There is a design-to-function knowledge gap regarding how engineered stream restoration structures can maximize hyporheic contaminant attenuation. Surface and subsurface structures have each been studied in isolation as techniques to restore hyporheic exchange, but surface-subsurface structures have not been investigated or optimized in an integrated manner. Here, we used a numerical model to systematically evaluate key design variables for combined surface (i.e., weir height and length) and subsurface (i.e., upstream and downstream baffle plate spacing) structures. We also compared performance metrics that place differing emphasis on hyporheic flux versus transit times. We found that surface structures tended to create higher flux, shorter transit time flowpaths, whereas subsurface structures promoted moderate-flux, longer transit time flowpaths. Optimal combined surface-subsurface structures could increase fluxes and transit times simultaneously, thus providing conditions for contaminant attenuation that were many times more effective than surface or subsurface structures alone. All performance metrics were improved by the presence of an upstream plate and the absence of a downstream plate. Increasing the weir length tended to improve all metrics, whereas the optimal weir height varied based on metrics. These findings may improve stream restoration by better aligning specific restoration goals with appropriate performance metrics and hyporheic structure designs.
- Groundwater−surface water interactions
- stream restoration
- water quality