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Fractured Rock

Study Goals


The goals of this study are broad and diverse. Groundwater, surface-water, biological, and water-quality expertise need to be integrated in a multidisciplinary approach to achieve the goals of the study. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Maryland Geological Survey (MGS), and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are the primary cooperating agencies with staff providing the expertise required to carry out the study.

1. Tools for Improved Management of Water Resources

Improved databases and geographic information systems (GIS) are needed to assist permit reviewers, scientists, planners, and other stakeholders to evaluate data related to water supply in the Fractured Rock region of Maryland. To address this need, the Fractured Rock Aquifer Information System will be developed. This GIS project will include relevant geologic, land use, and monitoring data, and incorporate new data and scientific products as they become available.

2. Factors Affecting Reliable Yields of Individual Water Supplies

A primary concern for water resource planners is the availability of groundwater during drought but, because the Fractured Rock region of Maryland is such a complicated geologic area with significant spatial variability in rock type and structure, assessing groundwater availability on a regional scale is difficult. As such, multi-disciplinary methods of investigation are needed to address issues of reliable yield in different areas of the state. Statistical methods will be applied to relate physical characteristics, well-construction information, and yields. Discrete down- hole geophysical techniques will be applied to production wells to better understand common geologic and structural attributes in higher yielding wells.

3. Potential Impacts to Other Water Users by Surface and Groundwater Withdrawals

MDE is responsible for the protection of water resources for the State of Maryland. One of their responsibilities is to prevent adverse impacts from one water user to another. This is especially complicated in the Fractured Rock region of Maryland because surface water and groundwater are so closely connected.

4. Potential Impacts of Withdrawals to Stream Flow and Aquatic Habitats

MDE has the responsibility to maintain minimum flows in Maryland streams to support aquatic habitat. To evaluate the health of aquatic habitat, streamflow-ecology relations will be identified using data from USGS streamgages and biological inventories maintained in the DNR's Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBBS). At MBSS sites without USGS streamgages, daily streamflow will be estimated to develop streamflow-ecology relations. This analysis will include water withdrawals from streams and groundwater within the same drainage basin to investigate the potential impacts to stream ecology from permitted water allocations.

5. Improve Understanding of patterns of water-quality in aquifers and streams

In the Fractured Rock areas of Maryland, groundwater from individual domestic wells is a significant source of potable water for much of the population. Water-quality constituents for domestic groundwater supplies vary by rock type and land-use practices. Naturally-occuring radionuclides and metals, such as arsenic, are sometimes present in groundwater above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Levels. Patterns in groundwater and surface water will be evaluated using existing data from federal, state, and local databases.



BA Ea 18 hydrograph

FR Df 35 hydrograph