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Fluxes to estuarine and coastal environments


San Francisco Bay sediment fluxes and geomorphic modeling


thumbnail image of figure 4 and link to larger figure 4. A photograph of tripods
NASA ASTER image of San Francisco Bay
thumbnail image of figure 4 and link to larger figure 4. A photograph of tripods
Simulation results from Ganju and Schoellhamer (2010)
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As part of the USGS Priority Ecosystems Science program, CALFED, and USGS California Water Science Center, sediment transport in San Francisco Bay was studied with acoustic and optical devices. The data were used to build and evaluate hydrodynamic and sediment transport models to evaluate the geomorphic response of the Bay under scenarios of climate change. 

Major results

Several sediment transport features and characterstics were illuminated. Ganju et al. (2004) identified estuarine turbidity maxima in tidal rivers that led to anomalously high suspended-sediment concentrations in peripheral areas of the Bay. Several studies developed methods for measuring sediment fluxes in Bay cross-sections (e.g. Ganju and Schoellhamer, 2006); these results were used to develop estuarine geomorphic models over tidal to decadal timescales (e.g. Ganju et al., 2009). The methods were also applied to constituents such as dissolved organic carbon and methyl mercury (e.g. Downing et al., 2009; Bergamaschi et al., 2011). Subsequent ecological studies have made use of these results to determine how the future trajectory of the Bay will respond to streamflow changes, sea-level rise, and decreased sediment supply from the watershed.


Bergamaschi, B.A., Fleck, J.A., Downing, B.D., Boss, E., Pellerin, B., Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., Heim, W., Stephenson, M., and Fujii, R., 2011, Methyl mercury dynamics in a tidal wetland quantified using in situ optical measurements, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 56, 1355-1371. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., Jaffe, B.E., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2011, Discontinuous hindcast simulations of estuarine bathymetric change: a case study from Suisun Bay, California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 93, 142-150. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2010, Decadal-timescale estuarine geomorphic change under future scenarios of climate and sediment supply. Estuaries and Coasts, 33, 15-29.PDF File

Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., and Jaffe, B.E., 2009, Hindcasting of decadal-timescale estuarine bathymetric change with a tidal-timescale model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 114, F04019, doi:10.1029/2008JF001191. PDF File

David, N., McKee, L.J., Black, F., Flegal, A.R., Conaway, C.H., Schoellhamer, D.H., and Ganju, N.K., 2009, Mercury concentrations and loads in a large river system tributary to San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 28, 2091-2100. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2009, Calibration of an estuarine sediment transport model to sediment fluxes as an intermediate step for robust simulation of geomorphic evolution. Continental Shelf Research, 29, 148-158. PDF File

Downing, B.D., Boss, E., Bergamaschi, B.A., Fleck, J.A., Lionberger, M.A., Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., and Fujii, R., 2009, Quantifying fluxes and characterizing compositional changes of dissolved organic matter in aquatic systems in situ using combined acoustic and optical measurements. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 7, 119-131. PDF File

Ganju, N.K, Knowles, N., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2008, Temporal downscaling of decadal sediment load estimates to a daily interval for use in hindcast simulations. Journal of Hydrology, 349, 512-523. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2006, Annual sediment flux estimates in a tidal strait using surrogate measurements. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 69, 165-178. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., Murrell, M.C., Gartner, J.W., and Wright, S.A., 2006, Constancy of the relation between floc size and density in San Francisco Bay. In: Maa, J.P., Sanford, L.H., and Schoellhamer, D.H., Eds., Estuarine and Coastal Fine Sediment Dynamics - INTERCOH 2003, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, p. 75-91. PDF File

McKee, L., Ganju, N.K., and Schoellhamer, D.H., 2006, Estimates of suspended sediment entering San Francisco Bay from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta, San Francisco Bay, California. Journal of Hydrology, 323, 335-352. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., and Bergamaschi, B.A, 2005, Suspended sediment fluxes in a tidal wetland: measurement, controlling factors, and error analysis. Estuaries 28(6), 812-822. PDF File

Ganju, N.K., Schoellhamer, D.H., Warner, J.C., Barad, M.F., and Schladow, S.G., 2004, Tidal oscillation of sediment between a river and a bay: a conceptual model. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 60(1), 81-90. PDF File

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Page last modified: 12/28/2011