Meselhe, E.; McCorquodale, J.A.; Shelden, J.; Dortch, M.; Brown, T.S.; Elkan, P.; Rodrigue, M.D.; Schindler, J.K., and Wang, Z., 2013. Ecohydrology component of Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan: mass-balance compartment model.
Coastal Louisiana is a complex system that encompasses large expanses of wetlands interspersed with shallow bays and estuaries of varying sizes and degrees of connectivity to the Gulf of Mexico, numerous water control structures, large riverine systems, and an intricate system of natural and manmade channels. This complex system is experiencing devastating rates of land loss that have been exacerbated by subsidence and sea level rise. As part of Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan, this modeling effort utilizes an efficient mass-balance approach to provide coastwide (∼100,000 km2), long-term (∼50 y) performance projections for proposed restoration and protection measures. The model presented here provided detailed information about the spatial and temporal variability of water depth, salinity, accretion rates, deposition, and other water quality parameters across the Louisiana coastal zone. Furthermore, the model provided this information to subsequent modules in the master plan suite of models, namely, wetland morphology, vegetation, ecosystem services, and barrier shoreline morphology. Collectively, this suite of models served as an effective approach to provide valuable comparative assessments for the various proposed restoration and protection scenarios and alternatives.