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Trends in the quality of water in New Jersey streams, water years 1971–2011

Released February 27, 2017 10:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5176

R. Edward Hickman, Robert M. Hirsch

In a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission, trend tests were conducted on selected water-quality characteristics measured at stations on streams in New Jersey during selected periods over water years 1971‒2011. Tests were conducted on 3 nutrients (total nitrogen, filtered nitrate plus nitrite, and total phosphorus) at 28 water-quality stations. At 4 of these stations, tests were also conducted on 3 measures of major ions (specific conductance, filtered chloride, and total dissolved solids).

Two methods were used to identify trends—Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) models and seasonal rank-sum tests. For this report, the use of WRTDS models included the use of the WRTDS Bootstrap Test (WBT). WRTDS models identified trends in flow-normalized annual concentrations and flow-normalized annual fluxes over water years 1980‒2011 and 2000‒11 for each nutrient, filtered chloride, and total dissolved solids. WRTDS models were developed for each nutrient at the 20 or 21 stations at which streamflow was measured or estimated. Trends in nutrient concentration were reported for these stations; trends in nutrient fluxes were reported only for 15–17 of these stations.

The results of WRTDS models for water years 1980‒2011 identified more stations with downward trends in concentrations of either total nitrogen or total phosphorus than upward trends. For total nitrogen, there were downward trends at 9 stations and an upward trend at 1 station. For total phosphorus, there were downward trends at 8 stations and an upward trend at 1 station. For filtered nitrate plus nitrite, there were downward trends at 6 stations and upward trends at 6 stations. The result of the trend test in flux for a selected nutrient at a selected station (downward trend, no trend, or upward trend) usually matched the trend result in concentration.

Seasonal rank-sum tests, the second method used, identified step trends in water-quality measured in different decades—1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Tests were conducted on all nutrients at 28 stations and on all measures of major ions at the 4 selected stations. Results of seasonal rank-sum tests between the 1980s and the 2000s identified more stations with downward trends in concentrations of total nitrogen (14) than stations with upward trends (2) and more stations with downward trends in concentrations of total phosphorus (18) than stations with upward trends (1).

A combined dataset of trend results for concentrations over water years 1980‒2011 was created from the results of the two tests for the period. Results of WRTDS models were included in this combined dataset, if available. Otherwise, the results of the seasonal rank-sum tests between water-quality characteristics measured in the 1980s and 2000s were included.

Trend results over water years 1980‒2011 in the combined dataset show that few of the 28 stations had upward trends in concentrations of either total nitrogen or total phosphorus. There were only 2 stations with upward trends in total nitrogen concentration and 1 station with an upward trend in total phosphorus concentration. Results for filtered nitrate plus nitrite show about the same number of stations with upward trends (9) as stations with downward trends (7). Results for all measures of major ions show upward trends at the four stations tested.

Water-quality sampling plan for evaluating the distribution of bigheaded carps in the Illinois Waterway

Released February 27, 2017 08:45 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1019

James J. Duncker, Paul J. Terrio

The two nonnative invasive bigheaded carp species (bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and silver carp H. molitrix) that were accidentally released in the 1970s have spread widely into the rivers and waterways of the Mississippi River Basin. First detected in the lower reaches of the Illinois Waterway (IWW, the combined Illinois River-Des Plaines River-Chicago Area Waterway System) in the 1990s, bighead and silver carps moved quickly upstream, approaching the Chicago Area Waterway System. The potential of substantial negative ecological and economic impact to the Great Lakes from the presence of these species is a concern. However, since 2006, the population front of bigheaded carps has remained in the vicinity of Joliet, Illinois, near river mile 278. This reach of the IWW is characterized by stark changes in habitat, water quality, and food resources as the waterway transitions from a primarily agricultural landscape to a metropolitan and industrial canal system. This report describes a 2015 plan for sampling the IWW to establish water-quality conditions that might be contributing to the apparent stalling of the population front of bigheaded carps in this reach. A detailed description of the study plan, Lagrangian-style sampling approach, selected analytes, sampling methods and protocols are provided. Hydrographs from streamflow-gaging stations show IWW conditions during the 2015 sampling runs.

Geochemistry and hydrology of perched groundwater springs: assessing elevated uranium concentrations at Pigeon Spring relative to nearby Pigeon Mine, Arizona (USA)

Released February 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrogeology Journal (25) 539-556

Kimberly R. Beisner, Nicholas Paretti, Fred Tillman, David L. Naftz, Donald Bills, Katie Walton-Day, Tanya J. Gallegos

The processes that affect water chemistry as the water flows from recharge areas through breccia-pipe uranium deposits in the Grand Canyon region of the southwestern United States are not well understood. Pigeon Spring had elevated uranium in 1982 (44 μg/L), compared to other perched springs (2.7–18 μg/L), prior to mining operations at the nearby Pigeon Mine. Perched groundwater springs in an area around the Pigeon Mine were sampled between 2009 and 2015 and compared with material from the Pigeon Mine to better understand the geochemistry and hydrology of the area. Two general groups of perched groundwater springs were identified from this study; one group is characterized by calcium sulfate type water, low uranium activity ratio 234U/238U (UAR) values, and a mixture of water with some component of modern water, and the other group by calcium-magnesium sulfate type water, higher UAR values, and radiocarbon ages indicating recharge on the order of several thousand years ago. Multivariate statistical principal components analysis of Pigeon Mine and spring samples indicate Cu, Pb, As, Mn, and Cd concentrations distinguished mining-related leachates from perched groundwater springs. The groundwater potentiometric surface indicates that perched groundwater at Pigeon Mine would likely flow toward the northwest away from Pigeon Spring. The geochemical analysis of the water, sediment and rock samples collected from the Snake Gulch area indicate that the elevated uranium at Pigeon Spring is likely related to a natural source of uranium upgradient from the spring and not likely related to the Pigeon Mine.

A manual to identify sources of fluvial sediment

Released February 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Allen Gellis, Faith Fitzpatrick, Joseph Schubauer-Berigan

Sediment is an important pollutant of concern that can degrade and alter aquatic habitat. A sediment budget is an accounting of the sources, storage, and export of sediment over a defined spatial and temporal scale. This manual focuses on field approaches to estimate a sediment budget. We also highlight the sediment fingerprinting approach to attribute sediment to different watershed sources. Determining the sources and sinks of sediment is important in developing strategies to reduce sediment loads to water bodies impaired by sediment. Therefore, this manual can be used when developing a sediment TMDL requiring identification of sediment sources.

The manual takes the user through the seven necessary steps to construct a sediment budget:

  1. Decision-making for watershed scale and time period of interest
  2. Familiarization with the watershed by conducting a literature review, compiling background information and maps relevant to study questions, conducting a reconnaissance of the watershed
  3. Developing partnerships with landowners and jurisdictions
  4. Characterization of watershed geomorphic setting
  5. Development of a sediment budget design
  6. Data collection
  7. Interpretation and construction of the sediment budget
  8. Generating products (maps, reports, and presentations) to communicate findings.

Sediment budget construction begins with examining the question(s) being asked and whether a sediment budget is necessary to answer these question(s). If undertaking a sediment budget analysis is a viable option, the next step is to define the spatial scale of the watershed and the time scale needed to answer the question(s). Of course, we understand that monetary constraints play a big role in any decision.

Early in the sediment budget development process, we suggest getting to know your watershed by conducting a reconnaissance and meeting with local stakeholders. The reconnaissance aids in understanding the geomorphic setting of the watershed and potential sources of sediment. Identifying the potential sediment sources early in the design of the sediment budget will help later in deciding which tools are necessary to monitor erosion and/or deposition at these sources. Tools can range from rapid inventories to estimate the sediment budget or quantifying sediment erosion, deposition, and export through more rigorous field monitoring. In either approach, data are gathered and erosion and deposition calculations are determined and compared to the sediment export with a description of the error uncertainty. Findings are presented to local stakeholders and management officials.

Sediment fingerprinting is a technique that apportions the sources of fine-grained sediment in a watershed using tracers or fingerprints. Due to different geologic and anthropogenic histories, the chemical and physical properties of sediment in a watershed may vary and often represent a unique signature (or fingerprint) for each source within the watershed. Fluvial sediment samples (the target sediment) are also collected and exhibit a composite of the source properties that can be apportioned through various statistical techniques. Using an unmixing-model and error analysis, the final apportioned sediment is determined.

Nature vs. nurture: Evidence for social learning of conflict behaviour in grizzly bears

Released February 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, PLoS ONE (11)

Andrea T. Morehouse, Tabitha A. Graves, Nathaniel Mikle, Mark S. Boyce

The propensity for a grizzly bear to develop conflict behaviours might be a result of social learning between mothers and cubs, genetic inheritance, or both learning and inheritance. Using non-invasive genetic sampling, we collected grizzly bear hair samples during 2011–2014 across southwestern Alberta, Canada. We targeted private agricultural lands for hair samples at grizzly bear incident sites, defining an incident as an occurrence in which the grizzly bear caused property damage, obtained anthropogenic food, or killed or attempted to kill livestock or pets. We genotyped 213 unique grizzly bears (118 M, 95 F) at 24 microsatellite loci, plus the amelogenin marker for sex. We used the program COLONY to assign parentage. We evaluated 76 mother-offspring relationships and 119 father-offspring relationships. We compared the frequency of problem and non-problem offspring from problem and non-problem parents, excluding dependent offspring from our analysis. Our results support the social learning hypothesis, but not the genetic inheritance hypothesis. Offspring of problem mothers are more likely to be involved in conflict behaviours, while offspring from non-problem mothers are not likely to be involved in incidents or human-bear conflicts themselves (Barnard’s test, p = 0.05, 62.5% of offspring from problem mothers were problem bears). There was no evidence that offspring are more likely to be involved in conflict behaviour if their fathers had been problem bears (Barnard’s test, p = 0.92, 29.6% of offspring from problem fathers were problem bears). For the mother-offspring relationships evaluated, 30.3% of offspring were identified as problem bears independent of their mother’s conflict status. Similarly, 28.6% of offspring were identified as problem bears independent of their father’s conflict status. Proactive mitigation to prevent female bears from becoming problem individuals likely will help prevent the perpetuation of conflicts through social learning.

Relations between altered stramflow variability and fish assemblages in Eastern USA streams

Released February 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2012, River Research and Applications (28) 1359-1368

Michael R. Meador, Daren M. Carlisle

Although altered streamflow has been implicated as a major factor affecting fish assemblages, understanding the extent of streamflow alteration has required quantifying attributes of the natural flow regime. We used predictive models to quantify deviation from expected natural streamflow variability for streams in the eastern USA. Sites with >25% change in mean daily streamflow variability compared with what would be expected in a minimally disturbed environment were defined as having altered streamflow variability, based on the 10th and 90th percentiles of the distribution of streamflow variability at 1279 hydrological reference sites. We also used predictive models to assess fish assemblage condition and native species loss based on the proportion of expected native fish species that were observed. Of the 97 sites, 49 (50.5%) were classified as altered with reduced streamflow variability, whereas no sites had increased streamflow variability. Reduced streamflow variability was related to a 35% loss in native fish species, on average, and a >50% loss of species with a preference for riffle habitats. Conditional probability analysis indicated that the probability of fish assemblage impairment increased as the severity of altered streamflow variability increased. Reservoir storage capacity and wastewater discharges were important predictors of reduced streamflow variability as revealed by random forest analysis. Management and conservation of streams will require careful consideration of natural streamflow variation and potential factors contributing to altered streamflow within the entire watershed to limit the loss of critical stream habitats and fish species uniquely adapted to live in those habitats.

Water resources of Iberia Parish, Louisiana

Released February 24, 2017 16:30 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2016-3100

Vincent E. White, Lawrence B. Prakken


Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-resource management. This fact sheet summarizes the availability, past and current use, use trends, and water quality from groundwater and surface-water sources in the parish for water managers, parish residents, and others to assist in stewardship of this vital resource. Previously published reports and data stored in the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System are the primary sources of the information presented here.

In 2010, about 31.24 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, including about 23.13 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 8.11 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for public supply and industrial use each accounted for about 32 percent of the total water withdrawn. Other water-use categories included rural domestic, livestock, rice irrigation, general irrigation, and aquaculture. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 indicated that water withdrawals in Iberia Parish peaked at about 58.57 Mgal/d in 1975.

Water resources of Concordia Parish, Louisiana

Released February 24, 2017 15:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2016-3099

Vincent E. White


Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. Information on the availability, past and current use, use trends, and water quality from groundwater and surface-water sources in the parish is presented. Previously published reports and data stored in the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System are the primary sources of the information presented here.

In 2010, over 50 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Concordia Parish, including about 28.7 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 22.3 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for agricultural use, composed of livestock, rice irrigation, general irrigation, and aquaculture accounted for about 77 percent (39.2 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Other categories of use included public supply, power generation, and rural domestic. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 2010.

Water resources of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Released February 24, 2017 12:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2016-3101

Vincent E. White


Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. Information on the availability, past and current use, use trends, and water quality from groundwater and surface-water sources in the parish is presented. Previously published reports and data stored in the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Information System are the primary sources of the information presented here.

In 2010, 30.01 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, including about 22.63 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 7.38 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for agricultural use, composed of aquaculture, general irrigation, livestock, and rice irrigation, accounted for about 93 percent (28.05 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Other categories of use included public supply and rural domestic. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 2000 at 30.99 Mgal/d.

Assessment of coalbed gas resources of the Kalahari Basin Province of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, Africa, 2016

Released February 24, 2017 00:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3003

Michael E. Brownfield, Christopher J. Schenk, Timothy R. Klett, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Tracey J. Mercier, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Kristen R. Marra, Sarah J. Hawkins, Thomas M. Finn, Phuong A. Le, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 4.5 trillion cubic feet of coalbed gas in the Kalahari Basin Province of Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Africa.

Eruptive history, geochronology, and post-eruption structural evolution of the late Eocene Hall Creek Caldera, Toiyabe Range, Nevada

Released February 24, 2017 00:11 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1832

Joseph P. Colgan, Christopher D. Henry

The magmatic, tectonic, and topographic evolution of what is now the northern Great Basin remains controversial, notably the temporal and spatial relation between magmatism and extensional faulting. This controversy is exemplified in the northern Toiyabe Range of central Nevada, where previous geologic mapping suggested the presence of a caldera that sourced the late Eocene (34.0 mega-annum [Ma]) tuff of Hall Creek. This region was also inferred to be the locus of large-magnitude middle Tertiary extension (more than 100 percent strain) localized along the Bernd Canyon detachment fault, and to be the approximate location of a middle Tertiary paleodivide that separated east and west-draining paleovalleys. Geologic mapping, 40Ar/39Ar dating, and geochemical analyses document the geologic history and extent of the Hall Creek caldera, define the regional paleotopography at the time it formed, and clarify the timing and kinematics of post-caldera extensional faulting. During and after late Eocene volcanism, the northern Toiyabe Range was characterized by an east-west trending ridge in the area of present-day Mount Callaghan, probably localized along a Mesozoic anticline. Andesite lava flows erupted around 35–34 Ma ponded hundreds of meters thick in the erosional low areas surrounding this structural high, particularly in the Simpson Park Mountains. The Hall Creek caldera formed ca. 34.0 Ma during eruption of the approximately 400 cubic kilometers (km3) tuff of Hall Creek, a moderately crystal-rich rhyolite (71–77 percent SiO2) ash-flow tuff. Caldera collapse was piston-like with an intact floor block, and the caldera filled with thick (approximately 2,600 meters) intracaldera tuff and interbedded breccia lenses shed from the caldera walls. The most extensive exposed megabreccia deposits are concentrated on or close to the caldera floor in the southwestern part of the caldera. Both silicic and intermediate post-caldera lavas were locally erupted within 400 thousand years of the main eruption, and for the next approximately 10 million years sedimentary rocks and distal tuffs sourced from calderas farther west ponded in the caldera basin surrounding low areas nearby. Patterns of tuff deposition indicate that the area was characterized by east-west trending paleovalleys and ridges in the late Eocene and Oligocene, which permitted tuffs to disperse east-west but limited their north-south extent. Although a low-angle fault contact of limited extent separates Cambrian and Ordovician strata in the southwestern part of the study area, there is no evidence that this fault cuts overlying Tertiary rocks. Total extensional strain across the caldera is on the order of 15 percent, and there is no evidence for progressive tilting of 34–25 Ma rocks that would indicate protracted Eocene–Oligocene extension. The caldera appears to have been tilted as an intact block after 25 Ma, probably during the middle Miocene extensional faulting well documented to the north and south of the study area.

Adapting California’s ecosystems to a changing climate

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, BioScience (65) 247-262

Elizabeth Chornesky, David Ackerly, Paul Beier, Frank Davis, Lorraine E. Flint, Joshua J. Lawler, Peter B. Moyle, Max A. Moritz, Mary Scoonover, Kristin B. Byrd, Pelayo Alvarez, Nicole E. Heller, Elisabeth Micheli, Stuart Weiss

Significant efforts are underway to translate improved understanding of how climate change is altering ecosystems into practical actions for sustaining ecosystem functions and benefits. We explore this transition in California, where adaptation and mitigation are advancing relatively rapidly, through four case studies that span large spatial domains and encompass diverse ecological systems, institutions, ownerships, and policies. The case studies demonstrate the context specificity of societal efforts to adapt ecosystems to climate change and involve applications of diverse scientific tools (e.g., scenario analyses, downscaled climate projections, ecological and connectivity models) tailored to specific planning and management situations (alternative energy siting, wetland management, rangeland management, open space planning). They illustrate how existing institutional and policy frameworks provide numerous opportunities to advance adaptation related to ecosystems and suggest that progress is likely to be greatest when scientific knowledge is integrated into collective planning and when supportive policies and financing enable action.

Baseline aquatic contamination and endocrine status in a resident fish of Biscayne National Park

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Marine Pollution Bulletin (115) 525-533

Timothy A. Bargar, Kevin R.T. Whelan, David Alvarez, Kathy R. Echols, Paul H. Peterman

Surface water, sediment, and fish from Biscayne Bay, coastal wetlands adjacent to the Bay, and canals discharging into the Bay were sampled for determination of baseline contamination in Biscayne National Park. While the number of contaminants detected in canal waters was greater during the wet season than the dry season, no seasonal difference was evident for Biscayne Bay or coastal wetland waters. Estrogen equivalency (as 17β-estradiol equivalents), as predicted by the Yeast Estrogen Screen, for extracts of passive water samplers deployed in canals and wetlands was elevated during the wet relative to the dry season. Generally, contamination in water, sediments, and fish was greater in the canals than in Biscayne Bay and the wetlands. Guideline levels for sediment contaminant were exceeded most frequently in canals relative to the coastal wetlands and the Bay. Further investigation is necessary to better understand the impact of contaminants in Biscayne National Park.

A serosurvey of diseases of free-ranging gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Minnesota

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Michelle Carstensen, John H. Giudice, Erik C. Hildebrand, J. P. Dubey, John Erb, Dan Stark, John Hart, Shannon M. Barber-Meyer, L. David Mech, Steve K. Windels, Andrew J. Edwards

We tested serum samples from 387 free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) from 2007 to 2013 for exposure to eight canid pathogens to establish baseline data on disease prevalence and spatial distribution in Minnesota's wolf population. We found high exposure to canine adenoviruses 1 and 2 (88% adults, 45% pups), canine parvovirus (82% adults, 24% pups), and Lyme disease (76% adults, 39% pups). Sixty-six percent of adults and 36% of pups exhibited exposure to the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum. Exposure to arboviruses was confirmed, including West Nile virus (37% adults, 18% pups) and eastern equine encephalitis (3% adults). Exposure rates were lower for canine distemper (19% adults, 5% pups) and heartworm (7% adults, 3% pups). Significant spatial trends were observed in wolves exposed to canine parvovirus and Lyme disease. Serologic data do not confirm clinical disease, but better understanding of disease ecology of wolves can provide valuable insight into wildlife population dynamics and improve management of these species.

Ecology and space: A case study in mapping harmful invasive species

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Mapping across academia

David T. Barnett, Catherine S. Jarnevich, Geneva W. Chong, Thomas J. Stohlgren, Sunil Kumar, Tracy R. Holcombe

Stanley D. Brunn, Martin Dodge, editor(s)

The establishment and invasion of non-native plant species have the ability to alter the composition of native species and functioning of ecological systems with financial costs resulting from mitigation and loss of ecological services. Spatially documenting invasions has applications for management and theory, but the utility of maps is challenged by availability and uncertainty of data, and the reliability of extrapolating mapped data in time and space. The extent and resolution of projections also impact the ability to inform invasive species science and management. Early invasive species maps were coarse-grained representations that underscored the phenomena, but had limited capacity to direct management aside from development of watch lists for priorities for prevention and containment. Integrating mapped data sets with fine-resolution environmental variables in the context of species-distribution models allows a description of species-environment relationships and an understanding of how, why, and where invasions may occur. As with maps, the extent and resolution of models impact the resulting insight. Models of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) across a variety of spatial scales and grain result in divergent species-environment relationships. New data can improve models and efficiently direct further inventories. Mapping can target areas of greater model uncertainty or the bounds of modeled distribution to efficiently refine models and maps. This iterative process results in dynamic, living maps capable of describing the ongoing process of species invasions.

Measuring urban water conservation policies: Toward a comprehensive index

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of the American Water Resources Association

David Hess, Christopher Wold, Scott C. Worland, George M. Hornberger

This article (1) discusses existing efforts to measure water conservation policies (WCPs) in the United States (U.S.); (2) suggests general methodological guidelines for creating robust water conservation indices (WCIs); (3) presents a comprehensive template for coding WCPs; (4) introduces a summary index, the Vanderbilt Water Conservation Index (VWCI), which is derived from 79 WCP observations for 197 cities for the year 2015; and (5) compares the VWCI to WCP data extracted from the 2010 American Water Works Association (AWWA) Water and Wastewater Rates survey. Existing approaches to measuring urban WCPs in U.S. cities are limited because they consider only a portion of WCPs or they are restricted geographically. The VWCI consists of a more comprehensive set of 79 observations classified as residential, commercial/industrial, billing structure, drought plan, or general. Our comparison of the VWCI and AWWA survey responses indicate reasonable agreement (ρ = 0.76) between the two WCIs for 98 cities where the data overlap. The correlation suggests the AWWA survey responses can provide fairly robust longitudinal WCP information, but we argue the measurement of WCPs is still in its infancy, and our approach suggests strategies for improving existing methods.

Grand challenges in the management and conservation of North American inland fishes and fisheries

Released February 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fisheries (42) 115-124

Abigail Lynch, Steven J. Cooke, Douglas Beard, Yu-Chun Kao, Kai Lorenzen, Andrew M. Song, Micheal S. Allen, Zeenatul Basher, David Bunnell, Edward V. Camp, Ian G. Cowx, Jonathan A. Freedman, Vivian M. Nguyen, Joel K. Nohner, Mark W. Rogers, Zachary A. Siders, William W. Taylor, So-Jung Youn

Even with long-standing management and extensive science support, North American inland fish and fisheries still face many conservation and management challenges. We used a grand challenges approach to identify critical roadblocks that if removed would help solve important problems in the management and long-term conservation of North American inland fish and fisheries. We identified seven grand challenges within three themes (valuation, governance, and externalities) and 34 research needs and management actions. The major themes identified are to (1) raise awareness of diverse values associated with inland fish and fisheries, (2) govern inland fish and fisheries to satisfy multiple use and conservation objectives, and (3) ensure productive inland fisheries given nonfishing sector externalities. Addressing these grand challenges will help the broader community understand the diverse values of inland fish and fisheries, promote open forums for engagement of diverse stakeholders in fisheries management, and better integrate the inland fish sector into the greater water and land use policy process.

Coastal single-beam bathymetry data collected in 2015 from the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

Released February 23, 2017 17:30 EST

2017, Data Series 1039

Chelsea A. Stalk, Nancy T. DeWitt, Julie C. Bernier, Jack G. Kindinger, James G. Flocks, Jennifer L. Miselis, Stanley D. Locker, Kyle W. Kelso, Thomas M. Tuten

As part of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a single-beam bathymetry survey around the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in June 2015. The goal of the program is to provide long-term data on Louisiana’s barrier islands and use this data to plan, design, evaluate, and maintain current and future barrier island restoration projects. The data described in this report, along with (1) USGS bathymetry data collected in 2013 as a part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research project covering the northern Chandeleur Islands, and (2) data collected in 2014 in collaboration with the Louisiana CPRA Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program around Breton Island, will be used to assess bathymetric change since 2006‒2007 as well as serve as a bathymetric control in supporting modeling of future changes in response to restoration and storm impacts. The survey area encompasses approximately 435 square kilometers of nearshore and back-barrier environments around Hewes Point, the Chandeleur Islands, and Curlew and Grand Gosier Shoals. This Data Series serves as an archive of processed single-beam bathymetry data, collected in the nearshore of the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, from June 17‒24, 2015, during USGS Field Activity Number 2015-317-FA. Geographic information system data products include a 200-meter-cell-size interpolated bathymetry grid, trackline maps, and xyz point data files. Additional files include error analysis maps, Field Activity Collection System logs, and formal Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata.

USA National Phenology Network gridded products documentation

Released February 23, 2017 17:15 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1003

Theresa M. Crimmins, R. Lee Marsh, Jeff R. Switzer, Michael A. Crimmins, Katharine L. Gerst, Alyssa H. Rosemartin, Jake F. Weltzin

The goals of the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN, are to advance science, inform decisions, and communicate and connect with the public regarding phenology and species’ responses to environmental variation and climate change. The USA-NPN seeks to facilitate informed ecosystem stewardship and management by providing phenological information freely and openly. One way the USA-NPN is endeavoring to accomplish these goals is by providing data and data products in a wide range of formats, including gridded real-time, short-term forecasted, and historical maps of phenological events, patterns and trends. This document describes the suite of gridded phenologically relevant data products produced and provided by the USA National Phenology Network, which can be accessed at and also through web services at

Hydrology and water quality in 13 watersheds in Gwinnett County, Georgia, 2001–15

Released February 23, 2017 17:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5012

Brent T. Aulenbach, John K. Joiner, Jaime A. Painter

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources, established a Long-Term Trend Monitoring (LTTM) program in 1996. The LTTM program is a comprehensive, long-term, water-quantity and water-quality monitoring program designed to document and analyze the hydrologic and water-quality conditions of selected watersheds in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Water-quality monitoring initially began in six watersheds and currently [2016] includes 13 watersheds.

As part of the LTTM program, streamflow, precipitation, water temperature, specific conductance, and turbidity were measured every 15 minutes for water years 2001–15 at 12 of the 13 watershed monitoring stations and for water years 2010–15 at the other watershed. In addition, discrete water-quality samples were collected seasonally from May through October (summer) and November through April (winter), including one base-flow and three stormflow event composite samples, during the study period. Samples were analyzed for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), total organic carbon, trace elements (total lead and total zinc), total dissolved solids, and total suspended sediment (total suspended solids and suspended-sediment concentrations). The sampling scheme was designed to identify variations in water quality both hydrologically and seasonally.

The 13 watersheds were characterized for basin slope, population density, land use for 2012, and the percentage of impervious area from 2000 to 2014. Several droughts occurred during the study period—water years 2002, 2007–08, and 2011–12. Watersheds with the highest percentage of impervious areas had the highest runoff ratios, which is the portion of precipitation that occurs as runoff. Watershed base-flow indexes, the ratio of base-flow runoff to total runoff, were inversely correlated with watershed impervious area.

Flood-frequency estimates were computed for 13 streamgages in the study area that have 10 or more years of annual peak flow data through water year 2015, using the expected moments algorithm to fit a Pearson Type III distribution to logarithms of annual peak flows. Kendall’s tau nonparametric test was used to determine the statistical significance of trends in the annual peak flows, with none of the 13 streamgages exhibiting significant trends.

A comparison of base-flow and stormflow water-quality samples indicates that turbidity and concentrations of total ammonia plus organic nitrogen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, total organic carbon, total lead, total zinc, total suspended solids, and suspended-sediment concentrations increased with increasing discharge at all watersheds. Specific conductance decreased during stormflow at all watersheds, and total dissolved solids concentrations decreased during stormflow at a few of the watersheds. Total suspended solids and suspended-sediment concentrations typically were two orders of magnitude higher in stormflow samples, turbidities were about 1.5 orders of magnitude higher, total phosphorus and total zinc were about one order of magnitude higher, and total ammonia plus organic nitrogen, total nitrogen, total organic carbon, and total lead were about twofold higher than in base-flow samples.

Seasonality and long-term trends were identified for the period water years 2001–15 for 10 constituents—total nitrogen, total nitrate plus nitrite, total phosphorus, dissolved phosphorus, total organic carbon, total suspended solids, suspended-sediment concentration, total lead, total zinc, and total dissolved solids. Seasonal patterns were present in most watersheds for all constituents except total dissolved solids, and the watersheds had fairly similar patterns of higher concentrations in the summer and lower concentrations in the winter. A linear long-term trend analysis of residual concentrations from the flow-only load estimation model (without time-trend terms) identified significant trends in 67 of the 130 constituent-watershed combinations. Seventy percent of the significant trends were negative. Total organic carbon and total dissolved solids had predominantly positive trends. Total phosphorus, total suspended solids, suspended-sediment concentration, total lead, and total zinc had only negative trends. The other three constituents exhibited fewer trends, both positive and negative.

Streamwater loads were estimated annually for the 13-year period water years 2003–15 for the same 10 constituents in the trend analysis. Loads were estimated using a regression-model-based approach developed by the USGS for the Gwinnett County LTTM program that accommodates the use of storm-event composited samples. Concentrations were modeled as a function of discharge, base flow, time, season, and turbidity to improve model predictions and reduce errors in load estimates. Total suspended solids annual loads have been identified in Gwinnett County’s Watershed Protection Plan for target performance criterion.

Although the amount of annual runoff was the primary factor in variations in annual loads, climatic conditions (classified as dry, average, or wet) affected annual loads beyond what was attributed to climatic-related variations in annual runoff. Significant negative trends in loads were estimated for the combined area of the watersheds for all constituents except dissolved phosphorus, total organic carbon, and total dissolved solids. The trend analysis indicated that total suspended solids and suspended-sediment concentration loads in the study area were decreasing by 57,000 and 87,000 pounds per day per year, respectively.

