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Summary of U.S. Geological Survey On-Line Instantaneous Fluvial Sediment and Ancillary Data

by Lisa M. Turcios, John R. Gray, and Annette L. Ledford

Instantaneous fluvial sediment data, in addition to other instantaneous water-quality and ancillary data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), are available on-line through the National Water Information System World Wide Web (NWISWeb) water-quality data base at The NWISWeb water-quality data base was populated and is periodically refreshed from electronic files maintained by individual USGS District offices across the United States and Puerto Rico. It represents the single largest repository of USGS electronic instantaneous-value suspended-sediment, bedload, and bed-material data. These Web pages provide a summary of fluvial-sediment data by State, and by USGS station number retrieved from the then-under-construction NWISWeb data base on January 13, 2000. The meta data can be accessed by following the links at the bottom of this Web page.

More than 2.6-million values of instantaneous-value sediment and ancillary data were retrieved for 15,415 sites in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and other locations, including Canada, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and Southern Ryukyu Islands, from the NWISWeb data base on January 13, 2000. The NWISWeb data base is described, along with the criteria used to retrieve sediment and ancillary data, and selected characteristics of those data in a report to be published in the Proceedings of the 7th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Reno, Nevada, March 25-29, 2001. A copy of the report is available in pdf format and will require the use of Adobe Acrobat software to view.

Additional Helpful Information:

  • Appendix A contains a complete list of selected parameter codes used in the retrieval.
  • Appendix B summarizes retrieval results for selected instantaneous fluvial sediment and ancillary data.
  • Appendix C contains some helpful explanations about remark codes associated with selected sediment and ancillary data parameter codes.

Maps showing locations of sites in the United States and Puerto Rico with sediment and ancillary data retrieved from the NWISWeb data base on January 13, 2000:

  • Figure 1 shows a map of sites that have at least 30 paired values of instantaneous-value suspended-sediment concentration and associated water discharge.
  • Figure 2 shows a map of sites that have at least 30 values of particle-size distribution of suspended sediment.
  • Figure 3 shows a map of sites that have at least 1 value of bedload discharge.
  • Figure 4 shows a map of sites that have at least 10 values of bed material particle-size distributions.

The results of the January 13, 2000, retrieval from then-under-construction NWISWeb water-quality data base, which are summarized in these Web pages, do not include all instantaneous-value sediment and ancillary data collected by the USGS. Only those data that were present in USGS District Office NWIS data bases in the spring of 1999 were used to populate the NWISWeb data base that was the source of the January 13, 2000, retrieval. There is evidence that a considerable amount of USGS suspended-sediment concentration data and some bedload-transport data were not available on the NWISWeb on January 13, 2000. In many cases, these data can be obtained through USGS District offices for a fraction of the cost of collecting a comparable amount of sediment and ancillary data. For more information, we recommend contacting the local USGS office for Water Resources by following the links available at

Daily-value suspended-sediment data collected by the USGS from 1930 through September 30, 1994, are available to the public on-line at These and subsequent daily-value USGS suspended-sediment data are entered into the NWISWeb data base as the data become available.

For more information about the data collected, you may follow this link to Chapter 2. Water-Quality System of the User's Manual for the National Water Information System of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Sediment Data Summary by State
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Alabama   Alaska   Arizona   Arkansas   California   Colorado   Connecticut   Delaware   District of Columbia   Florida   Georgia   Hawaii   Idaho   Illinois   Indiana   Iowa   Kansas   Kentucky   Louisiana   Maine   Maryland   Massachusetts   Michigan   Minnesota   Mississippi   Missouri   Montana   Nebraska   New Hampshire   New Jersey   New Mexico   New York   Nevada   North Carolina   North Dakota   Ohio   Oklahoma   Oregon   Pennsylvania   Puerto Rico   Rhode Island   South Carolina   South Dakota   Tennessee   Texas   Utah   Vermont   Virginia   Washington   West Virginia   Wisconsin   Wyoming  also including   Canada   Federated States of Micronesia   Guam   Ryukyu Islands, Southern   To Be Determined  

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