Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type

Access to Thesis Restricted to LSU Campus


The coastal wetlands in Louisiana are an important resource that sustains many economies and ecosystems. Subsidence, sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, storms, sediment depletion etc. have placed great strain on coastal ecosystems. Chronic wetland losses have converted vegetated lands into open waters and increased wind fetch. Locally generated wind waves acting on the marsh edge contribute considerably to wetland loss. This research seeks to implement a numerical model that can accurately describe the wave climate along Louisiana’s coast, which will provide a valuable tool that can be used for shore protection, environmental conservation, and resource management. Terrebonne Bay was chosen as the study area for this research because it has experienced one of the largest wetland loss rates among Louisiana estuaries. A continuous wave measurement in upper Terrebonne Bay was obtained over the course of a year. The Delft3D-FLOW and SWAN (Simulating Waves Nearshore) models are coupled to hindcast the wave climate in the estuary. An analysis of a yearlong, continuous wave measurement in upper Terrebonne Bay is presented. The coupled model system is validated against in situ measurements from the wave gauges. The wave power is calculated at different locations in Terrebonne Bay using the validated model results. Insight into the temporal and spatial variability of wave power is gained. Through the quantification of swell energy around the bay, improvements of long-term wave power computation for shoreline retreat prediction are presented. It is found the swell energy becomes the primary driver of marsh edge retreat in the southwest part of Terrebonne Bay as the barrier islands are degrading.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Chen, Qin J.