State Water Resources Research Institute Program (WRRI)
Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,832 Total Non-Federal Funds: $31,710
Principal Investigators: Heather Smith
Abstract: Coastal protection and restoration is a major concern globally. In the United States alone, more than 50% of the population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Coastal Louisiana is particularly vulnerable to storm damage, as a considerable amount of naturally occurring wetlands have been lost due to wetland erosion and subsidence. However, the prediction of wetland effectiveness is dependent on our limited understanding of the processes that help mitigate storm surge and waves. The objective of this research is to investigate the interactions of coastal vegetation with waves. Our work will focus on the mechanisms responsible for wave dampening, including the turbulence generated by the vegetation. The observations obtained through laboratory experimentation during the summer of 2010 will be analyzed in order to examine the distribution of wave and turbulent energies in the water column. Observations of the depth-dependent velocity have been obtained for several wave cases and vegetation densities, and will be examined to determine the effect of these parameters on the wave dampening and energy distribution. Through this work, we will be able to more completely describe the mechanisms responsible for wave attenuation and the effect on the sediment transport.