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Modeling the influence of hydroperiod and vegetation on the cross-sectional formation of tidal channels
D'Alpaos, A.; Lanzoni, S.; Marius Mudd, S.; Fagherazzi, S. (2006). Modeling the influence of hydroperiod and vegetation on the cross-sectional formation of tidal channels. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 69(4): 311-324
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • D'Alpaos, A.
  • Lanzoni, S.
  • Marius Mudd, S.
  • Fagherazzi, S.

    The evolution of the cross section of a salt-marsh channel is explored using a numerical model. Deposition on the marsh platform and erosion and deposition in the channel affect the tidal prism flowing through the cross section, such that the model captures the evolution of the stage discharge relationship as the channel and marsh platform evolve. The model also captures the growth of salt-marsh vegetation on the marsh platform, and how this vegetation affects flow resistance and the rate of sedimentation. The model is utilized to study the influence of hydroperiod and vegetation encroachment on channel cross section. Numerical results show that a reduction in hydroperiod due to the emergence of the marsh platform causes an infilling of the channel. Vegetation encroachment on the marsh surface produces an increase in flow resistance and accretion due to organic and mineral sedimentation, with important consequences for the shape of the channel cross section. Finally, modeling results indicate that in microtidal marshes with vegetation dominated by Spartina alterniflora, the width-to-depth ratio of the channels decreases when the tidal flats evolve in salt marshes, whereas the cross-sectional area remains proportional to the tidal peak discharge throughout channel evolution.

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