, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 301-308

Seasonality of materials transport through a coastal freshwater marsh: Riverine versus tidal forcing

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Abstract

Transports of nitrate and suspended solids were measured six times from January 1984 until January 1985 in a small freshwater tidal bayou in south-central Louisiana. The bayou and adjacent marshes are influenced by Atchafalaya River discharges, tides, and coastal weather patterns. Large net ebb-directed water transports occurred in winter, spring, and summer, coincident with high river discharges, indicating riverine dominance. A very small net flood-directed water transport occurred in fall, indicating tidally dominated hydrology. Nitrate and suspended solids transports were net ebb-directed in all seasons, but were two orders of magnitude higher during high river flow. Exports changed as hydrology switched from river dominated to tidally dominated, and as concentrations of materials changed. Comparison of suspended solids and nitrate concentrations in the river and bayou shows that these materials were usually lower in the bayou, indicating retention by the marsh/aquatic system.