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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

(500 records max)
Alaska Volcano Observatory archive of seismic drum records of eruptions of Augustine Volcano (1986), Redoubt Volcano (1989–90), Mount Spurr (1992), and Pavlof Volcano (1996), and the 1996 earthquake swarm at Akutan Peak

Released January 24, 2022 12:58 EST

2022, Data Report 1146

James P. Dixon, John A. Power

The advent of continuous digital recording of seismograph stations in Alaska did not occur until the fall of 2002. Continuous records of seismic waveforms prior to 2002 were recorded only in analog form. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has a substantial archive of continuous analog records made on helicorders in a collection maintained by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. As part of the response to the 2006 Augustine Volcano eruption, the AVO scanned analog drum records of the 1986 Augustine eruption to aid in comparing the progression of volcanic seismicity in 2006 with the seismic record of the 1986 eruption. The scanned records proved useful, prompting subsequent efforts to preserve records from other notable episodes of volcanic unrest as readily available scanned images. The data archive accompanying this report contains scanned images of select drum records for the eruptions at Augustine Volcano (1986), Redoubt Volcano (1989–90), Mount Spurr (1992), and Pavlof Volcano (1996), as well as for the 1996 earthquake swarm at Akutan Peak.

Photomosaics and logs associated with study of West Napa Fault at Ehlers Lane, north of Saint Helena, California

Released January 24, 2022 12:57 EST

2022, Open-File Report 2022-1002

Belle E. Philibosian, Robert R. Sickler, Carol S. Prentice, Alexandra J. Pickering, Patrick Gannon, Kiara N. Broudy, Shannon A. Mahan, Jazmine N. Titular, Eli A. Turner, Cameron Folmar, Sierra F. Patterson, Emilie E. Bowman

The West Napa Fault has previously been mapped as extending ~45 kilometers (km) from northern Vallejo to southern Saint Helena, California, dominantly running along the western edge of Napa Valley. A zone of fault strands (some previously unmapped) along a ~15-km section of the fault ruptured during the 2014 magnitude 6.0 South Napa earthquake, illustrating the need for further investigation of this little-studied structure. Based on light detection and ranging (lidar) topography and field examination, the fault zone likely extends an additional 10 km or more northward past Saint Helena. In this vicinity, geomorphology suggests two fault strands, one along the range front and another associated with a line of rounded hills that rise 5–10 meters above the middle of the valley. In 2017, we excavated two trenches across an apparent fault scarp on the east side of one elongate hill near Ehlers Lane north of Saint Helena. Examination of the walls revealed three main sedimentary packages. The oldest package, weakly lithified alluvial fan gravels with local sand and silt layers, is tilted 25°–35° to the west. Overlying these tilted strata are two younger sets of strata. On the west side, underlying the crest of the scarp, are alluvial fan gravels with local sand and silt lenses, potentially tilted a few degrees to the west. On the east side, deposited against the scarp, are much finer grained (dominantly fine sand to silt) subhorizontal fluvial strata, likely overbank deposits from the Napa River. We obtained age control on the two younger units through a combination of radiocarbon, infrared-stimulated luminescence, and obsidian hydration dating, establishing that they are latest Pleistocene to modern in age. Although there are no prominent unconformities within the alluvial fan sediments, sample dating indicates there are two generations, one in the 10–20 thousand year (ka) age range and one in the <3 ka age range. Owing to a general lack of well-defined laterally continuous alluvial fan units, it is difficult to distinguish contacts between the two generations except in the immediate proximity of dated samples. The river sediments approximately span the Holocene. No faults were apparent in either trench, indicating that any fault related to the observed surface deformation has not ruptured to the surface at this site during the Holocene and is likely blind.

Winter habitat selection and efficacy of telemetry to aid Grass Carp removal efforts in a large reservoir

Released January 24, 2022 08:59 EST

2021, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Tyler Michael Hessler, Duane C. Chapman, Craig Paukert, Jeff C. Jolley, Michael E. Byrne

Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella were introduced in North America to control aquatic vegetation in small, closed systems. However, when they escape into larger systems in which they can reproduce, they have the potential to cause significant declines and alterations in aquatic vegetation communities. These alterations can in turn affect native species that are dependent on aquatic vegetation. Increased captures and observations of spawning have elevated concerns about Grass Carp establishment in new locations, with particular concern for establishment in Lake Erie and its tributaries. Recent efforts using telemetered fish that co-locate with wild conspecifics, sometimes in aggregations that are susceptible to harvest, have been used successfully to control invasive Common Carp Cyprinus carpio populations. If Grass Carp aggregate in winter similarly to Common Carp, they might be susceptible to similar control or harvest methods. During the winters (December–March) of 2017–2019, we tracked 86 Grass Carp tagged with acoustic transmitters in Truman Reservoir, Missouri, to evaluate winter habitat selection and to determine the effectiveness of using tagged fish in locating and removing wild fish by comparing harvest at locations of tagged fish to harvest at control sites that we believed were suitable Grass Carp habitat. Discrete-choice models showed that Grass Carp exhibited strong selection for shallow water, as 75% of locations were in littoral habitats with depths of 3 m or less. On average, we harvested more fish at sites where tagged fish were located (3.6 fish/attempt) than at control sites (1.2 fish/attempt). Full guts in individuals that were harvested may indicate that fish were using shallow-water habitats to feed. Our results suggested that Grass Carp did not usually form large winter aggregations, and although targeting locations with tagged fish slightly increased harvest success compared to efforts without them, efforts to reduce populations via harvest may be difficult in large systems when fish are widely dispersed.

A novel regression method for harmonic analysis of time series

Released January 24, 2022 08:51 EST

2022, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (185) 48-61

Qiang Zhou, Zhe Zhu, George Z. Xian, Congcong Li

Harmonic analysis of time series is an important technique in remote sensing to reveal seasonal land surface dynamics. However, frequency selection in the harmonic analysis is often difficult because high-frequency components are useful for delineating seasonal dynamics but sensitive to noise and gaps in time series. On the other hand, it is challenging to obtain temporally continuous satellite data with high quality because of atmospheric contamination. We developed a novel regression method named Harmonic Adaptive Penalty Operator (HAPO) for harmonic analysis of unevenly distributed time series. We introduced a new penalty function to minimize unexpected fluctuations in the model, which can substantially reduce the overfitting issue of regression in time series with temporal gaps. Specifically, the new penalty function minimizes the length of the model curve and the value range difference between the model and the time series observations. We compared HAPO with three widely used regression methods (OLS: Ordinary Least Squares; LASSO: Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator; and Ridge) in different scenarios using Landsat time series data across the United States. First, we evaluated methods using the Landsat surface reflectance time series within a single year. HAPO showed low and consistent monthly Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD) values, in which most of the time RMSD of predicted reflectance were less than 0.04. More importantly, HAPO showed consistent and less bias given varying density and irregularity of time series. Second, we evaluated methods using multi-year time series. HAPO was a better predictor of relatively short time series (< 4 years) with steady low RMSD values. When a longer time series ( 4 years) was used, all four methods showed similar RMSD values, but HAPO outperformed the other methods if there were temporal gaps. Therefore, for places with large seasonal observation gaps or for time series that are relatively short (less than 4 years), HAPO can provide more consistent and accurate results in harmonic analysis of time series.

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus)

Released January 21, 2022 18:53 EST

2022, Professional Paper 1842-C

W. Daniel Svedarsky, John E. Toepfer, Ronald L. Westemeier, Robert J. Robel, Lawrence D. Igl, Jill A. Shaffer

The keys to Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) management are maintaining expansive grasslands; preventing populations of Greater Prairie-Chickens from becoming small and isolated; managing grasslands to maintain proper grassland height, density, and vigor; and reducing woody plant invasion and excessive litter buildup. Within these grasslands, areas should contain short herbaceous cover for lek sites; tall residual grasses for nesting; and disturbed habitats for broods with adequate vegetation regrowth that provides insects for food and cover from predators and weather. This account does not address population or harvest management but rather focuses on habitat management. Greater Prairie-Chickens have been reported to use habitats with 5–113 centimeter (cm) average vegetation height, 5–40 cm visual obstruction reading, 18–95 percent grass cover, 1–35 percent forb cover, <45 percent litter cover, <5 percent shrub cover, 3–25 percent bare ground, and <12 cm litter depth.

Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) at the Mojave River Dam, San Bernardino County, California—2021 Data summary

Released January 21, 2022 11:28 EST

2022, Data Report 1149

Scarlett L. Howell, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

We surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) at the Mojave River Dam study area near Hesperia, California, in 2021. Four vireo surveys were conducted between April 16 and July 16, 2021, and three flycatcher surveys were conducted between May 27 and July 16, 2021.

We detected four territorial male vireos, including two that were paired and two with undetermined breeding status. No juveniles were observed during surveys. Vireo territories were found in three habitat types: (1) riparian scrub, (2) willow-cottonwood, and (3) willow-sycamore, with willow-cottonwood being the most commonly recorded habitat type. Red or arroyo willow (Salix laevigata or lasiolepis) was the dominant plant species in most vireo territories.

No territorial or transient flycatchers were observed.

Using surrogate taxa to inform response methods for invasive Grass Carp in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Released January 21, 2022 09:10 EST

2022, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Jason L. Fischer, Lucas R. Nathan, John Buszkiewicz, Julia Colm, D. Andrew R. Drake, Mark R. DuFour, Patrick Kočovský, Dave Marson, Eric R. B. Smyth, Ryan Young, Kelly F. Robinson

Sampling method decisions are critical for the effective monitoring and management of fisheries. Deploying the most effective sampling methodologies is particularly important when responding to new invasive species, where early response efforts have the best chances for eradication. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, the invasive Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella is sampled using boat electrofishing and the combination method of boat electrofishing within and around a trammel net enclosure. We conducted a field study to compare the effectiveness of the two methods. We used capture data for surrogate taxa (i.e., Common Carp Cyprinus carpio and buffalo Ictiobus spp.) to compare the two methods because few Grass Carp were collected during the study. The sampling methods were compared within an occupancy modeling framework using an information-criteria model selection approach to evaluate seven alternative models. The base model included sampling method, year, water temperature, and sampling effort as covariates in the detection submodel and assumed that occupancy probability was constant across sites. The other six models built on the base model by including site, water body type (i.e., lentic vs. lotic), and interaction covariates in the detection submodel. The top-performing model, built on the base model, accounted for the influence of water body type and assumed the exchangeability of site effects in the detection submodel. The results indicated that the detection probabilities for both taxa were higher for the combination method than for boat electrofishing, with a median estimated difference in detection probability between the two methods of 0.11 (95% CI: 0.04–0.22) for Common Carp and 0.18 (95% CI: 0.08–0.28) for buffalo. Given that the combination method was more effective for detecting the surrogate taxa, we expect the combination method may be preferable to only boat electrofishing for Grass Carp removal.

Implementation of the CCDC algorithm to produce the LCMAP Collection 1.0 annual land surface change product

Released January 21, 2022 08:57 EST

2022, Earth System Science Data (14) 143-162

George Z. Xian, Kelcy Smith, Danika F. Wellington, Josephine Horton, Qiang Zhou, Congcong Li, Roger F. Auch, Jesslyn F. Brown, Zhe Zhu, Ryan R. Reker

The increasing availability of high-quality remote sensing data and advanced technologies have spurred land cover mapping to characterize land change from local to global scales. However, most land change datasets either span multiple decades at a local scale or cover limited time over a larger geographic extent. Here, we present a new land cover and land surface change dataset created by the Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) program over the conterminous United States (CONUS). The LCMAP land cover change dataset consists of annual land cover and land cover change products over the period 1985-2017 at 30-meter resolution using Landsat and other ancillary data via the Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC) algorithm. In this paper, we describe our novel approach to implement the CCDC algorithm to produce the LCMAP product suite composed of five land cover and five land surface change related products. The LCMAP land cover products were validated using a collection of ~ 25,000 reference samples collected independently across CONUS. The overall agreement for all years of the LCMAP primary land cover product reached 82.5%. The LCMAP products are produced through the LCMAP Information Warehouse and Data Store (IW+DS) and Shared Mesos Cluster systems that can process, store, and deliver all datasets for public access. To our knowledge, this is the first set of published 30m annual land cover and land cover change datasets that span from the 1980s to the present for the United States. The LCMAP product suite provides useful information for land resource management and facilitates studies to improve the understanding of terrestrial ecosystems and the complex dynamics of the Earth system. The LCMAP system could be implemented to produce global land change products in the future.

Collection of larval lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus and Lampetra spp.) using a portable suction dredge—A pilot test

Released January 20, 2022 08:43 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1116

Theresa L. Liedtke, Joseph J. Skalicky, Lisa K. Weiland

A portable suction-dredge and sluice-box system were used to collect larval lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus and Lampetra spp.) from fine and coarse sediment in field and laboratory tests. We evaluated the injury rate, survival, and burrowing capability of lamprey following passage through the dredge system and used collection of lamprey from water without sediment as a control. The system used a hydraulic eductor (also known as a Venturi valve) to create suction so that sediment and lamprey avoided passage through the pump impeller. For the field test, lamprey were tagged with visible elastomer implants based on small (89 millimeter [mm] or less) and large (92 mm or more) size categories and stocked into mesh enclosures over fine or coarse sediment. The dredge was used inside each enclosure to collect lamprey and they were transported to the laboratory for evaluation and holding. The mean time to burrow was recorded for each study group (3 fine, 3 coarse, 3 controls) on the day of the field test; injury was evaluated at 24 hours; and survival was evaluated at 24 hours, and at 7 and 14 days after the test. The suction dredge collected 32 lamprey in fine sediment, 21 lamprey in coarse sediment, and 28 lamprey in the control group, including 30 lamprey that were not initially stocked. One lamprey died the day of the test (fine sediment) and 24 hours later, three lamprey were found to be injured (2 in fine and 1 in coarse sediment). No injuries or mortalities occurred in the control group. Lamprey burrowing performance was similar across the two treatment groups and the controls. The mean time for all fish in a group to burrow was highly variable. For all groups in a treatment combined, the mean burrow times were fastest for the fine treatment (9.8 minutes), followed by the controls (11.4 minutes) and the coarse treatment (11.6 minutes). The mean times to burrow for the main group of fish in each treatment group (those that burrowed in quick succession) were similar: 4.3 minutes for the fine group, 4.4 minutes for the coarse group, and 4.5 minutes for the controls. The laboratory test collected 147 lamprey (73 small and 74 large size category) from coarse sediment using the same procedures as the field test. One fish (small) was killed the day of the test, and six lamprey (3 small and 3 large) were found with injuries during the 24-hour exams. No mortalities were recorded 7 days after the test, when monitoring was terminated. The overall injury rate for the laboratory test was 4.1 percent and the mortality rate was 0.7 percent. Injuries in the field and laboratory tests were localized minor hemorrhages or red, irritated areas. The suction- dredge system appears to be a safe option to collect larval lamprey from sediment and will be a useful addition to lamprey assessment and salvage tools.

Major reorganization of the Snake River modulated by passage of the Yellowstone Hotspot

Released January 20, 2022 08:34 EST

2021, GSA Bulletin

Lydia M. Staisch, Jim E. O'Connor, Charles M. Cannon, Christopher S. Holm-Denoma, Paul K. Link, John Lasher, Jeremy A. Alexander

The details and mechanisms for Neogene river reorganization in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains have been debated for over a century with key implications for how tectonic and volcanic systems modulate topographic development. To evaluate paleo-drainage networks, we produced an expansive data set and provenance analysis of detrital zircon U-Pb ages from Miocene to Pleistocene fluvial strata along proposed proto-Snake and Columbia River pathways. Statistical comparisons of Miocene-Pliocene detrital zircon spectra do not support previously hypothesized drainage routes of the Snake River. We use detrital zircon unmixing models to test prior Snake River routes against a newly hypothesized route, in which the Snake River circumnavigated the northern Rocky Mountains and entered the Columbia Basin from the northeast prior to incision of Hells Canyon. Our proposed ancestral Snake River route best matches detrital zircon age spectra throughout the region. Furthermore, this northerly Snake River route satisfies and provides context for shifts in the sedimentology and fish faunal assemblages of the western Snake River Plain and Columbia Basin through Miocene−Pliocene time. We posit that eastward migration of the Yellowstone Hotspot and its effect on thermally induced buoyancy and topographic uplift, coupled with volcanic densification of the eastern Snake River Plain lithosphere, are the primary mechanisms for drainage reorganization and that the eastern and western Snake River Plain were isolated from one another until the early Pliocene. Following this basin integration, the substantial increase in drainage area to the western Snake River Plain likely overtopped a bedrock threshold that previously contained Lake Idaho, which led to incision of Hells Canyon and establishment of the modern Snake and Columbia River drainage network.

How many Ciscoes are needed for stocking in the Laurentian Great Lakes?

Released January 20, 2022 08:21 EST

2021, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

Benjamin J. Rook, Michael J. Hansen, Charles R. Bronte

Historically, Cisco Coregonus artedi and deepwater ciscoes Coregonus spp. were the most abundant and ecologically important fish species in the Laurentian Great Lakes, but anthropogenic influences caused nearly all populations to collapse by the 1970s. Fishery managers have begun exploring the feasibility of restoring populations throughout the basin, but questions regarding hatchery propagation and stocking remain. We used historical and contemporary stock-recruit parameters previously estimated for Ciscoes in Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior, with estimates of age-1 Cisco rearing habitat (broadly defined as total ha ≤ 80 m depth) and natural mortality, to estimate how many fry (5.5 months post-hatch), fall fingerling (7.5 months post-hatch), and age-1 (at least 12 months post-hatch) hatchery-reared Ciscoes are needed for stocking in the Great Lakes to mimic recruitment rates in Lake Superior, a lake that has undergone some recovery. Estimated stocking densities suggested that basin-wide stocking would require at least 0.641-billion fry, 0.469-billion fall fingerlings, or 0.343-billion age-1 fish for a simultaneous restoration effort targeting historically important Cisco spawning and rearing areas in Lakes Huron, Michigan, Erie, Ontario, and Saint Clair. Numbers required for basin-wide stocking were considerably greater than current or planned coregonine production capacity, thus simultaneous stocking in the Great Lakes is likely not feasible. Provided current habitat conditions do not preclude Cisco restoration, managers could maximize the effectiveness of available production capacity by concentrating stocking efforts in historically important spawning and rearing areas, similar to the current stocking effort in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Other historically important Cisco spawning and rearing areas within each lake (listed in no particular order) include: (1) Thunder Bay in Lake Huron, (2) Green Bay in Lake Michigan, (3) the islands near Sandusky, Ohio, in western Lake Erie, and (4) the area near Hamilton, Ontario, and Bay of Quinte in Lake Ontario. Our study focused entirely on Ciscoes but may provide a framework for describing future stocking needs for deepwater ciscoes.

A biological condition gradient for Caribbean coral reefs: Part II. Numeric rules using sessile benthic organisms

Released January 20, 2022 07:02 EST

2022, Ecological Indicators (135)

Deborah L Santavy, Susan K Jackson, Benjamin Jessup, Christina Horstmann, Caroline Rogers, Ernesto Weil, Alina Szmant, David Cuevas Miranda, Brian K Walker, Christopher F.G. Jeffrey, David Ballantine, William S. Fisher, Randy Clark, Hector Ruiz Torres, Brandi Todd, Sandy Raimondo

The Biological Condition Gradient (BCG) is a conceptual model used to describe incremental changes in biological condition along a gradient of increasing anthropogenic stress. As coral reefs collapse globally, scientists and managers are focused on how to sustain the crucial structure and functions, and the benefits that healthy coral reef ecosystems provide for many economies and societies. We developed a numeric (quantitative) BGC model for the coral reefs of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to transparently facilitate ecologically meaningful management decisions regarding these fragile resources. Here, reef conditions range from natural, undisturbed conditions to severely altered or degraded conditions. Numeric decision rules were developed by an expert panel for scleractinian corals and other benthic assemblages using multiple attributes to apply in shallow-water tropical fore reefs with depths <30 m. The numeric model employed decision rules based on metrics (e.g., % live coral cover, coral species richness, pollution-sensitive coral species, unproductive and sediment substrates, % cover by Orbicella spp.) used to assess coral reef condition. Model confirmation showed the numeric BCG model predicted the panel’s median site ratings for 84% of the sites used to calibrate the model and 89% of independent validation sites. The numeric BCG model is suitable for adaptive management applications and supports bioassessment and criteria development. It is a robust assessment tool that could be used to establish ecosystem condition that would aid resource managers in evaluating and communicating current or changing conditions, protect water and habitat quality in areas of high biological integrity, or develop restoration goals with stakeholders and other public beneficiaries.

hical—The HiRISE radiometric calibration software developed within the ISIS3 planetary image processing suite

Released January 19, 2022 14:49 EST

2022, Techniques and Methods 7-C27

Kris J. Becker, Moses P. Milazzo, W. Alan Delamere, Kenneth E. Herkenhoff, Eric M. Eliason, Patrick S. Russell, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Alfred S. McEwen


This report summarizes the software and algorithms that are used to calibrate images returned by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft. The instrument design and data processing methods are summarized below, followed by a description of relevant calibration data and details of the calibration procedure. In this document, we describe the software that uses those coefficients and matrices to radiometrically calibrate HiRISE data. This software is included in version 3 of the Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers (ISIS3), which is developed and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Ariz., for the international planetary science community via funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. ISIS3 is freely available to the scientific community and can be obtained at Support for ISIS3 is provided at

Geology and hydrogeology of the Yucaipa groundwater subbasin, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, California

Released January 19, 2022 13:33 EST

2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5129

Geoffrey Cromwell, Jonathan Matti

The Yucaipa groundwater subbasin (referred to in this report as the Yucaipa subbasin) is located about 75 miles (mi) east of of Los Angeles and about 12 mi southeast of the City of San Bernardino. In the Yucaipa subbasin, as in much of southern California, limited annual rainfall and large water demands can strain existing water supplies; therefore, understanding local surface water and groundwater conditions is essential for managing these resources. To better understand the hydrogeology and water resources in the Yucaipa subbasin, especially groundwater, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District and the U.S. Geological Survey initiated a cooperative study to evaluate the hydrogeologic system of the Yucaipa subbasin and the encompassing Yucaipa Valley watershed. Previous studies of the area provided information on general geologic and hydrologic conditions, but this study provides the first comprehensive definition of the hydrogeology of the subsurface throughout the entire subbasin.

