Advertisement

Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 145–157 | Cite as

Expansion of Tidal Marsh in Response to Sea-Level Rise: Gulf Coast of Florida, USA

  • Ellen A. RaabeEmail author
  • Richard P. Stumpf
Article

Abstract

Understanding the influence of future sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems is improved by examining response of coastlines during historic periods of SLR. We evaluated stability and movement of the estuarine intertidal zone along eastern Gulf of Mexico, known as the “Big Bend” of Florida. This relatively undeveloped, low-energy coast is dominated by broad expanses of tidal marsh, providing an opportunity to observe unobstructed response of a coastal ecosystem to SLR. Features from nineteenth century topographic surveys and late twentieth century satellite imagery were compared. Relative change was calculated for intertidal area and lateral migration over 120 years, a period when tidal amplitude increased in addition to SLR. Loss of tidal marsh at the shoreline was −43 km2, representing a 9 % loss to open water. At the same time, 82 km2 of forest converted to marsh and 66 km2 of forest converted to forest-to-marsh transitional habitat. The result was a net regional gain of 105 km2 of intertidal area, an increase of 23 %, constituting a marine transgression of coastal lowlands. Forest retreat was lower at zones of high freshwater input, attributable to salinity moderation and was further complicated by coastal morphology and land-use practices. Shoreline migration may not represent full extent of habitat change resulting from SLR in regions with low coastal gradients. Forest retreat was consistent with what would be predicted by an inundation model; however, shoreline loss was considerably less, resulting in a net increase in intertidal area in this sediment-limited coast.

Keywords

Tidal marsh Migration Marine transgression Forest retreat Florida 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Amy Hapeman (Streck) for her dedication to developing and managing the historic database. Thanks to Mark Billus, Brian Penney, and Gitfah Niles for assistance in digitizing. The US Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program supported this project.

