Assessing the perturbations of the hydrogeological regime in sloping fens due to roads

Cochand, Fabien; Käser, Daniel; Grosvernier, Philippe; Hunkeler, Daniel; Brunner, Philip

Roads in sloping fens constitute a hydraulic barrier for surface and subsurface flow. This can lead to the drying out of downslope areas of the sloping fen as well as gully erosion. Different types of road construction have been proposed to limit the negative implications of roads on flow dynamics. However, so far, no systematic analysis of their effectiveness has been carried out. This study presents an assessment of the hydrogeological impact of three types of road structures in semi-alpine, sloping fens in Switzerland. Our analysis is based on a combination of field measurements and fully integrated, physically based modeling. In the field approach, the influence of roads was examined using tracer tests in which the area upslope of the road was sprinkled with a saline solution. The spatial distribution of electrical conductivity downslope provided a qualitative assessment of the flow paths and, thus, the implications of the road structures on subsurface flow. A quantitative albeit not site-specific assessment was carried out using fully coupled numerical models jointly simulating surface and subsurface flow processes. The different road types were implemented and their influence on flow dynamics was assessed for a wide range of slopes and different hydraulic conductivities of the soil. The models are based on homogenous soil conditions, allowing for a relative ranking of the impact of the road types. For all cases analyzed in the field and simulated using the numerical models, roads designed with an L drain (i.e., collecting water upslope and releasing it in a concentrated manner downslope) constitute the largest perturbations in terms of flow dynamics. The other road structures investigated were found to have less impact. The developed methodologies and results can be used for the planning of future road projects in sloping fens.

Zitieren

Zitierform:

Cochand, Fabien / Käser, Daniel / Grosvernier, Philippe / et al: Assessing the perturbations of the hydrogeological regime in sloping fens due to roads. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

Rechte

Rechteinhaber: Fabien Cochand et al.

Nutzung und Vervielfältigung:

Export