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Sediment sources and rate of delivery to the estuary catchments within Chesapeake Bay

Patterns of Modern Sediment Transport in Chesapeake Bay

To develop sediment-reduction strategies and sustainable water-clarity standards for Chesapeake Bay, it is necessary to understand sediment sources and sinks in component parts of the system. An important aspect of the sediment regime is the rate at which sediment is transported and where it is deposited. This information will be used to interpret results from down-core analyses and may be useful in validation of sediment-transport models.

Objectives of the task include:

  • Identify modern depocenters in the bay and tributaries through mapping of the short-lived radioisotopes 7Be and 137Cs in surface sediments.
  • Document temporal changes in sediment source using analysis of the distribution of 137Cs and 210Pb in long (up to 5 meters) sediment cores.
  • Establish a record of erosion and deposition of short-lived radioisotopes within the watershed over the last century.

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