Exchange between wetland surface water and the atmosphere is driven by a variety of motions, ranging from rainfall impact to thermal convection and animal locomotion. Here we examine the effect of wind‐driven vegetation movement. Wind causes the stems of emergent vegetation to wave back and forth, stirring the water column and facilitating air‐water exchange. To understand the magnitude of this effect, a gas transfer velocity (k600 value) was measured via laboratory experiments. Vegetation waving was studied in isolation by mechanically forcing a model canopy to oscillate at a range of frequencies and amplitudes matching those found in the field. The results show that stirring due to vegetation waving produces k600 values from 0.55 cm/h to 1.60 cm/h. The dependence of k600 on waving amplitude and frequency are evident from the laboratory data. These results indicate that vegetation waving has a nonnegligible effect on gas transport; thus, it can contribute to a mechanistic understanding of the fluxes underpinning biogeochemical processes.
We present a field study combining measurements of vegetation density, vegetative drag, and reduction of suspended‐sediment concentration (SSC) within patches of the invasive submerged aquatic plant Egeria densa. Our study was motivated by concern that sediment trapping by E. densa, which has proliferated in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, is impacting marsh accretion and reducing turbidity. In the freshwater tidal Delta, E. densa occupies shallow regions frequently along channel margins. We investigated two sites: Lindsey Slough, a muddy low‐energy backwater, and the lower Mokelumne River, with stronger currents and sandy bed sediments. At the two sites, biomass density, frontal area, and areal density of the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) were similar. Current attenuation within E. densa exceeded 90% and the vegetative drag coefficient followed Cd=174Red−1.46, where Red is stem Reynolds number. The SAV reduced SSC by an average of 18% in Lindsey Slough. At the Mokelumne River the reduction ranged 0%–40%, with greatest trapping when discharge and SSC were elevated. This depletion of SSC decreases the transport of sediment to marshes by the same percentage, as the rising tide must pass through fringing SAV before reaching marshes. Sediment trapping in E. densa in the Delta is limited by low flux through the canopy and low settling velocity of suspended sediment (mostly flocculated mud). Sediment trapping by SAV has the potential to reduce channel SSC, but the magnitude and sign of the effect can vary with local factors including vegetative coverage and the depositional or erosional nature of the setting.
Sediment transport across bay-marsh interfaces depends on wave energy, vegetation, and marsh-edge morphology and varies over a range of timescales. We investigated these dynamics in a tidal salt marsh with a gently sloped, vegetated edge adjacent to northern San Francisco Bay. Spartina foliosa (cordgrass) inhabits the lower marsh and Salicornia pacifica (pickleweed) predominates on the marsh plain. We measured suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) and hydrodynamics in bay shallows and along a 100-m cross-shore transect in the marsh, during winter and summer. Four-year averaged accretion measured with marker-horizon plots was twice as great along the marsh transect as adjacent to a tidal creek, 50 m from the bay. We estimated deposition and trapping efficiency from the time series data to assess its variation with season and wave energy. At high tide the transition zone (between cordgrass and pickleweed) was usually erosional, the pickleweed zone was depositional, and both erosion and deposition increased with wave energy, as did the landward position of maximum deposition. Erosion from the transition zone accounted for approximately one third of the sediment flux into the pickleweed. In the pickleweed zone, SSC, the difference between flood-and ebb-tide SSC, and trapping efficiency were greater in summer than winter for comparable wave conditions, which we attribute to increased sediment trapping by dense summer cordgrass. Moderate waves in summer (46%) accounted for more annual accretion in the pickleweed zone than larger waves in winter (28%), although the contribution of winter storms was diminished by the dry winter during the study.
Light detection and ranging (Lidar) derived digital elevation models are widely used in modeling coastal marsh systems. However, the topographic error in these models can affect simulations of marsh coverage and characteristics. We investigated the relevance and impact of this error in micro-and mesotidal systems. Lidar-derived and RTK-adjusted topography were each used in a dynamic marsh model, and the resulting marsh coverages were examined. For two microtidal sites (Apalachicola, FL, USA, and Grand Bay, MS, USA) using solely lidar-derived topography, the model produced Cohen Kappa values of 0.1 for both estuaries when compared with National Wetland Inventory data indicating "very poor agreement." Applying the RTK-adjusted topography improved the model marsh coverage results to "substantial agreement" with the values to 0.6 and 0.77, respectively. The mesotidal site in Plum Island, MA, USA, contained similar topographic errors, but the model produced a Cohen Kappa value of 0.73, which categorized it as "very good agreement" with no need for a further topographic adjustment given its present robust biomass productivity. The results demonstrate that marsh models are sensitive to topographic errors when the errors are comparable to the tidal range. The particular sensitivity of the modeling results to topographic error in microtidal systems highlights the need for close scrutiny of lidar-derived topography. Index Terms-About hydro-Marsh equilibrium model (MEM), biogeophysical models, digital elevation models, light detection and ranging (lidar). I. INTRODUCTION S ALT marshes are responsible for positive impacts on coastal ecosystems, including wave energy attenuation, shoreline Manuscript
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