delware environmental institute

UDaily: Sustainable estuaries - NSF grant supports research on sustainable urban estuaries

UDaily: Sustainable estuaries - NSF grant supports research on sustainable urban estuaries

Altering waterways — from deepening rivers to paving over wetlands — has helped port cities thrive over the past century. Yet the changes can disrupt nature’s ways of dealing with coastal storms, as seen in New York last year after Hurricane Sandy.

“When you deepen an estuary, you basically reduce its capacity to buffer the impacts of extreme tides and storm surge,” said Chris Sommerfield, associate professor of oceanography in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment(CEOE). “Some people think that Hurricane Sandy had more of an impact in New York City than it would have before the harbor was deepened and the wetlands filled.”