The North Santiam River provides drinking water to the residents and businesses of the city of Salem, Oregon, and many surrounding communities. Since 1998, water-quality data, including turbidity, were collected continuously at monitoring stations throughout the basin as part of the North Santiam River Basin Turbidity and Suspended Sediment Study. In addition, sediment samples have been collected over a range of turbidity and streamflow values. Regression models were developed between the instream turbidity and suspended-sediment concentration from the samples collected from each monitoring station. The models were then used to estimate the daily and annual suspended-sediment loads and yields. For water years 1999-2004, suspended-sediment loads and yields were estimated for each station. Annual suspended-sediment loads and yields were highest during water years 1999 and 2000. A drought during water year 2001 resulted in the lowest suspended-sediment loads and yields for all monitoring stations. High-turbidity events that were unrelated or disproportional to increased streamflow occurred at several of the monitoring stations during the period of study. These events highlight the advantage of estimating suspended-sediment loads and yields from instream turbidity rather than from streamflow alone.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Suspended-Sediment Loads and Yields in the North Santiam River Basin, Oregon, Water Years 1999-2004