The Yucaipa subbasin is located between the northwest trending San Andreas fault zone and San Jacinto fault. Several northeast-trending dip-slip faults dissect the Yucaipa subbasin, providing the mechanism for structural relief within the sediment-filled subbasin and between the subbasin and surrounding mountains and highlands. Several of these dip-slip faults have been previously identified as potential barriers to groundwater flow. This report provides a synthesis of previous studies and a discussion of the geologic interpretations that were used as the foundation for hydrogeologic classification of the Yucaipa subbasin. Notably, this report (1) adopts the recently named and classified sedimentary deposits of Live Oak Canyon geologic formation and extends the mapped distribution of the formation into the Yucaipa subbasin, and (2) adopts the interpretation that activity along the Banning fault predates the deposition of most basin-fill sedimentary materials in the Yucaipa subbasin.

Four hydrogeologic units were classified in the Yucaipa subbasin: (1) crystalline basement, (2) consolidated sedimentary materials, (3) unconsolidated sediment, and (4) surficial materials. The crystalline basement unit forms the bottom boundary of the aquifer system, and the three other units comprise the basin-fill aquifer system. The four hydrogeologic units vary in extent, thickness, and structural relief across the subbasin, with the unconsolidated sediment unit serving as the primary aquifer unit. A three-dimensional hydrogeologic framework model was developed for the Yucaipa subbasin and surrounding area to characterize the thickness, extent, and hydrogeologic variability of the aquifer system. Geologic maps, borehole geophysical logs, drillers’ lithology logs, and depth-to-basement gravity data were used to map and interpolate the subsurface extent and structure of the hydrogeologic units within the subbasin. Faults and structures of geologic and (or) hydrogeologic importance were included in the model for future evaluation of their potential effects on groundwater flow. The resulting hydrogeologic framework is consistent with existing geologic concepts and the tectonic and structural history of the Yucaipa subbasin and surrounding area. The framework is also suitable for use in basin-scale hydrogeologic investigations.

Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) at the San Antonio Dam, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, California—2021 Data summary

Released January 18, 2022 14:45 EST

2022, Data Report 1148

Scarlett L. Howell, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

We surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) at the San Antonio Dam near Upland, California, in 2021. Four vireo surveys were conducted between April 16 and July 15, 2021, and three flycatcher surveys were conducted between May 27 and July 15, 2021.

We detected one transient vireo and one transient flycatcher. No territorial vireos or flycatchers were observed. The vireo was found in riparian scrub habitat dominated by native mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia), whereas the flycatcher was using habitat dominated by non-native tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima).

Understanding sources and distribution of Escherichia coli at Lake St. Clair Metropark Beach, Macomb County, Michigan

Released January 18, 2022 12:21 EST

2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5089

Lisa R. Fogarty, Jessica A. Maurer, Ian M. Hyslop, Alexander R. Totten, Christopher M. Kephart, Angela K. Brennan

Lake St. Clair Metropark Beach (LSCMB) in Michigan is a public beach near the mouth of the Clinton River that has a history of beach closures for public health concerns. The Clinton River is designated as a Great Lakes Area of Concern, and the park has a Beneficial Use Impairment for beach closings because of elevated Escherichia coli (E. coli) concentrations. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in collaboration with the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Macomb County Health Department, and Huron-Clinton Metroparks, completed a 2-year study to determine sources of E. coli in LSCMB. Samples were collected during dry and wet weather periods to observe the sampling sites under different conditions. Nearshore surface water samples were collected biweekly July through October in 2018 and May through September in 2019. There were 20 sampling sites along the shoreline of the park and in the channel north of the park. In addition to collecting nearshore surface-water samples, samples were collected from shallow groundwater, lake-bottom material, standing water on the beach and surrounding the recreational beach area, solids (beach sands and detritus), and offshore surface-water sites. In 2019, additional samples for microbial source tracking (MST) were collected on three dates in midsummer and were analyzed for human (HF183) and bird/waterfowl (GFD) MST markers. The concentrations of E. coli at LSCMB (in order of highest to lowest E. coli concentrations) were as follows: shallow groundwater nearest to the water’s edge, surface sands and organic matter (detritus), standing water on the beach, nearshore surface water in and surrounding the recreational beach area, lake-bottom material, and offshore surface water. The combination of low E. coli concentrations offshore and higher concentrations nearshore indicate nearshore sources, possibly from beach sands or groundwater, rather than sources coming from offshore Lake St. Clair waters. The subset of samples for MST analysis did not have enough positive results to illustrate MST trends, but this study demonstrated that both human and waterfowl sources can affect the water quality at LCSMB.

Characterization of ambient groundwater quality within a statewide, fixed-station monitoring network in Pennsylvania, 2015–19

Released January 18, 2022 09:40 EST

2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5119

Matthew D. Conlon, Joseph W. Duris

Pennsylvania leads the Nation in the number of individuals that use groundwater for private domestic water supply; more than 3 million rural and suburban Pennsylvania residents rely on private domestic supplies for drinking water. These supplies are not regulated nor routinely monitored; thus relevant groundwater-quality information is not widely available. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) Safe Drinking Water Bureau, established a statewide, fixed-station ambient groundwater quality network in 2015. The goals for the Pennsylvania Groundwater Monitoring Network (GWMN) include characterizing ambient groundwater quality conditions in rural areas of the State and documenting potential changes in conditions over time. Seventeen wells were selected for monitoring at 6-month intervals beginning in 2015. Since then, several wells have been added to the GWMN, bringing the total number of wells sampled in the fall of 2019 to 28. Routinely monitored constituents included physical characteristics and chemical concentrations in filtered and unfiltered samples (major and trace elements, nutrients, and organic compounds). Samples for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radionuclides, and dissolved hydrocarbon gases were collected during the first sampling event at each well.

To offer insights on the quality of groundwater used for domestic supply in Pennsylvania, summary statistics for the 221 GWMN samples collected during 2015–19 are compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking-water standards, which are applicable to public water supplies. Results show that samples across the GWMN generally meet drinking-water standards for inorganic and organic constituents; however, a percentage of samples had concentrations that exceeded maximum contaminant level (MCL) thresholds for nitrate (3 percent) and secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) thresholds for iron (32 percent), manganese (36 percent), and aluminum (5 percent). Radon-222 activities, which were sampled only during the initial visit to a well, exceeded the lower proposed drinking water standard of 300 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in 64 percent of wells in the GWMN; additionally, 7 percent of wells exceeded the higher proposed standard of 4,000 pCi/L. There were no exceedances for VOCs, but one well had a tribromomethane detection. Three wells had detectable concentrations of methane, with one sample exceeding the Pennsylvania action level of 7 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

The pH and dissolved oxygen concentrations varied widely across the GWMN and were correlated with dissolved metal concentrations and other chemical characteristics of groundwater samples. Considering all samples collected for the study, the pH ranged from 4.2 to 8.3; 42 percent of pH values were either above or below the SMCL range of 6.5–8.5. The highest pH values resulted from contamination of loose grout used in the construction of one well and decreased to levels consistent with other wells in the vicinity after repeated sampling rounds. Dissolved oxygen (DO), which ranged from 0 to 13.9 mg/L, influences the mobility and prevalence of constituents with variable oxidation state, including iron, manganese, and nitrogen species. Samples with acidic pH (less than 6.5) and (or) low DO had the highest concentrations of manganese and iron, whereas those with neutral to alkaline pH values had the highest concentrations of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and other major ions. Analysis of major ions indicates that calcium/bicarbonate water types are the most common, with a few characterized as calcium/chloride or sodium/chloride, and most others as mixed water types including calcium-magnesium/bicarbonate, sodium-magnesium/bicarbonate, and sodium/bicarbonate-chloride.

Nonparametric statistical methods were used to evaluate the data for spatial and temporal trends. A principal components analysis (PCA) model developed with ranked data values for the entire network resulted in three components, (1) dissolved solids, (2) redox, and (3) sodium-chloride, which explained 74.5 percent of variance in the dataset. On the basis of individual contributions to the PCA, certain wells were identified through hierarchical cluster analysis that shared relevant water-quality characteristics. The spatial distribution of sampling locations and the temporal trends of constituent concentrations indicate that hydrogeologic setting and topographic position as defined in the PCA model are important factors affecting the spatial and temporal patterns of groundwater quality in the GWMN.

The Coastal Imaging Research Network (CIRN)

Released January 18, 2022 07:25 EST

2022, Remote Sensing (3)

Margaret Louise Palmsten, Katherine L. Brodie

The Coastal Imaging Research Network (CIRN) is an international group of researchers who exploit signatures of phenomena in imagery of coastal, estuarine, and riverine environments. CIRN participants develop and implement new coastal imaging methodologies. The research objective of the group is to use imagery to gain a better fundamental understanding of the processes shaping those environments. Coastal imaging data may also be used to derive inputs for model boundary and initial conditions through assimilation, to validate models, and to make management decisions. CIRN was officially formed in 2016 to provide an integrative, multi-institutional group to collaborate on remotely sensed data techniques. As of 2021, the network is a collaboration between researchers from approximately 16 countries and includes investigators from universities, government laboratories and agencies, non-profits, and private companies. CIRN has a strong emphasis on education, exemplified by hosting annual “boot camps” to teach photogrammetry fundamentals and toolboxes from the CIRN code repository, as well as hosting an annual meeting for its members to present coastal imaging research. In this review article, we provide context for the development of CIRN as well as describe the goals and accomplishments of the CIRN community. We highlight components of CIRN’s resources for researchers worldwide including an open-source GitHub repository and coding boot camps. Finally, we provide CIRN’s perspective on the future of coastal imaging.

Decision analysis and CO2–enhanced oil recovery development strategies

Released January 18, 2022 06:41 EST

2022, Natural Resources Research

E. D. Attanasi, Philip A. Freeman

This paper analyzes the relationship between actual reservoir conditions and predicted measures of performance of carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2–EOR) programs. It then shows how CO2–EOR operators might maximize the value of their projects by approaching implementation using a “flexible selective” pattern development strategy, where the CO2–EOR program patterns are selectively developed based on site-specific reservoir properties. It also analyzes performance measures and economic consequences of utilizing a continuous CO2 injection strategy intended to maximize CO2 retention for a defined time period. “Net CO2 utilization,” calculated as difference between the volumes of CO2 injected and CO2 recovered in the production stream divided by the oil produced, is a standard measure of CO2–EOR carbon utilization, but it can be a misleading predictor of the actual CO2 retained in the reservoir. Asset value can be added to a CO2–EOR project by recognizing effects of variations in reservoir parameter values and basing incremental development decisions on those data. For policy analysts, the consequences of ignoring geologic variability within a reservoir that is a candidate for CO2–EOR will likely be to substantially overestimate predicted adoption of CO2–EOR in response to economic incentives. This result holds true whether the CO2–EOR program objective is to maximize net value by maximizing oil production or maximize CO2 storage with oil recovery.

BIOTAS: BIOTelemetry Analysis Software, for the semi-automated removal of false positives from radio telemetry data

Released January 17, 2022 11:01 EST

2022, Animal Biotelemetry (10) 1-16

Kevin Nebiolo, Theodore R. Castro-Santos


Radio telemetry, one of the most widely used techniques for tracking wildlife and fisheries populations, has a false-positive problem. Bias from false-positive detections can affect many important derived metrics, such as home range estimation, site occupation, survival, and migration timing. False-positive removal processes have relied upon simple filters and personal opinion. To overcome these shortcomings, we have developed BIOTAS (BIOTelemetry Analysis Software) to assist with false-positive identification, removal, and data management for large-scale radio telemetry projects.


BIOTAS uses a naïve Bayes classifier to identify and remove false-positive detections from radio telemetry data. The semi-supervised classifier uses spurious detections from unknown tags and study tags as training data. We tested BIOTAS on four scenarios: wide-band receiver with a single Yagi antenna, wide-band receiver that switched between two Yagi antennas, wide-band receiver with a single dipole antenna, and single-band receiver that switched between five frequencies. BIOTAS has a built in a k-fold cross-validation and assesses model quality with sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, false-positive rate, and precision-recall area under the curve. BIOTAS also assesses concordance with a traditional consecutive detection filter using Cohen’s κκ.


Overall BIOTAS performed equally well in all scenarios and was able to discriminate between known false-positive detections and valid study tag detections with low false-positive rates (< 0.001) as determined through cross-validation, even as receivers switched between antennas and frequencies. BIOTAS classified between 94 and 99% of study tag detections as valid.


As part of a robust data management plan, BIOTAS is able to discriminate between detections from study tags and known false positives. BIOTAS works with multiple manufacturers and accounts for receivers that switch between antennas and frequencies. BIOTAS provides the framework for transparent, objective, and repeatable telemetry projects for wildlife conservation surveys, and increases the efficiency of data processing.

Primary deposition and early diagenetic effects on the high saturation accumulation of gas hydrate in a silt dominated reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico

Released January 17, 2022 10:46 EST

2022, Marine Geology (444) 1-22

Joel E. Johnson, Douglas R. MacLeod, Stephen C. Phillips, Marcie Phillips Purkey, David L. Divins

On continental margins, high saturation gas hydrate systems (>60% pore volume) are common in canyon and channel environments within the gas hydrate stability zone, where reservoirs are dominated by coarse-grained, high porosity sand deposits. Recent studies, including the results presented here, suggest that rapidly deposited, silt-dominated channel-levee environments can also host high saturation gas hydrate accumulations. Here we present several sedimentological data sets, including sediment composition, biostratigraphic age from calcareous nannofossils, grain size, total organic carbon (TOC), C/N elemental ratio, δ13C-TOC, CaCO3, total sulfur (TS), and δ34S-TS from sediments collected with pressure cores from a gas hydrate rich, turbidite channel-levee system in the Gulf of Mexico during the 2017 UT-GOM2-1 Hydrate Pressure Coring Expedition. Our results indicate the reservoir is composed of three main lithofacies, which have distinct sediment grain size distributions (type A-silty clay to clayey silt, type B-clayey silt, and type C-sandy silt to silty sand) that are characteristic of variable turbidity current energy regimes within a Pleistocene (< 0.91 Ma) channel-levee environment. We document that the TOC in the sediments of the reservoir is terrestrial in origin and contained within the fine fraction of each lithofacies, while the CaCO3 fraction is composed of primarily reworked grains, including Cretaceous calcareous nannofossils, and part of the detrital load. The lack of biogenic grains within the finest grained sediment intervals throughout the reservoir suggests interevent hemipelagic sediments are not preserved, resulting in a reservoir sequence of silt dominated, stacked turbidites. We observe two zones of enhanced TS at the top and bottom of the reservoir that correspond with enriched bulk sediment δ34S, indicating stalled or slowly advancing paleo-sulfate-methane transition zone (SMTZ) positions likely driven by relative decreases in sedimentation rate. Despite these two diagenetic zones, the low abundance of diagenetic precipitates throughout the reservoir allowed the primary porosity to remain largely intact, thus better preserving primary porosity for subsequent pore-filling gas hydrate. In canyon, channel, and levee environments, early diagenesis may be regulated via sedimentation rates, where high rates result in rapid progression through the SMTZ and minimal diagenetic mineralization and low rates result in the stalling of the SMTZ, enhancing diagenetic mineralization. Here, we observed some enhanced pyritization to implicate potential sedimentation rate changes, but not enough to consume primary porosity, resulting in a high saturation gas hydrate reservoir. These results emphasize the important implications of sedimentary processes, sedimentation rates, and early diagenesis on the distribution of gas hydrate in marine sediments along continental margins.

    Northern Cascadia Margin gas hydrates — Regional geophysical surveying, IODP drilling leg 311, and cabled observatory monitoring

    Released January 17, 2022 10:31 EST

    2022, Book chapter, World atlas of submarine gas hydrates in continental margins

    Michael Riedel, Timothy S. Collett, Martin Scherwath, John W. Pohlman, Roy Hyndman, George Spence

    Jürgen Mienert, Christian Berndt, Anne M. Tréhu, Angelo Camerlenghi, Char-Shine Liu, editor(s)

    This article reviews extensive geophysical survey data, ocean drilling results and long-term seafloor monitoring that constrain the distribution and concentration of gas hydrates within the accretionary prism of the northern Cascadia subduction margin, located offshore Vancouver Island in Canada. Seismic surveys and geologic studies conducted since the 1980s have mapped the bottom simulating reflector (BSR), detected gas hydrate occurrence and estimated gas hydrate and free gas concentrations. Additional constraints were obtained from seafloor-towed, controlled-source electromagnetic surveying. A component of these studies has been the examination of low-temperature seafloor vents and seeps that emit gas and fluids into the ocean. These features are identified seismically as chimney-like zones of reduced acoustic reflectivity within the sediment stratigraphy, functioning as conduits for gas and fluid migration from below the BSR to the seafloor. Gas hydrates have been recovered from the seafloor and from sediment cores at vent sites, mostly in massive (nodular) form and as a vein-like fracture filling. The Ocean Networks Canada cabled NEPTUNE observatory has gathered extensive continuous, long-term observations on gas hydrate dynamics at the seafloor and in boreholes at two nodes on the continental slope featuring high gas hydrate concentrations. Measurements taken at the observatory include a time-series of gas bubble emission rates, changes in the near-seafloor electromagnetic structure and seafloor compliance linked to gas hydrate formation and dissociation. Two Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) expeditions collected cores, measured downhole properties and deployed downhole instruments within the central accretionary prism. At IODP Site U1364, pore pressures are being monitored above and below the base of the gas hydrate stability zone at a slope setting using an “Advanced Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit” (A-CORK). Downhole pore pressures, temperatures and electrical resistivities also are being monitored at IODP Site U1416 using the “Simple Cabled Instrument for Measuring Parameters In Situ” (SCIMPI) tool at a vent site from near-seafloor to just above the base of the gas hydrate stability zone.

    Alaska North Slope terrestrial gas hydrate systems: Insights from scientific drilling

    Released January 17, 2022 10:17 EST

    2022, Book chapter, World atlas of submarine gas hydrates in continental margins

    Timothy S. Collett, Ray M. Boswell, Margarita V. Zyrianova

    Jürgen Mienert, Christian Berndt, Anne M. Tréhu, Angelo Camerlenghi, Char-Shine Liu, editor(s)

    A wealth of information has been accumulated regarding the occurrence of gas hydrates in nature, leading to significant advancements in our understanding of the geologic controls on their occurrence in both the terrestrial and marine settings of the Arctic. Gas hydrate accumulations discovered in the Alaska North Slope have been the focus of several important geoscience and production testing research programs. The Mount Elbert Gas Hydrate Stratigraphic Test Well of 2007 yielded one of the most complete geologic datasets on Arctic gas hydrate systems and important reservoir engineering data. The 2011/2012 field test of the Iġnik Sikumi gas hydrate production test well provided important insight into gas hydrate production technologies, yielding additional information on the petrophysical properties of gas hydrate reservoir systems. The Hydrate-01 Stratigraphic Test Well, drilled late in 2018, confirmed the geologic conditions at an Alaska North Slope drill site that was selected for an extended gas hydrate production test. In 2018, the US Geological Survey used information derived from previous scientific drilling programs to assess the volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources at a mean estimate of about 54 trillion cubic feet (~1.5 trillion cubic meters) within the gas hydrates in the North Slope of Alaska. This assessment has shown that the amount of gas stored as gas hydrates in this area is equal to about half of the known volume of conventional natural gas resources in the region.

    A review of the exploration, discovery, and characterization of highly concentrated gas hydrate accumulations in coarse-grained reservoir systems along the Eastern Continental Margin of India

    Released January 17, 2022 09:12 EST

    2022, Book chapter, World atlas of submarine gas hydrates in continental margins

    Timothy S. Collett, Krishan Chopra, Ashutosh Bhardwaj, Ray Boswell, William F. Waite, A. K. Misra, Pushpendra Kumar

    Jürgen Mienert, Christian Berndt, Anne M. Tréhu, Angelo Camerlenghi, Char-Shine Liu, editor(s)

    The analysis of 3-D seismic data has become one of the most powerful ways to identify sand-rich gas hydrate reservoir systems and to directly identify highly concentrated gas hydrate prospects. Scientific drilling programs have shown that the occurrence of highly concentrated gas hydrate accumulations in coarse-grained, sand-rich, reservoir systems has a significant impact on the physical properties of sediments, allowing gas hydrates to be “directly detected” by conventional seismic analysis techniques. One of the most diagnostic responses of a gas hydrate-bearing sand reservoir is that of a high-velocity sedimentary section and an associated high-amplitude seismic response with a reflection polarity matching that of the seafloor. Knowledge of this physical relationship guided the Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 (NGHP-02) in their pre-drill site review and selection effort along the eastern continental margin of India in 2016. Within the planning, operational and post-operational data analysis phases of the NGHP-02 Expedition, scientists relied heavily on the analyses of the (1) pre-expedition acquired 3-D seismic data from offshore India, (2) downhole logging data acquired during NGHP-02 and (3) core samples and data obtained from NGHP-02 conventional- and pressure-cores to identify gas hydrates and assess the geologic controls on the formation and stability of these accumulations. Data analysis has confirmed the presence of extensive sand-rich depositional systems throughout the deepwater portions of the Krishna-Godavari and Mahanadi Basins in the Bay of Bengal. Two areas of the Krishna-Godavari Basin contain substantial gas hydrate accumulations in sand-rich systems, representing candidate sites for future potential energy exploitation.