Variations in constituent yields between watersheds appeared to be related to various watershed characteristics. Suspended sediment (as either total suspended solids or suspended-sediment concentrations), along with constituents transported predominately in solid phase (total phosphorus, total organic carbon, total lead, and total zinc), and total dissolved solids typically had higher yields from watersheds that had high percentages of impervious areas or high basin slope. High total nitrogen yields were also associated with watersheds with high percentages of impervious areas. Low total nitrogen, total suspended solids, total lead, and total zinc yields appeared to be associated with watersheds that had a low percentage of high-density development.

Environmental signatures and effects of an oil and gas wastewater spill in the Williston Basin, North Dakota

Released February 23, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Science of the Total Environment (579) 1781-1793

Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Katherine Skalak, D.B. Kent, Mark A. Engle, Adam J. Benthem, Adam Mumford, Karl B. Haase, Aida M. Farag, David Harper, S. C. Nagel, Luke R. Iwanowicz, William H. Orem, Denise M. Akob, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Joel M. Galloway, Matthias Kohler, Deborah L. Stoliker, Glenn D. Jolly

Wastewaters from oil and gas development pose largely unknown risks to environmental resources. In January 2015, 11.4 M L (million liters) of wastewater (300 g/L TDS) from oil production in the Williston Basin was reported to have leaked from a pipeline, spilling into Blacktail Creek, North Dakota. Geochemical and biological samples were collected in February and June 2015 to identify geochemical signatures of spilled wastewaters as well as biological responses along a 44-km river reach. February water samples had elevated chloride (1030 mg/L) and bromide (7.8 mg/L) downstream from the spill, compared to upstream levels (11 mg/L and < 0.4 mg/L, respectively). Lithium (0.25 mg/L), boron (1.75 mg/L) and strontium (7.1 mg/L) were present downstream at 5–10 times upstream concentrations. Light hydrocarbon measurements indicated a persistent thermogenic source of methane in the stream. Semi-volatile hydrocarbons indicative of oil were not detected in filtered samples but low levels, including tetramethylbenzenes and di-methylnaphthalenes, were detected in unfiltered water samples downstream from the spill. Labile sediment-bound barium and strontium concentrations (June 2015) were higher downstream from the Spill Site. Radium activities in sediment downstream from the Spill Site were up to 15 times the upstream activities and, combined with Sr isotope ratios, suggest contributions from the pipeline fluid and support the conclusion that elevated concentrations in Blacktail Creek water are from the leaking pipeline. Results from June 2015 demonstrate the persistence of wastewater effects in Blacktail Creek several months after remediation efforts started. Aquatic health effects were observed in June 2015; fish bioassays showed only 2.5% survival at 7.1 km downstream from the spill compared to 89% at the upstream reference site. Additional potential biological impacts were indicated by estrogenic inhibition in downstream waters. Our findings demonstrate that environmental signatures from wastewater spills are persistent and create the potential for long-term environmental health effects.

Systematic comparisons between PRISM version 1.0.0, BAP, and CSMIP ground-motion processing

Released February 23, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1020

Erol Kalkan, Christopher Stephens

A series of benchmark tests was run by comparing results of the Processing and Review Interface for Strong Motion data (PRISM) software version 1.0.0 to Basic Strong-Motion Accelerogram Processing Software (BAP; Converse and Brady, 1992), and to California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP) processing (Shakal and others, 2003, 2004). These tests were performed by using the MatLAB implementation of PRISM, which is equivalent to its public release version in Java language. Systematic comparisons were made in time and frequency domains of records processed in PRISM and BAP, and in CSMIP, by using a set of representative input motions with varying resolutions, frequency content, and amplitudes. Although the details of strong-motion records vary among the processing procedures, there are only minor differences among the waveforms for each component and within the frequency passband common to these procedures. A comprehensive statistical evaluation considering more than 1,800 ground-motion components demonstrates that differences in peak amplitudes of acceleration, velocity, and displacement time series obtained from PRISM and CSMIP processing are equal to or less than 4 percent for 99 percent of the data, and equal to or less than 2 percent for 96 percent of the data. Other statistical measures, including the Euclidian distance (L2 norm) and the windowed root mean square level of processed time series, also indicate that both processing schemes produce statistically similar products.

A life cycle database for parasitic acanthocephalans, cestodes, and nematodes

Released February 23, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecology

Daniel P. Benesh, Kevin D. Lafferty, Armand Kuris

Parasitologists have worked out many complex life cycles over the last ~150 years, yet there have been few efforts to synthesize this information to facilitate comparisons among taxa. Most existing host-parasite databases focus on particular host taxa, do not distinguish final from intermediate hosts, and lack parasite life-history information. We summarized the known life cycles of trophically transmitted parasitic acanthocephalans, cestodes, and nematodes. For 973 parasite species, we gathered information from the literature on the hosts infected at each stage of the parasite life cycle (8510 host-parasite species associations), what parasite stage is in each host, and whether parasites need to infect certain hosts to complete the life cycle. We also collected life-history data for these parasites at each life cycle stage, including 2313 development time measurements and 7660 body size measurements. The result is the most comprehensive data summary available for these parasite taxa. In addition to identifying gaps in our knowledge of parasite life cycles, these data can be used to test hypotheses about life cycle evolution, host specificity, parasite life-history strategies, and the roles of parasites in food webs.

Early action to address an emerging wildlife disease

Released February 23, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3013

Michael J. Adams, M. Camille Harris, Daniel A. Grear

A deadly fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) that affects amphibian skin was discovered during a die-off of European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) in 2014. This pathogen has the potential to worsen already severe worldwide amphibian declines. Bsal is a close relative to another fungal disease known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Many scientists consider Bd to be the greatest threat to amphibian biodiversity of any disease because it affects a large number of species and has the unusual ability to drive species and populations to extinction.

Although not yet detected in the United States, the emergence of Bsal could threaten the salamander population, which is the most diverse in the world. The spread of Bsal likely will lead to more State and federally listed threatened or endangered amphibian species, and associated economic effects.

Because of the concern expressed by resource management agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has made Bsal and similar pathogens a priority for research.

Processing and review interface for strong motion data (PRISM) software, version 1.0.0—Methodology and automated processing

Released February 23, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1008

Jeanne Jones, Erol Kalkan, Christopher Stephens

A continually increasing number of high-quality digital strong-motion records from stations of the National Strong-Motion Project (NSMP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as well as data from regional seismic networks within the United States, call for automated processing of strong-motion records with human review limited to selected significant or flagged records. The NSMP has developed the Processing and Review Interface for Strong Motion data (PRISM) software to meet this need. In combination with the Advanced National Seismic System Quake Monitoring System (AQMS), PRISM automates the processing of strong-motion records. When used without AQMS, PRISM provides batch-processing capabilities. The PRISM version 1.0.0 is platform independent (coded in Java), open source, and does not depend on any closed-source or proprietary software. The software consists of two major components: a record processing engine and a review tool that has a graphical user interface (GUI) to manually review, edit, and process records. To facilitate use by non-NSMP earthquake engineers and scientists, PRISM (both its processing engine and review tool) is easy to install and run as a stand-alone system on common operating systems such as Linux, OS X, and Windows. PRISM was designed to be flexible and extensible in order to accommodate new processing techniques. This report provides a thorough description and examples of the record processing features supported by PRISM. All the computing features of PRISM have been thoroughly tested.

Hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization and evaluation of two arroyos for managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in the Pojoaque River Basin, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, 2014–15

Released February 22, 2017 15:30 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5007

Andrew J. Robertson, Jeffrey Cordova, Andrew Teeple, Jason Payne, Rob Carruth

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option. The initial hydrogeologic and geochemical characterization of two arroyos located within the Pojoaque River Basin was performed in 2014 and 2015 in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate the potential suitability of these two arroyos as sites for managed aquifer recharge through surface infiltration.

The selected reaches were high-gradient (average 3.0–3.5 percent) braided channels filled with unconsolidated sand and gravel-sized deposits that were generally 30–50 feet thick. Saturation was not observed in the unconsolidated channel sands in four subsurface borings but was found at 7–60 feet below the contact between the unconsolidated channel sands and the bedrock. The poorly to well-cemented alluvial deposits that make up the bedrock underlying the unconsolidated channel material is the Tesuque Formation. The individual beds of the Tesuque Formation are reported to be highly heterogeneous and anisotropic, and the bedrock at the site was observed to have variable moisture and large changes in lithology. Surface electrical-resistivity geophysical survey methods showed a sharp contrast between the electrically resistive unconsolidated channel sands and the highly conductive bedrock; however, because of the high conductivity, the resistivity methods were not able to image the water table or preferential flow paths (if they existed) in the bedrock.

Infiltration rates measured by double-ring and bulk infiltration tests on a variety of channel morphologies in the study reaches were extremely large (9.7–94.5 feet per day), indicating that the channels could potentially accommodate as much as 6.6 cubic feet per second of applied water without generating surface runoff out of the reach; however, the small volume available for storage in the unconsolidated channel sands (about 410 acre-feet in the east arroyo and about 190 acre-feet in the west arroyo) and the potential for the infiltrating water to preferentially flow over the bedrock contact and out of the reach present a challenge for storing water. Although a detailed assessment of the infiltration rate of the Tesuque Formation is beyond the scope of this investigation, one double-ring infiltrometer test was conducted on an outcrop, resulting in an estimated infiltration rate of about 4 feet per day.

The shallow groundwater observed in this investigation was determined to be recharged locally on the basis of groundwater elevations and geochemical and isotopic signatures. The channel sands and shallow bedrock were observed to be weathered, indicating contact with oxic groundwater following deposition. This observation was supported by whole-rock elemental analysis and mineralogy of several core samples. The downward groundwater gradient between the shallow wells and those wells screened at greater depths suggests that the shallow groundwater is recharged by local precipitation and has the potential to migrate to the deeper aquifer units. The two age-dating tracers measured in this investigation, however, demonstrate that the shallow groundwater flow paths are very slow and that the deeper flow paths are likely part of a larger regional system.

The composition of the shallow, native groundwater suggests that storing water diverted from the Rio Grande is not likely to leach constituents of concern that would cause the stored water to exceed health-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Levels.

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program—2016 year in review

Released February 22, 2017 10:00 EST

2017, Circular 1424

John F. Organ, John D. Thompson, Donald E. Dennerline, Dawn E. Childs


The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units (CRU) Program had a productive year in 2016. Despite vacancies in our scientist ranks exceeding 20 percent, our research, training, and teaching portfolio was full and we graduated 93 students and published 398 manuscripts primarily focused on addressing the real conservation challenges of our cooperators. As I’ve stated before, our mission is our legacy: meeting the actionable science needs of our cooperators, providing them technical guidance and assistance in interpreting and applying new advances in science, and developing the future workforce through graduate education and mentoring. Our scientists and the manner in which they approach our mission continue to inspire me. The most rewarding part of my job is meeting and engaging with the students they recruit—the conservation professionals of the future. I cannot help but feel uplifted after discussions with and presentations by these young men and women. Personally, I owe my place in the profession today to the mentoring I received as a CRU student, and today’s CRU scientists have raised the bar. It gives me hope for the future of conservation, and added motivation to see our vacancies filled so that we can expand our portfolio.

The National Cooperators’ Coalition has been active and is strategically working to build support on our behalf. Sincere thanks to the American Fisheries Society, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Boone and Crockett Club, the National Association of University Fish and Wildlife Programs, the Wildlife Management Institute, and The Wildlife Society for their efforts and those of their affiliated members.

We co-sponsored a workshop at the 2016 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference along with the American Fisheries Society, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Wildlife Management Institute, and The Wildlife Society, titled “Barriers and Bridges in Reconnecting Natural Resources Science and Management.” The workshop was well received and we have been asked to continue the dialogue with a second workshop in 2017. It was evident during the workshop that the CRU is viewed by our cooperators as an important and essential linkage between academia and practitioners. This is testament to the legacy of the CRU Program and the foundation it is built upon. In this Year in Review report, you will find details on staffing, vacancies, research funding, and other pertinent information. You will also see snapshots of CRU projects with information on how results have been or are being applied by cooperators. That is the essence of what we do: science that matters.

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program—2016 year in review postcard

Released February 22, 2017 10:00 EST

2017, General Information Product 170

John F. Organ, John D. Thompson, Don E. Dennerline, Dawn E. Childs

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program—2016 Year in Review postcard

This postcard provides details about the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units (CRU) Program—2016 Year in Review, Circular 1424. This Circular provides information relating to fish and wildlife science, students, staffing, vacancies, research funding, outreach and training, science themes, background on the CRU program, accolades, and professional services. Snapshots of Unit projects with information on how results have been or are being applied by cooperators are included. This is the essence of what we do: science that matters.

Throughout the year, keep up with our research projects at

Sediment transport in the presence of large reef bottom roughness

Released February 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

Andrew Pomeroy, Ryan J. Lowe, Marco Ghisalberti, Curt Storlazzi, Graham Symonds, Dano Roelvink

The presence of large bottom roughness, such as that formed by benthic organisms on coral reef flats, has important implications for the size, concentration, and transport of suspended sediment in coastal environments. A 3 week field study was conducted in approximately 1.5 m water depth on the reef flat at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to quantify the cross-reef hydrodynamics and suspended sediment dynamics over the large bottom roughness (∼20–40 cm) at the site. A logarithmic mean current profile consistently developed above the height of the roughness; however, the flow was substantially reduced below the height of the roughness (canopy region). Shear velocities inferred from the logarithmic profile and Reynolds stresses measured at the top of the roughness, which are traditionally used in predictive sediment transport formulations, were similar but much larger than that required to suspend the relatively coarse sediment present at the bed. Importantly, these stresses did not represent the stresses imparted on the sediment measured in suspension and are therefore not relevant to the description of suspended sediment transport in systems with large bottom roughness. Estimates of the bed shear stresses that accounted for the reduced near-bed flow in the presence of large roughness vastly improved the relationship between the predicted and observed grain sizes that were in suspension. Thus, the impact of roughness, not only on the overlying flow but also on bed stresses, must be accounted for to accurately estimate suspended sediment transport in regions with large bottom roughness, a common feature of many shallow coastal ecosystems.

Electrical guidance efficiency of downstream-migrating juvenile Sea Lamprey decreases with increasing water velocity

Released February 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (146) 299-307

Scott M. Miehls, Nicholas Johnson, Alexander Haro

We tested the efficacy of a vertically oriented field of pulsed direct current (VEPDC) created by an array of vertical electrodes for guiding downstream-moving juvenile Sea Lampreys Petromyzon marinus to a bypass channel in an artificial flume at water velocities of 10–50 cm/s. Sea Lampreys were more likely to be captured in the bypass channel than in other sections of the flume regardless of electric field status (on or off) or water velocity. Additionally, Sea Lampreys were more likely to be captured in the bypass channel when the VEPDC was active; however, an interaction between the effects of VEPDC and water velocity was observed, as the likelihood of capture decreased with increases in water velocity. The distribution of Sea Lampreys shifted from right to left across the width of the flume toward the bypass channel when the VEPDC was active at water velocities less than 25 cm/s. The VEPDC appeared to have no effect on Sea Lamprey distribution in the flume at water velocities greater than 25 cm/s. We also conducted separate tests to determine the threshold at which Sea Lampreys would become paralyzed. Individuals were paralyzed at a mean power density of 37.0 µW/cm3. Future research should investigate the ability of juvenile Sea Lampreys to detect electric fields and their specific behavioral responses to electric field characteristics so as to optimize the use of this technology as a nonphysical guidance tool across variable water velocities.

Record-high specific conductance and water temperature in San Francisco Bay during water year 2015

Released February 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1022

Paul Work, Maureen Downing-Kunz, Daniel Livsey

The San Francisco estuary is commonly defined to include San Francisco Bay (bay) and the adjacent Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta (delta). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has operated a high-frequency (15-minute sampling interval) water-quality monitoring network in San Francisco Bay since the late 1980s (Buchanan and others, 2014). This network includes 19 stations at which sustained measurements have been made in the bay; currently, 8 stations are in operation (fig. 1). All eight stations are equipped with specific conductance (which can be related to salinity) and water-temperature sensors. Water quality in the bay constantly changes as ocean tides force seawater in and out of the bay, and river inflows—the most significant coming from the delta—vary on time scales ranging from those associated with storms to multiyear droughts. This monitoring network was designed to observe and characterize some of these changes in the bay across space and over time. The data demonstrate a high degree of variability in both specific conductance and temperature at time scales from tidal to annual and also reveal longer-term changes that are likely to influence overall environmental health in the bay.

In water year (WY) 2015 (October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015), as in the preceding water year (Downing-Kunz and others, 2015), the high-frequency measurements revealed record-high values of specific conductance and water temperature at several stations during a period of reduced freshwater inflow from the delta and other tributaries because of persistent, severe drought conditions in California. This report briefly summarizes observations for WY 2015 and compares them to previous years that had different levels of freshwater inflow.

Characterization of streamflow, suspended sediment, and nutrients entering Galveston Bay from the Trinity River, Texas, May 2014–December 2015

Released February 21, 2017 14:45 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5177

Zulimar Lucena, Michael T. Lee

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, collected streamflow and water-quality data at USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the lower Trinity River watershed from May 2014 to December 2015 to characterize and improve the current understanding of the quantity and quality of freshwater inflow entering Galveston Bay from the Trinity River. Continuous streamflow records at four USGS streamflow-gaging stations were compared to quantify differences in streamflow magnitude between upstream and downstream reaches of the lower Trinity River. Water-quality conditions were characterized from discrete nutrient and sedi­ment samples collected over a range of hydrologic conditions at USGS streamflow-gaging station 08067252 Trinity River at Wallisville, Tex. (hereinafter referred to as the “Wallisville site”), approximately 4 river miles upstream from where the Trinity River enters Galveston Bay.

Based on streamflow records, annual mean outflow from Livingston Dam into the lower Trinity River was 2,240 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) in 2014 and 22,400 ft3/s in 2015, the second lowest and the highest, respectively, during the entire period of record (1966–2015). During this study, only about 54 percent of the total volume measured at upstream sites was accounted for at the Wallisville site as the Trinity River enters Galveston Bay. This difference in water volumes between upstream sites and the Wallisville site indicates that at high flows a large part of the volume released from Lake Livingston does not reach Galveston Bay through the main channel of the Trinity River. These findings indicate that water likely flows into wetlands and water bodies surrounding the main channel of the Trinity River before reaching the Wallisville site and is being stored or discharged through other channels that flow directly into Galveston Bay.

To characterize suspended-sediment concentrations and loads in Trinity River inflow to Galveston Bay, a regression model was developed to estimate suspended-sediment concentrations by using acoustic backscatter data as a surrogate. The model yielded an adjusted coefficient of determination value of 0.92 and a root mean square error of 1.65 milligrams per liter (mg/L). The mean absolute percentage error between measured and estimated suspended-sediment concentration was 35 percent. During this study, estimated suspended-sediment concentrations ranged from 2 to 701 mg/L, with a mean of 97 mg/L. Suspended-sediment concentrations varied in response to changes in discharge, with peak suspended-sediment concentrations occurring 1 to 2 days before the peak discharge for each event. The total suspended-sediment load at the Wallisville site during May 2014–December 2015 was approximately 2,200,000 tons, with a minimum monthly suspended-sediment load of 100 tons in October 2014 and a maximum monthly load of 441,000 tons in November 2015.

Results from nutrient samples collected at the Wallisville site indicate that total nitrogen and total phosphorus concen­trations fluctuated at a similar rate, with the highest nutrient concentrations occurring during periods of high flow corresponding to releases from Lake Livingston. The mean concen­trations of total nitrogen and total phosphorus were approxi­mately 75 percent higher during high flow releases than during periods of low flow, overshadowing variations in nutrient concentrations caused by seasonality at the Wallisville site.

Results from the study indicate nutrient delivery to Galveston Bay from the main channel of the Trinity River is likely controlled primarily by high-flow releases from Lake Livingston. For most samples collected at the Wallisville site, organic nitrogen was the predominant form of nitrogen; however, when discharge increased because of releases from Lake Livingston, the percentage of organic nitrogen typically decreased and the percentage of nitrate increased. The concentrations of total phosphorus also increased during high-flow events, likely as a result of suspended sediment within Lake Livingston releases and mobilization of sediment particles in the river channel and flood plain during these periods of high flow. The predominant source of phosphorous to Galveston Bay from the Trinity River is in particulate form closely tied to suspended-sediment concentrations. The changes in nutrient concentration and composition caused by releases from Lake Livingston during this study indicate the reservoir may play an important role in the delivery of nutrients into Galveston Bay. Further study is required to better understand the processes in Lake Livingston influencing the characteristics of nutrient and sediment inflow to Galveston Bay. With phosphorous concentrations correlated to suspended-sediment concentra­tions (coefficient of determination value of 0.75) and with the concentrations of nutrients changing as the discharge changes, the diversion of water and suspended sediment into surround­ing wetlands and channels outside of the main channel of the Trinity River may play a large role in regulating nutrient inputs into Galveston Bay.

Analysis of trends of water quality and streamflow in the Blackstone, Branch, Pawtuxet, and Pawcatuck Rivers, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 1979 to 2015

Released February 21, 2017 14:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5178

Jennifer G. Savoie, John R. Mullaney, Gardner C. Bent

Trends in long-term water-quality and streamflow data from six water-quality-monitoring stations within three major river basins in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that flow into Narragansett Bay and Little Narragansett Bay were evaluated for water years 1979–2015. In this study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Water Resources Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, water-quality and streamflow data were evaluated with a Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season smoothing method, which removes the effects of year-to-year variation in water-quality conditions due to variations in streamflow (discharge). Trends in annual mean, annual median, annual maximum, and annual 7-day minimum flows at four continuous streamgages were evaluated by using a time-series smoothing method for water years 1979–2015.

Water quality at all monitoring stations changed over the study period. Decreasing trends in flow-normalized nutrient concentrations and loads were observed during the period at most monitoring stations for total nitrogen, nitrite plus nitrate, and total phosphorus. Average flow-normalized loads for water years 1979–2015 decreased in the Blackstone River by up to 46 percent in total nitrogen, 17 percent in nitrite plus nitrate, and 69 percent in total phosphorus. The other rivers also had decreasing flow-normalized trends in nutrient concentrations and loads, except for the Pawtuxet River, which had an increasing trend in nitrite plus nitrate. Increasing trends in flow-normalized chloride concentrations and loads were observed during the study period at all of the rivers, with increases of more than 200 percent in the Blackstone River.

Small increasing trends in annual mean daily streamflow were observed in 3 of the 4 rivers, with increases of 1.2 to 11 percent; however, the trends were not significant. All 4 rivers had decreases in streamflow for the annual 7-day minimums, but only 3 of the 4 rivers had decreases that were significant (34 to 54 percent). The Branch River had decreasing annual mean daily streamflow (7.5 percent) and the largest decrease in the annual 7-day minimum streamflow. The Blackstone and Pawtuxet Rivers had the largest increases in annual maximum daily flows but had decreases in the annual 7-day minimum flows.

Assessment of Permian coalbed gas resources of the Karoo Basin Province, South Africa and Lesotho, 2016

Released February 21, 2017 11:45 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2016-3103

Christopher J. Schenk, Michael E. Brownfield, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Timothy R. Klett, Tracey J. Mercier, Sarah J. Hawkins, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Kristen R. Marra, Thomas M. Finn, Phuong A. Le, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 5.27 trillion cubic feet of coalbed gas in the Karoo Basin Province.

Female-biased sex ratio, polygyny, and persistence in the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus)

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The Condor (119) 17-25

Barbara E. Kus, Scarlett Howell, Dustin A. Wood

Demographic changes in populations, such as skewed sex ratios, are of concern to conservationists, especially in small populations in which stochastic and other events can produce declines leading to extirpation. We documented a decline in one of the few remaining populations of Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in southern California, USA, which dropped from 40 to 5 adults between 2000 and 2015. Declines were unequal between sexes (94% for males, 82% for females). Adult sex ratios were female-biased in 10 of 16 yr. The proportion of paired males that were polygynous ranged from 0% to 100%, depending on the ratio of females to males in the adult population. Some males paired with up to 5 females simultaneously. We investigated the role of nestling sex ratio in the female-biased adult sex ratio by using genetic techniques to determine sex from blood samples collected from 162 nestlings in 72 nests from 2002 to 2009. Both population-level and within-brood nestling sex ratios were female-biased, and were not influenced by nest order (first or subsequent), parental mating type (monogamous or polygynous), or year. Disproportionately more females than males were recruited into the breeding population, mirroring nestling and fledgling sex ratios. It thus appears that a skewed nestling sex ratio has contributed to a female-biased adult population, which in turn has influenced mating behavior. We propose that the capacity for polygyny, which generally occurs at low levels in Southwestern Willow Flycatchers, has allowed this population to persist through a decline that might otherwise have resulted in extinction.

Fluidized-sediment pipes in Gale crater, Mars, and possible Earth analogs

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geology (45) 7-10

David M. Rubin, A.G. Fairen, J. Frydenvang, O. Gasnault, Guy R. Gelfenbaum, W. Goetz, J.P. Grotzinger, S. Le Mouélic, N. Mangold, H. Newsom, D. Z. Oehler, W. Rapin, J. Schieber, R.C. Wiens

Since landing in Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has traversed fluvial, lacustrine, and eolian sedimentary rocks that were deposited within the crater ∼3.6 to 3.2 b.y. ago. Here we describe structures interpreted to be pipes formed by vertical movement of fluidized sediment. Like many pipes on Earth, those in Gale crater are more resistant to erosion than the host rock; they form near other pipes, dikes, or deformed sediment; and some contain internal concentric or eccentric layering. These structures provide new evidence of the importance of subsurface aqueous processes in shaping the near-surface geology of Mars.

Species interactions and the effects of climate variability on a wetland amphibian metacommunity

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Applications (27) 285-296

Courtney L. Davis, David A.W. Miller, Susan C. Walls, William J. Barichivich, Jeffrey W. Riley, Mary E. Brown

Disentangling the role that multiple interacting factors have on species responses to shifting climate poses a significant challenge. However, our ability to do so is of utmost importance to predict the effects of climate change on species distributions. We examined how populations of three species of wetland-breeding amphibians, which varied in life history requirements, responded to a six-year period of extremely variable precipitation. This interval was punctuated by both extensive drought and heavy precipitation and flooding, providing a natural experiment to measure community responses to environmental perturbations. We estimated occurrence dynamics using a discrete hidden Markov modeling approach that incorporated information regarding habitat state and predator–prey interactions. This approach allowed us to measure how metapopulation dynamics of each amphibian species was affected by interactions among weather, wetland hydroperiod, and co-occurrence with fish predators. The pig frog, a generalist, proved most resistant to perturbations, with both colonization and persistence being unaffected by seasonal variation in precipitation or co-occurrence with fishes. The ornate chorus frog, an ephemeral wetland specialist, responded positively to periods of drought owing to increased persistence and colonization rates during periods of low-rainfall. Low probabilities of occurrence of the ornate chorus frog in long-duration wetlands were driven by interactions with predators due to low colonization rates when fishes were present. The mole salamander was most sensitive to shifts in water availability. In our study area, this species never occurred in short-duration wetlands and persistence probabilities decreased during periods of drought. At the same time, negative effects occurred with extreme precipitation because flooding facilitated colonization of fishes to isolated wetlands and mole salamanders did not colonize wetlands once fishes were present. We demonstrate that the effects of changes in water availability depend on interactions with predators and wetland type and are influenced by the life history of each of our species. The dynamic species occurrence modeling approach we used offers promise for other systems when the goal is to disentangle the complex interactions that determine species responses to environmental variability.

Long-term fish monitoring in large rivers: Utility of “benchmarking” across basins

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fisheries (42) 100-114

David L. Ward, Andrew F. Casper, Timothy D. Counihan, Jennifer M. Bayer, Ian R. Waite, John J. Kosovich, Colin Chapman, Elise R. Irwin, Jennifer S. Sauer, Brian Ickes, Alexa McKerrow

In business, benchmarking is a widely used practice of comparing your own business processes to those of other comparable companies and incorporating identified best practices to improve performance. Biologists and resource managers designing and conducting monitoring programs for fish in large river systems tend to focus on single river basins or segments of large rivers, missing opportunities to learn from those conducting fish monitoring in other rivers. We briefly examine five long-term fish monitoring programs in large rivers in the United States (Colorado, Columbia, Mississippi, Illinois, and Tallapoosa rivers) and identify opportunities for learning across programs by detailing best monitoring practices and why these practices were chosen. Although monitoring objectives, methods, and program maturity differ between each river system, examples from these five case studies illustrate the important role that long-term monitoring programs play in interpreting temporal and spatial shifts in fish populations for both established objectives and newly emerging questions. We suggest that deliberate efforts to develop a broader collaborative network through benchmarking will facilitate sharing of ideas and development of more effective monitoring programs.

Flammability as an ecological and evolutionary driver

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Ecology (105) 289-297

Juli G. Pausas, Jon E. Keeley, Dylan W. Schwilk

  1. We live on a flammable planet yet there is little consensus on the origin and evolution of flammability in our flora.
  2. We argue that part of the problem lies in the concept of flammability, which should not be viewed as a single quantitative trait or metric. Rather, we propose that flammability has three major dimensions that are not necessarily correlated: ignitability, heat release and fire spread rate. These major axes of variation are controlled by different plant traits and have differing ecological impacts during fire.
  3. At the individual plant scale, these traits define three flammability strategies observed in fire-prone ecosystems: the non-flammable, the fast-flammable and the hot-flammable strategy (with low ignitability, high flame spread rate and high heat release, respectively). These strategies increase the survival or reproduction under recurrent fires, and thus, plants in fire-prone ecosystems benefit from acquiring one of them; they represent different (alternative) ways to live under recurrent fires.
  4. Synthesis. This novel framework based on different flammability strategies helps us to understand variability in flammability across scales, and provides a basis for further research.

