U.S. Geological Survey

Cover image from SIR2004-5134 (click for enlargement, 243 KB) Hydrogeology and Water Quality of the Pepacton Reservoir Watershed in Southeastern New York. Part 2. Hydrogeology, Stream Base Flow, and Ground-water Recharge

by Richard J. Reynolds

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5134


The hydrogeology of the 372-square-mile Pepacton Reservoir watershed (herein called the East Branch Delaware River Basin) in the southwestern Catskill Mountain region of Southeastern New York is described and depicted in a detailed surficial geologic map and two geologic sections. An analysis of stream discharge records and estimates of mean annual ground-water recharge and stream base flow for eight subbasins in the basin are included. 

Analysis of surficial geologic data indicates that the most widespread geologic unit within the basin is till, which occurs as masses of ablation till in major stream valleys and as thick deposits of lodgment till that fill upland basins. Till covers about 91.5 percent of the Pepacton Reservoir watershed, whereas stratified drift (alluvium, outwash, and ice-contact deposits) accounts for 6.3 percent. The Pepacton Reservoir occupies about 2.3 percent of the basin area. Large outwash and ice-contact deposits occupy the valleys of the upper East Branch Delaware River, the Tremper Kill, the Platte Kill, the Bush Kill, and Dry Brook. These deposits form stratified-drift aquifers that range in thickness from 90 feet in parts of the upper East Branch Delaware River Valley to less than 30 feet in the Dry Brook valley, and average about 50 feet in the main East Branch Delaware River Valley near Margaretville. 

An analysis of daily mean stream discharge for the six eastern subbasins for 1998-2001, and for two western subbasins for 1945-52, was performed using three computer programs to obtain estimates of mean annual base flow and mean annual ground-water recharge for the eight subbasins. Mean annual base flow ranged from 15.3 inches per year for the Tremper Kill subbasin to 22.3 inches per year for the Mill Brook subbasin; the latter reflects the highest mean annual precipitation of all the subbasins studied. Estimated mean annual ground-water recharge ranged from 24.3 inches per year for Mill Brook to 15.8 inches per year for the Tremper Kill. The base flow index, which is the mean annual base flow expressed as a percentage of mean annual streamflow, ranged from 69.1 percent for Coles Clove Kill to 75.6 percent for the upper East Branch Delaware River; most subbasin indices were greater than 70 percent. These high base flow indices indicate that because stratified drift covers only a small percentage of subbasin areas (generally 5 to 7 percent), most of the base flow is derived from the fractured sandstone bedrock that underlies the basin. 

Citation: Reynolds, R.J., 2004, Hydrogeology and Water Quality of the Pepacton Reservoir Watershed in Southeastern New York. Part 2. Hydrogeology, Stream Base Flow, and Ground-water Recharge: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5134, 31 p.

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