During a study of the effects of waste-water input on the stratified Duwamish River estuary, intensive water-velocity and salinity measurements were made in both the lower salt wedge and the upper fresher water layer for tidal-cycle periods. The net movement of water and salt mass past a cross section during a tidal cycle was determined from integration of the measured rates of movement of water and salt past the section. The net volume of water that moved downstream past the section during the cycle agreed with the volume of fresh-water inflow at the head of the estuary within (1) 3.8 and 7.2 percent, respectively, for two studies made during periods of maximum and minimum tidal-prism thickness and identical inflow rates .of 312 cfs (cubic feet per second), and (2) 15 percent for one study made during a period of average tidal-prism thickness and an inflow rate of 1,280 cfs. For the three studies, the difference between salt mass transported upstream and downstream during the cycles ranged from 0.8 to 19 percent of the respective mean salt-mass transport. Water was entrained from the .salt-water wedge into the overlying layer of mixed fresh and salt water at tidal-cycle-average rates of 30 and 69 cfs per million square feet of interface for the inflow rates of 312 cfs, and 99 cfs per million square feet of interface for an inflow rate of 1,280 cfs. At a constant inflow rate, the rate of entrainment of salt-wedge water in the Duwamish River estuary more than doubled for a doubling of tidal-prism thickness. It also doubled for a quadrupling of inflow rate at about constant tidal-prism thickness.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Determination of mass balance and entrainment in the stratified Duwamish River Estuary, King County, Washington