Assessment of vulnerabilities and opportunities to restore marsh sediment supply at Nisqually River Delta, west-central Washington
Released December 08, 2022 08:00 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1088
Eric E. Grossman, Sean C. Crosby, Andrew W. Stevens, Daniel J. Nowacki, Nathan R. vanArendonk, Christopher A. Curran
A cascading set of hazards to coastal environments is intimately tied to sediment transport and includes the flooding and erosion of shorelines and habitats that support communities, industry, infrastructure, and ecosystem functions (for example, habitats critical to fisheries). This report summarizes modeling and measurement data used to evaluate the sediment budget of the Nisqually River Delta, the vulnerability of the largest estuary restoration project in Puget Sound at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and the role of coastal hydrodynamics and potential restoration alternatives for recovering sediment delivery to its marshes. The 2009 Brown’s Farm Restoration achieved many goals toward recovering salmon habitat, but the understanding of the delta and restoration area sediment budgets remain poorly quantified. Specifically, quantitative estimates of the amount of sediment delivered to the delta and restored marsh areas, which had subsided in response to historical diking and draining for grazing, were identified as important information needs. Forecasts of potential outcomes of proposed adaptive distributary channel restoration actions were also prioritized to inform potential solutions. These estimates can be used to evaluate whether sufficient sediment is available for marsh recovery downstream from Alder Lake, which traps about 90 percent the Nisqually River sediment load that could reach the delta. Additionally, quantitative sediment information was identified to help prioritize opportunities to recover and maintain the area marshes and guide ecosystem restoration investments across the delta to reduce the vulnerability of the system to drowning under projected sea level rise.
A coupled, numerical hydrodynamic-sediment transport model and measurements of the sediment load just upstream from the delta were used to evaluate the (1) availability of sediment for marsh recovery, (2) sediment transport dynamics across the estuary, and (3) potential outcomes of distributary reconnection alternatives under existing and projected conditions of streamflow and sea level. Modeling and measurements indicated that the volume of fluvial sediment load reaching and accumulating in the restoration area ranges from 7 to 32 percent and identified that restoration alternatives could recover about an additional 10–12 percent under current and projected sea-level rise by the year 2100. At these rates of sediment delivery, 85–200+ years may be necessary to fill for marsh vegetation development and maintenance. The model also reveals the sensitivity of sediment transport and accumulation to sediment properties, hydrodynamics, and wave conditions. The low sediment accumulation results in large part because of the role of waves in directing sediment transport offshore and challenges of restoring geomorphic processes suited to maintaining habitat structure where opportunity exists or least conflicts with land use. The findings therefore have implications for siting, phasing, and implementing strategies to route and retain sediment. This study shows that opportunities to recover sediment higher in the tidal prism, where a greater hydraulic gradient and gravity could promote progradation and greater sediment retention, may be more effective than alternatives lower in the tidal prism implemented to date and assessed in this study. Furthermore, the modeling indicates that distributary channel restoration also may provide additional benefits to society by reducing flood stage, and therefore, flood hazards surrounding the delta.
Water quality of sand and gravel aquifers in McHenry County, Illinois, 2020 and comparisons to conditions in 2010
Released December 07, 2022 14:27 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5110
Amy M. Gahala, Lance R. Gruhn, Jennifer C. Murphy, Lisa A. Matson
McHenry County, Illinois, obtains most of its drinking water from shallow sand and gravel aquifers (groundwater). To evaluate this groundwater resource, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with McHenry County, Illinois, collected water-quality samples from 41 of 42 monitoring wells in the McHenry County Groundwater Monitoring Network and 4 monitoring wells from the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Project. Additionally, a subset of 12 monitoring wells was sampled and analyzed for pharmaceuticals and wastewater indicator compounds (WICs), collectively referred to as “contaminants of emerging concern” (CECs). Results from this 2020 study were compared to the 2010 results to assess changes in groundwater quality. Statistical analyses and chloride-bromide ratio analyses also were completed to assess changes in water quality.
Health-based benchmarks were exceeded for arsenic (about 24 percent; 11 of 45 monitoring wells), sodium (40 percent, 18 of 45), and manganese (about 2 percent, 1 of 45). Aesthetically based benchmarks were exceeded for dissolved solids (about 29 percent, 13 of 45), chloride (about 4 percent, 2 of 45), iron (about 87 percent, 39 of 45), and manganese (about 29 percent, 13 of 45). CECs were detected at low or estimated concentrations in 8 of the 12 (about 67 percent) monitoring wells analyzed.
In addition to sampling the groundwater monitoring wells, three surface-water-quality monitoring sites also were sampled and analyzed for pharmaceuticals and WICs to provide a preliminary assessment of the presence of CECs in the surface waters. CECs were detected in all three of the surface-water-quality monitoring samples collected, and WICs were more prevalent and more frequently detected than pharmaceutical compounds. These results provided a cursory understanding of the presence of CECs in surface waters and do not constitute a robust analysis of sources, seasonality, range of concentrations, persistence, or effects.
The 2020 groundwater-quality results had measurements of field properties, and concentrations of major ions, trace metals, and nutrients that were consistent with 2010 results with statistically significant increases for calcium, magnesium, and silica, and decreases for aluminum, ammonia, arsenic, barium, bromide, calcium, molybdenum, phosphate, specific conductance, sulfate, and dissolved solids. Increases generally were detected in the intermediate and deep parts of the sand and gravel aquifer, and decreases were detected in the shallow parts of the sand and gravel aquifer. The mixed distribution of increases and decreases among the various constituents and aquifer-depth groups could be reflecting dissolution and mobility of some of the redox sensitive constituents and dilution of some constituents in the shallow aquifer depths. These changes may be attributed to a combination of stable population of the past decade (2010–20), land-use management practices, and the recent wet years of 2017 through 2019 causing a dilution of the major ions in the shallow parts of the aquifer.
Historical Structure from Motion (HSfM): Automated processing of historical aerial photographs for long-term topographic change analysis
Released December 07, 2022 06:46 EST
2023, Remote Sensing of Environment (285)
Friedrich Knuth, David Shean, Shashank Bhushan, Eli Schwat, Oleg Alexandrov, Christopher J. McNeil, Amaury Dehecq, Caitlyn Florentine, Shad O'Neel
Precisely measuring the Earth’s changing surface on decadal to centennial time scales is critical for many science and engineering applications, yet long-term records of quantitative landscape change are often temporally and geographically sparse. Archives of scanned historical aerial photographs provide an opportunity to augment these records with accurate elevation measurements that capture the historical state of the Earth surface. Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry workflows produce high-quality digital elevation models (DEMs) and orthoimage mosaics from these historical images, but time-intensive tasks like manual image preprocessing (e.g., fiducial marker identification) and ground control point (GCP) selection impede processing at scale. We developed an automated method to process historical images and generate self-consistent time series of high-resolution (0.5–2 m) DEMs and orthomosaics, without manual GCP selection. The method relies on SfM to correct camera interior and exterior orientation and a robust multi-stage co-registration approach using modern reference terrain datasets for geolocation refinement. We demonstrate the method using scanned images from the North American Glacier Aerial Photography (NAGAP) archive collected between 1967 and 1997. We present results for two sites with variable photo acquisition geometry and overlap — Mount Baker and South Cascade Glacier in Washington State, USA. The automated method corrects initial camera position errors of several kilometers and produces accurately georeferenced, high-resolution DEMs and orthoimages, regardless of camera configuration, acquisition geometry, terrain characteristics, and reference DEM properties. The average RMS reprojection error following bundle adjustment optimization was 0.67 px (0.15 m) for the 261 images contributing to 10 final DEM mosaics between 1970 and 1992 at Mount Baker, and 0.65 px (0.13 m) for the 243 images contributing to 18 individual DEMs between 1967 and 1997 at South Cascade Glacier. The relative accuracy of elevation values in the historical time series stacks was 0.68 m at Mount Baker and 0.37 m at South Cascade Glacier. Our products have reduced systematic error and improved accuracy compared to DEM products generated using SfM with manual GCP selection. Final elevation change measurement precision was ∼0.7–1.0 m over a 30-year period, enabling the study of processes with rates as low as ∼1-3 cm/yr. Our results demonstrate the potential of this scalable method to rapidly process archives of historical imagery and deliver new quantitative insights on long-term geodetic change and Earth surface processes.
Physical controls on the hydrology of perennially ice-covered lakes, Taylor Valley, Antarctica (1996-2013)
Released December 07, 2022 06:43 EST
2022, JGR Earth Surface
Julian Cross, Andrew Fountain, Matthew Hoffman, Maciej Obryk
Climate-modulated range expansion of reef-building coral communities off southeast Florida during the late Holocene
The McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are a polar desert populated with numerous closed-watershed, perennially ice-covered lakes primarily fed by glacial melt. Lake levels have varied by as much as 8 m since 1972 and are currently rising after a decade of decreasing. Precipitation falls as snow, so lake hydrology is dominated by energy available to melt glacier ice and to sublimate lake ice. To understand the energy and hydrologic controls on lake level changes and to explain the variability between neighboring lakes, only a few kilometers apart, we model the hydrology for the three largest lakes in Taylor Valley. We apply a physically based hydrological model that includes a surface energy balance model to estimate glacial melt and lake sublimation to constrain mass fluxes to and from the lakes. Results show that lake levels are very sensitive to small changes in glacier albedo, air temperature, and wind speed. We were able to balance the hydrologic budget in two watersheds using meltwater inflow and sublimation loss from the ice-covered lake alone. A third watershed, closest to the coast, required additional inflow beyond model uncertainties. We hypothesize a shallow groundwater system within the active layer, fed by dispersed snow patches, contributes 23% of the inflow to this watershed. The lakes are out of equilibrium with the current climate. If the climate of our study period (1996-2013) persists into the future, the lakes will reach equilibrium starting in 2300, with levels 2-17 m higher, depending on the lake, relative to the 2020 level.
Released December 06, 2022 06:46 EST
2022, Frontiers in Marine Science (9)
Alex B. Modys, Anton E. Olenik, Richard A. Mortlock, Lauren Toth, William F. Precht
Estimating reproductive and juvenile survival rates when offspring ages are uncertain: A novel multievent mark-resight model with beluga whale case study
The Holocene reefs off southeast Florida provide unique insights into the biogeographical and ecological response of western Atlantic coral reefs to past climate change that can be used to evaluate future climate impacts. However, previous studies have focused on millennial-scale change during the stable mid-Holocene, making it difficult to make inferences about the impact of shorter-term variability that is relevant to modern climate warming. Using uranium-series dating of newly discovered subfossil coral rubble deposits, we establish a new high-resolution record of coral community development off southeast Florida during a period of variable climate in the late Holocene. Our results indicate that coral communities dominated by reef-building Acropora palmata and Orbicella spp. persisted in the nearshore environments off southeast Florida ~75 km north of their primary historical ranges between ~3500 and 1800 years before present. This timing coincides with regional warming at the northern extent of the Atlantic Warm Pool, suggesting a likely link between regional oceanographic climate and the expansion of cold-sensitive reef-building coral communities to the high-latitude reefs off southeast Florida. These findings not only extend the record of coral-reef development in southeast Florida into the late Holocene, but they also have important implications for future range expansions of reef-building coral communities in response to modern climate change.
Released December 06, 2022 06:33 EST
2022, Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Gina K Himes Boor, Tamara L McGuire, Amanda J. Warlick, Rebecca L. Taylor, Sarah J. Converse, John R McClung, Amber D Stephens
Modeling the dynamic penetration depth of post-1950s water in unconfined aquifers using environmental tracers: Central Valley, California
- Understanding the survival and reproductive rates of a population is critical to determining its long-term dynamics and viability. Mark-resight models are often used to estimate these demographic rates, but estimation of survival and reproductive rates is challenging, especially for wide-ranging, patchily distributed, or cryptic species. In particular, existing mark-resight models cannot accommodate data from populations in which offspring remain with parents for multiple years, are not always detected, and cannot be aged with certainty.
- Here we describe a Bayesian multievent mark-resight modelling framework that uses all available adult and adult-offspring sightings (including sightings with older offspring of uncertain age) to estimate reproductive rates and survival rates of adults and juveniles. We extend existing multievent mark-resight models that typically only incorporate adult breeding state uncertainty by additionally accounting for age uncertainty in unmarked offspring and uncertainty in the duration of the mother-offspring association. We describe our model in general terms and with a simple illustrative example, then apply it in a more complex empirical setting using 13 years of photo-ID data from a critically endangered population of beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas. We evaluated model performance using simulated data under a range of sample sizes, and adult and offspring detection rates.
- Applying our model to the beluga data yielded precise estimates for all demographic rates of interest (despite substantial uncertainty in calf ages), including nonbreeder survival and reproductive rates lower than in other beluga populations. Simulations suggested our model yields asymptotically unbiased parameter estimates with good precision and low bias even with moderate sample sizes and detection rates.
- This work represents an important new development in multievent mark-resight modelling, allowing estimation of reproductive and juvenile survival rates for populations with extended adult—offspring associations and uncertain offspring ages (e.g. some marine mammals, elephants, bears, great apes, bats and birds). Our model facilitated estimation of robust demographic rates for an endangered beluga population that were previously inestimable (e.g. nonbreeder and juvenile survival, reproductive rate) and that will yield new insights into this population's continued decline.
Released December 05, 2022 07:09 EST
2023, Journal of Hydrology (616)
Kirsten Faulkner, Bryant Jurgens, Stefan Voss, Danielle Dupuy, Zeno Levy
Verification of multiple phosphorus analyzers for use in surface-water applications
Released December 02, 2022 13:49 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1100
Colin S. Peake
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a verification study of selected commercially available phosphorus analyzers for their applicability to scientific surface-water applications. In this study, the analyzers were the Hach EZ7800 TOPHO, Hach Phosphax sc, Sea-Bird Scientific HydroCycle-PO4, and the YSI Inc. Alyza IQ PO4. Verification tests included laboratory trials comparing analyzer results to known standards with several known concentrations of dissolved organic matter and waste production estimates. Field trials were completed at the Vermilion River near Danville, Illinois (U.S. Geological Survey station 03339000), where analyzer-measured concentrations were compared against discrete samples across a wide range of environmental conditions from November 2020 to August 2021. Data coverage was closely tracked for analyzer malfunctions and operator errors that caused missing data. Laboratory and field trials indicated that each analyzer is a viable option for scientific surface-water studies depending on environmental conditions. Because of the complexity of the analyzers, a substantial time investiture was required to get maximum data coverage including considerable site infrastructure investments and well-trained technicians. Data coverage was closely related to each analyzer’s ability to handle elevated turbidity levels.
Summary of extreme water-quality conditions in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2005–19
Released December 02, 2022 13:21 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1080
Susan A. Wherry
This study used the complete set of continuous water-quality (WQ) data and discrete measurements of total ammonia collected by the U.S. Geological Survey from 2005 to 2019 at the four core sites in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, to examine relations between variables and extreme conditions that may be harmful for endemic Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris). Several graphical and tabular approaches were used to compare variables, sites, and years to better understand the factors contributing to and timing of extreme WQ in the lake. Extreme WQ thresholds were defined as the 1st or 99th percentiles of the daily average dataset of water temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, and the weekly estimated un-ionized ammonia (NH3) from 2005 to 2019. Extreme WQ days were defined as those when at least 12 hours of measurements exceeded the extreme WQ threshold. The core site at Mid-Trench, which was also the deepest measurement site with a full-pool depth of 15 meters and at which water-quality sondes were deployed at the top and bottom of the water column, had the most extreme conditions of high water temperature, low DO, and high NH3. The upper sonde at Mid-Trench represented 40 percent of all days of extremely high water temperature (days with at least 12 hours exceeding 24.38 degrees Celsius) in the lake and 71 percent of all weekly estimates of extremely high NH3 (greater than 264 micrograms per liter) in the lake. The lower sonde at Mid-Trench represented 85 percent of all days of extremely low DO (days with at least 12 hours of DO concentrations less than 1.76 milligrams per liter) in the lake. In each of the study years, poor water quality at Mid-Trench, as represented by several metrics, lasted for multiple days. The shallowest site at the Williamson River outlet represented 54 percent of all days of extremely high pH (days with at least 12 hours of pH measurements exceeding 10.04) in the lake. The seasonality of extreme WQ during the summer sampling period (limited to June through September) was evaluated and most days of extremely high water temperature (83 percent) and extremely high pH (54 percent) occurred in July, whereas most days of extremely low DO (57 percent) and extremely high NH3 (57 percent) occurred in August. The years with the most days of extreme WQ accumulated for all variables (high water temperature, low DO, high pH, and high NH3) were 2012–15 and 2017, which all occurred in the latter half of the study period. The years with the fewest accumulated days of extreme WQ were 2010 and 2011.
Giant planet observations in NASA's Planetary Data System
Released December 02, 2022 07:05 EST
2022, Remote Sensing (14)
Nancy J. Chanover, James M. Bauer, John Joe Jeremiah Blalock, Mitchell K. Gordon, Lyle F. Huber, Mia J. T. Mace, Lynn D. V. Neakrase, Matthew S. Tiscareno, Raymond J. Walker
While there have been far fewer missions to the outer Solar System than to the inner Solar System, spacecraft destined for the giant planets have conducted a wide range of fundamental investigations, returning data that continues to reshape our understanding of these complex systems, sometimes decades after the data were acquired. These data are preserved and accessible from national and international planetary science archives. For all NASA planetary missions and instruments the data are available from the science discipline nodes of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). Looking ahead, the PDS will be the primary repository for giant planets data from several upcoming missions and derived datasets, as well as supporting research conducted to aid in the interpretation of the remotely sensed giant planets data already archived in the PDS.
