Improved Understanding of Sediment Dynamics for the Coos Estuary

Wed, Sep 29 2021, 4 - 5pm

Speaker(s): David Sutherland, Emily Eidam, and Jenni Schmitt

Location: Webinar

Designated one of Oregon’s three “deep draft development” estuaries, the Coos estuary has many diverse users who share a need for better information about water and sediment flows through the estuary under current and future conditions. Working closely with the South Slough NERR and the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a local stakeholder group, researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina helped to address some of these informational needs. The team collected new data, including the first bathymetric dataset to cover the entire Coos estuary, and developed a hydrodynamic model to better understand and predict estuarine water and sediment flows. They then worked with end users to develop data and modeling products of interest, including two perturbation experiments analyzing a proposed deepening and widening of the estuary’s main navigation channel.

In this webinar, members of the project team discuss the end-user engagement approach used in their collaborative research project, present highlights from the model experiments, and share observations from an examination of historic estuary conditions prior to human impacts.

Learn more about the speakers:

David Sutherland is a coastal physical oceanographer at the University of Oregon, studying estuarine dynamics in Oregon, as well as glacial fjords in Alaska and Greenland. Dave served as the project and collaborative lead, coordinating the many aspects of the project and end user engagement. He also co-led the technical elements, including fieldwork and model development.

Emily Eidam is a fluvial and coastal sedimentologist at University of North Carolina, studying sediment transport and accumulation in diverse environments (primarily in the Arctic). Emily began with the project as a postdoctoral scholar, contributing significantly to model development. She then transitioned to a co-PI when she moved to UNC.

Jenni Schmitt is the Watershed Monitoring Coordinator at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Her research interests include understanding wetland ecosystems with a focus on how climate change influences habitats and species. Jenni also organizes and chairs the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, a collaborative stakeholder group whose members are currently working to guide improved estuary management by using tools such as the hydrodynamic model.