Annual suspended-sediment flux estimates through Carquinez Strait (the seaward boundary of Suisun Bay, California) are provided based on surrogate measurements for advective, dispersive, and Stokes drift flux. The surrogates are landward watershed discharge, suspended-sediment concentration at one location in the Strait, and the longitudinal salinity gradient. The first two surrogates substitute for tidally averaged discharge and velocity-weighted suspended-sediment concentration in the Strait, thereby providing advective flux estimates, while Stokes drift is estimated with suspended-sediment concentration alone. Dispersive flux is estimated using the product of longitudinal salinity gradient and the root-mean-square value of velocity-weighted suspended-sediment concentration as an added surrogate variable. Cross-sectional measurements validated the use of surrogates during the monitoring period. During high freshwater flow advective and dispersive flux were in the seaward direction, while landward dispersive flux dominated and advective flux approached zero during low freshwater flow. Stokes drift flux was consistently in the landward direction. Wetter than average years led to net export from Suisun Bay, while dry years led to net sediment import. Relatively low watershed sediment fluxes to Suisun Bay contribute to net export during the wet season, while gravitational circulation in Carquinez Strait and higher suspended-sediment concentrations in San Pablo Bay (seaward end of Carquinez Strait) are responsible for the net import of sediment during the dry season. Annual predictions of suspended-sediment fluxes, using these methods, will allow for a sediment budget for Suisun Bay, which has implications for marsh restoration and nutrient/contaminant transport. These methods also provide a general framework for estimating sediment fluxes in estuarine environments, where temporal and spatial variability of transport are large. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Annual sediment flux estimates in a tidal strait using surrogate measurements