New USGS Data Portal Provides Access to More Than a Century of Sediment Data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed an online, interactive, sediment data portal to improve the utility and accessibility of suspended-sediment data to watershed managers, policy-makers, researchers, and the public. This database represents the best available compendium of suspended-sediment data for streams in the Nation. Ancillary information on streamflow condition, sediment grain size, sampling method, and landscape condition are also available within the portal.

Since the first samples on the Rio Grande in 1889, the USGS has been collecting information on sediment transport in streams and rivers in the United States.  The amount and location of sediment monitoring has changed substantially over time; the sediment portal is designed to enable comparisons of historical and current sediment sampling locations and allow access to long term data sets.  For instance, the number of stations with at least 10 discrete suspended-sediment samples per decade declined by approximately 40 percent between the 1970s and 2000s; whereas the number of daily record sediment sites declined by about 60 percent.

USGS Data report DS776 describes the methods used to recover, quality control, and summarize USGS suspended-sediment data through 2010.   Access the sediment portal at: