• sediment transport;
  • coastal hydrology;
  • modeling/statistics;
  • climatology)

ABSTRACT: This project analyzes suspended sediment flux through the upper Barataria basin in Louisiana during the winter season defined from November through April. The Barataria is a shallow coastal estuary located in southeastern Louisiana. The controls exerted by environmental parameters (such as wind or atmospheric pressure) in wetlands-shallow bay ecosystems on transport of water and sediment were examined. Water samples were taken at a bayou (which serve as the inlet for flow to the estuary) on a regular basis. These samples were analyzed for total suspended solids and volatile suspended solids. Velocity, depth, temperature, salinity, conductivity, and meteorological measurements were all recorded at the time of each sampling. A multi-parameter field probe was employed to continually monitor turbidity, water level, conductivity, and temperature during frontal events. These data were used in a regression analysis to examine the factors that drive carbon flux in the region.

Investigations have determined that synoptic climate and prevailing weather conditions explain much of the variations in water levels, flow circulation patterns, salinity, and suspended sediment. Relatively small amounts of sediment appear to leave the estuary during normal tidal activity, but winter storm fronts result in significant fluxes of sediment in both up-basin and down-basin directions.