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Suspended-sediment transport from the Green-Duwamish River to the Lower Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, Washington, 2013–17

February 28, 2018

The Green-Duwamish River transports watershed-derived sediment to the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site near Seattle, Washington. Understanding the amount of sediment transported by the river is essential to the bed sediment cleanup process. Turbidity, discharge, suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), and particle-size data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from February 2013 to January 2017 at the Duwamish River, Washington, within the tidal influence at river kilometer 16.7 (USGS streamgage 12113390; Duwamish River at Golf Course at Tukwila, WA). This report quantifies the timing and magnitude of suspended-sediment transported in the Duwamish River. Regression models were developed between SSC and turbidity and SSC and discharge to estimate 15- minute SSC. Suspended-sediment loads were calculated from the computed SSC and time-series discharge data for every 15-minute interval during the study period. The 2014–16 average annual suspended-sediment load computed was 117,246 tons (106,364 metric tons), of which 73.5 percent or (86,191 tons; 78,191 metric tons) was fine particle (less than 0.0625 millimeter in diameter) suspended sediment. The seasonality of this site is apparent when you divide the year into "wet" (October 16– April 15) and "dry" (April 16–October 15) seasons. Most (97 percent) of the annual suspended sediment was transported during the wet season, when brief periods of intense precipitation from storms, large releases from the Howard Hanson Dam, or a combination of both were much more frequent.