Field-based decadal wave attenuating capacity of combined tidal flats and salt marshes

Pim Wilhelmus Johannes Maria Willemsen*, Bastiaan Wijnand Borsje, Vincent Vuik, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Foreshores consisting of both bare tidal flats and vegetated salt marshes are found worldwide and they are well studied for their wave attenuating capacity. However, most studies only focus on the small scale: just some isolated locations in space and only up to several years in time. In order to stimulate the implementation of foreshores serving as reliable coastal defense on a large scale, we need to quantify the decadal wave attenuating capacity of the foreshore on the scale of an estuary. To study this, a unique bathymetrical dataset is analyzed, covering the geometry of the Westerschelde estuary (The Netherlands) over a time-span of 65 years. From this dataset, six study sites were extracted (both sheltered sites and exposed sites to the prevailing wind direction) and divided into transects. This resulted in 36 transects covering the entire foreshore (composed of the bare tidal flat and the vegetated salt marsh). The wave attenuation of all transects under daily conditions (with and without vegetation) and design conditions (i.e. events statistically occurring once every 10,000 years) was modelled.
Overall, the spatial variability of the geometry of a single foreshore was observed to be much larger than the temporal variability. Temporal changes in salt marsh width did not follow the variability of the entire foreshore. Both under daily and design conditions, vegetation contributes to decreasing wave energy and decreases the variability of incoming wave energy, thereby decreasing the wave load on the dike. The southern foreshores, sheltered from the prevailing wind direction, were more efficient in wave attenuation than the exposed northern foreshores. A linear relation between marsh width and wave attenuation over a period of 65 years was observed at all marshes. The present study provides insights needed to calculate the length of a salt marsh to obtain a desired minimum wave attenuating capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103628
JournalCoastal engineering
Volume156
Early online date2 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 2 Jan 2020

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Salts
Estuaries
Levees
Geometry

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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title = "Field-based decadal wave attenuating capacity of combined tidal flats and salt marshes",
abstract = "Foreshores consisting of both bare tidal flats and vegetated salt marshes are found worldwide and they are well studied for their wave attenuating capacity. However, most studies only focus on the small scale: just some isolated locations in space and only up to several years in time. In order to stimulate the implementation of foreshores serving as reliable coastal defense on a large scale, we need to quantify the decadal wave attenuating capacity of the foreshore on the scale of an estuary. To study this, a unique bathymetrical dataset is analyzed, covering the geometry of the Westerschelde estuary (The Netherlands) over a time-span of 65 years. From this dataset, six study sites were extracted (both sheltered sites and exposed sites to the prevailing wind direction) and divided into transects. This resulted in 36 transects covering the entire foreshore (composed of the bare tidal flat and the vegetated salt marsh). The wave attenuation of all transects under daily conditions (with and without vegetation) and design conditions (i.e. events statistically occurring once every 10,000 years) was modelled.Overall, the spatial variability of the geometry of a single foreshore was observed to be much larger than the temporal variability. Temporal changes in salt marsh width did not follow the variability of the entire foreshore. Both under daily and design conditions, vegetation contributes to decreasing wave energy and decreases the variability of incoming wave energy, thereby decreasing the wave load on the dike. The southern foreshores, sheltered from the prevailing wind direction, were more efficient in wave attenuation than the exposed northern foreshores. A linear relation between marsh width and wave attenuation over a period of 65 years was observed at all marshes. The present study provides insights needed to calculate the length of a salt marsh to obtain a desired minimum wave attenuating capacity.",
keywords = "UT-Hybrid-D",
author = "Willemsen, {Pim Wilhelmus Johannes Maria} and Borsje, {Bastiaan Wijnand} and Vincent Vuik and Bouma, {Tjeerd J.} and Hulscher, {Suzanne J.M.H.}",
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doi = "10.1016/j.coastaleng.2019.103628",
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Field-based decadal wave attenuating capacity of combined tidal flats and salt marshes. / Willemsen, Pim Wilhelmus Johannes Maria; Borsje, Bastiaan Wijnand; Vuik, Vincent; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Hulscher, Suzanne J.M.H.

