Collaborative research will advance knowledge on coastal erosion hazards of marsh shorelines and the impact of living shorelines

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Coastal wetland loss has been well documented and attributed to many factors, including increased shoreline erosion from human activities, sea level rise, and storms. 

Scientists collect data in the marsh at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Living shorelines (LS) have been proposed for potential remediation to reduce erosion and marsh loss, however very little is understood on the impact of living shorelines on critical feedbacks between hydrodynamics and marsh sediment delivery. Scientists from Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and USGS have partnered to monitor and study the sediment and wave dynamics at a proposed LS site located in Point aux Chenes Bay at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Using quarterly surveys of sedimentation, shoreline change, and oceanographic conditions, the team seeks to evaluate sediment delivery and geomorphic response before and after LS are constructed. During the recent quarterly survey to document conditions prior to LS installation, the USGS also tested novel applications of single- and multi-beam echosounders to produce high-resolution 3-D surfaces of the marsh shoreline, tidal flat, and estuary seabed profile. These data will provide essential baseline geomorphic characterization of a rapidly eroding marsh shoreline. The field data will eventually be combined with hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling efforts to understand the long-term impact of LS on inshore habitats. Combined geospatial survey and sediment sampling are being used to assess hydrogeomorphic dynamics both before and after a living shoreline installation.