James Joshua Lambert


Presentation: 9:00-10:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Understanding groundwater recharge and the degree of surface and groundwater interaction is essential to maintaining aquifer health and sustainable use of freshwater resources. As such, establishing water movement in the hydrologic system helps constrain water fluxes, estimate groundwater recharge rates, monitor pollutant migration, and allocate water resources in watershed management. This study used environmental isotopes as a tracer to understand the source of seasonal groundwater recharge in the Great Miami River Watershed. The use of water isotope as a tracer is based on the unique isotopic endmember composition of different reservoirs due to spatial and temporal variation of precipitation isotope and atmospheric and hydrologic processes. A year-long precipitation, surface water, and groundwater samples were used for this study. Precipitation samples were collected daily and weekly, surface water was collected throughout the watershed, and groundwater well samples were acquired from the Miami Conservancy District monitoring wells twice a year (Fall and Spring). The samples were then analyzed for hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in the Department of Geology Environmental Isotope lab at the University of Dayton. Our result shows that Dayton’s precipitation and river water isotope exhibit seasonal variation, depleted in the winter and enriched in the summer. On the other hand, groundwater shows a small seasonal variation but shows higher spatial variation and proximity to rivers. The outcome of the spatial and temporal isotope analysis in the watershed suggests the importance of groundwater recharge from both directly from precipitation as diffused recharge and localized focused recharge from rivers. While groundwater recharge is biased towards the wet season due to melting snow, the Great Miami River also provides groundwater recharge downstream of Dayton.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Zelalem K. Bedaso

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals


Tracing Groundwater Recharge in the Great Miami River Watershed through Isotopic Analysis