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.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 13th Hydraulics in Water Engineering Conference|
|Editors||Peter Brady, Stefan Felder|
|Place of Publication||Sydney|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Event||Hydraulics in Water Engineering Conference (13th : 2017) - Dockside, Sydney, Australia|
Duration: 13 Nov 2017 → 16 Nov 2017
|Conference||Hydraulics in Water Engineering Conference (13th : 2017)|
|Abbreviated title||HIWE 2017|
|Period||13/11/17 → 16/11/17|
Rodriguez, J. F., Saco, P. M., Sandi, S. G., Saintilan, N., & Riccardi, G. (2017). Predicting sea-level rise and infrastructure effects on coastal wetlands. In P. Brady, & S. Felder (Eds.), Proceedings of the 13th Hydraulics in Water Engineering Conference (pp. 329-334). Sydney: Engineers Australia.