Bathymetry of Morris Lake (Newton Reservoir), New Jersey, 2018

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5010
Prepared in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
By:  and 



Morris Lake, also known as Newton Reservoir, has been the source of drinking water for the Town of Newton, New Jersey, since the early 1900s. Although Morris Lake has been used as a source of drinking water for many years, its capacity was previously uncertain. In April 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection conducted a bathymetric survey of Morris Lake using a multibeam echosounder to map the reservoir. The points measured with the multibeam echosounder were combined with light detection and ranging data above the water surface and processed to create a 3.3-foot (1 meter) raster grid of the bathymetric surface, bathymetric contours at 2-foot intervals of depth and elevation, and an elevation-area-capacity table.

The results of the bathymetric survey show that Morris Lake has a maximum depth of just over 119 feet with an average depth of 42 feet. Like the surrounding topography, parts of the reservoir are extremely steep. The capacity of the reservoir at full spillway level is 1,980 million gallons, with a corresponding surface area of 145 acres. The accuracy of the mapped multibeam echosounder bathymetric data was evaluated using a quality assurance dataset collected with a single-beam echosounder; 9,386 quality assurance points were spatially joined with the mapped raster surface to compute measurement errors. The calculated median point error for Morris Lake was 0.23 foot, the median absolute error was 0.35 foot, and the 95-percent accuracy was 2.68 feet. The largest errors occurred in the steepest areas of the reservoir and in unmeasured areas. Geospatial files of the bathymetry data, including the mapped bathymetric surface, contours, and capacity tables, quality assurance points, and associated metadata are available for download as part of an accompanying U.S. Geological Survey data release.

Suggested Citation

Nystrom, E.A., and Collenburg, J.V., 2020, Bathymetry of Morris Lake (Newton Reservoir), New Jersey, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5010, 14 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Bathymetric Survey and Processing Methods
  • Bathymetric Map Creation and Results
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Bathymetry of Morris Lake (Newton Reservoir), New Jersey, 2018
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5010
DOI 10.3133/sir20205010
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New York Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 14 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State New Jersey
Other Geospatial Morris Lake (Newton Reservoir)
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details