Hydrodynamic modelling of Delta Marsh and simplified methods of discharge estimation for discontinuous inland coastal wetlands

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Aminian, Parsa
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This thesis details the hydrodynamic research conducted at Delta Marsh as part of the Restoring the Tradition marsh rehabilitation project. Research has indicated that the hydraulic and hydrologic controls on the marsh can have considerable impacts on its ecological function, but the impacts of these controls had not previously been studied. Field hydrography and two-dimensional numerical modelling (using MIKE 21) provided insight into many aspects of the physical behaviour of Delta Marsh. Eighty five percent of the inflow to Delta Marsh from Lake Manitoba passes through Clandeboye Channel, and these discharge signals propagate as far west as Cadham Bay. Inflow to the marsh disperses quickly, and accounts for a small fraction of the water that exits the marsh during subsequent outflow. Thus, Portage Diversion water that enters the marsh through the lake can remain there even if there is a net loss in marsh volume over the season. Wind friction across Lake Manitoba has the greatest impact on short-term fluctuations in marsh volume and on the composition of marsh water, followed by the Portage Diversion and the natural inflows to Lake Manitoba. Expansions to flood diversion infrastructure will considerably impact the composition of Delta Marsh waters. Three methods of wetland discharge estimation were developed and tested. The most promising method was the regressed slope Manning method (RSMM), which estimates two-directional channel discharge as a function of the water surface elevations at both ends of a channel. When used in conjunction with the velocity index method, the RSMM can multiply the amount of reliable discharge data collected per research dollar. Thanks to its simple formulation, the RSMM is likely applicable outside of wetland settings, as well.
Hydrodynamics, Delta Marsh, Hydrography, Wetland, Water resources engineering, Numerical modelling, Lake Manitoba, Portage Diversion, Ducks Unlimited, MIKE 21, DHI, Regressed Slope Manning Method, RSMM