The importance of building construction materials relative to other factors affecting structure survival during wildfire

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (21) 140-147

Alexandra D. Syphard, Teresa J. Brennan, Jon E. Keeley

Structure loss to wildfire is a serious problem in wildland-urban interface areas across the world. Laboratory experiments suggest that fire-resistant building construction and design could be important for reducing structure destruction, but these need to be evaluated under real wildfire conditions, especially relative to other factors. Using empirical data from destroyed and surviving structures from large wildfires in southern California, we evaluated the relative importance of building construction and structure age compared to other local and landscape-scale variables associated with structure survival. The local-scale analysis showed that window preparation was especially important but, in general, creating defensible space adjacent to the home was as important as building construction. At the landscape scale, structure density and structure age were the two most important factors affecting structure survival, but there was a significant interaction between them. That is, young structure age was most important in higher-density areas where structure survival overall was more likely. On the other hand, newer-construction structures were less likely to survive wildfires at lower density. Here, appropriate defensible space near the structure and accessibility to major roads were important factors. In conclusion, community safety is a multivariate problem that will require a comprehensive solution involving land use planning, fire-safe construction, and property maintenance.

Amphibian dynamics in constructed ponds on a wildlife refuge: developing expected responses to hydrological restoration

Released February 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrobiologia (790) 23-33

Blake R. Hossack

Management actions are based upon predictable responses. To form expected responses to restoration actions, I estimated habitat relationships and trends (2002–2015) for four pond-breeding amphibians on a wildlife refuge (Montana, USA) where changes to restore historical hydrology to the system greatly expanded (≥8 times) the flooded area of the primary breeding site for western toads (Anaxyrus boreas). Additional restoration actions are planned for the near future, including removing ponds that provide amphibian habitat. Multi-season occupancy models based on data from 15 ponds sampled during 7 years revealed that the number of breeding subpopulations increased modestly for Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) and was stationary for long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Pacific treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla). For these three species, pond depth was the characteristic that was associated most frequently with occupancy or changes in colonization and extinction. In contrast, a large decrease in colonization by western toads explained the decline from eight occupied ponds in 2002 to two ponds in 2015. This decline occurred despite an increase in wetland area and the colonization of a newly created pond. These changes highlight the challenges of managing for multiple species and how management responses can be unpredictable, possibly reducing the efficacy of targeted actions.

Molecular characterization of a novel orthomyxovirus from rainbow and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Released February 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Virus Research (230) 38-49

William N. Batts, Scott E LaPatra, Ryan Katona, Eric Leis, Terry Fei Fan Ng, Marine S O Bruieuc, Rachel Breyta, Maureen Purcell, Thomas B Waltzek, Eric Delwart, James Winton

A novel virus, rainbow trout orthomyxovirus (RbtOV), was isolated in 1997 and again in 2000 from commercially-reared rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Idaho, USA. The virus grew optimally in the CHSE-214 cell line at 15°C producing a diffuse cytopathic effect; however, juvenile rainbow trout exposed to cell culture-grown virus showed no mortality or gross pathology. Electron microscopy of preparations from infected cell cultures revealed the presence of typical orthomyxovirus particles. The complete genome of RbtOV is comprised of eight linear segments of single-stranded, negative-sense RNA having highly conserved 5′ and 3′-terminal nucleotide sequences. Another virus isolated in 2014 from steelhead trout (also O. mykiss) in Wisconsin, USA, and designated SttOV was found to have eight genome segments with high amino acid sequence identities (89–99%) to the corresponding genes of RbtOV, suggesting these new viruses are isolates of the same virus species and may be more widespread than currently realized. The new isolates had the same genome segment order and the closest pairwise amino acid sequence identities of 16–42% with Infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), the type species and currently only member of the genus Isavirus in the family Orthomyxoviridae. However, pairwise comparisons of the predicted amino acid sequences of the 10 RbtOV and SttOV proteins with orthologs from representatives of the established orthomyxoviral genera and a phylogenetic analysis using the PB1 protein showed that while RbtOV and SttOV clustered most closely with ISAV, they diverged sufficiently to merit consideration as representatives of a novel genus. A set of PCR primers was designed using conserved regions of the PB1 gene to produce amplicons that may be sequenced for identification of similar fish orthomyxoviruses in the future.

A river-scale Lagrangian experiment examining controls on phytoplankton dynamics in the presence and absence of treated wastewater effluent high in ammonium

Released February 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Limnology and Oceanography

Tamara Kraus, Kurt Carpenter, Brian Bergamaschi, Alexander Parker, Elizabeth Stumpner, Bryan D. Downing, Nicole Travis, Frances Wilkerson, Carol Kendall, Timothy Mussen

Phytoplankton are critical component of the food web in most large rivers and estuaries, and thus identifying dominant controls on phytoplankton abundance and species composition is important to scientists, managers, and policymakers. Recent studies from a variety of systems indicate that ammonium ( math formula) in treated wastewater effluent decreases primary production and alters phytoplankton species composition. However, these findings are based mainly on laboratory and enclosure studies, which may not adequately represent natural systems. To test effects of effluent high in ammonium on phytoplankton at the ecosystem scale, we conducted whole-river–scale experiments by halting discharges to the Sacramento River from the regional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), and used a Lagrangian approach to compare changes in phytoplankton abundance and species composition in the presence (+EFF) and absence (−EFF) of effluent. Over 5 d of downstream travel from 20 km above to 50 km below the WWTP, chlorophyll concentrations declined from 15–25 to ∼2.5 μg L−1, irrespective of effluent addition. Benthic diatoms were dominant in most samples. We found no significant difference in phytoplankton abundance or species composition between +EFF and −EFF conditions. Moreover, greatest declines in chlorophyll occurred upstream of the WWTP where math formula concentrations were low. Grazing by clams and zooplankton could not account for observed losses, suggesting other factors such as hydrodynamics and light limitation were responsible for phytoplankton declines. These results highlight the advantages of conducting ecosystem-scale, Lagrangian-based experiments to understand the dynamic and complex interplay between physical, chemical, and biological factors that control phytoplankton populations.

Trophic interactions and consumption rates of subyearling Chinook Salmon and nonnative juvenile American Shad in Columbia River reservoirs

Released February 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (146) 291-298

Craig A. Haskell, David A. Beauchamp, Stephen M Bollins

We used a large lampara seine coupled with nonlethal gastric lavage to examine the diets and estimate consumption rates of subyearling Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha during July and August 2013. During August we also examined the diet and consumption rates of juvenile American Shad Alosa sapidissima, a potential competitor of subyearling Chinook Salmon. Subyearling Chinook Salmon consumed Daphnia in July but switched to feeding on smaller juvenile American Shad in August. We captured no juvenile American Shad in July, but in August juvenile American Shad consumed cyclopoid and calanoid copepods. Stomach evacuation rates for subyearling Chinook Salmon were high during both sample periods (0.58 h−1 in July, 0.51 h−1 in August), and daily ration estimates were slightly higher than values reported in the literature for other subyearlings. By switching from planktivory to piscivory, subyearling Chinook Salmon gained greater growth opportunity. While past studies have shown that juvenile American Shad reduce zooplankton availability for Chinook Salmon subyearlings, our work indicates that they also become important prey after Daphnia abundance declines. The diet and consumption data here can be used in future bioenergetics modeling to estimate the growth of subyearling Chinook Salmon in lower Columbia River reservoirs.

Early detection monitoring for larval dreissenid mussels: How much plankton sampling is enough?

Released February 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (189) 1-14

Timothy D. Counihan, Stephen M. Bollens

The development of quagga and zebra mussel (dreissenids) monitoring programs in the Pacific Northwest provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a regional invasive species detection effort early in its development. Recent studies suggest that the ecological and economic costs of a dreissenid infestation in the Pacific Northwest of the USA would be significant. Consequently, efforts are underway to monitor for the presence of dreissenids. However, assessments of whether these efforts provide for early detection are lacking. We use information collected from 2012 to 2014 to characterize the development of larval dreissenid monitoring programs in the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington in the context of introduction and establishment risk. We also estimate the effort needed for high-probability detection of rare planktonic taxa in four Columbia and Snake River reservoirs and assess whether the current level of effort provides for early detection. We found that the effort expended to monitor for dreissenid mussels increased substantially from 2012 to 2014, that efforts were distributed across risk categories ranging from high to very low, and that substantial gaps in our knowledge of both introduction and establishment risk exist. The estimated volume of filtered water required to fully census planktonic taxa or to provide high-probability detection of rare taxa was high for the four reservoirs examined. We conclude that the current level of effort expended does not provide for high-probability detection of larval dreissenids or other planktonic taxa when they are rare in these reservoirs. We discuss options to improve early detection capabilities.

Status of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1863) throughout the species range, threats to survival, and prognosis for the future

Released February 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Applied Ichthyology (32) 261-312

L R Hildebrand, A Drauch-Schreier, K. Lepla, S. O. McAdam, J McLellan, Michael J. Parsley, V L Paragamian, S P Young

White Sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus (WS), are distributed throughout three major river basins on the West Coast of North America: the Sacramento-San Joaquin, Columbia, and Fraser River drainages. Considered the largest North American freshwater fish, some WS use estuarine habitat and make limited marine movements between river basins. Some populations are listed by the United States or Canada as threatened or endangered (upper Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam; Kootenai River; lower, middle and, upper Fraser River and Nechako River), while others do not warrant federal listing at this time (Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers; Columbia River below Grand Coulee Dam; Snake River). Threats that impact WS throughout the species’ range include fishing effects and habitat alteration and degradation. Several populations suffer from recruitment limitations or collapse due to high early life mortality associated with these threats. Efforts to preserve WS populations include annual monitoring, harvest restrictions, habitat restoration, and conservation aquaculture. This paper provides a review of current knowledge on WS life history, ecology, physiology, behavior, and genetics and presents the status of WS in each drainage. Ongoing management and conservation efforts and additional research needs are identified to address present and future risks to the species.

The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change

Released February 16, 2017 18:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3005

Suzanne E. Cotillon

What has driven changes in land use and land cover in West Africa over the past 40 years? What trends or patterns can be discerned in those changes? To answer these questions, the U.S. Geological Survey West Africa Land Use Dynamics project partnered with the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the U.S. Agency for International Development/West Africa to map land use and land cover across the region for  three time periods (years): 1975, 2000, and 2013. This cooperative effort has resulted in the publication of a 219-page atlas, “Landscapes of West Africa: A Window on a Changing World.” The atlas uses satellite imagery, maps, and pictures to tell a complex story of landscape change at regional and national scales. It includes a collection of focused studies, some of which raise cause for concern, and others that provide considerable hope.

West Africa land use and land cover time series

Released February 16, 2017 18:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3004

Suzanne E. Cotillon

Started in 1999, the West Africa Land Use Dynamics project represents an effort to map land use and land cover, characterize the trends in time and space, and understand their effects on the environment across West Africa. The outcome of the West Africa Land Use Dynamics project is the production of a three-time period (1975, 2000, and 2013) land use and land cover dataset for the Sub-Saharan region of West Africa, including the Cabo Verde archipelago. The West Africa Land Use Land Cover Time Series dataset offers a unique basis for characterizing and analyzing land changes across the region, systematically and at an unprecedented level of detail.

Saltwater intrusion in the Floridan aquifer system near downtown Brunswick, Georgia, 1957–2015

Released February 16, 2017 16:45 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1010

Gregory S. Cherry, Michael Peck


The Floridan aquifer system (FAS) consists of the Upper Floridan aquifer (UFA), an intervening confining unit of highly variable properties, and the Lower Floridan aquifer (LFA). The UFA and LFA are primarily composed of Paleocene- to Oligocene-age carbonate rocks that include, locally, Upper Cretaceous rocks. The FAS extends from coastal areas in southeastern South Carolina and continues southward and westward across the coastal plain of Georgia and Alabama, and underlies all of Florida. The thickness of the FAS varies from less than 100 feet (ft) in aquifer outcrop areas of South Carolina to about 1,700 ft near the city of Brunswick, Georgia.

Locally, in southeastern Georgia and the Brunswick– Glynn County area, the UFA consists of an upper water-bearing zone (UWBZ) and a lower water-bearing zone (LWBZ), as identified by Wait and Gregg (1973), with aquifer test data indicating the upper zone has higher productivity than the lower zone. Near the city of Brunswick, the LFA is composed of two permeable zones: an early middle Eocene-age upper permeable zone (UPZ) and a highly permeable lower zone of limestone (LPZ) of Paleocene and Late Cretaceous age that includes a deeply buried, cavernous, saline water-bearing unit known as the Fernandina permeable zone. Maslia and Prowell (1990) inferred the presence of major northeast–southwest trending faults through the downtown Brunswick area based on structural analysis of geophysical data, northeastward elongation of the potentiometric surface of the UFA, and breaches in the local confining unit that influence the area of chloride contamination. Pronounced horizontal and vertical hydraulic head gradients, caused by pumping in the UFA, allow saline water from the FPZ to migrate upward into the UFA through this system of faults and conduits.

Saltwater was first detected in the FAS in wells completed in the UFA near the southern part of the city of Brunswick in late 1957. By the 1970s, a plume of groundwater with high chloride concentrations had migrated northward toward two major industrial pumping centers, and since 1965, chloride concentrations have steadily increased in the northern part of the city. In 1978, data obtained from a 2,720-ft-deep test well (33H188) drilled south of the city showed water with a chloride concentration of 33,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L), suggesting the saltwater source was located below the UFA in the Fernandina permeable zone (FPZ) of the LFA.

All U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data collected for this study, including groundwater levels in wells and water-chemistry data, are available in the USGS National Water Information System.

A methodology for modeling barrier island storm-impact scenarios

Released February 16, 2017 12:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1009

Rangley C. Mickey, Joseph W. Long, Nathaniel G. Plant, David M. Thompson, P. Soupy Dalyander

A methodology for developing a representative set of storm scenarios based on historical wave buoy and tide gauge data for a region at the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. The total water level was calculated for a 10-year period and analyzed against existing topographic data to identify when storm-induced wave action would affect island morphology. These events were categorized on the basis of the threshold of total water level and duration to create a set of storm scenarios that were simulated, using a high-fidelity, process-based, morphologic evolution model, on an idealized digital elevation model of the Chandeleur Islands. The simulated morphological changes resulting from these scenarios provide a range of impacts that can help coastal managers determine resiliency of proposed or existing coastal structures and identify vulnerable areas within those structures.

Geologic map of Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Released February 16, 2017 12:00 EST

2016, Scientific Investigations Map 3362

Richard F. Madole, D. Paco VanSistine, Joseph H. Romig

Geologic mapping was begun after a range fire swept the area of what is now the Great Sand Dunes National Park in April 2000. The park spans an area of 437 square kilometers (or about 169 square miles), of which 98 percent is blanketed by sediment of Quaternary age, the Holocene and Pleistocene Epochs; hence, this geologic map of the Great Sand Dunes National Park is essentially a surficial geologic map. These surficial deposits are diverse and include sediment of eolian (windblown), alluvial (stream and sheetwash), palustrine (wetlands and marshes), lacustrine (lake), and mass-wasting (landslides) origin. Sediment of middle and late Holocene age, from about 8,000 years ago to the present, covers about 80 percent of the park.

Fluctuations in groundwater level during Holocene time caused wetlands on the nearby lowland that bounds the park on the west to alternately expand and contract. These fluctuations controlled the stability or instability of eolian sand deposits on the downwind (eastern) side of the lowland. When groundwater level rose, playas became lakes, and wet or marshy areas formed in many places. When the water table rose, spring-fed streams filled their channels and valley floors with sediment. Conversely, when groundwater level fell, spring-fed streams incised their valley floors, and lakes, ponds, and marshes dried up and became sources of windblown sand.

Discharge in streams draining the west flank of the Sangre de Cristo Range is controlled primarily by snowmelt and flow is perennial until it reaches the mountain front, beyond which streams begin losing water at a high rate as the water soaks into the creek beds. Even streams originating in the larger drainage basins, such as Sand and Medano Creeks, generally do not extend much more than 4 km (about 2.5 miles) beyond where they exit the mountains.

The Great Sand Dunes contain the tallest dunes (maximum height about 750 feet, or 230 m) in North America. These dunes cover an area of 72 square kilometers (28 square miles) and contain an estimated 10–13 billion cubic meters (2.4 to 3.1 cubic miles) of sand. The dunes accumulated in an embayment that formed where the trend of the Sangre de Cristo Range changes from southeasterly to southwesterly. They owe their exceptional height to a combination of factors including range-front geometry, topography, an abundant sand supply from the nearby basin, a complex wind regime, and the Sangre de Cristo Range, which prevents continued eastward migration of dune sand deposited by the prevailing southwesterly and westerly winds. Although the sand on the surface of the Great Sand Dunes is of late Holocene age, most of this massive sand body is a complex of deposits that accumulated episodically for more than 130,000 years.

Flood-inundation maps for the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana

Released February 16, 2017 11:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5166

Kathleen K. Fowler

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 4.1-mile reach of the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site at, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage on the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Ind. (station number 03361500). Near-real-time stages at this streamgage may be obtained from the USGS National Water Information System at or the National Weather Service (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at, which also forecasts flood hydrographs at this site (SBVI3).

Flood profiles were computed for the stream reach by means of a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The hydraulic model was calibrated by using the most current stage-discharge relation at the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Ind., streamgage. The calibrated hydraulic model was then used to compute 12 water-surface profiles for flood stages referenced to the streamgage datum and ranging from 9.0 feet, or near bankfull, to 19.4 feet, the highest stage of the current stage-discharge rating curve. The simulated water-surface profiles were then combined with a Geographic Information System digital elevation model (derived from light detection and ranging [lidar] data having a 0.98-foot vertical accuracy and 4.9-foot horizontal resolution) to delineate the area flooded at each water level.

The availability of these maps, along with Internet information regarding current stage from the USGS streamgage at the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Ind., and forecasted stream stages from the NWS, will provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities such as evacuations and road closures as well as for post-flood recovery efforts.

Testing model parameters for wave-induced dune erosion using observations from Hurricane Sandy

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geophysical Research Letters (44) 937-945

Jacquelyn R. Overbeck, Joseph W. Long, Hilary F. Stockdon

Models of dune erosion depend on a set of assumptions that dictate the predicted evolution of dunes throughout the duration of a storm. Lidar observations made before and after Hurricane Sandy at over 800 profiles with diverse dune elevations, widths, and volumes are used to quantify specific dune erosion model parameters including the dune face slope, which controls dune avalanching, and the trajectory of the dune toe, which controls dune migration. Wave-impact models of dune erosion assume a vertical dune face and erosion of the dune toe along the foreshore beach slope. Observations presented here show that these assumptions are not always valid and require additional testing if these models are to be used to predict coastal vulnerability for decision-making purposes. Observed dune face slopes steepened by 43% yet did not become vertical faces, and only 50% of the dunes evolved along a trajectory similar to the foreshore beach slope. Observations also indicate that dune crests were lowered during dune erosion. Moreover, analysis showed a correspondence between dune lowering and narrower beaches, smaller dune volumes, and/or longer wave impact.

Potential influence of wildfire in modulating climate-induced forest redistribution in a central Rocky Mountain landscape

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Processes (6) 1-17

John L. Campbell, Douglas Shinneman


Climate change is expected to impose significant tension on the geographic distribution of tree species. Yet, tree species range shifts may be delayed by their long life spans, capacity to withstand long periods of physiological stress, and dispersal limitations. Wildfire could theoretically break this biological inertia by killing forest canopies and facilitating species redistribution under changing climate. We investigated the capacity of wildfire to modulate climate-induced tree redistribution across a montane landscape in the central Rocky Mountains under three climate scenarios (contemporary and two warmer future climates) and three wildfire scenarios (representing historical, suppressed, and future fire regimes).


Distributions of four common tree species were projected over 90 years by pairing a climate niche model with a forest landscape simulation model that simulates species dispersal, establishment, and mortality under alternative disturbance regimes and climate scenarios.


Three species (Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir) declined in abundance over time, due to climate-driven contraction in area suitable for establishment, while one species (ponderosa pine) was unable to exploit climate-driven expansion of area suitable for establishment. Increased fire frequency accelerated declines in area occupied by Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, and subalpine fir, and it maintained local abundance but not range expansion of ponderosa pine.


Wildfire may play a larger role in eliminating these conifer species along trailing edges of their distributions than facilitating establishment along leading edges, in part due to dispersal limitations and interspecific competition, and future populations may increasingly depend on persistence in locations unfavorable for their establishment.

Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana flood-inundation geospatial datasets​

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Kathleen K. Fowler

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 4.1-mile reach of the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site at, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage on the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Indiana (station number 03361500). Near-real-time stages at this streamgage may be obtained from the USGS National Water Information System at or the National Weather Service (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at, which also forecasts flood hydrographs at this site (SBVI3).
Flood profiles were computed for the stream reach by means of a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The hydraulic model was calibrated by using the most current stage-discharge relation at the Big Blue River at Shelbyville, Ind., streamgage. The calibrated hydraulic model was then used to compute 12 water-surface profiles for flood stages referenced to the streamgage datum and ranging from 9.0 feet, or near bankfull, to 19.4 feet, the highest stage of the current stage-discharge rating curve. The simulated water-surface profiles were then combined with a Geographic Information System digital elevation model (derived from light detection and ranging [lidar] data having a 0.98-foot vertical accuracy and 4.9-foot horizontal resolution) to delineate the area flooded at each water level.
The attached files on this landing page are the inputs and outputs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers HEC-RAS model used to create flood-inundation maps for the referenced report, There are two child items that contain final geospatial datasets for the flood-inundation maps: depth grids and shapefiles.

Evaluation of nutria (Myocastor coypus) detection methods in Maryland, USA

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Invasions (19) 831-841

Margaret A Pepper, Valentine Herrmann, James Hines, James Nichols, Stephen R Kendrot

Nutria (Myocaster coypus), invasive, semi-aquatic rodents native to South America, were introduced into Maryland near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (BNWR) in 1943. Irruptive population growth, expansion, and destructive feeding habits resulted in the destruction of thousands of acres of emergent marshes at and surrounding BNWR. In 2002, a partnership of federal, state and private entities initiated an eradication campaign to protect remaining wetlands from further damage and facilitate the restoration of coastal wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Program staff removed nearly 14,000 nutria from five infested watersheds in a systematic trapping and hunting program between 2002 and 2014. As part of ongoing surveillance activities, the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project uses a variety of tools to detect and remove nutria. Project staff developed a floating raft, or monitoring platform, to determine site occupancy. These platforms are placed along waterways and checked periodically for evidence of nutria visitation. We evaluated the effectiveness of monitoring platforms and three associated detection methods: hair snares, presence of scat, and trail cameras. Our objectives were to (1) determine if platform placement on land or water influenced nutria visitation rates, (2) determine if the presence of hair snares influenced visitation rates, and (3) determine method-specific detection probabilities. Our analyses indicated that platforms placed on land were 1.5–3.0 times more likely to be visited than those placed in water and that platforms without snares were an estimated 1.7–3.7 times more likely to be visited than those with snares. Although the presence of snares appears to have discouraged visitation, seasonal variation may confound interpretation of these results. Scat was the least effective method of determining nutria visitation, while hair snares were as effective as cameras. Estimated detection probabilities provided by occupancy modeling were 0.73 for hair snares, 0.71 for cameras and 0.40 for scat. We recommend the use of hair snares on monitoring platforms as they are the most cost-effective and reliable detection method available at this time. Future research should focus on determining the cause for the observed decrease in nutria visits after snares were applied.

Neisseria arctica sp. nov. isolated from nonviable eggs of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) in Arctic Alaska

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

Cristina M. Hansen, Elizabeth Himschoot, Rebekah F. Hare, Brandt Meixell, Caroline R. Van Hemert, Karsten Hueffer

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, isolates of a novel Gram-negative coccus in the Neisseria genus were obtained from the contents of nonviable greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) eggs on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. We used a polyphasic approach to determine whether these isolates represent a novel species. 16S rRNA gene sequences, 23S rRNA gene sequences, and chaperonin 60 gene sequences suggested that these Alaskan isolates are members of a distinct species that is most closely related to Neisseria canis, N. animaloris, and N. shayeganii. Analysis of the rplF gene additionally showed that our isolates are unique and most closely related to N. weaveri. Average nucleotide identity of the whole genome sequence of our type strain was between 71.5% and 74.6% compared to close relatives, further supporting designation as a novel species. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis showed a predominance of C14:0, C16:0, and C16:1ω7c fatty acids. Finally, biochemical characteristics distinguished our isolates from other Neisseria species. The name Neisseria arctica (type strain KH1503T = ATCC TSD-57T = DSM 103136T) is proposed.

Hurricane Sandy washover deposits on Fire Island, New York

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1014

SeanPaul M. La Selle, Brent D. Lunghino, Bruce E. Jaffe, Guy Gelfenbaum, Pedro J.M. Costa

Washover deposits on Fire Island, New York, from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were investigated a year after the storm to document the sedimentary characteristics of hurricane washover features. Sediment data collected in the field includes stratigraphic descriptions and photos from trenches, bulk sediment samples, U-channels, and gouge and push cores. Samples and push cores were further analyzed in the laboratory for grain size, density variations using x-ray computed tomography (CT), and surface microtexture using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Elevation profiles of washover features were measured using Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) with Real Time Kinematic processing. The DGPS elevations were compared to lidar (light detection and ranging) data from pre- and post-Sandy surveys to assess the degree to which washover deposit thicknesses changed within the year following deposition. Hurricane Sandy washover deposits as much as 1 meter thick were observed in trenches. Initial results show that the upper parts of the deposits have been reworked significantly in some places by wind, but there are still areas where the deposits are almost entirely intact. Where mostly intact, the washover deposits consist of massive or weakly laminated sand near the base, overlain by more strongly laminated sands.

Measurement of 1999 drought conditions in Mississippi

Released February 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2000, Conference Paper

D. Phil Turnipseed, Loyd G. Long

Accurate and reliable water-resources data collected during drought conditions are critical to regulatory agencies such as the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Droughts have affected Mississippi during 1940-44, 1951-57, 1962-71, 1980-82 and 1983-88. In late summer and early autumn 1999, many areas of Mississippi experienced near record drought conditions causing concern to many private and public interests. Personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the MDEQ Office of Land and Water Resources (MDEQ-OLWR) measured water levels and streamflows throughout the State of Mississippi during drought conditions in August through October 1999. Droughts are normal, recurring hydrological events caused by deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time that can have adverse effects on anthropogenic use of water. Much of the State of Mississippi has continued to experience drought conditions through late winter of 2000. Data on minimum streamflows are an important factor for determining the regulation of flow control structures, effluent discharge, and surface water withdrawals and other water-management decisions during droughts. Data on minimum streamflows become paramount during drought conditions. This report presents information related to the legal aspects of drought conditions and includes selected data collected at streamgages affected by severe drought conditions in Mississippi during the late summer and early autumn of 1999. Comparisons of low-flow characteristics at selected streamgages to other period-of-record low-flows at selected gages in the State are also presented.

Refining previous estimates of groundwater outflows from the Medina/Diversion Lake system, San Antonio area, Texas

Released February 15, 2017 16:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3008

Richard N. Slattery, William H. Asquith, John D. Gordon


In 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the San Antonio Water System, began a study to refine previously derived estimates of groundwater outflows from Medina and Diversion Lakes in south-central Texas near San Antonio. When full, Medina and Diversion Lakes (hereinafter referred to as the Medina/Diversion Lake system) (fig. 1) impound approximately 255,000 acre-feet and 2,555 acre-feet of water, respectively.

Most recharge to the Edwards aquifer occurs as seepage from streams as they cross the outcrop (recharge zone) of the aquifer (Slattery and Miller, 2017). Groundwater outflows from the Medina/Diversion Lake system have also long been recognized as a potentially important additional source of recharge. Puente (1978) published methods for estimating monthly and annual estimates of the potential recharge to the Edwards aquifer from the Medina/Diversion Lake system. During October 1995–September 1996, the USGS conducted a study to better define short-term rates of recharge and to reduce the error and uncertainty associated with estimates of monthly recharge from the Medina/Diversion Lake system (Lambert and others, 2000). As a followup to that study, Slattery and Miller (2017) published estimates of groundwater outflows from detailed water budgets for the Medina/Diversion Lake system during 1955–1964, 1995–1996, and 2001–2002. The water budgets were compiled for selected periods during which time the water-budget components were inferred to be relatively stable and the influence of precipitation, stormwater runoff, and changes in storage were presumably minimal. Linear regression analysis techniques were used by Slattery and Miller (2017) to assess the relation between the stage in Medina Lake and groundwater outflows from the Medina/Diversion Lake system.

Mapping land cover through time with the Rapid Land Cover Mapper—Documentation and user manual

Released February 15, 2017 10:45 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1012

Suzanne E. Cotillon, Melissa L. Mathis

The Rapid Land Cover Mapper is an Esri ArcGIS® Desktop add-in, which was created as an alternative to automated or semiautomated mapping methods. Based on a manual photo interpretation technique, the tool facilitates mapping over large areas and through time, and produces time-series raster maps and associated statistics that characterize the changing landscapes. The Rapid Land Cover Mapper add-in can be used with any imagery source to map various themes (for instance, land cover, soils, or forest) at any chosen mapping resolution. The user manual contains all essential information for the user to make full use of the Rapid Land Cover Mapper add-in. This manual includes a description of the add-in functions and capabilities, and step-by-step procedures for using the add-in. The Rapid Land Cover Mapper add-in was successfully used by the U.S. Geological Survey West Africa Land Use Dynamics team to accurately map land use and land cover in 17 West African countries through time (1975, 2000, and 2013).

