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Title: A Spatially Based Area–Time Inundation Index Model Developed to Assess Habitat Opportunity in Tidal–Fluvial Wetlands and Restoration Sites

The hydrodynamics of tidal wetland areas in the lower Columbia River floodplain and estuary directly affect habitat opportunity for endangered salmonid fishes. Physical and biological structures and functions in the system are directly affected by inundation patterns influenced by tidal cycles, hydropower operations, river discharge, upriver water withdrawals, climate, and physical barriers such as dikes, culverts, and tide gates. Ongoing ecosystem restoration efforts are intended to increase the opportunity for salmon to access beneficial habitats by hydrologically reconnecting main-stem river channels and diked areas within the historical floodplain. To address the need to evaluate habitat opportunity, a geographic information system-based Area-Time Inundation Index Model (ATIIM) was developed. The ATIIM integrates in situ or modeled hourly water-surface elevation (WSE) data and advanced terrain processing of high-resolution elevation data. The ATIIM uses a spatially based wetted-area algorithm to determine site average bankfull elevation, two- and three-dimensional inundation extent, and other site metrics. Hydrological process metrics such as inundation frequency, duration, maximum area, and maximum frequency area can inform evaluation of proposed restoration sites; e.g., determine trade-offs between WSE and habitat opportunity, contrast alternative restoration designs, predict impacts of altered flow regimes, and estimate nutrient and biomass fluxes. In an adaptive management framework,more » this model can be used to provide standardized site comparisons and effectiveness monitoring of changes in the developmental trajectories of restoration sites. Results are presented for 11 wetlands representative of tidal marshes, tidal forested wetlands, and restoration sites.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Ecological Engineering, 82:624-642
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
estuary; hydrological reconnection; tidal hydrology; inundation; restoration; restoration prioritization; salmon; spatial modeling; terrain analysis