Submergence, Salt-Water Intrusion, and Managed Gulf Coast Marshes

by J. A. Nyman, Wetland Biogeochemistry Inst, Baton Rouge, United States,
R. H. Chabreck, Wetland Biogeochemistry Inst, Baton Rouge, United States,
R. D. DeLaune, Wetland Biogeochemistry Inst, Baton Rouge, United States,
W. H. Patrick, Jr., Wetland Biogeochemistry Inst, Baton Rouge, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93

Abstract: Many coastal marshes are managed to improve wildlife habitat. Simultaneous salt-water intrusion and rapid submergence in Louisiana place additional demands on marsh managers and may become common worldwide because of the greenhouse effect. Current management practices often counter salt-water intrusion but not submergence, which is offset by soil formation. The purpose of this paper is to help Gulf Coast marsh managers understand how marsh management may influence soil formation by providing an overview of the relevant physical, chemical, and biological processes. Organic matter accumulation controls soil formation in Louisiana marshes, thus vigorous plant growth should promote soil formation. Soil aeration controls many factors that limit plant growth. An indication of soil aeration is Eh, which is greater in drained soils than in waterlogged soils. Eh also depends partly on soil organic matter qualities. Eh is greater in Spartina Patens soil than in Panicum hemitomon or Spartina alterniflora soil even when hydrological conditions are the same.

Subject Headings: Submerging | Salt water intrusion | Gulfs | Soil water | Coastal processes | Coastal management | Managers | North America | Louisiana | United States

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