During 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the City of Ithaca, New York, and the New York State Department of State, conducted a bathymetric survey of the lower Sixmile Creek reservoir in Tompkins County, New York. A former water-supply reservoir for the City of Ithaca, the reservoir is no longer a functional component of Ithaca’s water-supply system, having been replaced by a larger reservoir less than a mile upstream in 1911. Excessive sedimentation has substantially reduced the reservoir’s water-storage capacity and made the discharge gate at the base of the 30-foot dam, which creates the reservoir, inoperable. U.S. Geological Survey personnel collected bathymetric data by using an acoustic Doppler current profiler. Across more than half of the approximately 14-acre reservoir, depths were manually measured because of interference from aquatic vegetation with the acoustic Doppler current profiler. City of Ithaca personnel created a bottom-elevation surface from these depth data. A second surface was created from depths that were manually measured by City of Ithaca personnel during 1938. Surface areas and storage capacities were computed at 1-foot increments of elevation for both bathymetric surveys. The results indicate that the current storage capacity of the reservoir at its normal water-surface elevation is about 84 acre-feet and that sediment accumulated between 1938 and 2015 has decreased the reservoir’s capacity by about 68 acre-feet. This sediment load is attributed to annual inputs from the watershed above the reservoir, as well as from an episodic landslide that filled a large part of the reservoir along its northern edge in 1949.
- Digital Object Identifier: 10.3133/ofr20161157
- Source: USGS Publications Warehouse (indexId: ofr20161157)