Water Quantity

A technician downloads data from an instrument under the water.
Downloading the water level logger at the outlet of Kijik Lake, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.

NPS/Nick Hoffman

Hydrology and geology are the two principal drivers dictating structure and function of all aquatic systems. In the broadest sense, hydrology encompasses the distribution and movement of water and its interactions on the surrounding environment--whether in the ground, on land, or in the air. Discharge and water level measurements are two hydrologic parameters critical to understanding the biophysical patterns observed in aquatic systems. Discharge refers to the longitudinal movement of water and is measured as the volume of water that moves past a given point over a unit of time (commonly expressed as cubic feet per second; cfs). Water level refers to the vertical movement of water. These two parameters relate to water quantity. They dictate a wide variety of physical, chemical, and biological interactions that structure freshwater flow systems, from nutrient loading to the timing and success of fish spawning.

Our objectives for this monitoring are to answer the following questions:

  • What are the status and trend of the timing, duration, and magnitude of peak lake discharge?

  • What are the status and trend of the timing, duration, and magnitude of peak lake levels?

We currently monitor water quantity at four lake outlets in Katmai and Lake Clark national parks and preserves.

Contact: Krista Bartz

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