American Society of Civil Engineers


Inundation Model As an Aid for Predicting Ecological Succession on Newly-Created Deltaic Land Associated with Mississippi River Diversions: Application to the Wax Lake Delta


by E. Viparelli, (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 205 North Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL, 61801), J. Shaw, (Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C9000, Austin, Texas, 78712-0254), A. Bevington, (Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, 3243 Energy Coast and Environment Bldg., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803), E. Meselhe, (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana Lafayette, P.O. Box 42291, Lafayette, Louisiana, 70504, Madison 254 K, Abdalla 130), G. O. Holm, (Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, 3243 Energy Coast and Environment Bldg., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803), D. Mohrig, (Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C9000, Austin, Texas, 78712-0254), R. Twilley, (Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, 3243 Energy Coast and Environment Bldg., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803), and G. Parker, (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 205 North Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL, 61801; and Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Natural History Building, 1301 West Green Street Urbana, IL, 61801205)
Section: Hydraulics and Waterways, pp. 2340-2349, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41173(414)243)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability
Abstract: A numerical model to predict ecological succession in deltaic environments has been developed in the context of the NCED (National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics) multidisciplinary effort on coastal restoration in Louisiana, where a considerable amount of land loss has been recorded in the last decades. The previous modeling effort of the NCED group resulted in a "land-building model," i.e. a model of delta morphodynamics that has been applied to simulate the effects of few "big" controlled diversions of the Mississippi River at engineering time scales. Along much of the Louisiana coast, the habitat is mainly controlled by two parameters, the frequency of inundation and the salinity. The inundation model outlined here predicts frequency of inundation by means of a coupling of the overall structure of the land-building model with considerations of the statistics of elevation variation in newly-created land, as well as the interannual variability of flow discharge and sea level. Testing and validation of the inundation model are currently in progress on the Wax Lake Delta, a delta building into the Gulf of Mexico, which has been monitored since its formation in the 1970s. Future refinements to the model will include handling of the effects of 1) salinity variation, 2) vegetation on sediment transport and deposition and 3) the formation and consumption of organic soil.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Ecosystems
Mississippi River
Numerical models