US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Hydrology 258 (2002) 25-39


A portable system for bedform-mapping was evaluated in the delta of the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, California, from 1998 to 2000. Bedform profiles were surveyed with a two-person crew using an array of four single-beam transducers on boats about 6 m in length. Methods for processing the bedform profiles into maps with geographic coordinates were developed for spreadsheet programs and surface-contouring software. Straight reaches were surveyed every few days or weeks to determine locations of sand deposition, net transport directions, flow thresholds for bedform regimes, and bedform transport rates. In one channel of unidirectional flow, the portable system was used to record changes in bedform refime through minor fluctuationsof low discharge, and through high discharges near channel capacity. In another channel with reversing flows from tieds, the portable system recorded directions of net bedload-transport that would be undetectable by standard bedload sampling alone.