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Sedimentation in Schoharie Reservoir: Temporal Dynamics

Principle Investigator: Noel Urban, Civil & Env. Eng.
Sponsor: Upstate Freshwater Institute (pass through funding from NYC Dept. Environ. Protection)
Award Amount: $177,175
Project Duration: 1/1/05-12/31/06
MTU Reference Code: 041145


To predict the future availability of hypolimnetic water at any location within Schoharie Reservoir as well as the useful lifetime of the reservoir, it is desirable to know the spatial pattern of sediment accumulation within the reservoir. In addition, a detailed historical record of the rates of sediment input combined with historical flow records could facilitate development of control strategies for minimizing sediment inputs.

The objectives of this project are: (1) to determine the spatial pattern of sediment accumulation within the reservoir, and (2) to reconstruct the historical record of sediment inputs to the reservoir with high temporal resolution. Radioisotopic dating (137Cs, 210Pb) will be used to determine the rates of sediment accumulation. Ancillary measurements (grain size distributions, organic matter content, isotope fingerprints) will be used to relate the rate of sediment input to the type of soil being eroded into the streams. Work to be performed at Michigan Technological University (MTU) will include all analyses of the sediment cores and interpretation (e.g., dating) of the analytical results.