    Applied citizen science in freshwater research

    Released January 17, 2022 08:47 EST

    2022, WIREs Water 1-11

    Anya N. Metcalfe, Theodore A. Kennedy, Gabriella A. Mendez, Jeffrey D. Muehlbauer

    Stuart N. Lane, editor(s)

    Worldwide, scientists are increasingly collaborating with the general public. Citizen science methods are readily applicable to freshwater research, monitoring, and education. In addition to providing cost-effective data on spatial and temporal scales that are otherwise unattainable, citizen science provides unique opportunities for engagement with local communities and stakeholders in resource management and decision-making. However, these methods are not infallible. Citizen science projects require deliberate planning in order to collect high data quality and sustain meaningful community partnerships. Citizen science practitioners also have an ethical responsibility to ensure that projects are not putting the safety of participants at stake. We discuss here how citizen science is being applied in freshwater research, emerging challenges in project planning and implementation, as well as how citizen science is shaping public understanding, policy, and management of freshwaters.

    Risk-based prioritization of organic chemicals and locations of ecological concern in sediment from Great Lakes tributaries

    Released January 17, 2022 08:45 EST

    2022, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

    Austin K. Baldwin, Steven R. Corsi, Owen Michael Stefaniak, Luke C. Loken, Daniel L. Villeneuve, Gerald T. Ankley, Brett R. Blackwell, Peter L. Lenaker, Michelle A. Nott, Marc A. Mills

    With improved analytical techniques, environmental monitoring studies are increasingly able to report the occurrence of tens or hundreds of chemicals per site, making it difficult to identify the most relevant chemicals from a biological standpoint. For this study, organic chemical occurrence was examined, individually and as mixtures, in the context of potential biological effects. Sediment was collected at 71 Great Lakes tributary sites and analyzed for 87 chemicals. Multiple risk-based lines of evidence were used to prioritize chemicals and locations, including comparing sediment concentrations and estimated porewater concentrations to established whole-organism benchmarks (i.e., sediment and water quality criteria and screening values) and to high-throughput toxicity screening data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ToxCast database, estimating additive effects of chemical mixtures on common ToxCast endpoints, and estimating toxic equivalencies for mixtures of alkylphenols and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This multiple-lines-of-evidence approach enabled the screening of more chemicals, mitigated the uncertainties of individual approaches, and strengthened common conclusions. Collectively, at least one benchmark/screening value was exceeded for 54 of the 87 chemicals, with exceedances observed at all 71 of the monitoring sites. Chemicals with the greatest potential for biological effects, both individually and as mixture components, were bisphenol A, 4-nonylphenol, indole, carbazole, and several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Potential adverse outcomes based on ToxCast gene targets and putative adverse outcome pathways relevant to individual chemicals and chemical mixtures included tumors, skewed sex ratios, reproductive dysfunction, hepatic steatosis, and early mortality, among others. Results provide a screening level prioritization of chemicals with the greatest potential for adverse biological effects and an indication of sites where they are most likely to occur.

    Implementation plan of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program strategy—Great Lakes (Central Lowland and Superior Upland Physiographic Provinces)

    Released January 14, 2022 14:40 EST

    2022, Open-File Report 2021-1120

    Christopher S. Swezey, Charles D. Blome, Kevin A. Kincare, Scott C. Lundstrom, Byron D. Stone, Donald S. Sweetkind, Richard C. Berg, Steven E. Brown, John A. Yellich


    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) has published a strategic plan entitled “Renewing the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program as the Nation’s Authoritative Source for Modern Geologic Knowledge”. This plan provides the following vision, mission, and goals for the program for the years 2020–30:

    • Vision: create an integrated, three-dimensional (3D), digital geologic map of the United States.
    • Mission: characterize, interpret, and disseminate a national geologic framework model of the Earth through geologic mapping.
    • Goal: focus on geological mapping as a core function of the USGS within the long-term vision and mission of creating a digital geologic map and geologic framework model of the Nation.

    To achieve the goal outlined in the strategic plan, the NCGMP has developed an Implementation Plan. This Implementation Plan will guide annual reviews of the FEDMAP component (that is, the component of the USGS NCGMP that funds geologic mapping by USGS geologists) of the NCGMP projects described in the plan and the development of the annual FEDMAP prospectus, which will ensure the application of the NCGMP strategy.

    This publication is part of the Implementation Plan of the NCGMP strategy and addresses the following three major topics:

    1. continued development of a consistent National geologic map and database;
    2. the major unanswered geologic questions in the region; and
    3. the societal concerns associated with these geologic questions, such as hazards, geologic and hydrologic resources, and environmental issues.

    The regions used in this chapter correspond with physiographic divisions of the United States as defined by Fenneman. Physiographic divisions are delineated on the basis of topography, and to a lesser extent, the geologic structure and history. The physiographic divisions are subdivided into physiographic provinces, and the physiographic provinces are subdivided into physiographic sections. Fenneman’s physiographic divisions of the United States provide a robust and useful spatial organization for delineating large geographic regions of the United States for various scientific and industrial applications.

    Use case development for earth monitoring, analysis, and prediction (EarthMAP)—A road map for future integrated predictive science at the U.S. Geological Survey

    Released January 14, 2022 14:13 EST

    2022, Open-File Report 2021-1108

    Tamara S. Wilson, Mark T. Wiltermuth, Karen E. Jenni, Robert J. Horton, Randall J. Hunt, Dee M. Williams, Vivian P. Nolan, Nicholas G. Aumen, David S. Brown, Kyle W. Blasch, Peter S. Murdoch

    Executive Summary

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 21st-century science strategy 2020–30 promotes a bureau-wide strategy to develop and deliver an integrated, predictive science capability that works at the scales and timelines needed to inform societally relevant resource management and protection and public safety and environmental health decisions (U.S. Geological Survey, 2021). This is the overarching goal of the USGS Earth Monitoring, Analysis, and Prediction (EarthMAP) vision, which consists of three components: (1) integrated data and information, (2) integrated predictive science, and (3) actionable information—all designed and delivered to respond to user needs. To launch this vision and help shape the design and implementation of integrated predictive science, the USGS Regional Offices each developed a set of use cases (hereafter Use Cases)—short descriptions of potential science applications that could clearly address high priority decision-making needs of our stakeholders and that align with an integrated science focus. Use Cases are not actionable science planning documents, nor stand-alone scholarly works, but should be considered as innovative, next-generation science ideas that can be considered as potential components of science plans still under development. The goal of Use Case development was to (1) identify and characterize existing USGS scientific capacities and expertise that can support science goals and products, (2) identify opportunities to leverage current capacities for next-generation science, and (3) foster engagement across the entire Bureau to further refine the USGS strategy for EarthMAP and integrated predictive science.

    The Use Case development effort documented in this report was coordinated by the Use Case Development Team (UCDT), consisting of representatives from each region. The UCDT undertook five tasks: (1) develop a unified approach to engage bureau scientists consistently across all regions in aspirational thinking about what can be accomplished; (2) work with the regions and their Science Centers to generate an initial set of Use Cases, authored directly by scientists; (3) characterize, summarize, and document the initial set of Use Case submissions from authors to illuminate bureau-level demand for integrated science; (4) compare existing and needed capacities from the Use Case descriptions with preliminary results of the EarthMAP Capacity Assessment (Keisman and others, 2021); and (5) describe lessons learned from the Use Case development process and provide recommendations to inform future efforts to generate integrated science activities. This report outlines the approach the UCDT developed to solicit Use Cases from the regions and summarizes the high-level qualitative findings from this first-round effort.

    The UCDT received 36 Use Cases from the regions and identified potential points of convergence and commonalities considered useful in making connections among the participating scientists. The Southwest (SW) Region and the Rocky Mountain (RM) Region asked scientists to give special consideration to Use Cases with applicability to the Colorado River Basin, and seven of the Use Cases specifically named that geographic area as a focus. Coastal hazards and coastal resilience were identified in Use Cases from the Alaska (AK), Northeast (NE), and Southeast (SE) Regions. Aspects of wildfire and post-wildfire response were part of Uses Cases from AK, RM, and SW Regions. The greatest convergence of Use Case themes was related to conservation of public lands and waters, which is a powerful linkage lending strength to future collaborative efforts.

    The most common type of stakeholder decisions that would be informed by the Use Case science applications were related to adaptation, mitigation, and response (for example, how to increase the resilience of coastal communities to climate-related stressors and how to prevent or respond to harmful algal blooms). Other common types of decisions included water and land management decisions (including operational water management decisions such as reservoir operations and land use planning in the sagebrush biome), decisions about how to manage and conserve habitats and species, and risk management decisions (such as managing the post-wildfire flood risks). These decision types are not exclusive because many Use Cases cross categories.

    Use Case authors identified existing and needed science and technology capabilities required for Use Case implementation, which were then aligned to capabilities assessed in the EarthMAP Capacity Assessment (Keisman and others, 2021). Strong alignment was found for data and information integration approaches, modeling and prediction approaches, and capabilities related to delivery of actionable information. A majority of Use Cases indicated insufficient current capacity for needed data collection methods, data integration, and modeling and prediction approaches, whereas only 25 percent indicated insufficient capacity for actionable information delivery. Overall, many Use Case capacity demand gaps could potentially be met by existing bureau-wide capacity. In addition, nearly half of the Use Cases could potentially be implemented within 3 years if funding, capabilities, and personnel impediments were removed and science priorities were realigned.

    Several challenges emerged during the Use Case development process. The first challenge was developing an approach that was flexible enough to accommodate regional differences in planning and implementation, while also ensuring enough guidance to promote meaningful summary analyses. The UCDT encountered a strong demand for continuous communication and education to improve overall understanding of the integrated predictive science strategy. Another challenge was managing expectations about EarthMAP activities as a design effort that was not aligned to an immediate funding opportunity. Connecting the Use Cases to stakeholder needs without the opportunity for direct stakeholder engagement was also challenging. The last notable challenge was in obtaining consistent interpretation and characterization of the qualitative data housed in the narrative descriptions of Use Cases, written in different styles.

    Overall, the 36 Use Cases can serve as components of a road map for advancing integrated monitoring and predictive science throughout the USGS by revealing opportunities to (1) encourage cross-region initiatives that address shared interests in common themes by integrating similar Use Cases and through direct involvement of stakeholders in identifying needs and designing effective responses, (2) leverage the Use Cases to target investments that are aligned with the Bureau and Department of the Interior (DOI) priorities, (3) connect Use Cases and the results of the companion EarthMAP Capacity Assessment (Keisman and others, 2021) to identify potential priorities for capacity building investments, and (4) raise awareness of common integrated and interdisciplinary science interests within and across the regions through Use Case and Capacity Assessment summary outreach activities.

    U.S. Atlantic margin gas hydrates

    Released January 14, 2022 10:18 EST

    2022, Book chapter, World atlas of submarine gas hydrates in continental margins

    Carolyn D. Ruppel, William Shedd, Nathaniel C. Miller, Jared Kluesner, Matthew Frye, Deborah Hutchinson

    Jürgen Mienert, Christian Berndt, Anne M. Tréhu, Angelo Camerlenghi, Char-Shine Liu, editor(s)

    The minimum distribution of gas hydrates on the U.S. Atlantic margin is from offshore South Carolina northward to the longitude of Shallop Canyon on the southern New England margin. Few wells have logged or sampled the gas hydrate zone on this margin, meaning that the presence of gas hydrates is inferred primarily based on seismic data that reveal bottom simulating reflections, mostly at water depths greater than 2000 m. The highest hydrate saturations most likely exist in sandy sediments of the Whale Prospect offshore New Jersey, New York, and the western part of Cape Cod, an area characterized by strong bottom simulating reflections. Such reflections are also imaged on the well-studied Blake Ridge, where fine-grained sediments host lower hydrate saturations that have been constrained by drilling. Within the section of the margin stretching from south of Cape Hatteras to nearly Hudson Canyon, the diagnostic seismic reflections are hard to discern, making inferences about gas hydrate distributions more uncertain. The recognition of as-yet unmapped bottom simulating reflections or top of gas features seaward of the 2000 m bathymetric contour (e.g., Cape Fear Slide, Currituck slide, beneath deepwater gas seeps) within the Mid-Atlantic Bight expands the area of probable gas hydrates on this margin.

    Drivers, dynamics and impacts of changing Arctic coasts

    Released January 14, 2022 09:49 EST

    2022, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment (3) 39-54

    Anna M. Irrgang, Mette Bendixen, Louise M. Farquharson, Alisa V. Baranskaya, Li H. Erikson, Ann E. Gibbs, Stanislav A. Ogorodov, Pier Paul Overduin, Hugues Lantuit, Mikhail N. Grigoriev, Benjamin M. Jones

    Arctic coasts are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and the loss of permafrost, sea ice and glaciers. Assessing the influence of anthropogenic warming on Arctic coastal dynamics, however, is challenged by the limited availability of observational, oceanographic and environmental data. Yet, with the majority of permafrost coasts being erosive, coupled with projected intensification of erosion and flooding, understanding these changes is critical. In this Review, we describe the morphological diversity of Arctic coasts, discuss important drivers of coastal change, explain the specific sensitivity of Arctic coasts to climate change and provide an overview of pan-Arctic shoreline change and its multifaceted impacts. Arctic coastal changes impact the human environment by threatening coastal settlements, infrastructure, cultural sites and archaeological remains. Changing sediment fluxes also impact the natural environment through carbon, nutrient and pollutant release on a magnitude that remains difficult to predict. Increasing transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration efforts will build the foundation for identifying sustainable solutions and adaptation strategies to reduce future risks for those living on, working at and visiting the rapidly changing Arctic coast.

    Nutrient identity modifies the destabilising effects of eutrophication in grasslands

    Released January 14, 2022 09:37 EST

    2021, Ecology Letters

    Oliver Carroll, Evan Batzer, Siddharth Bharath, Elizabeth T. Borer, Sofía Campana, Ellen Esch, Yann Hautier, Timothy Ohlert, Eric W. Seabloom, Peter B. Adler, Jonathan D. Bakker, Lori A. Biederman, Miguel N. Bugalho, Maria Caldeira, Qingqing Chen, Kendi F. Davies, Philip A. Fay, Johannes M. H. Knops, Kimberly Komatsu, Jason P. Martina, Kevin S. McCann, Joslin L. Moore, John W. Morgan, Taofeek O. Muraina, Brooke Bossert Osborne, Anita C. Risch, Carly J. Stevens, Peter A. Wilfahrt, Laura Yahdjian, Andrew S. MacDougall

    Josep Penuelas, editor(s)

    Nutrient enrichment can simultaneously increase and destabilise plant biomass production, with co-limitation by multiple nutrients potentially intensifying these effects. Here, we test how factorial additions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium with essential nutrients (K+) affect the stability (mean/standard deviation) of aboveground biomass in 34 grasslands over 7 years. Destabilisation with fertilisation was prevalent but was driven by single nutrients, not synergistic nutrient interactions. On average, N-based treatments increased mean biomass production by 21–51% but increased its standard deviation by 40–68% and so consistently reduced stability. Adding P increased interannual variability and reduced stability without altering mean biomass, while K+ had no general effects. Declines in stability were largest in the most nutrient-limited grasslands, or where nutrients reduced species richness or intensified species synchrony. We show that nutrients can differentially impact the stability of biomass production, with N and P in particular disproportionately increasing its interannual variability.

    An assessment of uranium in groundwater in the Grand Canyon region

    Released January 14, 2022 09:20 EST

    2021, Scientific Reports (11) 1-15

    Fred D. Tillman, Kimberly R. Beisner, Jessica R. Anderson, Joel A. Unema

    The Grand Canyon region in northern Arizona is a home or sacred place of origin for many Native Americans and is visited by over 6 million tourists each year. Most communities in the area depend upon groundwater for all water uses. Some of the highest-grade uranium ore in the United States also is found in the Grand Canyon region. A withdrawal of over 1 million acres of Federal land in the Grand Canyon region from new uranium mining activities for 20 years was instituted in 2012, owing in part to a lack of scientific data on potential effects from uranium mining on water resources in the area. The USGS collects groundwater chemistry samples in the Grand Canyon region to understand the current state of groundwater quality, to monitor for changes in groundwater quality that may be the result of mining activities, and to identify "hot spots" with elevated metal concentrations and investigate the causes. This manuscript presents results for the assessment of uranium in groundwater in the Grand Canyon region. Analytical results for uranium in groundwater in the Grand Canyon region were available for 573 samples collected from 180 spring sites and 26 wells from September 1, 1981 to October 7, 2020. Samples were collected from springs issuing from stratigraphic units above, within, and below the Permian strata that hosts uranium ore in breccia pipes in the area. Maximum uranium concentrations at groundwater sites in the region ranged from less than 1 µg/L at 23 sites (11%) to 100 µg/L or more at 4 sites (2%). Of the 206 groundwater sites sampled, 195 sites (95%) had maximum observed uranium concentrations less than the USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 30 µg/L and 177 sites (86%) had uranium concentrations less than the 15 µg/L Canadian benchmark for protection of aquatic life in freshwater. The establishment of baseline groundwater quality is an important first step in monitoring for change in water chemistry throughout mining lifecycles and beyond to ensure the health of these critical groundwater resources.

    Response to comment on “Evidence of humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum”

    Released January 14, 2022 07:24 EST

    2022, Science (375)

    Jeffrey S. Pigati, Kathleen B. Springer, Matthew R. Bennett, David Bustos, Thomas M. Urban, Vance T. Holliday, Sally C. Reynolds, Daniel Odess

    Madsen et al. question the reliability of calibrated radiocarbon ages associated with human footprints discovered recently in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA. On the basis of the geologic, hydrologic, stratigraphic, and chronologic evidence, we maintain that the ages are robust and conclude that the footprints date to between ~23,000 and 21,000 years ago.
    Madsen et al. (1) question the veracity of calibrated radiocarbon ages used to constrain the antiquity of human trackways discovered recently at White Sands National Park (WHSA) Locality 2, New Mexico, USA (2). The ages were derived from seeds of the aquatic plant Ruppia cirrhosa, which they suggest may suffer from hard-water (or reservoir) effects, making them too old, potentially by thousands of years. We were well aware of this possibility, investigated it, and presented several lines of evidence that argued against such a problem. Here we respond to each of their four primary points.

    Increasing the uptake of ecological model results in policy decisions to improve biodiversity outcomes

    Released January 14, 2022 06:36 EST

    2022, Environmental Modelling & Software

    Sarah R. Weiskopf, Zuzana Harmáčková, Ciara G. Johnson, Maria Cecilia Londoño-Murcia, Brian W. Miller, Bonnie J.E. Myers, Laura Pereira, Maria Isabel Arce-Plata, Julia L. Blanchard, Simon Ferrier, Elizabeth A. Fulton, Mike Harfoot, Forest Isbell, Justin A. Johnson, Akira S. Mori, Ensheng Weng, Isabel M.D. Rosa

    Models help decision-makers anticipate the consequences of policies for ecosystems and people; for instance, improving our ability to represent interactions between human activities and ecological systems is essential to identify pathways to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. However, use of modeling outputs in decision-making remains uncommon. We share insights from a multidisciplinary National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center working group on technical, communication, and process-related factors that facilitate or hamper uptake of model results. We emphasize that it is not simply technical model improvements, but active and iterative stakeholder involvement that can lead to more impactful outcomes. In particular, trust- and relationship-building with decision-makers are key for knowledge-based decision making. In this respect, nurturing knowledge exchange on the interpersonal (e.g., through participatory processes), and institutional level (e.g., through science-policy interfaces across scales), represent promising approaches. To this end, we offer a generalized approach for linking modeling and decision-making.

    Measurements of streamflow gain and loss on the Souris River between Lake Darling and Verendrye, North Dakota, August 31 and September 1, 2021

    Released January 13, 2022 17:36 EST

    2022, Open-File Report 2022-1005

    Joel M. Galloway, Brent R. Hanson

    Dry conditions during 2020 and 2021 affected the water supply within the Souris River Basin and highlighted the need for better understanding of the streamflow dynamics for managing the resource during low-flow conditions. In June 2021, a loss of streamflow was observed on the Souris River between U.S. Geological Survey streamgages on the Souris River near Foxholm, North Dakota (site 1), and near Verendrye, N. Dak. (site 22). The largest loss was upstream from the Souris River above Minot, N. Dak. (site 7). On June 6, 2021, the daily mean streamflow decreased from 33.8 cubic feet per second at site 1 to 16.3 cubic feet per second at site 7, a loss of 17.5 cubic feet per second. To better understand where streamflow losses occurred in the reach from site 1 to site 22, multiple sites were selected for streamflow measurements between the three streamgages (sites 1, 7, and 22). Streamflow measurements made at 22 selected sites on the Souris River on August 31 and September 1, 2021, did not indicate the loss in streamflow that was observed at the three streamgages (sites 1, 7, and 22) in June 2021. Measurements made at the three streamgages (sites 1, 7, and 22) on August 31 had streamflows of 44.2, 45.9, and 46.8 cubic feet per second, respectively. Streamflow measured at all 22 sites on August 31 and September 1 on the Souris River ranged from 38.4 (site 9) to 49.8 cubic feet per second (site 12). In general, the largest change in streamflow was measured among sites on the Souris River in or near the city of Minot, N. Dak.

    A borehole test for chlorinated solvent diffusion and degradation rates in sedimentary rock

    Released January 13, 2022 07:17 EST

    2022, Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation

    Richelle M. Allen-King, Rebecca L. Kiekhaefer, Daniel J. Goode, Paul A. Hsieh, Michelle M. Lorah, Thomas E. Imbrigiotta

    We present a new field measurement and numerical interpretation method (combined termed ‘test’) to parameterize the diffusion of trichloroethene (TCE) and its biodegradation products (DPs) from the matrix of sedimentary rock. The method uses a dual-packer system to interrogate a low-permeability section of the rock matrix adjacent to a previously contaminated borehole and uses the borehole monitoring history to establish the pre-test condition. TCE and its DPs are removed from the groundwater between the packers at the onset of the testing. The parameters estimated by fitting a radial diffusion model to the concentration history and borehole concentration data, also termed back-diffusion, are the tortuosity factor and sorption coefficients of TCE and DPs in the rock matrix and the TCE and DP biodegradation rate coefficients in the borehole. We demonstrate the equipment design and the interpretive method using a borehole accessing the grey mudstone at a TCE contaminated site in the Newark Basin. In this test, both nonreactive (bromide) and reactive (trichlorofluoroethene) tracers are used to constrain the estimated parameters; however, the bromide tracer was not needed to estimate the parameters in this test. The parameters estimated from the field test are consistent with values measured independently in laboratory experiments using field samples of similar lithology. From the interpretation, we compute the TCE and DP concentration distributions in the rock matrix prior to the test to illustrate how the results can be used to enhance understanding of contaminant distribution in the rock matrix.