Can we avert an Amazon tipping point? The economic and environmental costs
Released December 02, 2022 06:32 EST
2022, Environmental Research Letters (17)
Onil Banerjee, Martin Cicowiez, Marcia N. Macedo, Ziga Malek, Peter H. Verburg, Sean Goodwin, Renato Vargas, Ludmila Rattis, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Paulo M. Brando, Michael T. Coe, Christopher Neill, Octavio Damiani Marti, Josue Avila Murillo
Stormwater reduction and water budget for a rain garden on sandy soil, Gary, Indiana, 2016–18
The Amazon biome is being pushed by unsustainable economic drivers towards an ecological tipping point where restoration to its previous state may no longer be possible. This degradation is the result of self-reinforcing interactions between deforestation, climate change and fire. We assess the economic, natural capital and ecosystem services impacts and trade-offs of scenarios representing movement towards an Amazon tipping point and strategies to avert one using the Integrated Economic-Environmental Modeling (IEEM) Platform linked with spatial land use-land cover change and ecosystem services modeling (IEEM + ESM). Our approach provides the first approximation of the economic, natural capital and ecosystem services impacts of a tipping point, and evidence to build the economic case for strategies to avert it. For the five Amazon focal countries, namely, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, we find that a tipping point would create economic losses of US$256.6 billion in cumulative gross domestic product by 2050. Policies that would contribute to averting a tipping point, including strongly reducing deforestation, investing in intensifying agriculture in cleared lands, climate-adapted agriculture and improving fire management, would generate approximately US$339.3 billion in additional wealth and a return on investment of US$29.5 billion. Quantifying the costs, benefits and trade-offs of policies to avert a tipping point in a transparent and replicable manner can support the design of regional development strategies for the Amazon biome, build the business case for action and catalyze global cooperation and financing to enable policy implementation.
Released December 01, 2022 10:20 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5101
David C. Lampe, E. Randall Bayless, Danielle D. Follette
Stormwater reduction measures, or green infrastructure, were implemented in the parking area at Gary City Hall, Gary, Indiana, with the intention of reducing stormwater discharge to the sewers. A study area, including a centrally located rain garden and the surrounding paved surfaces and green space, was instrumented during both a preconstruction and a postconstruction period to (1) develop water budgets to improve understanding of the rain garden hydrology and (2) determine the quantity of stormwater runoff that was diverted and retained by the green infrastructure instead of reaching the combined storm and sanitary sewer. The study was focused on warm-season precipitation and was monitored during spring, summer, and fall of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Before construction of the rain garden in the parking lot of Gary City Hall in 2017, nearly all precipitation was conveyed away from the parking lot by underground drains, discharged to the sewer, and treated as sanitary waste at the Gary Sanitary District’s treatment plant or discharged directly to local waterways if stormflow exceeded capabilities of the sewage treatment plant. A goal of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the reduction of sewer overflows to local waterways to improve the quality of water entering the Great Lakes. Cities such as Gary benefit financially and environmentally by reducing discharges of stormwater runoff to the sewer system, eliminating the need for treatment. Before implementation of green infrastructure at Gary City Hall, approximately 25 percent of precipitation (approximately 10,200 cubic feet) discharged as stormwater to the sewers through the parking lot drain. After implementation, 2 percent of precipitation discharged to the sewers. For the spring, summer, and fall seasons of 2017 and 2018, 21–24 percent (about 10,700–19,700 cubic feet) of precipitation was captured by the newly installed rain garden. Stormwater discharged to the rain garden infiltrated the sandy soil and was later evaporated from the soil surface, was transpired by plants, or recharged the underlying groundwater aquifer. The percent reduction in stormwater discharged to the storm sewer after the construction of the rain garden was 80.3 percent, equating to approximately 21,400 and 39,300 gallons of stormwater in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Atmospheric circulation drivers of extreme high water level events at Foggy Island Bay, Alaska
Released December 01, 2022 08:20 EST
2022, Atmosphere (13)
Peter A. Bieniek, Li H. Erikson, Jeremy L. Kasper
The northern coast of Alaska is experiencing significant climatic change enhancing hazards from reduced sea ice and increased coastal erosion. This same region is home to offshore oil/gas activities. Foggy Island Bay is one region along the Beaufort Sea coast with planned offshore oil/gas development that will need to account for the changing climate. High water levels impact infrastructure through coastal erosion and flooding hazards. In this study, 21 high water level events exceeding the top 95th percentile were identified at the gauge in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (adjacent to Foggy Island Bay) over 1990-2018. All events were associated with strong westerly winds according to weather station records. Low pressure storm systems were found to be a key driver of westerly winds in the region according to downscaled reanalysis and storm track data. A dynamically downscaled global climate model projection from CMIP5 indicates that days with westerly wind events will become frequent by 2100 in the Foggy Island Bay region. Coupled with the anticipated continued decline in sea ice, the northern coast of Alaska may experience more frequent high water events over the next ~80 years.
Endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow ecology: Actions towards recovery through landscape-scale ecosystem restoration
Released December 01, 2022 06:37 EST
2022, Endangered Species Research (49) 199-215
Allison Benscoter, Stephanie Romanach
Understanding the ecology of endangered taxa and the factors affecting their population growth and decline is imperative for their recovery. In the southeastern USA, the Everglades wetland ecosystem supports a high diversity of species and communities, including many endemic and imperiled taxa, such as the federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow Ammospiza maritima mirabilis (CSSS). The Everglades, once a completely connected wetland with a slow-moving sheet flow of water, is now compartmentalized into separated wetland units where water distribution is managed year-round. The CSSS is affected by, and at the crux of, many Everglades ecosystem restoration decisions. The CSSS faces conservation challenges, including limited habitat availability, low population numbers, dispersal limitations, and constraints on suitable breeding conditions owing to wetland water levels. Despite these challenges, ecological knowledge of the factors affecting CSSS population numbers in the context of ongoing ecosystem-level restoration can help inform protection of this bird while restoring the Everglades. Existing research shows target hydroperiods between 90 and 210 days, a minimum of 90 consecutive dry days during the breeding season, and non-breeding season fires approximately every 5-10 years may aid in CSSS recovery. There are numerous tools and models to support habitat and water management for the CSSS, and the most recent ecosystem-level water operations plan for the Everglades indicates potential for increased CSSS habitat. Here, we provide a review on the ecology of the CSSS, factors affecting population decline, and ecosystem-level restoration actions that may aid in CSSS recovery.
A case study: Temporal trends of environmental stressors and reproductive health of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) from a site in the Potomac River Watershed, Maryland, USA
Released December 01, 2022 06:37 EST
2022, Ecotoxicology (31) 1536-1553
Heather L. Walsh, Stephanie Gordon, Adam J. Sperry, Michael Kashiwagi, John E. Mullican, Vicki S. Blazer
Verification of irrigated agricultural land acreage in 55 counties in Florida, 2013–21
Decades of poor reproductive success and young-of-the-year survival, combined with adult mortality events, have led to a decline in the smallmouth bass (SMB; Micropterus dolomieu) population in sections of the Potomac River. Previous studies have identified numerous biologic and environmental stressors associated with negative effects on SMB health. To better understand the impact of these stressors, this study was conducted at the confluence of Antietam Creek and the Potomac River from 2013 to 2019 to identify temporal changes associated with SMB reproductive health. Surface water samples were collected and analyzed for over 300 organic contaminants, including pesticides, phytoestrogens, pharmaceuticals, hormones and total estrogenicity (E2Eq). Adult SMB were collected and sampled for multiple endpoints, including gene transcripts associated with reproduction (molecular), histopathology (cellular), and organosomatic indices (tissue). In males, biomarkers of estrogenic endocrine disruption, including testicular oocytes (TO) and plasma vitellogenin (Vtg) were assessed. Numerous agriculture-related contaminants or land use patterns were associated with gene transcript abundance in both male and female SMB. Positive associations between pesticides in the immediate catchment with TO severity and E2Eq with plasma Vtg in males were identified. In males, the prevalence of TO and detectable levels of plasma Vtg, liver vitellogenin transcripts (vtg) and testis vtg were high throughout the study. Peaks of complex mixtures of numerous contaminants occurred during the spring/early summer when spawning and early development occurs and to a lesser extent in fall/winter during recrudescence. Management practices to reduce exposure during these critical and sensitive periods may enhance reproductive health of these economically important sportfishes.
Released November 30, 2022 11:35 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5098
Richard L. Marella, Joann F. Dixon
In 2012, the Florida Legislature mandated that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Office of Agricultural Water Policy, promote an agricultural water-conservation program that would include a cost-share program and best management practices and that would aid the five water management districts in the development of consistent agricultural water-supply planning, assisting the districts in projecting future agricultural water needs and promoting consistency in water-use estimates among the districts. Beginning in 2013, the FDACS created a series of agriculture and irrigated land-use maps for all Florida counties for the purpose of estimating current and forecasting future water demands. These maps, produced and updated periodically by The Balmoral Group, were based on baseline data from 2010 and have been updated with a combination of satellite images and land-use data from water management districts in subsequent years (2013–21) to help create a statewide database of irrigated agricultural lands. The purpose of this multiyear cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and the FDACS is to provide (1) a detailed geospatial database of verified irrigated field locations with selected attributes as ArcGIS shapefiles and (2) aggregated acreage totals by crop type for all or parts of 55 of the 67 counties within Florida. Ten of the remaining 12 counties were fully mapped by the St. John’s River Water Management District in 2015; the other 2 counties were not mapped because they contained very little irrigated agricultural land. Irrigated agricultural fields identified on The Balmoral Group baseline maps for each of the 55 counties were either physically observed by U.S. Geological Survey or were verified through water management district’s consumptive water-use permit database. A select group of counties were chosen to be field verified each year, concluding with a total of 55 counties in Florida field verified between October 2013 and August 2021. The results provided from this multiyear study can help increase the accuracy of irrigation water-use estimates for counties in Florida.
The influence of drying on the aeolian transport of river-sourced sand
Released November 30, 2022 08:07 EST
2022, Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface
Joel B. Sankey, Joshua Caster, Alan Kasprak, Helen C. Fairley
Transgression and regression of water levels (stages) have impacted the evolution of aeolian landforms and sedimentary deposits throughout geologic history. We studied this phenomenon over a five-day period of reduced flow on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, USA, in March 2021. These transient low flows exposed river-channel sand deposits to the air, causing progressive desiccation (drying) and thereby making these deposits susceptible to aeolian transport. We measured aeolian threshold friction velocities (u*t) for sand saltation and PM10 dust emissions, as well as other characteristics, on a subaerially exposed sandbar and downwind aeolian dunefield during each day of the low river flow. The sandbar transitioned from supply-limited to transport-limited aeolian sediment transport conditions during the regression in river water stage. A possible tipping point between the two transport conditions occurred approximately 48 hours after the drop in river flow. The empirically measured u*t decreased as the sandbar sediment dried with increased subaerial exposure time. Theoretical estimates and empirical measurements of u*t corresponded closely on the aeolian dunefield and on the sandbar when it was drier during the third and fourth day of the experiment. Eighty-seven percent of the variability in u*t was explained by empirical models that provide practical estimates of aeolian transport potential of subaerial river sediment deposits using monitoring data that are commonly available in this and other river systems. The work provides theoretical insight into the response of aeolian processes to sediment supply changes driven by periods of anthropogenic activity, drought, and climate change.
Defining biologically relevant and hierarchically nested population units to inform wildlife management
Released November 30, 2022 06:52 EST
2022, Ecology and Evolution (12)
Michael O'Donnell, David R. Edmunds, Cameron L. Aldridge, Julie A. Heinrichs, Adrian P. Monroe, Peter S. Coates, Brian G. Prochazka, Steve E. Hanser, Lief A. Wiechman
Hydrology, water quality, and biological characteristics of Levittown Lake, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, April 2010–June 2011
Wildlife populations are increasingly affected by natural and anthropogenic changes that negatively alter biotic and abiotic processes at multiple spatiotemporal scales and therefore require increased wildlife management and conservation efforts. However, wildlife management boundaries frequently lack biological context and mechanisms to assess demographic data across the multiple spatiotemporal scales influencing populations. To address these limitations, we developed a novel approach to define biologically relevant subpopulations of hierarchically nested population levels that could facilitate managing and conserving wildlife populations and habitats. Our approach relied on the Spatial “K”luster Analysis by Tree Edge Removal clustering algorithm, which we applied in an agglomerative manner (bottom-to-top). We modified the clustering algorithm using a workflow and population structure tiers from least-cost paths, which captured biological inferences of habitat conditions (functional connectivity), dispersal capabilities (potential connectivity), genetic information, and functional processes affecting movements. The approach uniquely included context of habitat resources (biotic and abiotic) summarized at multiple spatial scales surrounding locations with breeding site fidelity and constraint-based rules (number of sites grouped and population structure tiers). We applied our approach to greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a species of conservation concern, across their range within the western United States. This case study produced 13 hierarchically nested population levels (akin to cluster levels, each representing a collection of subpopulations of an increasing number of breeding sites). These closely approximated population closure at finer ecological scales (smaller subpopulation extents with fewer breeding sites; cluster levels ≥2), where >92% of individual sage-grouse's time occurred within their home cluster. With available population monitoring data, our approaches can support the investigation of factors affecting population dynamics at multiple scales and assist managers with making informed, targeted, and cost-effective decisions within an adaptive management framework. Importantly, our approach provides the flexibility of including species-relevant context, thereby supporting other wildlife characterized by site fidelity.
Released November 29, 2022 13:35 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5096
Luis R. Soler-López, Julieta M. Gómez-Fragoso, Nicole A. Val-Merníz
Levittown Lake is a 30-hectare, brackish waterbody located in the municipality of Toa Baja, on the northern coast of Puerto Rico. The lake is a small, man-made feature formed by draining the marshland over which the Levittown community was built. Levittown Lake has an average depth of about 5 meters and a water level at/near mean sea level. Tidal oscillations within the lake were minimal during the study, about 10 centimeters regardless of ocean tides, and the daily flushing rate of the lake was about 2 percent of its entire water volume.
Hydrologic, water-quality, and biological data were collected in Levittown Lake and adjacent areas (specifically, the inlet/outlet channel and Caño El Hato drainage canal) between April 2010 and June 2011 (1) to establish baseline conditions and determine the water quality of the lake on the basis of preestablished standards and (2) for contrast with other, more healthy coastal lagoons. The study provides a baseline for an assessment of the potential of Levittown Lake to function as a coastal lagoon.
Water-quality properties measured onsite (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen concentration, specific conductance, salinity, and water transparency) varied diurnally and seasonally. In general, water-quality properties were in compliance with current regulatory Class SB standards established by the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, except for some dissolved oxygen concentration and pH measurements. Some dissolved oxygen concentration measurements at the water surface and all dissolved oxygen concentration measurements at the lake bottom were lower than the values recommended by the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board. The pH of the water at the lake surface ranged from 7.3 to 9.1, with the upper value exceeding the recommended pH values. Nutrient concentrations were below the current regulatory standards of less than 5 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for total nitrogen and 1 mg/L for total phosphorus. The measured concentrations of chlorophyll a varied throughout the year of sampling and indicate that eutrophic conditions predominate in Levittown Lake.
The phytoplankton yielded an average net productivity of 0.5 milligram of oxygen per liter per hour, as determined by light and dark bottle primary productivity studies conducted on a monthly basis and measured in the early morning hours. Because these measurements were restricted to the morning hours, a qualification of the representativeness of the results to the full diurnal cycle is necessary. The measured hourly respiration rate averaged 0.39 milligram of oxygen per liter. Diel studies were planned in the lake to assess dissolved oxygen concentration diurnal curves and ultimately to compute the community net primary productivity, respiration, and gross productivity. Conditions during the diel studies were later determined to be unsuitable, limiting the assessment of community metabolism. Another biological indicator evaluated during the study was the phytoplankton biomass, and results indicated that phytoplankton biomass measured at the Levittown Lake ranged from 6.0 to 112.5 mg/L.
Fecal indicator bacteria concentrations ranged from 10 to 1,540,000 colonies per 100 milliliters of water. Concentrations generally were greatest in and near the Caño El Hato drainage canal and, during the study, exceeded current regulatory standards established for Puerto Rico.
U.S. Geological Survey Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology (ASIST)—Information Management Technology Plan
Released November 29, 2022 13:20 EST
2022, Fact Sheet 2022-3051
Eric D. Anderson, Jennifer R. Erxleben, Sharon L. Qi, Adrian P. Monroe, Katharine G. Dahm
More than 840 publications, 575 data releases, and 330 project web pages from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) pertain to the Colorado River Basin. Limited interconnections between Colorado River Basin publications, data, and web pages restrict the ability to synthesize and interpret scientific resources. Currently, these pieces are spread across multiple isolated locations, internal systems, data repositories, and local offices. The increasing size, complexity, and diversity of Colorado River Basin data creates additional need for integration. These different data types—including discrete, continuous, aerial, remote sensing, geophysical, geospatial, and other types in varied formats—are collected over numerous time and space scales and require data-intensive science and technology to integrate.
Information management technology (IMT) resources are enterprise capabilities that the USGS workforce can leverage at multiple scales with consistent interoperable solutions to better facilitate integrated science. The USGS 21st Century Science Strategy directs the USGS to establish enterprise IMT capabilities that support integrated work through interoperable software and database solutions at multiple scales. This Information Management Technology Plan identifies nine steps to leverage new and existing technologies, data, models, and scientific knowledge to support integrated science projects conducted across the Colorado River Basin. These steps are transferable to integrated-science studies in other locations.
Longitudinal analyses of catch-at-age data for reconstructing year-class strength, with an application to lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in the main basin of Lake Huron
Released November 29, 2022 06:48 EST
2022, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Ji X. He, Andrew Edgar Honsey, David F. Staples, James R. Bence, Tracy L. Claramunt
Characterization of water quality, biology, and habitat of the Pearl River and selected tributaries contiguous to and within Tribal lands of the Pearl River Community of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, 2017–18
We investigated using longitudinal models to reconstruct year-class strength (YCS) from catch-at-age data, with an example application to lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in the main basin of Lake Huron. The best model structure depended on the age range used for model implementation. The YCS trajectory from the full age range (3–30 years) was similar to the trajectory from a narrow age range that approximated the age of recruitment to the fishing gears (5–7 years), but YCS estimates from the full age range included additional variations due to time-dependent selectivity and mortality. When using ages younger or older than the likely ages of recruitment, YCS estimates did not represent recruitment abundances and were also biased by trends in age-specific selectivity and mortality across years. Longitudinal YCS estimates are likely more robust than single-age recruitment indices, which are often subject to interannual changes in catchability and selectivity. Our findings provide guidance for future applications of the longitudinal YCS reconstruction that in turn may inform and supplement more comprehensive research and management programs for understanding fish recruitment dynamics.
Released November 28, 2022 15:23 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5090
Lucas J. Driver, Matthew B. Hicks, Amy C. Gill
The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI), conducted a baseline assessment of the physical, chemical, and biological quality of selected streams and rivers within and contiguous to the Pearl River Community (PRC) in 2017 and 2018. The MBCI is a federally recognized tribe with territories in Mississippi and Tennessee. MBCI Tribal government and communities have sovereign authority over their natural resources and are responsible for protecting the quality of waters within the Tribal lands from sources of pollution and restoring impaired waters. The quality of these surface waters has a profound effect upon the health and welfare of MBCI Tribal members. Data generated from this study may be used with other relevant water-quality data for comparison and development of Tribal water-quality standards.
