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Conceptual marsh units for Plum Island Estuary and Parker River salt marsh complex, Massachusetts

October 9, 2018

The salt marsh complex of Plum Island Estuary and Parker River (PIEPR) was delineated to smaller, conceptual marsh units by geoprocessing of surface elevation data. Flow accumulation based on the relative elevation of each location was used to determine the ridge lines that separate each marsh unit while the surface slope was used to automatically assign each unit a drainage point, where water is expected to drain through. Through scientific efforts initiated with the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the U.S. Geological Survey has been expanding national assessment of coastal change hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands, including the Plum Island Estuary and Parker River salt marsh complex, with the intent of providing Federal, State, and local managers with tools to estimate the vulnerability and ecosystem service potential of these wetlands. For this purpose, the response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services.