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Three-dimensional visualization maps of suspended-sediment concentrations during placement of dredged material in 21st Avenue West Channel Embayment, Duluth-Superior Harbor, Duluth, Minnesota, 2015

June 30, 2016

Excess sediment in rivers and estuaries poses serious environmental and economic challenges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) routinely dredges sediment in Federal navigation channels to maintain commercial shipping operations. The USACE initiated a 3-year pilot project in 2013 to use navigation channel dredged material to aid in restoration of shoreline habitat in the 21st Avenue West Channel Embayment of the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Placing dredged material in the 21st Avenue West Channel Embayment supports the restoration of shallow bay aquatic habitat aiding in the delisting of the St. Louis River Estuary Area of Concern.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the USACE, collected turbidity and suspended-sediment concentrations (SSCs) in 2014 and 2015 to measure the horizontal and vertical distribution of SSCs during placement operations of dredged materials. These data were collected to help the USACE evaluate the use of several best management practices, including various dredge material placement techniques and a silt curtain, to mitigate the dispersion of suspended sediment.

Three-dimensional visualization maps are a valuable tool for assessing the spatial displacement of SSCs. Data collection was designed to coincide with four dredged placement configurations that included periods with and without a silt curtain as well as before and after placement of dredged materials. Approximately 230 SSC samples and corresponding turbidity values collected in 2014 and 2015 were used to develop a simple linear regression model between SSC and turbidity. Using the simple linear regression model, SSCs were estimated for approximately 3,000 turbidity values at approximately 100 sampling sites in the 21st Avenue West Channel Embayment of the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The estimated SSCs served as input for development of 12 three-dimensional visualization maps.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Three-dimensional visualization maps of suspended-sediment concentrations during placement of dredged material in 21st Avenue West Channel Embayment, Duluth-Superior Harbor, Duluth, Minnesota, 2015
DOI 10.3133/sir20165086
Authors Joel T. Groten, Chris Ellison, Mollie H. Mahoney
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2016-5086
Index ID sir20165086
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Minnesota Water Science Center