Return to the Table of Contents

Salton Sea 1995 Hydrographic GPS Survey


The Bureau of Reclamation surveyed the underwater area of Salton Sea from November 1994 through February 1995 to compile field data for developing a topographic map and computing a storage-elevation relationship (area-capacity tables). The bathymetric survey used sonic depth recording equipment interfaced with a GPS (global positioning system) that gave continuous sounding positions throughout the Salton Sea. The underwater topography was developed by a computer graphics program using the collected data. The above-water topography was determined by digitizing contour lines from the United States Geological Survey quadrangle (USGS quad) sheets that cover the Salton Sea area. The new topographic map of the Salton Sea is a combination of the digitized contours and the underwater measured topography.

As of February 1995, at Salton Sea water surface elevation 220.0 feet below sea level, the surface area was 262,517 acres with a total capacity of 9,420,566 acre-feet.

The September 1995 version of the Salton Sea 1995 Hydrographic GPS Survey correctly reported 1-foot area and capacity values and equations, but revisions were required to correctly list 0.1-foot increments.


The Bureau of Reclamation's Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Group and Water Supply, Use, and Conservation Group of the TSC (Technical Service Center) prepared and published this report. Ronald Ferrari of the TSC conducted the hydrographic survey under the consultation of John Johnson and Hank Kaplan of the LC (Lower Colorado) Regional Office. Special thanks to the many people who assisted during the hydrographic surveyó those who organized the volunteers, the field volunteers, and the local people who provided information about the Salton Sea, which helped in the conclusion of the collection in a safe and timely matter. Some of the volunteers included Jim Bohler, Bill Dungey, Lois Jean Dungey, James Ferrari, Doris Ferrari, Patricia Hess, Ray Lukens, Henry Mata, Dennis McKee, Norm Niver, and Richard Webster. Also, thanks for the assistance provided by the Bombay and Salton Sea Beach Communities. Thanks to Les Hunt and Barbara Richardson of the LC Office for their assistance during the hydrographic survey. Also, thanks to personnel of the Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley Water District for all their assistance.

Ronald Ferrari completed the underwater data processing and generated the area-capacity tables. Sharon Nuanes of the TSC completed the USGS contour digitizing. Paul Weghorst of the TSC developed the procedures for generating the new topographic maps and computing the surface areas. Jim Melena of the TSC assisted in the hydrographic collection and provided the technical peer review. Tom Hovland was the publication editor for this report.

Return tto the Table of Contents