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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES)
Idealized exchange processes between the estuarine wetland and the estuary-proper, where both inorganic and organic sediment are exchanged. The magnitude and frequency of this exchange various from stationary, tidal frequencies to non-stationary, random occurrences associated with storms. Overprinted are the effects of continual change in relative sea-level. Photo courtesy of Miriam Jones.
A coastal system is an integrated and complex set of environments inter-related and inter-connected through physical and ecological processes and associated feedbacks. The Sea-level and Storms Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES) Project investigates the role extreme events (hurricanes, floods, and strong frontal systems) and sea-level change have on material exchange between marshes and adjacent estuarine water bodies along the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast including Grand Bay Alabama/Mississippi, Vermilion Bay, Louisiana, and Chincoteague Bay, Virginia/Maryland.
- Advance the understanding of sediment exchange and transport within the estuary and the adjacent estuarine shoreline environments.
- Address the short-term and long-term implications of storm- and sea level-related processes on the evolution of the estuarine system.
- Quantify sedimentation rates and sediment source to the estuary proper as well as the adjacent shoreline environments.
- Use sediment texture and bathymetric change to evaluate areas of the estuary that act as sinks (short-term vs long-term) or sources of sediment to the coastal ocean.
- Quantify decadal to centennial scale change in shoreline position and interior vegetative coverage.
- Extend and analyze spatial and temporal datasets to identify and quantify physical processes affecting all estuarine environments.
- Integrate field measurement of accretion and subsidence with a multi-decadal scale remote sensing analysis to extend discrete physical process interpretations over a broader spatial domain.
The SSIEES Project will evaluate wetland-estuarine material exchange using the following project structure, which can be readily linked back to the prior stated objectives:
Task 1. Evaluate the sediment storage and mobility in the estuary/bay/lagoon environment.
Task 2. Assess and quantify dominant physical depositional and erosive processes in estuarine-shoreline environments.
Task 3. Conduct a chronological geospatial assessment and quantification of episodic impacts in wetland environments.