Evaluating the impact of river restoration on the local groundwater and ecological system: a case study in NE Flanders.

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River restoration changes the interaction between groundwater and surface water. Therefore, it is expected to have an impact on ecosystems at the interface between groundwater and surface water. Quantifying and generalizing the level of change of this interaction for different hydrogeological environments is scientifically and practically challenging. In this paper we investigated the impact of different restoration measures and the effect of the temporal resolution of the groundwater modeling methodology. The interaction is analysed in the water bodies and wetlands in the valley of the Zwarte Beek, one of the most valuable nature reserves of Flanders. We used transient groundwater modeling to evaluate the impact on the groundwater system of the wetlands. Simulations with 14 days time steps were required to detect a considerably greater range of groundwater fluctuation than indicated by the seasonal steady-state simulation. It is shown that the river restoration project will probably result in an improvement of the structure of the watercourse rather than the rewetting of the valley.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
JournalGeologica Belgica
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Transient groundwater modeling, channel re-meandering, ecohydrological predictions, conceptual model uncertainty

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