Collection, analysis, and age-dating of sediment cores from Herring River wetlands and other nearby wetlands in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, 2015–17

Online link
Description The Herring River estuary in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has been tidally restricted for more than a century by a dike constructed near the mouth of the river. Upstream from the dike, the tidal restriction has caused the conversion of salt marsh wetlands to various other ecosystems including impounded freshwater marshes, flooded shrub land, drained forested upland, and brackish wetlands dominated by Phragmites australis. This estuary is now managed by the National Park Service, which plans to replace the aging dike and restore tidal flow to the estuary. To assist National Park Service land managers with restoration planning, the U.S. Geological Survey collected fourteen sediment cores from different ecosystems within the tidally restricted Herring River estuary (four sites) and an estuary in Wellfleet Harbor near the Herring River dike (three sites) between 2015 and 2017. Collected cores were up to 70 cm in length with dry bulk density ranges from 0.03 to 2.39 grams per cubic centimeter and carbon content 0.23% to 46.25%. Land surface elevation was measured at each site (ranging from -0.149 meters to 1.494 meters relative to NAVD88) to determine the boundaries for each site within current tidal conditions. Gamma counting results for excess lead-210 were used to construct Constant Rate of Supply (CRS) age models to age-date individual depth intervals in the cores. Additionally, gamma counting results for other radionuclides, particularly cesium-137 gave further insight to evaluate how vertical accretion and carbon burial rates have changed during the past century. This dataset can help evaluate differences among the varied ecosystems and vegetation types to make predictions about potential changes as tidal restoration commences in the Herring River estuary. [More]
Originators Suttles, Jennifer A. O'Keefe; Eagle, Meagan J.; Mann, Adrian G.; Wang, Faming; Tang, Jim; Roberts, Daniel M.; Sanks, Kelly M.; Smith, Timothy P.; and Kroeger, Kevin D.
Field activities placeholder

Related topics

Browse graphic is a photograph of a Phragmites wetland in the Herring River estuary in Wellfleet, MA.
Browse graphic is a photograph of a Phragmites wetland in the Herring River estuary in Wellfleet, MA.