University of Twente Student Theses


Modelling consequences of artificial structures on salt marsh dynamics in the Wadden Sea

Siemes, R.W.A. (2019) Modelling consequences of artificial structures on salt marsh dynamics in the Wadden Sea.

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Abstract:Salt marshes are more and more recognized as resilient and sustainable supplements to traditional engineering structures for protecting coasts against flooding. Nevertheless, many salt marshes face severe erosion. There is a general consensus that creating an area which is sheltered from high energetic conditions can improve the potential for salt marsh growth. However, little proof is provided on the explicit influence of structures to promote salt marsh growth. This paper investigates how engineering solutions can be used to steer the morphological development of salt marshes. A morphological model (Delft3D Flexible Mesh) was applied which enables the analysis of various human interventions. A small salt marsh in the Wadden Sea was modelled. This marsh has seen heavy erosion (retreat rate of 0.9 ) since maintenance of its sedimentation field and groyne was halted. In the model, we simulate both daily conditions and storm conditions. The model performed well in simulating the hydrodynamic conditions. Key processes relevant for the morphological development of salt marshes are captured and several simulated morphological patterns are observed and identified in literature. The model simulations showed that, without artificial structures erosion of the salt marsh and tidal flat occurs. Results with structures implemented indicated that there is potential for salt marsh growth in the study area. More broadly, results show that a salt marsh accretes during storm events, demonstrating that salt marsh systems may provide a resilient way to supplement hard structures to improve coastal safety in the face of the increasing storminess. In addition, the paper indicates how morphological development of a salt marsh can be steered by implementing various artificial structures.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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