Friday, January 17, 2014

New USGS Internet Portal Provides Access to More Than a Century of Sediment Data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program has announced the availability of a new online, interactive, sediment data portal that was developed by NAWQA to improve the utility and accessibility of USGS suspended-sediment data collected from more than 4,900 stream sites across the Nation.

The portal is intended to provide easy access to high quality, suspended sediment data, along with ancillary information on streamflow condition, sediment grain size, sampling method, and landscape conditions. 
Suspended sediment sampling locations
(click to enlarge)

Suspended sediment is a basic and fundamental characteristic related to the quality of streams. Excessive stream sediments can affect aquatic biota, limit reservoir storage capacity, and transport nutrients and some potentially toxic contaminants.  In some instances, too little suspended sediment can also be harmful; resulting in the loss of critical wetlands, for example.

A USGS Data report (DS776) describes the methods used to recover, quality control, and summarize the USGS suspended-sediment data through 2010.

USGS is soliciting feedback on and any improvements that might be made to the portal. Comments, suggestions and questions can be forwarded to Bill Wilber, Chief of the USGS NAWQA Program, at or 703-648-6878.

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