References

  1. Brinson, M.M., R.R. Christian, and L.K. Blum. 1995. Multiple states in the sea-level induced transition from terrestrial forest to estuary. Estuaries 18(4): 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bromberg, K.D., and M.D. Bertness. 2005. Reconstructing New England salt marsh losses using historical maps. Estuaries and Coasts 28(6): 823–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bruun, P. 1962. Sea-level rise as a cause of shore erosion. Journal of the Waterways and Harbors Division: Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 88(1): 117–130.Google Scholar
  4. Buynevich, I.V., D.M. Fitzgerald, L.B. Smith Jr., and A.J. Dougherty. 2001. Stratigraphic evidence for historical position of the East Cambridge shoreline, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. Journal of Coastal Research 17(3): 620–624.Google Scholar
  5. Cahoon, D.R., P.F. Hensel, T. Spencer, D.J. Reed, K.L. McKee, and N. Saintilan. 2006. Coastal wetland vulnerability to relative sea-level rise: wetland elevation trends and process controls. Wetlands and Natural Resource Management 190: 271–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castaneda, H., and F.E. Putz. 2007. Predicting sea-level rise effects on a nature preserve on the Gulf Coast of Florida: a landscape perspective. Florida Scientist 70(2): 166–175.Google Scholar
  7. Chu-Agor, M.L., R. Munoz-Carpena, G. Kiker, A. Emanuelsson, and I. Linkov. 2011. Exploring vulnerability of coastal habitats to sea level rise through global sensitivity and uncertainty analyses. Environmental Modelling & Software 26(5): 593–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coultas, C.L., and Y.P. Hsieh. 1997. Ecology and management of tidal marshes: a model from the Gulf of Mexico. Delray Beach: St. Lucie Press.Google Scholar
  9. Crain, C.M., L.K. Albertson, and M.D. Bertness. 2008. Secondary succession dynamics in estuarine marshes across landscape-scale salinity gradients. Ecology 89(10): 2889–2899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crowell, M., S.P. Leatherman, and M.K. Buckley. 1991. Historical shoreline change: error analysis and mapping accuracy. JCR 7(3): 839–852.Google Scholar
  11. Dahl, T.E. and G.J. Allord. 1996. Technical aspects of wetlands: history of wetlands in the conterminous United States. In National water summary: wetlandresources, eds. Fretwell, J.D., Williams, J.S., and P.J. Redman, 19–26. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2425.Google Scholar
  12. D’Alpaos, A., C. Da Lio, and M. Marani. 2011. Biogeomorphology of tidal landforms: physical and biological processes shaping the tidal landscape. Ecohydrology 5(5): 550–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis Jr., R.A., A.C. Hine, and E.A. Shinn. 1992. Holocene coastal development on the Florida peninsula. In Quaternary Coasts of the United States: Marine and Lacustrine Systems, eds. Fletcher, C.W. and J.F. Wehmiller, 193–211. SEPM Special Publication No 48: Society for Sedimentary Geology.Google Scholar
  14. Deegan, L.A., D.S. Johnson, R.S. Warren, B.J. Peterson, J.W. Fleeger, S. Fagherazzi, and W.M. Wollheim. 2012. Coastal eutrophication as a driver of salt marsh loss. Nature 490: 388–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeSantis, L., B. Smriti, K. Williams, and F. Putz. 2007. Sea-level rise and drought interactions accelerate forest decline on the Gulf Coast of Florida, USA. Global Change Biology 13: 2349–2360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dobson, J.E., E.A. Bright, R.L. Ferguson, D.W. Field, L.L. Wood, K.D. Haddad, H. Iredale III, J.R. Jensen, V.V. Klemas, R.J. Orth, and J.P. Thomas. 1995. NOAA coastal change analysis program (C-CAP); guidance for regional implementation. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 123.Google Scholar
  17. Dolan, R., F. Anders and S. Kimball. 1985. Coastal erosion and accretion. In National Atlas of the United States of America. Reston, VA: US Geological Survey. US5644.Google Scholar
  18. Dolan, R., M.S. Fenster, and S.J. Holme. 1991. Temporal analysis of shoreline recession and accretion. Journal of Coastal Research 3: 723–745.Google Scholar
  19. Donnelly, J.P., and M.D. Bertness. 2001. Rapid shoreward encroachment of salt marsh cordgrass in response to accelerated sea-level rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98: 1418–1423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Douglas, B.C., M. Crowell, and S.P. Leatherman. 1998. Considerations for shoreline position prediction. JCR 14(3): 1025–1033.Google Scholar
  21. Ensign, S.H., C.R. Hupp, G.B. Noe, K.W. Krauss, and C.L. Stagg. 2014. Sediment accretion in tidal freshwater forests and oligohaline marshes of the Waccamaw and Savannah rivers, USA. Estuaries and Coasts 37: 1107–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fagherazzi, S., M.L. Kirwan, S.M. Mudd, G.R. Guntenspergen, S. Temmerman, A. D’Alpaos, J. Koppel, J.M. Rybczyk, E. Reyes, and C. Craft. 2012. Numerical models of salt marsh evolution: ecological, geomorphic, and climatic factors. Reviews of Geophysics 50(1): 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Geselbracht, L., K. Freeman, E. Kelly, D.R. Gordon, and F.E. Putz. 2011. Retrospective and prospective model simulations of sea level rise impacts on Gulf of Mexico coastal marshes and forests in Waccasassa Bay, Florida. Climatic Change 107(1–2): 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gill, S. and W.V. Sweet. 2013. Estimating vertical land motion from long-term tide gauge records. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 065.Google Scholar
