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Suisun Bay and Delta Bathymetry
United States Geological Survey
Foxgrover, A., Smith, R. E., and Jaffe, B. E.
The San Francisco Bay and Delta, inland of Carquinez Strait (Fig. 1), encompasses greater than 40,000 sq. km in the heart of California. The Delta is a maze of natural and man-made channels surrounded by marsh, riprapped levees, seasonal farmlands, and approximately 60 islands. Over the years some of the levees have failed and returned once-farmed lands into delta lakes partially exposed to tidal circulation. Located at the confluence of California's two major river systems, the Delta is the source of water for domestic and agricultural use via the state and federal water export facilities. Because the Delta is subject to reduced water quality and is critical habitat for threatened and endangered fish species, it is the object of intense scrutiny.
Figure 1 - Study area: San Francisco Bay and Delta
Figure 1 - San Francisco Bay and Delta, East of Carquinez Strait.

Efforts are underway to develop improved management practices that will optimize flows for the seasonal migration of fish and maintain water quality standards for municipal water supplies at the export facilities. A variety of computer models have been developed to simulate existing conditions and to forecast the effects of different management scenarios. An essential component of 1, 2, and 3D models is accurate bathymetry. However, in some areas of the Delta sparse cross sections are the only recent bathymetric information available. Use of these limited observations in multi-dimensional models is problematic. The development of a high-resolution grid would simplify the estimation of tidal volumes, segment volumes, cross section areas, and improve consistency when comparing model results.

In the past, one dimensional models such as Delta Simulation Model II (footer DSM2) have used bathymetry inputs at fixed cross sections. The Cross Section Development Program (footer CSDP) was developed to define critical cross sections for use in these models. In order to model complex intersections and tidal flow it is necessary to move to 2 and 3D simulations, which require 2D bathymetry as an input. Consequently, the Interagency Ecological Program (footer IEP) and the US Geological Survey - Place Based program (footer PBS) has sponsored this work.

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