The PRC territory is drained by the Pearl River and associated tributaries. Water-quality and biological samples were collected and habitat surveys were conducted at sites on the mainstem of the Pearl River and major tributaries of the Pearl River—Wolf Creek, Beasha Creek, Jones Creek, and Kentawka Creek. The selected stream sites represent a range of land use/land cover and potential sources of alteration and contamination from within their respective drainage areas. In particular, Wolf Creek watershed has the highest relative percentage of developed land.
Ambient physicochemical properties, major ions, nutrients, and organic wastewater compounds (OWCs) were analyzed quarterly from surface-water samples from October 2017 through August 2018. Physicochemical properties were also measured in June 2018 over a continuous 48-hour period. Trace elements and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were analyzed from streambed sediments in August 2018. Biological samples included the collection of periphyton algae (August 2018), benthic macroinvertebrate (March 2017 and March 2018), and fish communities (April 2018). Physical stream habitat characteristics were assessed using qualitative (March 2017 and March 2018) and quantitative surveys (August 2018).
While not directly applicable, the State of Mississippi Water Quality Standards were used as reference to evaluate Tribal water quality. Physicochemical water-quality constituents—water temperature, specific conductance (SC), pH, and dissolved oxygen (DO)—were generally within natural ranges among sites and samples, with a few exceptions that exceeded existing Mississippi water-quality standards. pH and DO periodically were below the minimum State standards at some sampled sites. Specific conductance was also relatively high at both Wolf Creek sites but did not exceed the existing maximum standard for recreational waters.
The surface water among stream sites was predominantly calcium bicarbonate type, with a shift toward sodium-bicarbonate water type at the downstream Wolf Creek (Wolf DS) site. Major ion concentrations were generally highest at the Wolf Creek sites. Nutrient concentrations were also often highest at Wolf DS, but total nitrogen and total phosphorus periodically exceeded recommended State and Federal nutrient criteria thresholds among most sampled sites. Twenty-nine OWCs, including 10 known or suspected endocrine disruptors, were detected among sites. Concentrations of OWCs were relatively low, and only 19 percent of all detections were above the reporting level.
Concentrations of copper and nickel in streambed sediments were detected above consensus-based threshold-effect concentrations (TECs) at one site each, and arsenic and chromium exceeded TECs at most sites. Concentrations of all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in streambed sediments were low and well below TECs at all sites.
The periphyton, macroinvertebrate, and fish communities at most sampled sites appear typical of central Mississippi streams; however, the diversity, composition, and abundance of taxa sampled from Wolf DS were particularly distinctive compared to other sampled stream sites. Periphyton taxa richness was low at both Wolf Creek sites, and both sites had greater abundances of diatom taxa, which are indicative of high nutrient concentrations, than of soft-algae taxa. Similarly, Wolf DS had relatively low macroinvertebrate diversity, the fewest Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera taxa, a high abundance of Tubificid taxa, and the lowest overall Mississippi-Benthic Index of Stream Quality score. Fish species richness was also relatively low at Wolf DS compared to some other sampled sites.
Habitat characteristics also appeared to be generally typical of most central Mississippi streams. Qualitative habitat assessment scores were at or above the regional least disturbed streams for Wolf DS, the upstream Wolf Creek (Wolf US) site, and Jones Creek. Habitat scores among the remaining sites indicate fair conditions. Quantitative and qualitative habitat characteristics indicate relatively lower habitat quality at the two Beasha Creek sites.
Groundwater-level altitudes and groundwater-flow direction and nature and extent of volatile and semivolatile organic compounds at Petro-Chemical Systems, Inc. (Turtle Bayou), Superfund site, Liberty County, Texas, 2020
Released November 28, 2022 10:09 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5104
Christopher L. Braun, Kent D. Becher
The Petro-Chemical Systems, Inc. (Turtle Bayou), Superfund site is 15 miles southeast of Liberty, Texas, in Liberty County. Improper disposal of waste oils led to contamination of soil and groundwater at the site. In cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey collected water-quality samples from 11 monitoring wells at the site, in particular the area near well MW-109A (the MW-109 area), in August and September 2020 and compared the water-quality results to the results from previous water-quality sampling events at the site in June 2016 and August 2018 with a focus on benzene concentrations. Contours of groundwater-level altitudes in the MW-109 area indicate that groundwater-flow direction is south-southeasterly in the eastern part and south-southwesterly in the western part.
Of the 51 volatile organic compounds analyzed, 13 were detected in groundwater samples from 1 or more wells. In all but 1 well, MW-109A, concentrations of these compounds were less than 100 micrograms per liter. Benzene is still the principal contaminant of concern, as it persists at concentrations exceeding 53,000 micrograms per liter, although naphthalene also appears to be a contaminant of concern, as it was detected at the greatest concentration of any semivolatile organic compound analyte (1,100 micrograms per liter in the sample from well MW-109A).
Development of an online reporting format to facilitate the inclusion of ecosystem services into Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program reports
Released November 28, 2022 09:05 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1104
David M. Mushet, Owen P. McKenna
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The Secretary of Agriculture is required to submit an annual report to Congress on Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program agreements that, among other things, reports on the progress made towards fulfilling commitments outlined in the agreements. The U.S. Geological Survey developed an online reporting form designed to ensure that consistent information is submitted to the Farm Service Agency from Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program State partners. Combined with the automated importation of text from partner-provided forms to word-processing documents, individual State reports and annual reports to Congress can now be produced efficiently and in a standardized format. Use of a standardized reporting format will also assist the Farm Service Agency in collecting information needed to support ecosystem service quantifications that go beyond the quantifications required from partners to document progress towards meeting the specific purposes and objectives identified in each agreement. Addition of these overarching conservation effect quantifications builds upon past ecosystem services modeling efforts based on the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs suite of open-source software models; these offer a spatially explicit means to quantify additional ecosystem services across diverse partners in a consistent manner. Data sources are currently available to provide much of the information needed to run these models and complete simulations that would facilitate the quantification and reporting of the societal values of conservation actions taken under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. It is the aim of this report to provide the information needed to move towards widescale monitoring of the Nation’s ecosystem services in a natural accounting framework, similar to the framework used to value financial and human capital.
Preliminary evidence of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in American kestrels (Falco sparverius) in the western United States
Released November 28, 2022 07:00 EST
2022, Journal of Raptor Research (57)
Evan R. Buechley, Dave Oleyar, Jesse Watson, Jennifer Bridgeman, Steven Volker, David A. Goldade, Catherine E. Swift, Barnett A. Rattner
Although there is extensive evidence of declines in the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) population across North America, the cause of such declines remains a mystery. One hypothesized driver of decline is anticoagulant rodenticide (AR) exposure, which could potentially cause mortality or reduced fitness. We investigated AR exposure in wild American Kestrels in Utah, USA. We collected and tested for AR residues in liver samples (n = 8) from kestrels opportunistically encountered dead and in blood samples (n = 71) from live wild kestrels, both nestlings and adults. We found high detection rates in both tissues. Adult kestrels were more likely to exhibit exposure than juveniles sampled in nests. Three-quarters (six of eight) of tested liver samples from adult kestrels exhibited evidence of AR exposure. Additionally, liver samples (n = 19) opportunistically collected from seven species of raptors within our study area had detectable levels of AR residues, with seven of eight raptor species evidencing exposure; across all raptors, five ARs were detected in liver samples, with brodifacoum the most prevalent, being found in over half (14 of 27) of samples. Over half (7 of 12) of the blood samples from adult kestrels had detectible levels of ARs, while only one of 59 juvenile nest samples tested positive. The difference in exposure rates between adults and juveniles could indicate differential exposure pathways by age class. Based on these findings, we recommend that ARs be further investigated as a potential cause of kestrel declines. Future research could focus on expanding sampling to provide sufficient sample sizes to test for potential nonlethal effects of AR exposure (e.g., fecundity, nesting success), identifying potential exposure pathways, and developing methods for passive sampling of ARs in excreta.
Ordovician geology of Alaska
Released November 28, 2022 06:32 EST
2022, Geological Society, London, Special Publications (533)
Julie A. Dumoulin, Justin V. Strauss, John Repetski
Towards a unified drag coefficient formula for quantifying wave energy reduction by salt marshes
Ordovician rocks, found in northern, east-central, interior and southern Alaska, formed in a variety of depositional and palaeogeographic settings. Shallow- and deep-water strata deposited along the northwestern Laurentian margin occur in east-central Alaska (Yukon River area) and probably correlative rocks crop out to the north in the Porcupine River area. Ordovician strata elsewhere in Alaska are parts of continental or island arc fragments that, as indicated by faunal and detrital zircon data, have been variously displaced. In northern Alaska, Ordovician rocks are included in the Arctic Alaska–Chukotka Microplate (AACM), a composite tectonic entity with a complex history. Some Ordovician strata in the AACM (parts of the North Slope subterrane) represent displaced fragments of the northern Laurentian margin. Coeval strata in southwestern parts of the AACM (York and Seward terranes, Hammond subterrane) share distinctive lithologic and biotic features with Ordovician rocks in interior Alaska (Farewell and related terranes). Ordovician strata in southeastern Alaska (Alexander terrane) also likely compose a composite crustal fragment that accumulated in a complex arc system. Shared features between many of these units suggest similar origins as part of one or more crustal fragments situated in the palaeo-Arctic between Laurentia, Baltica and Siberia during early Paleozoic time.
Released November 27, 2022 06:44 EST
2022, Coastal Engineering
Ling Zhu, Qin Chen, Yan Ding, Navid H. Jafari, Hongqing Wang, Bradley D. Johnson
A 1.8 million year history of Amazon vegetation
Released November 26, 2022 06:47 EST
2023, Quaternary Science Reviews (299)
Andrea K. Kern, Thomas K. Akabane, Jaqueline Q. Ferreira, Cristiano M. Chiessi, Debra A. Willard, Fabricio Ferreira, Allan O. Sanders, Cleverson G. Silva, Catherine Rigsby, Francisco W. Cruz, Gary S. Dwyer, Sherilyn C. Fritz, Paul A. Baker
During the Pleistocene, long-term trends in global climate were controlled by orbital cycles leading to high amplitude glacial-interglacial variability. The history of Amazonian vegetation during this period is largely unknown since no continuous record from the lowland basin extends significantly beyond the last glacial stage. Here we present a paleoenvironmental record spanning the last 1800 kyr based on palynological data, biome reconstructions, and biodiversity metrics from a marine sediment core that preserves a continuous archive of sediments from the Amazon River.
Tropical rainforests dominated the Amazonian lowlands during the last 1800 ka interchanging with surrounding warm-temperate rainforests and tropical seasonal forests. Between 1800 and 1000 ka, rainforest biomes were present in the Amazon drainage basin, along with extensive riparian wetland vegetation. Tropical rainforest expansion occurred during the relatively warm Marine Isotope Stages 33 and 31 (ca. 1110 to 1060 ka), followed by a contraction of both forests and wetlands until ca. 800 ka. Between 800 and 400 ka, low pollen concentration and low diversity of palynological assemblages renders difficult the interpretation of Amazonian vegetation. A strong synchronicity between vegetation changes and glacial-interglacial global climate cycles was established around 400 ka. After 400 ka, interglacial vegetation was dominated by lowland tropical rainforest in association with warmer temperatures and higher CO2. During cooler temperatures and lower CO2 of glacial stages, tropical seasonal forests expanded, presumably towards eastern Amazonia. While this study provides no evidence supporting a significant expansion of savanna or steppe vegetation within the Amazonian lowlands during glacial periods, there were changes in the rainforest composition in some parts of the basin towards a higher proportion of deciduous elements, pointing to less humid conditions and/or greater seasonality of precipitation. Nevertheless, rainforest persisted during both glacial and interglacial periods. These findings confirm the sensitivity of tropical lowland vegetation to changes in CO2, temperature, and moisture availability and the most suitable conditions for tropical rainforests occurred during the warmest stages of the Mid Pleistocene Transition and during the interglacial stages of the past 400 kyr.
Dynamic material flow analysis of tantalum in the United States from 2002 to 2020
Released November 25, 2022 07:15 EST
2022, Resources, Conservation & Recycling (190)
Abraham De Jesus Padilla, Nedal T. Nassar
Tantalum has received considerable attention due to risks associated with its supply chain. In 2020 ∼70% of global tantalum supply originated in Africa, with 40% produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. The United States has relied entirely on imports since the 1950s. However, quantifying total domestic consumption is problematic because refined tantalum compounds do not have unique tariff codes resulting in significant trade volumes not properly documented. Furthermore, tantalum incorporated into finished goods is not tracked as tantalum. Thus, estimates only capture a fraction of total consumption. We performed a material flow analysis to quantify total domestic tantalum consumption from 2002 to 2020. Our results indicate that consumption may be up to 250% more than previously estimated. Our detailed results allow quantification of tantalum stocks in-use as well as coming out of use any year, providing valuable insight to industry and policymakers for addressing potential supply security issues.
An assessment of future tidal marsh resilience in the San Francisco Estuary through modeling and quantifiable metrics of sustainability
Released November 25, 2022 06:34 EST
2022, Frontiers in Environmental Science (10)
James Morris, Judith Z. Drexler, Lydia Smith Vaughn, April Robinson
Editorial: Plant phenology shifts and their ecological and climatic consequences
Quantitative, broadly applicable metrics of resilience are needed to effectively manage tidal marshes into the future. Here we quantified three metrics of temporal marsh resilience: time to marsh drowning, time to marsh tipping point, and the probability of a regime shift, defined as the conditional probability of a transition to an alternative super-optimal, suboptimal, or drowned state. We used organic matter content (loss on ignition, LOI) and peat age combined with the Coastal Wetland Equilibrium Model (CWEM) to track wetland development and resilience under different sea-level rise scenarios in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) of California. A 100-year hindcast of the model showed excellent agreement (R2 = 0.96) between observed (2.86 mm/year) and predicted vertical accretion rates (2.98 mm/year) and correctly predicted a recovery in LOI (R2 = 0.76) after the California Gold Rush. Vertical accretion in the tidal freshwater marshes of the Delta is dominated by organic production. The large elevation range of the vegetation combined with high relative marsh elevation provides Delta marshes with resilience and elevation capital sufficiently great to tolerate centenary sea-level rise (CLSR) as high as 200 cm. The initial relative elevation of a marsh was a strong determinant of marsh survival time and tipping point. For a Delta marsh of average elevation, the tipping point at which vertical accretion no longer keeps up with the rate of sea-level rise is 50 years or more. Simulated, triennial additions of 6 mm of sediment via episodic atmospheric rivers increased the proportion of marshes surviving from 51% to 72% and decreased the proportion drowning from 49% to 28%. Our temporal metrics provide critical time frames for adaptively managing marshes, restoring marshes with the best chance of survival, and seizing opportunities for establishing migration corridors, which are all essential for safeguarding future habitats for sensitive species.
Released November 24, 2022 07:02 EST
2022, Frontiers in Plant Science (13)
Yongshuo H. Fu, Janet S. Prevéy, Yann Vitasse
Climate change is causing plant phenology to shift, with consequences for ecosystems and the Earth’s climate. Over the last decades, the timing of many important phenological events has advanced in spring, such as leaf emergence and flowering, or been delayed in fall, such as leaf coloration and leaf fall. The consequences of such phenological shifts are still largely unknown, but are hypothesized to have cascading effects on ecosystems, carbon and water cycles, and Earths’ climate. With this research topic, we aimed to synthesize and inspire innovative research in plant phenology to address research questions and challenges on the consequences of phenological shifts on ecosystem function and local hydrology. The articles presented here improve our understanding of the physiological mechanisms responsible for the current phenological changes in spring and fall and provide insight into some of the consequences of these changes on hydrological cycles and ecosystem functioning.
An integrated approach for physical, economic, and demographic evaluation of coastal flood hazard adaptation in Santa Monica Bay, California
Released November 24, 2022 06:36 EST
2022, Frontiers Earth Science Journal (9)
Klaus Schroder, Michele A. Hummel, Kevin A. Befus, Patrick L. Barnard
Stormwater quantity and quality in selected urban watersheds in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 2016–2020
The increased risk of coastal flooding associated with climate-change driven sea level rise threatens to displace communities and cause substantial damage to infrastructure. Site-specific adaptation planning is necessary to mitigate the negative impacts of flooding on coastal residents and the built environment. Cost-benefit analyses used to evaluate coastal adaption strategies have traditionally focused on economic considerations, often overlooking potential demographic impacts that can directly influence vulnerability in coastal communities. Here, we present a transferable framework that couples hydrodynamic modeling of flooding driven by sea level rise and storm scenarios with site-specific building stock and census block-level demographic data. We assess the efficacy of multiple coastal adaptation strategies at reducing flooding, economic damages, and impacts to the local population. We apply this framework to evaluate a range of engineered, nature-based, and hybrid adaptation strategies for a portion of Santa Monica Bay, California. Overall, we find that dual approaches that provide protection along beaches using dunes or seawalls and along inlets using sluice gates perform best at reducing or eliminating flooding, damages, and population impacts. Adaptation strategies that include a sluice gate and partial or no protection along the beach are effective at reducing flooding around inlets but can exacerbate flooding elsewhere, leading to unintended impacts on residents. Our results also indicate trade-offs between economic and social risk-reduction priorities. The proposed framework allows for a comprehensive evaluation of coastal protection strategies across multiple objectives. Understanding how coastal adaptation strategies affect hydrodynamic, economic, and social factors at a local scale can enable more effective and equitable planning approaches.
Released November 23, 2022 09:15 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5111
Aaron J. Porter
Urbanization can substantially alter sediment and nutrient loadings to streams. Although a growing body of literature has documented these processes, conditions may vary widely by region and physiographic province (PP). Substantial investments are made by localities to meet federal, state, and local water-quality goals and locally relevant monitoring data are needed to appropriately set standards and track progress. In 2016, a long-term stormwater monitoring program was initiated to characterize water-quality and streamflow conditions and compute average annual nutrient- and sediment-loading rates across the three dominant land-use types—commercial (COM), high-density residential, and single-family residential (SFR)—in the Hampton Roads metropolitan region within the Coastal Plain PP in southeastern Virginia. This report summarizes the first five years of data collection to (1) assess patterns in streamflow and water chemistry across the three major land-use types in the region; (2) compute annual sediment and nutrient loads; and (3) compare annual loading rates to those in other urbanized regions.
