Influence of landscape restoration and degradation on storm surge and waves in southern Louisiana
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- Wamsley, T.V., Cialone, M.A., Smith, J.M. et al. Nat Hazards (2009) 51: 207. doi:10.1007/s11069-009-9378-z
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The purpose of this investigation was to examine storm surge and wave reduction benefits of different environmental restoration features (marsh restoration and barrier island changes), as well as the impact of future wetland degradation on local surge and wave conditions. Storm surge simulations of two representative hurricanes were performed using the ADCIRC storm surge model with the inclusion of radiation stress gradients from the STWAVE nearshore wave model. Coupled model simulations were made for a number of landscape configurations that involved both restored and degraded wetland features. The impact of barrier island condition on hurricane surge and waves was also evaluated. Effects of landscape features were represented by changes in elevation and frictional resistance. Restoration and degradation of marsh resulted in decreases (for restoration cases) and increases (for degradation cases) in both surge and waves. The magnitude of change was correlated with the magnitude of the horizontal extent and elevation changes in the marsh. In general, the wave change patterns are consistent with the water level changes. Deflation of the Chandeleur Islands (barrier island chain) resulted in slightly increased surge. Results suggest that coastal marsh does have surge and wave reduction potential. Results also indicate that the impact of the landscape features is amplified in areas where there are levee “pockets.” Barrier islands and coastal ridges reduce wave heights, even if in a degraded condition and thus can reduce wave energy in wetland areas, protecting them from erosion.