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A new seamless, high-resolution digital elevation model of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, California

June 13, 2017

Climate change, sea-level rise, and human development have contributed to the changing geomorphology of the San Francisco Bay - Delta (Bay-Delta) Estuary system. The need to predict scenarios of change led to the development of a new seamless, high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of the Bay – Delta that can be used by modelers attempting to understand potential future changes to the estuary system. This report details the three phases of the creation of this DEM. The first phase took a bathymetric-only DEM created in 2005 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), refined it with additional data, and identified areas that would benefit from new surveys. The second phase began a USGS collaboration with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that updated a 2012 DWR seamless bathymetric/topographic DEM of the Bay-Delta with input from the USGS and modifications to fit the specific needs of USGS modelers. The third phase took the work from phase 2 and expanded the coverage area in the north to include the Yolo Bypass up to the Fremont Weir, the Sacramento River up to Knights Landing, and the American River up to the Nimbus Dam, and added back in the elevations for interior islands. The constant evolution of the Bay-Delta will require continuous updates to the DEM of the Delta, and there still are areas with older data that would benefit from modern surveys. As a result, DWR plans to continue updating the DEM.