  25. Gonzalez, C., and L.M. Dupont. 2009. Tropical salt marsh succession as sea-level indicator during Heinrich events. Quaternary Science Reviews 28(9–10): 939–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goodbred Jr., S.L., and A.C. Hine. 1995. Coastal storm deposition: salt-marsh response to a severe extratropical storm, March 1993, west-central Florida. Geology 23: 679–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goodbred Jr., S.L., E.E. Wright, and A.C. Hine. 1998. Sea-level change and storm-surge deposition in a late Holocene Florida salt marsh. Journal of Sedimentary Research 68(2): 240–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gutierrez, B.T., N.G. Plant, and E.R. Thieler. 2011. A Bayesian network to predict coastal vulnerability to sea level rise. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 116Google Scholar
  29. Hine, A.C. and D.F. Belknap. 1986. Recent geological history and modern sedimentary processes of the Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County coastlines, west central Florida: Florida Sea Grant College Report No. 79.Google Scholar
  30. Jelgersma, S., M. Van der Zijp, and R. Brinkman. 1993. Sea level rise and the coastal lowlands in the developing world. JCR 9(4): 958–972.Google Scholar
  31. Kirwan, M.L., and J.P. Megonigal. 2013. Tidal wetland stability in the face of human impacts and sea-level rise. Nature 504(7478): 53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kurz, H., and K. Wagner. 1957. Tidal marshes of the gulf and Atlantic coasts of northern Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. Tallahassee: Florida State University.Google Scholar
  33. Leonard, L.A., A.C. Hine, M.E. Luther, R.P. Stumpf, and E.E. Wright. 1995. Sediment transport processes in a west-central Florida open marine marsh tidal creek: the role of tides and extra tropical storms. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 41(2): 225–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Light, H.M., M.R. Darst, L.J. Lewis, and D.A. Howell. 2002. Hydrology, vegetation, and soils of riverine and tidal floodplain forests of the lower Suwannee River, Florida, and potential impacts of flow reductions. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1656A.Google Scholar
  35. Maio, C.V., A.M. Gontz, C.R. Weidman, and J.P. Donnelly. 2013. Late Holocene marine transgression and the drowning of a coastal forest: Lessons from the past, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 393: 146–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maul, G.A., and D.M. Martin. 1993. Sea-level rise at Key West, Florida, 1846-1992: America’s longest instrument record? Geophysical Research Letters 20(18): 1955–1958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McKee, K.L., and W.H. Patrick Jr. 1988. The relationship of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) to tidal datums: a review. Estuaries 11(3): 143–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Michener, W.K., E.R. Blood, K.L. Bildstein, M.M. Brinson, and L.R. Gardner. 1997. Climate change, hurricanes and tropical storms, and rising sea level in coastal wetlands. Ecological Applications 7(3): 770–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Montgomery, L. 2014. In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide, Washington Post May 31, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/in-norfolk-evidence-of-climate-change-is-in-the-streets-at-high-tide/2014/05/31/fe3ae860-e71f-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html. Accessed May 2014.
  40. Morris, J.T. 2006. Competition among marsh macrophytes by means of geomorphological displacement in the intertidal zone. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 69(3): 395–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. NOAA. 1975. The Coastline of the United States, NOAA/PA 71046. Office of Coast Survey, Coast Survey Documents. http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/library.htm. Accessed March 2015.
  42. NOAA. 2013. Commerce Secretary Pritzker declares fisheries disaster for Florida oyster fishery. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130812_oysterdisasterdeclaration.html. Accessed May 2014.
  43. NOAA. 2014. Tides and currents: sea level trends, Cedar Key, Florida (station 8727520). http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/. Accessed May 2014.
  44. Nyman, J.A., R.J. Walters, R.D. DeLaune, and W.H. Patrick Jr. 2006. Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 69(3): 370–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Orlando, S.P.J., L.P. Rozas, G.H. Ward, and C.J. Klein. 1993. Salinity characteristics of Gulf of Mexico estuaries. Silver Spring: NOAA, Office of Ocean Resources Conservation and Assessment.Google Scholar
  46. Raabe, E.A. and R.P. Stumpf. 1997a. Assessment of acreage and vegetation change in Florida’s Big Bend tidal wetlands using satellite imagery. Orlando, FL, 17-19 March 1997: Proc. Fourth Int’l. Conf. Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments I: 84-93. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70114013.
  47. Raabe, E.A. and R.P. Stumpf. 1997b. Image processing methods: procedures in selection, registration, normalization, and enhancement of satellite imagery in coastal wetlands. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-287.Google Scholar
  48. Raabe, E.A., A. Streck, and R.P. Stumpf. 2004. From T-sheets to satellite imagery: a GIS methodology and analysis of coastal change in Florida’s tidal marsh. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-211.Google Scholar
  49. Raabe, E.A., M.S. Harris, R.L. Shrestha, and W.E. Carter. 2008. Derivation of ground surface and vegetation in a coastal Florida wetland with airborne laser technology. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1125.Google Scholar
  50. Raabe, E., D. Stonehouse, K. Ebersol, K. Holland, and L. Robbins. 2011. Detection of coastal and submarine discharge on the Florida Gulf Coast with an airborne thermal-infrared mapping system. The Professional Geologist (TPG) 48(5): 42–49.Google Scholar
