Principal Investigator: 
David Velinsky (velinsky@ansp.org)
Institution: 
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Tidal freshwater wetlands provide numerous important ecological services including carbon and nutrient sequestration, sediment trapping, and natural flood control. Urban and agricultural development, nutrient loading, and sea level rise continue to threaten these invaluable ecosystems. The rates of sea level rise are accelerating with global climate change, which has implications for wetland loss, increased erosion, and more severe flooding events in coastal regions. Near Philadelphia, the rate of local sea level rise is 0.28 cm per year over the last century  As the rate of sea level rise is expected to continue increasing due to the impacts of climate change, there will be increased flooding and saltwater intrusion to this vulnerable wetland ecosystem. Evaluating the sustainability of this wetland and modeling the potential effects of flooding over time is critical for developing and implementing management strategies to sustain this valuable natural resource.  The objectives of this study are (1) to continue established MACWA monitoring protocols to corroborate data on the effects of sea level rise (2) determine tidal and storm deposition of sediment to the marsh surface and (3) evaluate the effects of storm surges and flooding risks on marsh ecosystem services.  Our overall goal is to: explore how sea level rise is affecting the flooding regime, wetland functioning, ecosystem services, such as nutrient removal and sedimentation as well as plant diversity in a tidal freshwater wetland of the Delaware Estuary? We will evaluate this modeling program on ecosystems services such as sediment removal/deposition and nutrient import/export. This study is a continuation of the Academy‚Äôs research over the past 5 years at Tinicum along with studies in the greater Delaware Estuary.

 

Research Year: 
2014
Funding Amount: 
$61,414
Current or Past research?: 
Past Research

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