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Computational Modelling of the Impacts of Saltmarsh Management Interventions on Hydrodynamics of a Small Macro-Tidal Estuary / William Bennett, Thomas van Veelen, Tom Fairchild, John Griffin, Harshinie Karunarathna

Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Volume: 8, Issue: 5, Start page: 373

Swansea University Authors: William Bennett, Thomas van Veelen, Tom Fairchild, John Griffin, Harshinie Karunarathna

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DOI (Published version): 10.3390/jmse8050373

Abstract

Saltmarshes are considered as natural coastal defences. However, owing to the large context dependency, there is much discussion over their effectiveness in providing coastal protection and the necessity of additional coastal defence interventions. The macro-tidal Taf Estuary in south-west Wales was...

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Published in: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
ISSN: 2077-1312
Published: MDPI AG 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa54650
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Abstract: Saltmarshes are considered as natural coastal defences. However, owing to the large context dependency, there is much discussion over their effectiveness in providing coastal protection and the necessity of additional coastal defence interventions. The macro-tidal Taf Estuary in south-west Wales was chosen as the case study in this paper to investigate the effects of anthropogenic coastal defence interventions such as construction of hard defences, managed realignment, and altering land use of the saltmarshes on the complex hydrodynamics of the estuary. A coupled flow–wave–vegetation model, developed using the Delft3D coastal modelling software, was used. The wave and current attenuation role of saltmarshes during two contrasting storm conditions was modelled, with and without saltmarsh management interventions. The study reveals that certain saltmarsh management interventions can have widespread impacts on the hydrodynamics of the estuary. Altering the land use by allowing extensive grazing of saltmarsh by livestock was found to have the largest impact on wave attenuation, where wave heights on the marsh almost doubled when compared with the no-intervention scenario. On the other hand, managed realignment has a significant impact on tidal currents, where tidal currents reached 0.5 m/s at certain locations. Changes in estuarine hydrodynamics can lead to undesired impacts on flooding and erosion, which stresses the importance of understanding the effects of localized anthropogenic coastal management interventions on the entire estuarine system.
Keywords: coastal management; saltmarsh; estuarine hydrodynamics; Delft3D; computational modelling
Issue: 5
Start Page: 373