Patterns in watershed hydrology characteristics and conditions were similar to those observed in other urban monitoring studies. Base-flow indices were lower and stream flashiness indices were higher in the study watersheds compared to those in less developed reference watersheds. These patterns reflect a decrease in infiltration and consequent increase in storm runoff as a result of urbanization. Stream flashiness was strongly positively related to degree of impervious land cover and negatively to watershed area. Hydrologic metrics varied across the land-use gradient, reflecting greater and more rapid runoff in the COM watersheds than in SFR watersheds. Event-based analyses conducted exclusively on periods of runoff highlight longer duration events, longer time-to-peak streamflow, and a longer lag between peak precipitation and peak streamflow in SFR watersheds, and higher stormflow yields, runoff ratios, and peak flows in COM watersheds. Event-based metrics varied seasonally because of regional meteorological patterns.
Concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) and total phosphorus (TP) were positively correlated to streamflow, whereas concentrations of total nitrogen (TN) varied little across the hydrologic regime. Phosphorus composition varied spatially and seasonally—the proportion of orthophosphate (PO43-) was highest in samples collected from stations draining residential land-use types and was elevated in summer and fall. Nitrogen composition varied with hydrologic condition: nitrate plus nitrite (NO3-) dominance during base flow shifted to total organic nitrogen (TON) dominance during periods of runoff. For all three major constituents (TSS, TP, and TN), concentrations were highest in SFR watersheds, whereas yields were greatest in COM watersheds. This seeming contradiction in concentration and yield across land-use types occurred because of spatial differences in streamflow yield.
The network average TSS yield in Hampton Roads was lower than that in comparable networks in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Gwinnett County, Georgia, a difference that may reflect dissimilarities in the topographic and soil characteristics of the Coastal Plain versus those in Piedmont PPs, as well as differences in engineered concrete stormwater conveyances versus earthen streams. The average annual TP yield in Hampton Roads was higher than averages reported in comparison studies and was primarily driven by elevated PO43-. Elevated PO43- yields may be related to unique soil and geological features of the Coastal Plain PP that limit phosphorus retention. Total nitrogen yields in the Hampton Roads and Fairfax County networks were similar; however, composition did vary, with greater total organic nitrogen yields in Hampton Roads and greater NO3- yields in Fairfax County.
Cross-correlation analyses and mass-volume curves were used to assess the timing of sediment and nutrient loadings. The majority of TSS and TP was typically transported during the initial phase of a storm-runoff event, a phenomenon commonly termed the “first flush.” Although TN concentrations typically peaked within an hour of peak streamflow, reflecting the particulate dominance of TN during stormflows, and loadings were greater during the early phase of most storm events, the stricter first-flush criterion was rarely met. This suggests that the most abundant sources of TN in these watersheds are not as directly connected to the stormwater-conveyance system as are TSS and TP.
Evolutionary and ecological connectivity in westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) and mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in relation to the potential influences of Boundary Dam, Washington, Idaho, and parts of British Columbia
Released November 23, 2022 09:10 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1084
Jason B. Dunham, Eric B. Taylor, Ernest R. Keeley
In this report, we consider evolutionary and ecological connectivity for westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) and mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) within the Pend Oreille River in northeastern Washington State, northern Idaho, and adjacent portions of southeastern British Columbia, Canada. Specifically, we focused on the rationale for active translocation of individuals of these species upstream from Boundary Dam both in the context of natural patterns of pre-dam evolutionary connectivity as well as preserving contemporary ecological and evolutionary characteristics of local extant populations. Boundary Dam impounds the Pend Oreille River (called the Pend d’Oreille River in Canada) with the resulting reservoir inundating two historical barriers to upstream movement of fish (Metaline Falls and Z Canyon). Historically, it was thought these barriers impeded the upstream movement of westslope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish, as well as Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), steelhead trout (O. mykiss), and other resident species such as bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). To address connectivity, we consider historical and contemporary processes and features. This review includes an assessment of postglacial processes within the Pend Oreille River and systems upstream that include Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille, the Clark Fork River, features of Boundary Reservoir and its tributaries, and areas downstream in the Pend Oreille River such as the Salmo River. Based on this information, we then give a more detailed review of existing genetic and ecological data to summarize what is known about connectivity for westslope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. Our assessment of the collective evidence leads us to conclude that moving fish upstream over Boundary Dam is not warranted if the management objective is to maintain natural patterns of evolutionary and ecological connectivity or to conserve unique ecological and evolutionary characteristics of extant local populations of these species in the system. These findings parallel that of a previous analysis of bull trout. Although we were able to arrive at well-supported conclusions in relation to Boundary Dam, we suggest that more work on connectivity further upstream in the Pend Oreille River would help to better understand the role of historical processes and dams further up in the system.
Size distribution and reproductive phenology of the invasive Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, Florida, USA
Released November 23, 2022 07:39 EST
2022, NeoBiota (78) 129-158
Andrea Faye Currylow, Bryan Falk, Amy A. Yackel Adams, Christina M. Romagosa, Jillian Josimovich, Michael R. Rochford, Michael Cherkiss, Melia Gail Nafus, Kristen Hart, Frank J. Mazzotti, Ray W. Snow, Robert Reed
The design of successful invasive species control programs is often hindered by the absence of basic demographic data on the targeted population. Establishment of invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, Florida USA has led to local precipitous declines (> 90%) of mesomammal populations and is also a major threat to native populations of reptiles and birds. Efforts to control this species are ongoing but are hampered by the lack of access to and information on the expected biological patterns of pythons in southern Florida. We present data from more than 4,000 wild Burmese pythons that were removed in southern Florida over 26 years (1995–2021), the most robust dataset representing this invasive population to date. We used these data to characterize Burmese python size distribution, size at maturity, clutch size, and seasonal demographic and reproductive trends. We broadened the previously described size ranges by sex and, based on our newly defined size-stage classes, showed that males are smaller than females at sexual maturity, confirmed a positive correlation between maternal body size and potential clutch size, and developed predictive equations to facilitate demographic predictions. We also refined the annual breeding season (approx.100 days December into March), oviposition timing (May), and hatchling emergence and dispersal period (July through October) using correlations of capture morphometrics with observations of seasonal gonadal recrudescence (resurgence) and regression. Determination of reproductive output and timing can inform population models and help managers arrest population growth by targeting key aspects of python life history. These results define characteristics of the species in Florida and provide an enhanced understanding of the ecology and reproductive biology of Burmese pythons in their invasive Everglades range.
A review of current capabilities and science gaps in water supply data, modeling, and trends for water availability assessments in the Upper Colorado River Basin
Released November 23, 2022 07:12 EST
2022, Water (14)
Fred D. Tillman, Natalie K. Day, Matthew P. Miller, Olivia L. Miller, Christine Rumsey, Daniel Wise, Patrick Cullen Longley, Morgan C. McDonnell
The Colorado River is a critical water resource in the southwestern United States, supplying drinking water for 40 million people in the region and water for irrigation of 2.2 million hectares of land. Extended drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCOL) and the prospect of a warmer climate in the future pose water availability challenges for those charged with managing the river. Limited water availability in the future also may negatively affect aquatic ecosystems and wildlife that depend upon them. Water availability components of special importance in the UCOL include streamflow, salinity in groundwater and surface water, groundwater levels and storage, and the role of snow in the UCOL water cycle. This manuscript provides a review of current “state of the science” for these UCOL water availability components with a focus on identifying gaps in data, modeling, and trends in the basin. Trends provide context for evaluations of current conditions and motivation for further investigation and modeling, models allow for investigation of processes and projections of future water availability, and data support both efforts. Information summarized in this manuscript will be valuable in planning integrated assessments of water availability in the UCOL.
Piñon and juniper tree removal increases available soil water, driving understory response in a sage-steppe ecosystem
Released November 23, 2022 06:43 EST
2022, Ecosphere (13)
James D. McIver, James Grace, Bruce A. Roundy
Geophysical data provide three dimensional insights into porphyry copper systems in the Silverton caldera, Colorado, USA
Over the past century, piñon and juniper trees have encroached into sagebrush steppe lands of the interior United States, and managers have for many years removed trees to stimulate the favored understory. While consistent understory response to tree removal in these semiarid lands suggests that trees outcompete other plants for water, no studies have linked increased soil water to understory response after tree removal. We tested the hypothesis that tree removal at six sagebrush steppe sites increased soil water, leading to increased understory plant cover. Using a structural equation model, we found that before tree removal, trees suppressed shrubs (standardized coefficient [SC] = −0.87), perennial deep-rooted (SC = −0.50) and shallow-rooted bunchgrasses (SC = −0.36), but had no influence on cheatgrass. The model explained between 2% (cheatgrass) and 40% (shrubs) of pretreatment cover variation. Measurement of the same plots six years post-treatment showed that most cover variation was due directly to plant growth, with standardized coefficients between 0.51 (perennial shallow-rooted grasses) and 0.72 (cheatgrass). Competition between cheatgrass and perennial deep-rooted grasses was evident, with perennials having twice the influence on cheatgrass than vice-versa (SC = −0.24 vs. −0.11). Spring soil water (wet-degree days) increased significantly after tree removal, measured as cumulative over 6 years (SC = 0.30), and in the early Spring of year six (SC = 0.16). Treatment-induced increase of cumulative Spring wet degree-days explained variation in shrub cover at year 6 (SC = 0.12) and the increase of early Spring wet degree-days at year 6 led to increases in perennial deep-rooted grasses (SC = 0.24) and cheatgrass (SC = 0.23). We detected no influence of Spring wet degree-days on perennial shallow-rooted grasses. The post-treatment model explained between 34% (shallow-rooted perennial grasses) and 69% (deep-rooted perennial grasses) of variation in understory cover. Most variation was explained by re-measurement of the same populations, followed by treatment effects mediated through increased soil water availability, soil factors, and direct effects of the treatment itself. In conclusion, our model is consistent with the a priori hypothesis that additional wet degree-days due to tree removal is a significant mechanism behind observed increases in understory cover.
Released November 22, 2022 07:56 EST
2023, Ore Geology Reviews (152)
Eric D. Anderson, Douglas Yager, Maria Deszcz-Pan, Bennett Eugene Hoogenboom, Brian D. Rodriguez, Bruce Smith
The Silverton caldera in southwest Colorado, USA hosts polymetallic veins and pervasively altered rocks indicative of porphyry copper systems. Nearly a kilometer of erosion has exposed multiple levels of the hydrothermal systems from shallow lithocaps down to quartz-sericite-pyrite veins. New airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey data are integrated with previous alteration mapping and porphyry models to show the subsurface geophysical response of shallow to deep levels of the porphyry system. Qualitative map views show lateral changes in the magnetization and resistivity of the hydrothermally altered rocks. The volcanic terrain exhibits high magnetization and high amplitude anomalies map near-surface plutonic rocks associated with porphyry systems. Magnetic susceptibility measurements on outcrops of hydrothermally altered rocks indicate magnetite content decreases upward and outward from the source intrusions where magnetic anomaly lows are observed over the lithocaps. The resistivity maps highlight hydrothermal alteration as resistivity lows with exception being rocks having propylitic alteration. Quantitative resistivity models show low resistivity zones with an apparent thickness around 50–150 m beneath quartz-sericite-pyrite veins interpreted to be the result of supergene processes that may continue today, and the calculated magnetic source depths occur near the top of this zone. The resistivity models also show rocks having propylitic, silicic, and quartz-alunite-pyrophyllite assemblages exhibit high resistivity with depth, and argillic alteration assemblages had high resistivity due to high quartz content. This integrated approach presented in a three-dimensional environment provides guidance when exploring for porphyry copper systems in less exposed terrains.
Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources of the Senegal Basin Province of northwest Africa, 2021
Released November 21, 2022 11:45 EST
2022, Fact Sheet 2022-3080
Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Cheryl A. Woodall, Phuong A. Le, Andrea D. Cicero, Ronald M. Drake II, Geoffrey S. Ellis, Thomas M. Finn, Michael H. Gardner, Sarah E. Gelman, Jane S. Hearon, Benjamin G. Johnson, Jenny H. Lagesse, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Kristen R. Marra, Kira K. Timm, Scott S. Young
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 13,929 million (13.9 billion) barrels of oil and 193,721 billion (193.7 trillion) cubic feet of gas within the Senegal Basin Province of northwest Africa.
Using continuous measurements of turbidity to predict suspended-sediment concentrations, loads, and sources in Flat Creek through the town of Jackson, Wyoming, 2019−20 — A pilot study
Released November 21, 2022 08:49 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1103
Jason S. Alexander, Carlin Girard, James Campbell, Chris Ellison, Elyce Gosselin, Emily Smith
Flat Creek, a tributary to the Snake River in northwestern Wyoming, is an important source of irrigation water, fish and wildlife habitat, and local recreation. Since 1996, a section of Flat Creek within the town of Jackson has failed to meet Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s surface-water-quality standards for total suspended solids and turbidity required by its State water-use classification. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality water-quality standards prohibit increases of greater than 10 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) because of human activities in streambodies of Wyoming. Sediment loading from urban stormwater runoff is hypothesized in previous publications to be the primary cause of impairment, but the relative fine sediment contributions from various sources have not been quantified.
In cooperation with the Teton Conservation District, the U.S. Geological Survey began a pilot study in the Flat Creek drainage basin to investigate the use of continuous turbidity measurements to predict suspended-sediment concentrations, loads, and sources through the town of Jackson, Wyoming. The predictions were based on turbidity measurements collected every 15 minutes during parts of water years 2019 and 2020. Analysis of differences in the more than 15,000 turbidity measurements coincident between upstream and downstream streamgages indicated that differences of 10 formazin nephelometric units (FNU) or greater composed about 1 percent of the total accepted measurements during the 2019 and 2020 measurement periods. The median difference in measured turbidity between coincident records at the upstream and downstream streamgages in 2019 was 0.20 FNU and the median difference in 2020 was 0.0 FNU.
Calculations of mean total sediment loads in Flat Creek during 2019 and 2020 indicate substantially more suspended-sediment was in Flat Creek below the town of Jackson than above town. Mean total calculated suspended-sediment loads at the upstream streamgage were 26 percent in 2019 and 21 percent in 2020 of the mean total suspended-sediment loads at the downstream streamgage. For measurements occurring at the same time (coincident), mean calculated suspended-sediment loads entering the town of Jackson from Flat Creek were 39 percent in 2019 and 35 percent in 2020 of those loads exiting town in Flat Creek. Incorporating statistical model uncertainty, mean differences between predicted suspended-sediment loads could potentially be zero. The annual period of operations of the South Park Supply Ditch, which diverts water into Flat Creek from the Gros Ventre River, constituted between 91 and 90 percent of the total calculated suspended-sediment load at the upstream streamgage, and between 88 and 87 percent of the loads at the downstream streamgage for coincident periods of record in 2019 and 2020, respectively. However, in the absence of simultaneous continuous monitoring and resulting measurements at the outlet of the South Park Supply Ditch, no robust method was available to quantify suspended-sediment loads from the ditch.
A moving average filter was used to identify and isolate short-duration (minutes to hours) spikes in turbidity at the downstream streamgage that were likely caused by overland flow and urban runoff. Suspended-sediment loads during urban runoff constituted about 8 and 10 percent of the total calculated suspended-sediment loads at the downstream streamgage (Flat Creek below Cache Creek, near Jackson, Wyoming; U.S. Geological Survey streamgage 13018350), and 6 and 4 percent of the loads calculated for the record coincident with the upstream streamgage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Estimated suspended-sediment loads at the upstream streamgage during urban runoff events for the coincident period of record constitute 32 and 40 percent of the total estimated suspended-sediment loads at the downstream streamgage in 2019 and 2020, respectively, indicating sediment loads from urban runoff may contribute less than 10 percent, even as little as 5 percent, of the total sediment load exiting the town of Jackson on Flat Creek. Estimation of the proportion of suspended-sediment loads at the upstream site that originate from the South Park Supply Ditch or Cache Creek can only be done with assumptions but have the potential to be equivalent to or greater than calculated suspended-sediment loads associated with urban runoff.
Response of soil respiration to changes in soil temperature and water table level in drained and restored peatlands of the southeastern United States
Released November 19, 2022 06:32 EST
2022, Carbon Balance and Management (17)
Erin E. Swails, Marcelo Ardon, Ken Krauss, A.L. Peralta, Ryan E. Emmanuel, A.M. Helton, J.L. Morse, Laurel Gutenberg, Nicole Cormier, D. Shoch, Scott Settlemyer, Eric Soderholm, Brian P. Boutin, Chuck Peoples, Sara Ward
Extensive drainage of peatlands in the southeastern United States coastal plain for the purposes of agriculture and timber harvesting has led to large releases of soil carbon as carbon dioxide (CO2) due to enhanced peat decomposition. Growth in mechanisms that provide financial incentives for reducing emissions from land use and land-use change could increase funding for hydrological restoration that reduces peat CO2 emissions from these ecosystems. Measuring soil respiration and physical drivers across a range of site characteristics and land use histories is valuable for understanding how CO2 emissions from peat decomposition may respond to raising water table levels. We combined measurements of total soil respiration, depth to water table from soil surface, and soil temperature from drained and restored peatlands at three locations in eastern North Carolina and one location in southeastern Virginia to investigate relationships among total soil respiration and physical drivers, and to develop models relating total soil respiration to parameters that can be easily measured and monitored in the field.
Mapping areas of groundwater susceptible to transient contamination events from rapid infiltration into shallow fractured-rock aquifers in agricultural regions of the conterminous United States
Released November 18, 2022 11:23 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1093
Allen M. Shapiro, James A. Falcone
Current time-invariant groundwater vulnerability assessments may not capture intermittent contamination events in landscape areas that experience rapid infiltration following precipitation or snowmelt. Occurrences of rapid infiltration and intermittent degradation of groundwater quality are frequently reported in fractured-rock aquifers. This investigation identifies landscape areas underlain by fractured rock within the conterminous United States (CONUS) that may be susceptible to rapid infiltration and where groundwater is a principal source of water supply to the population. Our analysis shows that approximately 27 percent of the CONUS, corresponding to a population of approximately 150 million people, is both underlain by fractured rock and denoted as an area of significant groundwater use.
