• Effect of Waste Discharges into a Silt-laden Estuary: A Case Study of Cook Inlet, Alaska

      Murphy, R. Sage; Carlson, Robert F.; Nyquist, David; Britch, Robert (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1972-11)
      Cook Inlet is not well known. Although its thirty-foot tidal range is widely appreciated, its other characteristics, such as turbulence, horizontal velocities of flow, suspended sediment loads, natural biological productivity, the effects of fresh water inflows, temperature, and wind stresses, are seldom acknowledged. The fact that the Inlet has not been used for recreation nor for significant commercial activity explains why the average person is not more aware of these characteristics. Because of the gray cast created by the suspended sediments in the summer and the ice floes in the winter, the Inlet does not have the aura of a beautiful bay or fjord. The shoreline is inhospitable for parks and development, the currents too strong for recreational activities, and, because of the high silt concentration, there is little fishing. Yet, Cook Inlet, for all its negative attributes, can in no way be considered an unlimited dumping ground for the wastes of man. It may be better suited for this purpose than many bays in North America, but it does have a finite capacity for receiving wastes without unduly disturbing natural conditions. This report was written for the interested layman by engineers and scientists who tried to present some highly technical information in such a manner that it could be understood by environmentalists, concerned citizens, students, decision makers, and lawmakers alike. In attempting to address such a diverse audience, we risked failing to be completely understood by any one group. However, all too often research results are written solely for other researchers, a practice which leads to the advancement of knowledge but not necessarily to its immediate use by practicing engineers nor to its inclusion in social, economic, and political decision-making processes. We hope this report will shorten the usual time lag between the acquisition of new information and its use. Several additional reports will be available for a limited distribution. These will be directed to technicians who wish to know the mathematical derivations, assumptions, and other scientific details used in the study. Technical papers by the individual authors, published in national and international scientific and engineering journals, are also anticipated.