SCIENCE IN SHORT: Drift, Drop or Floc? Tailing Sediment as it Moves Through Marsh Margins

This June, two USGS scientists will be trying to get as close as they can to the edge of the South Bay’s Whale’s Tail Marsh to lay out their tools: tiles, filter paper, current profilers, and other sediment accretion measuring instruments.

Estuary Reporter Ariel Rubissow Okamoto interviews reseachers Jessie Lacy and Karen Thorne about what they’re looking for at the marsh edge, and how it may help us answer burning questions about the future of the region’s wetlands.

Is there enough sediment in the system for marshes keep pace with sea level rise by building up their elevations naturally, or do humans need to sprinkle some sediment love around? What exactly does happen when sediment arrives on the marsh surface? What are the micro-changes in elevation, vegetation, and resuspension that happen with tides, waves, and seasonal shifts?

Lacy and Thorne have it covered.

Image: Whales Tail Marsh by Cris Benton, 2013

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