In: Coastal engineering, Vol. 156, 103628, 01.03.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Field-based decadal wave attenuating capacity of combined tidal flats and salt marshes

AU - Willemsen, Pim Wilhelmus Johannes Maria

AU - Borsje, Bastiaan Wijnand

AU - Vuik, Vincent

AU - Bouma, Tjeerd J.

AU - Hulscher, Suzanne J.M.H.

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PY - 2020/1/2

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N2 - Foreshores consisting of both bare tidal flats and vegetated salt marshes are found worldwide and they are well studied for their wave attenuating capacity. However, most studies only focus on the small scale: just some isolated locations in space and only up to several years in time. In order to stimulate the implementation of foreshores serving as reliable coastal defense on a large scale, we need to quantify the decadal wave attenuating capacity of the foreshore on the scale of an estuary. To study this, a unique bathymetrical dataset is analyzed, covering the geometry of the Westerschelde estuary (The Netherlands) over a time-span of 65 years. From this dataset, six study sites were extracted (both sheltered sites and exposed sites to the prevailing wind direction) and divided into transects. This resulted in 36 transects covering the entire foreshore (composed of the bare tidal flat and the vegetated salt marsh). The wave attenuation of all transects under daily conditions (with and without vegetation) and design conditions (i.e. events statistically occurring once every 10,000 years) was modelled.Overall, the spatial variability of the geometry of a single foreshore was observed to be much larger than the temporal variability. Temporal changes in salt marsh width did not follow the variability of the entire foreshore. Both under daily and design conditions, vegetation contributes to decreasing wave energy and decreases the variability of incoming wave energy, thereby decreasing the wave load on the dike. The southern foreshores, sheltered from the prevailing wind direction, were more efficient in wave attenuation than the exposed northern foreshores. A linear relation between marsh width and wave attenuation over a period of 65 years was observed at all marshes. The present study provides insights needed to calculate the length of a salt marsh to obtain a desired minimum wave attenuating capacity.

AB - Foreshores consisting of both bare tidal flats and vegetated salt marshes are found worldwide and they are well studied for their wave attenuating capacity. However, most studies only focus on the small scale: just some isolated locations in space and only up to several years in time. In order to stimulate the implementation of foreshores serving as reliable coastal defense on a large scale, we need to quantify the decadal wave attenuating capacity of the foreshore on the scale of an estuary. To study this, a unique bathymetrical dataset is analyzed, covering the geometry of the Westerschelde estuary (The Netherlands) over a time-span of 65 years. From this dataset, six study sites were extracted (both sheltered sites and exposed sites to the prevailing wind direction) and divided into transects. This resulted in 36 transects covering the entire foreshore (composed of the bare tidal flat and the vegetated salt marsh). The wave attenuation of all transects under daily conditions (with and without vegetation) and design conditions (i.e. events statistically occurring once every 10,000 years) was modelled.Overall, the spatial variability of the geometry of a single foreshore was observed to be much larger than the temporal variability. Temporal changes in salt marsh width did not follow the variability of the entire foreshore. Both under daily and design conditions, vegetation contributes to decreasing wave energy and decreases the variability of incoming wave energy, thereby decreasing the wave load on the dike. The southern foreshores, sheltered from the prevailing wind direction, were more efficient in wave attenuation than the exposed northern foreshores. A linear relation between marsh width and wave attenuation over a period of 65 years was observed at all marshes. The present study provides insights needed to calculate the length of a salt marsh to obtain a desired minimum wave attenuating capacity.

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U2 - 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2019.103628

DO - 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2019.103628

M3 - Article

VL - 156

JO - Coastal engineering

JF - Coastal engineering

SN - 0378-3839

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