Differential responses of dinitrogen fixation, diazotrophic cyanobacteria and ammonia oxidation reveal a potential warming-induced imbalance of the N-cycle in biological soil crusts

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (11)

Xiaobing Zhou, Hilda J. Smith, Ana Giraldo Silva, Jayne Belnap, Ferran Garcia-Pichel

N2 fixation and ammonia oxidation (AO) are the two most important processes in the nitrogen (N) cycle of biological soil crusts (BSCs). We studied the short-term response of acetylene reduction assay (ARA) rates, an indicator of potential N2 fixation, and AO rates to temperature (T, -5°C to 35°C) in BSC of different successional stages along the BSC ecological succession and geographic origin (hot Chihuahuan and cooler Great Basin deserts). ARA in all BSCs increased with T until saturation occurred between 15 and 20°C, and declined at 30–35°C. Culture studies using cyanobacteria isolated from these crusts indicated that the saturating effect was traceable to their inability to grow well diazotrophically within the high temperature range. Below saturation, temperature response was exponential, with Q10 significantly different in the two areas (~ 5 for Great Basin BSCs; 2–3 for Chihuahuan BSCs), but similar between the two successional stages. However, in contrast to ARA, AO showed a steady increase to 30–35°C in Great Basin, and Chihuhuan BSCs showed no inhibition at any tested temperature. The T response of AO also differed significantly between Great Basin (Q10 of 4.5–4.8) and Chihuahuan (Q10 of 2.4–2.6) BSCs, but not between successional stages. Response of ARA rates to T did not differ from that of AO in either desert. Thus, while both processes scaled to T in unison until 20°C, they separated to an increasing degree at higher temperature. As future warming is likely to occur in the regions where BSCs are often the dominant living cover, this predicted decoupling is expected to result in higher proportion of nitrates in soil relative to ammonium. As nitrate is more easily lost as leachate or to be reduced to gaseous forms, this could mean a depletion of soil N over large landscapes globally.

Blood parasite infection data from Blue-winged teal, Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan) and USA (Texas, Louisiana), 2012-2013

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

John Reed

This data set includes age, sex, location, and blood parasite infection data from Blue-winged teal (Anas discors) captured in Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan) and the USA (Texas, Louisiana) in 2012-2013. Infection data for three different genera of blood parasites are given as are GenBank accession numbers for genetic sequences obtained from positive infections.

Fire and the distribution and uncertainty of carbon sequestered as above-ground tree biomass in Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Land (6)

James A. Lutz, John R. Matchett, Leland W. Tarnay, Douglas F. Smith, Kendall M.L. Becker, Tucker J. Furniss, Matthew L. Brooks

Fire is one of the principal agents changing forest carbon stocks and landscape level distributions of carbon, but few studies have addressed how accurate carbon accounting of fire-killed trees is or can be. We used a large number of forested plots (1646), detailed selection of species-specific and location-specific allometric equations, vegetation type maps with high levels of accuracy, and Monte Carlo simulation to model the amount and uncertainty of aboveground tree carbon present in tree species (hereafter, carbon) within Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. We estimated aboveground carbon in trees within Yosemite National Park to be 25 Tg of carbon (C) (confidence interval (CI): 23–27 Tg C), and in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park to be 20 Tg C (CI: 18–21 Tg C). Low-severity and moderate-severity fire had little or no effect on the amount of carbon sequestered in trees at the landscape scale, and high-severity fire did not immediately consume much carbon. Although many of our data inputs were more accurate than those used in similar studies in other locations, the total uncertainty of carbon estimates was still greater than ±10%, mostly due to potential uncertainties in landscape-scale vegetation type mismatches and trees larger than the ranges of existing allometric equations. If carbon inventories are to be meaningfully used in policy, there is an urgent need for more accurate landscape classification methods, improvement in allometric equations for tree species, and better understanding of the uncertainties inherent in existing carbon accounting methods.

Aridity increases below-ground niche breadth in grass communities

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Plant Ecology

Bradley J. Butterfield, John B. Bradford, Seth M. Munson, Jennifer R. Gremer

Aridity is an important environmental filter in the assembly of plant communities worldwide. The extent to which root traits mediate responses to aridity, and how they are coordinated with leaf traits, remains unclear. Here, we measured variation in root tissue density (RTD), specific root length (SRL), specific leaf area (SLA), and seed size within and among thirty perennial grass communities distributed along an aridity gradient spanning 190–540 mm of climatic water deficit (potential minus actual evapotranspiration). We tested the hypotheses that traits exhibited coordinated variation (1) among species, as well as (2) among communities varying in aridity, and (3) functional diversity within communities declines with increasing aridity, consistent with the “stress-dominance” hypothesis. Across communities, SLA and RTD exhibited a coordinated response to aridity, shifting toward more conservative (lower SLA, higher RTD) functional strategies with increasing aridity. The response of SRL to aridity was more idiosyncratic and was independent of variation in SLA and RTD. Contrary to the stress-dominance hypothesis, the diversity of SRL values within communities increased with aridity, while none of the other traits exhibited significant diversity responses. These results are consistent with other studies that have found SRL to be independent of an SLA–RTD axis of functional variation and suggest that the dynamic nature of soil moisture in arid environments may facilitate a wider array of resource capture strategies associated with variation in SRL.

Archive of sediment data collected in 2014 and 2015 from around Breton and Gosier Islands, Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Julie C. Bernier, Kyle W. Kelso, Thomas Tuten, Chelsea Stalk, James G. Flocks

Breton Island, located at the southern end of the Chandeleur Islands, supports one of Louisiana’s largest historical brown pelican nesting colonies. Although the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) was delisted as an endangered species in 2009, nesting areas are threatened by continued land loss and are extremely vulnerable to storm impacts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to restore Breton Island to pre-Hurricane Katrina conditions through rebuilding the shoreface, dune, and back-barrier marsh environments. Prior to restoration, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins project collected high-resolution geophysical (topography, bathymetry, and sub-bottom profiles) and sedimentologic data from around Breton Island to characterize the geologic framework of the island platform, nearshore, and shelf environments. These data will be used to characterize the geologic framework around Breton Island, identify potential borrow areas for restoration efforts, quantify seafloor change, and provide information for sediment transport and morphologic change models to asses island response to restoration and natural processes.

This data release serves as an archive of sediment data from vibracores, push cores, and submerged grab samples collected from around Breton and Gosier Islands, Louisiana, during two surveys in July 2014 and January 2015 (USGS Field Activity Numbers [FAN] 2014–314–FA [alternate FAN 14BIM04] and 2014–336–FA, respectively). Sedimentologic and stratigraphic metrics (for example, sediment texture or unit thicknesses) derived from these data can be used to ground-truth the geophysical data and characterize potential sand resources or can be incorporated into sediment transport or morphologic change models. Data collection and processing methods are described in Data Series 1037. All 14BIM04 locations and GIS data files presented this report use the projected coordinate system North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83), Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Zone 16 North (16N), all 2104–336–FA locations and GIS data files use the projected coordinate system World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS84), UTM Zone 16N, and all elevations are North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) orthometric heights, derived using the GEOID12A geoid model.

Experimental data comparing two coral grow-out methods in nursery-raised Acropora cervicornis

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Ilsa B. Kuffner, Erich Bartels, Anastasios Stathakopoulos, Ian C. Enochs, Graham Kolodziej, Lauren Toth, Derek P. Manzello

Staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis, is a threatened species and the primary focus of western Atlantic reef-restoration efforts to date. As part of the USGS Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (, we investigated skeletal characteristics of nursery-grown staghorn coral reared using two commonly used grow-out methods at Mote Tropical Research Laboratory’s offshore nursery. We compared linear extension, calcification rate, and skeletal density of nursery-raised A. cervicornis branches reared for six months either on blocks attached to substratum or hanging from monofilament line (on PVC “trees”) in the water column. We demonstrate that branches grown on the substratum had significantly higher skeletal density, measured using computerized tomography (CT), and lower linear extension rates compared to water-column fragments. Calcification rates determined with buoyant weighing were not statistically different between the two grow-out methods, but did vary among coral genotypes. Whereas skeletal density and extension rates were plastic traits that depended on environment, calcification rate was conserved. Our results show that the two rearing methods generate the same amount of calcium-carbonate skeleton but produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics, and suggest that genetically based variability in coral-calcification performance exists. The data resulting from this experiment are provided in this data release and are interpreted in Kuffner et al. (2017).

Kuffner, I.B., E. Bartels, A. Stathakopoulos, I.C. Enochs, G. Kolodziej, L.T. Toth, and D.P. Manzello, 2017, Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis: Coral Reefs, in press.

Hydrologic, land cover, and seasonal patterns of waterborne pathogens in Great Lakes tributaries

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Water Research (113) 11-21

Peter L. Lenaker, Steven Corsi, Mark A. Borchardt, Susan K. Spencer, Austin K. Baldwin, Michelle A. Lutz

Great Lakes tributaries are known to deliver waterborne pathogens from a host of sources. To examine the hydrologic, land cover, and seasonal patterns of waterborne pathogens (i.e. protozoa (2), pathogenic bacteria (4) human viruses, (8) and bovine viruses (8)) eight rivers were monitored in the Great Lakes Basin over 29 months from February 2011 to June 2013. Sampling locations represented a wide variety of land cover classes from urban to agriculture to forest. A custom automated pathogen sampler was deployed at eight sampling locations which provided unattended, flow-weighted, large-volume (120–1630 L) sampling. Human and bovine viruses and pathogenic bacteria were detected by real-time qPCR in 16%, 14%, and 1.4% of 290 samples collected while protozoa were never detected. The most frequently detected pathogens were: bovine polyomavirus (11%), and human adenovirus C, D, F (9%). Human and bovine viruses were present in 16.9% and 14.8% of runoff-event samples (n = 189) resulting from precipitation and snowmelt, and 13.9% and 12.9% of low-flow samples (n = 101), respectively, indicating multiple delivery mechanisms could be influential. Data indicated human and bovine virus prevalence was different depending on land cover within the watershed. Occurrence, concentration, and flux of human viruses were greatest in samples from the three sampling locations with greater than 25% urban influence than those with less than 25% urban influence. Similarly, occurrence, concentration, and flux of bovine viruses were greatest in samples from the two sampling locations with greater than 50 cattle/km2 than those with less than 50 cattle/km2. In seasonal analysis, human and bovine viruses occurred more frequently in spring and winter seasons than during the fall and summer. Concentration, occurrence, and flux in the context of hydrologic condition, seasonality, and land use must be considered for each watershed individually to develop effective watershed management strategies for pathogen reduction.

Water quality data for national-scale aquatic research: The Water Quality Portal

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Water Resources Research

Emily K. Read, Lindsay Carr, Laura DeCicco, Hilary Dugan, Paul C. Hanson, Julia A. Hart, James Kreft, Jordan S. Read, Luke Winslow

Aquatic systems are critical to food, security, and society. But, water data are collected by hundreds of research groups and organizations, many of which use nonstandard or inconsistent data descriptions and dissemination, and disparities across different types of water observation systems represent a major challenge for freshwater research. To address this issue, the Water Quality Portal (WQP) was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council to be a single point of access for water quality data dating back more than a century. The WQP is the largest standardized water quality data set available at the time of this writing, with more than 290 million records from more than 2.7 million sites in groundwater, inland, and coastal waters. The number of data contributors, data consumers, and third-party application developers making use of the WQP is growing rapidly. Here we introduce the WQP, including an overview of data, the standardized data model, and data access and services; and we describe challenges and opportunities associated with using WQP data. We also demonstrate through an example the value of the WQP data by characterizing seasonal variation in lake water clarity for regions of the continental U.S. The code used to access, download, analyze, and display these WQP data as shown in the figures is included as supporting information.

Preferential flow, diffuse flow, and perching in an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrogeology Journal (25) 421-444

John R. Nimmo, Kaitlyn M Creasey, Kimberlie Perkins, Benjamin B. Mirus

Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. Slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers, and rapid preferential flow in others, complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. A simple model is presented, designed to use limited geological site information to predict these critical subsurface processes in response to a sustained infiltration source. The model is developed and tested using site-specific information from the Idaho National Laboratory in the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), USA, where there are natural and anthropogenic sources of high-volume infiltration from floods, spills, leaks, wastewater disposal, retention ponds, and hydrologic field experiments. The thick unsaturated zone overlying the ESRP aquifer is a good example of a sharply stratified unsaturated zone. Sedimentary interbeds are interspersed between massive and fractured basalt units. The combination of surficial sediments, basalts, and interbeds determines the water fluxes through the variably saturated subsurface. Interbeds are generally less conductive, sometimes causing perched water to collect above them. The model successfully predicts the volume and extent of perching and approximates vertical travel times during events that generate high fluxes from the land surface. These developments are applicable to sites having a thick, geologically complex unsaturated zone of substantial thickness in which preferential and diffuse flow, and perching of percolated water, are important to contaminant transport or aquifer recharge.

Lithological influences on contemporary and long-term regolith weathering at the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (196) 224-251

Heather L. Buss, Maria Chapela Lara, Oliver Moore, Andrew C. Kurtz, Marjorie S. Schulz, Arthur F. White

Lithologic differences give rise to the differential weatherability of the Earth’s surface and globally variable silicate weathering fluxes, which provide an important negative feedback on climate over geologic timescales. To isolate the influence of lithology on weathering rates and mechanisms, we compare two nearby catchments in the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory in Puerto Rico, which have similar climate history, relief and vegetation, but differ in bedrock lithology. Regolith and pore water samples with depth were collected from two ridgetops and at three sites along a slope transect in the volcaniclastic Bisley catchment and compared to existing data from the granitic Río Icacos catchment. The depth variations of solid-state and pore water chemistry and quantitative mineralogy were used to calculate mass transfer (tau) and weathering solute profiles, which in turn were used to determine weathering mechanisms and to estimate weathering rates.

Regolith formed on both lithologies is highly leached of most labile elements, although Mg and K are less depleted in the granitic than in the volcaniclastic profiles, reflecting residual biotite in the granitic regolith not present in the volcaniclastics. Profiles of both lithologies that terminate at bedrock corestones are less weathered at depth, near the rock-regolith interfaces. Mg fluxes in the volcaniclastics derive primarily from dissolution of chlorite near the rock-regolith interface and from dissolution of illite and secondary phases in the upper regolith, whereas in the granitic profile, Mg and K fluxes derive from biotite dissolution. Long-term mineral dissolution rates and weathering fluxes were determined by integrating mass losses over the thickness of solid-state weathering fronts, and are therefore averages over the timescale of regolith development. Resulting long-term dissolution rates for minerals in the volcaniclastic regolith include chlorite: 8.9 × 10−14 mol m−2 s−1, illite: 2.1 × 10−14 mol m−2 s−1 and kaolinite: 4.0 × 10−14 mol m−2 s−1. Long-term weathering fluxes are several orders of magnitude lower in the granitic regolith than in the volcaniclastic, despite higher abundances of several elements in the granitic regolith. Contemporary weathering fluxes were determined from net (rain-corrected) solute profiles and thus represent rates over the residence time of water in the regolith. Contemporary weathering fluxes within the granitic regolith are similar to the long-term fluxes. In contrast, the long-term fluxes are faster than the contemporary fluxes in the volcaniclastic regolith. Contemporary fluxes in the granitic regolith are generally also slightly faster than in the volcaniclastic. The differences in weathering fluxes over space and time between these two watersheds indicate significant lithologic control of chemical weathering mechanisms and rates.

Effects of 2 fungicide formulations on microbial and macroinvertebrate leaf decomposition under laboratory conditions

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (35) 2834-2844

Adria Elskus, Kelly Smalling, Michelle L. Hladik, Kathryn M. Kuivila

Aquatic fungi contribute significantly to the decomposition of leaves in streams, a key ecosystem service. However, little is known about the effects of fungicides on aquatic fungi and macroinvertebrates involved with leaf decomposition. Red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves were conditioned in a stream to acquire microbes (bacteria and fungi), or leached in tap water (unconditioned) to simulate potential reduction of microbial biomass by fungicides. Conditioned leaves were exposed to fungicide formulations QUILT (azoxystrobin + propiconazole) or PRISTINE (boscalid + pyraclostrobin), in the presence and absence of the leaf shredder, Hyalella azteca (amphipods; 7-d old at start of exposures) for 14 d at 23 °C. QUILT formulation (~ 0.3 μg/L, 1.8 μg/L, 8 μg/L) tended to increase leaf decomposition by amphipods (not significant) without a concomitant increase in amphipod biomass, indicating potential increased consumption of leaves with reduced nutritional value. PRISTINE formulation (~ 33 μg/L) significantly reduced amphipod growth and biomass (p<0.05), effects similar to those observed with unconditioned controls. The significant suppressive effects of PRISTINE on amphipod growth, and the trend towards increased leaf decomposition with increasing QUILT concentration, indicate the potential for altered leaf decay in streams exposed to fungicides. Further work is needed to evaluate fungicide effects on leaf decomposition under conditions relevant to stream ecosystems, including temperature shifts and pulsed exposures to pesticide mixtures.

Source modeling of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Nepal (Gorkha) earthquake sequence: Implications for geodynamics and earthquake hazards

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Tectonophysics

Daniel E. McNamara, William Yeck, William D. Barnhart, V. Schulte-Pelkum, E. Bergman, L. B. Adhikari, Amod Dixit, S.E. Hough, Harley M. Benz, Paul Earle

The Gorkha earthquake on April 25th, 2015 was a long anticipated, low-angle thrust-faulting event on the shallow décollement between the India and Eurasia plates. We present a detailed multiple-event hypocenter relocation analysis of the Mw 7.8 Gorkha Nepal earthquake sequence, constrained by local seismic stations, and a geodetic rupture model based on InSAR and GPS data. We integrate these observations to place the Gorkha earthquake sequence into a seismotectonic context and evaluate potential earthquake hazard.

Major results from this study include (1) a comprehensive catalog of calibrated hypocenters for the Gorkha earthquake sequence; (2) the Gorkha earthquake ruptured a ~ 150 × 60 km patch of the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT), the décollement defining the plate boundary at depth, over an area surrounding but predominantly north of the capital city of Kathmandu (3) the distribution of aftershock seismicity surrounds the mainshock maximum slip patch; (4) aftershocks occur at or below the mainshock rupture plane with depths generally increasing to the north beneath the higher Himalaya, possibly outlining a 10–15 km thick subduction channel between the overriding Eurasian and subducting Indian plates; (5) the largest Mw 7.3 aftershock and the highest concentration of aftershocks occurred to the southeast the mainshock rupture, on a segment of the MHT décollement that was positively stressed towards failure; (6) the near surface portion of the MHT south of Kathmandu shows no aftershocks or slip during the mainshock. Results from this study characterize the details of the Gorkha earthquake sequence and provide constraints on where earthquake hazard remains high, and thus where future, damaging earthquakes may occur in this densely populated region. Up-dip segments of the MHT should be considered to be high hazard for future damaging earthquakes.

Genetic status and conservation of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Glacier National Park

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (145) 1093-1109

Clint C. Muhlfeld, Vincent S. D'Angelo, Christopher C. Downs, John D. Powell, Stephen J. Amish, Gordon Luikart, Ryan Kovach, Matthew Boyer, Steven T. Kalinowski

Invasive hybridization is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of Westslope Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi. Large protected areas, where nonhybridized populations are interconnected and express historical life history and genetic diversity, provide some of the last ecological and evolutionary strongholds for conserving this species. Here, we describe the genetic status and distribution of Westslope Cutthroat Trout throughout Glacier National Park, Montana. Admixture between Westslope Cutthroat Trout and introduced Rainbow Trout O. mykiss and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout O. clarkii bouvieri was estimated by genotyping 1,622 fish collected at 115 sites distributed throughout the Columbia, Missouri, and South Saskatchewan River drainages. Currently, Westslope Cutthroat Trout occupy an estimated 1,465 km of stream habitat and 45 lakes (9,218 ha) in Glacier National Park. There was no evidence of introgression in samples from 32 sites along 587 km of stream length (40% of the stream kilometers currently occupied) and 17 lakes (2,555 ha; 46% of the lake area currently occupied). However, nearly all (97%) of the streams and lakes that were occupied by nonhybridized populations occurred in the Columbia River basin. Based on genetic status (nonnative genetic admixture ≤ 10%), 36 Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations occupying 821 km of stream and 5,482 ha of lakes were identified as “conservation populations.” Most of the conservation populations (N = 27; 736 km of stream habitat) occurred in the Columbia River basin, whereas only a few geographically restricted populations were found in the South Saskatchewan River (N = 7; 55 km) and Missouri River (N = 2; 30 km) basins. Westslope Cutthroat Trout appear to be at imminent risk of genomic extinction in the South Saskatchewan and Missouri River basins, whereas populations in the Columbia River basin are widely distributed and conservation efforts are actively addressing threats from hybridization and other stressors. A diverse set of pro-active management approaches will be required to conserve, protect, and restore Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations in Glacier National Park throughout the 21st century.

Data, age uncertainties and ocean δ18O under the spotlight for Ocean2k Phase 2

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Past Global Changes (24) 44-44

Helen V. McGregor, Belen Martrat, Michael N. Evans, Diane Thompson, D. Reynolds, Jason A. Addison

The oceans make up 71% of the Earth’s surface area and are a major component of the global climate system. They are the world’s primary heat reservoir, and knowledge of the global ocean response to past and present radiative forcing is important for understanding climate change. PAGES’ Ocean2k working group aims to place marine climate of the past century within the context of the previous 2000 years (2k). Phase 1 (2011-2015) focused on constraining the forcing mechanisms most consistent with reconstructed sea surface temperature (SST) over the 2k interval (McGregor et al. 2015; Tierney et al. 2015). The 1st Ocean2k workshop assisted in the transition to Ocean2k Phase 2 (2015-2017), with the workshop goal to develop, coordinate and significantly advance community-identified and -driven activities.

Antarctica - The dynamic heart of it all

Released February 15, 2017 00:00 EST

1994, Report

Alan K. Cooper, John C. Behrendt

Book review: Physics of tsunamis

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Pure and Applied Geophysics (174) 1521-1521

Eric L. Geist

“Physics of Tsunamis”, second edition, provides a comprehensive analytical treatment of the hydrodynamics associated with the tsunami generation process. The book consists of seven chapters covering 388 pages. Because the subject matter within each chapter is distinct, an abstract appears at the beginning and references appear at the end of each chapter, rather than at the end of the book. Various topics of tsunami physics are examined largely from a theoretical perspective, although there is little information on how the physical descriptions are applied in numerical models.

Physics of Tsunamis”, by B. W. Levin and M. A. Nosov, Second Edition, Springer, 2016; ISBN-10: 33-1933106X, ISBN-13: 978-331933-1065

Book review: Extreme ocean waves

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Pure and Applied Geophysics (174) 1519-1519

Eric L. Geist

Extreme Ocean Waves”, edited by E. Pelinovsky and C. Kharif, second edition, Springer International Publishing, 2016; ISBN: 978-3-319-21574-7, ISBN (eBook): 978-3-319-21575-4

The second edition of “Extreme Ocean Waves” published by Springer is an update of a collection of 12 papers edited by Efim Pelinovsky and Christian Kharif following the April 2007 meeting of the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union. In this edition, three new papers have been added and three more have been substantially revised. Color figures are now included, which greatly aids in reading several of the papers, and is especially helpful in visualizing graphs as in the paper on symbolic computation of nonlinear wave resonance (Tobisch et al.). A note on terminology: extreme waves in this volume broadly encompass different types of waves, including deep-water and shallow-water rogue waves (which are alternatively termed freak waves), and internal waves. One new paper on tsunamis (Viroulet et al.) is now included in the second edition of this volume. Throughout the book, the reader will find a combination of laboratory, theoretical, and statistical/empirical treatment necessary for the complete examination of this subject. In the Introduction, the editors underscore the importance of studying extreme waves, documenting a dramatic instance of damaging extreme waves that recently occurred in 2014.

Thickness of the surficial aquifer, Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland and Delaware

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Judith Denver, Mark R. Nardi

A digital map of the thickness of the surficial unconfined aquifer, including from the land surface and unsaturated zone to the bottom of sediments of geologic units identified as part of the surficial aquifer, was produced to improve understanding of the hydrologic system in the Maryland and Delaware portions of the Delmarva Peninsula. The map is intended to be used in conjunction with other environmental coverages (such land use, wetlands, and soil characteristics) to provide a subsurface hydrogeologic component to studies of nitrate transport that have historically relied on maps of surficial features. It could also be used to study the transport of other water soluble chemicals.

The map was made using the best currently available data, which was of varying scales. It was created by overlaying a high resolution land surface and bathymetry digital elevation model (DEM) on a digital representation of the base of the surficial aquifer, part of hydrogeologic framework, as defined by Andreasen and others (2013). Thickness was calculated as the difference between the top of land surface and the bottom of the surficial aquifer sediments, which include sediments from geologic formations of late-Miocene through Quaternary age. Geologic formations with predominantly sandy surficial sediments that comprise the surficial aquifer on the Delmarva Peninsula include the Parsonsburg Sand, Sinepuxent Formation (Fm.), and parts of the Omar Fm. north of Indian River Bay in Delaware, the Columbia Fm., Beaverdam Fm., and Pennsauken Fm. (Ator and others 2005; Owens and Denney, 1986; Mixon, 1985; Bachman and Wilson, 1984). Formations with mixed texture and sandy stratigraphy including the Scotts Corner Fm. and Lynch Heights Fm. in Delaware are also considered part of the surficial aquifer (Ramsey, 1997). Subcropping aquifers and confining beds underlie the surficial aquifer throughout the Peninsula and may increase or limit its thickness, respectively (Andreasen and others, 2013). Stream incision through the surficial aquifer into older fine-textured sediments is more common in the northern part of the Peninsula where confined aquifers and their confining beds subcrop beneath the surficial aquifer. The potential for nitrate transport is greatest where relatively coarse sediments of the unconfined surficial aquifer (such as sand and gravel), are present beneath uplands and streams. Where these sediments are truncated and the streambed is incised into underlying fine-textured sediments, the potential for nitrate transport is much less and typically limited to stream-bank seeps that flow across the floodplain.

In parts of south-central Maryland and southern Delaware the surficial aquifer sediments are complex with surficial sandy sediments generally less than 20 ft thick (indicated as 19 ft on the map). They include the Parsonsburg Sand and some surficial sandy facies of the Omar Fm. underlain by predominantly fine-textured sediments of the Walston Silt and Omar Fm. (Denney and others, 1979; Owens and Denney, 1979). Even though the surficial aquifer is relatively thin in this area, extensive ditching of flat poorly drained farmland allows seasonal transport of nitrate from groundwater to streams when the water table is above the base of the ditches (Lindsey and others, 2003).

Geologic units of the Coastal Lowlands that surround the Peninsula are relatively thin in many areas and are primarily composed of fine-grained estuarine deposits with some coarse-textured sediments, in particular remnant beach-ridge and dune deposits (Ator and others, 2005). The Kent Island Fm. (Owens and Denney, 1986), which is part of the Coastal Lowlands on the western side of the Peninsula, has predominantly fine-grained sediments and is not included in the surficial aquifer in Maryland, as defined by Bachman and Wilson (1984); the surficial aquifer is shown to have 0 ft thickness on the map in the area mapped as Kent Island Fm. Also shown on the map as 0 ft thickness are areas in the northern most portion of the peninsula in New Castle and Cecil counties where surficial aquifer sediments are not present and other areas such as stream valleys where surficial aquifer sediments are also not present. Nitrate transport through groundwater to surface water is limited in the areas with fine-grained sediments at or near the land surface that promote denitrification in groundwater (Ator and others, 2005). Where extensive tidal marshes overly the Coastal Lowlands they also limit nitrate transport to surface waters.

Available sub-regional or county-scale geologic maps produced by the Delaware and Maryland State Geologic Surveys should be consulted when using this product (; Local-scale maps will be particularly important in understanding areas such as where the surficial aquifer is completely truncated or very thin and overlies confining beds or confined aquifers, in the Coastal Lowlands, and in south-central Maryland and Delaware.

Bootstrap-estimated land-to-water coefficients from the CBTN_v4 SPARROW model

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Scott Ator, John W. Brakebill, Joel D. Blomquist

This file contains 200 sets of bootstrap-estimated land-to-water coefficients from the CBTN_v4 SPARROW model, which is documented in USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5167. The coefficients were produced as part of CBTN_v4 model calibration to provide information about the uncertainty in model estimates.

Book review: A chorus of cranes: The cranes of North America and the world

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The Condor (119) 167-169

Aaron T. Pearse

Cranes (Gruidae) are widely distributed throughout the world, have lived on Earth for several million years, and currently reside on five continents. Archaeological evidence and historical references suggest that humans have interacted with and been captivated by cranes for many thousands of years (e.g., Leslie 1988, Muellner 1990). A glimpse of our reverence for these birds can be found in A Chorus of Cranes by Paul A. Johnsgard, with photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. Many species of cranes are currently identified as threatened or endangered, and their future will likely rest in the hands of humans; this book presents their plight and some of the measures that have been taken to conserve them. Dr. Johnsgard, an emeritus professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a prolific writer, having written more than 60 books in ornithology and other topics. This book serves as the latest update of previous efforts concerning crane biology, conservation, and management. A review without making comparisons to his past works is difficult, yet this assessment will primarily focus on the content of the current book, with little reference to past endeavors.

A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World by Paul A. Johnsgard. 2015. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA. x + 208 pp., 38 color photographs, 41 figures. ISBN 978-1-60732-436-2. $23.95 (Ebook). ISBN 978-1-60732-436-9.

Geophysical logging and thermal imaging at the Hemphill Road TCE NPL Superfund site near Gastonia, North Carolina

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Dominick Antolino, Melinda J. Chapman

The collection of borehole geophysical logs and thermal imaging data was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey South Atlantic Water Science Center in the vicinity of the Hemphill Road TCE National Priorities List Superfund site near Gastonia, North Carolina, during August 2014 through February 2015. In an effort to assist the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the development of a conceptual groundwater model for the assessment of current contaminant distribution and future migration of contaminants, surface geological mapping and borehole geophysical log and image data collection, which included the delineation of more than 600 subsurface features (primarily fracture orientations) was conducted in 5 open borehole wells and 2 private supply bedrock wells. In addition, areas of potential groundwater discharge within a down-gradient, nearby creek were determined using thermal imagery to calculate temperature differences between the stream and bank seepage.

