Measurement of groundwater discharge to rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans was the subject of a special session at the meeting of the North American Benthological Society, held at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., May 22–25, 1990. The meeting was attended by more than 40 marine and aquatic ecologists, hydrologists, environmental engineers, and geophysicists and was organized by G. M. Simmons, Jr.
Focus of the meeting was the advective flux of water and solute across sediment-water interfaces. This important linkage between land and surface aquatic environments via groundwater is receiving increasing attention with requirements to identify and predict all impacts of natural and anthropogenic solute inputs to surface waters, even those hidden from view and long neglected. Papers covered a wide range and dealt with such topics as measurements of upward advective flow 20 km offshore in oceanic settings, solute transport into estuarine marshes, geoelectric estimates of groundwater discharge along 300 km of Lake Michigan coastline, field, and lab studies of both reactive and nonreactive solute in groundwater discharge to surface waters, and use of environmental isotopes to trace flow paths and determine residence times of water in catchments.