    Reconciling models and measurements of marsh vulnerability to sea level rise

    Released January 12, 2022 07:10 EST

    2022, Limnology and Oceanography Letters

    Daniel J. Coleman, Mark Schuerch, Stijn Temmerman, Glenn R. Guntenspergen, Christopher G. Smith, Matthew L. Kirwan

    Tidal marsh survival in the face of sea level rise (SLR) and declining sediment supply often depends on the ability of marshes to build soil vertically. However, numerical models typically predict survival under rates of SLR that far exceed field-based measurements of vertical accretion. Here, we combine novel measurements from seven U.S. Atlantic Coast marshes and data from 70 additional marshes from around the world to illustrate that—over continental scales—70% of variability in marsh accretion rates can be explained by suspended sediment concentratin (SSC) and spring tidal range (TR). Apparent discrepancies between models and measurements can be explained by differing responses in high marshes and low marshes, the latter of which accretes faster for a given SSC and TR. Together these results help bridge the gap between models and measurements, and reinforce the paradigm that sediment supply is the key determinant of wetland vulnerability at continental scales.

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza is an emerging disease threat to wild birds in North America

    Released January 11, 2022 06:52 EST

    2022, Journal of Wildlife Management

    Andrew M. Ramey, Nichola J. Hill, Thomas J. DeLiberto, Samantha E J Gibbs, M.C. Hopkins, Andrew S. Lang, Rebecca L. Poulson, Diann Prosser, Jonathan M. Sleeman, David E. Stallknecht, Xiu-Feng Wan

    Prior to the emergence of the A/goose/Guangdong/1/1996 (Gs/GD) H5N1 influenza A virus, the long-held and well-supported paradigm was that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks were restricted to poultry, the result of cross-species transmission of precursor viruses from wild aquatic birds that subsequently gained pathogenicity in domestic birds. Therefore, management agencies typically adopted a prevention, control, and eradication strategy that included strict biosecurity for domestic bird production, isolation of infected and exposed flocks, and prompt depopulation. In most cases, this strategy has proved sufficient for eradicating HPAI. Since 2002, this paradigm has been challenged with many detections of viral descendants of the Gs/GD lineage among wild birds, most of which have been associated with sporadic mortality events. Since the emergence and evolution of the genetically distinct clade Gs/GD lineage HPAI viruses in approximately 2010, there have been further increases in the occurrence of HPAI in wild birds and geographic spread through migratory bird movement. A prominent example is the introduction of clade Gs/GD HPAI viruses from East Asia to North America via migratory birds in autumn 2014 that ultimately led to the largest outbreak of HPAI in the history of the United States. Given the apparent maintenance of Gs/GD lineage HPAI viruses in a global avian reservoir; bidirectional virus exchange between wild and domestic birds facilitating the continued adaptation of Gs/GD HPAI viruses in wild bird hosts; the current frequency of HPAI outbreaks in wild birds globally, and particularly in Eurasia where Gs/GD HPAI viruses may now be enzootic; and ongoing dispersal of AI viruses from East Asia to North America via migratory birds, HPAI now represents an emerging disease threat to North American wildlife. This recent paradigm shift implies that management of HPAI in domestic birds alone may no longer be sufficient to eradicate HPAI viruses from a given country or region. Rather, agencies managing wild birds and their habitats may consider the development or adoption of mitigation strategies to minimize introductions to poultry, to reduce negative impacts on wild bird populations, and to diminish adverse effects to stakeholders using wildlife resources. The main objective of this review is, therefore, to provide information that will assist wildlife managers in developing mitigation strategies or approaches for dealing with outbreaks of Gs/GD HPAI in wild birds in the form of preparedness, surveillance, research, communications, and targeted management actions. Resultant outbreak response plans and actions may represent meaningful steps of wildlife managers toward the use of collaborative and multi-jurisdictional One Health approaches when it comes to the detection, investigation, and mitigation of emerging viruses at the human-domestic animal-wildlife interface.

    Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the Middle San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, southern California—2021 Data summary

    Released January 10, 2022 14:37 EST

    2022, Data Report 1147

    Lisa D. Allen, Barbara E. Kus

    Executive Summary

    We surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) along the San Luis Rey River, between College Boulevard in Oceanside and Interstate 15 in Fallbrook, California (middle San Luis Rey River), in 2021. Surveys were conducted from April 13 to July 14 (vireo) and from May 18 to July 13 (flycatcher). We found 180 vireo territories, at least 125 of which were occupied by pairs. The vireo population size decreased by 6 percent from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, vireo territories decreased by 14 percent in the portion of the middle San Luis Rey River that burned in 2017 and decreased by 2 percent outside of the burned area.

    Vireos used six different habitat types in the survey area: (1) willow-cottonwood, (2) mixed willow riparian, (3) riparian scrub, (4) upland scrub, (5) willow-sycamore, and (6) non-native. Forty percent of the vireos were detected in habitat characterized as willow-cottonwood, and 97 percent of the vireos were detected in habitat with greater than 50-percent native plant cover. Of the 14 banded vireos detected in the survey area, 3 were resighted with a full color-band combination. There were 10 other vireos with single (natal) federal bands that were recaptured, identified, and color-banded in 2021. One vireo with a single dark blue federal band, indicating that it was banded as a nestling at the lower San Luis Rey River, could not be recaptured for identification. The 10 natal vireos that were recaptured on the middle San Luis Rey River dispersed from 2.0 to 11.7 kilometers from their natal territories. Banded vireos with a known age ranged from 1 to 7 years old.

    One resident flycatcher, of undetermined breeding status, was observed in the survey area in 2021. The resident flycatcher (male) was detected in a territory of mixed willow habitat with greater than 50-percent native plant cover. He was detected from May 20 to June 4, 2021, and no evidence of pairing or nesting was observed. The male flycatcher was resighted with a unique color-band combination and had occupied the same territory since 2018.

    From crystals to crustal-scale seismic anisotropy: Bridging the gap between rocks and seismic studies with digital geologic map data in Colorado

    Released January 10, 2022 07:02 EST

    2022, Tectonics (41)

    Michael G. Frothingham, Kevin H. Mahan, Vera Schulte-Pelkum, Jonathan Caine, Frederick W. Vollmer

    Deep continental crustal structures are enigmatic due to lack of direct exposures and limited tools to investigate them remotely. Seismic waves can sample these rocks, but most seismic methods focus on coarse crustal structures while laboratory measurements concentrate on crystal-scale rock properties, and little work has been conducted to bridge this interpretation gap. In some places, geologic maps of crystalline basement provide samples of the intermediate-scale fabrics and structures that may represent in situ deep crust. However, previous research has not considered natural geometric variations from map data, nor is this heterogeneity typically included in map-scale seismic property calculations. Here, we test how map-scale fabrics influence crustal seismic anisotropy in Colorado by analyzing structural data from geologic maps, combining those data with bulk rock elastic tensors to calculate map-scale seismic properties, and evaluating the resulting comparisons with observed receiver function A1 (360° periodic) arrivals. Crystalline fabrics, predicted seismic properties, and tectonic structures positively correlate with shallow and deep crustal A1 arrivals. Additionally, widespread correlations occur between mapped fault traces and regional foliations, implying that preexisting mechanical heterogeneity may have strongly influenced subsequent reactivation. We interpret that various mapped geologic contact types (e.g., lithologic and structural) generate A1 arrivals and that multiple parallel features (e.g., faults, foliations, and intrusions) contribute to a seismically visible tectonic grain. Therefore, Colorado's exhumed basement, as expressed in outcrops and maps, offers insight into modern deep crustal geological and geophysical structure.

    Biocrusts mediate a new mechanism for land degradation under a changing climate

    Released January 10, 2022 06:58 EST

    2022, Nature Climate Change

    Michala Lee Phillips, Brandon E Mcnellis, Armin J. Howell, Cara Marie Lauria, Jayne Belnap, Sasha Reed

    Global concerns for desertification have focused on the slow recovery of extensive and expanding drylands following disturbance, which may be exacerbated by climate change. Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are photosynthetic soil communities found in drylands worldwide, which are central to the stability and resilience of dryland ecosystems, but vulnerable to global change. Here we use multiple decade-long experiments to investigate the consequences of climate and land-use change on biocrusts and soil stability. Biocrusts recovered rapidly under ambient temperatures but warming interacted with the precipitation disturbance to halt recovery. Moreover, warming alone caused losses of mosses, lichens and soil stability. Our results present a new mechanism contributing to land degradation in drylands whereby warming drives a state shift in biocrust communities, which degrades soil stability. The synergistic effects of climate and land-use change co-occur globally and our results support projections of increased desertification and lowered dryland resilience under warming.

    Species-specific responses to landscape features shaped genomic structure within Alaska galliformes

    Released January 08, 2022 07:14 EST

    2022, Journal of Biogeography

    Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Robert E. Wilson, Sandra L. Talbot


    Connectivity is vital to the resiliency of populations to environmental change and stochastic events, especially for cold-adapted species as Arctic and alpine tundra habitats retract as the climate warms. We examined the influence of past and current landscapes on genomic connectivity in cold-adapted galliformes as a critical first step to assess the vulnerability of Alaska ptarmigan and grouse to environmental change. We hypothesize that the mosaic of physical features and habitat within Alaska promoted the formation of genetic structure across species.


    Alaska, United States of America.


    Ptarmigan and Grouse (Galliformes: Tetraoninae).


    We collected double digest restriction-site-associated DNA sequence data from six ptarmigan and grouse species (N = 13–145/species) sampled across multiple ecosystems up to ~10 degrees of latitude. Spatial genomic structure was analysed using methods that reflect different temporal scales: (1) principal components analysis to identify major trends in the distribution of genomic variation; (2) maximum likelihood clustering analyses to test for the presence of multiple genomic groupings; (3) shared co-ancestry analyses to assess contemporary relationships and (4) effective migration surfaces to identify regions that deviate from a null model of isolation by distance.


    Levels of genomic structure varied across species (ΦST =0.009–0.042). Three general patterns of structure emerged: (1) east-west partition located near the Yukon-Tanana uplands; (2) north-south split coinciding with the Alaska Range and (3) northern group near the Brooks Range. Species-specific patterns were observed; not all landscape features were barriers to gene flow for all ptarmigan and grouse and temporal contrasts were detected at the Brooks Range.

    Main conclusions

    Within Alaska galliformes, patterns of genomic structure coincide with physiographic features and highlight the importance of physical and ecological barriers in shaping how genomic diversity is arrayed across the landscape. Lack of concordance in spatial patterns indicates that species behaviour and habitat affinities play key roles in driving the contrasting patterns of genomic structure.

    Calcium-Carbonate hardness of public water supplies in the conterminous United States

    Released January 07, 2022 14:45 EST

    1971, Book chapter, Environmental geochemistry in health and disease

    Barbara M. Anderson

    Helen L. Cannon, Howard C. Hopps, editor(s)

    Geographic variations in the hardness of water seem to parallel the geographic variations in certain cardiovascular diseases (Anderson and others, 1969; Biorck and others, 1965; Schroeder, 1966). Winton and McCabe (1970) have provided a recent review of the problem. The map, presented here, showing calcium-carbonate hardness of municipal raw-water sources in the conterminous United States has been compiled to provide data for further examination of correlations between water hardness and cardiovascular diseases.

    Precipitation-driven flood-inundation mapping of the Little Blue River at Grandview, Missouri

    Released January 07, 2022 13:45 EST

    2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5068

    David C. Heimann, Jonathon D. Voss, Paul H. Rydlund, Jr.

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Grandview, Missouri, assessed flooding of the Little Blue River at Grandview resulting from varying precipitation magnitudes and durations and expected land-cover changes. The precipitation scenarios were used to develop a library of flood-inundation maps that included a 3.5-mile reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries within and adjacent to the city.

    A hydrologic model of the upper Little Blue River Basin and a hydraulic model of a selected study reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries were constructed to assess streamflow magnitudes associated with simulated precipitation amounts and the resulting flood-inundation conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC–HMS; version 4.4.1) was used to simulate the amount of streamflow produced from a range of rain events. The Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC–RAS; version 5.0.7) was then used to construct a steady-state hydraulic model to map resulting areas of flood inundation.

    Both models were calibrated to the May 28, 2020, high-flow event that produced a peak streamflow approximating a 10-percent annual exceedance probability (10-year flood-frequency recurrence interval) at the Little Blue River at Grandview streamgage (USGS station 06893750). The calibrated HEC–HMS model was used to simulate streamflows from design rainfall events of 1- to 8-hour durations and ranging from a 100- to 0.2-percent annual exceedance probability. Flood-inundation maps were produced for USGS streamflow stages of 17.0 feet (ft), or near bankfull, to 23.0 ft, or a stage exceeding the 0.2-percent annual exceedance interval flood, using the HEC–RAS model. The consequence of each precipitation duration-frequency value was represented by a 1-ft increment inundation map based on the generated peak streamflow from that rainfall event and the corresponding stage at the reference USGS streamgage.

    Four scenarios were developed with the HEC–HMS hydrologic model: (1) current (2016) land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (2) current land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (3) future land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; and (4) future land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions. The future land-cover condition was estimated based on anticipated development in the basin. All precipitation scenarios were input into each of the four land-cover antecedent moisture conditions and then assigned to a resulting flood-inundation map based on the generated peak flow and corresponding stage at the reference streamgage.

    System characterization report on Planet SkySat

    Released January 07, 2022 11:15 EST

    2022, Open-File Report 2021-1030-E

    Minsu Kim, Seonkyung Park, Aparajithan Sampath, Cody Anderson, Gregory L. Stensaas

    This report addresses system characterization of Planet’s SkySat and is part of a series of system characterization reports produced and delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence. These reports present and detail the methodology and procedures for characterization; present technical and operational information about the specific sensing system being evaluated; and provide a summary of test measurements, data retention practices, data analysis results, and conclusions.

    SkySat is a constellation of submeter resolution Earth observation satellites providing analytics services, high-definition video, and imagery. The goal for the constellation is to capture multiple daily repeats of high-resolution imagery over any spot on the Earth. As of September 2020, 21 SkySat satellites have been launched, and the first launch occurred in November 2013. More information on Planet satellites and sensors is available in the “2020 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium” and from the manufacturer at

    The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence system characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that SkySat has an interior geometric performance in the range of a 0.38- (0.47 pixel) to 0.75-meter (m; 0.93 pixel) root mean square error in easting and a 0.27- (0.33 pixel) to 0.55-m (0.68 pixel) root mean square error in northing, in band-to-band registration; an exterior geometric performance in the range of 0.26 (0.32 pixel) to 1.04 m (1.28 pixels) offset in comparison to ground control points; a radiometric performance in the range of 0.033 to 0.797 (linear regression); and a spatial performance in the range of 3.7 to 4.3 pixels at full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.004 to 0.009.

    Analytical assessments in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 3-bat species status assessment

    Released January 07, 2022 07:25 EST

    2022, Report

    Bethany Rose Straw, Jaclyn A Martin, Jonathan D. Reichard, Brian E. Reichert, editor(s)

    Beginning in February of 2020, researchers and staff of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Bat Conservation International (BCI), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Montana State University associated with the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) collaborated with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to provide technical assistance in support of the USFWS Three Bat Species Status Assessments (SSA) including the little brown bat (MYLU, Myotis lucifugus), northern long-eared bat (MYSE, Myotis septentrionalis), and tricolored bat (PESU, Perimyotis subflavus). Analytical support for the SSA was not intended to provide interpretive results, which should therefore be considered beyond the scope of this report. Technical assistance for the SSA included facilitating the USFWS data call by educating and working directly with data contributors to manage, submit, and archive a variety of bat monitoring data in the online NABat database1 using standardized data submission templates accessible through the upload features on the NABat website. Most data collected through the USFWS data call for the SSA were submitted and stored in the NABat database. These represent the efforts of hundreds of partnering organizations across more than 200 individual NABat Partner Portal Projects. A few organizations contributed data for use in these analyses that were not submitted to the NABat database. Records submitted in response to the USFWS data call included bat capture, stationary and mobile acoustic, and internal roost count data (winter and summer). Data collated in the NABat database and used for the analyses described herein are documented (NABat 2020a, NABat 2020b, NABat 2021) and available through the NABat third party request feature.

    gTOOLS, an open-source MATLAB program for processing high precision, relative gravity data for time-lapse gravity monitoring

    Released January 07, 2022 07:18 EST

    2022, Computers & Geosciences (160)

    Maurizio Battaglia, Antonina Calahorrano-Di Patre, Ashton Flinders

    gTOOLS is an open-source software for the processing of relative gravity data. gTOOLS is available in MATLAB and as a compiled executable to be run under the free MATLAB Runtime Compiler. The software has been designed for time-lapse (temporal) gravity monitoring. Although programmed to read the Scintrex CG-5 and CG-6 gravimeters output data files, it can be easily modified to read data files from other gravimeters. The software binds together single-task processing modules within a very simple user interface that is based on one text file. Gravity processing involves three modules: (a) gravimeter calibration; (b) automatic processing of gravity data to find adjusted gravity differences; and (c) post processing of results. Each module is optional and runs independently from the others. Data processing includes (a) averaging out the measurements noise, and correction for solid Earth tides, and ocean loading, and residual instrumental drift, and (b) calculate the residual instrumental drift and gravity differences between the base station and monitoring sites, and their uncertainties, by a weighted least square analysis of the gravity data. The software allows the automatic processing of a gravity campaign spanning multiple days in a single run. The software is tested on gravity data from 2015 eruption at Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador.

    Climate and land change impacts on future managed wetland habitat: A case study from California’s Central Valley

    Released January 07, 2022 07:12 EST

    2022, Landscape Ecology

    Tamara S. Wilson, Elliott L. Matchett, Kristin B. Byrd, Erin Conlisk, Matthew E. Reiter, Cynthia Wallace, Lorraine E. Flint, Alan L. Flint, Monica Mei Jeen Moritsch


    California’s Central Valley provides critical habitat for migratory waterbirds, yet only 10% of naturally occurring wetlands remain. Competition for limited water supplies and climate change will impact the long-term viability of these intensively managed habitats.


    Forecast the distribution, abundance, and connectivity of surface water and managed wetland habitats, using 5 spatially explicit (270 m2) climate/land use/water prioritization scenarios. Mapping potential future dynamic flooded habitat used by waterbirds and other wetland-dependent wildlife to inform management decisions.


    We integrated a climate-driven hydrologic water use model with a spatially explicit land change model, to examine stakeholder-driven scenarios of future land change, climate, and water use and their impacts on future habitat availability.


    Declining water availability is the dominant driver of habitat loss across scenarios. The hot/dry scenarios showed the greatest declines in January flooded area by 2101—an important month for overwintering waterbirds. In contrast, higher water supplies in wet climates drive perennial cropland conversion and loss of potential habitat. Potential flooded cropland declined (25 and 33%) under warmer/wetter climate conditions due to this conversion to perennial crops, exposing habitat vulnerability.


    Climate-driven loss of water availability had a greater impact on flooded habitat availability than land-use change. When combined, climate change and the conversion of potentially flooded cropland to perennial cropland will threaten future waterbird habitat particularly in January, the peak of the migratory bird season, even when habitat restoration goals are met. Stakeholder-informed scenario analysis can identify target areas for potential habitat change, vulnerability, and conservation.

    Stoneflies in the genus Lednia (Plecoptera: Nemouridae): Sentinels of climate change impacts on mountain stream biodiversity

    Released January 07, 2022 06:39 EST

    2022, Biodiversity and Conservation

    Matthew D. Green, Lusha M. Tronstad, J. Joseph Giersch, Alisha A. Shah, Candace E. Fallon, Emilie Blevins, Taylor Kai, Clint C. Muhlfeld, Debra S. Finn, Scott Hotaling

    Rapid recession of glaciers and snowfields is threatening the habitats of cold-water biodiversity worldwide. In many ice-sourced headwaters of western North America, stoneflies in the genus Lednia (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) are a prominent member of the invertebrate community. With a broad distribution in mountain streams and close ties to declining glacier cover, Lednia has emerged as a sentinel of climate change threats to high-elevation aquatic biodiversity. Lednia tumana, which is endemic to Glacier National Park, USA and the surrounding mountains, is the most well-studied species in the genus and in 2019 became federally protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to climate-induced loss of meltwater habitats. Three other Lednia species have also been described, and like L. tumana, each is endemic to a mountain region of western North America: Lednia sierra in the Sierra Nevada, Lednia borealis in the Cascade Range, and Lednia tetonica in the Teton Range. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of Lednia ecology, genetics, and physiology, with an emphasis on the conservation outlook for the group and species with similar headwater distributions. We highlight substantial progress made in the last decade to better understand the ecology and evolution of Lednia, including the identification of 140 Lednia-containing streams (an increase from 12 streams in 2010), and a more complete understanding of the degree to which warming streams may imperil species in the genus. In light of the ESA listing of L. tumana, we show that similar conservation threats likely face all extant Lednia species. However, substantial gaps in our knowledge remain, primarily centering around their distributions (and the potential for as yet undescribed species), life history, ecophysiology, and trophic ecology. We conclude by describing pressing questions for Lednia that when addressed will expand knowledge of the genus and its conservation as well as broader understanding of climate risks to mountain stream biodiversity worldwide.

    The Fe-Sb-S system

    Released January 06, 2022 15:21 EST

    1971, Economic Geology (66) 121-132

    Paul B. Barton Jr.

