Estimates of sediment and sediment-associated constituent loads and yields from drainage basins are necessary for the management of reservoir-basin systems to address important issues such as reservoir sedimentation and eutrophication. One method for the estimation of loads and yields requires a determination of the total mass of sediment deposited in a reservoir. This method involves a sediment volume-to-mass conversion using bulk-density information. A comparison of four computational approaches (partition, mean, midpoint, strategic) for using bulk-density information to estimate total bottom-sediment mass in four large reservoirs indicated that the differences among the approaches were not statistically significant. However, the lack of statistical significance may be a result of the small sample size. Compared to the partition approach, which was presumed to provide the most accurate estimates of bottom-sediment mass, the results achieved using the strategic, mean, and midpoint approaches differed by as much as ?4, ?20, and ?44 percent, respectively. It was concluded that the strategic approach may merit further investigation as a less time consuming and less costly alternative to the partition approach.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A comparison of approaches for estimating bottom-sediment mass in large reservoirs