Conceptual model of sedimentation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
By: , and 



Sedimentation in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta builds the Delta landscape, creates benthic and pelagic habitat, and transports sediment-associated contaminants. Here we present a conceptual model of sedimentation that includes submodels for river supply from the watershed to the Delta, regional transport within the Delta and seaward exchange, and local sedimentation in open water and marsh habitats. The model demonstrates feedback loops that affect the Delta ecosystem. Submerged and emergent marsh vegetation act as ecosystem engineers that can create a positive feedback loop by decreasing suspended sediment, increasing water column light, which in turn enables more vegetation. Sea-level rise in open water is partially countered by a negative feedback loop that increases deposition if there is a net decrease in hydrodynamic energy. Manipulation of regional sediment transport is probably the most feasible method to control suspended sediment and thus turbidity. The conceptual model is used to identify information gaps that need to be filled to develop an accurate sediment transport model.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Conceptual model of sedimentation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
Series title San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science
DOI 10.15447/sfews.2012v10iss3art3
Volume 10
Issue 3
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher University of California
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 25 p.
Country United States
Other Geospatial Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
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