Bathymetry of a dynamic tidal estuary, such as San Francisco Bay, provides the observable linkage between anthropogenic modifications of the landscapesuch as evolving land use practices, flood control, and water diversionsand natural forces of climate-driven river flow, sea level change, tides, and wind. By examining our record of hydrographic surveys, spanning over 150 years, we can gain insights into the probable effect of future modification including efforts toward restoration.
In addition to historical change analysis, current bathymetry is critical for the calibration and interpretation of hydrodynamic and ecological models. Mass balance and sheer stress are driven by bathymetryeven ecological niche are influenced by bathymetry (depth, turbidity, particle size, light, turbulence, etc.).
On this web site we provide location-depth grids of the most recent bathymetry available for San Francisco Bay and some tools for examining those grids. It is our hope that this site will grow as we produce a time history of bathymetry change over the last 150 years, and that it will become a resource for modeling the hydrodynamics as well as an aid in interpreting other chemical and biological observations.
See also, the complete list of USGS publications on San Francisco Bay & Delta science.