An experimental method to increase sediment supply to a salt marsh in subsidence dominated environments
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This thesis examines the environmental conditions which led to the loss of 90% of the natural salt marsh in Galveston Island State Park since 1930 and analyzes one potential method to reduce future loss. Available data and recent studies suggest that the primary factor responsible for the historic loss was the lack of a sufficient supply of sediment to keep up with relative sea level rise. The average rate of sediment accretion for the period from 1963 to 2006 was measured to be 0.25 cm/year based on 137Cs and 239,240Pu nuclides. This rate is about 0.4 cm/year less than the relative sea level rise of approximately 0.65 cm/year during the same period. The marsh restoration project, constructed in 1999 at the Galveston Island State Park, focused on reduction of wave induced erosion and direct replacement of marsh substrate through terracing. The restoration project did not address the potential for marsh lost to submergence. As an alternative to geotubes or more permanent breakwater methods, a submerged sacrificial berm constructed around the marsh is a possible approach to address ongoing submergence. The sacrificial berm increases the available sediment supply by allowing partial transmission of waves to create a net transport of sediment into the marsh. In addition, the berm is designed to limit wave height in the marsh to reduce wave induced erosion. The proposed method involves iteratively adjusting the width and elevation of the berm top to maximize sediment transport from the berm into the marsh. A sediment transport model is developed to quantify the increased transport into the marsh, estimate a nourishment interval and qualitatively judge the expected berm evolution. The Galveston Island State Park marsh was used for demonstration purposes; however, the restoration concept and method of analysis is applicable to other marshes in Galveston Bay.
Thomas, Robert C. (2003). An experimental method to increase sediment supply to a salt marsh in subsidence dominated environments. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from