Title

Characterization and modeling of sediment settling, consolidation, and suspension to optimize coastal Louisiana restoration

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-5-2018

Abstract

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Many research efforts have been undertaken over many decades in the field of Louisiana coastal restoration, but long-term experiments for sediment suspension and consolidation in diversion-receiving basins are still limited, despite significance of this topic to ongoing restoration strategies. Sediment samples were collected from two active diversions on the Mississippi River: West Bay, a semi-enclosed bay located on the Mississippi River Delta and fed by the West Bay Diversion, and from Big Mar pond, a receiving basin of the Caernarvon freshwater diversion from the lower Mississippi River, Louisiana, USA. A dual-core Gust Erosion Microcosm System was used to measure time-series (0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6-months after initial settling) erodibility at seven shear stress regimes (0.01–0.60 Pa) using experimental cores prepared with two initial sediment concentrations (60 and 120 kg m−3). A 230-cm tall settling column with nine sampling ports was used to measure the consolidation rates for initial sediment concentrations ranging from fluid mud (10 kg m−3) to dredge effluent (120 kg m−3), in combination with two levels of salinity (1 and 5). The erodibility of West Bay sediment decreased with increasing time of consolidation. The critical shear stress for resuspension increased from 0.2 Pa after 2 months to 0.45 Pa after 4 months of consolidation. The consolidation rates were inversely and exponentially related to initial sediment concentrations. Consolidation tests in salinity of 1 generally settled faster than that in salinity of 5, and consolidation tests with low sediment concentration tests generally settled faster than high-concentration tests. An exponential coefficient was added in the Sanford (2008) model to better predict the consolidation profile of both rapid early settling and slow self-weight consolidation processes. Our study suggests that enclosed basin, low salinity, relatively low sediment concentration and minimized disturbance for 4 months all favor of mud deposition and retention, and these factors should be considered in the design of coastal restoration projects such as dredging effluent placements and sediment diversions.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

First Page

137

Last Page

147

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