The results of this survey identified shallow fractured-rock aquifers underlying glacial sediments in the upper Midwest and northeastern United States as areas that may be subject to rapid infiltration events. Additionally, aquifers associated with the early Mesozoic basins located in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States and bands of carbonate aquifers in the southeastern United States show high susceptibility to rapid infiltration. Index values used in this investigation indicate isolated areas in the western half of the United States also show high susceptibility to rapid infiltration. The isolated areas in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and southwestern Missouri correspond to karst regions of carbonate aquifers. The isolated areas showing high susceptibility to rapid infiltration and contamination from agricultural sources are locations where more detailed investigations of transient contamination events are warranted.
This survey also addresses the potential for contaminant longevity in fractured-rock aquifers stemming from intermittent contamination events. Contaminants that can dissolve into the groundwater following infiltration may be introduced into fractures, and the dissolved constituents can diffuse from fractures into the porosity of the adjacent rock matrix. These constituents can then diffuse back into permeable fractures and adversely affect groundwater quality at downgradient locations over an extended time frame. Rock types with larger matrix porosities have the capacity to retain and then release larger quantities of dissolved constituents, resulting in longer residence times for dissolved groundwater contaminants. The magnitude of the dissolved contaminant concentration infiltrating to the water table will also dictate whether the contaminant concentration in the groundwater exceeds limits for human consumption over the duration of a contamination event.
In general, sedimentary- and carbonate-rock aquifers have larger matrix porosities in comparison to igneous- and metamorphic-rock aquifers, and thus, they are more susceptible to longer contaminant residence times. Aquifers composed of sedimentary or carbonate rock constitute approximately 51 percent of the CONUS, and 19 percent of the CONUS is associated with sedimentary- or carbonate-rock aquifers that are of significance for groundwater use. Depending on the contaminants of concern and the concentration of the contaminants introduced into the groundwater from infiltrating water, it would be beneficial for investigations of susceptibility to rapid infiltration to also consider the potential for contaminant longevity.
This investigation identifies areas of rapid infiltration into fractured rock using index values applied to the attributes (1) depth to the water table, (2) depth to bedrock, and (3) percentage of sand in soil, where larger index values indicate a greater susceptibility to rapid infiltration. These attributes are selected as the most likely factors that affect rapid infiltration to the water table. The combination of depth to water table and depth to bedrock highlight those aquifer settings that are characterized as shallow fractured-rock aquifers, where the water table may reside either in the bedrock or in overlying unconsolidated geologic materials. In addition, we consider the percentage of agricultural use as a land-use attribute when formulating an index of susceptibility to rapid infiltration and contamination. Agricultural areas are well recognized as nonpoint sources of contaminants that can affect groundwater quality because of seasonal amendments applied to the land surface. Rural agricultural areas are also characterized by septic tanks and leach fields for onsite treatment of wastewater, which may also be a source of contamination that may be introduced into the groundwater following precipitation or snowmelt events.
Bathymetric map and surface area and capacity table for Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, 2020
Released November 18, 2022 10:30 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Map 3499
Richard J. Huizinga, Benjamin C. Rivers, Joseph M. Richards
Table Rock Lake was completed in 1958 on the White River in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas for flood control, hydroelectric power, public water supply, and recreation. The surface area of Table Rock Lake is about 42,400 acres, and about 715 miles of shoreline are at the conservation pool level (915 feet above the North American Vertical Datum of 1988). Sedimentation in reservoirs can result in reduced water storage capacity and a reduction in usable aquatic habitat; therefore, accurate and up-to-date estimates of reservoir water capacity are important for managing pool levels, power generation, recreation, and downstream aquatic habitat. Many of the lakes operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are periodically surveyed to monitor bathymetric changes that affect water capacity. In October and November 2020, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed one such survey of Table Rock Lake using a multibeam echosounder. The echosounder data were combined with U.S. Geological Survey 1/3 arc-second digital elevation model data and light detection and ranging (lidar) data, where present, to prepare a bathymetric map and a surface area and capacity table up to the flood pool elevation of 931 feet above the North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
Exploring the role of cryptic nitrogen fixers in terrestrial ecosystems: A frontier in nitrogen cycling research
Released November 18, 2022 09:51 EST
Cory Cleveland, Carla R. G. Reis, Steven Perakis, Katherine A Dynarski, Sarah Batterman, Timothy Crews, Maga Gei, Michael Gundale, Duncan Menge, Mark Peoples, Sasha Reed, Verity Salmon, Fiona M. Soper, Benton Taylor, Monica Turner, Nina Wurzburger
Biological nitrogen fixation represents the largest natural flux of new nitrogen (N) into terrestrial ecosystems, providing a critical N source to support net primary productivity of both natural and agricultural systems. When they are common, symbiotic associations between plants and bacteria can add more than 100 kg N ha−1 y−1 to ecosystems. Yet, these associations are uncommon in many terrestrial ecosystems. In most cases, N inputs derive from more cryptic sources, including mutualistic and/or free-living microorganisms in soil, plant litter, decomposing roots and wood, lichens, insects, and mosses, among others. Unfortunately, large gaps remain in the understanding of cryptic N fixation. We conducted a literature review to explore rates, patterns, and controls of cryptic N fixation in both unmanaged and agricultural ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that, as is common with N fixation, rates are highly variable across most cryptic niches, with N inputs in any particular cryptic niche ranging from near zero to more than 20 kg ha−1 y−1. Such large variation underscores the need for more comprehensive measurements of N fixation by organisms not in symbiotic relationships with vascular plants in terrestrial ecosystems, as well as identifying the factors that govern cryptic N fixation rates. We highlight several challenges, opportunities, and priorities in this important research area, and we propose a conceptual model that posits an interacting hierarchy of biophysical and biogeochemical controls over N fixation that should generate valuable new hypotheses and research.
In situ soil moisture sensors in undisturbed soils
Released November 18, 2022 07:39 EST
2022, Journal of Visualized Experiments
Todd Caldwell, Michael H. Cosh, Steven R. Evett, Nathan Edwards, Heather Hofman, Bradley Illston, Tilden P. Meyers, Marina Skumanich, Kent Sutcliffe
Soil moisture directly affects operational hydrology, food security, ecosystem services, and the climate system. However, the adoption of soil moisture data has been slow due to inconsistent data collection, poor standardization, and typically short record duration. Soil moisture, or quantitatively volumetric soil water content (SWC), is measured using buried, in situ sensors that infer SWC from an electromagnetic response. This signal can vary considerably with local site conditions such as clay content and mineralogy, soil salinity or bulk electrical conductivity, and soil temperature; each of these can have varying impacts depending on the sensor technology.,
Furthermore, poor soil contact and sensor degradation can affect the quality of these readings over time. Unlike more traditional environmental sensors, there are no accepted standards, maintenance practices, or quality controls for SWC data. As such, SWC is a challenging measurement for many environmental monitoring networks to implement. Here, we attempt to establish a community-based standard of practice for in situ SWC sensors so that future research and applications have consistent guidance on site selection, sensor installation, data interpretation, and long-term maintenance of monitoring stations.,
The videography focuses on a multi-agency consensus of best-practices and recommendations for the installation of in situ SWC sensors. This paper presents an overview of this protocol along with the various steps essential for high-quality and long-term SWC data collection. This protocol will be of use to scientists and engineers hoping to deploy a single station or an entire network.
Carbon and carbon storage in the national wilderness preservation system of the conterminous United States
Released November 18, 2022 07:34 EST
2022, Report, A perpetual flow of benefits: Wilderness economic values in an evolving, multicultural society
Daniel W McCollum, Michael H Hand, Pamela M Froemke, Christopher Huber
No abstract available.
Do pharmaceuticals in the environment pose a risk to wildlife?
Released November 18, 2022 06:31 EST
2022, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Thomas G. Bean, Elizabeth A. Chadwick, Marta Herrero-Villar, Rafael Mateo, Vinny Naidoo, B. A. Rattner
The vast majority of knowledge related to the question of, “To what extent do pharmaceuticals in the environment pose a risk to wildlife?”, stems from the Asian vulture crisis (>99% decline of some species of old-world vultures on the Indian subcontinent related to the veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac). The hazard of diclofenac and other NSAIDs (carprofen, flunixin, ketoprofen, nimesulide, phenylbutazone) to vultures and other avian species has since been demonstrated; indeed only meloxicam and tolfenamic acid have been found to be vulture-safe. Since diclofenac was approved for veterinary use in Spain and Italy in 2013 (home to ~95% of vultures in Europe), the risk of NSAIDs to vultures in these countries has become one of the principal concerns related to pharmaceuticals and wildlife. Many of the other bodies of work on pharmaceutical exposure, hazard and risk to wildlife also relate to adverse effects in birds, (e.g., poisoning of scavenging birds in North America and Europe from animal carcasses containing pentobarbital; secondary and even tertiary poisoning of birds exposed to pesticides used in veterinary medicine as cattle dips; migratory birds as a vector for the transfer of antimicrobial and antifungal resistance). While there is some research related to endocrine disruption in reptiles and potential exposure of aerial insectivores, there remain numerous knowledge gaps for risk posed by pharmaceuticals to amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Developing non-invasive sampling techniques and new approach methodologies (e.g., genomic, in vitro, in silico, in ovo) are important if we are to bridge the current knowledge gaps without extensive vertebrate testing.
Evaluation of fish behavior at the entrances to a Selective Water Withdrawal structure in Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon, 2021
Released November 17, 2022 13:07 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1098
Collin D. Smith, Tyson W. Hatton
Imaging sonar was used to assess the behavior, abundance, and timing of fish at the entrances to the Selective Water Withdrawal (SWW) intake structure located in the forebay of Round Butte Dam, Oregon during the spring of 2021. The purposes of the SWW are (1) to direct surface currents in the forebay to attract and collect downriver migrating juvenile salmonid smolts (Chinook salmon [Oncorhynchus tshawytscha], sockeye salmon [O. nerka], and steelhead [O. mykiss]) from Lake Billy Chinook and (2) to enable operators of the SWW to withdraw water from surface and benthic elevations in the reservoir to manage downriver water temperatures. Part of the evaluation, to determine how well the structure performs at collecting juvenile salmonids, needs (A) to regularly assess how fish are approaching the entrance, and (B) to determine if operational flows could be optimized to increase the attraction of smolts present in the forebay of Lake Billy Chinook. The primary goals of this study were (1) to assess the abundance and behaviors of smolt-size fish observed near the SWW and (2) to provide data of the effect of two-night generation operation timing conditions on movements and behaviors of fish near the entrance to the SWW structure. The purpose of this assessment is to improve downstream passage solutions.
Two imaging sonar units were deployed during the spring 2021 smolt out-migration period. One unit monitored fish movements near the south entrance and one unit monitored movements near the north entrance of the SWW. Both smolt and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus)-size fish were regularly observed near the entrances with greater abundances observed during night, corresponding with greater discharge through the SWW than during the day when discharge was reduced. Differences in fish abundance were observed between the night generation operation timing conditions, with increased fish counts observed when elevated discharge was extended to 6:00 a.m., rather than when discharges have been traditionally reduced in the early morning at 4:00 a.m. Fish of all size groups were primarily observed near the center of the SWW, and greater abundances of fish were observed at the south entrance. Increased counts of bull trout-size fish coincided with the increased abundances of smolt-size fish. Overall, the results indicate that (A) smolt-size fish were more abundant near the entrance of the SWW during periods of increased discharge, (B) bull trout-size fish were present at the SWW, and (C) fish were more numerous at the SWW when night generation operation timing was extended later into the morning hours rather than the traditional operation timing flow reduction.
An economic perspective on the relationship between wilderness and water resources
Released November 17, 2022 07:27 EST
2022, Report, A perpetual flow of benefits: Wlderness economic values in an evolving, multicultural society
James Meldrum, Christopher Huber
No abstract available.
Distribution and demography of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers in San Diego County, 2015–19
Released November 16, 2022 13:40 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1082
Scarlett L. Howell, Barbara E. Kus, Shannon M. Mendia
We surveyed for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) at 33 locations along multiple drainages in San Diego County, including portions of Agua Hedionda Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Escondido Creek, Los Penasquitos Creek, Otay River, San Diego River, San Dieguito River, San Luis Rey River, Sweetwater River, and Tijuana River. Resident flycatchers were only found on two drainages in San Diego County, at San Dieguito and San Luis Rey Rivers, with 99 percent occurring on the San Luis Rey River. Resident flycatchers were detected at 18 percent of survey locations (Bonsall, Cleveland National Forest, Rey River Ranch, San Dieguito, and Vista Irrigation District [VID], and VID Lake Henshaw). Resident flycatchers were documented for the first time at Lake Henshaw, the only new location surveyed that supported flycatchers. We detected a minimum of 80 resident flycatchers from 2015 to 2019, most of these were upstream and downstream from Lake Henshaw. Transient flycatchers were found at 42 percent of survey locations; 38 transient individuals were detected at Agua Hedionda Creek, Otay River, San Diego River, San Dieguito River, and the San Luis Rey River.
Over the course of this study, 11 locations historically occupied by resident flycatchers were resurveyed; only 5 were found to have resident flycatchers: (1) Bonsall, (2) Cleveland National Forest, (3) Rey River Ranch, (4) San Dieguito, and (5) Vista Irrigation District. The number of resident flycatchers declined from previous high counts at all five locations. Collectively, the number of resident flycatcher territories within the historically occupied area of the upper San Luis Rey River downstream from Lake Henshaw (Cleveland National Forest, Rey River Ranch, and Vista Irrigation District) declined 71 percent between 1999 (48) and 2019 (14); 42 percent of the decline occurred between 1999 and 2016, with an additional decline (50 percent) occurring between 2016 and 2019. In 2016, the distribution of flycatcher territories at the historically occupied area of the upper San Luis Rey River changed relative to the distribution in 1999: the proportion of territories at Cleveland National Forest and Rey River Ranch decreased to 36 percent each, while Vista Irrigation District increased to 29 percent, creating a more equal distribution of territories across the historically occupied area. By 2019, the distribution changed relative to 2016, with most of the territories spread equally between Cleveland National Forest and Rey River Ranch (43 percent each), while the proportion of territories at Vista Irrigation District declined to 14 percent.
During countywide surveys, we documented the dispersal of two natal banded flycatchers; both were females that were originally banded as nestlings at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and were seen for the first time as breeding adults. One of the females dispersed to San Dieguito, a distance of 41 kilometers, and a second female dispersed to Cleveland National Forest, a distance of 55 kilometers. We also documented the within-season movement of a uniquely banded male that was seen at the beginning of the 2017 breeding season at Bonsall and was later documented at San Dieguito, a movement distance of 31 kilometers.
We completed nest monitoring activities along the upper San Luis Rey River near Lake Henshaw in Santa Ysabel, California from 2016 to 2019. Monitoring occurred at three locations: (1) Cleveland National Forest, (2) Rey River Ranch, and (3) Vista Irrigation District, collectively the upper San Luis Rey River monitoring area. The number of flycatcher territories monitored each year ranged from 14 to 27. We observed polygynous pairings (one male paired with multiple females) in all years, with the lowest rate of polygyny (number of polygynous pairs/total number of pairs) observed in 2016 (10 percent) and the highest in 2017 (70 percent). The proportion of paired males that were polygynous ranged from 5 to 54 percent between 2016 and 2019.
We monitored the nesting activity of 14–27 pairs annually during the course of the study. Most of the first nesting attempts were initiated during late May and early June. We monitored 18–41 Southwestern Willow Flycatcher nests per year from 2016 to 2019. Apparent nest success ranged from 11 to 37 percent and differed significantly by year, with higher success in 2016 and 2017 compared to 2018 and 2019. Predation was the presumed to be the primary source of nest failure, with 63–84 percent of failures annually attributed to predation. Although none of the failures were attributed to Brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism, 4–27 percent of nests were parasitized annually from 2016 to 2019, with increased parasitism rates observed in 2018 and 2019 compared to 2016 and 2017. We “rescued” 11 parasitized nests between 2016 and 2019 by removing cowbird eggs; if those nests had been allowed to fail, apparent nest success would have been up to 45 percent lower annually.
Flycatcher egg clutch size ranged from 2.8±0.8 to 3.1±0.8 annually and did not vary significantly between years. The number of fledglings per pair ranged from 0.5±1.0 to 1.6±1.5 annually from 2016 to 2019. There was a significant difference in the number of young fledged per pair between years, with pairs in 2016 producing more than three times the number of fledglings compared to 2019. The percent of pairs fledging at least one young ranged from 18 to 62 percent annually but did not vary significantly by year.
Analysis of flycatcher daily nest survival rates suggested that both early and late winter precipitation influenced nest survival, with increases in early winter precipitation positively influencing nest survival and later winter precipitation negatively influencing nest survival. The second-best supported model included year, with the lowest daily nest survival occurring in 2018 and 2019.
A total of 119 flycatchers were newly banded over the course of this study; 36 adult flycatchers were banded with a unique color combination, and 83 nestlings (57 of which survived to fledging) were banded with a single band on the left or right leg. In addition, two adults that were banded before 2015 were observed in the monitoring area. Between 2015 and 2019, we accumulated 94 resights of 49 individual color-banded adult flycatchers that ranged in age from 1 to 8 years old.
Banding allowed us to examine differences in annual survivorship among flycatchers of different ages and sexes. We estimated annual survivorship of adult males to be 69±7 percent, which is higher than estimates of female survivorship (45±10 percent). Annual survivorship of first-year flycatchers ranged from 24 to 41 percent, which is roughly half the estimates calculated for adult flycatchers (52–75 percent). We found no evidence that precipitation in the previous breeding year had an effect on flycatcher survival.
We were also able to observe dispersal and movement among adults and first-year flycatchers. Average first-year dispersal distance was 3.1±2.6 kilometers, with the longest dispersal (8.5 kilometers) by a natal female dispersing from the monitoring area to Lake Henshaw. Of the first-year flycatchers, 65 percent returned to the monitoring area to establish an adult breeding territory, while the remaining 35 percent dispersed to Lake Henshaw.
Territory fidelity among adult flycatchers was high with 69±13 percent of returning adults occupying the same territory (or within 100 meters) from the previous year. There was no significant difference in territory fidelity between males and females, or across years. Nesting success in the previous year appeared to be a strong driver of territory fidelity, with adults more likely to return to the same territory following years when they successfully fledged young. The average between-year movement for returning adult flycatchers was 0.5±0.8 km. We documented the movement of two adult males from the monitoring area to Lake Henshaw. Between-year movement distances did not differ by sex or year.
