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The Efficacy of Marsh Terraces in Enhancing and Restoring Gulf Coastal Wetlands


Rigorous studies that incorporate spatial and temporal replication are important to understanding the overall efficacy and longevity of marsh terraces in Gulf coastal systems. This research seeks to improve scientific understanding and practice related to marsh terrace implementation through numerical modeling informed by spatiotemporal analysis or remotely sensed and in situ field data collected through traditional as well as novel platforms and techniques. Coincident observations from paired terraced and proximal reference or control sites (The National Academy of Sciences [NAS] 2017) will be used to directly evaluate the efficacy of terraces on six aspects of performance. These include: 1) hydro-and sediment dynamics including suspended solids, sediment transport, retention, and accretion, 2) shoreline erosion, 3) submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) production, 4) emergent marsh creation, 5) avian resource use, and 6) terrace longevity. Additionally, the observations of water, sediment, and ecological parameters will be made with state-of-the-art sensors, in some cases deployed from autonomous platforms. While previous studies have focused on some of these aspects or methodological approaches, none have extended across the breadth of space and time of this study.

Project Personnel

Dr. J. Brian Davis, Principal Investigator
Endowed Associate Professor
College of Forest Resources
Mississippi State University
Dr. Anna Linhoss
Associate Professor
Biosystems Engineering
Auburn University
Dr. Robert Moorhead
Geosystems Research Institute
Mississippi State University
Dr. Adam Skarke
Associate Professor, Geology
Department of Geosciences
Mississippi State University


This work is supported by The National Academy of Sciences grant no. G00003209 (324588).

Period of Performance

April 15, 2017 – December 14, 2022