estimating mountain front recharge in a basin and range province in southwest montana.
A major component of recharge to inter-mountain basin-fill aquifers is from spring snowmelt from adjacent mountains. Sub-surface flow from mountains is important in groundwater source protection, regional development planning, and water rights disputes for regional basin-fill aquifers. Current estimates of recharge from the mountains have large uncertainties and spatial differences between large, high mountain watersheds and smaller highland watersheds.
Charles Shama, a graduate student at Montana Tech of the University of Montana, is researching a combination of methods to quantify the valley-focused groundwater recharge component of the Mountain Front Recharge (MFR) zone in the Tobacco Root Mountains near Ennis, Montana. Understanding how MFR varies spatially from small watersheds to large watersheds will provide information for larger groundwater studies of the regional basin aquifer.