Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems-Study Sites

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Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems

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Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems

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Estuaries are dynamic environments where complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, watershed, ecosystems, and human infrastructure take place. They serve as valuable ecological habitat and provide numerous ecosystem services and recreational opportunities. However, they are modified by physical processes such as storms and sea-level rise, while anthropogenic impacts such as nutrient loading threaten ecosystem function within estuaries. This project collects basic observational data on these processes, develops numerical models of the processes, and applies the models to understand the past, present, and future states of estuaries.

Study Sites
Ogunquit, Maine We measured hydrodynamics and sediment transport within the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, to quantify the sediment budget of the wetland complex adjacent to the Ogunquit River.
West Falmouth Harbor, Massachusetts We have conducted several field and modeling campaigns in this estuary on Cape Cod, to investigate nitrogen loading, eutrophication, and seagrass dynamics.
Great South Bay, New York We began studying the water level response in Great South Bay due to Hurricane Sandy, and aim to continue studying this system using observational and modeling approaches.
Jamaica Bay, New York As part of the Estuarine Physical Response to Storms (EPR) project, we are collaborating with the USGS New York Water Science Center to estimate sediment supply to the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. The real-time measurement site can be found here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ny/nwis/uv?site_no=01311875
Barnegat Bay, New Jersey As part of a NJDEP funded study as well as the EPR project, we have deployed instrumentation and developed models for hydrodynamics, water quality, and sediment transport in this large back-barrier estuary. The Hurricane Sandy Wetland Synthesis project is also focusing on Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely adjacent to Barnegat Bay.
Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia As part of the EPR project, we deployed instrumentation and developed models for hydrodynamics, water quality, and sediment transport in this large back-barrier estuary. The barrier island is within two DOI-managed units (Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge) and represents a critical natural resource.
Blackwater NWR, Maryland Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland, is a prime example of marsh loss due to open-water expansion and sediment export. Two field campaigns, in the spring and fall of 2011, aimed to quantify the sediment availability to two distinctly different areas of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Pacific Coast Tidal Wetlands To complement our East Coast wetland sites, we deployed instrumentation for sediment fluxes at Pt. Mugu Naval Station and Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge to understand the link between sediment transport and wetland stability.