Resident flycatchers in the upper San Luis Rey River monitoring area used five habitat types from 2016 to 2019: (1) willow-oak, (2) willow-ash, (3) oak-sycamore, (4) mixed willow riparian, and (5) willow-sycamore, with willow-oak the most commonly used habitat type. The most commonly recorded dominant species at flycatcher territories included coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), red or arroyo willow (Salix laevigata or Salix lasiolepis), California sycamore (Platanus racemosa), and velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina).
In 2018, we anecdotally began to observe dead and dying oaks in the monitoring area, which we believe to be the result of goldspotted oak borer (Agrilus auroguttatus) infestation. At the conclusion of this study, we investigated the overall change in normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) in flycatcher territories within the monitoring area. The greatest negative change in NDVI occurred in territories closest to Lake Henshaw, and many of the affected territories were no longer occupied in the later years of the study.
Flycatchers used 13 plant species for nesting at the monitoring area from 2016 to 2019; 70 percent of all nests were placed in coast live oak. None of the nest characteristics including host height, nest height, distance to the edge of the host, or distance to the edge of the vegetation clump where the nest was placed differed between years. In 2016, successful nests were placed higher than unsuccessful nests; no other within-year differences were observed.
Evaluating noninvasive methods for estimating cestode prevalence in a wild carnivore population
Released November 15, 2022 07:10 EST
2022, PLoS ONE (17)
E E Brandell, M.K. Jackson, Paul Cross, A.J. Piaggio, D. R. Taylor, Douglas W. Smith, B Boufana, Daniel R. Stahler, PJ Hudson
Helminth infections are cryptic and can be difficult to study in wildlife species. Helminth research in wildlife hosts has historically required invasive animal handling and necropsy, while results from noninvasive parasite research, like scat analysis, may not be possible at the helminth species or individual host levels. To increase the utility of noninvasive sampling, individual hosts can be identified by applying molecular methods. This allows for longitudinal sampling of known hosts and can be paired with individual-level covariates. Here we evaluate a combination of methods and existing long-term monitoring data to identify patterns of cestode infections in gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Our goals were: (1) Identify the species and apparent prevalence of cestodes infecting Yellowstone wolves; (2) Assess the relationships between wolf biological and social characteristics and cestode infections; (3) Examine how wolf samples were affected by environmental conditions with respect to the success of individual genotyping. We collected over 200 wolf scats from 2018–2020 and conducted laboratory analyses including individual wolf genotyping, sex identification, cestode identification, and fecal glucocorticoid measurements. Wolf genotyping success rate was 45%, which was higher in the winter but decreased with higher precipitation and as more time elapsed between scat deposit and collection. One cestode species was detected in 28% of all fecal samples, and 38% of known individuals. The most common infection was Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (primarily E. canadensis). Adult wolves had 4x greater odds of having a cestode infection than pups, as well as wolves sampled in the winter. Our methods provide an alternative approach to estimate cestode prevalence and to linking parasites to known individuals in a wild host system, but may be most useful when employed in existing study systems and when field collections are designed to minimize the time between fecal deposition and collection.
Introduction to the special issue on fire impacts on hydrological processes
Released November 15, 2022 06:35 EST
2022, Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics (70) 385-387
Artemi Cerdà, Brian A. Ebel, Dalila Serpa, Ľubomír Lichner
Fire has been present on the Earth since vegetation began colonizing the continents (Santos et al., 2017). The role of fire on terrestrial sedimentation processes was already highlighted by Schumm (1968) in his pioneering research to understand the detachment, transport, and sedimentation of material on the Planet. The use of fire by humans as a tool that transformed the landscapes of the world has been widely accepted (Wang et al., 1999). Glacial-interglacial changes can affect vegetation with resulting implications for global fire regimes and trace gas emissions (Thonicke et al., 2005). Wildfire effects on vegetation can, in turn, alter soil erosion rates (Lenton, 2001), which is mainly due to the control plants exert on soil erosion processes (López-Vicente et al., 2021).
Collections management plan for the U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center samples repository
Released November 14, 2022 15:10 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5106
Brian J. Buczkowski
Since 2002, the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Samples Repository has been supporting U.S. Geological Survey research by providing secure storage for geological, geochemical, and biological samples, organizing and actively inventorying these sample collections, and providing researchers access to these scientific collections for study and reuse.
Over the years, storage facilities have changed, and new collections management strategies have been adapted as sample collections have grown and as research programs and focuses have shifted. The commitment of the samples repository to preserve and provide physical samples for future research, however, has remained the same. This report documents the collections management plan developed and implemented by the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Samples Repository to manage the center’s scientific collections.
Habitat associations of riverine fishes among rocky shoals
Released November 14, 2022 07:09 EST
2022, Ecology of Freshwater Fish
Anna Y. Baynes, Mary Freeman, S. Kyle McKay, Seth J. Wenger
Towards real-time probabilistic ash deposition forecasting for New Zealand
Understanding species' associations with physical habitat conditions is a fundamental goal of ecology. For organisms that occupy lotic ecosystems, relationships to streamflow are of particular importance, but these associations are unstudied for most species. We tested the predictability of fish–microhabitat relationships in river shoals (shallow, rocky areas with relatively swift water flow) using a large data set from the Conasauga River in Georgia, USA. Our objective was to assess the consistency of species-specific relationships with flow-dependent variables (depth, velocity, Reynolds number and Froude number) while accounting for other microhabitat variables (e.g. vegetation). We used data from 8285 seine-sets collected during late summer or autumn at 26 sites over 12 years to relate occurrence and counts of 22 fish species to habitat variables using generalised linear multiple regression models. Results showed that microhabitat models explained a substantial amount of the variation in counts for some species, although other species were poorly predicted. We classified 16 species as velocity specialists and nine species as depth specialists, with six species specialised for depth and velocity and three species classified as depth and velocity generalists. The variability in habitat associations that we observed suggests that species will be unevenly affected by anthropogenic activities that alter flows.
Released November 14, 2022 07:07 EST
2022, Journal of Applied Volcanology (11)
Rosa Transcoso, Yannik Behr, Tony Hurst, Natalia Irma Deligne
Evidence of active Quaternary deformation on the Great Valley fault system near Winters, northern California
Volcanic ashfall forecasts are highly dependent on eruption source parameters (ESPs) and synoptic weather conditions at the time and location of the eruption. In New Zealand, MetService and GNS Science have been jointly developing an ashfall forecast system that incorporates four-dimensional high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) and ESPs into the HYSPLIT model, a state-of-the art hybrid Eulerian and Lagrangian dispersion model widely used for volcanic ash. However, these forecasts are based on discrete ESPs combined with a deterministic weather forecast and thus provide no information on output uncertainty. This shortcoming hinders stakeholder decision making, particularly near the geographical margin of forecasted ashfall and in areas with large gradients in forecasted ash deposition. Our study presents a new approach that incorporates uncertainty from both eruptive and meteorological inputs to deliver uncertainty in the model output. To this end, we developed probability density functions (PDFs) for three key ESPs (plume height, mass eruption rate, eruption duration) tailored to New Zealand’s volcanoes and combine them with NWP ensemble datasets to generate probabilistic ashfall forecasts using the HYSPLIT model. We show that the Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) technique can be used to representatively span this four-dimensional parameter space and allow us to add uncertainty quantification to rapid response forecast systems. For a case study of a hypothetical eruption at Tongariro, New Zealand we suggest that large parts of New Zealand’s North Island would not receive adequate warning for potential ashfall if uncertainties were not included in the forecasts. We also propose new probabilistic summary products to support public information and emergency responders decision making.
Released November 14, 2022 06:43 EST
2022, The Seismic Record (2) 248-259
Charles Cashman Trexler, Alexander E. Morelan, Rufus D. Catchings, Mark Goldman, Jack Willard
High resolution spatiotemporal patterns of flow at the landscape scale in montane non-perennial streams
The Great Valley fault system defines the tectonic boundary between the Coast Ranges and the Central Valley in California, is active throughout the Quaternary, and has been the source of several significant (M > 6) historic earthquakes, including the 1983 M 6.5 Coalinga earthquake and the 1892 Vacaville–Winters earthquake sequence. However, the locations and geometries of individual faults in the Great Valley fault system are poorly constrained, and fault slip rates and paleoearthquake chronology are largely unknown. Here, we report geomorphic and subsurface geophysical evidence of surface‐deforming displacement on a strand of the Great Valley fault system west of Winters, California. Detailed geomorphic mapping and a high‐resolution seismic reflection and tomography survey along an ∼800 m profile across the Bigelow Hills document a fault, which we call the West Winters strand of the Great Valley fault system, with apparent east side‐up displacement of surficial geologic units. These data together suggest that the West Winters strand is active in the latest Quaternary. Together with local reports from the time, this raises the possibility that the West Winters strand may have ruptured and deformed the surface during the 1892 M 6 Vacaville–Winters earthquake sequence. Future earthquakes with vertical displacement on this and Great Valley fault system structures could have significant hazard implications, given the region’s low relief and the presence of major water conveyance infrastructure.
Released November 14, 2022 06:43 EST
2022, River Research and Applications
Romy Sabathier, Michael Bliss Singer, John C Stella, Dar A. Roberts, Kelly K. Caylor, Kristin Jaeger, Julian Olden
Seismic evidence for magmatic underplating along the Kodiak-Bowie Seamount Chain, Gulf of Alaska
Intermittent and ephemeral streams in dryland environments support diverse assemblages of aquatic and terrestrial life. Understanding when and where water flows provide insights into the availability of water, its response to external controlling factors, and potential sensitivity to climate change and a host of human activities. Knowledge regarding the timing of drying/wetting cycles can also be useful to map critical habitats for species and ecosystems that rely on these temporary water sources. However, identifying the locations and monitoring the timing of streamflow and channel sediment moisture remains a challenging endeavor. In this paper, we analyzed daily conductivity from 37 sensors distributed along 10 streams across an arid mountain front in Arizona (United States) to assess spatiotemporal patterns in flow permanence, defined as the timing and extent of water in streams. Conductivity sensors provide information on surface flow and sediment moisture, supporting a stream classification based on seasonal flow dynamics. Our results provide insight into flow responses to seasonal rainfall, highlighting stream reaches very reactive to rainfall versus those demonstrating more stable streamflow. The strength of stream responses to precipitation are explored in the context of surficial geology. In summary, conductivity data can be used to map potential stream habitat for water-dependent species in both space and time, while also providing the basis upon which sensitivity to ongoing climate change can be evaluated.
Released November 14, 2022 06:37 EST
2022, Tectonophysics (845)
Gail L. Christeson, Sean P.S. Gulick, Maureen A. L. Walton, Ginger Barth
Estrogenic activity response to best management practice implementation in agricultural watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Released November 13, 2022 07:19 EST
2023, Journal of Environmental Management (326)
Stephanie Gordon, Tyler Wagner, Kelly Smalling, Olivia H. Devereux
GCPs free photogrammetry for estimating tree height and crown diameter in Arizona cypress plantation using UAV-Mounted GNSS RTK
Released November 12, 2022 06:53 EST
2022, Forests (13)
Morteza Pourreza, Fardin Moradi, Mohammad Khosravi, Azade Deljouei, Melanie K. Vanderhoof
One of the main challenges of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in forest data acquisition is the implementation of Ground Control Points (GCPs) as a mandatory step, which is sometimes impossible for inaccessible areas or within canopy closures. This study aimed to test the accuracy of a UAV-mounted GNSS RTK (real-time kinematic) system for calculating tree height and crown height without any GCPs. The study was conducted on a Cupressus arizonica (Greene., Arizona cypress) plantation on the Razi University Campus in Kermanshah, Iran. Arizona cypress is commonly planted as an ornamental tree. As it can tolerate harsh conditions, this species is highly appropriate for afforestation and reforestation projects. A total of 107 trees were subjected to field-measured dendrometric measurements (height and crown diameter). UAV data acquisition was performed at three altitudes of 25, 50, and 100 m using a local network RTK system (NRTK). The crown height model (CHM), derived from a digital surface model (DSM), was used to estimate tree height, and an inverse watershed segmentation (IWS) algorithm was used to estimate crown diameter. The results indicated that the means of tree height obtained from field measurements and UAV estimation were not significantly different, except for the mean values calculated at 100 m flight altitude. Additionally, the means of crown diameter reported from field measurements and UAV estimation at all flight altitudes were not statistically different. Root mean square error (RMSE < 11%) indicated a reliable estimation at all the flight altitudes for trees height and crown diameter. According to the findings of this study, it was concluded that UAV-RTK imagery can be considered a promising solution, but more work is needed before concluding its effectiveness in inaccessible areas.
Geochemical evidence for diachronous uplift and synchronous collapse of the high elevation Variscan hinterland
Released November 11, 2022 11:01 EST
2022, Geophysical Research Letters (49)
Ian William Hillenbrand, Michael L. Williams
Competing end-member models for the late Paleozoic Variscan orogeny (ca. 360-290 Ma) alternatively suggest moderate 2-3 km elevations underlain by relatively thin crust (<50 km) or a thick crust (>55 km) that supported high 4-5 km elevations. We tested these models and quantified the crustal thickness and elevation evolution of the Variscan orogeny using igneous trace element geochemical proxies. The data suggest that thick crust (55-70 km) capable of supporting 3-5 km elevations developed diachronously from east to west between ca. 350 and 315 Ma. Crustal thinning occurred from ca. 315 Ma to 290 Ma across the orogen. Crustal thickness and elevation changes at ca. 340-325 Ma and 315-290 Ma correspond with increases in silicate weathering recorded by Sr and Li isotopes, consistent with models in which silicate weathering of the Variscan orogen contributed to global cooling associated with the late Paleozoic ice age.
Apophis specific action team report
Released November 11, 2022 09:24 EST
J. L. Dotson, M. Brozovic, S. Chesley, S. Jarmak, N. Moskovitz, A. Rivkin, P. Sanchez, D. Souami, Timothy N. Titus
This report about Asteroid (99942) Apophis's Earth close approach on April 13, 2029 was generated by a Specific Action Team (SAT) formed by the Small Body Assessment Group (SBAG) at the request of NASAs Planetary Science Division (PSD). The SAT assessed the current predictions for the effects that may occur due to the close encounter, evaluated observing capabilities, and identified possible investigations then sorted them into priority categories. In addition, the SAT evaluated whether or not a spacecraft sent to Apophis could increase the risk of a future Earth impact.
Geochemistry of the Cretaceous Mowry Shale in the Wind River Basin, Wyoming
Released November 11, 2022 07:22 EST
2022, GSA Bulletin
Katherine L. French, Justin E. Birdwell, Paul G. Lillis
The siliceous nature of the Mowry Shale distinguishes it from many of the well-studied organic-rich mudstones of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. Available models of organic enrichment in mudstones rarely incorporate detailed biomarker, bulk organic, inorganic, and mineralogy data. Here, we used these data to evaluate how variations in organic matter source, productivity, dilution, and preservation modulated organic matter accumulation during the deposition of the Mowry Shale, while also demonstrating the benefits of this integrated approach. An organic stable carbon isotope vertical profile for the Mowry Shale is presented to test whether the Mowry Shale was deposited during oceanic anoxic event 1d (OAE 1d), thereby contributing to organic enrichment in the Mowry Shale.
Ecologically relevant moisture and temperature metrics for assessing dryland ecosystem dynamics
Released November 11, 2022 06:51 EST
D.A. Chenoweth, Daniel Rodolphe Schlaepfer, J.C. Chambers, J.L. Brown, A.K. Urza, Brice Hanberry, D. Board, M. Crist, John Bradford
Brown bear–sea otter interactions along the Katmai coast: Terrestrial and nearshore communities linked by predation
In drylands, water-limited regions that cover ~40% of the global land surface, ecosystems are primarily controlled by access to soil moisture and exposure to simultaneously hot and dry conditions. Quantifying ecologically relevant environmental metrics is difficult in drylands because the response of vegetation to moisture and temperature conditions is not easily explained solely by climate-based metrics. To address this knowledge gap, we developed and examined 27 climate and ecological drought metrics across dryland areas of the western U.S. Included in the 27 metrics is a suite of 19 largely new “ecological drought metrics” that are designed to quantify multiple aspects of environmental limitation in drylands, including overall growing conditions, seasonal fluctuations, seasonal moisture timing, exposure to extreme drought, and recruitment potential for perennial plants. To quantify these metrics, we simulated water balance pools and fluxes of daily soil moisture at multiple depths with historical weather from 1970-2010 using the SOILWAT2 ecosystem water balance model. We assessed the relationships among these metrics and their spatial and temporal patterns. We found that the inclusion of ecological drought metrics substantially increased the dimensionality of the climate metrics dataset; the number of independent variables needed to explain 90% of the variance in the dataset increased with the addition of ecological drought metrics. Spatial patterns in overall growing conditions represented well-known differences among ecoregions, for example high temperatures and low precipitation in the southwest and cool temperatures and greater precipitation in the northeast. Seasonal fluctuation in soil water availability (SWA) was greatest in the southwest (Mojave Desert) while fluctuation in climatic water deficit (CWD) was greatest in the northwest (northern Great Basin and Columbia Plateau). Seasonal timing of moisture also differed among metrics; the timing of wet degree days (WDD), SWA and CWD were only weakly related to seasonal timing of precipitation. Plant recruitment metrics varied strongly across western drylands. In the Great Plains, recruitment events occurred more frequently and lasted longer than in the intermountain regions, where recruitment events were comparatively rare and short. These ecological drought metrics provide new insight into patterns of soil moisture and temperature that shape the structure and function of dryland ecosystems. The metrics will be useful for assessing the potential impact of climate change on dryland ecosystems and developing adaptive resource management strategies to sustain dryland ecosystem services in a changing world.
