Stratification and fine sediment transport mechanisms in a semi-enclosed tidal lagoon (Pagham Harbour, West Sussex)

S.B. Mitchell, H.M. Burgess, David Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preliminary analysis of data collected at a macrotidal semi-enclosed lagoon (Pagham Harbour, UK) has revealed useful information about long-term patterns of siltation and some of the related mechanisms. Sediment surface-level measurements made over 2 years at different sites within Pagham Harbour have shown a steady siltation, in common with earlier measurements, which is moderated by seasonal effects due to erosion by locally generated waves. Furthermore, inspection of vertical profiles of salinity and turbidity over individual tidal cycles has revealed that the degree of sediment transport on the flood tide is related to the vertical salinity gradient. Thus, at the Ferry Pool site, which is characterised by episodic pumped discharges from a nearby sewage treatment plant, landward sediment transport is enhanced by the high degree of salinity stratification observed during the flood tide. The mobility of the sediment, and the greater distribution of softer, less-well consolidated sediment deposits, is greater here than at the other significant freshwater inflow at the Salthouse site, where the fresh water flow is instead moderated by a tidal flap gate. Preliminary analyses suggest that the higher the salinity stratification, the greater the landward sediment transport during the flood tide. Such analyses could help inform future policy on the methods of land drainage to macrotidal lagoons, and on the potential for managed realignment at such sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalWater and Environment Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • estuaries, fine sediment transport, inter-tidal lagoon, macrotidal, UK


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