    The phase relations in the Fe-Sb-S system from 300° to 800° C have been determined using new experimental data on phase assemblages and univariant equilibria in conjunction with information from the literature. Estimates have been made for the standard free energies of formation as a function of temperature for stibnite, berthierite, gudmundite, and FeSb2 . Comparison of calculated mineral stabilities with published information on mineral assemblages suggests that apparently contradictory mineral associations may well represent equilibration at different (but all low) temperatures with subsequent lack of reaction as temperature fell to the temperature of observation. Resolution of the complicated, low-temperature phase relations will require additional thermochemical data of unusually high accuracy that might well be supplemented by careful study of natural materials.

    Berthierite, gudmundite, and aurostibite are clearly stable only under conditions of relatively low sulfur activity. FeSb2 requires such low sulfur activity for its stable existence that it is seldom, if ever, to be expected as a mineral. The tendency for the common ore mineral galena to react with berthierite to yield pyrrhotite plus a lead sulfantimonide operates to make berthierite a rather uncommon mineral.

    Protocol for installing and monitoring a RestoreNet restoration field trial network site

    Released January 06, 2022 12:21 EST

    2022, Techniques and Methods 2-A18

    Katherine M. Laushman, Molly L. Mccormick, Seth M. Munson, Kathleen R. Balazs, Bradley J. Butterfield

    RestoreNet is an ecological restoration experiment that is networked across multiple sites, spanning dryland ecosystems in the southwestern United States. The experiment is organized and led by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS). This protocol functions to provide guidance to additional partners on how to set up a RestoreNet site and expand the network to new locations. This protocol contains information for site selection, materials acquisition, experiment installation, data collection and monitoring, and data curation. Information includes protocols for the RestoreNet seeded experiment and an additional optional experiment using installed container seedlings initially propagated in a greenhouse. Participation in RestoreNet contributes to a growing body of knowledge on cutting edge ecological restoration methods for use in the southwestern United States to benefit land managers, landowners, and restoration practitioners.

    Complete genome sequence of Rhodococcus opacus strain MoAcy1 (DSM 44186), an aerobic acetylenotroph isolated from soil

    Released January 06, 2022 08:27 EST

    2022, Microbiology Resource Announcements (11)

    John M. Sutton, Timothy J Bushman, Denise M. Akob, Janna L. Fierst

    We report the genome of Rhodococcus opacus strain MoAcy1 (DSM 44186), an aerobic soil isolate capable of using acetylene as its primary carbon and energy source (acetylenotrophy). The genome is composed of a single circular chromosome of ∼8 Mbp and two closed plasmids, with a G+C content of 67.3%.

    Mesilla / Conejos-Médanos Basin: U.S.-Mexico transboundary water resources and research needs

    Released January 06, 2022 07:16 EST

    2022, Water (14) 134-170

    Andrew J. Robertson, Anne-Marie Matherne, Jeff D. Pepin, Andre B. Ritchie, Donald S. Sweetkind, Andrew Teeple, Alfredo Granados Olivas, Ana Cristina García Vásquez, Kenneth C. Carroll, Erek H. Fuchs, Amy E. Galanter

    Synthesizing binational data to characterize shared water resources is critical to informing binational management. This work uses binational hydrogeology and water resource data in the Mesilla/Conejos-Médanos Basin (Basin) to describe the hydrologic conceptual model and identify potential research that could help inform sustainable management. The Basin aquifer is primarily composed of continuous basin-fill Santa Fe Group sediments, allowing for transboundary throughflow. Groundwater flow, however, may be partially or fully restricted by intrabasin uplifts and limited recharge. The shallow groundwater in the Rio Grande alluvium receives recharge from the Rio Grande and responds to changes in water supply and demand. About 11% of Rio Grande alluvial groundwater volume is recharged annually, an amount that is less than recent withdrawals. Potentially recoverable fresh to slightly brackish groundwater was estimated at 82,600 cubic hectometers in the U.S. portion of the Basin and 69,100 cubic hectometers in the Mexican portion. Alluvial groundwater geochemistry is governed by the evaporative concentration of the Rio Grande and agricultural diversions, whereas deeper groundwater geochemistry is governed by mixing and geochemical processes. Continued refinements to storage estimates, the water budget, and deep groundwater extent and geochemistry can improve estimates of sustainable use and inform alternative water sources.

    Hydrology and water quality in 15 watersheds in DeKalb County, Georgia, 2012–16

    Released January 05, 2022 16:40 EST

    2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5126

    Brent T. Aulenbach, Katharine Kolb, John K. Joiner, Andrew E. Knaak

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management, established a long-term water-quantity and water-quality monitoring program in 2012 to monitor and analyze the hydrologic and water-quality conditions of 15 watersheds in DeKalb County, Georgia—an urban and suburban area located in north-central Georgia that includes the easternmost part of the City of Atlanta. This report synthesizes the watershed characteristics and monitoring data collected for the first 5 years of the program, 2012 through 2016. The study area was predominantly medium-density residential (43.9 percent), commercial/industrial/institutional (21.4 percent), forest/park/agriculture (13.6 percent), and high-density residential (11.5 percent) land uses. Land-surface slope averaged 8.7 percent, imperviousness averaged 25.3 percent, and population density averaged 2,936 people per square mile. Watershed imperviousness ranged from 8.7 to 36.6 percent.

    In the study area for 2014 to 2016 (when streamflow data were available for all watersheds), runoff represented 40.9 percent of precipitation. Hydrograph separations indicated that 43 percent of runoff occurred as base flow, whereas the remainder occurred as stormflow. Higher watershed imperviousness was significantly related to higher amounts of runoff (Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient [r] = 0.517), higher runoff ratios (r = 0.646), and lower amounts (r = −0.637) and proportions (r = −0.898) of base-flow runoff. Stormwater best management practices have been implemented in the study watersheds; however, these practices do not appear to fully mitigate the effects of urban development and land use on stream hydrology.

    Total copper, lead, and zinc concentrations in base-flow and stormflow samples exceeded the national recommended aquatic life criteria for chronic and acute conditions, respectively, to varying degrees. Escherichia coli density predictive regression models indicated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Beach Action Value was exceeded at individual watersheds between 44.6 and 100 percent of the time. Exceedance of the Beach Action Value indicates possible unsafe conditions for primary contact recreation and could be used for timely notification of the potential health risks. Annual loads and yields were estimated for 15 constituents. Loads were typically higher for years with higher runoff while variations among watershed yields appear associated with watershed and land use characteristics. The lowest yields for almost all constituents occurred in the Stone Mountain Creek watershed—likely the result of the retention of sediment and reduction of nutrients in Stone Mountain Lake and two smaller downstream reservoirs within the watershed. The Little Stone Mountain Creek watershed also had some of the lowest yields for most constituents, likely due to the lack of many pollutant sources associated with its predominantly medium-density residential land use (95.5 percent), but had the highest total nitrate plus nitrite yields. The Intrenchment Creek watershed consistently had some of the highest yields across all constituents except for total nitrate plus nitrite. The high yields may be related to its high percentage of impervious area (36.0 percent) and high amount of heavily developed land use (high-density residential, 29.9 percent and commercial/industrial/institutional, 26.0 percent). Mean watershed constituent yields in this study were significantly higher than those from a similar analysis of 13 suburban to urban watersheds in adjacent Gwinnett County for 6 of the 10 constituents compared.

    This study provides a thorough assessment of watershed characteristics, hydrology, and water-quality conditions of the 15 study watersheds and can be used to identify possible factors that affect runoff and water quality. Watershed managers can use these data and analyses to inform management decisions regarding the designated uses of streams, minimization of flooding, protection of aquatic habitats, and optimization of the effectiveness of best management practices.

    Main-stem seepage and base-flow recession time constants in the Niobrara National Scenic River Basin, Nebraska, 2016–18

    Released January 05, 2022 16:35 EST

    2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5102

    Kellan R. Strauch, Philip J. Soenksen

    The Niobrara River of northern Nebraska is a valuable water resource that sustains irrigated agriculture and recreation, as well as a diverse ecosystem. Large-quantity withdrawals from the source aquifer system have the potential to reduce the flow into the river and to adversely affect the free-flowing condition of the Niobrara National Scenic River (NSR). Therefore, to understand the magnitude and characteristics of those flows, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service, began a study to quantify seepage gains/losses along the eastern half of the Niobrara NSR and to create a map characterizing the base-flow recession time constant (tau) in the Niobrara NSR study area.

    In 2016, a seepage study was completed to quantify seepage gains/losses along the eastern half of the Niobrara NSR. The seepage study results indicated that the main-stem streamflow on the Niobrara River increases 375 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) in the 39.9-mile study reach (river mile 119.3 to river mile 79.4). Although most of the streamflow increases are attributed to tributary inflows (297 ft3/s, 79 percent), 78 ft3/s are attributed to seepage gains within the reach. Seepage rates in the study reach ranged from 1.41 cubic feet per second per mile ([ft3/s]/mi) to 2.56 (ft3/s)/mi, with a mean seepage rate of 2 (ft3/s)/mi.

    Tau values were calculated at 10 sites in the Niobrara NSR study area, and kriging geostatistical techniques were used to develop a contour map to estimate tau values at locations where streamflow was not measured. The minimum tau value was 12.1 days at Willow Creek at Atwood Road near Carns, Nebraska (USGS station 06463670), and the maximum value was 45.5 days at Tyler Falls at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge near Valentine, Nebr. (USGS station 06461150).

    A steady-state groundwater flow model for the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer near Prospect Park, Des Moines, Iowa

    Released January 05, 2022 16:35 EST

    2022, Open-File Report 2021-1110

    Kendall M. FitzGerald, Wonsook S. Ha, Adel E. Haj, Lance R. Gruhn, Emilia L. Bristow, Jared R. Weber

    The Des Moines River alluvial aquifer is an important source of water for Des Moines Water Works, the municipal water utility that provides residential and commercial water resources to the residents of Des Moines, Iowa, and surrounding municipalities. As an initial step in developing a better understanding of the groundwater resources of the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer, the U.S. Geological Survey constructed a steady-state numerical groundwater flow model in cooperation with Des Moines Water Works to simulate water-table elevations in the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer near Prospect Park in Des Moines under winter low-flow conditions.

    A simple conceptual model consisting of a hydrogeologic framework, water budget, and inferred water-table elevation map was developed for the model area. The inferred water-table elevation map was constructed based on general knowledge of hydrogeology within the model area and was used to set calibration targets for numerical model calibration. A steady-state numerical model was constructed based on the conceptual model using MODFLOW-NWT to simulate an area of about 15 square kilometers near Prospect Park in Des Moines. Parameter ESTimation software was used for model calibration to assess and optimize performance of the horizontal hydraulic conductivity and recharge parameters. The numerical groundwater flow model and supporting data are available in the USGS data release associated with this report, which contains the model archive.

    Performance of the calibrated steady-state model was assessed by comparing observed and simulated water-table elevations, as well as estimated and simulated contributions to streamflow within the model area. The difference between observed water-table elevations and simulated water-table elevations was −0.1 meter at the majority of calibration targets, with the negative value indicating an overestimation of the simulated water-table elevation value compared to the observed water-table elevation value, and the root mean square error was 0.13 meter, which represents about 20 percent of the difference in observed water-table elevations. The simulated value of contributions to streamflow within the model area was considered similar to the estimated value, increasing confidence in the ability of the model to accurately represent the groundwater flow system in the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer in the model area during winter low-flow conditions.

    Continuous monitoring of nutrient and sediment loads from the Des Plaines River at Route 53 at Joliet, Illinois, water years 2018–20

    Released January 05, 2022 10:55 EST

    2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5125

    Colin S. Peake, Timothy O. Hodson

    The Des Plaines River in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois is the principal conduit for the discharge of wastewater effluent and stormwater runoff from the greater Chicago metropolitan area. In November 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, installed a continuous monitoring station to measure water quality and streamflow in the Des Plaines River at Joliet, Illinois. Surrogate models encompassing continuous data and discrete water-quality samples were used to estimate loads of nitrate, total phosphorus, and suspended sediment. Comparisons to other major rivers in Illinois show that the Des Plaines River is a substantial contributor to statewide loading estimates for nitrate and total phosphorus but only a minor contributor to suspended sediment. Future loading estimates of total phosphorus could include more research into the effects of combined sewage overflows because these effects likely increased model uncertainty. The results in this report document current loadings and provide a baseline from which to assess future water-quality management decisions.

    Contributing areas to domestic wells in dipping sedimentary rocks under extreme recharge events

    Released January 05, 2022 08:12 EST

    2022, Groundwater

    Claire Tiedeman, Allen M. Shapiro

    We use particle tracking to determine contributing areas (CAs) to wells for transient flow models that simulate cyclic domestic pumping and extreme recharge events in a small synthetic watershed underlain by dipping sedimentary rocks. The CAs consist of strike-oriented bands at locations where the water table intersects high-hydraulic conductivity beds, and from which groundwater flows to the pumping well. Factors that affect the size and location of the CAs include topographic flow directions, rock dip direction, cross-bed fracture density, and position of the well relative to streams. For an effective fracture porosity (ne) of 10-4, the fastest advective travel times from CAs to wells are only a few hours. These results indicate that wells in this type of geologic setting can be highly vulnerable to contaminants or pathogens flushed into the subsurface during extreme recharge events. Increasing ne to 10-3 results in modestly smaller CAs and delayed well vulnerability due to slower travel times. CAs determined for steady-state models of the same setting, but with long-term average recharge and pumping rates, are smaller than CAs in the models with extreme recharge. Also, the earliest-arriving particles arrive at the wells later in the steady-state models than in the extreme-recharge models. The results highlight the importance of characterizing geologic structure, simulating plausible effective porosities, and simulating pumping and recharge transience when determining CAs in fractured rock aquifers to assess well vulnerability under extreme precipitation events.

    Disease and secondary sexual traits: Effects of pneumonia on horn size of bighorn sheep

    Released January 05, 2022 07:39 EST

    2022, Journal of Wildlife Management

    Alynn Marie Martin, John T. Hogg, Kezia R. Manlove, Tayler N LaSharr, Justin M. Shannon, Douglas E. McWhirter, Hollie Miyasaki, Kevin L. Monteith, Paul Cross

    Secondary sexual traits (e.g., horns and antlers) have ecological and evolutionary importance and are of management interest for game species. Yet, how these traits respond to emerging threats like infectious disease remains underexplored. Infectious pneumonia threatens bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) populations across North America and we hypothesized it may also reduce horn growth in male sheep. We assess the effect of pneumonia on horn size in male bighorn sheep using 12 herd datasets from across the western United States that had horn growth and disease data. Disease resulted in 12–35% reduction in increment (yearly) length and 3–13% reduction in total horn length in exposed individuals. The disease effect was prolonged when pathogens continued to circulate in sheep populations. Further, disease likely delays the age at which horns reach ¾-curl and prevents achievement of full-curl. This is further evidenced with 6 of the 12 herds experiencing an increase in average age at harvest following die-off events.

    Regression of the Tethys Sea (central Asia) during middle to late Eocene: Evidence from calcareous nannofossils of western Tarim Basin, NW China

    Released January 05, 2022 07:13 EST

    2022, Marine Micropaleontology (171)

    Xuejiao Wang, Dangpeng Xi, David K. Watkins, Jean M. Self-Trail, Zihua Tang, Wenxin Cao, Tiantian Jiang, Muhammad Kamran, Xiaoqiao Wan

    Calcareous nannofossil assemblages from middle to upper Eocene sediments of the western Tarim Basin indicate two important episodes of marine incursion into the basin. The first episode represents a period of shallowing upward in the Wulagen Formation, which is dated as Zone CNE13 (Lutetian) by the co-occurrence of Discoaster bifax, Chiasmolithus solitus, and common Reticulofenestra umbilicus. The presence of a diverse assemblage of discoasters in the basal Wulagen suggests deposition occurred in oligotrophic, warm water with a connection to the open ocean. Progressive shallowing over time led to the formation of a restricted basin in which only Coccolithus pelagicus could survive. The second major episode of marine incursion is preserved in the middle part of the Bashibulake Formation, which is dated as Zone CNE17 (Bartonian/Priabonian) based on the presence of common Cribrocentrum erbae. The interval between the two marine incursions was dominated by subaerial exposure and evaporation, resulting in the deposition of gypsum at the top of the Wulagen Formation. Although maximum regression at the end of the Lutetian is followed by sea-level rise at the beginning of the Bartonian globally, it is clear that local tectonics played a crucial role in regional marine incursions into the Tarim Basin during deposition of the Wulagen Formation.

    Multi-species amphibian monitoring across a protected landscape: Critical reflections on 15 years of wetland monitoring in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks

    Released January 05, 2022 07:08 EST

    2022, Ecological Indicators (135)

    Andrew M. Ray, Blake R. Hossack, William R. Gould, Debra A. Patla, Stephen Frank Spear, Robert W. Klaver, Paul E Bartelt, David P. Thoma, Kristin L Legg, Rob Daley, Charles R Peterson, P S Corn

    Widespread amphibian declines were well documented at the end of the 20th century, raising concerns about the need to identify individual and interactive contributors to this global trend. At the same time, there was growing interest in the use of amphibians as ecological indicators. In the United States, wetland and amphibian monitoring programs were launched in some national parks as a necessary first step to evaluating the status and trends of amphibian populations within some of North America’s most protected areas. In Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, a multi-species amphibian monitoring program was launched by many of the authors in 2006 and continues to this day. This Viewpoint Article serves as a self-evaluation of our journey from conception through implementation of an ongoing, long-term monitoring program. This self-evaluation should provide a framework and guidance for other monitoring programs. We address whether we are fulfilling the program’s main objective of describing status and trends of the four amphibian species, discuss how a one-size-fits-all monitoring approach does not serve all species equally, and describe opportunities to bolster our core work using emerging statistical approaches and thoughtful integration of remote sensing and molecular tools. We also describe how the data generated over the program’s first 15 years have been useful beyond our initial goal of characterizing status and trend. Notably, our integration of climate datasets has allowed us to describe wetland and species-specific amphibian responses to variations in climate drivers. Documenting climate links to amphibian occurrence and their primary habitats has allowed us to identify which species, habitat types, and subregions within this large, protected landscape are most vulnerable to anticipated climate change. Recognizing that tools and threats change over time, it will be important to adapt our original monitoring design to maximize opportunities and use of resulting information. Maintaining engagement by multiple stakeholders and expanding our funding portfolio will also be necessary to sustain our program into the future. Finally, collaboration has become standard for long-term, cross-jurisdictional, landscape-scale monitoring. We argue that collaborative monitoring facilitates resource sharing, leveraging of limited funds, completion of work, and mutual learning. Such collaboration also increases the efficacy of conservation.

    Landscape and stocking effects on population genetics of Tennessee Brook Trout

    Released January 04, 2022 10:26 EST

    2021, Conservation Genetics

    John S. Hargrove, David C. Kazyak, Barbara A. Lubinski, Karli M. Rogers, Olivia K. Bowers, Kurt A. Fesenmyer, Jim W. Habera, Jason Henegar

    Throughout their range, Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) occupy thousands of disjunct drainages with varying levels of disturbance, which presents substantial challenges for conservation. Within the southern Appalachian Mountains, fragmentation and genetic drift have been identified as key threats to the genetic diversity of the Brook Trout populations. In addition, extensive historic stocking of domestic lineages of Brook Trout to augment fisheries may have eroded endemic diversity and impacted locally adapted populations. We used 12 microsatellite loci to describe patterns of genetic diversity within 108 populations of wild Brook Trout from Tennessee and used linear models to explore the impacts of land use, drainage area, and hatchery stockings on metrics of genetic diversity, effective population size, and hatchery introgression. We found levels of within-population diversity varied widely, although many populations showed very limited diversity. The extent of hatchery introgression also varied across the landscape, with some populations showing high affinity to hatchery lineages and others appearing to retain their endemic character. However, we found relatively weak relationships between genetic metrics and landscape characteristics, suggesting that contemporary landscape variables are not strongly related to observed patterns of genetic diversity. We consider this result to reflect both the complex history of these populations and the challenges associated with accurately defining drainages for each population. Our study highlights the importance of genetic data to guide management decisions, as complex processes interact to shape the genetic structure of populations and make it difficult to infer the status of unsampled populations.

    Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous orogenic gold mineralization in the Klamath Mountains, California: Constraints from 40Ar/39Ar dating of hydrothermal muscovite

    Released January 04, 2022 10:13 EST

    2021, Ore Geology Reviews

    Ryan D. Taylor, Leah E. Morgan, Fred Jourdan, Thomas Monecke, Erin E. Marsh, Richard J. Goldfarb

    The Klamath Mountains gold province is the second most important historical producer in California, having produced more than 7 Moz of gold from both lode and placer sources. Hydrothermal muscovite grains from gold-bearing veins provide the first 40Ar/39Ar age constraints indicative of a protracted period of mineralization in the Klamath Mountains. The data indicate that the window for orogenic gold mineralization in the Klamath Mountains was from ∼160–140 Ma, coinciding in age with the oldest orogenic gold deposits in the Sierra Nevada foothills province to the south, although mineralization continued in the latter along the Mother Lode belt for another 20–30 million years. Despite the broad age overlap between hydrothermal activity and magmatism, the former relates to a regional thermal event, and there is no genetic link between the two. Instead, a correlation exists between the timing of lode gold formation and discrete tectonic events, changes in stress regime, and fault movement. The maximum age corresponds to a major plate reorganization in the Pacific basin and initial gold mineralization continuing into the Sierra Nevada foothills gold province to the south. The minimum age corresponds to the westerly lateral offset of the Klamath Mountains from the Sierra Nevada and the then-active arc, marking the termination of both magmatism and gold-producing hydrothermal activity in the Klamath Mountains. Lode gold mineralization in the Klamath Mountains is compatible with a crustal source of metals and fluids that were released during metamorphic devolatilization and focused via hydrothermal fluid flow along regional faults.

