A new high-precision device for measuring sediment elevation in emergent and shallow water wetland systems is described. The rod surface-elevation table (RSET) is a balanced, lightweight mechanical leveling device that attaches to both shallow (< 1 m) and deep (driven to refusal) rod bench marks. The RSET was built to complement the surface-elevation table (SET), a larger and heavier mechanical leveling device first described by Boumans and Day (1993). Because of its size and weight, the SET must be attached to a pipe bench mark, which typically must be driven to a depth > 1 m in order to be stable. The pipe is driven to refusal but typically to a depth shallower than the rod bench mark because of greater surface resistance of the pipe. Thus, the RSET makes it possible to partition change in sediment elevation over shallower (e.g., the root zone) and deeper depths of the sediment profile than is possible with the SET. The confidence intervals for the height of an individual pin measured by two different operators with the RSET under laboratory conditions were ± 1.0 and ± 1.5 mm. Under field conditions, confidence intervals for the measured height of an individual pin ranged from ± 1.3 mm in a mangrove forest up to ± 4.3 mm in a salt marsh.

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