  51. Raabe, E.A., L.C. Roy, and C.C. McIvor. 2012. Tampa Bay coastal wetlands: nineteenth to twentieth century tidal marsh-to-mangrove conversion. Estuaries and Coasts 35(5): 1145–1162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Saha, A.K., S. Saha, J. Sadle, J. Jiang, M.S. Ross, R.M. Price, L.S.L.O. Sternberg, and K.S. Wendelberger. 2011. Sea level rise and South Florida coastal forests. Climatic Change 107(1-2): 81–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Scavia, D., J.C. Field, D.F. Boesch, R.W. Buddemeier, V. Burkett, D.R. Cayan, M. Fogarty, M.A. Harwell, R.W. Howarth, and C. Mason. 2002. Climate change impacts on US coastal and marine ecosystems. Estuaries and Coasts 25(2): 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schwartz, M.W. 1994. Natural distribution and abundance of forest species and communities in northern Florida. Ecology 75(3): 687–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Scott, T.M., G.H. Means, R.P. Meegan, R.C. Means, S.B. Upchurch, R.E. Copeland, J. Jones, T. Roberts, and A. Willet. 2004. Springs of Florida. Florida Geological Survey Report No. 66Google Scholar
  56. Seavey, J.R., W.E. Pine III, P. Frederick, L. Sturmer, and M. Berrigan. 2011. Decadal changes in oyster reefs in the Big Bend of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Ecosphere 2(10): 114.Google Scholar
  57. Sella, G.F., S. Stein, T.H. Dixon, M. Craymer, T.S. James, S. Mazzotti, and R.K. Dokka. 2007. Observation of glacial isostatic adjustment in “stable” North America with GPS. Geophysical Research Letters 34(2)Google Scholar
  58. Shalowitz, A.L. 1964. Shore and sea boundaries. U.S. Department of Commerce. Publication 10-1: Volume 2. Washington, DC U.S. Government Printing Office. http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/hsd/shalowitz.html. Accessed April 2015.
  59. Silliman, B.R., J. van de Koppel, M.D. Bertness, L.E. Stanton, and I.A. Mendelssohn. 2005. Drought, snails, and large-scale die-off of southern U.S. salt marshes. Science 310: 1803–1806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sklar, F.H., and J.A. Browder. 1998. Coastal environmental impacts brought about by alterations to freshwater flow in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Management 22(4): 547–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Smith, C. 2012. Drought has Cedar Key scrambling to provide fresh water. Gainesville, Fla: Gainesville Sun June 20, 2012. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120620/ARTICLES/120629937. Accessed June 2012.
  62. Smith, J.A.M. 2013. The role of Phragmites australis in mediating inland salt marsh migration in a mid-Atlantic estuary. PLoS One 8(5): e65091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stevens, P.W., S.L. Fox, and C.L. Montague. 2006. The interplay between mangroves and salt marshes at the transition between temperate and subtropical climate in Florida. Wetlands Ecology and Management 14(5): 435–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex, and P.M. Midgley. 2013. Climate Change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Press.Google Scholar
  65. Stumpf, R.P. 1983. The process of sedimentation on the surface of a salt marsh. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 17: 495–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Stumpf, R.P., and J.W. Haines. 1998. Variations in tidal level in the Gulf of Mexico and implications for wetlands. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 46: 165–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sweet, W., J. Park, J. Marra, C. Zervas, and S. Gil. 2014. Sea level rise and nuisance flood frequency changes around the United States. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 073Google Scholar
  68. Temmerman, S., G. Govers, S. Wartel, and P. Meire. 2004. Modelling estuarine variations in tidal marsh sedimentation: response to changing sea level and suspended sediment concentrations. Marine Geology 212(1): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Turner, R.E. 1997. Wetland loss in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: multiple working hypotheses. Estuaries 20(1): 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Van Dyke, E., and K. Wasson. 2005. Historical ecology of a Central California estuary: 150 years of habitat change. Estuaries 28(2): 173–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Whelan, K.R.T., T.J. Smith, D.R. Cahoon, J.C. Lynch, and G.H. Anderson. 2005. Groundwater control of mangrove surface elevation: shrink and swell varies with soil depth. Estuaries 28(6): 833–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams, K., K.C. Ewel, R.P. Stumpf, F.E. Putz, and T.W. Workman. 1999. Sea-level rise and coastal forest retreat on the west coast of Florida, USA. Ecology 80(6): 2045–2063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wolfe, S.H. 1990. An ecological characterization of the Florida springs coast: Pithlachascotee to Waccasassa rivers. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 90(21).Google Scholar
  74. Wood, N., and A.C. Hine. 2007. Spatial trends in marsh sediment deposition within a microtidal creek system, Waccasassa Bay, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research 23(4): 823–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wright, E.E., A.C. Hine, S.L. Goodbred Jr., and S.D. Locker. 2005. The effect of sea-level and climate change on the development of a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate, deltaic coastline: Suwannee River, Florida, U.S.A. Journal of Sedimentary Research 75(4): 621–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveySt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNational Centers for Coastal Ocean ScienceSilver SpringUSA

Personalised recommendations