MBNEP Fowl River Marsh Study

Project Leader: Dr. Just Cebrian

Project Details

The success of estuarine restoration efforts often depends on a range of interdisciplinary marine and fluvial process that interact in complex ways. Physical forcing is a critical factor in controlling the environmental conditions that biogeochemical and ecosystem processes must operate. Thus, a major consideration in estuarine restoration is the physical conditions at site locations due to their importance in determining whether biological organisms can survive and flourish. In order to inform the restoration effort in West Fowl River, Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski will focus on the following objectives:

  • Identify seasonal cycles in the water and salt budgets for the system
  • Characterize the high frequency temporal and spatial variability in the vertical and horizontal salinity structure of the system during the spring/summer season when marsh growth at maximum
  • Determine the main drivers controlling the extent and duration of salt intrusions into the system
  • Develop quantitative relationships between the river discharge, water level, and wind to estimate salinity conditions at specific restorations sites.
  • Determine the relationship between salinity dynamics and transport of suspended sediments in the system

By providing a characterization of the system salinity field as well as the associated drivers, a better understanding of the ecosystem processes and the likelihood of restoration success. This new information on salinity dynamics will be critical to inform management of the existing habitats as well as identifying ideal restoration sites.

As a result, the co-PI (B. Dzwonkowski) will contribute to many aspects of the project. He will plan, coordinate, and contribute to the field work and will be in charge of processing and analyzing the hydrographic data collected in the first year. Dzwonkowski will also be heavily involved in other interdisciplinary aspects of the project, including coordinating with the co-PIs to provide insight on the salinity patterns impacting the marsh areas. In addition, Dzwonkowski will contribute to the implementation of education and outreach efforts. It is expected that Dzwonkowski will be the lead or a supporting contributor on at least one manuscript that will be derived from this project.