Modeling the Impacts of Plankton Entrainment in a Tropical Bay

by James D. Bowen, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,
Donald P. Galya, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,
Monique T. Villars, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


As part of the permitting for a coal-fired power plant, several enhancements were made to the two-dimensional flow and transport models TEA and ELA that allowed for the quantification of entrainment impacts to marine plankton. The models were applied to predict entrainment impacts to a tropical Bay that includes several fringing reefs and reef patches. Entrainment was simulated as a concentration and flow dependent `sink' of plankton that was applied at the heated-water discharge location. Plankton production and mortality were modeled as either zero or 1st order processes, with parameters that were tuned to match field data. The model was found to be very capable of matching measured spatial distributions of plankton. An extensive sensitivity analysis was performed to determine the extent to which the expected level of entrainment impacts were dependent on the choice of the biological and physical input parameters. Results of the sensitivity study indicated that variations in cooling-water flow rate had the strongest effect on the predictions with other physical parameters (tide range, long-shore current velocity, etc.) having a significant, but lesser effect. The results were found to be quite insensitive to plankton production and mortality rates.

Subject Headings: Parameters (statistics) | Entrainment | Tropical regions | Bays | Water discharge | Power plants | Two-dimensional flow | Reefs and sills

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