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Drifter Studies in Open Shallow Water Habitats of the San Francisco Bay and Delta
Jay I. Cuetara and Jon R. Burau, USGS, Sacramento, CA

DrifterSurface drifters (Figure 1, right) were used to characterize the large-scale flow features in several open water areas within Suisun Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Each of the drifter studies presented in this poster provides a snapshot (1/2 tidal cycle ~ 6 hour) characterization of the primary flow paths, the tidal excursion, and the dispersion characteristics for each of the study areas. These data were specifically collected to:

  1. determine the primary flow paths in Suisun Bay and Sherman Lake to help position long-term (~ 3 month) fixed-location data collection equipment,
  2. qualitatively estimate the magnitude of tidal pumping between the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and
  3. qualitatively measure the difference between spring and neap residence times in flooded islands.

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