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Surrogate analysis and index developer (SAID) tool and real-time data dissemination utilities

April 23, 2015

The use of acoustic and other parameters as surrogates for suspended-sediment concentrations (SSC) in rivers has been successful in multiple applications across the Nation. Critical to advancing the operational use of surrogates are tools to process and evaluate the data along with the subsequent development of regression models from which real-time sediment concentrations can be made available to the public. Recent developments in both areas are having an immediate impact on surrogate research, and on surrogate monitoring sites currently in operation. The Surrogate Analysis and Index Developer (SAID) standalone tool, under development by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), assists in the creation of regression models that relate response and explanatory variables by providing visual and quantitative diagnostics to the user. SAID also processes acoustic parameters to be used as explanatory variables for suspended-sediment concentrations. The sediment acoustic method utilizes acoustic parameters from fixed-mount stationary equipment. The background theory and method used by the tool have been described in recent publications, and the tool also serves to support sediment-acoustic-index methods being drafted by the multi-agency Sediment Acoustic Leadership Team (SALT), and other surrogate guidelines like USGS Techniques and Methods 3-C4 for turbidity and SSC. The regression models in SAID can be used in utilities that have been developed to work with the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) and for the USGS National Real-Time Water Quality (NRTWQ) Web site. The real-time dissemination of predicted SSC and prediction intervals for each time step has substantial potential to improve understanding of sediment-related water-quality and associated engineering and ecological management decisions.