Released November 11, 2022 06:42 EST
2022, Journal of Mammalogy
Daniel Monson, Rebecca L. Taylor, Grant Hilderbrand, Joy Erlenbach, Heather Coletti, James L. Bodkin
Sea otters were extirpated throughout much of their range by the maritime fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the coast of Katmai National Park and Preserve in southcentral Alaska. Brown bears are an important component of the Katmai ecosystem where they are the focus of a thriving ecotourism bear-viewing industry as they forage in sedge meadows and dig clams in the extensive tidal flats that exist there. Sea otters began reoccupying Katmai in the 1970s where their use of intertidal clam resources overlapped that of brown bears. By 2008, the Katmai sea otter population had grown to an estimated 7,000 animals and was likely near carrying capacity; however, in 2006–2015, the age-at-death distribution (AADD) of sea otter carcasses collected at Katmai included a higher-than-expected proportion of prime-age animals compared to most other sea otter populations in Alaska. The unusual AADD warranted scientific investigation, particularly because the Katmai population is part of the Threatened southwest sea otter stock. Brown bears in Katmai are known to prey on marine mammals and sea otters, but depredation rates are unknown; thus, we investigated carnivore predation, especially by brown bears, as a potential explanation for abnormally high prime-age otter mortality. We installed camera traps at two island-based marine mammal haulout sites within Katmai to gather direct evidence that brown bears prey on seals and sea otters. Over a period of two summers, we gathered photo evidence of brown bears making 22 attempts to prey on sea otters of which nine (41%) were successful and 12 attempts to prey on harbor seals of which one (8%) was successful. We also developed a population model based on the AADD to determine if the living population is declining, as suggested by the high proportion of prime-age animals in the AADD. We found that the population trend predicted by the modeled AADDs was contradictory to aerial population surveys that indicated the population was not in steep decline but was consistent with otter predation. Future work should focus on the direct and indirect effects these top-level predators have on each other and the coastal community that connects them.
Deep learning for pockmark detection: Implications for quantitative seafloor characterization
Released November 11, 2022 06:38 EST
2023, Geomorphology (421)
Mark Lundine, Laura L. Brothers, Arthur Trembanis
Geologic field-trip guide to volcanism and its interaction with snow and ice at Mount Rainier, Washington
Released November 10, 2022 08:55 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5022-A
James W. Vallance, Thomas W. Sisson
Mount Rainier is the Pacific Northwest’s iconic volcano. At 4,393 meters and situated in the south-central Cascade Range of Washington State, it towers over cities of the Puget Lowland. As the highest summit in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier hosts 26 glaciers and numerous permanent snow fields covering 87 square kilometers and having a snow and ice volume of about 3.8 cubic kilometers. It remains by far the most heavily glacier-clad mountain in the conterminous United States despite having lost about 14 percent of its ice volume between 1970 and 2008.
Five major rivers head at Mount Rainier—the White, Carbon, Puyallup, Nisqually, and Cowlitz Rivers. Because Mount Rainier is situated west of the Cascade Range crest, all of these rivers eventually turn and drain westward. The Puget Lowland, situated west to northwest of Mount Rainier, is the Pacific Northwest’s most densely populated area, including Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. The Puget Lowland is now home to a population of more than 4.5 million and a vibrant economy.
Mount Rainier is one of the most hazardous volcanoes in the United States, not so much because of its explosivity, but rather because of its frequent eruptions, its propensity to produce voluminous far-traveled lahars, and its proximity to large population centers of the Puget Lowland. Steep-sided, glacially carved valleys serve as lahar conduits, and even mild eruptions commonly produced large lahars that traveled into areas now populated by hundreds of thousands of people.
This guide describes a five-day field trip to view the geology of Mount Rainier as it relates to volcanism and its interaction with snow and ice. Day 1 will focus on lahars in the White River valley. We will drive to Enumclaw, Washington, to begin the day then work our way back upvalley toward Mount Rainier. Day 2 concentrates on geology of the Sunrise-Glacier Basin area within Mount Rainier National Park. As part of day 2 activities, we will hike about 10 miles from Sunrise to the top of Burroughs Mountain, down into Glacier Basin, and be picked up at White River Campground. On day 3 we will pack up and move to Paradise, stopping to examine geology along Stevens Canyon Road. We will hike from Paradise along the Golden Gate Trail and eventually eastward to the former Paradise Ice Caves area (the ice caves have melted out). Day 4 involves hiking from Comet Falls trailhead to Mildred Point and return (~7 miles; 11 km), examining geology along the way. During the first half of day 5, we will visit sites on the south side of Mount Rainier to study lahar deposits, then return to the tour origin.
Framework for assessing and mitigating the impacts of offshore wind energy development on marine birds
Released November 10, 2022 07:56 EST
2022, Biological Conservation (276)
Donald A Croll, Aspen A Ellis, Josh Adams, Aonghais S. C. P. Cook, Stefan Garthe, Morgan Wing Goodale, C. Scott Hall, Elliott L. Hazen, Bradford S. Keitt, Emily C. Kelsey, Jeffery B Leirness, Don E Lyons, Matthew W. McKown, Astrid Potiek, Kate R Searle, Floor H. Soudjin, R. Cotton Rockwood, Bernie R. Tershy, Martin Tinker, Eric A. Vanderwerf, Kathryn A Williams, Lindsay C. Young, Kelly Zilliacus
Offshore wind energy development (OWED) is rapidly expanding globally and has the potential to contribute significantly to renewable energy portfolios. However, development of infrastructure in the marine environment presents risks to wildlife. Marine birds in particular have life history traits that amplify population impacts from displacement and collision with offshore wind infrastructure. Here, we present a broadly applicable framework to assess and mitigate the impacts of OWED on marine birds. We outline existing techniques to quantify impact via monitoring and modeling (e.g., collision risk models, population viability analysis), and present a robust mitigation framework to avoid, minimize, or compensate for OWED impacts. Our framework addresses impacts within the context of multiple stressors across multiple wind energy developments. We also present technological and methodological approaches that can improve impact estimation and mitigation. We highlight compensatory mitigation as a tool that can be incorporated into regulatory frameworks to mitigate impacts that cannot be avoided or minimized via siting decisions or alterations to OWED infrastructure or operation. Our framework is intended as a globally-relevant approach for assessing and mitigating OWED impacts on marine birds that may be adapted to existing regulatory frameworks in regions with existing or planned OWED.
Trends in vegetation and height of the topographic surface in a tidal freshwater swamp experiencing rooting zone saltwater intrusion
Released November 10, 2022 07:56 EST
2022, Ecological Applications (145)
Beth Middleton, John L. David
A decrease in the ground surface height of coastal wetlands is of worldwide concern because of its relationship to peat loss, coastal carbon, and biodiversity in freshwater wetlands. We asked if it is possible to determine indicators of impending transitions of freshwater swamps to other coastal types by examining long-term changes in the environment and vegetation. In a tidal Taxodium distichum swamp in Hickory Point State Forest, Maryland, the topographic surface height (ground surface height) decreased by as much as 25.6 ± 2.2 to 50.8 ± 3.8 cm at two Surface Elevation Tables from 2015 to 2021 following salinity intrusion events related to hurricanes and offshore storms (e.g., Hurricane Melissa). In 2019, rooting zone salinity exceeded 5 ppt for >24.9 % of the time, with a maximum salinity level of 12.5 ppt. Tree growth of T. distichum trees declined and 60 % of these trees died along a 4 m wide × 125 m transect in 2014–2016. Root biomass and ground surface height decreased roughly in conjunction with a salinity pulse in the rooting zone during Hurricane Melissa in 2019. Saplings survived but T. distichum seedlings were uncommon and did not survive in the study area. Typha × glauca increased in cover (0.2 to 5.6 % cover plot−1) from 2014 to 2016 so a vegetation shift toward T. × glauca was apparent by 2021. This work captures a multi-year trend of decreasing ground surface height, tree growth and health, and freshwater status in the rooting zone that may be an indicator of impending vegetation transition.
Effect of uncertainty of discharge data on uncertainty of discharge simulation for the Lake Michigan Diversion, northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana
Released November 10, 2022 07:15 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5102
David T. Soong, Thomas M. Over
Simulation models of watershed hydrology (also referred to as “rainfall-runoff models”) are calibrated to the best available streamflow data, which are typically published discharge time series at the outlet of the watershed. Even after calibration, the model generally cannot replicate the published discharges because of simplifications of the physical system embedded in the model structure and uncertainties of the input data and of the estimated model parameters, which, although optimized for the given calibration data, remain uncertain. The input data errors are caused by uncertainties in the forcing data, such as precipitation and other climatological data, and in the published discharges used for calibration. In the numerical algorithms used for calibration, the published discharges are often assumed to be without error, but they are themselves uncertain, typically having been computed using ratings, which are models fitted to uncertain discharge measurements.
In this study, uncertainty of published daily discharge data and how the discharge uncertainty is transmitted to the parameter values of the Hydrological Simulation Program–FORTRAN (HSPF) rainfall-runoff model and to the simulated discharge at both calibration and prediction locations were investigated for the Lake Michigan diversion in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. The HSPF model used in this study is used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of quantifying the diversion of water from Lake Michigan by the State of Illinois. In this study, the model is calibrated jointly at two watersheds in the study area; the resulting model is considered the base model in this study. Seven other gaged watersheds in the study area are used for testing predictive simulations. A Bayesian rating curve estimation (BaRatin) approach, the BaRatin stage-period-discharge (SPD) method, was used to estimate the uncertainty of the published discharge from the calibration watersheds. To characterize the effect of the discharge uncertainty on parameter values, the HSPF model parameters were recalibrated to 17 nonrandomly selected pairs of discharge series from the BaRatin SPD analysis. To provide an indicator of the effect of parameter uncertainty to compare to the effect of discharge uncertainty, 1,000 parameter sets also were randomly generated from the estimated parameter covariance matrix of the base model. The recalibrated and random parameter sets were then used in HSPF simulations of discharge at the two calibration watersheds and at the seven prediction watersheds. Selected discharge summary statistics—the period-of-study (POS, water years 1997 to 2015) mean discharge, selected flow-duration curve (FDC) quantiles, and water year mean discharges—are used to characterize the variability between simulated and published discharge.
A normalized variability index (VN) is used as a measure of the uncertainty of flow statistics arising from the uncertainty of the sources considered in this study. When this index is at least 1, the variability of the simulations is large enough to explain the median error between simulated and published values, although offsetting errors from other sources are also likely. When the index is appreciably less than 1, the variability of the simulations is clearly insufficient to explain the median error between simulated and published values. At the two calibration watersheds and for results of the two simulation sets considered together, the VN values ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 for POS mean discharge, from 0.3 to 0.6 in the median for a set of FDC quantiles, and from 0.1 to 0.2 in the median for water year mean discharges. These values indicate that substantial uncertainty remains unexplained. Even though two watersheds were used in calibration, that calibration was highly constrained because it was applied to the watersheds simultaneously and was subject to parameter regularization that constrained the adjustment of the parameters from their initial values. These constraints were applied to avoid overfitting to the calibration watersheds and thus to increase the likelihood that the resulting parameters would give accurate results at watersheds not used in the calibration, but they created a parameter transfer error in the calibration watershed results shown by the balancing of errors between the two watersheds. Additional remaining error sources include model structural error and meteorological forcing error to the degree that the calibration was unable to adjust the parameters to account for these errors. At the prediction watersheds, the corresponding VN values were almost always substantially lower than those values at the calibration watersheds. This result is expected because the prediction watersheds have additional uncertainty, including parameter transfer error.
The work described in this report provides preliminary estimates of a limited range of sources of error in predicted discharge uncertainty. Future work would be beneficial to obtain a better statistical characterization of the effect of the uncertainty of calibration discharge series and to address additional sources of uncertainty, such as from precipitation input data used in calibration and prediction and from structural (model) errors.
Ecological and socioeconomic factors associated with the human burden of environmentally mediated pathogens: A global analysis
Released November 10, 2022 07:10 EST
2022, The Lancet Planetary Health (6) e870-e879
Susanne H. Sokolow, Nicole Nova, Isabel J. Jones, Chelsea L. Wood, Kevin D. Lafferty, Andres Garchitorena, Skylar R. Hopkins, Andrea J Lund, Andrew J MacDonald, Christopher LeBoa, Alison J. Peel, Erin A. Mordecai, Meghan E Howard, Julia C Buck, David Lopez-Carr, Michele Barry, Matthew H Bonds, Giulio A. De Leo
Billions of people living in poverty are at risk of environmentally mediated infectious diseases—that is, pathogens with environmental reservoirs that affect disease persistence and control and where environmental control of pathogens can reduce human risk. The complex ecology of these diseases creates a global health problem not easily solved with medical treatment alone.
We quantified the current global disease burden caused by environmentally mediated infectious diseases and used a structural equation model to explore environmental and socioeconomic factors associated with the human burden of environmentally mediated pathogens across all countries.
We found that around 80% (455 of 560) of WHO-tracked pathogen species known to infect humans are environmentally mediated, causing about 40% (129 488 of 359 341 disability-adjusted life years) of contemporary infectious disease burden (global loss of 130 million years of healthy life annually). The majority of this environmentally mediated disease burden occurs in tropical countries, and the poorest countries carry the highest burdens across all latitudes. We found weak associations between disease burden and biodiversity or agricultural land use at the global scale. In contrast, the proportion of people with rural poor livelihoods in a country was a strong proximate indicator of environmentally mediated infectious disease burden. Political stability and wealth were associated with improved sanitation, better health care, and lower proportions of rural poverty, indirectly resulting in lower burdens of environmentally mediated infections. Rarely, environmentally mediated pathogens can evolve into global pandemics (eg, HIV, COVID-19) affecting even the wealthiest communities.
The high and uneven burden of environmentally mediated infections highlights the need for innovative social and ecological interventions to complement biomedical advances in the pursuit of global health and sustainability goals.
Invasive corallimorpharians at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge are no match for lye and heat
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Stanford University, and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Released November 10, 2022 06:56 EST
2022, Management of Biological Invasions (13) 609-630
Thierry M. Work, Renee Breeden, Robert Rameyer, Vernon Born, Tim Clark, Jeremy Rainal, Chris Gillies, Julia Rose, Alex Wegmann, Stefan Kropidlowski
Invasive marine species are well documented but options to manage them are limited. At Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (Central North Pacific), native invasive corallimorpharians, Rhodactis howesii, have smothered live native corals since 2007. Laboratory and field trials were conducted evaluating two control methods to remove R. howesii overgrowing the benthos at Palmyra Atoll (Palmyra): 1) paste mixed with chlorine, citric acid, or sodium hydroxide (NaOH), and 2) hot water. Paste mixed with NaOH had the most efficacious kill in mesocosm trials and resulted in > 90% kill over a 98 m² area three days after treatment. Hot water at 82°C was most effective in mesocosms; in the field hot water was less effective than paste but still resulted in a kill of ca. 75% over 100 m² three days after treatment. Costs of paste and heat (excluding capital equipment and costs of regulatory approval should this method be deployed large scale) were $70/m² and $59/m² respectively. Invasive R. howesii currently occupy ca 5,800,000 m² of reef at Palmyra with ca. 276,000 m² comprising heavily infested areas. Several potential management strategies are discussed based on costs of treatment, area covered, and the biology of the invasion. The methods described here expand the set of tools available to manage invasive species in complex marine habitats.
Lingering impacts of the 2014-2016 northeast Pacific marine heatwave on seabird demography in Cook Inlet, Alaska (USA)
Released November 10, 2022 06:49 EST
2022, Marine Ecology Progress Series
Sarah K. Schoen, Mayumi L. Arimitsu, Caitlin Elizabeth Marsteller, John F. Piatt
A protracted period (2014-2016) of anomalously warm water in the northeast Pacific Ocean precipitated an extensive die-off of common murres Uria aalge (hereafter ‘murres’) during 2015-2016, accompanied by reduced colony attendance and reproductive success of murres and black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla (‘kittiwakes’) starting in 2015. Most murres died of starvation following a large-scale reduction in abundance and quality of forage fish. To assess murre and kittiwake recovery following the marine heatwave, we monitored their demographics at 2 colonies (Chisik and Gull Islands) in Cook Inlet, Alaska (USA), from 2016 to 2019. Compared to historic data (1995-1999), we observed declines and increased variability in colony attendance and productivity across species and colonies, and predation was widespread. At Chisik, where food limitations were common during historic studies, both species experienced substantial population declines and reproductive failures in all 4 years (2016-2019) following the heatwave. At Gull, a typically productive colony during historic studies, murres failed to fledge chicks for 3 years (2016-2018) following the heatwave. By 2019, murre productivity recovered to about half that observed during historic studies (0.28 vs. 0.54 chicks per pair), but populations had declined by half. Kittiwake population size at Gull declined a quarter from historic counts, and reproduction alternated between complete breeding failures (2016/2018) and high productivity (2017/2019). These multi-year demographic impacts indicate lingering effects of the heatwave on kittiwakes and murres through forage fish depletion and increased predator disturbance, and possibly other stressors. It remains unknown whether populations can rebound to historic levels. If so, recovery would likely take decades.
Growth, survival, and cohort formation of juvenile Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, and Clear Lake Reservoir, California—2020 monitoring report
Released November 09, 2022 14:46 EST
2022, Open-File Report 2022-1099
Barbara A. Martin, Caylen M. Kelsey, Summer M. Burdick, Ryan J. Bart
Populations of federally endangered Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, and Clear Lake Reservoir (hereinafter, Clear Lake), California, are experiencing long-term decreases in abundance. Upper Klamath Lake populations are decreasing not only because of adult mortality, which is relatively low, but also because they are not being balanced by recruitment of young adult suckers into known adult spawning aggregations.
Long-term monitoring of juvenile sucker populations is conducted to (1) determine if there are annual and species-specific differences in production, survival, and growth, (2) better understand when juvenile sucker mortality is greatest, and (3) help identify potential causes of high juvenile sucker mortality particularly in Upper Klamath Lake. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) monitoring program, begun in 2015, tracks cohorts through summer months and among years in Upper Klamath and Clear Lakes. Data on juvenile suckers captured in trap nets are used to provide information on annual variability in age-0 sucker apparent production, juvenile sucker apparent survival, apparent growth, species composition, and health.
Upper Klamath Lake indices of year-class strength suggest that the 2020 age-0 cohort is one of the lowest since standardized monitoring began. Despite apparently low over-winter survival, the relatively large 2019 cohort persisted in our 2020 samples and continues to contribute to the populations. Although the 2019 cohort age-0 suckers were composed mainly of Lost River suckers, the age-1 suckers from the 2019 cohort were mainly shortnose suckers. Lost River suckers comprised the largest proportion of the 2020 year-class and were only captured in July and August. Shortnose suckers were mainly captured in August and September and comprised a smaller proportion of the 2020 year-class.
Age distribution of suckers captured in Clear Lake indicates greater juvenile survival than in Upper Klamath Lake. Most juvenile suckers captured were age-3 and age-4 suckers classified as the combination of Klamath largescale suckers (Catostomus snyderi) and shortnose suckers from the Lost River Basin, from the 2016 and 2017 cohorts. A lack of age-0 suckers captured in Clear Lake during years with the low inflow or lake levels initially lead us to believe that low water prevented spawning and year class formation. However, recent data indicate that some cohorts that were not captured as age-0 suckers were detected in later years at age-1 or age-2. This finding indicates that juvenile suckers in Clear Lake may spend one or more years in the tributaries or that sampling efficacy for age-0 suckers varies among years because of water depth.