Reconciling catch differences from multiple fishery independent gill net surveys

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fisheries Research (188) 17-22

Richard T. Kraus, Christopher Vandergoot, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Mark W. Rogers, H. Andrew Cook, Travis O. Brenden

Fishery independent gill net surveys provide valuable demographic information for population assessment and resource management, but relative to net construction, the effects of ancillary species, and environmental variables on focal species catch rates are poorly understood. In response, we conducted comparative deployments with three unique, inter-agency, survey gill nets used to assess walleye Sander vitreus in Lake Erie. We used an information-theoretic approach with Akaike’s second-order information criterion (AICc) to evaluate linear mixed models of walleye catch as a function of net type (multifilament and two types of monofilament netting), mesh size (categorical), Secchi depth, temperature, water depth, catch of ancillary species, and interactions among selected variables. The model with the greatest weight of evidence showed that walleye catches were positively associated with potential prey and intra-guild predators and negatively associated with water depth and temperature. In addition, the multifilament net had higher average walleye catches than either of the two monofilament nets. Results from this study both help inform decisions about proposed gear changes to stock assessment surveys in Lake Erie, and advance our understanding of how multispecies associations explain variation in gill net catches. Of broader interest to fishery-independent gill net studies, effects of abiotic variables and ancillary species on focal specie’s catch rates were small in comparison with net characteristics of mesh size or twine type.

Asynchrony in the inter-annual recruitment of lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis in the Great Lakes region

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Mitchell K. Zischke, David Bunnell, Cary D. Troy, Eric K. Berglund, David C. Caroffino, Mark P. Ebener, Ji X. He, Shawn P. Sitar, Tomas O. Hook

Spatially separated fish populations may display synchrony in annual recruitment if the factors that drive recruitment success, particularly abiotic factors such as temperature, are synchronised across broad spatial scales. We examined inter-annual variation in recruitment among lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) populations in lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior using fishery-dependent and -independent data from 1971 to 2014. Relative year-class strength (RYCS) was calculated from catch-curve residuals for each year class across multiple sampling years. Pairwise comparison of RYCS among datasets revealed no significant associations either within or between lakes, suggesting that recruitment of lake whitefish is spatially asynchronous. There was no consistent correlation between pairwise agreement and the distance between datasets, and models to estimate the spatial scale of recruitment synchrony did not fit well to these data. This suggests that inter-annual recruitment variation of lake whitefish is asynchronous across broad spatial scales in the Great Lakes. While our method primarily evaluated year-to-year recruitment variation, it is plausible that recruitment of lake whitefish varies at coarser temporal scales (e.g. decadal). Nonetheless, our findings differ from research on some other Coregonus species and suggest that local biotic or density-dependent factors may contribute strongly to lake whitefish recruitment rather than inter-annual variability in broad-scale abiotic factors.

Climate change reduces extent of temperate drylands and intensifies drought in deep soils

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Nature Communications

Daniel R. Schlaepfer, John B. Bradford, William K. Lauenroth, Seth M. Munson, Britta Tietjen, Sonia A. Hall, Scott D. Wilson, Michael C. Duniway, Gensuo Jia, David A. Pyke, Ariuntsetseg Lkhagva, Khishigbayar Jamiyansharav

Drylands cover 40% of the global terrestrial surface and provide important ecosystem services. While drylands as a whole are expected to increase in extent and aridity in coming decades, temperature and precipitation forecasts vary by latitude and geographic region suggesting different trajectories for tropical, subtropical, and temperate drylands. Uncertainty in the future of tropical and subtropical drylands is well constrained, whereas soil moisture and ecological droughts, which drive vegetation productivity and composition, remain poorly understood in temperate drylands. Here we show that, over the twenty first century, temperate drylands may contract by a third, primarily converting to subtropical drylands, and that deep soil layers could be increasingly dry during the growing season. These changes imply major shifts in vegetation and ecosystem service delivery. Our results illustrate the importance of appropriate drought measures and, as a global study that focuses on temperate drylands, highlight a distinct fate for these highly populated areas.

Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 3. Site level restoration decisions

Released February 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Circular 1426

David A. Pyke, Jeanne C. Chambers, Mike Pellant, Richard F. Miller, Jeffrey L. Beck, Paul S. Doescher, Bruce A. Roundy, Eugene W. Schupp, Steven T. Knick, Mark Brunson, James D. McIver

Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently (2016) occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) depends on large landscapes of intact habitat of sagebrush and perennial grasses for their existence. In addition, other sagebrush-obligate animals have similar requirements and restoration of landscapes for greater sage-grouse also will benefit these animals. Once sagebrush lands are degraded, they may require restoration actions to make those lands viable habitat for supporting sagebrush-obligate animals, livestock, and wild horses, and to provide ecosystem services for humans now and for future generations.

When a decision is made on where restoration treatments should be applied, there are a number of site-specific decisions managers face before selecting the appropriate type of restoration. This site-level decision tool for restoration of sagebrush steppe ecosystems is organized in nine steps.

Climate change and the eco-hydrology of fire: Will area burned increase in a warming western USA?

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Applications (27) 26-36

Donald McKenzie, Jeremy Littell

Wildfire area is predicted to increase with global warming. Empirical statistical models and process-based simulations agree almost universally. The key relationship for this unanimity, observed at multiple spatial and temporal scales, is between drought and fire. Predictive models often focus on ecosystems in which this relationship appears to be particularly strong, such as mesic and arid forests and shrublands with substantial biomass such as chaparral. We examine the drought–fire relationship, specifically the correlations between water-balance deficit and annual area burned, across the full gradient of deficit in the western USA, from temperate rainforest to desert. In the middle of this gradient, conditional on vegetation (fuels), correlations are strong, but outside this range the equivalence hotter and drier equals more fire either breaks down or is contingent on other factors such as previous-year climate. This suggests that the regional drought–fire dynamic will not be stationary in future climate, nor will other more complex contingencies associated with the variation in fire extent. Predictions of future wildfire area therefore need to consider not only vegetation changes, as some dynamic vegetation models now do, but also potential changes in the drought–fire dynamic that will ensue in a warming climate.

Chemistry of diagenetic features analyzed by ChemCam at Pahrump Hills, Gale crater, Mars

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Icarus (281) 121-136

Marion Nachon, Nicolas Mangold, Olivier Forni, Linda C. Kah, Agnes Cousin, Roger C. Wiens, Ryan Anderson, Diana L. Blaney, Jen G. Blank, Fred J. Calef, Samuel M. Clegg, Cecile Fabre, Martin R. Fisk, Olivier Gasnault, John P. Grotzinger, Rachel Kronyak, Nina L. Lanza, Jeremie Lasue, Laetitia Le Deit, Stephane Le Mouelic, Sylvestre Maurice, Pierre-Yves Meslin, D. Z. Oehler, Valerie Payre, William Rapin, Susanne Schroder, Katherine M. Stack, Dawn Sumner

The Curiosity rover's campaign at Pahrump Hills provides the first analyses of lower Mount Sharp strata. Here we report ChemCam elemental composition of a diverse assemblage of post-depositional features embedded in, or cross-cutting, the host rock. ChemCam results demonstrate their compositional diversity, especially compared to the surrounding host rock: (i) Dendritic aggregates and relief enhanced features, characterized by a magnesium enhancement and sulfur detection, and interpreted as Mg-sulfates; (ii) A localized observation that displays iron enrichment associated with sulfur, interpreted as Fe-sulfate; (iii) Dark raised ridges with varying Mg- and Ca-enriched compositions compared to host rock; (iv) Several dark-toned veins with calcium enhancement associated with fluorine detection, interpreted as fluorite veins. (v) Light-toned veins with enhanced calcium associated with sulfur detection, and interpreted as Ca-sulfates. The diversity of the Pahrump Hills diagenetic assemblage suggests a complex post-depositional history for fine-grained sediments for which the origin has been interpreted as fluvial and lacustrine. Assessment of the spatial and relative temporal distribution of these features shows that the Mg-sulfate features are predominant in the lower part of the section, suggesting local modification of the sediments by early diagenetic fluids. In contrast, light-toned Ca-sulfate veins occur in the whole section and cross-cut all other features. A relatively late stage shift in geochemical conditions could explain this observation. The Pahrump Hills diagenetic features have no equivalent compared to targets analyzed in other locations at Gale crater. Only the light-toned Ca-sulfate veins are present elsewhere, along Curiosity's path, suggesting they formed through a common late-stage process that occurred at over a broad area.

Improved accuracy in quantitative laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy using sub-models

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy (129) 49-57

Ryan Anderson, Samuel M. Clegg, Jens Frydenvang, Roger C. Wiens, Scott M. McLennan, Richard V. Morris, Bethany L. Ehlmann, M. Darby Dyar

Accurate quantitative analysis of diverse geologic materials is one of the primary challenges faced by the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)-based ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover. The SuperCam instrument on the Mars 2020 rover, as well as other LIBS instruments developed for geochemical analysis on Earth or other planets, will face the same challenge. Consequently, part of the ChemCam science team has focused on the development of improved multivariate analysis calibrations methods. Developing a single regression model capable of accurately determining the composition of very different target materials is difficult because the response of an element’s emission lines in LIBS spectra can vary with the concentration of other elements. We demonstrate a conceptually simple “sub-model” method for improving the accuracy of quantitative LIBS analysis of diverse target materials. The method is based on training several regression models on sets of targets with limited composition ranges and then “blending” these “sub-models” into a single final result. Tests of the sub-model method show improvement in test set root mean squared error of prediction (RMSEP) for almost all cases. The sub-model method, using partial least squares regression (PLS), is being used as part of the current ChemCam quantitative calibration, but the sub-model method is applicable to any multivariate regression method and may yield similar improvements.

Using management to address vegetation stress related to land-use and climate change

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Restoration Ecology

Beth A. Middleton, Jere Boudell, Nicholas Fisichelli

While disturbances such as fire, cutting, and grazing can be an important part of the conservation of natural lands, some adjustments to management designed to mimic natural disturbance may be necessary with ongoing and projected climate change. Stressed vegetation that is incapable of regeneration will be difficult to maintain if adults are experiencing mortality, and/or if their early life-history stages depend on disturbance. A variety of active management strategies employing disturbance are suggested, including resisting, accommodating, or directing vegetation change by manipulating management intensity and frequency. Particularly if land-use change is the main cause of vegetation stress, amelioration of these problems using management may help vegetation resist change (e.g. strategic timing of water release if a water control structure is available). Managers could direct succession by using management to push vegetation toward a new state. Despite the historical effects of management, some vegetation change will not be controllable as climates shift, and managers may have to accept some of these changes. Nevertheless, proactive measures may help managers achieve important conservation goals in the future.

Ecosystem implications of conserving endemic versus eradicating introduced large herbivores in the Galapagos Archipelago

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Conservation (209) 1-10

Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau, James P. Gibbs, Karl Campbell, Charles B. Yackulic, Stephen Blake

Restoration of damaged ecosystems through invasive species removal and native species conservation is an increasingly common practice in biodiversity conservation. Estimating the degree of ecosystem response attributable specifically to eradication of exotic herbivores versus restoration of native herbivores is often difficult and is complicated by concurrent temporal changes in other factors, especially climate. We investigated the interactive impacts of native mega-herbivores (giant tortoises) and the eradication of large alien herbivores (goats) on vegetation productivity across the Galapagos Archipelago. We examined archipelago-wide patterns of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a proxy for vegetation productivity between 2001 and 2015 and evaluated how goat and historical and current tortoise occurrence influenced productivity. We used a breakpoint analysis to detect change in trends in productivity from five targeted areas following goat eradication. We found a positive association between tortoise occurrence and vegetation productivity and a negative association with goat occurrence. We also documented an increase in plant productivity following goat removal with recovery higher in moister regions than in arid region, potentially indicating an alternate stable state has been created in the latter. Climate variation also contributed to the detected improvement in productivity following goat eradication, sometimes obscuring the effect of eradication but more usually magnifying it by up to 300%. Our work offers perspectives regarding the effectiveness and outcomes of eradicating introduced herbivores and re-introducing native herbivores, and the merits of staging them simultaneously in order to restore critical ecosystem processes such as vegetation productivity.

Eighteen years (1996-2014) of channel cross-sectional measurements made in Spring Creek after the 1996 Buffalo Creek wildfire and subsequent flood

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

John A. Moody, Deborah Martin

The consequence of the 1996 Buffalo Creek wildfire disturbance and a subsequent high-intensity summer convective rain storm (~100 mm h-1) was the deposition of a sediment superslug in the Spring Creek basin (26.8 km2) of the Front Range Mountains in Colorado. Changes in the superslug near the confluence of Spring Creek with the South Platte River were monitored by cross-section surveys at 18 nearly equally-spaced cross sections along a 1500 m study reach for 18 years (1996-2014) to understand the evolution and internal stratigraphy of this type of disturbance in response to different geomorphic processes. These data consist of 18 Excel files (one for each cross section) containing worksheets corresponding to each channel cross-section survey (about 25-31). Worksheets contain the basic survey information (dates, instruments, reference pin elevations, foresight, distances from reference pins, and elevations).

Book review: Feeding wild birds In America – Culture, commerce, and conservation

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wilson Journal of Ornithology (128) 953-955

Matthew Perry

No abstract available.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966 - 2015

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

John Sauer, Daniel Niven, James Hines, David Ziolkowski Jr., Keith L. Pardieck, J.E. Fallon, William Link

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Acoustic Doppler current profiler raw measurements on the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, 2000-2016, Columbia Environmental Research Center

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Edward A. Bulliner, Caroline M. Elliott, Robert B. Jacobson

Between the years 2000 and 2016, scientists and technicians from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) have collected over 400 field-days worth of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements on the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, primarily for the purposes of assessing physical aquatic habitat for the pallid sturgeon. Scientists and technicians collected data using boat-mounted Teledyne Rio Grande ADCPs, which were processed using customized scripting tools and archived in standardized formats. To assess longitudinal variability in depth and velocity distributions along the Missouri River, as well as compare the Missouri River to its unaltered analog, the Yellowstone River, we compiled the collected datasets into a single comma-separated value (csv) file using a series of data-processing scripts written in Python. To allow for the comparison of measurements collected only within a specific window of flow exceedance, we conducted geospatial analyses to attribute each ADCP measurement by a discharge from the most relevant USGS gage location (with the most relevant gage location being the gage located between the same major tributaries as the measurement, even if it was not the closest spatially), and assigned each measurement a flow exceedance percentile based on the relevant gage's record between 2000 and 2016. We also conducted general quality control on the data, discarding any ADCP returns where the ADCP measured a depth-averaged velocity greater than 3 meters per second or a depth greater than 16 meters; these values were considered to be an approximate upper bounds for realistic values on the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. The presented csv file lists individual ADCP bins for all measurements that have been archived between 2000 and 2016 by CERC scientists along with their three-dimensional velocity components, depth-averaged velocity magnitude for a given ADCP return, average channel depth for a given ADCP return (computed from four ADCP beams), and fields to classify the data by river location and flow exceedance.

Bathymetry and capacity of Shawnee Reservoir, Oklahoma, 2016

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3374

Chad E. Ashworth, S. Jerrod Smith, Kevin A. Smith

Shawnee Reservoir (locally known as Shawnee Twin Lakes) is a man-made reservoir on South Deer Creek with a drainage area of 32.7 square miles in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. The reservoir consists of two lakes connected by an equilibrium channel. The southern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 1) was impounded in 1935, and the northern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 2) was impounded in 1960. Shawnee Reservoir serves as a municipal water supply, and water is transferred about 9 miles by gravity to a water treatment plant in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Secondary uses of the reservoir are for recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and flood control. Shawnee Reservoir has a normal-pool elevation of 1,069.0 feet (ft) above North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). The auxiliary spillway, which defines the flood-pool elevation, is at an elevation of 1,075.0 ft.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Shawnee, has operated a real-time stage (water-surface elevation) gage (USGS station 07241600) at Shawnee Reservoir since 2006. For the period of record ending in 2016, this gage recorded a maximum stage of 1,078.1 ft on May 24, 2015, and a minimum stage of 1,059.1 ft on April 10–11, 2007. This gage did not report reservoir storage prior to this report (2016) because a sufficiently detailed and thoroughly documented bathymetric (reservoir-bottom elevation) survey and corresponding stage-storage relation had not been published. A 2011 bathymetric survey with contours delineated at 5-foot intervals was published in Oklahoma Water Resources Board (2016), but that publication did not include a stage-storage relation table. The USGS, in cooperation with the City of Shawnee, performed a bathymetric survey of Shawnee Reservoir in 2016 and released the bathymetric-survey data in 2017. The purposes of the bathymetric survey were to (1) develop a detailed bathymetric map of the reservoir and (2) determine the relations between stage and reservoir storage capacity and between stage and reservoir surface area. The bathymetric map may serve as a baseline to which temporal changes in storage capacity, due to sedimentation and other factors, can be compared. The stage-storage relation may be used in the reporting of real-time Shawnee Reservoir storage capacity at USGS station 07241600 to support water-resource management decisions by the City of Shawnee.

Hydrogeology and simulation of groundwater flow and analysis of projected water use for the Canadian River alluvial aquifer, western and central Oklahoma

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5180

John H. Ellis, Shana L. Mashburn, Grant M. Graves, Steven M. Peterson, S. Jerrod Smith, Leland T. Fuhrig, Derrick L. Wagner, Jon E. Sanford

This report describes a study of the hydrogeology and simulation of groundwater flow for the Canadian River alluvial aquifer in western and central Oklahoma conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The report (1) quantifies the groundwater resources of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer by developing a conceptual model, (2) summarizes the general water quality of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer groundwater by using data collected during August and September 2013, (3) evaluates the effects of estimated equal proportionate share (EPS) on aquifer storage and streamflow for time periods of 20, 40, and 50 years into the future by using numerical groundwater-flow models, and (4) evaluates the effects of present-day groundwater pumping over a 50-year period and sustained hypothetical drought conditions over a 10-year period on stream base flow and groundwater in storage by using numerical flow models. The Canadian River alluvial aquifer is a Quaternary-age alluvial and terrace unit consisting of beds of clay, silt, sand, and fine gravel sediments unconformably overlying Tertiary-, Permian-, and Pennsylvanian-age sedimentary rocks. For groundwater-flow modeling purposes, the Canadian River was divided into Reach I, extending from the Texas border to the Canadian River at the Bridgeport, Okla., streamgage (07228500), and Reach II, extending downstream from the Canadian River at the Bridgeport, Okla., streamgage (07228500), to the confluence of the river with Eufaula Lake. The Canadian River alluvial aquifer spans multiple climate divisions, ranging from semiarid in the west to humid subtropical in the east. The average annual precipitation in the study area from 1896 to 2014 was 34.4 inches per year (in/yr).

A hydrogeologic framework of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was developed that includes the areal and vertical extent of the aquifer and the distribution, texture variability, and hydraulic properties of aquifer materials. The aquifer areal extent ranged from less than 0.2 to
8.5 miles wide. The maximum aquifer thickness was 120 feet (ft), and the average aquifer thickness was 50 ft. Average horizontal hydraulic conductivity for the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was calculated to be 39 feet per day, and the maximum horizontal hydraulic conductivity was calculated to be 100 feet per day.

Recharge rates to the Canadian River alluvial aquifer were estimated by using a soil-water-balance code to estimate the spatial distribution of groundwater recharge and a water-table fluctuation method to estimate localized recharge rates. By using daily precipitation and temperature data from 39 climate stations, recharge was estimated to average 3.4 in/yr, which corresponds to 8.7 percent of precipitation as recharge for the Canadian River alluvial aquifer from 1981 to 2013. The water-table fluctuation method was used at one site where continuous water-level observation data were available to estimate the percentage of precipitation that becomes groundwater recharge. Estimated annual recharge at that site was 9.7 in/yr during 2014.

Groundwater flow in the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was identified and quantified by a conceptual flow model for the period 1981–2013. Inflows to the Canadian River alluvial aquifer include recharge to the water table from precipitation, lateral flow from the surrounding bedrock, and flow from the Canadian River, whereas outflows include flow to the Canadian River (base-flow gain), evapotranspiration, and groundwater use. Total annual recharge inflows estimated by the soil-water-balance code were multiplied by the area of each reach and then averaged over the simulated period to produce an annual average of 28,919 acre-feet per year (acre-ft/yr) for Reach I and 82,006 acre-ft/yr for Reach II. Stream base flow to the Canadian River was estimated to be the largest outflow of groundwater from the aquifer, measured at four streamgages, along with evapotranspiration and groundwater use, which were relatively minor discharge components.

Objectives for the numerical groundwater-flow models included simulating groundwater flow in the Canadian River alluvial aquifer from 1981 to 2013 to address groundwater use and drought scenarios, including calculation of the EPS pumping rates. The EPS for the alluvial and terrace aquifers is defined by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board as the amount of fresh water that each landowner is allowed per year per acre of owned land to maintain a saturated thickness of at least 5 ft in at least 50 percent of the overlying land of the groundwater basin for a minimum of 20 years.

The groundwater-flow models were calibrated to water-table altitude observations, streamgage base flows, and base-flow gain to the Canadian River. The Reach I water-table altitude observation root-mean-square error was 6.1 ft, and 75 percent of residuals were within ±6.7 ft of observed measurements. The average simulated stream base-flow residual at the Bridgeport streamgage (07228500) was 8.8 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), and 75 percent of residuals were within ±30 ft3/s of observed measurements. Simulated base-flow gain in Reach I was 8.8 ft3/s lower than estimated base-flow gain. The Reach II water-table altitude observation root-mean-square error was 4 ft, and 75 percent of residuals were within ±4.3 ft of the observations. The average simulated stream base-flow residual in Reach II was between 35 and 132 ft3/s. The average simulated base-flow gain residual in Reach II was between 11.3 and 61.1 ft3/s.

Several future predictive scenarios were run, including estimating the EPS pumping rate for 20-, 40-, and 50-year life of basin scenarios, determining the effects of current groundwater use over a 50-year period into the future, and evaluating the effects of a sustained drought on water availability for both reaches. The EPS pumping rate was determined to be 1.35 acre-feet per acre per year ([acre-ft/acre]/yr) in Reach I and 3.08 (acre-ft/acre)/yr in Reach II for a 20-year period. For the 40- and 50-year periods, the EPS rate was determined to be
1.34 (acre-ft/acre)/yr in Reach I and 3.08 (acre-ft/acre)/yr in Reach II. Storage changes decreased in tandem with simulated groundwater pumping and were minimal after the first 15 simulated years for Reach I and the first 8 simulated years for Reach II.

Groundwater pumping at year 2013 rates for a period of 50 years resulted in a 0.2-percent decrease in groundwater-storage volumes in Reach I and a 0.6-percent decrease in the groundwater-storage volumes in Reach II. The small changes in storage are due to groundwater use by pumping, which composes a small percentage of the total groundwater-flow model budgets for Reaches I and II.

A sustained drought scenario was used to evaluate the effects of a hypothetical 10-year drought on water availability. A 10-year period was chosen where the effects of drought conditions would be simulated by decreasing recharge by 75 percent. In Reach I, average simulated stream base flow at the Bridgeport streamgage (07228500) decreased by 58 percent during the hypothetical 10-year drought compared to average simulated stream base flow during the nondrought period. In Reach II, average simulated stream base flows at the Purcell streamgage (07229200) and Calvin streamgage (07231500) decreased by 64 percent and 54 percent, respectively. In Reach I, the groundwater-storage drought scenario resulted in a storage decline of 30 thousand acre-feet, or an average decline in the water table of
1.2 ft. In Reach II, the groundwater-storage drought scenario resulted in a storage decline of 71 thousand acre-feet, or an average decline in the water table of 2.0 ft.

Transport of atrazine and dicamba through silt and loam soils

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Global Journal of Earth Science and Engineering (3) 27-42

James A. Tindall, Michael J. Friedel

The objectives of this research were to determine the role of preferential flow paths in the transport of atrazine (2-chloro-4-(ethylamino)-6-(isopropylamino)-s-triazine) and dicamba (3-6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) through silt and loam soils overlying the High Plains aquifer in Nebraska. In a previous study, 3 of 6 study areas demonstrated high percentages of macropores; those three areas were used in this study for analysis of chemical transport. As a subsequent part of the study, 12 intact soil cores (30-cm diameter by 40-cm height), were excavated sequentially, two from each of the following depths: 0-40cm and 40-80cm. These cores were used to study preferential flow characteristics using dye staining and to determine hydraulic properties. Two undisturbed experimental field plots, each with a 3-m2 surface area, were installed in three study areas in Nebraska. Each was instrumented with suction lysimeters and tensiometers at depths of 10cm to 80cm in 10-cm increments. Additionally, each plot was planted with corn (Zea mays). A neutron probe access tube was installed in each plot to determine soil w ater content at 15-cm intervals. All plots were enclosed w ith a raised frame (of 8-cm height) to prevent surface runoff. All suction lysimeters were purged monthly for three months and were sampled immediately prior to pre-plant herbicide application to obtain background chemical concentrations. Atrazine and dicamba moved rapidly through the soil, but only after a heavy rainfall event, probably owing to the presence of preferential flow paths and lack of microbial degradation in these soil areas. Staining of laboratory cores showed a positive correlation between the percent area stained by depth and the subsequent breakthrough of Br- in the laboratory and leaching of field-applied herbicides owing to large rainfall events. Suction lysimeter samples in the field showed increases in concentrations of herbicides at depths where laboratory data indicated greater percentages of what appeared to be preferential flow paths. Concentrations of atrazine and dicamba exceeding 0.30 and 0.05µg m1-1 were observed at depths of 10-30cm and 50-70cm after two months following heavy rainfall events. It appears from the laboratory experiment that preferential flow paths were a significant factor in transport of atrazine and dicamba.

USGS Dam Removal Science Database

Released February 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2015, Dataset

J. Ryan Bellmore, Katherine Vittum, Jeff J. Duda, Samantha L Greene

This database is the result of an extensive literature search aimed at identifying documents relevant to the emerging field of dam removal science. In total the database contains 179 citations that contain empirical monitoring information associated with 130 different dam removals across the United States and abroad. Data includes publications through 2014 and supplemented with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams database, U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System and aerial photos to estimate locations when coordinates were not provided. Publications were located using the Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information.

Complete genome sequence of the acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93

Released February 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Genome Announcements (5)

John M. Sutton, Shaun Baesman, Janna L. Fierst, Amisha T. Poret-Peterson, Ronald S. Oremland, Darren S. Dunlap, Denise M. Akob

Acetylene fermentation is a rare metabolism that was previously reported as being unique to Pelobacter acetylenicus. Here, we report the genome sequence of Pelobacter sp. strain SFB93, an acetylene-fermenting bacterium isolated from sediments collected in San Francisco Bay, CA.

Complete genome sequences of two acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter acetylenicus strains

Released February 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Genome Announcements (5)

John M. Sutton, Shaun Baesman, Janna L. Fierst, Amisha T. Poret-Peterson, Ronald S. Oremland, Darren S. Dunlap, Denise M. Akob

Acetylene fermentation is a rare metabolism that was serendipitously discovered during C2H2-block assays of N2O reductase. Here, we report the genome sequences of two type strains of acetylene-fermenting Pelobacter acetylenicus, the freshwater bacterium DSM 3246 and the estuarine bacterium DSM 3247.

Sexually dimorphic aggression indicates male gray wolves specialize in pack defense against conspecific groups

Released February 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Behavioural Processes (136) 64-72

Kira A. Cassidy, L. David Mech, Daniel R MacNulty, Daniel R. Stahler, Douglas W. Smith

Aggression directed at conspecific groups is common among gregarious, territorial species, and for some species such as gray wolves (Canis lupus) intraspecific strife is the leading cause of natural mortality. Each individual in a group likely has different measures of the costs and benefits associated with a group task, such as an aggressive attack on another group, which can alter motivation and behavior. We observed 292 inter-pack aggressive interactions in Yellowstone National Park between 1 April 1995 and 1 April 2011 (>5300 days of observation) in order to determine the role of both sexes, and the influence of pack, age, and other traits on aggression. We recorded the behaviors and characteristics of all individuals present during the interactions (n = 534 individuals) and which individuals participated in each step (i.e. chase, attack, kill, flight) of the interaction. Overall, all wolves were more likely to chase rivals if they outnumbered their opponent, suggesting packs accurately assess their opponent’s size during encounters and individuals adjust their behavior based on relative pack size. Males were more likely than females to chase rival packs and gray-colored wolves were more aggressive than black-colored wolves. Male wolves and gray-colored wolves also recorded higher cortisol levels than females and black-colored wolves, indicating hormonal support for more intense aggressive behavior. Further, we found a positive correlation between male age and probability of chasing, while age-specific participation for females remained constant. Chasing behavior was influenced by the sex of lone intruders, with males more likely to chase male intruders. This difference in behavior suggests male and female wolves may have different strategies and motivations during inter-pack aggressive interactions related to gray wolf mating systems. A division of labor between pack members concerning resource and territory defense suggests selection for specific traits related to aggression is an adaptive response to intense competition between groups of conspecifics.

Geologic assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources—Lower Cretaceous Albian to Upper Cretaceous Cenomanian carbonate rocks of the Fredericksburg and Washita Groups, United States Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain and State Waters

Released February 10, 2017 15:30 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1199

Sharon M. Swanson, Catherine B. Enomoto, Kristin O. Dennen, Brett J. Valentine, Steven M. Cahan

In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessed Lower Cretaceous Albian to Upper Cretaceous Cenomanian carbonate rocks of the Fredericksburg and Washita Groups and their equivalent units for technically recoverable, undiscovered hydrocarbon resources underlying onshore lands and State Waters of the Gulf Coast region of the United States. This assessment was based on a geologic model that incorporates the Upper Jurassic-Cretaceous-Tertiary Composite Total Petroleum System (TPS) of the Gulf of Mexico basin; the TPS was defined previously by the USGS assessment team in the assessment of undiscovered hydrocarbon resources in Tertiary strata of the Gulf Coast region in 2007. One conventional assessment unit (AU), which extends from south Texas to the Florida panhandle, was defined: the Fredericksburg-Buda Carbonate Platform-Reef Gas and Oil AU. The assessed stratigraphic interval includes the Edwards Limestone of the Fredericksburg Group and the Georgetown and Buda Limestones of the Washita Group. The following factors were evaluated to define the AU and estimate oil and gas resources: potential source rocks, hydrocarbon migration, reservoir porosity and permeability, traps and seals, structural features, paleoenvironments (back-reef lagoon, reef, and fore-reef environments), and the potential for water washing of hydrocarbons near outcrop areas.