    20th-century strain accumulation on the Lesser Antilles megathrust based on coral microatolls

    Released January 04, 2022 09:54 EST

    2022, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (579) 1-11

    Belle E. Philibosian, Nathalie Feuillet, Jennifer Weil-Accardo, Eric Jacques, Abel Guihou, Anne-Sophie Mériaux, André Anglade, Jean-Marie Saurel, Sébastien Deroussi

    The seismic potential of the Lesser Antilles megathrust remains poorly known, despite the potential hazard it poses to numerous island populations and its proximity to the Americas. As it has not produced any large earthquakes in the instrumental era, the megathrust is often assumed to be aseismic. However, historical records of great earthquakes in the 19th century and earlier, which were most likely megathrust ruptures, demonstrate that the subduction is not entirely aseismic. Recent occurrences of giant earthquakes in areas where such events were previously thought to be improbable have illustrated the importance of critically evaluating the seismic potential of other “low-hazard” subduction zones, such as the Lesser Antilles.

    Using the method of coral microatoll paleogeodesy developed in Sumatra, we examine 20th-century vertical deformation on the forearc islands of the Lesser Antilles and model the underlying strain accumulation on the megathrust. Our data indicate that the eastern coasts of the forearc islands have been subsiding by up to ∼8 mm/yr relative to sites closer to the arc, suggesting that on the time scale of the 20th century, a portion of the megathrust just east of the forearc islands has been locked. Our findings are in contrast to recent models based on satellite geodesy that suggest little or no strain accumulation anywhere along the Lesser Antilles megathrust. This discrepancy is potentially explained by the different time scales of measurement, as recent studies elsewhere have indicated that interseismic coupling patterns may vary on decadal time scales and that century-scale or longer records are required to fully assess seismic potential. The accumulated strain we have detected will likely be released in future megathrust earthquakes, uplifting previously subsiding areas and potentially causing widespread damage from strong ground motion and tsunami waves.

      Concentrations, loads, and associated trends of nutrients entering the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California

      Released January 04, 2022 09:44 EST

      2021, San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science (19) 1-25

      Dina Saleh, Joseph L. Domagalski

      Statistical modeling of water-quality data collected at the Sacramento River at Freeport and San Joaquin River near Vernalis, California, USA, was used to examine trends in concentrations and loads of various forms of dissolved and particulate nitrogen and phosphorus that entered the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta (Delta) from upstream sources between 1970 and 2019. Ammonium concentrations and loads decreased at the Sacramento River site from the mid-1970s through 1990 because of the consolidation of wastewater treatment and continuously reduced from the mid-1970s to 2019 at the San Joaquin River site. Current ammonium concentrations are mostly below 4 µM (0.056 mg N L–1) at both sites, a concentration above which reductions in phytoplankton productivity or changes in algal species composition may occur. The Sacramento River at Freeport site is located upstream of the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s treatment facility’s discharge point; nutrient water quality there is representative of upstream sources. Inorganic nitrogen (nitrate plus ammonium) concentrations and loading differed at both sites. At the Sacramento River location, concentrations decrease in the summer agricultural season, reducing the molar ratios of nitrogen to phosphorus.

      In contrast, inorganic nitrogen concentrations increase in the San Joaquin River during the agricultural season as a result of irrigation runoff, increasing the molar ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus. This increase suggests a possible nitrogen limitation in the northern Delta and a phosphorus limitation in the southern Delta, as indicated by the molar ratios of bioavailable nitrogen to bioavailable phosphorus. Planned upgrades to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) will reduce inorganic nitrogen inputs to the northern Delta. Consequently, the supply of bioavailable nitrogen throughout the upper estuary should diminish. Source modeling of nitrogen and phosphorus identifies agriculture, atmospheric deposition, and wastewater effluent as sources of total nitrogen in the Central Valley. In contrast, geologic sources, agriculture, and wastewater discharge are the primary sources of phosphorus.

      A call to record stormwater control functions and to share network data

      Released January 04, 2022 09:37 EST

      2022, Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment (8) 1-10

      Benjamin Choat, Amber Pulido, Aditi S. Bhaskar, Rebecca L. Hale, Harry X. Zhang, Thomas Meixner, Lauren McPhillips, Kristina G. Hopkins, Jennifer Cherrier, Chingwen Cheng

      Urban stormwater is an ongoing contributor to the degradation of the health of many watersheds and water bodies. In the United States, federal regulations (e.g., Clean Water Act) require monitoring and reporting of relevant water quality metrics in regulated waterbodies to ensure standards are being met, but decisions about how to manage urban stormwater are left up to state or other local agencies. While this allows for local adaptation and innovation, it has also lead to isolated holding of implemented stormwater control data at the city level and inconsistent terminology surrounding stormwater control measures (SCMs) between cities and regions (Fletcher et al. 2015; Minton 2000, 2007; WEF and ASCE-EWRI 2012). Particularly at this time when the types of SCMs are shifting to include smaller, distributed SCMs (Chocat et al. 2001; Delleur 2003; Roy et al. 2008; WEF and ASCE-EWRI 2012), the isolated management of SCM inventories is a significant missed opportunity to improve stormwater management through information sharing between cities, agencies, and researchers (Marsalek 2013; Minton 2000; Taira et al. 2018).

      The relevance of a type locality: The case of Mephitis interrupta Rafinesque, 1820 (Carnivora: Mephitidae)

      Released January 04, 2022 09:07 EST

      2021, Journal of Mammalogy (102) 1583-1591

      Neal Woodman, Adam W. Ferguson

      For more than 130 years, the type locality of the Plains Spotted Skunk, Spilogale putorius interrupta (Rafinesque, 1820) has been accepted to be along the upper Missouri River. The species’ description was based on a specimen observed by Constantine S. Rafinesque during his 1818 exploration of the Ohio River Valley, but Rafinesque never ventured into the animal’s geographic range west of the Mississippi River, calling into question the type locality and, therefore, the identity of the taxon. We reconstruct Rafinesque’s itinerary from his notes, publications, and correspondence and determine that Rafinesque probably observed the specimen on 20 September in Middletown, Kentucky, while traveling between Louisville and Lexington. He spent the day with John Bradbury, who participated in the 1811 Astor expedition up the Missouri River. On 1 April 1811, Bradbury collected the skin of a skunk, and evidence suggests that it was this skin that Rafinesque described. The type specimen of the Plains Spotted Skunk was obtained on the Missouri River flood plain in southern Chariton County or northern Saline County, Missouri, and this area should be considered the type locality for M. interrupta.

      The green mole, Astromycter prasinatus T. M. Harris, 1825 (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Talpidae): An origin story

      Released January 04, 2022 09:01 EST

      2021, Archives of Natural History (48) 227-243

      Neal Woodman

      Dominant Sonoran Desert plant species have divergent phenological responses to climate change

      Released January 04, 2022 08:19 EST

      2021, Madroño - A West American Journal of Botany (68) 473-486

      Luke J Zachmann, John F. Wiens, Kim Franklin, Shelley D. Crausbay, Vincent A. Landau, Seth M. Munson

      The southwestern U.S. is a global hotspot of climate change. Models project that temperatures will continue to rise through the end of the 21st century, accompanied by significant changes to the hydrological cycle. Within the Sonoran Desert, a limited number of studies have documented climate change impacts on the phenology of native plant species. Much of this phenological work to understand climate change impacts to phenology builds on research conducted nearly three decades ago to define flowering triggers and developmental requirements for native keystone Sonoran Desert woody species. Here we expand on the drivers and explore recent phenological trends for six species using a unique 36-year observational data set. We use statistical models to determine which aspects of climate influence the probability of flowering, and how flowering time may respond to climate change. We move beyond traditional models of phenology by incorporating different metrics of moisture availability in addition to temperature, weather, and climate at several time scales, including daily, weekly, seasonal, and antecedent conditions. Our results provide evidence of a trend towards earlier flowering (on the order of 1–4 days per decade) for five of the six species analyzed, and no trend for one species. The species we evaluated had contrasting phenological responses to different aspects of climate, suggesting individualistic changes in phenology and the potential of divergent plant community flowering patterns under future climate change. Understanding recent changes in flowering phenology and their climatic triggers is important to anticipating whether plant species can attract pollinators, reproduce, and persist within the community under continued climate change.

      Importance of nonindigenous harpacticoids (Crustacea: Copepoda) decrease with depth in Lake Ontario

      Released January 04, 2022 07:19 EST

      2022, Journal of Great Lakes Research Online First

      Joe K. Connolly, Brian O'Malley, Patrick Hudson, James M. Watkins, Lyubov E. Burlakova, Lars G. Rudstam

      Harpacticoid copepods can be a substantial component of the meiobenthic community in lakes and serve an ecological role as detritivores. Here we present the first species-level lake-wide quantitative assessment of the harpacticoid assemblage of Lake Ontario with emphasis on the status of nonindigenous species. Additionally, we provide COI-5P sequences of harpacticoid taxa through Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD). Harpacticoids were collected at depths from 0.1 to 184 m and from a range of substrates from August to September 2018 as part of the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) offshore benthic survey. Twenty-six meiobenthic samples were analyzed using microscopy for community composition analysis of harpacticoids. We found thirteen indigenous and three nonindigenous species of harpacticoid, with the introduced species dominating at shallow depths. The community transitioned from nonindigenous to indigenous species dominance as depth increased. Nonindigenous species accounted for 79% of the community (by abundance) at depths <20 m, 55% from 20 to 40 m, and only 24% at depths >40 m. The nonindigenous species encountered included the first detections of Schizopera borutzkyi (Monchenko, 1967) and Heteropsyllus nunni (Coull, 1975) from Lake Ontario. S. borutzkyi was the most abundant harpacticoid species in the lake, approaching a maximum density of 50,000/m2 and a lake-wide average density of 7,900/m2. Numerically important indigenous species included Bryocamptus nivalis (Willey, 1925), Canthocamptus robertcokeri (Wilson, 1958), Canthocamptus staphylinoides (Pearse, 1905), and Moraria cristata (Chappuis, 1929). The prevalence of nonindigenous harpacticoids in the meiobenthos of Lake Ontario suggests further investigations of Great Lakes meiofauna communities are warranted.

      Relation of water level and fish availability to wood stork reproduction in the southern Everglades, Florida

      Released January 03, 2022 22:10 EST

      1975, Open-File Report 75-434

      James A. Kushlan, John C. Ogden, Aaron L. Higer

      The wood stork is a species of colonial wading bird in the Everglades that is most sensitive to changes in the availability of food. Previous studies have shown that the initiation and success of wood stork nesting depends on high densities of fish concentrated in ponds and other catchment basins during the dry season. The extreme dependence of the wood stork on the cyclic hydrologic regime of the southern Florida wetlands makes it an indicator of the well-being and ecological stability of the Everglades. The wood stork has declined in numbers over the last 25 years. One reason for the decline in wood stork population was the change in the hydrologic regimen of the Everglades which affected the feeding habitat and the food production. The fish on which the wood stork feeds increase in density during the dry season as water levels fall. In the Everglades marsh, densities were highest in front of the drying edge of surface water at a depth of about 0.3 m. Dry-season densities were greatest when a drought occurred the previous year. Historically wood stork nesting success was associated with high summer water levels, high rates of surface-water discharge and high rates of drying. Before the closure of the south side of Conservation Area 3 in 1962, years of successful and unsuccessful nesting were characterized by different patterns of drying. These patterns changed after 1962 and generally the predictability of successful nesting breaks down thereafter. Only two nesting years after 1962 were successful and in only one of these was the drying rate similar to years of successful nesting before 1962. Two other potentially successful years failed after 1962. This suggests that further changes in the hydrobiological relations occurred within the Everglades after 1962. Lack of successful nesting after 1962 can be attributed in large part to late colony formation and the interruption of nesting by winter rainfall. In this period (1962-72), colonies formed earlier in years of high early drying rates than in years of low early drying rates. Delay of colony formation is ultimately the result of inability to attain a suitable nutritional state since food supply is the primary factor in the initiation of nesting. Many of the complex food associations of the wood stork remain to be explained.

      A reconnaissance of hydrogeologic conditions in Lehigh Acres and adjacent areas of Lee County, Florida

      Released January 03, 2022 22:10 EST

      1975, Open-File Report 75-55

      Durward Hoye Boggess, T. M. Missimer

      Lehigh Acres, a residential community with a population of about 13,500 and comprising an area of about 94 square miles (243 square kilometres) in the eastern part of Lee County, has been under development since 1954. Prior to development the area was poorly drained. By 1974, more than 150 miles (241 kilometres) of drainageways had been constructed to drain the area. The water-bearing formations underlying Lehigh Acres include the water-table, sandstone, lower Hawthorn, and Suwannee aquifers. The water-table aquifer is usually not more than 30 feet (9 metres) thick; it contains water of relatively good quality, except for iron and color. Water levels in this aquifer probably have been affected by construction of drainage canals. The sandstone aquifer, used extensively throughout the area as a source of water supply usually contains water of good quality although the water is hard and in places may contain concentrations of dissolved solids and iron which exceed the recommended limits of the U.S. Public Health Service and the State of Florida for drinking water. The lower Hawthorn and Suwannee aquifers, usually encountered at depths between 440 and 850 feet (135 and 262 metres), contains water with relatively high concentrations of sodium, sulfate, chloride, and dissolved solids. Three streams, the Orange River, Hickey Creek, and Bedman Creek and the canals connected to them, provide drainage of the area. Except for the Orange River, where the water is of good chemical quality, little is known of the water quality. Similarly, little information is available on stream discharge except for the Orange River where the average annual discharge was 41.1 cubic feet per second (11.6 cubic metres per second) between 1935-46. Most lakes and ponds in Lehigh Acres are hydraulically connected to the water-table aquifer such that factors which affect one also affect the other. Theoretical drawdown curves indicate that the drainage canals may affect ground-water levels to a distance of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) under certain conditions. Leeland Lake, the only known sinkhole lake in Lee County, is about 208 feet (64 metres) deep and contains water more nearly similar to the sandstone aquifer, although the lake may by hydraulically connected to both the water-table and sandstone aquifers.

      Evaluating the effects of replacing septic systems with municipal sewers on groundwater quality in a densely developed coastal neighborhood, Falmouth, Massachusetts, 2016–19

      Released January 03, 2022 20:30 EST

      2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5130

      Timothy D. McCobb, Jeffrey R. Barbaro, Denis R. LeBlanc, Marcel Belaval

      Land disposal of sewage wastewater through septic systems and cesspools is a major cause of elevated concentrations of nitrogen in the shallow coastal aquifers of southern New England. The discharge of nitrogen from these sources at the coast is affecting the environmental health of coastal saltwater bodies. In response, local, State, and Federal agencies are considering expensive actions to mitigate these effects, including installing municipal sewer systems. To increase the understanding of the effects of municipal sewering on groundwater quality discharging to coastal surface waters, a network of multilevel monitoring wells was established in a densely developed coastal neighborhood on the Maravista peninsula, Falmouth, Massachusetts, which was undergoing conversion from onsite septic disposal to municipal sewering.

      The geohydrology of the study area on the peninsula is generally characterized as consisting of fine to coarse, well-sorted sands containing 2.9 to 9.3 meters of fresh groundwater and a flow system characterized by a groundwater divide slightly west of the center of the peninsula. The magnitude of hydraulic gradients at the water table is gently sloping, ranging from 0.000032 to 0.00059, and affected by daily and bimonthly tidal fluctuations from adjacent coastal ponds. On the western side of the divide, upgradient from Little Pond, average linear groundwater velocities and traveltimes along shallow flow paths, estimated from observed hydraulic gradients and estimated aquifer hydraulic conductivity and effective porosity, range from 0.076 to 0.094 meters per day and 7.8 to 9.7 years, respectively.

      The groundwater monitoring network consists of 14 profile sites on the peninsula that each include a multilevel sampler for water-quality data collection and a shallow monitoring well for groundwater-level measurements. The study area encompasses about 230 residences that transitioned from onsite septic disposal to municipal sewering between spring 2017 and summer 2019. An additional multilevel sampler that was in a residential coastal setting but not undergoing sewering also was sampled periodically as a reference site.

      Elevated nitrogen, as compared to typical uncontaminated, fresh groundwater in the Cape Cod aquifer, predominately as nitrate, was measured in 15 water-quality profiles at nitrate concentrations as great as 26.2 milligrams per liter as nitrogen (n=749; mean and median values were 5.1 and 4.1 milligrams per liter as nitrogen, respectively). At all 14 profile sites and the reference profile site on a nearby peninsula, wastewater effects were denoted by increased nitrate, boron, and specific conductance, and by decreased pH and dissolved oxygen. The highest concentrations of nitrate typically occurred in the deepest one-half of the freshwater zone and in intervals of suboxic and oxic groundwater.

      Thickness-weighted mean and maximum nitrate concentrations, and total nitrate mass from four sampling rounds, provided a metric to evaluate expected changes at the 14 profile sites on the peninsula. Nitrate concentrations varied moderately by site between sampling rounds through both the presewering (June 2016 and April 2017) and transitional periods (April 2018 and June 2019). Nitrate concentrations greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level for nitrate in drinking water (10 milligrams per liter as nitrogen), were detected at 9 of the 14 profile sites and at the reference site. The average of the mean thickness-weighted nitrate concentrations for the four full sampling rounds was greater than 5.0 milligrams per liter as nitrogen at 8 sites (7 profile sites and the reference site) and greater than 8 milligrams per liter as nitrogen at 3 profile sites. The total nitrate mass per square meter of land area at each profile site ranged from 1,830 to 36,800 milligrams per square meter. Nitrate mass flux, across a 500-meter-long section upgradient from Little Pond and covering about 15 percent of the total pond shoreline length, ranged from 124.3 to 192.6 kilograms per year for the four full sampling rounds under three groundwater-flow conditions.

      The expected improvements in groundwater quality in the freshwater zone should be characterized by decreases in concentrations of dissolved total and inorganic nitrogen and common ions such as boron, chloride, and fluoride. A statistical analysis using the Regional Kendall test for sampling points grouped in specific depth ranges confirmed that water-quality changes were statistically significant in at least one depth group during the 3-year sampling period (nitrate: −0.76 milligram per liter per year; specific conductance: −12.1 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius per year; dissolved oxygen: 0.82 milligram per liter per year); however, the rate at which the water-quality improvements will result in decreases in nitrate mass loads to the coastal ponds primarily depends on groundwater traveltimes and the rate of flushing of wastewater constituents from the aquifer.

      System characterization report on the Satellogic NewSat multispectral sensor

      Released January 03, 2022 13:35 EST

      2022, Open-File Report 2021-1030-L

      James C. Vrabel, Paul Bresnahan, Gregory L. Stensaas, Cody Anderson, Jon Christopherson, Minsu Kim, Seonkyung Park

      Executive Summary

      This report addresses system characterization of Satellogic’s NewSat satellite (also known as ÑuSat) and is part of a series of system characterization reports produced and delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence. These reports present and detail the methodology and procedures for characterization; present technical and operational information about the specific sensing system being evaluated; and provide a summary of test measurements, data retention practices, data analysis results, and conclusions.

      Since 2016, Satellogic has launched 17 NewSat satellites. All NewSat satellites have four-band imagers with a 1-meter (m) ground sample distance, and values in pixels are identical to values in meters. All NewSats have been launched into Sun-synchronous orbits of about 475 kilometers, with inclinations of about 97.5 degrees. The satellites have expected lifetimes of about 3 years. More information on the Satellogic satellites and sensors is available in the “2020 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium” and from the manufacturer at

      The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence system characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that the NewSat satellites have an interior geometric performance in the range of −0.119 (−0.119 pixel) to 0.020 m (0.020 pixel) in easting and −0.148 (−0.148 pixel) to 0.014 m (0.014 pixel) in northing in band-to-band registration, an exterior geometric performance of −9.04 (−9.04 pixels) to −5.84 m (−5.84 pixels) in easting and 1.25 (1.25 pixels) to 3.11 m (3.11 pixels) in northing offset in comparison to Sentinel-2, an exterior geometric performance using ground control points of a 6.5-m circular error (95 percent), a radiometric performance in the range of 0.034 to 0.081 in offset and 0.652 to 0.808 in slope, and a spatial performance in the range of 2.01 to 2.48 pixels for full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.009 to 0.043.

      Open-source resources help navigate new IM regulations

      Released January 03, 2022 08:47 EST

      2022, Oil & Gas Journal (120) 46-53

      N. Simon Kwong, Kishor Jaiswal, J. W. Baker, Nicolas Luco, K. A. Ludwig, Vasey J. Stephens

      The revision of federal safety regulations for integrity management of gas transmission pipelines to require explicit consideration of seismicity increases the importance for operators to be actively identifying high-consequence areas (HCAs), evaluating seismic-related threats, and choosing a risk model to support risk management decisions. To ensure equal access to information by both operators and inspectors, the authors have compiled publicly available data and tools for practical seismic risk assessments, such as Microsoft building footprints, the USGS National Seismic Hazard Models, and the USGS Ground Failure product.

