop an improved understanding of ground-water surface-water exchanges in the shallow subsurface at three transects of the creek.  The latter involved collecting temperature and pressure-head data within monitoring wells and the creek at these transects to develop a two-dimensional ground-water model. 

In July 2006, an instrument being evaluated by the Branch of Geophysics was used to describe the temperature profile along a 1 km reach of the creek.  A fiber optic, distributed-temperature system (DTS) was deployed longitudinally above and below one heat-flux measurement transect in an attempt to identify specific zones where ground water may contribute significantly to the creek.  Twenty-seven hours of continuous temperature profiles were collected.  The DTS measured temperature approximately every meter along the 1 km reach.  DTS data verify discharge measurements made during the study, that indicate there is not significant ground water input within the 1 km reach during the time-period evaluated.  However, small areas of temperature anomalies, likely due to ground water input to the stream, are evident in the data. DTS was shown to be a feasible companion tool to help characterize ground-water and surface-water interactions in this environment.

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