In Texas and Louisiana, the downdip boundary of the AU was defined as a line that extends 10 miles downdip of the Lower Cretaceous shelf margin to include potential reef-talus hydrocarbon reservoirs. In Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle area of Florida, where the Lower Cretaceous shelf margin extends offshore, the downdip boundary was defined by the offshore boundary of State Waters. Updip boundaries of the AU were drawn based on the updip extent of carbonate rocks within the assessed interval, the presence of basin-margin fault zones, and the presence of producing wells. Other factors evaluated were the middle Cenomanian sea-level fall and erosion that removed large portions of platform and platform-margin carbonate sediments in the Washita Group of central Louisiana. The production history of discovered reservoirs and well data within the AU were examined to estimate the number and size of undiscovered oil and gas reservoirs within the AU. Using the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment resource assessment methodology, mean volumes of 40 million barrels of oil, 622 billion cubic feet of gas, and 14 million barrels of natural gas liquids are the estimated technically recoverable undiscovered resources for the Fredericksburg-Buda Carbonate Platform-Reef Gas and Oil AU.

A regional assessment of chemicals of concern in surface waters of four Midwestern United States national parks

Released February 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Science of the Total Environment (579) 1726-1735

Sarah M. Elliott, David VanderMeulen

Anthropogenic chemicals and their potential for adverse biological effects raise concern for aquatic ecosystem health in protected areas. During 2013–15, surface waters of four Midwestern United States national parks were sampled and analyzed for wastewater indicators, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and pesticides. More chemicals and higher concentrations were detected at the two parks with greater urban influences (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) than at the two more remote parks (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Isle Royale National Park). Atrazine (10–15 ng/L) and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (16–120 ng/L) were the only chemicals detected in inland lakes of a remote island national park (Isle Royale National Park). Bisphenol A and organophosphate flame retardants were commonly detected at the other sampled parks. Gabapentin and simazine had the highest observed concentrations (> 1000 ng/L) in three and two samples, respectively. At the two parks with urban influences, metolachlor and simazine concentrations were similar to those reported for other major urban rivers in the United States. Environmental concentrations of detected chemicals were often orders of magnitude less than standards or reference values with three exceptions: (1) hydrochlorothiazide exceeded a human health-based screening value in seven samples, (2) estrone exceeded a predicted critical environmental concentration for fish pharmacological effects in one sample, and (3) simazine was approaching the 4000 ng/L Maximum Contaminant Level in one sample even though this concentration is not expected to reflect peak pesticide use. Although few environmental concentrations were approaching or exceeded standards or reference values, concentrations were often in ranges reported to elicit effects in aquatic biota. Data from this study will assist in establishing a baseline for chemicals of concern in Midwestern national parks and highlight the need to better understand the sources, pathways, and potential adverse effects to aquatic systems in national parks.

Resident areas and migrations of female green turtles nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Released February 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Endangered Species Research (32) 89-101

Kristen M. Hart, Autumn Iverson, Allison M. Benscoter, Ikuko Fujisaki, Michael S. Cherkiss, Clayton Pollock, Ian Lundgren, Zandy Hillis-Starr

Satellite tracking in marine turtle studies can reveal much about their spatial use of breeding areas, migration zones, and foraging sites. We assessed spatial habitat-use patterns of 10 adult female green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands (BIRNM) from 2011 – 2014. Turtles ranged in size from 89.0 – 115.9 cm CCL (mean + SD = 106.8 + 7.7 cm). The inter-nesting period across all turtles ranged from 31 July to 4 November, and sizes of the 50% core-use areas during inter-nesting ranged from 4.2 – 19.0 km2. Inter-nesting core-use areas were located up to1.4 km from shore and had bathymetry values ranging from -17.0 to -13.0 m. Seven of the ten turtles remained locally resident after the nesting season. Five turtles (50%) foraged around Buck Island, two foraged around the island of St. Croix, and the other three (30%) made longer-distance migrations to Antigua, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Venezuela. Further, five turtles had foraging centroids within protected areas. Delineating spatial areas and identifying temporal periods of nearshore habitat-use can be useful for natural resource managers with responsibility for overseeing vulnerable habitats and protected marine turtle populations.

Bed-material characteristics of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, California, 2010–13

Released February 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1026

Mathieu D. Marineau, Scott A. Wright

The characteristics of bed material at selected sites within the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, California, during 2010–13 are described in a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation. During 2010‒13, six complete sets of samples were collected. Samples were initially collected at 30 sites; however, starting in 2012, samples were collected at 7 additional sites. These sites are generally collocated with an active streamgage. At all but one site, a separate bed-material sample was collected at three locations within the channel (left, right, and center). Bed-material samples were collected using either a US BMH–60 or a US BM–54 (for sites with higher stream velocity) cable-suspended, scoop sampler. Samples from each location were oven-dried and sieved. Bed material finer than 2 millimeters was subsampled using a sieving riffler and processed using a Beckman Coulter LS 13–320 laser diffraction particle-size analyzer. To determine the organic content of the bed material, the loss on ignition method was used for one subsample from each location. Particle-size distributions are presented as cumulative percent finer than a given size. Median and 90th-percentile particle size, and the percentage of subsample mass lost using the loss on ignition method for each sample are also presented in this report.

Evaluation of chemical control for nonnative crayfish at a warm-water fish production hatchery

Released February 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Freshwater Crayfish (22) 81-93

Ann L. Allert, M.J. McKee, R.J. DiStefano, J.F. Fairchild

Invasive crayfish are known to displace native crayfish species, alter aquatic habitat and community structure and function, and are serious pests for fish hatcheries. White River Crawfish (WRC; Procambarus acutus) were inadvertently introduced to a warm-water fish hatchery in Missouri, USA, possibly in an incoming fish shipment. We evaluated the use of chemical control for crayfish to ensure incoming and outgoing fish shipments from hatcheries do not contain live crayfish. We conducted acute (≤24 hr) static toxicity tests to determine potency, dose-response, and selectivity of pesticides to WRC, Virile Crayfish (VC; Orconectes virilis), and Fathead Minnow (FHM; Pimephales promelas). Testing identified a formulation of cypermethrin (Cynoff®) as the most potent of five pesticides evaluated for toxicity to crayfish. A 4-hr exposure to a cypermethrin concentration of 100 μg · L-1 was found to kill 100% of juvenile and adult WRC; however, adult VC were not consistently killed. Concentrations of cypermethrin ≤100 μg · L-1 did not cause significant (>10%) mortality in juvenile FHM. Additional testing is needed to examine selectivity between crayfish and hatchery fish species. Biosecurity protocols at hatcheries that use chemical control have the potential to reliably prevent inadvertent transfers of live crayfish in fish shipments.

Low prevalence of chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in amphibians of U.S. headwater streams

Released February 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2010, Journal of Herpetology (44) 253-260

Blake R. Hossack, Michael J. Adams, Evan H. Campbell Grant, Chistopher A. Pearl, James B. Bettaso, William J. Barichivich, Winsor H. Lowe, Kimberly True, Joy L. Ware, Paul Stephen Corn

Many declines of amphibian populations have been associated with chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the aquatic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite the relatively high prevalence of chytridiomycosis in stream amphibians globally, most surveys in North America have focused primarily on wetland-associated species, which are frequently infected. To better understand the distribution and prevalence of Bd in headwater amphibian communities, we sampled 452 tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei and Ascaphus montanus) and 304 stream salamanders (seven species in the Dicamptodontidae and Plethodontidae) for Bd in 38, first- to third-order streams in five montane areas across the United States. We tested for presence of Bd by using PCR on skin swabs from salamanders and metamorphosed tailed frogs or the oral disc of frog larvae. We detected Bd on only seven individuals (0.93%) in four streams. Based on our study and results from five other studies that have sampled headwater- or seep-associated amphibians in the United States, Bd has been detected on only 3% of 1,322 individuals from 21 species. These results differ strongly from surveys in Central America and Australia, where Bd is more prevalent on stream-breeding species, as well as results from wetland-associated anurans in the same regions of the United States that we sampled. Differences in the prevalence of Bd between stream- and wetland-associated amphibians in the United States may be related to species-specific variation in susceptibility to chytridiomycosis or habitat differences.

The effects of disease-related mortality on the recruitment of young-of-year smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River Basin, Pennsylvania

Released February 08, 2017 12:50 EST

2013, Book

Geoffrey Smith, Vicki Blazer, Heather Walsh, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Clifford E. Starliper, Adam Sperry

Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD), user’s manual, version 1

Released February 08, 2017 00:18 EST

2017, Techniques and Methods 6-B35

Richard M.T. Webb, David L. Parkhurst

The Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Model (WEBMOD) uses the framework of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Modular Modeling System to simulate fluxes of water and solutes through watersheds. WEBMOD divides watersheds into model response units (MRU) where fluxes and reactions are simulated for the following eight hillslope reservoir types: canopy; snowpack; ponding on impervious surfaces; O-horizon; two reservoirs in the unsaturated zone, which represent preferential flow and matrix flow; and two reservoirs in the saturated zone, which also represent preferential flow and matrix flow. The reservoir representing ponding on impervious surfaces, currently not functional (2016), will be implemented once the model is applied to urban areas. MRUs discharge to one or more stream reservoirs that flow to the outlet of the watershed. Hydrologic fluxes in the watershed are simulated by modules derived from the USGS Precipitation Runoff Modeling System; the National Weather Service Hydro-17 snow model; and a topography-driven hydrologic model (TOPMODEL). Modifications to the standard TOPMODEL include the addition of heterogeneous vertical infiltration rates; irrigation; lateral and vertical preferential flows through the unsaturated zone; pipe flow draining the saturated zone; gains and losses to regional aquifer systems; and the option to simulate baseflow discharge by using an exponential, parabolic, or linear decrease in transmissivity. PHREEQC, an aqueous geochemical model, is incorporated to simulate chemical reactions as waters evaporate, mix, and react within the various reservoirs of the model. The reactions that can be specified for a reservoir include equilibrium reactions among water; minerals; surfaces; exchangers; and kinetic reactions such as kinetic mineral dissolution or precipitation, biologically mediated reactions, and radioactive decay. WEBMOD also simulates variations in the concentrations of the stable isotopes deuterium and oxygen-18 as a result of varying inputs, mixing, and evaporation. This manual describes the WEBMOD input and output files, along with the algorithms and procedures used to simulate the hydrology and water quality in a watershed. Examples are presented that demonstrate hydrologic processes, weathering reactions, and isotopic evolution in an alpine watershed and the effect of irrigation on water flows and salinity in an intensively farmed agricultural area.

Forested floristic quality index: An assessment tool for forested wetland habitats using the quality and quantity of woody vegetation at Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) vegetation monitoring stations

Released February 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1002

William B. Wood, Gary P. Shaffer, Jenneke M. Visser, Ken W. Krauss, Sarai C. Piazza, Leigh Anne Sharp, Kari F. Cretini

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana and the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act, developed the Forested Floristic Quality Index (FFQI) for the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS). The FFQI will help evaluate forested wetland sites on a continuum from severely degraded to healthy and will assist in defining areas where forested wetland restoration can be successful by projecting the trajectories of change. At each CRMS forested wetland site there are stations for quantifying the overstory, understory, and herbaceous vegetation layers. Rapidly responding overstory canopy cover and herbaceous layer composition are measured annually, while gradually changing overstory basal area and species composition are collected on a 3-year cycle.

A CRMS analytical team has tailored these data into an index much like the Floristic Quality Index (FQI) currently used for herbaceous marsh and for the herbaceous layer of the swamp vegetation. The core of the FFQI uses basal area by species to assess the quality and quantity of the overstory at each of three stations within each CRMS forested wetland site. Trees that are considered by experts to be higher quality swamp species like Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) and Nyssa aquatica (water tupelo) are scored higher than tree species like Triadica sebifera (Chinese tallow) and Salix nigra (black willow) that are indicators of recent disturbance. This base FFQI is further enhanced by the percent canopy cover in the overstory and the presence of indicator species at the forest floor. This systemic approach attempts to differentiate between locations with similar basal areas that are on different ecosystem trajectories. Because of these varying states of habitat degradation, paired use of the FQI and the FFQI is useful to interpret the vegetative data in transitional locations. There is often an inverse relation between the health of the overstory and health of the herbaceous community beneath it because of resource competition (for example, light) and differing environmental preferences between the two communities. The herbaceous layer vegetation responds rapidly to basic environmental factors such as flooding, salinity, and nutrients and can offer insight into the sustainability of swamps on a temporal scale shorter than tha of the slowly growing woody vegetation.

The FFQI will be available via the CRMS spatial viewer (, and a new score will be calculated annually for each CRMS forested wetland site as data are collected to establish trends, to compare among sites, and to evaluate specific restoration projects when applicable. The FFQI will identify forested wetland areas in need of restoration and conservation and will help define targets and trajectories for restoration planning.

Electrical resistivity investigation of fluvial geomorphology to evaluate potential seepage conduits to agricultural lands along the San Joaquin River, Merced County, California, 2012–13

Released February 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5172

Krishangi D. Groover, Matthew K. Burgess, James F. Howle, Steven P. Phillips

Increased flows in the San Joaquin River, part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, are designed to help restore fish populations. However, increased seepage losses could result from these higher restoration flows, which could exacerbate existing drainage problems in neighboring agricultural lands and potentially damage crops. Channel deposits of abandoned river meanders that are hydraulically connected to the river could act as seepage conduits, allowing rapid and widespread water-table rise during restoration flows. There is a need to identify the geometry and properties of these channel deposits to assess their role in potential increased seepage effects and to evaluate management alternatives for reducing seepage. Electrical and electromagnetic surface geophysical methods have provided a reliable proxy for lithology in studies of fluvial and hyporheic systems where a sufficient electrical contrast exists between deposits of differing grain size. In this study, direct-current (DC) resistivity was used to measure subsurface resistivity to identify channel deposits and to map their subsurface geometry. The efficacy of this method was assessed by using DC resistivity surveys collected along a reach of the San Joaquin River in Merced County, California, during the summers of 2012 and 2013, in conjunction with borings and associated measurements from a hydraulic profiling tool. Modeled DC resistivity data corresponded with data from cores, hand-auger samples, a hydraulic profiling tool, and aerial photographs, confirming that DC resistivity is effective for differentiating between silt and sand deposits in this setting. Modeled DC resistivity data provided detailed two-dimensional cross-sectional resistivity profiles to a depth of about 20 meters. The distribution of high-resistivity units in these profiles was used as a proxy for identifying areas of high hydraulic conductivity. These data were used subsequently to guide the location and depth of wells installed onsite for monitoring flow in the channel deposits. Estimates of the cross-sectional area of channel deposits from DC resistivity pseudosections can provide critical input for groundwater-flow models designed to simulate river seepage and evaluate seepage-management alternatives.

Improving the Homeland Security Advisory System: An experimental analysis of threat communication for homeland security

Released February 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2007, Book chapter, The economic costs and consequences of terrorism

Philip T. Ganderton, R.L. Bernknopf

No abstract available.

Approaches to simulating the “March of Bricks and Mortar”

Released February 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2004, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (28) 125-147

Noah Charles Goldstein, J.T. Candau, K.C. Clarke

Re-creation of the extent of urban land use at different periods in time is valuable for examining how cities grow and how policy changes influence urban dynamics. To date, there has been little focus on the modeling of historical urban extent (other than for ancient cities). Instead, current modeling research has emphasized simulating the cities of the future. Predictive models can provide insights into urban growth processes and are valuable for land-use and urban planners, yet historical trends are largely ignored. This is unfortunate since historical data exist for urban areas and can be used to quantitatively test dynamic models and theory. We maintain that understanding the growth dynamics of a region's past allows more intelligent forecasts of its future. We compare using a spatio-temporal interpolation method with an agent-based simulation approach to recreate the urban extent of Santa Barbara, California, annually from 1929 to 2001. The first method uses current yet incomplete data on the construction of homes in the region. The latter uses a Cellular Automata based model, SLEUTH, to back- or hind-cast the urban extent. The success at historical urban growth reproduction of the two approaches used in this work was quantified for comparison. The performance of each method is described, as well as the utility of each model in re-creating the history of Santa Barbara. Additionally, the models’ assumptions about space are contrasted. As a consequence, we propose that both approaches are useful in historical urban simulations, yet the cellular approach is more flexible as it can be extended for spatio-temporal extrapolation.

Change-in-ratio estimators for populations with more than two subclasses

Released February 08, 2017 00:00 EST

1991, Biometrics (47) 1531-1546

Mark S. Udevitz, Kenneth H. Pollock

Change-in-ratio methods have been developed to estimate the size of populations with two or three population subclasses. Most of these methods require the often unreasonable assumption of equal sampling probabilities for individuals in all subclasses. This paper presents new models based on the weaker assumption that ratios of sampling probabilities are constant over time for populations with three or more subclasses. Estimation under these models requires that a value be assumed for one of these ratios when there are two samples. Explicit expressions are given for the maximum likelihood estimators under models for two samples with three or more subclasses and for three samples with two subclasses. A numerical method using readily available statistical software is described for obtaining the estimators and their standard errors under all of the models. Likelihood ratio tests that can be used in model selection are discussed. Emphasis is on the two-sample, three-subclass models for which Monte-Carlo simulation results and an illustrative example are presented.

Stratigraphic cross sections of the Niobrara interval of the Cody Shale and associated rocks in the Wind River Basin, central Wyoming

Released February 07, 2017 18:45 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3370

Thomas M. Finn

The Wind River Basin in Wyoming is one of many structural and sedimentary basins that formed in the Rocky Mountain foreland during the Laramide orogeny. The basin is nearly 200 miles long, 70 miles wide, and encompasses about 7,400 square miles in central Wyoming. The basin is bounded by the Washakie Range, Owl Creek uplift, and southern Bighorn Mountains on the north, the Casper arch on the east, the Granite Mountains on the south, and Wind River Range on the west.

Many important conventional oil and gas fields producing from reservoirs ranging in age from Mississippian through Tertiary have been discovered in this basin. In addition, an extensive unconventional overpressured basin-centered gas accumulation has been identified in Cretaceous and Tertiary strata in the deeper parts of the basin. It has long been suggested that various Upper Cretaceous marine shales, including the Cody Shale, are the principal hydrocarbon source rocks for many of these accumulations. With recent advances and success in horizontal drilling and multistage fracture stimulation, there has been an increase in exploration and completion of wells in these marine shales in other Rocky Mountain Laramide basins that were traditionally thought of only as hydrocarbon source rocks.

The two stratigraphic cross sections presented in this report were constructed as part of a project carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey to characterize and evaluate the undiscovered continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources of the Niobrara interval of the Upper Cretaceous Cody Shale in the Wind River Basin in central Wyoming. The primary purpose of the cross sections is to show the stratigraphic relationship of the Niobrara equivalent strata and associated rocks in the lower part of the Cody Shale in the Wind River Basin. These two cross sections were constructed using borehole geophysical logs from 37 wells drilled for oil and gas exploration and production, and one surface section along East Sheep Creek near Shotgun Butte in the northwestern part of the basin. Both lines originate at the East Sheep Creek surface section and end near Clarkson Hill in the extreme southeastern part of the basin. The stratigraphic interval extends from the upper part of the Frontier Formation to the middle part of the Cody Shale. The datum is the base of the “chalk kick” marker bed, a distinctive resistivity peak or zone in the lower part of the Cody Shale. A gamma ray and (or) spontaneous potential (SP) log was used in combination with a resistivity log to identify and correlate units. Marine molluscan index fossils collected from nearby outcrop sections were projected into the subsurface to help determine the relative ages of the strata and aid in correlation.

Multicriteria decision analysis: Overview and implications for environmental decision making

Released February 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2007, Book chapter, Advances in the Economics of Environmental Resources

Caroline M. Hermans, Jon D. Erickson

Jon D. Erickson, Frank Messner, Irene Ring, editor(s)

Environmental decision making involving multiple stakeholders can benefit from the use of a formal process to structure stakeholder interactions, leading to more successful outcomes than traditional discursive decision processes. There are many tools available to handle complex decision making. Here we illustrate the use of a multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) outranking tool (PROMETHEE) to facilitate decision making at the watershed scale, involving multiple stakeholders, multiple criteria, and multiple objectives. We compare various MCDA methods and their theoretical underpinnings, examining methods that most realistically model complex decision problems in ways that are understandable and transparent to stakeholders.

United States‐Mexican border watershed assessment: Modeling nonpoint source pollution in Ambos Nogales

Released February 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2007, Journal of Borderlands Studies (22) 79-97

Laura M. Norman

Ecological considerations need to be interwoven with economic policy and planning along the United States‐Mexican border. Non‐point source pollution can have significant implications for the availability of potable water and the continued health of borderland ecosystems in arid lands. However, environmental assessments in this region present a host of unique issues and problems. A common obstacle to the solution of these problems is the integration of data with different resolutions, naming conventions, and quality to create a consistent database across the binational study area. This report presents a simple modeling approach to predict nonpoint source pollution that can be used for border watersheds. The modeling approach links a hillslopescale erosion‐prediction model and a spatially derived sediment‐delivery model within a geographic information system to estimate erosion, sediment yield, and sediment deposition across the Ambos Nogales watershed in Sonora, Mexico, and Arizona. This paper discusses the procedures used for creating a watershed database to apply the models and presents an example of the modeling approach applied to a conservation‐planning problem.

DOI/GTN-P Climate and active-layer data acquired in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1998–2015

Released February 06, 2017 18:15 EST

2017, Data Series 1021

Frank E. Urban, Gary D. Clow

This report provides data collected by the climate monitoring array of the U.S. Department of the Interior on Federal lands in Arctic Alaska over the period August 1998 to July 2015; this array is part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (DOI/GTN-P). In addition to presenting data, this report also describes monitoring, data collection, and quality-control methods. The array of 16 monitoring stations spans lat 68.5°N. to 70.5°N. and long 142.5°W. to 161°W., an area of approximately 150,000 square kilometers. Climate summaries are presented along with quality-controlled data. Data collection is ongoing and includes the following climate- and permafrost-related variables: air temperature, wind speed and direction, ground temperature, soil moisture, snow depth, rainfall totals, up- and downwelling shortwave radiation, and atmospheric pressure. These data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in close collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Updated operational protocols for the U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation Chemistry Quality Assurance Project in support of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program

Released February 06, 2017 11:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1213

Gregory A. Wetherbee, RoseAnn Martin

The U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Quality Systems operates the Precipitation Chemistry Quality Assurance Project (PCQA) for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) and National Atmospheric Deposition Program/Mercury Deposition Network (NADP/MDN). Since 1978, various programs have been implemented by the PCQA to estimate data variability and bias contributed by changing protocols, equipment, and sample submission schemes within NADP networks. These programs independently measure the field and laboratory components which contribute to the overall variability of NADP wet-deposition chemistry and precipitation depth measurements. The PCQA evaluates the quality of analyte-specific chemical analyses from the two, currently (2016) contracted NADP laboratories, Central Analytical Laboratory and Mercury Analytical Laboratory, by comparing laboratory performance among participating national and international laboratories. Sample contamination and stability are evaluated for NTN and MDN by using externally field-processed blank samples provided by the Branch of Quality Systems. A colocated sampler program evaluates the overall variability of NTN measurements and bias between dissimilar precipitation gages and sample collectors.

This report documents historical PCQA operations and general procedures for each of the external quality-assurance programs from 2007 to 2016.

Characterization of peak streamflows and flood inundation of selected areas in Louisiana from the August 2016 flood

Released February 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5005

Kara M. Watson, John B. Storm, Brian K. Breaker, Claire E. Rose

Heavy rainfall occurred across Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi in August 2016 as a result of a slow-moving area of low pressure and a high amount of atmospheric moisture. The storm caused major flooding in the southern portions of Louisiana including areas surrounding Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Flooding occurred along the rivers such as the Amite, Comite, Tangipahoa, Tickfaw, Vermilion, and Mermentau Rivers. Over 31 inches of rain was reported in the city of Watson, 20 miles northeast of Baton Rouge, La., over the duration of the event. Streamflow-gaging stations operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recorded peak streamflows of record at 10 locations, and 7 other locations experienced peak streamflows ranking in the top five for the duration of the period of record. In August 2016, USGS hydrographers made 50 discharge measurements at 21 locations on streams in Louisiana. Many of those discharge measurements were made for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of stage-streamflow relations at gaging stations operated by the USGS. Following the storm event, USGS hydrographers recovered and documented 590 high-water marks, noting location and height of the water above land surface. Many of these high-water marks were used to create 12 flood-inundation maps for selected communities of Louisiana that experienced flooding in August 2016. Digital datasets of the inundation area, modeling boundary, water depth rasters, and final map products are available online.

Groundwater-quality data for the Madera/Chowchilla–Kings shallow aquifer study unit, 2013–14: Results from the California GAMA Program

Released February 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1019

Jennifer L. Shelton, Miranda S. Fram

Groundwater quality in the 2,390-square-mile Madera/Chowchilla–Kings Shallow Aquifer study unit was investigated by the U.S. Geological Survey from August 2013 to April 2014 as part of the California State Water Resources Control Board Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program’s Priority Basin Project. The study was designed to provide a statistically unbiased, spatially distributed assessment of untreated groundwater quality in the shallow aquifer systems of the Madera, Chowchilla, and Kings subbasins of the San Joaquin Valley groundwater basin. The shallow aquifer system corresponds to the part of the aquifer system generally used by domestic wells and is shallower than the part of the aquifer system generally used by public-supply wells. This report presents the data collected for the study and a brief preliminary description of the results.

Groundwater samples were collected from 77 wells and were analyzed for organic constituents, inorganic constituents, selected isotopic and age-dating tracers, and microbial indicators. Most of the wells sampled for this study were private domestic wells. Unlike groundwater from public-supply wells, the groundwater from private domestic wells is not regulated for quality in California and is rarely analyzed for water-quality constituents. To provide context for the sampling results, however, concentrations of constituents measured in the untreated groundwater were compared with regulatory and non-regulatory benchmarks established for drinking-water quality by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of California, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Of the 319 organic constituents assessed in this study (90 volatile organic compounds and 229 pesticides and pesticide degradates), 17 volatile organic compounds and 23 pesticides and pesticide degradates were detected in groundwater samples; concentrations of all but 2 were less than the respective benchmarks. The fumigants 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) and 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB) were detected at concentrations above their respective regulatory benchmarks in samples from a total of four wells.

Most detections of inorganic constituents were at concentrations or activities less than the respective benchmark levels. Five inorganic constituents were detected in groundwater samples from one or more wells at concentrations or activities greater than their respective regulatory, health-based benchmarks: arsenic, uranium, nitrate, adjusted gross alpha particle activity, and gross beta particle activity. Four inorganic constituents were detected in samples from one or more wells at concentrations or activities greater than their respective non-regulatory, health-based benchmarks: manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, and radon-222. Three inorganic constituents were detected in groundwater samples from one or more wells at concentrations greater than their respective non-regulatory, aesthetic-based benchmarks: iron, sulfate, and total dissolved solids.

Microbial indicators (Escherichia coli, total coliform, and enterococci) were analyzed for presence or absence. The presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) was not detected; the presence of total coliform was detected in samples from 10 of the 72 grid wells for which it was analyzed, and the presence of enterococci was detected in samples from 5 of the 73 grid wells analyzed.

Introduction to the special issue on the changing Mojave Desert

Released February 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2006, Journal of Arid Environments (67) 5-10

Kristin H. Berry, R.W. Murphy, Jeremy S. Mack, W. Quillman

The Mojave Desert, which lies between the Great Basin Desert in the north and the Sonoran Desert in the south, covers an estimated 114 478–130 464 km2 of the south-western United States and includes parts of the states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California, with the amount of land mass dependent on the definition (Fig. 1; Rowlands et al., 1982; McNab and Avers, 1994; Bailey, 1995; Groves et al., 2000). This desert is sufficiently diverse to be subdivided into five regions: northern, south-western, central, south-central, and eastern (Rowlands et al., 1982). It is a land of extremes both in topography and climate. Elevations range from below sea level at Death Valley National Park to 3633 m on Mt. Charleston in the Spring Range of Nevada. Temperatures exhibit similar extreme ranges with mean minimum January temperatures of −2.4 °C in Beatty, Nevada and mean maximum July temperatures of 47 °C in Death Valley. Mean annual precipitation varies throughout the regions (42–350 mm), is highest on mountain tops, but overall is low (Rowlands et al., 1982; Rowlands, 1995a). The distribution of precipitation varies from west to east and north to south, with >85% of rain falling in winter in the northern, south-western and south-central regions. In contrast, the central and eastern regions receive a substantial amount of precipitation in both winter and summer. The variability in topographic and climatic features contributes to regional differences in vegetation.

The Wetland and Aquatic Research Center strategic science plan

Released February 02, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1193

U.S. Geological Survey


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC) has two primary locations (Gainesville, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana) and field stations throughout the southeastern United States and Caribbean. WARC’s roots are in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Park Service research units that were brought into the USGS as the Biological Research Division in 1996. Founded in 2015, WARC was created from the merger of two long-standing USGS biology science Centers—the Southeast Ecological Science Center and the National Wetlands Research Center—to bring together expertise in biology, ecology, landscape science, geospatial applications, and decision support in order to address issues nationally and internationally. WARC scientists apply their expertise to a variety of wetland and aquatic research and monitoring issues that require coordinated, integrated efforts to better understand natural environments. By increasing basic understanding of the biology of important species and broader ecological and physiological processes, this research provides information to policymakers and aids managers in their stewardship of natural resources and in regulatory functions.

This strategic science plan (SSP) was developed to guide WARC research during the next 5–10 years in support of Department of the Interior (DOI) partnering bureaus such as the USFWS, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, as well as other Federal, State, and local natural resource management agencies. The SSP demonstrates the alignment of the WARC goals with the USGS mission areas, associated programs, and other DOI initiatives. The SSP is necessary for workforce planning and, as such, will be used as a guide for future needs for personnel. The SSP also will be instrumental in developing internal funding priorities and in promoting WARC’s capabilities to both external cooperators and other groups within the USGS.