      Knowledge sharing for shared success in the decade on ecosystem restoration

      Released January 03, 2022 06:43 EST

      2022, Ecological Solutions and Evidence (3)

      Emma Ladouceur, Nancy Shackelford, Karma Bouazza, Lars Brudvig, Anna Bucharova, Timo Conradi, Todd E. Erickson, Magda Garbowski, Kelly Garvy, W. Stanley Harpole, Holly P. Jones, Tiffany Knight, Mlungele M. Nsikani, Gustavo B. Paterno, Katharine Suding, Vicky M. Temperton, Péter Török, Daniel E. Winkler, Johnathan M. Chase

      1. The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to provide the means and incentives for upscaling restoration efforts worldwide. Although ecosystem restoration is a broad, interdisciplinary concept, effective ecological restoration requires sound ecological knowledge to successfully restore biodiversity and ecosystem services in degraded landscapes.
      2. We emphasize the critical role of knowledge and data sharing to inform synthesis for the most robust restoration science possible. Such synthesis is critical for helping restoration ecologists better understand how context affects restoration outcomes, and to increase predictive capacity of restoration actions. This predictive capacity can help to provide better information for evidence-based decision-making, and scale-up approaches to meet ambitious targets for restoration.
      3. We advocate for a concerted effort to collate species-level, fine-scale, ecological community data from restoration studies across a wide range of environmental and ecological gradients. Well-articulated associated metadata relevant to experience and social or landscape contexts can further be used to explain outcomes. These data could be carefully curated and made openly available to the restoration community to help to maximize evidence-based knowledge sharing, enable flexible re-use of existing data and support predictive capacity in ecological community responses to restoration actions.
      4. We detail how integrated data, analysis and knowledge sharing via synthesis can support shared success in restoration ecology by identifying successful and unsuccessful outcomes across diverse systems and scales. We also discuss potential interdisciplinary solutions and approaches to overcome challenges associated with bringing together subfields of restoration practice. Sharing this knowledge and data openly can directly inform actions and help to improve outcomes for the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

      Gas hydrates on Alaskan marine margins

      Released January 01, 2022 10:32 EST

      2022, Book chapter, World atlas of submarine gas hydrates in continental margins

      Carolyn D. Ruppel, Patrick E. Hart

      Gas hydrate distributions on the marine margins of the U.S. state of Alaska are more poorly known than those on other U.S. margins, where bottom simulating reflections have been systematically mapped on marine seismic data to support modern, quantitative assessments of gas-in-place in gas hydrates. The extent of bottom simulating reflections in the U.S. Beaufort Sea has been known since the late 1970s, and researchers have investigated the possibility that remnant gas hydrate persists in association with decaying subsea permafrost on both the U.S. and Canadian Beaufort continental shelves. In the Bering Sea, possible gas hydrate-related features have been widely mapped, revealing zones of free gas and concentrated gas hydrate within the hydrate stability zone in features called velocity amplitude anomalies (VAMPs). However, there are few reports on bottom simulating reflections along the more than 2500 km of the Aleutian arc and along the transform plate margin in southeast Alaska. Here we examine selected seismic profiles from southeast Alaska, along the Aleutian margin, and on the Bering continental slope, emphasizing surveys acquired with large airgun arrays, and review the results obtained from Bering Sea’s Aleutian Basin and from the U.S. Beaufort Sea. In the new analyses, we detect hydrate-related bottom simulating reflections in southeastern Alaska and the eastern and central parts of the Aleutian arc, but not in the western Aleutian arc or beneath the continental slope from the island arc north into the Aleutian Basin. In the Bering Sea, recognition of hydrate-related bottom simulating reflections is complicated by the widespread existence of a bottom simulating reflector associated with a diagenetic transition (opal CT). Our detection of continental slope hydrate-related bottom simulating reflections in southeast Alaska and the eastern and central Aleutian arcs expands the area of potential gas hydrate distribution on Alaskan margins and underscores the need for more systematic analysis of existing seismic data to inform quantitative evaluation of gas-in-place.

      Living with wildfire in Log Hill Mesa, Ouray County, Colorado: 2017 data report and a comparison to 2011 and 2012 data

      Released January 01, 2022 09:23 EST

      2022, Research Note RMRS-RN 91

      Colleen Donovan, Jamie Gomez, Lilia C. Falk, Christopher M. Barth, Patricia A. Champ, Hannah Brenkert-Smith, James R. Meldrum, Carolyn Wagner

      Over the last decade, a team of researchers and practitioners, referred to as the Wildfire Research Team (WiRē1 Team), has worked with wildfire practitioners seeking to create communities that are adapted to wildfire through an evidenced-based approach. The West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC) has been an integral partner amongst the WiRē Team throughout this time. Together, the WiRē Team has developed a systematic data collection and integration approach (the WiRē approach) that informs local wildfire risk education efforts and allows for monitoring of community adaptation over time. Through this approach, we collect and analyze locally relevant wildfire risk and social science data to enhance the effectiveness of local wildfire risk mitigation efforts. A unique aspect of this report is that the data collection effort was replicated. The results of the 2011/2012 data collection effort are summarized in Meldrum et. al. (2013). In this report, the results of the 2017 data collection effort are summarized first, followed by a brief comparison of the 2017 results to the 2011/2012 data. This comparison is offered to provide context to the 2017 data; in-depth investigation of change over time is beyond the scope of this report.

      Evolution and taxonomy of the Paleogene calcareous nannofossil genus Hornibrookina

      Released January 01, 2022 08:42 EST

      2022, Micropaleontology (68) 85-113

      Jean M. Self-Trail, David K. Watkins, James J. Pospichal, Ellen L. Seefelt

      The genus Hornibrookina consists of enigmatic calcareous nannofossils that first appeared shortly after the K-Pg mass extinction. Due to their relative paucity in most published sections, specimens of this genus have not been previously studied in detail and their paleobiogeographic preferences and evolutionary history have been poorly understood. Biostratigraphic and morphometric analyses of Hornibrookina specimens from outcrops and cores from the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the Southern Ocean, the Indian Ocean, North America, South America, Africa, and New Zealand resulted in a comprehensive and detailed documentation of this group of calcareous nannofossils. Biostratigraphic ranges for each species are refined and a hypothetical evolutionary lineage for this genus is proposed. Two new species (Hornibrookina gracila and Hornibrookina indistincta), two new combinations (Hornibrookina elegans and Hornibrookina australis arca) and one new subspecies (Hornibrookina australis australis) are described. Morphometric analyses prove that Hornibrookina edwardsii and Hornibrookina teuriensis are distinctly different species with biostratigraphically useful ranges. Hornibrookina apellanizii is shown to be invalid.

      A novel gonadotropic microsporidian parasite (Microsporidium clinchi n. sp.) infecting a declining population of pheasantshell mussels (Actinonaias pectorosa) (Unioinidae) from the Clinch River, USA

      Released January 01, 2022 08:36 EST

      2022, Parasitologia (2) 1-12

      Susan Knowles, Eric M. Leis, Jordan C. Richard, Rebecca A. Cole, Rose E. Agbalog, Joel G. Putnam, Tony L. Goldberg, Diane L. Waller

      Freshwater mussels of the order Unionida are among the most endangered animal groups globally, but the causes of their population decline are often enigmatic, with little known about the role of disease. In 2018, we collected wild adult pheasantshell (Actinonaias pectorosa) and mucket (Actinonaias ligamentina) during an epidemiologic survey investigating an ongoing mussel mass mortality event in the Clinch River, Virginia and Tennessee, USA. Histopathology and transmission electron microscopy showed a novel microsporidian parasite primarily infecting the ovary of pheasantshell. Sequencing of the small subunit rRNA gene produced a 1333 bp sequence with the greatest similarity to Pseudonosema cristatellae (AF484694.1; 86.36%; e-value = 0), a microsporidium infecting the freshwater bryozoan (Cristatella mucedo). Microsporidia were observed in 65% (17/26) of the examined female pheasantshell (A. pectorosa) and in no (0/2) female muckets (A. ligamentina) and occurred at mortality and non-mortality sites. Our findings indicate that a novel parasite, Microsporidium clinchi n. sp., is present in pheasantshell in the Clinch River, and while likely not a cause of mass mortality, could reduce fecundity and recruitment in this declining population and threaten the success of reintroductions. Surveillance of M. clinchi n. sp. and evaluation of broodstock and their progeny for microsporidia would therefore be prudent.

      Satellite solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and near-infrared reflectance capture complementary aspects of dryland vegetation productivity dynamics

      Released December 31, 2021 09:21 EST

      2022, Remote Sensing of the Environment (270)

      Xian Wang, Joel A. Biederman, John F. Knowles, Russell L. Scott, Alexander J Turner, Matthew P. Dannenberg, Philipp Köhler, Christian Frankenberg, Marcy E Litvak, Gerald N. Flerchinger, Beverly E. Law, Hyojung Kwon, Sasha Reed, William J Parton, Greg A. Barron-Gafford, William K. Smith

      Mounting evidence indicates dryland ecosystems play an important role in driving the interannual variability and trend of the terrestrial carbon sink. Nevertheless, our understanding of the seasonal dynamics of dryland ecosystem carbon uptake through photosynthesis [gross primary productivity (GPP)] remains relatively limited due in part to the limited availability of long-term data and unique challenges associated with satellite remote sensing across dryland ecosystems. Here, we comprehensively evaluated longstanding and emerging satellite vegetation proxies in their ability to capture seasonal dryland GPP dynamics. Specifically, we evaluated: 1) reflectance-based proxies normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI), near infrared reflectance index (NIRv), and kernel NDVI (kNDVI) from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS); and 2) newly available physiologically-based proxy solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI). As a performance benchmark, we used GPP estimates from a robust network of 21 western United States eddy covariance tower sites that span representative gradients in dryland ecosystem climate and functional composition. We found that NIRv and SIF were the best performing GPP proxies and captured complementary aspects of seasonal GPP dynamics across dryland ecosystem types. NIRv offered better performance than the other proxies across relatively low-productivity, sparsely non-evergreen vegetated sites (R2 = 0.59 ± 0.13); whereas SIF best captured seasonal dynamics across relatively high-productivity sites, including evergreen-dominated sites (R2 = 0.74 ± 0.07). Notably, across grass-dominated sites, all reflectance-based proxies (NDVI, SAVI, NIRv and kNDVI) showed significant seasonal bias (hysteresis) that strengthened with the total fraction of woody vegetation cover, likely due to seasonal patterns in woody vegetation reflectance that are unrelated to or decoupled from GPP. Future efforts to fully integrate the complementary strengths of NIRv and SIF could significantly improve our understanding and representation of dryland GPP dynamics in satellite-based models.

      Nitrogen reductions have decreased hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay: Evidence from empirical and numerical modeling

      Released December 31, 2021 07:30 EST

      2022, Science of the Total Environment (814)

      Luke T Frankel, Marjorie A. M. Friedrichs, Pierre St Laurent, Aaron J. Bever, Romuald N. Lipcius, Gopal Bhatt, Gary W. Shenk

      Seasonal hypoxia is a characteristic feature of the Chesapeake Bay due to anthropogenic nutrient input from agriculture and urbanization throughout the watershed. Although coordinated management efforts since 1985 have reduced nutrient inputs to the Bay, oxygen concentrations at depth in the summer still frequently fail to meet water quality standards that have been set to protect critical estuarine living resources. To quantify the impact of watershed nitrogen reductions on Bay hypoxia during a recent period including both average discharge and extremely wet years (2016–2019), this study employed both statistical and three-dimensional (3-D) numerical modeling analyses. Numerical model results suggest that if the nitrogen reductions since 1985 had not occurred, annual hypoxic volumes (O2 < 3 mg L−1) would have been ~50–120% greater during the average discharge years of 2016–2017 and ~20–50% greater during the wet years of 2018–2019. The effect was even greater for O2 < 1 mg L−1, where annual volumes would have been ~80–280% greater in 2016–2017 and ~30–100% greater in 2018–2019. These results were supported by statistical analysis of empirical data, though the magnitude of improvement due to nitrogen reductions was greater in the numerical modeling results than in the statistical analysis. This discrepancy is largely accounted for by warming in the Bay that has exacerbated hypoxia and offset roughly 6–34% of the improvement from nitrogen reductions. Although these results may reassure policymakers and stakeholders that their efforts to reduce hypoxia have improved ecosystem health in the Bay, they also indicate that greater reductions are needed to counteract the ever-increasing impacts of climate change.

      Geologic map of the Middendorf quadrangle, Chesterfield County, South Carolina

      Released December 31, 2021 07:21 EST

      2021, Report, South Carolina Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map (GQM)

      Christopher S. Swezey, Bradley A. Fitzwater, G. Richard Whittecar

      The Middendorf 7.5-minute quadrangle is located entirely within the Carolina Sandhills region of the upper Atlantic Coastal Plain province in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The Carolina Sandhills, which has been recognized as a separate region for a long time (e.g., McGee, 1890, 1891; Holmes, 1893), extends from central North Carolina across South Carolina to the western border of Georgia along the updip (inland) margin of the Atlantic Coastal Plain province. In Chesterfield County, the Carolina Sandhills form a relatively high plateau that is bounded to the west by Paleozoic metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont province. This plateau is bounded to the east by the east-facing Orangeburg Scarp, which is interpreted as a shoreline formed by wave erosion during a middle Pliocene time of high sea level (Dowsett and Cronin, 1990).

      Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the Middendorf quadrangle derived from lidar point cloud data reveal a landscape incised by creeks and streams. The highest elevation in the Middendorf quadrangle is 596 ft (182 m) on top of a sandhill in the northwest quadrant of the quadrangle, whereas the lowest elevation is 230 ft (70 m) in the floodplain of Big Black Creek on the southern margin of the quadrangle. Most of the landscape is covered by a mantle of unconsolidated sand that is mapped as the Quaternary Pinehurst Formation. At many locations, the unconsolidated sand is <2 m thick and forms a sand sheet of low relief. In areas of higher elevation, however, the unconsolidated sand can be up to 10 m thick and forms subdued hills (degraded dunes) of up to 6 m relief with steeper sides on the east and southeast. Many of these subdued hills (degraded dunes) are present in the area of closed depressions in the southwest corner of the map. Outcrops within the quadrangle are not common, and are limited mostly to a few exposures of sandstone and clay of the Cretaceous Middendorf Formation in a few road cuts, railroad cuts, and borrow pits as well as some slopes and roadside ditches.

      Seasonal variability of invertebrate prey diet and selectivity of the dominant forage fishes in Lake Huron

      Released December 30, 2021 14:19 EST

      2022, Food Webs (30) 1-10

      Patricia M Dieter, David Bunnell, David M. Warner

      Predators can shift their diets and even selectivity in response to changing environmental conditions. Since the early 2000s, Lake Huron experienced major food-web shifts that have caused changes in the prey availability and quality for consumers at multiple trophic levels. Previous studies have reported declining energetic condition for key planktivorous fishes, such as bloater (Coregonus hoyi) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), which play a key role in supporting commercially and recreationally important piscivorous fishes. To improve understanding of how changes in the invertebrate prey community have influenced foraging by rainbow smelt and bloater, we processed diets and calculated selectivity along two transects in Lake Huron during 2012. Diet proportions for both species varied seasonally and consisted of mostly calanoid copepods during spring and summer, specifically Leptodiaptomus sicilis and diaptomid copepodites, and Daphnia galeata mendotae in autumn. Bloater selectivity varied primarily by season and transect with Limnocalanus macrurus or Mysis diluviana as the most preferred prey during spring, Chironomidae pupae or L. sicilis during summer, and Chironomidae pupae or Mysis during autumn. Rainbow smelt selectivity was consistent across seasons and transects with Mysis being the species most commonly selected and Bythotrephes longimanus the second most. Both fish species selected for relatively large invertebrate prey, but declining densities of Mysis and the benthic amphipod Diporeia have caused fish to consume smaller prey with much lower energy density. Our results illustrate how food-web changes underlie the reduced energetic condition of bloater and rainbow smelt, which ultimately reduces the growth potential for recreationally and commercially important piscivorous fish.

      Surface infiltration and unsaturated zone characterization in support of managed aquifer recharge in Bedell Flat, Washoe County, Nevada

      Released December 30, 2021 11:51 EST

      2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5137

      Todd Caldwell, Ramon C. Naranjo, David Smith, Christian Kropf

      Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) expands the portfolio of public water supply and improves resiliency to drought and future water demand. This study investigated the feasibility of ASR in the Bedell Flat Hydrographic Area using land-based methods including in-channel managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and rapid infiltration basins (RIB). Bedell Flat, one of two flow-through groundwater basins near Reno, Nevada, was a likely candidate for ASR because of its deep basin fill, proximity to supplemental water sources and infrastructure, and lack of development. In-channel MAR feasibility was determined from seepage losses along the Bird Springs ephemeral channel measured using Parshall flumes and heat-as-a-tracer inverse modeling. The feasibility of RIB was evaluated by characterizing vadose zone boreholes installed with roto-sonic drilling to water table. Field characterization of sediment and lithologic descriptions was accomplished at 1-foot (ft) increments. Bulk sediment samples were collected every 5 ft and cores from a split spoon were sampled at 10, 20, 30, 40, 60 and 100 ft below land surface (bls). Collected samples were analyzed for texture, moisture content, and geochemistry.

      Infiltration rates in Bird Springs channel increased downgradient with the hydraulic conductivity of the upper reaches ranging from 0.002 to 0.14 meter per hour (m/h) and the lower reaches from 0.5 to 1.5 m/h. Differences in discharge measurements indicate that seepage losses also increase down channel. When normalized to 1 ft of channel stage, modeled seepage loss rates ranged from 0.02 to 5.34 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) per mile (mi). Perched zones of soil moisture residing on top of dry fine-textured, clay-rich layers were prevalent in the Bird Springs drainage, indicating complicated flow paths for any supplement recharge water. Characterization of boreholes in Bird Springs drainage indicates low permeability clay layers 1–10 ft thick interbedded within extensive, grussy sands of high permeability. The presence of low permeability clay layers (1–10 ft thick) prompted a shift in analysis to the adjacent Sand Hills drainage where four additional boreholes indicated fewer perched water zones and at greater depths. Nitrates in the sediment pore-water (a condition that would discourage ASR) were integrated with depth to the aquifer 180 ft bls. Wells BF-MW-04 (Bird Springs) and BF-MW-07 (Sand Hills) contained 4,270 and 2,436 kilograms per hectare of nitrogen, respectively, which could potentially load excessive nitrogen to a receiving aquifer.

      An economically viable ASR project requires a minimum input of 2 million gallons per day (approximately 3 ft3/s), which either channel appears to have the sufficient capacity to infiltrate such a volume before reaching the valley bottom of Bedell Flat. However, the trajectory of the infiltrated water is complicated by the lithology and lateral transmissivity of the underlying sediments. There is also concern that this volume of infiltrated water may cause undesirable groundwater levels at the outflow in less than 5 years.

      Food, beverage, and feedstock processing facility wastewater: a unique and underappreciated source of contaminants to U.S. streams

      Released December 30, 2021 08:50 EST

      2021, Environmental Science & Technology

      Laura E. Hubbard, Dana W. Kolpin, Carrie E Givens, Bradley D. Blackwell, Paul Bradley, James L. Gray, Rachael Lane, Jason R. Masoner, R. Blaine McCleskey, Kristin Romanok, Mark W. Sandstrom, Kelly Smalling, Daniel Villeneuve

      Process wastewaters from food, beverage, and feedstock facilities, although regulated, are an under-investigated environmental contaminant source. Food process wastewaters (FPWWs) from 23 facilities in 17 U.S. states were sampled and documented for a plethora of chemical and microbial contaminants. Of the 576 analyzed organics, 184 (32%) were detected at least once, with concentrations as large as 143 μg L–1 (6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid), and as many as 47 were detected in a single FPWW sample. Cumulative per/polyfluoroalkyl substance concentrations up to 185 μg L–1 and large pesticide transformation product concentrations (e.g., methomyl oxime, 40 μg L–1; clothianidin TMG, 2.02 μg L–1) were observed. Despite 48% of FPWW undergoing disinfection treatment prior to discharge, bacteria resistant to third-generation antibiotics were found in each facility type, and multiple bacterial groups were detected in all samples, including total coliforms. The exposure–activity ratios and toxicity quotients exceeded 1.0 in 13 and 22% of samples, respectively, indicating potential biological effects and toxicity to vertebrates and invertebrates associated with the discharge of FPWW. Organic contaminant profiles of FPWW differed from previously reported contaminant profiles of municipal effluents and urban storm water, indicating that FPWW is another important source of chemical and microbial contaminant mixtures discharged into receiving surface waters.

      Ambystoma opacum (marbled salamander). Atypical nest sites

      Released December 30, 2021 07:17 EST

      2021, Herpetological Review (52) 595-596

      Joshua M Hall, Brad Glorioso, J Sean Doody

      The discovery of inconspicuous nests in secretive species not only expands knowledge but can reveal previously unknown behaviors and ecological consequences of those behaviors. Marbled salamanders exhibit the unusual strategy of laying their eggs terrestrially under cover. Here we report multiple occurrences of A. opacum nesting inside logs, which may be atypical for this species.

      Acoustic and genetic data can reduce uncertainty regarding populations of migratory tree-roosting bats impacted by wind energy

      Released December 30, 2021 07:06 EST

      2022, Animals (12)

      Amanda Hale, Cris D. Hein, Bethany Rose Straw

      Wind turbine-related mortality may pose a population-level threat for migratory tree-roosting bats, such as the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) in North America. These species are dispersed within their range, making it impractical to estimate census populations size using traditional survey methods. Nonetheless, understanding population size and trends is essential for evaluating and mitigating risk from wind turbine mortality. Using various sampling techniques, including systematic acoustic sampling and genetic analyses, we argue that building a weight of evidence regarding bat population status and trends is possible to (1) assess the sustainability of mortality associated with wind turbines; (2) determine the level of mitigation required; and (3) evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measures to ensure population viability for these species. Long-term, systematic data collection remains the most viable option for reducing uncertainty regarding population trends for migratory tree-roosting bats. We recommend collecting acoustic data using the statistically robust North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) protocols and that genetic diversity is monitored at repeated time intervals to show species trends. There are no short-term actions to resolve these population-level questions; however, we discuss opportunities for relatively short-term investments that will lead to long-term success in reducing uncertainty.

