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Above- and below-ground water-level fluctuations were measured in the marshes south of New Orleans, Louisiana, between November 1982 and December 1983. The purpose of the program was to defme the basic marsh water-level regime and to investigate how canal spoil banks may influence the water-level regime. Two study areas were used: (1) a control area, defined as a section of marsh with unrestricted hydrologic connection to an adjacent bayou; and, (2) a partially-impounded area, defined as an area with limited hydrologic connection to an adjacent bayou due to the presence of dredged canal spoil banks. Data sources included marsh water levels from gages deployed at three sites within the study areas and water levels from the adjacent bayous obtained from the tide gages of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Data from all marsh gage sites showed a similar pattern with a distinct surface and subsurface diurnal tidal signal superimposed upon other, larger scale events. These larger scale events correspond to the passage of weather fronts. The data also indicated that a significant amount of water-level fluctuation in the marshes occurs below ground. A comparison of the control area and the partially-impounded site indicated that the spoil banks changed the response of the marsh water levels to the forcing from the bayou, with the result that the partially-impounded area: (1) was flooded 141 hours more per month than the control area; (2) had fewer, but longer flooding events; (3) had fewer but longer drying events; and (4) reduced water exchange, both above and below ground.

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