Predicting animal home-range structure and transitions using a multistate Ornstein-Uhlenbeck biased random walk

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecology (98) 32-47

Greg A Breed, Emily A. Golson, M. Tim Tinker

The home-range concept is central in animal ecology and behavior, and numerous mechanistic models have been developed to understand home range formation and maintenance. These mechanistic models usually assume a single, contiguous home range. Here we describe and implement a simple home-range model that can accommodate multiple home-range centers, form complex shapes, allow discontinuities in use patterns, and infer how external and internal variables affect movement and use patterns. The model assumes individuals associate with two or more home-range centers and move among them with some estimable probability. Movement in and around home-range centers is governed by a two-dimensional Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process, while transitions between centers are modeled as a stochastic state-switching process. We augmented this base model by introducing environmental and demographic covariates that modify transition probabilities between home-range centers and can be estimated to provide insight into the movement process. We demonstrate the model using telemetry data from sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in California. The model was fit using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method, which estimated transition probabilities, as well as unique Ornstein-Uhlenbeck diffusion and centralizing tendency parameters. Estimated parameters could then be used to simulate movement and space use that was virtually indistinguishable from real data. We used Deviance Information Criterion (DIC) scores to assess model fit and determined that both wind and reproductive status were predictive of transitions between home-range centers. Females were less likely to move between home-range centers on windy days, less likely to move between centers when tending pups, and much more likely to move between centers just after weaning a pup. These tendencies are predicted by theoretical movement rules but were not previously known and show that our model can extract meaningful behavioral insight from complex movement data.

Donor life stage influences juvenile American eel Anguilla rostrata attraction to conspecific chemical cues

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Fish Biology (90) 384-395

Heather S. Galbraith, Carrie J. Blakeslee, Andrew K. Schmucker, Nicholas Johnson, Michael J. Hansen, Weiming Li

The present study investigated the potential role of conspecific chemical cues in inland juvenile American eel Anguilla rostrata migrations by assessing glass eel and 1 year old elver affinities to elver washings, and elver affinity to adult yellow eel washings. In two-choice maze assays, glass eels were attracted to elver washings, but elvers were neither attracted to nor repulsed by multiple concentrations of elver washings or to yellow eel washings. These results suggest that A. rostrata responses to chemical cues may be life-stage dependent and that glass eels moving inland may use the odour of the previous year class as information to guide migration. The role of chemical cues and olfaction in eel migrations warrants further investigation as a potential restoration tool.

Critical zone properties control the fate of nitrogen during experimental rainfall in montane forests of the Colorado Front Range

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biogeochemistry (132) 213-231

Eve-Lyn S. Hinckley, Brian A. Ebel, Rebecca T. Barnes, Sheila F. Murphy, Suzanne P. Anderson

Several decades of research in alpine ecosystems have demonstrated links among the critical zone, hydrologic response, and the fate of elevated atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition. Less research has occurred in mid-elevation forests, which may be important for retaining atmospheric N deposition. To explore the fate of N in the montane zone, we conducted plot-scale experimental rainfall events across a north–south transect within a catchment of the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory. Rainfall events mimicked relatively common storms (20–50% annual exceedance probability) and were labeled with 15N-nitrate (NO3NO3−) and lithium bromide tracers. For 4 weeks, we measured soil–water and leachate concentrations of Br, 15NO3,15NO3−, and NO3NO3− daily, followed by recoveries of 15N species in bulk soils and microbial biomass. Tracers moved immediately into the subsurface of north-facing slope plots, exhibiting breakthrough at 10 and 30 cm over 22 days. Conversely, little transport of Br or 15NO315NO3− occurred in south-facing slope plots; tracers remained in soil or were lost via pathways not measured. Hillslope position was a significant determinant of soil 15N-NO3NO3− recoveries, while soil depth and time were significant determinants of 15N recovery in microbial biomass. Overall, 15N recovery in microbial biomass and leachate was greater in upper north-facing slope plots than lower north-facing (toeslope) and both south-facing slope plots in August; by October, 15N recovery in microbial N biomass within south-facing slope plots had increased substantially. Our results point to the importance of soil properties in controlling the fate of N in mid-elevation forests during the summer season.

Identifying movement patterns and spawning areas of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Yellowstone Science (25) 66-69

Bob Gresswell, Nicholas A. Heredia, Jason G. Romine, Lee F. G. Gutowsky, Phillip T. Sandstrom, Michael J. Parsley, Patricia E. Bigelow, C. D. Suski, Brian D. Ertel

No abstract available.

Estimated annual agricultural pesticide use by crop group for states of the conterminous United States, 1992-2014

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Nancy T. Baker

This dataset provides estimates of annual agricultural use of pesticide compounds by crop group at the state level for states in the conterminous United States, for the time period 1992-2014, compiled from data used to make county-level estimates by means of methods described in Thelin and Stone (2013) and Baker and Stone (2015). The source of this data is the same as the published county-level pesticide use estimates for 1992-2009 (Stone, 2013), estimates for 2008-2012 (Baker and Stone, 2015), and preliminary estimates for 2013 and 2014 respectively, Baker (2015), and Baker (2016). County level by-crop estimates are not published because of the increased uncertainty in estimating the geographic distribution of compounds applied to specific crops. County level estimates were aggregated to state level for high acreage crops such as corn and soybeans, and crop groups for lower acreage crops.

Satellite-based water use dynamics using historical Landsat data (1984-2014) in the southwestern United States

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Gabriel Senay, Matthew Schauer, MacKenzie O. Friedrichs, Naga Manohar Velpuri, Ramesh K. Singh

Historical (1984-2014) Landsat-based ET maps were generated for Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) and eight other sub-basins in parts of Middle and Lower Central Valley, California. A total of 3,396 Landsat images were processed using the Operational Simplified Surface Energy balance (SSEBop) model that integrates weather and remotely sensed images to estimate monthly and annual ET within the study areas over the 31 years. Model output evaluation and validation using gridded-flux data and water balance ET approaches indicated relatively strong association between SSEBop ET and validation datasets. Historical trend analysis of seven agro-hydrologic variables were done using the Seasonal Mann-Kendall test.

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 storm-hazard projections

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Patrick Barnard, Li Erikson, Andrea O'Neill, Amy Foxgrover, Liv Herdman

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future SLR scenarios, as well as long-term shoreline change and cliff retreat.  Resulting projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms) provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. Several versions of CoSMoS have been implemented for areas of the California coast, including Southern California, Central California, and San Francisco Bay, and further versions will be incorporated as additional regions and improvements are developed.

Evapotranspiration (ET) at Blue Cypress marsh site, daily data, Indian River County, Florida, June 1, 1995 – October 20, 2014

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

David M. Sumner

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data release consists of daily evapotranspiration (ET) measurements/estimates for the time period June 1, 1995 to October 2014. These data are derived from (1) measurements of actual ET conducted at the USGS Blue Cypress marsh station (USGS station number 274143080424100) and (2) estimates of actual ET inferred from statistical regressions between the measurements of actual ET and potential ET. The station is located at a nearly flat wetlands site (27 degrees 41 minutes 43 seconds North / 080 degrees 42 minutes 41 seconds West) within the Blue Cypress Marsh Conservation Area, Indian River County, Florida. The dominant plant cover at the study site is sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), with secondary amounts of other wetland plant species. Sawgrass height generally varies from 1.8 to 2.4 meters. The canopy can be temporarily removed through fire, followed by rapid re-growth. The soils at the site are peats. The water-table generally is above land surface but can be greater than a meter below land surface during droughts. Actual ET measurements derived using the eddy-covariance method are available for January 1, 2000 to September 1, 2005; and December 11, 2009 to October 20, 2014. The contribution of the present Data Release is dissemination of a dataset of actual ET estimates for a period prior to the first period of actual ET measurements (June 1, 1995 to December 31, 1999) and for the time interval between the two periods of actual ET measurement (September 2, 2005 to December 10, 2009). Estimates of actual ET during periods of missing actual ET measurements were obtained using regression-determined, monthly vegetation coefficient multipliers applied to potential ET data. The source of potential ET data was an existing Statewide database developed through an assimilation of satellite- and field-based meterological data. A seamless time series of measured and estimated actual ET for the period June 1, 1999 to December 10, 2014 is provided in this Data Release. Although the actual ET estimator performs relatively well (r-squared values of 0.85 and 0.95 for daily and monthly periods, respectively) in reproducing measured data, it should be noted that this degree of accuracy is not assured for non-measured time periods.

Stratigraphic, geochemical, and hydrologic data for the Boston Peak wetland, Larimer County, CO, USA

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

R. Randall Schumann, Robert A. Zielinski, James K. Otton, Michael P. Pantea, William H. Orem

Comprehensive sampling of peat, underlying lakebed sediments, and coexisting waters of a naturally uraniferous montane wetland are combined with hydrologic measurements to define the important controls on uranium (U) supply and uptake. The major source of U to the wetland is groundwater flowing through locally fractured and faulted granite gneiss of Proterozoic age. Dissolved U concentrations in four springs and one seep ranged from 20 to 83 ppb (µg/l). Maximum U concentrations are ~300 ppm (mg/kg) in lakebed sediments and >3000 ppm in peat. This study documents the conditions and processes controlling the efficient uptake of U in a relatively remote, natural wetland that is absent of reported U occurrences, mining impacts, or other obvious sources of pollution. Unlike previous studies of U-rich wetlands, this study is distinguished because it provides an exceptionally detailed three-dimensional view of the distribution of uranium in as much as 3.7 m of Holocene peat, underlain by organic-rich lacustrine silt and clay (gyttja) and organic-poor clay and silt of a precursor post-glacial lake, with a combined thickness of as much as 8.5 m. The hydrologic characteristics of the entire sedimentary package from surface to bedrock were investigated with an extensive array of installed piezometers and water-table monitoring wells. Mechanisms of U uptake were investigated by a variety of techniques that utilize analyses of waters and of core and auger samples collected from depths as great as 11 m.

Bathymetry and capacity of Shawnee Reservoir, Oklahoma, 2016

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

S. Jerrod Smith, Chad Ashworth, Kevin Smith

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Shawnee, performed a detailed bathymetric survey of Shawnee Reservoir in 2016. Shawnee Reservoir (locally known as Shawnee Twin Lakes) is a man-made reservoir on South Deer Creek in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. The reservoir consists of two lakes connected by an equilibrium channel. The southern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 1) was impounded in 1935 and the northern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 2) was impounded in 1960. Shawnee Reservoir has a normal pool elevation of 1,069.0 feet above North American Vertical Datum of 1988. The auxiliary spillway, which defines the flood pool, is at an elevation of 1,075.0 feet above North American Vertical Datum of 1988.

Supporting data for “A glacier runoff extension to the precipitation runoff modeling system”

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Ashley Van Beusekom, Roland Viger

This product is an archive of the modeling artifacts used to produce a journal paper (Van Beusekom and Viger, 2016). The abstract for that paper follows. A module to simulate glacier runoff, PRMSglacier, was added to PRMS (Precipitation Runoff Modeling System), a distributed-parameter, physical-process hydrological simulation code. The extension does not require extensive on-glacier measurements or computational expense but still relies on physical principles over empirical relations as much as is feasible while maintaining model usability. PRMSglacier is validated on two basins in Alaska, Wolverine, and Gulkana Glacier basin, which have been studied since 1966 and have a substantial amount of data with which to test model performance over a long period of time covering a wide range of climatic and hydrologic conditions. When error in field measurements is considered, the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies of streamflow are 0.87 and 0.86, the absolute bias fractions of the winter mass balance simulations are 0.10 and 0.08, and the absolute bias fractions of the summer mass balances are 0.01 and 0.03, all computed over 42 years for the Wolverine and Gulkana Glacier basins, respectively. Without taking into account measurement error, the values are still within the range achieved by the more computationally expensive codes tested over shorter time periods.

WARP model pesticide predictions for EPA reach file 1 segments: 1992-2012

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Wesley W. Stone

The Watershed Regressions for Pesticides (WARP) models were developed using linear regression methods to establish quantitative linkages between pesticide concentrations measured at U.S. Geological Survey sampling sites and a variety of human-related and natural factors that affect pesticide concentrations in streams. Such factors include pesticide use, soil characteristics, hydrology, and climate - collectively referred to as explanatory variables. Model predictions for multiple pesticides for Environmental Protection Agency River Reach 1 segments are provided in tabular format for the years 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. The WARP models were published in Stone, W.W., Crawford, C.G., and Gilliom, R.J., 2013, Watershed Regressions for Pesticides (WARP) models for predicting stream concentrations of multiple pesticides. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42:1838-1851. .

Geophysical logging at the Cristex Drum National Priorities List Superfund Site near Oxford, North Carolina

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Dominick Antolino

The collection of borehole geophysical logs data was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey South Atlantic Water Science Center in the vicinity of the Cristex Drum National Priorities List Superfund Site near Oxford, North Carolina, during January through March 2016. In an effort to assist the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the development of a conceptual groundwater model for the assessment of current contaminant distribution and future migration of contaminants, borehole geophysical log and image data collection, which included the delineation of more than 150 subsurface features (primarily fracture orientations) in 3 open borehole wells.

Chemistry data in support of manuscript "Pre-mining trace element and radiation exposure to biota from a breccia pipe uranium mine in the Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) watershed"

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Jo E. Hinck, Danielle Cleveland

The risks to wildlife and humans from uranium (U) mining to the Grand Canyon watershed are largely unknown. In addition to U, other co-occurring ore constituents contribute to risks to biological receptors depending on their toxicological profiles. This data was collected to characterize the pre-mining concentrations of total arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se), thallium (Tl), U, and zinc (Zn); radiation levels; and histopathologies in biota (vegetation, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, and mammals) at the Canyon Mine.

Expert opinions of demographic rates of Argentine black and white tegus in South Florida

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Fred A. Johnson

We illustrate the utility of expert elicitation, explicit recognition of uncertainty, and the value of information for directing management and research efforts for invasive species, using tegu lizards (Salvator merianae) in southern Florida as a case study.  We posited a post-birth pulse, matrix model, which was parameterized using a 3-point process to elicit estimates of tegu demographic rates from herpetology experts.  We fit statistical distributions for each parameter and for each expert, then drew and pooled a large number of replicate samples from these to form a distribution for each demographic parameter.  Using these distributions, we generated a large sample of matrix models to infer how the tegu population might respond to control efforts.  We used the concepts of Pareto efficiency and stochastic dominance to conclude that targeting older age classes at relatively high rates appears to have the best chance of minimizing tegu abundance and control costs.  Expert opinion combined with an explicit consideration of uncertainty can be valuable for conducting an initial assessment of the effort needed to control the invader.  The value of information can be used to focus research in a way that not only helps increases the efficacy of control, but minimizes costs as well.

Water surface elevations recorded by submerged pressure transducers along the upper Willamette River, Oregon, Spring, 2015

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Greg D. Lind, Roy E. Wellman, Joseph F. Mangano

Water-surface elevations were recorded by submerged pressure transducers in Spring, 2015 along the upper Willamette River, Oregon, between Eugene and Corvallis. The water-surface elevations were surveyed by using a real-time kinematic global positioning system (RTK-GPS) at each pressure sensor location. These water-surface elevations were logged over a small range of discharges, from 4,600 cubic feet per second to 10,800 cubic feet per second at Harrisburg, OR. These datasets were collected for equipment calibration and validation for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission. This is one of multiple datasets that will be released for this effort.

EAARL coastal topography—Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, pre- and post-Hurricane Isabel, 2003

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Xan Fredericks, Christine J. Kranenburg, David B. Nagle

These XYZ datasets provide lidar-derived bare-earth topography for Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Elevation measurements were acquired pre-Hurricane Isabel on September 16 and post-Hurricane Isabel on September 21, 2003 by the first-generation Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL), in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The authors acknowledge Jamie Cormier, Amar Nayegandhi, and Wayne Wright for lidar acquisition and processing.

Simulated data supporting inbreeding rate estimates from incomplete pedigrees

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Mark P. Miller

This data release includes:
(1) The data from simulations used to illustrate the behavior of inbreeding rate estimators. Estimating inbreeding rates is particularly difficult for natural populations because parentage information for many individuals may be incomplete. Our analyses illustrate the behavior of a newly-described inbreeding rate estimator that outperforms previously described approaches in the scientific literature.
(2) Python source code ("analytical expressions", "computer simulations", and "empricial data set") that can be used to analyze these data.

Data for comparison of climate envelope models developed using expert-selected variables versus statistical selection

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Laura A. Brandt, Allison Benscoter, Rebecca G. Harvey, Carolina Speroterra, David N. Bucklin, Stephanie Romanach, James I. Watling, Frank J. Mazzotti

The data we used for this study include species occurrence data (n=15 species), climate data and predictions, an expert opinion questionnaire, and species masks that represented the model domain for each species. For this data release, we include the results of the expert opinion questionnaire and the species model domains (or masks). We developed an expert opinion questionnaire to gather information on expert opinion regarding the importance of climate variables in determining a species geographic range. The species masks, or model domains, were defined separately for each species using a variation of the “target-group” approach (Phillips et al. 2009), where the domain was determined using convex polygons including occurrence data for at least three phylogenetically related and similar species (Watling et al. 2012). The species occurrence data, climate data, and climate predictions are freely available online, and therefore not included in this data release. The species occurrence data were obtained from the online database Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF;, and from scientific literature (Watling et al. 2011). Climate data were obtained from the WorldClim database (Hijmans et al. 2005) and climate predictions were obtained from the Center for Ocean-Atmosphere Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State University ( See metadata for references.

Historic simulation of net ecosystem carbon balance for the Great Dismal Swamp

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Rachel Sleeter

Estimating ecosystem carbon (C) balance relative to natural disturbances and land management strengthens our understanding of the benefits and tradeoffs of carbon sequestration. We conducted a historic model simulation of net ecosystem C balance in the Great Dismal Swamp, VA. for the 30-year time period of 1985-2015. The historic simulation of annual carbon flux was calculated with the Land Use and Carbon Scenario Simulator (LUCAS) model. The LUCAS model utilizes a state-and-transition simulation model coupled with a carbon stock-flow accounting model to estimate net ecosystem C balance, and long term sequestration rates under various ecological conditions and management strategies. The historic model simulation uses age-structured forest growth curves for four forest species, C stock and flow rates for 8 pools and 14 fluxes, and known data for disturbance and management. The annualized results of C biomass are provided in this data release in the following categories: Growth, Heterotrophic Respiration (Rh), Net Ecosystem Production (NEP), Net Biome Production (NBP), Below-ground Biomass (BGB) Stock, Above-ground Biomass (AGB) Stock, AGB Carbon Loss from Fire, BGB Carbon Loss from Fire, Deadwood Carbon Loss from Management, and Total Carbon Loss. The table also includes the area (annually) of each forest type in hectares: Atlantic white cedar Area (hectares); Cypress-gum Area (hectares); Maple-gum Area (hectares); Pond pine Area (hectares). Net ecosystem production for the Great Dismal Swamp (~ 54,000 ha), from 1985 to 2015 was estimated to be a net sink of 0.97 Tg C. When the hurricane and six historic fire events were modeled, the Great Dismal Swamp became a net source of 0.89 Tg C. The cumulative above and belowground C loss estimated from the South One in 2008 and Lateral West fire in 2011 totaled 1.70 Tg C, while management activities removed an additional 0.01 Tg C. The C loss in below-ground biomass alone totaled 1.38 Tg C, with the balance (0.31 Tg C) coming from above-ground biomass and detritus. The LUCAS model is free and available to download (see source metadata) and can be used for multiple spatial and temporal scales. For detailed information about the methodology and input parameters, please refer to the journal article, Sleeter, R., Sleeter, B., Williams, B., Hogan, D., Hawbaker, T., Zhu Z., 2017, A Carbon Balance Model for the Great Dismal Swamp Ecosystem, Carbon Balance and Management, v. 12, no. 2, p. 20,

Zinc concentrations and isotopic signatures of an aquatic insect (mayfly, Baetis tricaudatus)

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Jeff S Wesner, David Walters, Travis S. Schmidt, Johanna M. Kraus, Craig A. Stricker, William H. Clements

Insect metamorphosis often results in substantial chemical changes that can fractionate isotopes and alter contaminant concentrations. We exposed larval mayflies (Baetis tricaudatus) to an aqueous zinc gradient (3-340 µg Zn/l) and measured the change in zinc tissue concentrations at different stages of metamorphosis. We also measured changes in stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) in unexposed B. tricaudatus. Zinc concentrations in larvae were positively related to aqueous zinc, increasing 9-fold across the exposure gradient. Zinc concentrations in adults were also positively related to aqueous concentrations, but were 7-fold lower than larvae. However, this relationship varied according to adult substage (subimago vs imago) and sex. Tissue concentrations in female imagoes were not related to exposure concentrations, but the converse was true for all other stage by sex combinations. Metamorphosis also altered isotopic ratios, increasing δ15N, but not δ13C. Thus, the main effects of metamorphosis on insect chemistry were large declines in zinc concentrations coupled with enriched δ15N signatures. For zinc, this change is largely consistent across the aqueous exposure gradient. However, the differences among sexes and stages suggest that caution is warranted when using isotopes or metal concentrations measured in one insect stage (e.g., larvae) to assess risk to wildlife that feed on subsequent life stages (e.g., adults).

Exposure potential of salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to environmental health stressors

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Zafer Defne, Neil Kamal Ganju, Daniel K. Jones, Timothy J. Reilly, Kimberly C. Aquino, Chelsea L. Carbo, Erika E. Kaufhold, William M. Benzel, Shawn C. Fisher, Dale W. Griffin, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Keith A. Loftin

Natural and anthropogenic contaminants, pathogens, and viruses are found in soils and sediments throughout the United States. Enhanced dispersion and concentration of these environmental health stressors in coastal regions can result from sea level rise and storm-derived disturbances. The combination of existing environmental health stressors and those mobilized by natural or anthropogenic disasters could adversely impact the health and resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems. This dataset displays the exposure potential to environmental health stressors in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. Exposure potential is calculated with the Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) ranking system (Reilly and others, 2015) designed to define baseline and post-event sediment-bound environmental health stressors. Facilities obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Facility Registry Service (FRS) databases were ranked based on their potential contaminant hazard. Ranks were based in part on previous work by Olsen and others (2013), literature reviews, and an expert review panel. A 2000 meter search radius was used to identify nearby ranked facility locations. As part of the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the U.S. Geological Survey has started a Wetland Synthesis Project to expand National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands. The intent is to provide federal, state, and local managers with tools to estimate their vulnerability and ecosystem service potential. For this purpose, the response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services. EBFNWR was selected as a pilot study area.

Carpinteria salt marsh habitat polygons

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Kevin D. Lafferty, Eleca J. Dunham, Frank T. Mancini, Tara E. Stewart, Ryan F. Hechinger

We identified five common habitat types in Carpinteria Salt Marsh: channels, pans (flats), marsh, salt flat and upland.  We then drew polygons around each habitat type identified from a registered and orthorectified aerial photograph and created a GIS shapefile. Polygons were ground-truthed in the field. From these habitat polygons, one can use GIS applications to estimate the area of each habitat type in this estuary. 

These data support the following publications: 
Kuris, Armand M., et al. "Ecosystem energetic implications of parasite and free-living biomass in three estuaries." Nature 454.7203 (2008): 515-518.
Hechinger, Ryan F., Kevin D. Lafferty, Andy P. Dobson, James H. Brown, and Armand M. Kuris. "A common scaling rule for abundance, energetics, and production of parasitic and free-living species." Science 333, no. 6041 (2011): 445-448.
Hechinger, Ryan F., Kevin D. Lafferty, John P. McLaughlin, Brian L. Fredensborg, Todd C. Huspeni, Julio Lorda, Parwant K. Sandhu et al. "Food webs including parasites, biomass, body sizes, and life stages for three California/Baja California estuaries." Ecology 92, no. 3 (2011): 791-791.
Buck, J.C., Hechinger, R.F., Wood, A.C., Stewart, T.E., Kuris, A.M., and Lafferty, K.D., "Host density increases parasite recruitment but decreases host risk in a snail-trematode system." Manuscript submitted for publication. 
Lafferty, K.D., Stewart, T.E., and Hechinger, R.F. (in press). Bird distribution surveys at Carpinteria Salt Marsh, California USA, January 2012 to March 2013: U.S. Geological Survey data release, 

Dataset for Alaska marine fish ecology catalog

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Lyman K. Thorsteinson

This collection of GIS layers was prepared for the report Alaska Arctic Marine Fish Ecology Catalog (U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5038). The layers display geographic distribution and sampling locations for Arctic marine fish species in the region of United States sectors of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Certain diadromous species (for example, Pacific salmon, char, and whitefishes) are treated as marine fishes (McDowall, 1987) because much of their life cycle is in marine and brackish environments. This synthesis of information is meant to provide current information and understanding of this fauna and its relative vulnerability to changing Arctic conditions.

There are 104 species in the collection - some species have both polygon and point data layers. The report (SIR 2016-5038) also describes for each species its names - species, common, and colloquial; ecological role; physical description/attributes; range (geographic); relative abundance; depth range; habitats and life history; behavior; populations or stocks, reproduction, food and feeding, biological interactions, resilience, traditional and cultural importance, commercial fisheries, potential effects of climate change, areas for future research, cited references, and bibliography.  

The published report has one map for each species showing the polygon and point data as well as land and relevant administrative boundaries. Although some of the species also have an inland water presence, this report was concerned only with their marine conditions; therefore, the land component (from the original sources) has been clipped and removed. The distribution areas may be greater in extent than that shown in the report map bounding box limits. Distributions of marine fishes are shown in adjacent Arctic seas where reliable data are available. The report can be accessed at:

This metadata document describes the collection of species data layers. Each species layer file will have its own metadata with details specific to that layer.

Alaska LandCarbon wetland distribution map

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Bruce K. Wylie, Neal J. Pastick

This product provides regional estimates of specific wetland types (bog and fen) in Alaska. Available wetland types mapped by the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) program were re-classed into bog, fen, and other. NWI mapping of wetlands was only done for a portion of the area so a decision tree mapping algorithm was then developed to estimate bog, fen, and other across the state of Alaska using remote sensing and GIS spatial data sets as inputs. This data was used and presented in two chapters on the USGS Alaska LandCarbon Report.

Continuous monitoring and discrete water-quality data from groundwater wells in the Edwards aquifer, Texas, 2014–15

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Stephen P. Opsahl, Marylynn Musgrove, Richard N. Slattery

In cooperation with the San Antonio Water System, continuous and discrete water-quality data were collected from groundwater wells completed in the Edwards aquifer, Texas, 2014-2015. Discrete measurements of nitrate were made by using a nitrate sensor. Precipitation data from two sites in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Historical Climatology Network are included in the dataset. The continuous monitoring data were collected using water quality sensors and include hourly measurements of nitrate, specific conductance, and water level in two wells. Discrete measurements of nitrate, specific conductance, and vertical flow rate were collected from one well site at different depths throughout the well bore.

Fatty acid signature data of Chukchi Sea polar bears, 2008-2015

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

E.V. Regehr, R.R. Wilson, M. St. Martin, K.D. Rode

This dataset contains fatty acid data expressed as mass percent of total fatty acids for Chukchi Sea polar bears.

Determination of the acute toxicity of Supaverm® to native and nonnative fish species of southwestern watersheds in static exposures

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Theresa M. Schreier, Terrance D. Hubert

Many fishes native to the Gila River Basin, Arizona, are on the decline with about 70 percent of the 17 fish species Federally listed as endangered or threatened. The decline has been partly attributed to the introduction of nonnative fishes that are of recreational interest such as catfish and smallmouth bass. Effective management practices are needed to control the nuisance nonnative fishes in Southwestern United States watersheds to prevent further decline of the native species and facilitate their restoration. An effective approach is the use of chemical toxicants to control the nuisance species. One chemical mixture of interest, Supaverm®, a combination of mebendazole and closantel, has been reported to show selectivity toward nonnative fish species of concern. We conducted acute toxicity tests on native and nonnative fish species of the Gila River (Arizona). Our findings showed that Supaverm® was not selectively toxic to the nonnative fish species suggesting that the use of the chemical mixture to eradicate those fish would not be effective.

A refined electrofishing technique for collecting Silver Carp: Implications for management. Supporting data

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Wesley W. Bouska, Kristen Bouska

The table provides all fish collected using two different electrofishing methods at Illinois River sites in 2012 and 2013. Length and weights were taken on most species and gender was taken from Silver Carp. Fishes were categorized whether they were netters (caught by nets) or jumpers (jumped in the boat while sampling) and only netters were used in analyses. Large numbers of shad were collected in 2013 and an additional spreadsheet includes abundance data in an aggregated form for those sites. The data is not sensitive/classified and there are no legal restrictions on who may obtain or use the data.

Flood-inundation maps for the St. Joseph River at Elkhart, Indiana

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5179

Zachary W. Martin

Digital flood-inundation maps for a 6.6-mile reach of the St. Joseph River at Elkhart, Indiana, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Science Web site at, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgage 04101000, St. Joseph River at Elkhart, Ind. Real-time stages at this streamgage may be obtained on the Internet from the USGS National Water Information System at or the National Weather Service (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at http:/, which also forecasts flood hydrographs at this site (NWS site EKMI3).

Flood profiles were computed for the stream reach by means of a one-dimensional, step-backwater hydraulic modeling software developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The hydraulic model was calibrated using the current stage-discharge rating at the USGS streamgage 04101000, St. Joseph River at Elkhart, Ind., and the documented high-water marks from the flood of March 1982. The hydraulic model was then used to compute six water-surface profiles for flood stages at 1-foot (ft) intervals referenced to the streamgage datum ranging from 23.0 ft (the NWS “action stage”) to 28.0 ft, which is the highest stage interval of the current USGS stage-discharge rating curve and 1 ft higher than the NWS “major flood stage.” The simulated water-surface profiles were then combined with a Geographic Information System digital elevation model (derived from light detection and ranging [lidar] data having a 0.49-ft root mean squared error and 4.9-ft horizontal resolution, resampled to a 10-ft grid) to delineate the area flooded at each stage.

