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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1120

Suspended Sediment and Organic Contaminants in the San Lorenzo River, California, Water Years 2009–2010

By Amy E. Draut, Christopher H. Conaway, Kathy R. Echols, Curt D. Storlazzi, and Andrew Ritchie


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.1 MB)

This report presents analyses of suspended sediment and organic contaminants measured during a two-year study of the San Lorenzo River, central California, which discharges into the Pacific Ocean within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Most suspended-sediment transport occurred during flooding caused by winter storms; 55 percent of the sediment load was transported by the river during a three-day flood in January 2010. Concentrations of polyaromatic hydrocarbons can exceed regulatory criteria during high-flow events in the San Lorenzo River. These results highlight the importance of episodic sediment and contaminant transport in steep, mountainous, coastal watersheds and emphasize the importance of understanding physical processes and quantifying chemical constituents in discharge from coastal watersheds on event-scale terms.

  • This report is available only on the Web.

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

Part of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Draut, A.E., Conaway, C.H., Echols, K.R., Storlazzi, C.D., and Ritchie, A., 2011, Suspended sediment and organic contaminants in the San Lorenzo River, California, water years 2009-2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1120, 24 p. and data tables.




Project Objectives

Study Site






References Cited

five data tables

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