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Open-File Report 03-383

Bathymetric and geophysical surveys of Englebright Lake, Yuba-Nevada Counties, California

By Jonathan R. Childs, Noah P. Snyder, and Margaret A. Hampton

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.5 MB)Introduction

Harry L. Englebright Lake is a 9-mile-long (14-kilometer) reservoir located in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California on the Yuba River gorge known as The Narrows. The reservoir is impounded by Englebright Dam (Photo 1), a concrete arch structure spanning 348 meters (1,142 feet) across and 79 meters (260 feet) high. The dam was constructed in 1941 for the primary purpose of trapping sediment derived from anticipated hydraulic mining operations in the Yuba River watershed. Hydraulic mining in the Sierra Nevada was halted in 1884 but resumed on a limited basis until the 1930's under the regulation of the California Debris Commission. Although no hydraulic mining in the upper Yuba River watershed resumed after the construction of the dam, the historical mine sites continued to contribute sediment to the river. Today, Englebright Lake is used primarily for recreation and hydropower. In 2001 and 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted bathymetric, geophysical, and geological studies of the reservoir under the auspices of the Upper Yuba River Studies Program (UYRSP), a multi-disciplinary investigation into the feasibility of introducing anadromous fish species to the Yuba River system upstream of Englebright Dam. A primary purpose of these studies was to assess the quantity and nature of the sediment that has accumulated behind the dam over the past 60 years. This report presents the results of those surveys, including a new bathymetric map of the reservoir and estimates of the total accumulated sediment volume.

First posted October 1, 2003

For additional information, contact:
Contact Information, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Suggested citation:

Childs, Jonathan R., Snyder, Noah P., Hampton, Margaret A., 2003, Bathymetric and geophysical surveys of Englebright Lake, Yuba-Nevada Counties, California: U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-383, 20 pp.,

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