Predicting sea-level rise and infrastructure effects on coastal wetlands

José F. Rodriguez, Patricia M. Saco, Steven G. Sandi, Neil Saintilan, Gerardo Riccardi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    Climate change predictions for Australia include an accelerated sea-level rise, which challenges the survival of estuarine wetlands. Furthermore, coastal infrastructure poses an additional constraint on the adaptive capacity of these ecosystems. This paper presents results of wetland evolution based on hydroperiod and inundation depth experienced by vegetation, and computed using a hydrodynamic model. The application simulates the long-term evolution of a wetland on the Hunter Estuary heavily constricted by infrastructure that is undergoing the effects of predicted accelerated sea-level rise. The wetland presents a vegetation zonation sequence mudflats - mangrove - saltmarsh from the seaward margin, but is also affected by compartmentalization due to internal road embankments and culverts that effectively attenuates tidal inputs. Results of the model show that flow attenuation can play a major role in wetland hydrodynamics and that its effects can increase wetland vulnerability under climate change scenarios, particularly in situations where existing infrastructure affects the flow.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Hydraulics in Water Engineering Conference
    EditorsPeter Brady, Stefan Felder
    Place of PublicationSydney
    PublisherEngineers Australia
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781925627039
    ISBN (Print)9781925627008
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventHydraulics in Water Engineering Conference (13th : 2017) - Dockside, Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 13 Nov 201716 Nov 2017


    ConferenceHydraulics in Water Engineering Conference (13th : 2017)
    Abbreviated titleHIWE 2017


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