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Development of a national, dynamic reservoir-sedimentation database

January 1, 2010

The importance of dependable, long-term water supplies, coupled with the need to quantify rates of capacity loss of the Nation’s re servoirs due to sediment deposition, were the most compelling reasons for developing the REServoir- SEDimentation survey information (RESSED) database and website. Created under the auspices of the Advisory Committee on Water Information’s Subcommittee on Sedimenta ion by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the RESSED database is the most comprehensive compilation of data from reservoir bathymetric and dry-basin surveys in the United States. As of March 2010, the database, which contains data compiled on the 1950s vintage Soil Conservation Service’s Form SCS-34 data sheets, contained results from 6,616 surveys on 1,823 reservoirs in the United States and two surveys on one reservoir in Puerto Rico. The data span the period 1755–1997, with 95 percent of the surveys performed from 1930–1990. The reservoir surface areas range from sub-hectare-scale farm ponds to 658 km2 Lake Powell. The data in the RESSED database can be useful for a number of purposes, including calculating changes in reservoir-storage characteristics, quantifying sediment budgets, and estimating erosion rates in a reservoir’s watershed.

The March 2010 version of the RESSED database has a number of deficiencies, including a cryptic and out-of-date database architecture; some geospatial inaccuracies (although most have been corrected); other data errors; an inability to store all data in a readily retrievable manner; and an inability to store all data types that currently exist. Perhaps most importantly, the March 2010 version of RESSED database provides no publicly available means to submit new data and corrections to existing data. To address these and other deficiencies, the Subcommittee on Sedimentation, through the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began a collaborative project in November 2009 to modernize the RESSED database architecture; provide public online input capability; and produce online reports. The ultimate goal of the Subcommittee on Sedimentation is to build a comprehensive, quality-assured database describing capacity changes over time for the largest suite of the Nation’s reservoirs.

Publication Year 2010
Title Development of a national, dynamic reservoir-sedimentation database
Authors J. R. Gray, J.M. Bernard, D. W. Stewart, E.J. McFaul, K.W. Laurent, G. E. Schwarz, J.T. Stinson, M.M. Jonas, T. J. Randle, J.W. Webb
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70120715
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Surface Water