Spatial and temporal variations in suspended sediment and sediment deposition, Cumberland Basin, Bay of Fundy

Parry, Jennifer Frances
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University of Guelph

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of spatial and temporal variation in sediment deposition rates between several saltmarshes over a tidal cycle, within the Cumberland Basin to the following geomorphic controls: (1) wind waves and tidal currents, (2) suspended sediment concentrations, (3) vegetation, and (4) marsh morphology. Five diverse marshes were chosen along the length of the Basin. Samples of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and sediment deposition were collected simultaneously over individual tidal cycles, while continuous measurements of wind direction and velocity were collected over the duration of the study. More detailed measurements were made during several tidal inundations by an electronic instrument array. Results indicate that waves generated at the mouth of the Basin are of key importance to sediment availability in the water column throughout the Basin. Spatial variation in sediment deposition between marshes is primarily a function of two internal controls: marsh morphology and relative roughness index (ratio between vegetation height and mean water depth). However, no one geomorphic control can be determined as dominant, as sediment deposition in the Cumberland Basin is the result of complex interrelationships between various controls.

Cumberland Basin, Bay of Fundy, suspended sediment, sediment deposition, spatial variation, temporal variation