Dr. Robert Chant Researches Raritan River Estuary Sediment Transport

News | Raritan River Initiatives | Water Quality

Dr. Robert Chant, a professor of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is researching sediment and contaminant transport in the Raritan River Estuary. The import and export of sediment in the Raritan River Estuary varies in relation to the tide. Heavier tidal changes lead to the import of sediment while neap tides, when there is little change between low and high tide, lead to the export. Sediment can trap contaminants, like arsenic and mercury, which are then spread among nearby ecological systems. Although the estuary system appears to show a net import of sediment on an annual basis, the sediment transport is frequent in both directions.

Like sediment transport, salinity in the Raritan River Estuary varies depending on the tides. Neap tide draws salinity further into the system and into deeper waters. While the salt front usually stays within the river, it may be pushed out of the estuary when tides exceed 300 m³/s, which happens about three times a year. Both sediment and salinity are important indicators of potential contamination.

Dr. Chant spoke about his Raritan River Estuary research at the 2016 RU on the Raritan Conference; a copy of his presentation can be viewed on the conference page. His research project is still ongoing.

For more information contact Dr. Robert Chant at chant@marine.rutgers.edu.