The Great Mud Creek Adventure

Travis B.Culvert of MysteryphotoJune 26, 2013 the adventure begins. Finally Travis B, (not going to try and spell that last name), Kim Davis, and myself C Joe Reynolds made it out for the afternoon on The Great Mud Creek Adventure. We visited several sights on this cloudy but rain absent afternoon. The grass was tall, turkeys, deer and raptors were enjoying their day much like ourselves. We set out to take some measurements in order to gain some knowledge about Vertical Hydraulic Gradients along the reaches of Mud Creek that are of interest to my particular study. Kim and Travis were a big help. I am realizing that much of the field work that I must perform this summer is going to rely heavily upon having the assistance of others. I need some interns of my own. Probably not in the budget though, so through sweet talking and some bribery, I just may be able to get these two experts to help me out on a regular basis. I don’t have the pictures yet, but will include them of the head gate of Mud Creek where our adventure got pretty exciting yesterday, (or at least for me it did). If you can imagine water pouring out of a small gate, with immense pressure, all converging on the opening of a culvert, and a person standing in this incredibly intense water current trying to use a tape to measure the culvert while wearing hip waders that are filling up, then you can imagine what Kim and Travis had to witness. It was slightly comical and a bit dangerous. I ended up with wet drawers, soaked wallet, and a bit unsteady about the thought of rocketing through a culvert over unknown rocks and materials while trying to breath air and survive the deluge of whitewater. It would be a lot like trying to stuff a marshmallow into a slot machine at ninety miles an hour with water pressure if I were to have lost my footing. Anyhoo, nothing too extreme happened in the end and we moved on to a couple of other sights where the water was less likely to take a life and obtained some good data. We are taking elevations on each side of these culverts, using a flow meter to gather data on velocity, also measuring some distances, so that eventually the Vertical Hydraulic Gradient (VHG) will be known at each location. This, along with some piezometers that we just received today, will be placed along the creek to eventually offer us insight into the groundwater and surface water interactions. This project will likely turn out to be a super fun experience and as it evolves, and we don’t get eaten by anymore bears or drowned in a culvert, we just might learn a thing or two…

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About Diana Dalbotten

Diana Dalbotten is the Director of Diversity and Broader Impacts for the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota; and for the Geoscience Alliance, a national alliance for broadening participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences.

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