Can Managed Realignment Buffer Extreme Surges? The Relationship Between Marsh Width, Vegetation Cover and Surge Attenuation

Kiesel, Joshua, MacPherson, Leigh R., Schuerch, Mark and Vafeidis, Athanasios T. (2021) Can Managed Realignment Buffer Extreme Surges? The Relationship Between Marsh Width, Vegetation Cover and Surge Attenuation. Estuaries and Coasts . ISSN 1559-2723

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-021-00984-5

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Can Managed Realignment Buffer Extreme Surges? The Relationship Between Marsh Width, Vegetation Cover and Surge Attenuation
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Abstract

Managed realignment (MR) involves the landward relocation of sea defences to foster the (re)creation of coastal wetlands and achieve nature-based coastal protection. The wider application of MR is impeded by knowledge gaps related to lacking data on its effectiveness under extreme surges and the role of changes in vegetation cover, for example due to sea-level rise. We employ a calibrated and validated hydrodynamic model to explore relationships between surge attenuation, MR width(/area) and vegetation cover for the MR site of Freiston Shore, UK. We model a range of extreme water levels for four scenarios of variable MR width. We further assess the effects of reduced vegetation cover for the actual MR site and for the scenario of the site with the largest width. We show that surges are amplified for all but the largest two site scenarios, suggesting that increasing MR width results in higher attenuation rates. Substantial surge attenuation (up to 18 cm km−1) is only achieved for the largest site. The greatest contribution to the attenuation in the largest site scenario may come from water being reflected from the breached dike. While vegetation cover has no statistically significant effect on surge attenuations in the original MR site, higher coverage leads to higher attenuation rates in the largest site scenario. We conclude that at the open coast, only large MR sites (> 1148 m width) can attenuate surges with return periods > 10 years, while increased vegetation cover and larger MR widths enable the attenuation of even higher surges.

Keywords:Managed realignment, De-embankment, Saltmarsh, Coastal restoration, Nature-based Solutions, Surge attenuation
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F840 Physical Geography
F Physical Sciences > F811 Biogeography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:46130
Deposited On:25 Aug 2021 10:50

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