Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

David Patrick

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

Frank Heitmuller

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Maurice Meylan

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology

Abstract

This study is a comprehensive look into the response and recovery of an anthropogenic induced sediment infill of a bottom land hardwood wetland at Camp Shelby Training Site (CSTS) in Perry and Forrest Counties, Mississippi. Lack of sediment control structures (sediment fences and matting), combined with high rainfall, led to erosion within and around the Multi Purpose Range Complex-Heavy (MPRC-H) during its construction. Deposition of sediment effected approximately 20.2 hectares of wetlands that have been monitored since the event occurred in 2005. To better understand the recovery process, the study area was compared to the Cypress Creek Mitigation Area (CCMA) that has similar, but natural environmental characteristics. Groundwater geochemistry and infiltration rates were measured and compared to determine the effects of the sediment in fill on the MPRC-H wetland. The geochemical results show increases an in the MPRC-H wetlands with the elements: calcium, manganese, silica, sodium, and sulfur. The infiltration measurements for the CCMA have an average rate of 12.45 mm/hr with the MPRC-H wetland infiltration rates averaging 2.7 mm/hr. The data also reveal that three major wetland functions were disrupted due to the infill: 1) the ability to retain minor and trace elements, 2) maintaining subsurface hydrology, 3) and the ability to slow and retain floodwaters. The plume was remapped in 2009 to compare to the 2005 plume and there was a 39% decrease in aerial extent due to natural erosional processes. In 2005, the average plume thickness was 6.4 cm, and by 2009 that amount had changed to 2.7 cm, which is a 30% decrease. These data will enable wetland managers and scientists to better understand the impact of sediment infill and how they translate to the decrease or increase in wetland function.

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