Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Prediction of annual average sedimentation rates in an estuary using numerical models with verification against core data – Mahurangi Estuary, New Zealand Journal Paper

Oldman, J.W., Black, K.P., Swales, A., Stroud, M.J.
Journal / Source
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Publisher / Organisation
sedimentation. estuary. model, cores, Mahurangi
Modelling sedimentation rates within an estuary over the time scale of years to decades is a difficult undertaking. The complex nature of sediment transport and the compounding errors associated with making predictions over longer time-scales introduce a high degree of uncertainty when predicting the fate of catchment-derived sediments. In this paper a methodology is presented that links catchment and estuary models that simulate the runoff of sediment from catchments and its subsequent dispersal within the estuary to provide estimates of annual sedimentation rates within the estuary. The models are calibrated against short-term field data and the methodology is validated against sedimentation rates obtained from sediment cores. The catchment of the Mahurangi Estuary delivers between 3800 and 39,000 tonnes/yr with an average load of just over 15,000 tonnes/yr being delivered to the estuary. Data from sediment cores show that over 80% of this load is deposited within the estuary resulting in sedimentation rates of 25 mm/yr in the upper estuary and less than 5 mm/yr in the lower sections of the estuary. The methodology predicts these rates of sedimentation across a range of sub environments within the estuary.