Estimates of groundwater recharge are important for water resources planning and
management, e.g. to determine the sustainability of groundwater resources. Estimates of
groundwater recharge can be obtained by streamflow, especially baseflow, analysis. The
Vermillion River, located at the southern fringe of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan
Area, is a DNR-designated groundwater-fed trout stream. How the stream flow in the
Vermillion River and its tributaries is affected by urban development encroaching into
the watershed is a pressing question. The baseflow in the Upper Vermillion River was
therefore analyzed to determine the river’s groundwater recharge and minimum flow
potential. The study site watershed includes approximately 129 square miles of the 338
square miles of drainage area within Dakota and Scott Counties.
Two methods, the baseflow-separation method and the recession-curve-displacement
method, were applied to the streamflow data from the USGS stream gauging site
#05435000 near Empire, MN, to estimate baseflow and groundwater recharge in the
Upper Vermillion River. The USGS computer programs PART and RORA were used to
perform the baseflow analysis. The results of the analysis were used in conjunction with a
water budget to estimate other hydrologic variables in the Upper Vermillion River basin
at the annual timescale. It was determined that about 24% of the average annual
precipitation reaches the stream as either baseflow or direct runoff. About 20% of the
annual precipitation or approximately 80% of the annual streamflow in the Upper
Vermillion River is baseflow from cold groundwater sources. The average annual
estimates were found to compare well with results of previous studies (Baker et al. 1979,
Ruhl et al. 2002, Lorenz and Delin 2007).
Erickson, Timothy O.; Stefan, Heinz G..
Baseflow Analysis of the Upper Vermillion River, Dakota County, Minnesota.
St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.