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We characterized seafloor sediment conditions near the mouth of the Elwha River from underwater photographs taken every four hours from September 2011 to December 2013. A digital camera was affixed to a tripod that was deployed in approximately 10 meters of water (Tripod location from September 2011 to April 2013: 48.15333, -123.55931; tripod location from April 2013 to December 2013: 48.15407, -123.55444). Each photograph was qualitatively characterized as one of six categories: (1) base, or no sediment; (2) low sediment; (3) medium sediment; (4) high sediment; (5) turbid; or (6) kelp. For base conditions, no sediment was present on the seafloor. Low sediment conditions were characterized by a light dusting of...
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We have investigated the sources, dispersal, and fate of fine sediment supplied to California coastal waters in a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Sediment Management Workgroup (CSMW). The purpose of this study was to document the rates and characteristics of these processes so that the State can better manage its coastal resources, including sediment. In this study, we made the following observations: - Rivers dominate the supply of fine sediment to the California coastal waters, with an average annual flux of 34 megatonnes (Mt). - Cliff and bluff erosion in central and southern California is a source of fine sediment, with a delivery rate of approximately 10 percent of...
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Hyperpycnal gravity currents rapidly transport sediment across shore from rivers to the continental shelf and deep sea. Although these geophysical processes are important sediment dispersal mechanisms, few distinct geomorphic features on the continental shelf can be attributed to hyperpycnal flows. Here we provide evidence of large depositional features derived from hyperpycnal plumes on the continental shelf of the northern Santa Barbara Channel, California, from the combination of new sonar, lidar, and seismic reflection data. These data reveal lobate fans directly offshore of the mouths of several watersheds known to produce hyperpycnal concentrations of suspended sediment. The fans occur on an upwardly concave...
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Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam removal—from September 2011 to August 2014—more than ten million cubic meters of sediment was eroded from the former reservoirs, transported downstream, and deposited throughout the lower river, river delta, and nearshore waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Water quality data collected in the estuary complex at the mouth of the Elwha River document how conditions in the estuary...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Limnology and Oceanography
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This portion of the USGS data release presents bathymetry data collected during surveys performed on the Elwha River delta, Washington in July 2015 (USGS Field Activity Number 2015-648-FA). Bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs), each equipped with single-beam sonar systems and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers. The PWC sonar systems consisted of an Odom Echotrac CV-100 single-beam echosounder and 200 kHz transducer with a 9° beam angle. Raw acoustic backscatter returns were digitized by the echosounder with a vertical resolution of 1.25 cm. Depths from the echosounders were computed using sound velocity profiles measured using a YSI CastAway CTD during the survey....
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This portion of the USGS data release presents topography data collected during surveys performed on the Elwha River delta, Washington, in May 2011 (USGS Field Activity Number W-04-11-PS). Topography data were collected on foot with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) equipment mounted on backpacks operating in Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) mode. A total of 3 GNSS backpacks, each equipped with a dual-frequency GNSS receiver and handheld data collector, were used during the survey. Differential corrections were transmitted at 1-Hz intervals by a VHF radio to the backpack GNSS receivers from a GNSS base station placed on a benchmark with known horizontal and vertical coordinates relative to the North American Datum...
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This portion of the USGS data release presents bathymetry data collected during surveys performed on the Elwha River delta, Washington in September 2010 (USGS Field Activity Number W-03-10-PS). Bathymetry data were collected using a small boat and a personal watercraft (PWC), each equipped with single-beam sonar systems and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers. The sonar systems on the survey vessels consisted of an Odom Echotrac CV-100 single-beam echosounder and 200 kHz transducer with a 9° beam angle. Raw acoustic backscatter returns were digitized by the echosounder with a vertical resolution of 1.25 cm. Depths from the echosounders were computed using sound velocity profiles measured using a...
