Water-quality managers desire information on the temporal and spatial variability of contaminant concentrations and the magnitudes of watershed and bed-sediment loads in San Francisco Bay. To help provide this information, the Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances in the San Francisco Estuary (RMP) takes advantage of the association of many contaminants with sediment particles by continuously measuring suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), which is an accurate, less costly, and more easily measured surrogate for several trace metals and organic contaminants. Continuous time series of SSC are collected at several sites in the Bay. Although semidiurnal and diurnal tidal fluctuations are present, most of the variability of SSC occurs at fortnightly, monthly, and semiannual tidal time scales. A seasonal cycle of sediment inflow, wind-wave resuspension, and winnowing of fine sediment also is observed. SSC and, thus, sediment-associated contaminants tend to be greater in shallower water, at the landward ends of the Bay, and in several localized estuarine turbidity maxima. Although understanding of sediment transport has improved in the first 10 years of the RMP, determining a simple mass budget of sediment or associated contaminants is confounded by uncertainties regarding sediment flux at boundaries, change in bed-sediment storage, and appropriate modeling techniques. Nevertheless, management of sediment-associated contaminants has improved greatly. Better understanding of sediment and sediment-associated contaminants in the Bay is of great interest to evaluate the value of control actions taken and the need for additional controls. ?? 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Suspended sediment and sediment-associated contaminants in San Francisco Bay