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Estimated suspended-sediment loads and yields in the French and Brandywine Creek Basins, Chester County, Pennsylvania, water years 2008-09

Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5109

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Abstract

Turbidity and suspended-sediment concentration data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at four stream stations--French Creek near Phoenixville, West Branch Brandywine Creek near Honey Brook, West Branch Brandywine Creek at Modena, and East Branch Brandywine Creek below Downingtown--in Chester County, Pa. Sedimentation and siltation is the leading cause of stream impairment in Chester County, and these data are critical for quantifying sediment transport. This study was conducted by the USGS in cooperation with the Chester County Water Resources Authority and the Chester County Health Department. Data from optical turbidity sensors deployed at the four stations were recorded at 15- or 30-minute intervals by a data logger and uploaded every 1 to 4 hours to the USGS database. Most of the suspended-sediment samples were collected using automated samplers. The use of optical sensors to continuously monitor turbidity provided an accurate estimate of sediment fluctuations without the collection and analysis costs associated with intensive sampling during storms. Turbidity was used as a surrogate for suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), which is a measure of sedimentation and siltation. Regression models were developed between SSC and turbidity for each of the monitoring stations using SSC data collected from the automated samplers and turbidity data collected at each station. Instantaneous suspended-sediment loads (SSL) were computed from time-series turbidity and discharge data for the 2008 and 2009 water years using the regression equations. The instantaneous computations of SSL were summed to provide daily, storm, and water year annual loads. The annual SSL contributed from each basin was divided by the upstream drainage area to estimate the annual sediment yield. For all four basins, storms provided more than 96 percent of the annual SSL. In each basin, four storms generally provided over half the annual SSL each water year. Stormflows with the highest peak discharges generally carried the highest SSLs. For all stations, the greatest SSLs occurred during the late winter in February and March during the 2008 water year. During the 2009 water year, the greatest SSLs occurred during December and August. For French Creek near Phoenixville, the estimated annual SSL was 3,500 tons, and the estimated yield was 59.1 tons per square mile (ton/mi2) for the 2008 water year. For the 2009 water year, the annual SSL was 4,390 tons, and the yield was 74.3 ton/mi2. For West Branch Brandywine Creek near Honey Brook, the estimated annual SSL was 4,580 tons, and the estimated yield was 245 ton/mi2 for the 2008 water year. For the 2009 water year, the annual SSL was 2,300 tons, and the yield was 123 ton/mi2. For West Branch Brandywine Creek at Modena, the estimated annual SSL was 7,480 tons, and the estimated yield was 136 ton/mi2 for the 2008 water year. For the 2009 water year, the annual SSL was 4,930 tons, and the yield was 90 ton/mi2. For East Branch Brandywine Creek below Downingtown, the estimated annual SSL was 8,900 tons, and the estimated yield was 100 ton/mi2 for the 2008 water year. For the 2009 water year, the annual SSL was 7,590 tons, and the yield was 84 ton/mi2.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Estimated suspended-sediment loads and yields in the French and Brandywine Creek Basins, Chester County, Pennsylvania, water years 2008-09
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2011-5109
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description:
vi, 31 p.
First page:
i
Last page:
31
Time Range Start:
2007-10-01
Time Range End:
2009-09-30
Country:
United States
State:
Pennsylvania
County:
Chester
Projection:
Albers Equal-Area ConicProjection
Scale:
2000000
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N