Differences in impacts of Hurricane Sandy on freshwater swamps on the Delmarva Peninsula, Mid−Atlantic Coast, USA
Hurricane wind and surge may have different influences on the subsequent composition of forests. During Hurricane Sandy, while damaging winds were highest near landfall in New Jersey, inundation occurred along the entire eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. In this study, a comparison of damage from salinity intrusion vs. wind/surge was recorded in swamps of the Delmarva Peninsula along the Pocomoke (MD) and Nanticoke (DE) Rivers, south of the most intense wind damage. Hickory Point Cypress Swamp (Hickory) was closest to the Chesapeake Bay and may have been subjected to a salinity surge as evidenced by elevated salinity levels at a gage upstream of this swamp (storm salinity = 13.1 ppt at Nassawango Creek, Snow Hill, Maryland). After Hurricane Sandy, 8% of the standing trees died at Hickory including Acer rubrum, Amelanchier laevis, Ilex spp., and Taxodium distichum. In Plot 2 of Hickory, 25% of the standing trees were dead, and soil salinity levels were the highest recorded in the study. The most important variables related to structural tree damage were soil salinity and proximity to the Atlantic coast as based on Stepwise Regression and NMDS procedures. Wind damage was mostly restricted to broken branches although tipped−up trees were found at Hickory, Whiton and Porter (species: Liquidamabar styraciflua, Pinus taeda, Populus deltoides, Quercus pagoda and Ilex spp.). These trees fell mostly in an east or east−southeast direction (88o−107o) in keeping with the wind direction of Hurricane Sandy on the Delmarva Peninsula. Coastal restoration and management can be informed by the specific differences in hurricane damage to vegetation by salt versus wind.
|Differences in impacts of Hurricane Sandy on freshwater swamps on the Delmarva Peninsula, Mid−Atlantic Coast, USA
|Beth A. Middleton
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Wetland and Aquatic Research Center