      Kittlitz’s murrelet seasonal distribution and post-breeding migration from the Gulf of Alaska to the Arctic Ocean

      Released December 30, 2021 06:43 EST

      2021, Arctic (74) 482-495

      John F. Piatt, David C. Douglas, Mayumi L. Arimitsu, Michelle Kissling, Erica N. Madison, Sarah K. Schoen, Kathy J. Kuletz, Gary S. Drew

      Kittlitz’s Murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris) nest during summer in glaciated or recently deglaciated (post-Wisconsin) landscapes. They forage in adjacent marine waters, especially those influenced by glacial meltwater. Little is known of their movements and distribution outside the breeding season. To identify post-breeding migrations of murrelets, we attached satellite transmitters to birds (n = 47) captured at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands during May – July 2009 – 15 and tracked 27 birds that migrated from capture areas. Post-breeding murrelets migrated toward the Bering Sea, with short periods of movement (median 2 d) separated by short stopovers (median 1 d). Travel speeds averaged 79.4 km d-1 (83.5 SD, 449.1 maximum). Five Kittlitz’s Murrelets tagged in Prince William Sound in May migrated to the Bering Sea by August and four continued north to the Arctic Ocean, logging 2500 – 4000 km of travel. Many birds spent 2‒3 weeks with little movement along coasts of the Alaska Peninsula or eastern Bering Sea during late August through September, also the pre-basic molt period. Ship-based surveys, many of which were conducted concurrently with our telemetry studies, confirmed that substantial numbers of Kittlitz’s Murrelets migrate into the Arctic Ocean during autumn. They also revealed that some birds spend winter and spring in the Bering Sea in association with ice-edge, polynya, or marginal ice zone habitats before returning to summer breeding grounds. We conclude that this species is best characterized as a sub-Arctic and Arctic species, which has implications for future risk assessments and threat mitigation.

      Stratigraphy and age of a prominent paleosol in a late Pleistocene sedimentary sequence, Mason Neck, Virginia

      Released December 29, 2021 13:52 EST

      2021, Open-File Report 2021-1113

      Helaine W. Markewich, Douglas A. Wysocki, Milan J. Pavich, Joseph P. Smoot, Ronald J. Litwin

      The High Point paleosol is 2.28-meters-thick aggradational soil developed in fining upward estuarine-alluvial sand and loess. The paleosol is exposed in a few shoreline cliff faces of Mason Neck, Virginia. Although a former A horizon is missing, the E, Bw, Bt, and C horizon sequence seen in the sediments indicates subaerial pedogenesis. Pedogenesis began with initial estuarine-alluvial floodplain emergence as sea level was lowering in late marine isotope stage 5 (MIS5) and MIS4, continued during eolian silt deposition accompanied by incorporation of the silt into the estuarine-alluvial sand, and ended with a period of loess and eolian sand deposition, erosion, and development of periglacial(?) features. Six optically stimulated luminescence ages provide an age range from 86 to 56 ka (thousand years ago) for sedimentary units below and above the paleosol. These ages indicate a 10,000- to 30,000-year interval in late MIS5 and MIS4 for these events to have occurred.

      Coastal and marine science of the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, Florida

      Released December 29, 2021 13:45 EST

      2021, General Information Product 214

      Meaghan E. Emory

      Jonas W. Casey-Williams, editor(s)

      The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) in St. Petersburg, Florida, investigates processes that form and alter coastal and marine environments and the implications of these processes related to natural hazards, resource sustainability, and environmental change. The center is one of three facilities serving the mission of the USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program, an initiative authorized by Congress in 1962 that serves as the primary Federal program for marine geology and physical science research and is responsible for the Nation’s entire coastal and marine landscape.

      The center’s staff conducts scientific research around the globe to describe and deepen understanding of the processes that influence coastal and marine ecosystems, such as sandy beaches and barrier islands, salt marshes and estuaries, coral reefs, and the open ocean from the continental shelf to the deep sea. The center includes a diverse workforce of scientists, technicians, administrators, analysts, and technology and information specialists. This team works collaboratively to conduct and share robust scientific research. This document provides a glimpse into the center’s work to better understand the processes shaping coastal and marine environments across the Nation.

      Reconnecting the Elwha River: Spatial patterns of fish response to dam removal

      Released December 29, 2021 10:09 EST

      2021, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (9)

      Jeffrey J. Duda, Christian E. Torgersen, Samuel J. Brenkman, Roger J. Peters, Kathryn T. Sutton, Heidi A. Connor, Philip R. Kennedy, Stephen C. Corbett, Ethan Z. Welty, Anna Geffre, Josh Geffre, Patrick Crain, Dave Shreffler, John R. McMillan, Mike McHenry, George R. Pess

      The removal of two large dams on the Elwha River was completed in 2014 with a goal of restoring anadromous salmonid populations. Using observations from ongoing field studies, we compiled a timeline of migratory fish passage upstream of each dam. We also used spatially continuous snorkeling surveys in consecutive years before (2007, 2008) and after (2018, 2019) dam removal during summer baseflow to assess changes in fish distribution and density over 65 km of the mainstem Elwha River. Before dam removal, anadromous fishes were limited to the 7.9 km section of river downstream of Elwha Dam, potamodromous species could not migrate throughout the river system, and resident trout were the most abundant species. After dam removal, there was rapid passage into areas upstream of Elwha Dam, with 8 anadromous species (Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink, Chum, Winter Steelhead, Summer Steelhead, Pacific Lamprey, and Bull Trout) observed within 2.5 years. All of these runs except Chum Salmon were also observed in upper Elwha upstream of Glines Canyon Dam within 5 years. The spatial extent of fish passage by adult Chinook Salmon and Summer Steelhead increased by 50 km and 60 km, respectively, after dam removal. Adult Chinook Salmon densities in some previously inaccessible reaches in the middle section of the river exceeded the highest densities observed in the lower section of the river prior to dam removal. The large number (>100) of adult Summer Steelhead in the upper river after dam removal was notable because it was among the rarest anadromous species in the Elwha River prior to dam removal. The spatial extent of trout and Bull Trout remained unchanged after dam removal, but their total abundance increased and their highest densities shifted from the lower 25 km of the river to the upper 40 km. Our results show that reconnecting the Elwha River through dam removal provided fish access to portions of the watershed that had been blocked for nearly a century.

      Effects of environmental clutter on synthesized chiropteran echolocation signals in an anechoic chamber

      Released December 29, 2021 09:15 EST

      2021, Acoustics (3) 391-410

      Samuel R. Freeze, Masoud Shirazi, Nicole Abaid, W. Mark Ford, Alexander Silvis, Dawn Hakkenberg

      Ultrasonic bat detectors are useful for research and monitoring purposes to assess occupancy and relative activity of bat communities. Environmental “clutter” such as tree boles and foliage can affect the recording quality and identification of bat echolocation calls collected using ultrasonic detectors. It can also affect the transmission of calls and recognition by bats when using acoustic lure devices to attract bats to mist-nets. Bat detectors are often placed in forests, yet automatic identification programs are trained on call libraries using echolocation passes recorded largely from open spaces. Research indicates that using clutter-recorded calls can increase classification accuracy for some bat species and decrease accuracy for others, but a detailed understanding of how clutter impacts the recording and identification of echolocation calls remains elusive. To clarify this, we experimentally investigated how two measures of clutter (i.e., total basal area and number of stems of simulated woody growth, as well as recording angle) affected the recording and classification of a synthesized echolocation signal under controlled conditions in an anechoic chamber. Recording angle (i.e., receiver position relative to emitter) significantly influenced the probability of correct classification and differed significantly for many of the call parameters measured. The probability of recording echo pulses was also a function of clutter but only for the detector angle at 0° from the emitter that could receive deflected pulses. Overall, the two clutter metrics were overshadowed by proximity and angle of the receiver to the sound source but some deviations from the synthesized call in terms of maximum, minimum, and mean frequency parameters were observed. Results from our work may aid efforts to better understand underlying environmental conditions that produce false-positive and -negative identifications for bat species of interest and how this could be used to adjust survey accuracy estimates. Our results also help pave the way for future research into the development of acoustic lure technology by exploring the effects of environmental clutter on ultrasound transmission.

      Agkistrodon conanti (Florida Cottonmouth) and Python bivittatus (Burmese Python). Diet and Predation

      Released December 29, 2021 07:24 EST

      2021, Herpetological Review (52) 860-862

      Ian A. Bartoszek, Gretchen Erika Anderson, Ian Easterling, Jillian Maureen Josimovich, Alex Furst, Frank N. Ridgley, Austin Lee Fitzgerald, Amy A. Yackel Adams, Andrea Faye Currylow

      Python bivittatus is established in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem in southern Florida, USA. Documented predators on pythons in Florida include Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator; Snow et al. 2006. Herpetol. Rev. 37:81–81), Drymarchon couperi (Gulf Coast Indigo Snake; Andreadis et al. 2018. Herpetol. Rev. 49:341–342), Lynx rufus (Bobcat; McCollister et al. 2021. Southeast. Nat. 20:N55–N59), and possibly Ursus americanus floridanus (Florida Black Bear; McCollister et al. 2021. op cit.). We documented mortality events of hatchling and juvenile P. bivittatus while conducting radiotelemetry studies in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.

      Representing plant diversity in land models: An evolutionary approach to make ‘Functional Types’ more functional

      Released December 29, 2021 07:02 EST

      2021, Global Change Biology

      Leander D.L. Anderegg, Daniel Mark Griffith, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, William J. Riley, Joseph A. Berry, Todd E. Dawson, Christopher J. Still

      Plants are critical mediators of terrestrial mass and energy fluxes, and their structural and functional traits have profound impacts on local and global climate, biogeochemistry, biodiversity, and hydrology. Yet Earth System Models (ESMs), our most powerful tools for predicting the effects of humans on the coupled biosphere-atmosphere system, simplify the incredible diversity of land plants into a handful of coarse categories of ‘Plant Functional Types’ (PFTs) that often fail to capture ecological dynamics such as biome distributions. The inclusion of more realistic functional diversity is a recognized goal for ESMs, yet there is currently no consistent, widely accepted way to add diversity to models, i.e. to determine what new PFTs to add and with what data to constrain their parameters. We review approaches to representing plant diversity in ESMs and draw on recent ecological and evolutionary findings to present an evolution-based functional type approach for further disaggregating functional diversity. Specifically, the prevalence of niche conservatism, or the tendency of closely related taxa to retain similar ecological and functional attributes through evolutionary time, reveals that evolutionary relatedness is a powerful framework for summarizing functional similarities and differences among plant types. We advocate that Plant Functional Types based on dominant evolutionary lineages (‘Lineage Functional Types’) will provide an ecologically defensible, tractable, and scalable framework for representing plant diversity in next-generation ESMs, with the potential to improve parameterization, process representation, and model benchmarking. We highlight how the importance of evolutionary history for plant function can unify the work of disparate fields to improve predictive modeling of the Earth system.

      Modeling the occurrence of M ∼ 5 caldera collapse-related earthquakes in Kīlauea volcano, Hawai'i

      Released December 28, 2021 06:56 EST

      2022, Geophysical Research Letters (49)

      Andrea L. Llenos, Andrew J. Michael

      During the 2018 Kīlauea eruption and caldera collapse, M ∼ 5 caldera collapse earthquakes occurred almost daily from mid-May until the beginning of August. While caldera collapses happen infrequently, the collapse-related seismicity damaged nearby structures, and so these events should be included in a complete seismic hazard assessment. Here, we present an approach to forecast the seismic hazard of the collapse earthquakes. We model their occurrence by combining a Poisson distribution for the number of collapses with a negative binomial for the number of earthquakes in a collapse, based on observations at Kīlauea. This rate model is then combined with a ground motion model to assess the seismic hazard posed by caldera collapse events. The rate model is non-Poisson but a Poisson model is adequate for low exceedance probabilities (e.g., <10% in 50 years). This approach could be generalized to model the hazard from earthquakes triggered by other underlying processes.

      A quantitative soil-geomorphic framework for developing and mapping ecological site groups

      Released December 28, 2021 06:51 EST

      2022, Rangeland Ecology and Management (81) 9-33

      Travis W. Nauman, Samuel S Burch, Joel T. Humphries, Anna C Knight, Michael C. Duniway

      Land management decisions need context about how landscapes will respond to different circumstances or actions. As ecologists’ understanding of nonlinear ecological dynamics has evolved into state-and-transition models (STMs), they have put more emphasis on defining and mapping the soil, geomorphological, and climate parameters that mediate these dynamics. The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service ecological site descriptions (ESDs) have become the foremost system in classifying lands into ecological units based on STMs. However, an exhaustive inventory of ESDs has proved challenging to complete in the United States, and there have been questions about the consistency of detail in areas completed and the ability to objectively support some assertions made in existing ESDs. To address these issues, this study examines ESDs in the diverse Upper Colorado River region, where ESDs are only partially complete, to look at quantitative approaches to generalizing ecological site concepts based on unifying underlying soil, geomorphology, and climate patterns. Using existing ESDs and vegetation monitoring plot data, results show that a simple hierarchical soil geomorphic unit (SGU) framework based on topographic mediation of moisture, soil salinity, soil depth, slope, rock content, and soil texture can represent much of the ecological dynamics cataloged in ESDs. Analyses of reference plant production data, ecological state attribution, and regional monitoring data show that the new SGUs represent more variation than common climate parameters. This study also included predictively mapping SGUs at 30-m resolution (Kappa of 0.53, 74% agreement with top two predictions in validation). An optimized combination of SGUs with climate zones derived from an aridity index and maximum temperature of the hottest month resulted in an ecological site group framework that condensed over 826 unique ecological site records at various stages of completeness in the regional soil survey down to 35 intuitive and mappable ecological site groups.

        Demographic response of brown treesnakes to extended population suppression

        Released December 28, 2021 06:50 EST

        2021, Journal of Wildlife Management

        Melia G. Nafus, Shane R. Siers, Brenna A. Levine, Zachary C. Quiogue, Amy A. Yackel Adams

        From a management perspective, reptiles are relatively novel invasive taxa. Few methods for reptile control have been developed and very little is known about their effectiveness for reducing reptile populations, particularly when the goal is eradication. Many reptiles, and especially snakes, are cryptic, secretive, and undergo extended periods of inactivity, traits that decrease detection probabilities and create challenges in estimating population size or evaluating management effects. The brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) is a notorious invasive species that continues to cause major ecological and economic harm following their introduction to the island of Guam after World War II. They have been the subject of intensive research on the effectiveness of various techniques to control snakes, including the first ever aerial system for the distribution of toxic acetaminophen baits for reptile control. We provide a cohort-based life table for a cryptic and invasive reptile undergoing extended population control using toxic baits from March 2017–2020. We also evaluated the effects of single (toxic bait) versus multi-tool (toxic bait and live trapping) management efforts on population trajectories, and estimated which population vital rates are most important for influencing population growth or decline in a treated landscape. Treatment of the population with acetaminophen-laced baits resulted in an immediate reduction followed by a gradual population decline that suggested that eradication was the probable outcome given sufficient treatment time but that the period of treatment was decades in magnitude. Inclusion of live trapping reduced the predicted time required to achieve eradication by more than half. Preventing the transition of 1,000-mm snout-vent length (SVL) females to larger sizes was predicted to have the greatest effect on population reduction based on integral projection modeling. Our results suggest that toxic baits are capable of eradicating brown treesnakes in an enclosure, although inclusion of trapping reduced overall treatment time required. Tools that effectively target females >1,000 mm SVL may have the greatest effect on reducing overall treatment timelines.

        Evaluation of two existing flood management structures in U.S. Army Garrison Fort Gordon, Georgia, 2020

        Released December 27, 2021 17:05 EST

        2021, Open-File Report 2021-1121

        Charles C. Stillwell

        Two existing flood management structures in U.S. Army Garrison Fort Gordon, Georgia, were evaluated for potential retrofitting to address water-quality impacts, pursuant of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Gordon’s storm water management program. Stormwater calculations were computed according to the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual, including drainage area delineations, design-storm runoff volumes and peak discharges, stage-storage and stage-discharge curves, and outflow calculations. The results of these analyses were compared to Georgia’s regulatory requirements for dry detention basins. The two existing flood management structures did not meet the requirements for a dry detention basin. Planning-level analyses for these basins indicate that the existing structures do not have adequate storage capacity for the overbank flood design-storm runoff volume (25-year, 24-hour storm) or the extreme flood design-storm runoff volume (100-year, 24-hour storm) and neither storm water structural control 2 nor storm water structural control 3 has the emergency spillway needed to safely convey overflows. Furthermore, land use changes (forest removal) and the risk for additional sediment loads to these structures may reduce available storage volume, increasing the risk for design failure. Three potential retrofit alternatives were provided for planning purposes only, with a brief discussion of advantages and disadvantages of each alternative retrofit strategy.

        ECCOE Landsat quarterly Calibration and Validation report — Quarter 2, 2021

        Released December 27, 2021 15:50 EST

        2021, Open-File Report 2021-1105

        Esad Micijevic, Rajagopalan Rengarajan, Md Obaidul Haque, Mark Lubke, Fatima Tuz Zafrin Tuli, Jerad L. Shaw, Nahid Hasan, Alex Denevan, Shannon Franks, Michael J Choate, Cody Anderson, Brian Markham, Kurtis Thome, Edward Kaita, Julia Barsi, Raviv Levy, Lawrence Ong

        Executive Summary

        The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val) Center of Excellence (ECCOE) focuses on improving the accuracy, precision, calibration, and product quality of remote-sensing data, leveraging years of multiscale optical system geometric and radiometric calibration and characterization experience. The ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team continually monitors the geometric and radiometric performance of active Landsat missions and makes calibration adjustments, as needed, to maintain data quality at the highest level.

        This report provides observed geometric and radiometric analysis results for Landsats 7–8 for quarter 2 (April–June), 2021. All data used to compile the Cal/Val analysis results presented in this report are freely available from the USGS EarthExplorer website:

        One specific activity that the Cal/Val Team continued to closely monitor this quarter was the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) response degradation, which has been observed since the two November 2020 safehold events. Detailed analysis results characterizing this degradation have been included in this report. Additional information about the safehold events is here:

        Optimization of salt marsh management at the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges, Virginia, through use of structured decision making

        Released December 27, 2021 14:05 EST

        2021, Open-File Report 2021-1117

        Hilary A. Neckles, James E. Lyons, Jessica L. Nagel, Susan C. Adamowicz, Toni Mikula, Pamela Denmon, Robert Leffel

        Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total benefit achieved and balances tradeoffs among objectives. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing tidal marsh management decisions at the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges in Virginia. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of six marsh management units within the refuges, totaling about 575 hectares, and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that could be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per marsh management unit, that could maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge scale. Results indicated that, for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits may increase consistently up to approximately $143,000, but that further expenditures may yield diminishing return on investment. Potential management actions in optimal portfolios at total costs less than $143,000 included digging runnels by hand to improve drainage from the marsh surface, breaching a road to restore natural hydrology, trapping predators to enhance nest success of tidal marsh birds, and reducing the abundance of Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer) to minimize their effects on marsh vegetation. The potential management benefits were derived from expected increases in number of tidal marsh obligate breeding birds, species richness of nekton, and density of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health); and an expected decrease in duration of surface flooding. The prototype presented here does not resolve management decisions; rather, it provides a framework for decision making at the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges that can be updated as new data and information become available. Insights from this process may also be useful to inform future habitat management planning at the refuges.

        Optimization of salt marsh management at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Maine, through use of structured decision making

        Released December 27, 2021 10:25 EST

        2021, Open-File Report 2021-1115

        Hilary A. Neckles, James E. Lyons, Jessica L. Nagel, Susan C. Adamowicz, Toni Mikula, Maurice Mills, Raymond E. Brown, Keith Ramos

        Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total benefit achieved and balances tradeoffs among objectives. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing tidal marsh management decisions at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of four marsh management units within the refuge, totaling about 13 hectares, and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that could be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per marsh management unit, that could maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge scale. Results indicated that, for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits may increase consistently up to $1,000, and may continue to increase at a lower rate with further expenditures. Potential management actions in optimal portfolios at total costs less than or equal to $1,000 included improving nesting habitat for Ammodramus nelsoni (Nelson’s sparrow) or restoring hydrologic connections to the upper marsh in one marsh management unit (Hobart Stream West). The potential management benefits were derived from expected increases in the density of nekton and of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health). The prototype presented here does not resolve management decisions; rather, it provides a framework for decision making at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge that can be updated for implementation as new data and information become available. Insights from this process may also be useful to inform future habitat management planning at the refuge.

        Geochemical insights into formation of enigmatic ironstones from Rio Grande rise, South Atlantic Ocean

        Released December 25, 2021 09:29 EST

        2022, Marine Geology (444)

        Mariana Benites, James R. Hein, Kira Mizell, Kenneth A. Farley, Jonathon Treffkorn, Luigi Jovane

        Rio Grande Rise (RGR) is an intraplate oceanic elevation in the South Atlantic Ocean that formed at a hotspot on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during the Cretaceous. In spreading center and hotspot environments, ironstones form mainly by biomineralization of reduced Fe from hydrothermal fluids or oxidation of sulfide deposits. However, RGR has been considered aseismic and volcanically inactive for the past 46 Ma. Here, we investigate the origin of ironstones collected from the summit of RGR using multiple techniques: petrographic observations, X-ray diffraction, U-Th/He geochronology, and chemical composition. The ironstones from RGR consist of finely laminated goethite containing igneous rock fragments, carbonate fluorapatite, and calcite. Our results suggest that Fe oxyhydroxides were precipitated by Fe-oxidizing bacteria forming bacterial mats. The bacterial Fe mats underwent compaction, dewatering, goethite crystallization, and cementation that created the ironstone deposits. U-Th/He geochronology reveals protracted goethite minimum ages extending from the late Miocene to the Quaternary, probably due to multiple generations of mats, slow mineralization rates, and Fe-oxide dissolution-reprecipitation cycles. Flame-like goethite structures underneath FeMn crusts and a chimney-shaped goethite sample with a central channel indicate that the dewatering fluid flowed upward through the deposits, or a thermal fluid source may have been introduced from below the ironstone deposits. High Fe/Mn ratios, low trace metals contents (Ni + Co + Cu), and very low Fe/REY ratios suggest ironstone precipitation from a hydrothermal fluid; however, REYSN plots and bivariate CeSN /CeSN versus YSN/HoSN and CeSN /CeSN versus Nd plots are inconclusive, and a proximal source of magma was unlikely during the period of mat formation. Given this evidence, we hypothesize that a geothermal circulation system may have facilitated ironstone mineralization at RGR.