LSU: New Study on Channel Sediment Build Up

When the banks of a marsh channel accumulate sediment at a faster rate than relative sea level rise, it may seem like the marsh is resilient, Louisiana State University said in its latest paper.

The new study proposes a new framework to look at sediment fluxes in marsh channels that takes into account the natural process of sediment recycling.

Understanding how sediments are transported within salt marshes is critical to predict the effect that processes such as nutrient loading, sea-level rise and sediment supply have on marsh erosion.

Researchers from Louisiana State University and Boston University studied two channels on Plum Island Sound located about an hour north of Boston, Mass. They built a computer model to simulate cross sections of the channels and the adjacent marsh.

“Our results indicate that marsh resilience may have been overestimated when vertical accretion rates were higher than relative sea level rise because sediments are naturally recycled within channels,” said LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Assistant Professor Giulio Mariotti, who is the lead author of the paper.

In a balanced marsh ecosystem, sediment builds up on the banks of the channel while the slope sloughs off back into the marsh, which helps the channel maintain its width and depth. A similar process occurs in river channels.

Mariotti took this principle and applied it to salt marsh channels.

He emphasizes that what is observed on the banks of the channel marsh is not indicative of what occurs in the interior of the marsh, which comprises about 90 percent of the marsh ecosystem. Therefore, studies using data on sedimentation rates from marsh channels would provide a biased outlook for overall marsh loss.

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3rd International Congress Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging

Russia’s leading maritime industry Media Group PortNews (www.portnews.ru) holds a traditional annual Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” in Moscow. 

The two-day Congress includes the 7th International Forum of Dredging Companies and the 3rd Technical Conference “Modern Solutions for Hydraulic Engineering”.

Infrastructure development is among the real sources of Russia’s economy growth. Construction of port facilities and new hydraulic engineering structures on the country’s inland waterways constitute an essential part of all infrastructure projects. It is important to take into account the best international practices to implement these projects effectively.

The program of the Congress will be devoted to the latest technologies for dredging and hydraulic engineering works. Speakers and delegates will refer to real projects to discuss specifics features of dredging works, as well as dedicated fleet and equipment involved.

To learn more about event, please, contact the organizing committee: snitko@portnews.ru

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