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Darryl Marois and Jody Stecher, Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch, EPA

Where in the Marsh is the Water (and When)? : Measuring and modeling salt marsh hydrology for ecological and biogeochemical applications

Thursday, May 3, 2018 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Salt marsh hydrology presents many difficulties from a measurement and modeling standpoint: the bi-directional flows of tidal waters, variable water densities due to mixing of fresh and salt water, significant influences from vegetation, and complex stream morphologies. Because of these difficulties, there is still much progress to be made in the development of a truly mechanistic model of salt marsh groundwater and surface water hydrology. This creates an obstacle for simulating other marsh processes, such as nutrient cycling, that rely heavily on hydrology as a biogeochemical control and as a mode of nutrient transport. As a solution, we have used a wealth of marsh water level data collected from Winant Slough to create a simplified empirical dynamic marsh hydrology model with a focus on usability and transferability. The model predicts the response of marsh groundwater level to tides and precipitation as a function of elevation, soil characteristics, and distance from tidal channel.  Calibration and validation were conducted using well data from separate transects in Winant Slough and from other mesotidal marshes in Tillamook Bay, Oregon. Model outputs can be used to predict how long an area of the marsh will be inundated or how much water will be processed through the marsh soil for a given precipitation event or high tide level. This enables scenarios of changing sea level, precipitation, and marsh surface accretion/erosion rates to be tested for their effects on surface and ground-water hydrology, which can inform further effects on vegetation, biogeochemistry, material transport, and habitat value.

OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center
Guin Library Seminar Room
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport
OR
cinamon.moffett at oregonstate.edu
Hatfield Marine Sci Ctr
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