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Bathymetry and topography data from the Elwha River delta, Washington, May 2011

May 5, 2017

Two dams on the Elwha River, Washington State, USA trapped over 20 million cubic meters of sediment, reducing downstream sediment fluxes and contributing to erosion of the river's coastal delta. The removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams between 2011 and 2014 induced massive increases in river sediment supply and provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine the response of a delta system to changes in sediment supply. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed an integrated research program aimed at understanding the ecosystem responses following dam removal. The research program included repeated surveys of beach topography, nearshore bathymetry, and surface sediment grain size to quantify changes in delta morphology and texture following the dam removals. For more information on the USGS role in the Elwha River Restoration Project, please visit http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/elwha/.

This USGS data release presents data collected during surveys of nearshore bathymetry and beach topography from the Elwha River delta, Washington. Survey operations were conducted between May 16 and May 17, 2011 (USGS Field Activity Number W-04-11-PS). The survey team included scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC), Washington State Department of Ecology (WA DOE), and Washington Sea Grant.

Nearshore bathymetry data were collected using two personal watercraft (PWCs), each equipped with single-beam echosounders and survey-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers. Topography data were collected on foot with GNSS receivers mounted on backpacks. Positions of the survey platforms were referenced to a GNSS base station placed on a nearby benchmark with known horizontal and vertical coordinates. A total of 53 km of nearshore bathymetric survey lines and 77 km of topographic survey lines were collected during the 2 days of survey operations. Poor weather and mechanical failures limited the overall data coverage during this survey. A continuous DEM surface of the primary survey area was produced from all available bathymetry and topography data using linear interpolation and a grid-spacing of 5 m. An additional DEM with 1-m resolution grid-spacing was produced using linear interpolation for areas adjacent to the river mouth.

Digital files containing the nearshore bathymetry data, beach topography data, and derived DEMs from this survey are available for download from the child item pages.