Delta Metrics Project

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boundary of historical delta showing current wetlands in green and blue, and proposed and completed restoration activity in orange

NOAA Restoration Center and WDFW's ESRP are supporting Puget Sound Partnership and GSRO in developing standard methods for describing Puget Sound river delta condition, and tracking restoration progress.

The project uses LIDAR-based Digital Elevation Models (including some USGS mosaic work), to predict of tidal inundation zones, and delineate distributary channel networks as a way of describing project work in the context of the delta landscape. This effort builds on adaptive management planning being undertaken by NOAA and and WDFW.

Data were developed with WWU's Institute for Spatial and Information Analysis and are managed by WDFW. We anticipate integrating this work with The Nearshore Map Portal and using the River Delta Adaptive Management Strategy as a mechanism for developing standard methods for predicting the the recovery of delta function, that leverages current research.

These products are intend to support PSP Vital Signs reporting for Estuary Restoration, and the Results Washington Estuary Acres Restored metric.


  • The Delta Metrics work is supported by and integrated with the River Delta Consortium
  • Cereghino 2013 describes some exploratory analysis that suggests an approach to delta metrics for tracking restoration progress.
  • Delta boundaries developed by Simenstad et al 2011 based on historical mapping may not reflect current conditions following subsidence.
  • Current generation Digital Elevation Models are not well developed for all delta systems.
  • Automated aerial photo interpretation has potential for providing data on change in vegetation.
  • This structural model provides poor evaluation of process restoration goals (see discussion in ESRP's proposed River Delta Ecosystem Model)