Hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling with emphasis on shallow-water, vegetated areas (lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and lagoons)

Allen M. Teeter, Billy H. Johnson, Charlie Berger, Guus Stelling, Norman W. Scheffner, Marcelo H. Garcia, T. M. Parchure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modeling capabilities for shallow, vegetated, systems are reviewed to assess hydrodynamic, wind and wave, submersed plant friction, and sediment transport aspects. Typically, ecosystems with submersed aquatic vegetation are relatively shallow, physically stable and of moderate hydrodynamic energy. Wind-waves are often important to sediment resuspension. These are open systems that receive flows of material and energy to various degrees around their boundaries. Bed shear-stress, erosion, light extinction and submersed aquatic vegetation influence each other. Therefore, it is difficult to uncouple these components in model systems. Spatial changes in temperature, salinity, dissolved and particulate material depend on hydrodynamics. Water motions range from wind-wave scales on the small end, which might be important to erosion, to sub-tidal or seasonal scales on the large end, which are generally important to flushing. Seagrass modifies waves and, therefore, affects the relationships among the non-dimensional scaling parameters commonly used in wave analysis. Seagrass shelters the bed, often causing aggradation and changes in grain size, while increasing total resistance to flow. Hydrodynamic friction can not be well characterized by a single-parameter equation in seagrass beds, and models need appropriate enhancement when applied to these systems. Presently, modeling is limited by computational power, which is, however, improving. Other limitations include information on seagrass effects expressed in frictional resistance to currents, bed-sheltering, and wave damping in very shallow water under conditions of both normal and high bed roughness. Moreover, quantitative information on atmospheric friction and shear stress in shallow water and seagrass areas are needed. So far, various empirical equations have been used with wind or wave forcing to describe resuspension in shallow water. Although these equations have been reasonably successful in predicting suspended sediment concentrations, they require site-specific data. More detailed laboratory and field measurements are needed to improve the resuspension equations and model formulation pertaining to seagrass beds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
StatePublished - Feb 1 2001


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Model
  • Resuspension
  • Sediment transport
  • Submerged aquatic vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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