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Estimating sediment flux to Jamaica Bay, New York

January 1, 2019

Tidal wetland loss in Jamaica Bay, New York, is well documented. Maintaining wetlands is important from an environmental and ecological perspective and because wetlands buffer coastal communities from storm damage. An estimate of suspended-sediment flux through Rockaway Inlet is needed to improve understanding of sediment dynamics in Jamaica Bay and could be used in salt marsh restoration efforts. To estimate sediment flux, an index-velocity station and turbidity sensor were installed and operated in Rockaway Inlet near the mouth of Jamaica Bay from November 2014 to December 2016 and point and cross-sectional suspended-sediment samples were collected and analyzed. Index-velocity data coupled with cross-sectional acoustic Doppler current profiler measurements were used to develop an index-velocity rating. A simple linear regression rating with a strong coefficient of determination (R2 of 0.981) was developed. Discharge was computed from the stage-area and index-velocity relations, and a low-pass Godin filter was used to remove the tidal aliasing. A second simple linear regression (R2 of 0.75) between fixed-point suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) samples and turbidity allowed for the calculation of SSC through Rockaway Inlet, and then sediment flux was found by multiplying SSC and discharge for continuous (6-minute) data. Turbidity values were low in the near-ocean conditions at Rockaway Inlet, with daily means ranging from 0.6 to 8.2 formazin nephelometric units during the period of November 2014 through December 2016. During this time, computed daily mean suspended-sediment concentrations ranged from 3 to 13 milligrams per liter. High sediment loads generally occurred during incoming tides, during both storm and nonstorm conditions, suggesting a net inward sediment flux into Jamaica Bay. The fate of sediment after it enters Jamaica Bay was not investigated. Trends in sediment flux during major storms could not be evaluated because no major storms occurred during this investigation.

Publication Year 2019
Title Estimating sediment flux to Jamaica Bay, New York
DOI 10.3133/sir20195085
Authors Richard A. Cartwright, Amy E. Simonson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2019-5085
Index ID sir20195085
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center