State Water Resources Research Institute Program (WRRI)

Details for Project ID 2011LA82B, 2011

Turbulent Interactions of Coastal Vegetation and Waves

Institute: Louisiana
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 eff ectiveness 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 eff ect 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 eff ect on the sediment transport.