Fregoso, T. A.; Foxgrover, A. C.; Jaffe, B. E. 2023. Sediment deposition, erosion, and bathymetric change in San Francisco Bay, California, 1971–1990 and 1999–2020. United States Geological Survey Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center: Santa Cruz, CA.

Bathymetric change analyses document historical patterns of sediment deposition and erosion, providing valuable insight into the sediment dynamics of coastal systems, including pathways of sediment and sediment-bound contaminants. In 2014 and 2015, the Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management, provided funding for new bathymetric surveys of large portions of San Francisco Bay. A total of 93 bathymetric surveys were conducted during this 2-year period, using a combination of interferometric sidescan and multibeam sonar systems. These data, along with recent NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and private contractor surveys collected from 1999 to 2020 (hereinafter referred to as 2010s), were used to create the most comprehensive bathymetric digital elevation models (DEMs) of San Francisco Bay since the 1980s. Comparing DEMs created from these 2010s surveys with USGS DEMs created from NOAA’s 1971–1990 (hereinafter referred to as 1980s) surveys provides information on the quantities and patterns of erosion and deposition in San Francisco Bay during the 9 to 47 years between surveys. This analysis reveals that in the areas surveyed in both the 1980s and 2010s, the bay floor lost about 34 million cubic meters of sediment since the 1980s. Results from this study can be used to assess how San Francisco Bay has responded to changes in the system, such as sea-level rise and variation in sediment supply from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and local tributaries, and supports the creation of a new, system-wide sediment budget. This report provides data on the quantities and patterns of sediment volume change in San Francisco Bay for ecosystem managers that are pertinent to various sediment-related issues, including restoration of tidal marshes, exposure of legacy contaminated sediment, and strategies for the beneficial use of dredged sediment.