Fine-grained sediment (silt and clay) enters coastal waters from rivers, eroding coastal bluffs, resuspension of seabed sediment, and human activities such as dredging and beach nourishment. The amount of sediment in coastal waters is an important factor in ocean ecosystem health, but little information exists on both the natural and human-driven magnitudes of fine-grained sediment delivery to the coastal zone, its residence time there, and its transport out of the system—information upon which to base environmental assessments. To help fill these information gaps, the U.S. Geological Survey has partnered with Federal, State, and local agencies to monitor fine-grained sediment dispersal patterns and fate in the coastal regions of California. Results of these studies suggest that the waves and currents of many of the nearshore coastal settings of California are adequately energetic to transport fine-grained sediment quickly through coastal systems. These findings will help with the management and regulation of fine-grained sediment along the U.S. west coast.
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USGS Numbered Series
Fine-grained sediment dispersal along the California coast