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After nearly a century of producing power, two large hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River in Washington State were removed during 2011 to 2014 to restore the river ecosystem and recover imperiled salmon populations. Roughly two-thirds of the 21 million cubic meters of sediment—enough to fill nearly 2 million dump trucks—contained behind the dams was released downstream, which restored natural processes and initiated important changes to the river, estuarine, and marine ecosystems. A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, academia, non-governmental organizations, Federal and state agencies, and the U.S. Geological Survey collected key data before, during, and after dam removal to...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Fine-grained sediment (silt and clay) enters coastal waters from rivers, eroding coastal bluffs, resuspension of seabed sediment, and human activities such as dredging and beach nourishment. The amount of sediment in coastal waters is an important factor in ocean ecosystem health, but little information exists on both the natural and human-driven magnitudes of fine-grained sediment delivery to the coastal zone, its residence time there, and its transport out of the system—information upon which to base environmental assessments. To help fill these information gaps, the U.S. Geological Survey has partnered with Federal, State, and local agencies to monitor fine-grained sediment dispersal patterns and fate in the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Two dams on the Elwha River, Washington State, USA trapped over 20 million m3 of mud, sand, and gravel since 1927, reducing downstream sediment fluxes and contributing to erosion of the river's coastal delta. The removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, initiated in September 2011, induced massive increases in river sediment supply and provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine the geomorphic response of a coastal delta to these increases. Detailed measurements of beach topography and nearshore bathymetry show that ~ 2.5 million m3 of sediment was deposited during the first two years of dam removal, which is ~ 100 times greater than deposition rates measured prior to dam removal. The majority of the deposit...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Geomorphology
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From March 1531, 2005, more than 252 km (19.5 km2) of seafloor offshore of the Elwha River Delta in the central Strait of Juan de Fuca was mapped by the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. The purpose of this nearshore mapping was to (1) obtain high resolution bathymetry and acoustic reflectance properties of the seabed, (2) examine and record geologic characteristics of the seafloor, and (3) construct maps of sea-floor geomorphology and habitat. Substrate distribution was characterized with video-supervised statistical classification of the sonar data. Substrate of the survey was dominated by mixed sand-gravel and sand. Numerous boulder reefs were observed west of the river mouth within Freshwater Bay, whereas...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Data Series
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Existing methods for estimating mean grain size of sediment in an image require either complicated sequences of image processing (filtering, edge detection, segmentation, etc.) or statistical procedures involving calibration. We present a new approach which uses Fourier methods to calculate grain size directly from the image without requiring calibration. Based on analysis of over 450 images, we found the accuracy to be within approximately 16% across the full range from silt to pebbles. Accuracy is comparable to, or better than, existing digital methods. The new method, in conjunction with recent advances in technology for taking appropriate images of sediment in a range of natural environments, promises to revolutionize...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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This portion of the USGS data release presents sediment grain-size data from on the Elwha River delta, Washington in July and August, 2015 (USGS Field Activities 2015-648-FA and 2015-652-FA). Bed sediment was sampled using a small ponar, or 'grab', sampler on July 28, 2016 from the R/V Frontier at a total of 70 locations in water depths between approximately 1 and 17 m around the delta. An additional 17 samples were obtained by SCUBA divers between July 22 and August 23, 2015 using a 15 cm diameter push corer inserted into the seabed as far as possible to a maximum depth of 15 cm. Forty-eight samples were collected at low tide at intertidal locations on the delta. The locations of grab samples and intertidal samples...
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This portion of the USGS data release presents digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from bathymetric and topographic surveys conducted on the Elwha River delta in July 2018 (USGS Field Activity Number 2018-648-FA). Nearshore bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs) and a kayak equipped with single-beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) receivers. Topographic data were collected on foot with survey-grade GNSS receivers mounted on backpacks. Positions of the survey platforms were referenced to a GNSS base station placed on a benchmark with known horizontal and vertical coordinates relative to the North American Datum of 1983 (CORS96 realization)...
