Home | Search/Browse

Estuarine Tidal Riverine Coastal (Subsystem)

Unique Identifier: 9

System Estuarine
Subsystem Estuarine Tidal Riverine Coastal
Tidal Zone Estuarine Tidal Riverine Coastal Subtidal
Estuarine Tidal Riverine Coastal Intertidal

Definition The Estuarine Tidal Riverine Coastal Subsystem includes the most upstream region of the estuary, in those areas between MHHW to the 4 meter depth contour below MLLW in waters that (a) can be regularly influenced by tides and (b) where salinity is below 0.5 during the period of annual low flow. The areas with this salinity may extend upriver to the head of tide, which is identified as the point where the mean tidal range becomes less than 0.2 feet (0.06 meters) (FGDC 2001).

The Tidal Riverine Coastal Subsystem includes upstream areas that are influenced by ocean tides, but do not experience significant salinity. The hydraulic gradient is low and water stage and velocity fluctuate under tidal influence. Water is always present and is confined within a channel, and is usually flowing. The Tidal Riverine Coastal Subsystem is a critical part of the ecology and habitat of the estuary. This area is the site of significant ecological activity and a number of estuarine and coastal species depend on Tidal Riverine Coastal areas for breeding habitats, nursery habitats, and migratory pathways (e.g., striped bass, wading birds, and anadromous fishes). The Tidal Riverine Coastal Subsystem also supports unique hydrological features, for example the Estuarine Turbidity Maximum, tidal bores and Coriolis deflections.