Modeling Karst Recharge Vulnerability in the Ozark Ecoregion
Track: Ecology and Conservation
Author(s): Ethan Inlander
The fractured karst terrain of the Ozark Ecoregion is composed of sinkholes; losing streams; and caves that provide habitat for a variety of listed, imperiled, and endemic species. Like humans, these species depend on clean and abundant water for their survival and health. Unprecedented urban and agricultural development yield pollution and sedimentation that impact water quality for humans and karst-dependent species alike. Not all areas in a karst landscape are equally vulnerable to groundwater impacts. Structural geology, land surface geomorphology, and soil composition control the rates and retention of surface water recharge into the groundwater system. The Nature Conservancy has developed Karst Area Vulnerability Estimation (KAVE) maps using a variety of data sources, modeling techniques, and scales of analysis to depict the variability of these controls across the landscape. These maps serve as a planning tool for minimizing the impacts of human activity to the region's aquifers and karst-dependent species.
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