Modeling tidal hydrodynamic changes induced by the opening of an artificial inlet within a subtropical mangrove dominated estuary

  • David Serrano
  • Francisco Flores-Verdugo
  • Evlin Ramírez-Félix
  • John M. Kovacs
  • Francisco Flores-de-SantiagoEmail author
Original Paper


The mangrove-estuarine system of Marismas Nacionales, Mexico is considered the most extensive wetland complex of the eastern Pacific coast. Originally, this large wetland was connected to the ocean solely through a natural inlet (Teacapán). However, in the early 1970s, it was decided that an artificial inlet (Cuautla Canal) will provide a second direct connection to the ocean that could help enhance local economic development. Unfortunately, it is believed that hydrological modification resulting from this inlet changed the hydrodynamics and thus massive loss of mangroves. Hence, the purpose of this investigation was to assess the tidal hydrodynamics before and after the canal’s construction and thus understand the potential negative impacts of such unsupervised coastal projects. Specifically, sea level elevation and tidal circulation velocities were simulated during flood and ebb currents using nonlinear numerical models for both inlets. Results indicated that sea level elevation and salinity increased from 2 to 35 cm and 0.5 to 35 PSU in the Agua Brava lagoon, respectively. Additionally, there was an overall increase of 0.6 m/s regarding the tidal current velocities, and thus it is probable that the Cuautla Canal contributed to the deterioration of the once Laguncularia racemosa dominated forests, which is slowly being replaced by Avicennia germinans, Rhizophora mangle, and extensive hypersaline floodplains. Consequently, such modeling could help in mitigating the impacts of future coastal developments in Mexico or elsewhere by helping in the prediction of the possible influence of tidal hydrodynamic changes on the subtropical coastal vegetation.


Nonlinear hydrodynamic models Mapping current strength Subtropical coastal lagoon Mangrove degradation 



This study is partially supported by the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología under Grant Number 622 and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología under Grant Number PCECBNA-022068.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Serrano
    • 1
  • Francisco Flores-Verdugo
    • 2
  • Evlin Ramírez-Félix
    • 3
  • John M. Kovacs
    • 4
  • Francisco Flores-de-Santiago
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Autónoma de SinaloaMazatlánMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMazatlánMexico
  3. 3.Oficina de INAPESCA MazatlánInstituto Nacional de Pesca y AcuaculturaMazatlánMexico
  4. 4.Department of GeographyNipissing UniversityNorth BayCanada
  5. 5.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MexicoMexico

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