The Tidal Inlet Characteristics of a Small California Estuary

by Peter Goodwin, Philip Williams and Associates, Ltd, San Francisco, United States,
Jennifer Nielsen, Philip Williams and Associates, Ltd, San Francisco, United States,
C. Kelly Cuffe, Philip Williams and Associates, Ltd, San Francisco, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: The inlet channel of the Russian River estuary in Northern California is subject to frequent closure. The formation of a barrier beach across the inlet channel creates ponding of the river waters, resulting in the inundation of building foundations, back yards and agricultural lands. The natural or artificial breaching of the barrier beach lowers water levels, restores tidal circulation and causes significant adverse effects to the biological resources of the estuary. The cycle of openings and closures results in an opportunistic ecology due to rapid fluctuations in salinity and flushing of freshwater resources. A twelve month hydrological and biological field monitoring program has been undertaken to identify the physical processes associated with the inlet opening and closure, and identify the influence of these physical processes on the estuarine ecosystem.

Subject Headings: Inlets (waterway) | Estuaries | Tides | Biological processes | Ecosystems | Beaches | Barrier islands | Water circulation | North America | California | United States

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