Abstract

Hydraulic relationship between wetlands and lakes has become an important topic for the scientific and decision-making communities. Poyang Lake, an open freshwater lake in China, and the extensive floodplain wetland surrounding the lake, plays an important role in protecting the biodiversity of this internationally recognized wetland system. This paper is the first field-based study into an investigation of the groundwater dynamics in the floodplain wetland and the associated hydraulic relationship with the lake using hydrological, hydrochemical and stable isotope evidence, as exemplified by Poyang Lake wetland. Results show that groundwater stores within the floodplain wetland exhibit spatial and temporal variability in terms of the magnitudes of groundwater level variations. Floodplain groundwater fluctuations largely reflect patterns of the precipitation and the lake water level; however, the groundwater dynamics are highly affected by the variations in the lake water level, rather than local precipitation. Floodplain wetland is most likely to receive the lake water during spring and summer and may recharge the lake during periods of low lake water level. Additionally, floodplain groundwater displays similar hydrochemical and environmental isotope signatures to that of the lake at different sampling periods, indicating a close hydraulic relationship between groundwater and the lake throughout the year.

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