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USGS Fact Sheet Summarizes Estimates of Sediment Load from Major Rivers into Puget Sound.

Cover of a USGS fact sheet.
Cover of fact sheet

On September 8, 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released Fact Sheet 2011-3083, which summarizes estimates of sediment load from major rivers into Puget Sound and its adjacent waters, and the uncertainties of these estimates. Rivers carry freshwater into Puget Sound, as well as sediment and other materials, such as wood, important to estuarine and nearshore habitat, aquatic ecology, and water quality. When sediment delivery is depleted, nearshore critical habitat and beaches can be eroded by natural coastal processes and lost. The Fact Sheet reports that an estimated load of 6.5 million tons of sediment is transported annually by rivers to Puget Sound and its adjacent waters; however, this estimate is highly uncertain because sediment studies and available sediment-load data are sparse and historically limited to specific rivers, short time frames, and a narrow range of hydrologic conditions. The Fact Sheet concludes that "detailed monitoring and analytical understanding of sediment load, size, quality, and movement are needed to best understand, protect, and restore important ecosystem processes and functions in Puget Sound." 

The full citation for the new Fact Sheet is:

Czuba, J.A., Magirl, C.S., Czuba, C.R., Grossman, E.E., Curran, C.A., Gendaszek, A.S., and Dinicola, R.S., 2011, Sediment load from major rivers into Puget Sound and its adjacent waters: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3083, 4 p.

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