Hydraulic Studies for a Large Wetland

by Stephane Asselin, (A.M.ASCE),
Phillip R. Mineart, (A.M.ASCE),
Pierre-Yves Saugy,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Coastal wetlands are highly biologically productive and provide spawning and feeding habitats for many aquatic organisms. As has happened to freshwater wetlands, about half of the tidal wetlands in the United States have been destroyed. This paper describes the hydraulic studies conducted to restore a large area of degraded coastal wetland to a ftinctional salt marsh system.The restoration area comprises approximately 445 hectares and is bordered by small tidal creeks on the east and west, and Delaware Bay on the south. The area is surrounded by a system of deteriorated perimeter dikes and includes interior irrigation channels that are mostly hydraulically isolated during periods of lower water. Existing tidal flows in the restoration area are governed by flow through three major breaches in the perimeter dikes located along Delaware Bay, and the tidal creeks located to the east and west. Due to the inefficiency of the existing interior channel system, the restoration area rarely ever completely drains during low tides. The selected approach consisted in using a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model to select the appropriate channel configurations and sizes. The modeling approach proved to be useftil and flexible in comparing one alternative to another.

Subject Headings: Wetlands (coastal) | Tides | Hydraulics | Ecological restoration | Two-dimensional models | Rivers and streams | Levees and dikes | United States | Delaware

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