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Although surface water and groundwater are increasingly referred to as one resource, there remain environmental and ecosystem needs to study the 10 m to 1 km reach scale as one hydrologic system. Streams gain and lose water over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Large spatial scales (kilometers) have traditionally been recognized and studied as river-aquifer connections. Over the last 25 years hyporheic exchange flows (1–10 m) have been studied extensively. Often a transient storage model has been used to quantify the physical solute transport setting in which biogeochemical processes occur. At the longer 10 m to 1 km scale of stream reaches it is now clear that streams which gain water overall can coincidentally...
Water having entered a stream channel from the surrounding catchment may continue to have connections with the catchment. In the stream's hyporheic zone, water “in the channel” exchanges with “groundwater” in the bed of the stream. Hyporheic exchange flows typically occur at scales small relative to the length and volumetric transport characteristics of the stream. Nevertheless, it is well documented that hyporheic exchange flows significantly influence nutrient dynamics. Additionally, there is evidence of hyporheic exchange flows similarly influencing the processes establishing the concentrations of major-ions and metals in stream-catchment systems. It is within the contexts of (i) solute transport and (ii) the...