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Modeling fluvial sediment plumes: Impacts to coral reefs

April 15, 2023

To help guide watershed restoration to reduce the impacts to adjacent coral reefs, the United States Geological Survey and Deltares acquired and analyzed oceanographic and sedimentologic data off 5 West Maui watersheds to calibrate and validate physics-based, numerical hydrodynamic and sediment transport models of the study area. The results indicated sheltered sites are impacted by terrestrial sediment from single stream mouths, with most of the sediment delivered within hours of a flood event. Once this sediment enters the nearshore, it settles out and remains on the reef for a prolonged period. In contrast, the coral reefs along “open” sections of coastline are more exposed to waves and terrestrial sediment from multiple stream sources and the terrestrial sediment can rarely settle but instead remains in suspension, causing turbidity. These analyses underscore the importance of understanding how hydro-dynamics can lead to different sediment dynamics on coral reefs in the same region.

Publication Year 2023
Title Modeling fluvial sediment plumes: Impacts to coral reefs
DOI 10.1142/9789811275135_0151
Authors Curt Storlazzi, Luuk van der Heijden, Olivia Cheriton, Robert T. McCall, Gundula Winter
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70238112
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center