Bly Creek Ecosystem Study-Inorganic Sediment Transport Within an Euhaline Salt Marsh Basin, North Inlet, South Carolina

Thomas G. Wolaver, Richard F. Dame, John D. Spurrier, Anne B. Miller


Inorganic suspended sediment (ISS) concentrations in Bly Creek, a subcomponent of North Inlet estuary in South Carolina, varied seasonally from 6.5 mg 1-1 in winter to 85.1 mg 1-1 in summer. A multiple regression model based on environmental parameters and ISS flux estimates from 34 tidal cycles equally distributed throughout the time period June 20, 1983 to June 19, 1984 produced an estimated input of 9.76 x 105kg y-1 (S.E. = 5.95 x 105 kg y-1). Input of ISS to the Bly Creek basin by freshwater streams was negligible. Within the basin, the salt marsh was a statistically significant sink for ISS while the oyster reef was a statistically insignificant sink. Although the annual amount of ISS removed by the salt marsh was significant, it was less than the standard error of the ISS flux into the basin. The amount of ISS removed by the marsh appears sufficient to maintain its elevation in relation to current local sea level rise.


Salt marsh basin; nutrient cycling; inorganic sediment; tidal flux; stream water; vegetated marsh; oyster reef

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