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Morphological evolution of a non-engineered managed realignment site following tidal inundation

Dale, J. ORCID:, Burgess, H. M., Berg, M. J., Strong, C. J. and Burnside, N. G. ORCID: (2021) Morphological evolution of a non-engineered managed realignment site following tidal inundation. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 260. 107510. ISSN 0272-7714

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107510


There is growing evidence that managed realignment (MR) sites have lower biodiversity than natural saltmarshes, which has been associated with differences in the physical function and morphological evolution following site breaching. This evidence has been derived from MR sites previously used for intensive arable agriculture or modified during site construction. Therefore, the development of these sites may not be representative of the sedimentological evolution that would have otherwise occurred. This paper presents analysis of high spatial resolution digital surface models derived from the images collected using a small-unmanned aerial system from a non-engineered MR site at Cwm Ivy Marsh, Gower Peninsula, Wales. These models are examined alongside a novel combination of high frequency measurements of the rate and patterns of sedimentation, suspended sediment concentration (SSC), and the sub-surface structure and geochemical profiles. Results indicated that although the site became topographically less variable over a four year period, the intertidal morphology developed through an increase in the abundance of higher order creek systems and sediment being deposited at a rate of between 3 and 7 cm/year. The SSC followed an inverse pattern to water depth, with bed elevation increasing and then decreasing during both the flood and ebb tidal phases. Analysis of the sediment subsurface geochemical composition indicated redox profiles similar to natural intertidal environments; evidence of a fluctuating water table was found at a saltmarsh site, in comparison to waterlogging identified at an anoxic mudflat site. These findings provide a new insight to the sedimentological processes in a MR site without the influence of landscaping or site engineering prior to site breaching, which can be used to inform the design of future MR sites.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:106695

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