Clear Creek Reservoir Bathymetry

Science Center Objects

To better characterize the water supply capacity of Clear Creek Reservoir, Chaffee County, Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pueblo Board of Water Works and Colorado Mountain College, carried out a bathymetry survey of Clear Creek Reservoir. The equipment and methods used in this study allowed water-resource managers to maintain typical reservoir operations, eliminating the need to empty the reservoir to carry out the survey.

Westward view of Clear Creek Reservoir

Westward view of Clear Creek Reservoir. (Credit: Jacob S. Mohrmann, Colorado Mountain College - Leadville. Public domain.)

BACKGROUND:

A better understanding of available water supply aids water managers in their operation of reservoirs during periods of drought and (or) high demand, and, should another bathymetric survey be conducted in the future, provides a dataset that also could be used to determine sedimentation infill rate and the useful lifespan of the reservoir.  The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Pueblo Board of Water Works, carried out bathymetry studies of Clear Creek Reservoir, Chaffee County, Colorado, from June 6–9, 2016.

The study was performed by the U.S. Geological Survey using a man-operated boat-mounted multibeam echo sounder integrated with Global Navigation Satellite System navigation. The U.S. Geological Survey collaborated with Colorado Mountain College-Leadville and its students to perform the terrestrial topographic real-time kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System survey following established U.S. Geological Survey techniques and methods.  The vertical and horizontal precision of the terrestrial real-time Global Navigation Satellite Systems as rated by the manufacturer are ±0.066 feet and ±0.033 feet, respectively (Trimble Navigation Limited, 2009a).  The vertical and horizontal precision of the multibeam echo sounder Global Navigation Satellite Systems as rated by the manufacturer are ±0.065 feet and ±0.032 feet, respectively (Trimble Navigation Limited, 2009b).  The two collected datasets will be processed, merged, and imported into geographic information system software to generate a new bathymetric map.  The results of the study will be published and will include an updated (2016) stage-surface area and stage-volume rating and bathymetric map.  

USGS personnel collecting bathymetry data.

USGS research vessel with Teledyne Odom Hydrographic ES3PT–M integrated multibeam echo sounder and motion sensor submerged on the port side, and Trimble SPS461 GPS receivers mounted on each side of vessel.(Credit: Michael Kohn, USGS Colorado Water Science Center. Public domain.)

OBJECTIVES:

  • To perform a bathymetric survey below the water level of the reservoir using a man-operated boat-mounted multibeam echo sounder integrated with Global Navigation Satellite System navigation.
  • Colorado Mountain College-Leadville staff and students will perform a terrestrial topographic survey above the water level to the top of the dam using a terrestrial real-time kinematic Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
  • To survey the principal control points on the dam to maintain horizontal and vertical control and survey the spillway invert locations and elevations.
  • To merge the two collected datasets, the bathymetric survey and the terrestrial topographic survey, and import into geographic information system software
  • To publish a bathymetric map of each reservoir and present with plots and tables of stage-surface area and stage-storage published in a U.S. Geological Survey Report.