Measuring sediment accretion in early tidal marsh restoration

Wetlands Ecology and Management
By: , and 



Sediment accretion is a critical indicator of initial progress in tidal marsh restoration. However, it is often difficult to measure early deposition rates, because the bottom surface is usually obscured under turbid, tidally-influenced waters. To accurately measure early sediment deposition in marshes, we developed an echosounder system consisting of a specialized acoustic profiler, differential global positioning system unit, and laptop computer mounted on a shallow-draft boat. We conducted a bathymetry at the Tubbs Setback tidal restoration site on San Pablo Bay, California, along north–south transects at 25-m intervals. Horizontal position was recorded within 1 m each second and water depth to 1 cm every 0.05 s. Bottom elevations were adjusted for tidal height with surveyed tide gages. We created detailed bathymetric maps (grid cell size: 12.5 m x 12.5 m) by interpolation with inverse distance weighting. During the third year after restoration, sediment accretion averaged 57.1 ± 1.1 cm and the estimated sediment gain was 132,900 m3. The mean difference between the elevations from the bathymetry system and the 9 sediment pins was 2.0 ± 1.0 cm. The mean difference of the intersection points of east–west and north–south survey transects was 2.1 ± 0.2 cm, which provided a measure of repeatability with changing water levels. Our echosounder system provided accurate and repeatable measurements of sediment accretion of a recently restored tidal wetland, and this system proved to be a viable tool for determining sediment deposition in marshes and assessing early restoration progress.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Measuring sediment accretion in early tidal marsh restoration
Series title Wetlands Ecology and Management
DOI 10.1007/s11273-009-9170-6
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 9 p.
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Pablo Bay
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