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Littoral cells along active tectonic margins receive large inputs of sand and gravel from coastal watersheds and commonly lose this sediment to submarine canyons. One hypothesis is that the majority of coarse (sand and gravel) river sediment discharge will be emplaced within and immediately “resupply” local littoral cells. A competing hypothesis is that the infrequent, large floods that supply the majority of littoral sediment may discharge water-sediment mixtures within negatively buoyant hyperpycnal plumes that transport sediment offshore of the littoral cell. Here we summarize pre- and post-flood surveys of two wave-dominated California (United States) river deltas during record to near-record floods to help...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Geology
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Understanding landscape responses to sediment supply changes constitutes a fundamental part of many problems in geomorphology, but opportunities to study such processes at field scales are rare. The phased removal of two large dams on the Elwha River, Washington, exposed 21 ± 3 million m3, or ~ 30 million tonnes (t), of sediment that had been deposited in the two former reservoirs, allowing a comprehensive investigation of watershed and coastal responses to a substantial increase in sediment supply. Here we provide a source-to-sink sediment budget of this sediment release during the first two years of the project (September 2011–September 2013) and synthesize the geomorphic changes that occurred to downstream fluvial...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Geomorphology
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The removal of two dams on the Elwha River will introduce massive volumes of sediment to the river, and this increase in sediment supply in the river will likely modify the shapes and forms of the river and coastal landscape downstream of the dams. This chapter provides the geologic and geomorphologic background of the Olympic Peninsula and the Elwha River with emphasis on the present river and shoreline. The Elwha River watershed was formed through the uplift of the Olympic Mountains, erosion and movement of sediment throughout the watershed from glaciers, and downslope movement of sediment from gravitational and hydrologic forces. Recent alterations to the river morphology and sediment movement through the river...
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Habitat diversity and heterogeneity play a fundamental role in structuring ecological communities. Dam emplacement and removal can fundamentally alter habitat characteristics, which in turn can affect associated biological communities. Beginning in the early 1900s, the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams in Washington, USA, withheld an estimated 30 million tonnes of sediment from river, coastal, and nearshore habitats. During the staged removal of these dams—the largest dam removal project in history—over 14 million tonnes of sediment were released from the former reservoirs. Our interdisciplinary study in coastal habitats—the first of its kind—shows how the physical changes to the river delta and estuary habitats during...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Monographs
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This portion of the USGS data release presents digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from bathymetric and topographic surveys conducted on the Elwha River delta, Washington, in April 2014 (USGS Field Activity Number 2014-620-FA). Nearshore bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs) equipped with single-beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers. Topography data were collected on foot with survey-grade GNSS receivers mounted on backpacks. Positions of the survey platforms were referenced to a GNSS base station placed on a benchmark with known horizontal and vertical coordinates relative to the North American Datum of 1983 (CORS96 realization)...
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This portion of the USGS data release presents digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from bathymetric and topographic surveys conducted on the Elwha River delta, Washington, in March 2013 (USGS Field Activity Number W-01-13-PS). Nearshore bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs) equipped with single-beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers. Topography data were collected on foot with survey-grade GNSS receivers mounted on backpacks. Positions of the survey platforms were referenced to a GNSS base station placed on a benchmark with known horizontal and vertical coordinates relative to the North American Datum of 1983 (CORS96 realization) and...


map background search result map search result map Sources, dispersal, and fate of fine sediment supplied to coastal California Geomorphology of the Elwha River and its Delta: Chapter 3 in <i>Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal</i> Fine-grained sediment dispersal along the California coast Hyperpycnal plume-derived fans in the Santa Barbara Channel, California Nearshore bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2015 Surface-sediment grain-size distributions from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2015 Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Elwha River delta, Washington, April 2014 Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Elwha River delta, Washington, March 2013 Topography data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, May 2011 Nearshore bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, September 2010 Characterization of seafloor photographs near the mouth of the Elwha River during the first two years of dam removal (2011-2013) Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2018 Characterization of seafloor photographs near the mouth of the Elwha River during the first two years of dam removal (2011-2013) Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2018 Nearshore bathymetry data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2015 Surface-sediment grain-size distributions from the Elwha River delta, Washington, July 2015 Geomorphology of the Elwha River and its Delta: Chapter 3 in <i>Coastal habitats of the Elwha River, Washington--biological and physical patterns and processes prior to dam removal</i> Hyperpycnal plume-derived fans in the Santa Barbara Channel, California Sources, dispersal, and fate of fine sediment supplied to coastal California Fine-grained sediment dispersal along the California coast