Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Cristina Hernandez, University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

The Role of Marshes in the Sediment Budget of the Corsica River, Maryland


To determine the role of the marshes in the sediment cycling of the Corsica River, 210Pb analyses were carried out and accumulation rates were calculated. Organic matter percent and total phosphorous analyses were also done to the samples. Four cores were collected from different sites in the marsh for comparison. Site one was in the bank and site two in the inside of the marsh. Site three is located upstream and site four is downstream. Accumulation rates from the sites one and two were ~7-9mm/y, which is higher than the average rate of sea level rise in this region ~3-4 mm/yr. Site three changed its rate through the core; in the top we calculated 2.0 mm/y and at the bottom 5.8 mm/y, with a long-term average of 3.8 mm/y. Because of this decrease, this marsh site may disappear with time. Site four showed the highest of all the accumulation rates; 2.3 cm/y. The organic matter percent increases generally upward in cores. We also did total phosphorus analysis while the data should be considered qualitative, values do increase upward with the highest values observed at the base of site 4.