The first 5 years of this monitoring program indicated different patterns in recruitment and survival of juvenile suckers between Upper Klamath and Clear Lakes. Since the monitoring program began in 2015, age-0 sucker catch rates, interpreted as indices of year-class strength, were greatest in Upper Klamath Lake in 2016 and 2019. In those years Lost River suckers made up the majority of age-0 sucker catches; however, in 2017 and 2020 the age-1 sucker catches from these cohorts were mainly composed of shortnose suckers or suckers with genetic markers of both Klamath largescale and shortnose suckers, indicating a low overwinter survival for Lost River suckers even when the age-0 catches were high. Age-0 suckers do not fully recruit to our sampling gear in Upper Klamath Lake until August, experience high mortality by September, and are almost undetectable by the following July or August in most years. In Clear Lake, suckers frequently are not captured until age-1 or age-2 and annual survival appears much greater.
Training and capacity building activities of Climate Adaptation Science Centers for the benefit of Tribal and Indigenous communities, 2010–2019
Released November 09, 2022 14:45 EST
2022, General Information Product 217
Tori Pfaeffle, Robin O'Malley, Aparna Bamzai, Stefan Tangen
Tribal nations and Indigenous communities are key collaborators on adaptation work within the Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) network. The centers have partnered with numerous Tribal and Indigenous communities on projects or activities to better understand the communities’ specific knowledge of and exposure to impacts of climate change, to increase or assist with capacity to support adaptation planning, and to identify and address climate science needs. Projects and activities generated in the various CASC regions have different Tribal and Indigenous stakeholders, climate change contexts, and training needs. Consequently, these projects and activities were neither implemented nor reported consistently throughout the network. Information and materials on the various projects and activities were gathered and are presented in the Tribal and Indigenous Projects Data Sheet (hereafter, Data Sheet) with the goals of reducing inconsistencies between CASCs and benefitting other agencies who plan to implement similar activities. The Data Sheet is complementary to this report, which provides a synthesis of the CASC-led climate-related, capacity-building activities for Tribes and Indigenous communities. The results described in this report provide an analysis of the categorization of projects, activities, and individual trainings to highlight detailed information on the various ways each CASC works with and supports Native and Indigenous communities.
Tough places and safe spaces: Can refuges save salmon from a warming climate?
Released November 09, 2022 07:28 EST
2022, Ecosphere (13)
Marcía N Snyder, Nathan H. Schumaker, Jason Dunham, Joseph L. Ebersole, Mathew L Keefer, Jonathan Halama, Randy L Comeleo, Peter Leinenbach, Allen Brookes, Ben Cope, Jennifer Wu, John Palmer
Dispersal limitations increase vulnerability under climate change for reptiles and amphibians in the southwestern United States
The importance of thermal refuges in a rapidly warming world is particularly evident for migratory species, where individuals encounter a wide range of conditions throughout their lives. In this study, we used a spatially explicit, individual-based simulation model to evaluate the buffering potential of cold-water thermal refuges for anadromous salmon and trout (Oncorhynchus spp.) migrating upstream through a warm river corridor that can expose individuals to physiologically stressful temperatures. We considered upstream migration in relation to migratory phenotypes that were defined in terms of migration timing, spawn timing, swim speed, and use of cold-water thermal refuges. Individuals with different migratory phenotypes migrated upstream through riverine corridors with variable availability of cold-water thermal refuges and mainstem temperatures. Use of cold-water refuges (CWRs) decreased accumulated sublethal exposures to physiologically stressful temperatures when measured in degree-days above 20, 21, and 22°C. The availability of CWRs was an order of magnitude more effective in lowering accumulated sublethal exposures under current and future mainstem temperatures for summer steelhead than fall Chinook Salmon. We considered two emergent model outcomes, survival and percent of available energy used, in relation to thermal heterogeneity and migratory phenotype. Mean percent energy loss attributed to future warmer mainstem temperatures was at least two times larger than the difference in energy used in simulations without CWRs for steelhead and salmon. We also found that loss of CWRs reduced the diversity of energy-conserving migratory phenotypes when we examined the variability in entry timing and travel time outside of CWRs in relation to energy loss. Energy-conserving phenotypic space contracted by 7%–23% when CWRs were unavailable under the current thermal regime. Our simulations suggest that, while CWRs do not entirely mitigate for stressful thermal exposures in mainstem rivers, these features are important for maintaining a diversity of migration phenotypes. Our study suggests that the maintenance of diverse portfolios of migratory phenotypes and cool- and cold-water refuges might be added to the suite of policies and management actions presently being deployed to improve the likelihood of Pacific salmonid persistence into a future characterized by climate change.
Released November 09, 2022 07:17 EST
2022, Journal of Wildlife Management
Rich Inman, Todd C. Esque, Kenneth E. Nussear
Groundwater budgets for the Big Lost River Basin, south-central Idaho, 2000–19
Species conservation plans frequently rely on information that spans political and administrative boundaries, especially when predictions are needed of future habitat under climate change; however, most species conservation plans and their requisite predictions of future habitat are often limited in geographical scope. Moreover, dispersal constraints for species of concern are not often incorporated into distribution models, which can result in overly optimistic predictions of future habitat. We used a standard modeling approach across a suite of 23 taxa of amphibians and reptiles in the North American deserts (560,024 km2 across 13 ecoregions) to assess impacts of climate change on habitat and combined landscape population dispersal simulations with species distribution modeling to reduce the risk of predicting future habitat in areas that are not available to species given their dispersal abilities. We used 3 general circulation models and 2 representative concentration pathways (RCPs) to represent multiple scenarios of future habitat potential and assess which study species may be most vulnerable to changes forecasted under each climate scenario. Amphibians were the most vulnerable taxa, but the most vulnerable species tended to be those with the lowest dispersal ability rather than those with the most specialized niches. Under the most optimistic climate scenario considered (RCP 2.6; a stringent scenario requiring declining emissions from 2020 to near zero emissions by 2100), 76% of the study area may experience a loss of >20% of the species examined, while up to 87% of the species currently present may be lost in some areas under the most pessimistic climate scenario (RCP 8.5; a scenario wherein greenhouse gases continue to increase through 2100 based on trajectories from the mid-century). Most areas with high losses were concentrated in the Arizona and New Mexico Plateau ecoregion, the Edwards Plateau in Texas, and the Southwestern Tablelands in New Mexico and Texas, USA. Under the most pessimistic climate scenario, all species are predicted to lose some existing habitat, with an average of 34% loss of extant habitat across all species. Even under the most optimistic scenario, we detected an average loss of 24% of extant habitat across all species, suggesting that changing climates may influence the ranges of reptiles and amphibians in the Southwest.
Released November 09, 2022 06:54 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5078-C
Lauren M. Zinsser, editor(s)
The Big Lost River Basin, located in parts of Butte and Custer Counties in south-central Idaho, supports the communities surrounding the cities of Arco, Leslie, Mackay, and Moore and provides for agricultural resources that depend on a sustainable supply of surface water from the Big Lost River and its tributaries and groundwater from an unconfined aquifer. The aquifer, situated in a structurally controlled intermontane valley, is composed of unconsolidated alluvium, consolidated sedimentary and volcanic rocks, and younger interbedded volcanic rocks.
This report presents two separate groundwater budgets for the aquifer, one above and one below Mackay Dam, as well as a combined groundwater budget for the aquifer within the entire Big Lost River Basin. The budgets span a 20-year period (2000–19), characterizing average conditions, a dry year (2014), and a wet year (2017). The groundwater budgets will help address questions regarding the availability of groundwater supply in the Big Lost River Basin and inform future groundwater modeling. The Idaho Geological Survey has prepared the groundwater budgets as part of a larger hydrogeologic investigation completed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Idaho Geological Survey in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Water Resources during 2018–21. Other reports describe the hydrogeologic framework and several streamflow-measurement events to evaluate gains and losses on the Big Lost River. Collectively, these reports provide an updated characterization of groundwater resources in the Big Lost River Basin which will help address water resources challenges.
A groundwater budget is a conceptual and numerical accounting of inflow (recharge) to groundwater and outflow (discharge) from groundwater. The predominant sources of recharge to the aquifer include losing river reaches (33 percent), areal recharge (as precipitation less evapotranspiration and surface runoff, comprising about 23 percent of the total inflow), tributary canyon underflow from higher altitudes (20 percent), canal seepage (13 percent), recharge through applied irrigation on fields below the root zone and other minor sources (11 percent), and Mackay Reservoir seepage (less than 1 percent). The primary sources of discharge from the aquifer are groundwater pumpage to meet irrigation demand, domestic supply, and municipal supply (76 percent) and gaining river reaches (24 percent).
The positive or negative difference between the sum of all inflows and outflows is regarded as the residual, representing the change in groundwater storage, groundwater outflow from the basin or subbasins, and uncertainty and errors in the budget. In the Big Lost River Basin, groundwater outflow is at the mouth of the basin below Arco into the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer.
The total mean annual estimated recharge to the Big Lost River Basin was 439,100 acre-feet per year (acre-ft/yr; 607 cubic feet per second [ft3/s]) for 2000–19, 373,900 acre-ft/yr (516 ft3/s) in 2014, and 762,100 acre-ft/yr (1,053 ft3/s) in 2017. The mean annual estimated groundwater discharge from the aquifer was about 112,300 acre-ft/yr (155 ft3/s) for 2000–19, 153,500 acre-ft/yr (212 ft3/s) in 2014, and 53,400 acre-ft/yr (74 ft3/s) in 2017. The estimated mean annual groundwater residual was 326,800 acre-ft/yr (451 ft3/s) for 2000–19, 220,400 acre-ft/yr (304 ft3/s) in 2014, and 708,700 acre-ft/yr (979 ft3/s) in 2017. The mean annual residual above Mackay Dam was 100,400 acre-ft/yr (2000-19), 96,700 acre-ft (2014), and 248,300 acre-ft (2017). The mean annual residual contribution below Mackay Dam, minus any groundwater-flow above Mackay Dam, was 226,400 acre-ft/yr (2000-19), 123,700 acre-ft (2014), and 460,400 acre-ft (2017).
These results are highly sensitive to assumptions about certain budget inflow parameters. In particular, the magnitude of the budget residuals during especially dry and wet periods is amplified by the groundwater-budget terms tributary streamflow and tributary underflow that contribute appreciable recharge but also have high uncertainty.
The results of the groundwater-budget evaluation describe an interconnected and complex hydrologic response throughout the basin to various climatic and water-use trends. The part of the basin above Mackay Dam typically has a positive groundwater residual derived from snowmelt recharge to tributary canyons and areal recharge in excess of groundwater pumpage for irrigation demand. This supply is used to meet irrigation demand above Mackay Dam and to provide for water supply below Mackay Dam. On average, groundwater inflow from above Mackay Dam to below Mackay Dam, assuming negligible reservoir storage effects, accounts for about 25 percent of the total groundwater recharge below Mackay Dam. Considerable recharge to groundwater below Mackay Dam occurs through seepage from the Big Lost River and canals and ditches. Most groundwater discharge from the aquifer is through irrigation pumping. The water supply below Mackay Dam is highly dependent on available upstream surface-water flows, the magnitude of the groundwater residual from above Mackay Dam, and annual variability in local groundwater conditions.
Flyway-scale GPS tracking reveals migratory routes and key stopover and non-breeding locations of lesser yellowlegs
Released November 09, 2022 06:12 EST
2022, Ecology and Evolution: Nature Notes (12)
Laura Anne McDuffie, Katherine S. Christie, Audrey R. Taylor, Erica Nol, Christian Friis, Christopher M. Harwood, Jennie Rausch, Benoit Laliberte, Callie Gesmundo, James R. Wright, James A. Johnson
Suspended-sediment transport and water management, Jemez Canyon Dam, New Mexico, 1948–2018
Many populations of long-distance migrant shorebirds are declining rapidly. Since the 1970s, the lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) has experienced a pronounced reduction in abundance of ~63%. The potential causes of the species' decline are complex and interrelated. Understanding the timing of migration, seasonal routes, and important stopover and non-breeding locations used by this species will aid in directing conservation planning to address potential threats. During 2018–2022, we tracked 118 adult lesser yellowlegs using GPS satellite tags deployed on birds from five breeding and two migratory stopover locations spanning the boreal forest of North America from Alaska to Eastern Canada. Our objectives were to identify migratory routes, quantify migratory connectivity, and describe key stopover and non-breeding locations. We also evaluated predictors of southbound migratory departure date and migration distance. Individuals tagged in Alaska and Central Canada followed similar southbound migratory routes, stopping to refuel in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America, whereas birds tagged in Eastern Canada completed multi-day transoceanic flights covering distances of >4000 km across the Atlantic between North and South America. Upon reaching their non-breeding locations, lesser yellowlegs populations overlapped, resulting in weak migratory connectivity. Sex and population origin were significantly associated with the timing of migratory departure from breeding locations, and body mass at the time of GPS-tag deployment was the best predictor of southbound migratory distance. Our findings suggest that lesser yellowlegs travel long distances and traverse numerous political boundaries each year, and breeding location likely has the greatest influence on migratory routes and therefore the threats birds experience during migration. Further, the species' dependence on wetlands in agricultural landscapes during migration and the non-breeding period may make them vulnerable to threats related to agricultural practices, such as pesticide exposure.
Released November 08, 2022 11:41 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5081
Jeb E. Brown, Anne-Marie Matherne, Justin K. Reale, Keely E. Miltenberger
Construction and operation of dams provide sources of clean drinking water, support large-scale irrigation, generate hydroelectricity, control floods, and improve river navigation. Yet these benefits are not without cost. Dams affect the natural flow regime, downstream sediment fluxes, and riverine and riparian ecosystems. The Jemez Canyon Dam in New Mexico was constructed in 1953 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with authorizations for flood control and sediment retention. Water managers of the dam use various operational techniques to restore peak streamflow, improve sediment management, and restore altered ecosystem processes, while maintaining the authorized purposes of the dam. This study focuses on four distinct reservoir management operation periods implemented at the Jemez Canyon Dam: (1) predam (pre-1953), (2) a seasonal 24-hour hold pool (1953–79), (3) a permanent pool (1979–2001), and (4) dry reservoir (2001–18).
Results of this study indicate successful flood control and reduction in peak instantaneous streamflow events following construction of the dam, specifically documented in 1958 and 2013. During the second water management operation period, moderate sediment retention (also defined as trap efficiency, which is the percentage of incoming sediments trapped within a reservoir during a given time) occurred (between 41.0 and 67.0 percent of sediments were retained). During the third period (1979–2001), between 61.2 and 99.8 percent of sediments were retained. During the fourth period (2001–18), at least 1,909 acre-feet of accumulated sediment were remobilized. The estimated dam trap efficiency during the fourth water management operation period was −37.2 percent, indicating that more sediments were being removed from the Jemez Canyon Reservoir than were being deposited. These remobilized sediments supplemented the natural sediment delivery in the Jemez River to the middle Rio Grande. The current (2022) dry reservoir operation allows sediment delivery during periods when flooding is not a concern while still providing flood control when needed.
Suspended-sediment particle size data indicate potential coarsening of suspended sediments during the fourth water management operation period, likely resulting from erosion of coarse bed sediments deposited in the reservoir. Suspended-sediment particle size data during the first and fourth water management operation periods indicate that finer sediment mobilized during monsoon season than during snowmelt. Also, suspended-sediment concentrations during the predam and post-hold pool periods indicate concentrations were higher during monsoon season than during snowmelt. Seasonal variations in suspended-sediment concentration and particle size may help dam managers make operational decisions by increasing the understanding of particle size, concentration, and variation of suspended sediment during a given year. The seasonality of suspended-sediment transport can also vary, depending not only on concentration and particle size, but on precipitation. The maximum annual suspended-sediment loads occurred during all three seasonal categories analyzed in this study: snowmelt, monsoon, and the remainder of the year. This indicates that, in addition to sediment particle size and concentration, understanding the variability of transport mechanisms of suspended-sediment load can also guide optimal water management operations at a dam.
Vegetation map for the Seboeis Unit of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Released November 08, 2022 10:27 EST
2022, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5078
Andrew C. Strassman, Kevin D. Hop, Stephanie R. Sattler, Justin Schlawin, Don Cameron
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, located in the forests of central Maine, is a newly (2016) established unit for the National Park Service. To better understand the condition of lands within the monument and inform management planning, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument resource managers wanted better information of the vegetation present within the monument. To meet this need, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center worked with ecologists at the Maine Natural Areas Program to catalog and map the vegetation of the Seboeis Unit of the monument. This report details this process, provides results of the survey and mapping efforts, presents results in the form of a vegetation map for the Seboeis Unit, and provides vegetation descriptions and a dichotomous key for the entire Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
Mapping 2-D bedload rates throughout a sand-bed river reach from high-resolution acoustical surveys of migrating bedforms
Released November 08, 2022 06:50 EST
2022, Water Resources Research (58)
Jérôme Le Coz, Emeline Perret, Benoît Camenen, David Topping, Daniel D. Buscombe, Kate C.P. Leary, Guillaume Dramais, Paul Grams
This paper introduces a method for determining spatially-distributed, 2-D bedload rates using repeat, high-resolution surveys of the bed topography. As opposed to existing methods, bedform parameters and bedload rates are computed from bed elevation profiles interpolated along the local bedform velocities. The bedform velocity fields are computed applying Large-Scale Particle Image Velocimetry, initially developed for surface velocity measurements, to pairs of successive Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The bathymetry data are interpolated along the direction of each bedform velocity and the mean height of the closest bedform is computed. The dune shape factor is also evaluated along each bedform direction of travel. The local bedload fluxes can be computed by multiplying the bedform velocity by its mean height averaged over the successive two DEMs, and they can be time-averaged over a series of DEM pairs. This method is applied to a high-resolution acoustical survey of an approximately 300 m long by 40 m wide reach of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon upstream from Diamond Creek, USA. The repeat period was about 6–10 min and bed elevation was interpolated every 0.25 m. The obtained results provide insight to the spatial and temporal variability of bedload rates, bedform parameters and bedload fluxes through cross-sections. The method can be applied to other repeated acoustical surveys of river reaches provided that the space and time resolutions are high enough to capture the local movement of bedforms.