Sediment Monitoring — Extending Hydrography into New Areas

Andy Markham - Hydrobiology , 22 October, 2010

The roles and responsibilities of hydrographers are continually evolving and can extend beyond the traditional collection, processing and presentation of hydro-meteorological data. Hydrographers are often required to collect and report on a range of other environmental parameters, particularly water quality and sediment quality and quantity. With regard to sediments, it is important to appreciate the different types of sediment parameters that can be measured and the different techniques available that can be used to measure these parameters in order to obtain meaningful data. Other complicating factors relating to sediments include the spatial and temporal variability of sediments, the need to understand the different elements of the sediment load, and the ‘shelf-life’ of certain types of samples with respect to the permitted holding times of laboratories. Overall it is critical to understand the study needs in order to implement a meaningful sediment monitoring program. This paper discusses the different uses of sediment data, the types of samplers and sampling programs that can be employed, and typical pitfalls to be wary of with a particular focus on riverine total suspended sediment (TSS). The paper also discusses the use of ADCP technology to measure different types of sediments and their characteristics in water.