Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

VCU Rice Rivers Center Research Symposium

Date of Submission

May 2016


Current research of freshwater wetland soils have assessed and reported smaller stocks of soil organic carbon in restored wetlands compared to reference natural wetlands. However, a majority of these studies focus on sites restored from agricultural draining of non-tidal depressional wetlands,whereas carbon and accretion dynamics in tidal freshwater wetlands restored via dam removal is poorly understood. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates over 80,000 dams greater than 6 feet and tens of thousands of smaller dams pepper the U.S., of which the majority are unsafe, old or no longer serve their intended purpose. Damming disrupts the natural flow of sediment to adjoining water bodies resulting in the accumulation of what are commonly referred to as Legacy Sediments (LS). These sediments have the ability to alter the biology, hydrology, geomorphology, and biogeochemistry of their river corridors and adjacent riparian ecosystems. While the effect of these sediment inputs on ecosystem function has been well investigated in non-tidal regions, particularly in the form of milldam removal, there has been little-to-no inquiry on how LS exist within and affect tidal wetlands and their biotic and abiotic processes.

The objectives of this study are to uantify the current temporal and spatial variation in sediment deposition and soil carbon dynamics within KC and Harris Creek (HC) wetlands via sediment collection tiles (SCTs); assess the differences in LS characteristics along the tidal to non-tidal gradient and between different depositional areas through soil core sampling and radiocarbon dating; and, compare carbon sequestration and sediment accretion rates between the two historical environments: the pre-impoundment forested freshwater wetland & the Lake Charles environment (LS).


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VCU Rice Rivers Center Research Symposium