Publication Detail

Remotely monitoring marsh erosion and subsidence

Juliet Simpson, Benjamen Wetherill, Alex Mansfield
1 pp.
MITSG 13-39
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT

Coastal marshes are highly vulnerable to loss through erosion and subsidence. The rising sea levels and increased storminess predicted for the next decades to centuries will likely increase rates of shoreline erosion, further threatening salt marshes throughout New England. Understanding the causes and rates of erosion and subsidence is critical to predict and if possible prevent future losses.

Following on a study by UMass Boston and Boston University studying high bluff erosion with cameras on Thompson Island in Boston Harbor, we are evaluating the use of low power, low cost, networked cameras to study and manage coastal inundation in marshes. This remote monitoring has the benefit of providing frequent, real-time data on changes in marsh condition while minimizing the damage that frequent on-the-ground monitoring would incur. We have deployed wireless, solar-powered video cameras in a marsh on the Jones River in Kingston, MA, where there have been multiple recent reports of accelerated erosion, subsidence, and unusually high tides. Video footage will be ground-truthed and supplemented by periodic, in situ surveys of marsh elevation, sedimentation rates, and horizontal changes.

If remote video monitoring proves successful in the marsh habitat, it will be a novel, inexpensive method for gathering high temporal resolution data on physical change while minimizing the time and expense of hours in the field. The camera network can be further be expanded throughout the Jones River marsh and other sites where erosion and subsidence are a concern.

type: General reports, fact sheets, posters

Parent Project

Project No.: 2010-A/A-35
Title: Interdisciplinary Science Outreach Proposal

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