The availability of these maps, along with Internet information regarding current stage from the USGS streamgage and forecasted high-flow stages from the NWS, will provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities such as evacuations and road closures, as well as for post-flood recovery efforts.

Native fish population and habitat study, Santa Ana River, California

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Marissa L. Wulff, Larry R. Brown, Jason May

Collection of additional data on the Santa Ana Sucker (Catostomus santaanae) and the Arroyo Chub (Gila orcutti) has been identified as a needed task to support development of the upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP; The ability to monitor population abundance and understanding the habitats used by species are important when developing such plans. The Santa Ana Sucker (Catostomus santaanae) is listed as a threatened species under federal legislation and is considered a species of special concern in California by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Moyle 2002). The Arroyo Chub (Gila orcutti) is considered a species of special concern in California by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Moyle 2002). Both species are present in the Santa Ana River watershed in the area being evaluated for establishment of the upper Santa Ana River Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP; The HCP is a collaborative effort involving the water resource agencies of the Santa Ana River Watershed, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other government agencies and stakeholder organizations. The goals of the HCP are to: 1) enable the water resource agencies to provide a reliable water supply for human uses; 2) conserve and maintain natural rivers and streams that provide habitat for a diversity of unique and rare species; and 3) maintain recreational opportunities for activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing, provided by the protection of these habitats and the river systems they depend on. The HCP will specify how species and their habitats will be protected and managed in the future and will provide the incidental take permits needed by the water resource agencies under the federal and State endangered species acts to maintain, operate, and improve their water resource infrastructure. Although the Santa Ana Sucker has been the subject of various research and monitoring studies within its remaining habitat in California (see below for more detail), initial assessment of the available data within the HCP suggested that additional data on population size, fish habitat use and availability of suitable habitat would be needed to support development of the HCP. Similarly, work on the Arroyo Chub has been limited and there is little data on the species within the HCP area, particularly the mainstem Santa Ana River. Thus, the collection of additional data on these two species has been identified as a needed task to support development of the HCP. The goals of the current study are: 1. Compare snorkeling, seining, and electrofishing as methods for estimating native fish abundance. 2. Develop a population estimate for native fish species in the study area based on the results from Goal 1. 3. Develop a habitat suitability model for the Santa Ana River for Santa Ana Sucker, and if possible Arroyo Chub. Moyle, P. B. 2002. Inland Fishes of California. Berkeley: University of California Press, 502 pp.

Point measurements of surface mass balance, Eklutna Glacier, Alaska, 2008-2015

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Dataset

Louis Sass, Michael G Loso, Jason Geck

This data set consists of a time-series of direct measurements of glacier surface mass balance, at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska. It includes seasonal measurements of winter snow accumulation and summer snow and ice ablation.

Genetic structure and viability selection in the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), a vagile raptor with a Holarctic distribution

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Conservation Genetics (17) 1307-1322

Jacqueline M. Doyle, Todd Eli Katzner, Gary Roemer, James W. Cain, Brian Millsap, Carol McIntyre, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Nadia B. Fernandez, Maria Wheeler, Zafer Bulut, Peter Bloom, J. Andrew DeWoody

Molecular markers can reveal interesting aspects of organismal ecology and evolution, especially when surveyed in rare or elusive species. Herein, we provide a preliminary assessment of golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) population structure in North America using novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These SNPs included one molecular sexing marker, two mitochondrial markers, 85 putatively neutral markers that were derived from noncoding regions within large intergenic intervals, and 74 putatively nonneutral markers found in or very near protein-coding genes. We genotyped 523 eagle samples at these 162 SNPs and quantified genotyping error rates and variability at each marker. Our samples corresponded to 344 individual golden eagles as assessed by unique multilocus genotypes. Observed heterozygosity of known adults was significantly higher than of chicks, as was the number of heterozygous loci, indicating that mean zygosity measured across all 159 autosomal markers was an indicator of fitness as it is associated with eagle survival to adulthood. Finally, we used chick samples of known provenance to test for population differentiation across portions of North America and found pronounced structure among geographic sampling sites. These data indicate that cryptic genetic population structure is likely widespread in the golden eagle gene pool, and that extensive field sampling and genotyping will be required to more clearly delineate management units within North America and elsewhere.

Phytoplankton data for Cheney Reservoir near Cheney, Kansas, June 2001 through November 2015

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Dataset

Jennifer Graham, Theodore D. Harris

This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Data Release provides phytoplankton data collected from Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, during June 2001 through November 2015. All data are reported as raw calculated values and are not rounded to USGS significant figures. This data release was produced in compliance with the open data requirements as a way to make scientific products associated with USGS research efforts and publications available to the public. The dataset includes all routine and quality assurance/quality control samples collected at the long-term sampling site on Cheney Reservoir located near the dam (USGS station identification number 07144790). Phytoplankton were identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level and abundance (density) and biovolume are reported.

Susceptibility and antibody response of the laboratory model zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to West Nile Virus: Data

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Dataset

Erik K. Hofmeister, Melissa Lund, Valerie I. Shearn-Bochsler

The data set contains the results of experimental challenge of captive zebra finches with an American crow isolate of West Nile virus (WNV). Data include infectivity, mortality, viremia, oral shedding of virus, and serology for anti- WNV antibodies. Australian and Timor zebra finches were used in this study and both are useful as a laboratory model of an avian species with moderate susceptibility to WNV.

CoSMoS v3.0 Phase 2 flood-hazard projections: San Diego County

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Dataset

Patrick Barnard, Li Erikson, Andrea O'Neill, Amy Foxgrover, Liv Herdman

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) v3.0 for Southern California. Phase 2 data for Southern California include flood-hazard information for a variety of storm conditions and sea-level rise scenarios. Several changes from Phase 1 projections are reflected in many areas. Data will be disseminated by county, with San Diego County being the first of Phase 2 data releases.

CoSMoS Southern California v3.0 Phase 1 (100-year storm) storm hazard projections

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Dataset

Patrick Barnard, Li Erikson, Amy Foxgrover, Andrea O'Neill, Liv Herdman

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS v3.0 for Southern California shows projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms) to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. Phase I data for Southern California include flood-hazard information for the coast from the Mexican Border to Pt. Conception for a 100-year storm scenario and sea-level rise 0 - 2 m. Changes from previous data releases may be reflected in some areas. Data are complete for the information presented but are considered preliminary; changes may be reflected in the full data release (Phase II) in summer 2016.

CoSMoS Southern California v3.0 Phase 1 (100-year storm) flood hazard projections: Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2015, Dataset

Patrick Barnard, Li Erikson, Amy Foxgrover, Andrea O'Neill, Liv Herdman

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS v3.0 for Southern California shows projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms) to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. Phase I data for Southern California include flood-hazard information for the coast from the Mexican Border to Pt. Conception for a 100-year storm scenario. Data are complete for the information presented but are considered preliminary; changes may be reflected in the full data release (Phase II) in summer 2016.

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

Released February 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2015, Dataset

Patrick Barnard, Li Erikson, Amy Foxgrover, Liv Herdman, Patrick W Limber, Andrea O'Neill, Sean Vitousek

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future SLR scenarios, as well as long-term shoreline change and cliff retreat. CoSMoS v3.0 for Southern California shows projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms) to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. Phase I data for Southern California includes 100-year storm flood hazard information for the coast from the Mexican Border to Pt. Conception. Flood projection data in the initial November release is limited to coastal areas within Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange counties.

Mineral commodity summaries 2017

Released January 31, 2017 15:15 EST

2017, Report

Joyce A. Ober

This report is the earliest Government publication to furnish estimates covering 2016 nonfuel mineral industry data. Data sheets contain information on the domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, and 5-year salient statistics for more than 90 individual minerals and materials.

Potential distribution of the viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus in the Great Lakes region

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Fish Diseases (40) 11-28

Luis E. Escobar, Gael Kurath, Joaquim Escobar-Dodero, Meggan E. Craft, Nicholas B.D. Phelps

Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) genotype IVb has been responsible for large-scale fish mortality events in the Great Lakes of North America. Anticipating the areas of potential VHSV occurrence is key to designing epidemiological surveillance and disease prevention strategies in the Great Lakes basin. We explored the environmental features that could shape the distribution of VHSV, based on remote sensing and climate data via ecological niche modelling. Variables included temperature measured during the day and night, precipitation, vegetation, bathymetry, solar radiation and topographic wetness. VHSV occurrences were obtained from available reports of virus confirmation in laboratory facilities. We fit a Maxent model using VHSV-IVb reports and environmental variables under different parameterizations to identify the best model to determine potential VHSV occurrence based on environmental suitability. VHSV reports were generated from both passive and active surveillance. VHSV occurrences were most abundant near shore sites. We were, however, able to capture the environmental signature of VHSV based on the environmental variables employed in our model, allowing us to identify patterns of VHSV potential occurrence. Our findings suggest that VHSV is not at an ecological equilibrium and more areas could be affected, including areas not in close geographic proximity to past VHSV reports.

Conversion of native terrestrial ecosystems in Hawai‘i to novel grazing systems: a review

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Invasions (19) 161-177

Christina R. Leopold, Steven C. Hess

The remote oceanic islands of Hawai‘i exemplify the transformative effects that non-native herbivorous mammals can bring to isolated terrestrial ecosystems. We reviewed published literature containing systematically collected, analyzed, and peer-reviewed original data specifically addressing direct effects of non-native hoofed mammals (ungulates) on terrestrial ecosystems, and indirect effects and interactions on ecosystem processes in Hawai‘i. The effects of ungulates on native vegetation and ecosystems were addressed in 58 original studies and mostly showed strong short-term regeneration of dominant native trees and understory ferns after ungulate removal, but unassisted recovery was dependent on the extent of previous degradation. Ungulates were associated with herbivory, bark-stripping, disturbance by hoof action, soil erosion, enhanced nutrient cycling from the interaction of herbivory and grasses, and increased pyrogenicity and competition between native plants and pasture grasses. No studies demonstrated that ungulates benefitted native ecosystems except in short-term fire-risk reduction. However, non-native plants became problematic and continued to proliferate after release from herbivory, including at least 11 species of non-native pasture grasses that had become established prior to ungulate removal. Competition from non-native grasses inhibited native species regeneration where degradation was extensive. These processes have created novel grazing systems which, in some cases, have irreversibly altered Hawaii’s terrestrial ecology. Non-native plant control and outplanting of rarer native species will be necessary for recovery where degradation has been extensive. Lack of unassisted recovery in some locations should not be construed as a reason to not attempt restoration of other ecosystems.

Linking dominant Hawaiian tree species to understory development in recovering pastures via impacts on soils and litter

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Restoration Ecology (25) 42-52

Stephanie G. Yelenik

Large areas of tropical forest have been cleared and planted with exotic grass species for use as cattle pasture. These often remain persistent grasslands after grazer removal, which is problematic for restoring native forest communities. It is often hoped that remnant and/or planted trees can jump-start forest succession; however, there is little mechanistic information on how different canopy species affect community trajectories. To investigate this, I surveyed understory communities, exotic grass biomass, standing litter pools, and soil properties under two dominant canopy trees—Metrosideros polymorpha (‘ōhi‘a) and Acacia koa (koa)—in recovering Hawaiian forests. I then used structural equation models (SEMs) to elucidate direct and indirect effects of trees on native understory. Native understory communities developed under ‘ōhi‘a, which had larger standing litter pools, lower soil nitrogen, and lower exotic grass biomass than koa. This pattern was variable, potentially due to historical site differences and/or distance to intact forest. Koa, in contrast, showed little understory development. Instead, data suggest that increased soil nitrogen under koa leads to high grass biomass that stalls native recruitment. SEMs suggested that indirect effects of trees via litter and soils were as or more important than direct effects for determining native cover. It is suggested that diverse plantings which incorporate species that have high carbon to nitrogen ratios may help ameliorate the negative indirect effects of koa on natural understory regeneration.

Spatial variability of Chinook salmon spawning distribution and habitat preferences

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (146) 206-221

Jeremy M. Cram, Christian Torgersen, Ryan S. Klett, George R. Pess, Darran May, Todd N. Pearsons, Andrew H. Dittman

We investigated physical habitat conditions associated with the spawning sites of Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and the interannual consistency of spawning distribution across multiple spatial scales using a combination of spatially continuous and discrete sampling methods. We conducted a census of aquatic habitat in 76 km of the upper main-stem Yakima River in Washington and evaluated spawning site distribution using redd survey data from 2004 to 2008. Interannual reoccupation of spawning areas was high, ranging from an average Pearson’s correlation of 0.62 to 0.98 in channel subunits and 10-km reaches, respectively. Annual variance in the interannual correlation of spawning distribution was highest in channel units and subunits, but it was low at reach scales. In 13 of 15 models developed for individual years (2004–2008) and reach lengths (800 m, 3 km, 6 km), stream power and depth were the primary predictors of redd abundance. Multiple channels and overhead cover were patchy but were important secondary and tertiary predictors of reach-scale spawning site selection. Within channel units and subunits, pool tails and thermal variability, which may be associated with hyporheic exchange, were important predictors of spawning. We identified spawning habitat preferences within reaches and channel units that are relevant for salmonid habitat restoration planning. We also identified a threshold (i.e., 2-km reaches) beyond which interannual spawning distribution was markedly consistent, which may be informative for prioritizing habitat restoration or conservation. Management actions may be improved through enhanced understanding of spawning habitat preferences and the consistency with which Chinook Salmon reoccupy spawning areas at different spatial scales.

Noble gas isotopes in mineral springs and wells within the Cascadia forearc, Washington, Oregon, and California

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1203

Patricia A. McCrory, James E. Constantz, Andrew G. Hunt


This U.S. Geological Survey report presents laboratory analyses along with field notes for an exploratory study to document the relative abundance of noble gases in mineral springs and water wells within the Cascadia forearc of Washington, Oregon, and California (fig. 1). This report describes 14 samples collected in 2014 and 2015 and complements a previous report that describes 9 samples collected in 2012 and 2013 (McCrory and others, 2014b). Estimates of the depth to the underlying Juan de Fuca oceanic plate beneath sample sites are derived from the McCrory and others (2012) slab model. Some of the springs have been previously sampled for chemical analyses (Mariner and others, 2006), but none of the springs or wells currently has publicly available noble gas data. The helium and neon isotope values and ratios presented below are used to determine the sources and mixing history of these mineral and well waters (for example, McCrory and others, 2016).

smwrGraphs—An R package for graphing hydrologic data, version 1.1.2

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1188

David L. Lorenz, Aliesha L. Diekoff

This report describes an R package called smwrGraphs, which consists of a collection of graphing functions for hydrologic data within R, a programming language and software environment for statistical computing. The functions in the package have been developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to create high-quality graphs for publication or presentation of hydrologic data that meet U.S. Geological Survey graphics guidelines.

Colorado River fish monitoring in Grand Canyon, Arizona; 2002–14 humpback chub aggregations

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1177

William R. Persons, David R. Van Haverbeke, Michael J. Dodrill

The humpback chub (Gila cypha) is an endangered cyprinid species endemic to the Colorado River. The largest remaining population of the species spawns and rears in the Little Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Construction and operation of Glen Canyon Dam has altered the main-stem Colorado River in Glen and Grand Canyons. Cold, clear water releases from the dam result in a river that is generally unsuitable for successful humpback chub reproduction. During the early 1990s, nine locations within the main-stem Colorado River were identified as humpback chub aggregations—areas with a consistent and disjunct group of fish with no significant exchange of individuals with other aggregations. We monitored main-stem Colorado River aggregations of humpback chub in Grand Canyon during 2010 to 2014 and compared our results to previous investigations. Relative abundance, as described by catch per unit effort (fish per hour) of adult humpback chub at most main-stem aggregations, generally increased from the 1990s to 2014. In addition, distribution of humpback chub in the main-stem Colorado River has increased since the 1990s. Movement of humpback chub between the Little Colorado River and other aggregations likely adds fish to those aggregations. There is clear evidence of reproduction near the 30-Mile aggregation, and reproduction at Middle Granite Gorge and downstream seems likely based on catches of gravid fish and captures of very young fish, especially during relatively warm water releases from Glen Canyon Dam, 2004 to 2011. Humpback chub relative abundance at Shinumo and Havasu Creek inflows increased following translocations of young humpback chub starting in 2009. In light of this information, we modify the original nine aggregations, combining two previously separate aggregations and dropping two locations to form six distinct aggregations of humpback chub. Trends in humpback chub abundance at main-stem aggregations, relative to management actions (for example, translocations) or changing environmental conditions (for example, river warming), informs management of the species across a riverscape scale within the Colorado River.

Geologic map of Meridiani Planum, Mars

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3356

Brian M. Hynek, Gaetano Di Achille

Introduction and Background

The Meridiani Planum region of Mars—originally named due to its proximity to the Martian prime meridian—contains a variety of geologic units, including those that are crater‑related, that span the Early Noachian to Late Amazonian Epochs. Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) data indicate this area contains extensive layered deposits, some of which are rich in the mineral hematite. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars Exploration Rover (MER)  Opportunity  landed in Meridiani Planum in early 2004 and, at the time of this writing, is still conducting operations. A variety of water-altered bedrock outcrops have been studied and contain indications of prolonged surface and near-surface fluid/rock interactions. The purpose of this study is to use the more recent orbiter data to place the rover’s findings in a broader context by assessing the geologic and hydrologic histories of the region.

Influence of poisoned prey on foraging behavior of ferruginous hawks

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The American Midland Naturalist (177) 75-83

Nimish B. Vyas, Frank Kuncir, Criss C. Clinton

We recorded 19 visits by ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) over 6 d at two black–tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) subcolonies poisoned with the rodenticide Rozol® Prairie Dog Bait (0.005% chlorophacinone active ingredient) and at an adjacent untreated subcolony. Before Rozol® application ferruginous hawks foraged in the untreated and treated subcolonies but after Rozol® application predation by ferruginous hawks was only observed in the treated subcolonies. We suggest that ferruginous hawks' preference for hunting in the treated subcolonies after Rozol® application was influenced by the availability of easy-to-capture prey, presumably due to Rozol® poisoning. The energetically beneficial behavior of favoring substandard prey may increase raptor encounters with rodenticide exposed animals if prey vulnerability has resulted from poisoning.

System-wide significance of predation on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia and Snake River reservoirs. Report of research, 1992

Released January 31, 2017 00:00 EST

1993, Report

H. Petersen, T.P. Poe

No abstract available 

Impacts of mangrove density on surface sediment accretion, belowground biomass and biogeochemistry in Puttalam Lagoon, Sri Lanka

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wetlands

D.H. Phillips, M.P. Kumara, L.P. Jayatissa, Ken W. Krauss, M. Huxham

Understanding the effects of seedling density on sediment accretion, biogeochemistry and belowground biomass in mangrove systems can help explain ecological functioning and inform appropriate planting densities during restoration or climate change mitigation programs. The objectives of this study were to examine: 1) impacts of mangrove seedling density on surface sediment accretion, texture, belowground biomass and biogeochemistry, and 2) origins of the carbon (C) supplied to the mangroves in Palakuda, Puttalam Lagoon, Sri Lanka. Rhizophora mucronata propagules were planted at densities of 6.96, 3.26, 1.93 and 0.95 seedlings m−2along with an unplanted control (0 seedlings m−2). The highest seedling density generally had higher sediment accretion rates, finer sediments, higher belowground biomass, greatest number of fine roots and highest concentrations of C and nitrogen (N) (and the lowest C/N ratio). Sediment accretion rates, belowground biomass (over 1370 days), and C and N concentrations differed significantly between seedling densities. Fine roots were significantly greater compared to medium and coarse roots across all plantation densities. Sulphur and carbon stable isotopes did not vary significantly between different density treatments. Isotope signatures suggest surface sediment C (to a depth of 1 cm) is not derived predominantly from the trees, but from seagrass adjacent to the site.

Glaciological measurements and mass balances from Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA, years 2005–2015

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Earth System Science Data (9) 47-61

Adam Clark, Daniel B. Fagre, Erich H. Peitzsch, Blase A. Reardon, Joel T. Harper

Glacier mass balance measurements help to provide an understanding of the behavior of glaciers and their response to local and regional climate. In 2005 the United States Geological Survey established a surface mass balance monitoring program on Sperry Glacier, Montana, USA. This project is the first quantitative study of mass changes of a glacier in the US northern Rocky Mountains and continues to the present. The following paper describes the methods used during the first 11 years of measurements and reports the associated results. From 2005 to 2015, Sperry Glacier had a cumulative mean mass balance loss of 4.37 m w.e. (water equivalent). The mean winter, summer, and annual glacier-wide mass balances were 2.92, −3.41, and −0.40 m w.e. yr−1 respectively. We derive these cumulative and mean results from an expansive data set of snow depth, snow density, and ablation measurements taken at selected points on the glacier. These data allow for the determination of mass balance point values and a time series of seasonal and annual glacier-wide mass balances for all 11 measurement years. We also provide measurements of glacier extent and accumulation areas for select years. All data have been submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service and are available at doi:10.5904/wgms-fog-2016-08. This foundational work provides valuable insight about Sperry Glacier and supplies additional data to the worldwide record of glaciers measured using the glaciological method. Future research will focus on the processes that control accumulation and ablation patterns across the glacier. Also we plan to examine the uncertainties related to our methods and eventually quantify a more robust estimate of error associated with our results.

Storms, channel changes, and a sediment budget for an urban-suburban stream, Difficult Run, Virginia, USA

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geomorphology (278)-128

Allen Gellis, Michael Myers, Gregory Noe, Cliff R. Hupp, Edward Shenk, Luke Myers

Determining erosion and deposition rates in urban-suburban settings and how these processes are affected by large storms is important to understanding geomorphic processes in these landscapes. Sediment yields in the suburban and urban Upper Difficult Run are among the highest ever recorded in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, ranging from 161 to 376 Mg/km2/y. Erosion and deposition of streambanks, channel bed, and bars and deposition of floodplains were monitored between 1 March 2010 and 18 January 2013 in Upper Difficult Run, Virginia, USA. We documented the effects of two large storms, Tropical Storm Lee (September 2011), a 100-year event, and Super Storm Sandy (October 2012) a 5-year event, on channel erosion and deposition. Variability in erosion and deposition rates for all geomorphic features, temporally and spatially, are important conclusions of this study. Tropical Storm Lee was an erosive event, where erosion occurred on 82% of all streambanks and where 88% of streambanks that were aggrading before Tropical Storm Lee became erosional. Statistical analysis indicated that drainage area explains linear changes (cm/y) in eroding streambanks and that channel top width explains cross-sectional area changes (cm2/y) in eroding streambanks and floodplain deposition (mm/y). A quasi-sediment budget constructed for the study period using the streambanks, channel bed, channel bars, and floodplain measurements underestimated the measured suspended-sediment load by 61% (2130 Mg/y). Underestimation of the sediment load may be caused by measurement errors and to contributions from upland sediment sources, which were not measured but estimated at 36% of the gross input of sediment. Eroding streambanks contributed 42% of the gross input of sediment and accounted for 70% of the measured suspended-sediment load. Similar to other urban watersheds, the large percentage of impervious area in Difficult Run and direct runoff of precipitation leads to increased streamflow and streambank erosion. This study emphasizes the importance of streambanks in urban-suburban sediment budgets but also suggests that other sediment sources, such as upland sources, which were not measured in this study, can be an important source of sediment.

Preliminary evaluation of the behavior and movements of adult spring Chinook salmon in the Chehalis River, southwestern Washington, 2014

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1004

Theresa L. Liedtke, William R. Hurst, Ryan G. Tomka, Tobias J. Kock, Mara S. Zimmerman

Recent interest in flood control and restoration strategies in the Chehalis River Basin has increased the need to understand the current status and ecology of spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Spring Chinook salmon have the longest exposure of all adult Chinook salmon life histories to the low-flow and high water temperature conditions that typically occur during summer. About 100 adult spring Chinook salmon were found dead in the Chehalis River in July and August 2009. Adult Chinook salmon are known to hold in cool-water refugia during warm summer months, but the extent to which spring Chinook salmon might use thermal refugia in the Chehalis River is unknown. A preliminary evaluation of the movements and temperature exposures of adult spring Chinook salmon following their return to the Chehalis River was conducted using radiotelemetry and transmitters equipped with temperature sensors. A total of 12 spring Chinook salmon were captured, radio-tagged, and released in the main-stem Chehalis River between May and late June 2014. Tagged fish were monitored from freshwater entry through the spawning period using a combination of fixedsite monitoring locations and mobile tracking.

Water temperature and flow conditions in the main-stem Chehalis River during 2014 were atypical compared to historical averages. Mean monthly water temperatures between March and August 2014 were higher than any decade since 1960 and mean monthly discharge was 90–206 percent of the discharge in previous years. Overall, 92 percent of the tagged fish were detected, with a mean of 102 d in the detection history of tagged fish. Seven tagged fish (58 percent) moved upstream, either shortly after release (5–8 d, 57 percent), or within about a month (34–35 d, 29 percent). One fish (14 percent) remained near the release location for 98 d before moving upstream. The final fates for the seven fish that moved upstream following release included six fish that were assigned a fate of spawner and one fish with an unknown fate. Tagged fish showed limited movements during the peak water temperatures in July and August, and were not frequently detected at sites where water temperatures exceeded 21 °C. The mouths of the Skookumchuck and Newaukum Rivers were commonly used by tagged fish for extended periods during peak water temperatures and study fish with a fate of spawner were last detected in these tributaries.

This pilot study represents a substantial contribution to the understanding of spring Chinook salmon in the Chehalis River Basin, and provides information for the design and execution of future evaluations. The water temperatures and flow conditions during the 2014 study period were not typical of the historical conditions in the basin and the numbers of tagged fish monitored was relatively low, so results should be interpreted with those cautions in mind.

Subsurface fault damage zone of the 2014 Mw 6.0 South Napa, California, earthquake viewed from fault‐zone trapped waves

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (106) 2747-2763

Yong-Gang Li, Rufus D. Catchings, Mark R. Goldman

The aftershocks of the 24 August 2014 Mw 6.0 South Napa earthquake generated prominent fault‐zone trapped waves (FZTWs) that were recorded on two 1.9‐km‐long seismic arrays deployed across the northern projection (array 1, A1) and the southern part (A2) of the surface rupture of the West Napa fault zone (WNFZ). We also observed FZTWs on an array (A3) deployed across the intersection of the Franklin and Southampton faults, which appear to be the southward continuations of the WNFZ. A1, A2, and A3 consisted of 20, 20, and 10 L28 (4.5 Hz) three‐component seismographs. We analyzed waveforms of FZTWs from 55 aftershocks in both time and frequency to characterize the fault damage zone associated with this Mw 6.0 earthquake. Post‐S coda durations of FZTWs increase with epicentral distances and focal depths from the recording arrays, suggesting a low‐velocity waveguide along the WNFZ to depths in excess of 5–7 km. Locations of the aftershocks showing FZTWs, combined with 3D finite‐difference simulations, suggest the subsurface rupture zone having an S‐wave speed reduction of ∼40%–50% between A1 and A2, coincident with the ∼14‐km‐long mapped surface rupture zone and at least an ∼500‐m‐wide deformation zone. The low‐velocity waveguide along the WNFZ extends further southward to at least A3, but with a more moderate‐velocity reduction of 30%–35% at ray depth. This last FZTW observation suggests continuity between the WNFZ and Franklin fault. The waveguide effect may have localized and amplified ground shaking along the WNFZ and the faults farther to the south (see a companion paper by Catchings et al., 2016).

Reply [to] Zalasiewicz et al. comment

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, GSA Today (27)

Stanley C. Finney, E. Edwards

No abstract available.

Reply to “Comment on ‘Near-surface location, geometry, and velocities of the Santa Monica fault zone, Los Angeles, California’ by R. D. Catchings, G. Gandhok, M. R. Goldman, D. Okaya, M. J. Rymer, and G. W. Bawden” by T. L. Pratt and J. F. Dolan

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2010, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (100) 2338-2347

Rufus D. Catchings, Michael J. Rymer, Mark R. Goldman, Gerald W. Bawden

In a comment on our 2008 paper (Catchings, Gandhok, et al., 2008) on the Santa Monica fault in Los Angeles, California, Pratt and Dolan (2010) (herein referred to as P&D) cite numerous objections to our work, inferring that our study is flawed. However, as shown in our reply, their objections contradict their own published works, published works of others, and proven seismic methodologies. Rather than responding to each repeated invalid objection, we address their objections by topic in the subsequent sections.

In Catchings, Gandhok, et al. (2008), we presented high-resolution seismic-reflection images that showed two near-surface faults in the upper 50 m beneath the grounds of the Wadsworth Veterans Administration Hospital (WVAH). Although P&D suggest we effectively duplicated their seismic acquisition, our survey was not a duplication of their efforts. Rather, we conducted a seismic-imaging survey over a similar profile as Pratt et al. (1998) but used a different data acquisition system and different data processing methods to evaluate methods of seismically imaging blind faults in the wake of the 17 January 1994 M 6.7 Northridge earthquake. We used an acquisition method that provides both tomographic seismic velocities and reflection images. Our combined-data approach allowed for shallower imaging (∼2.5 m minimum) than the ∼20-m minimum of Pratt et al. (1998), clearer images of the fault zone, and more accurate depth determinations (rather than time images). In processing the reflection images, we used prestack depth migration, which is generally accepted as the only proper imaging method for imaging subsurface structures with strong lateral velocity variations (Versteeg, 1993), a condition shown to exist at the WVAH site. We correlated our reflection images with refraction tomography images, borehole lithology, and velocity data, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar images, and changes in groundwater depths. Except for some minor differences, our seismic-reflection images coincide with previously published seismic-reflection images by Dolan and Pratt (1997) and Pratt et al. (1998), and a paleoseismic study by Dolan et al. (2000). Principal differences among our interpretations and those of Pratt et al. (1998) relate to the upper 20 m and the south side of the fault, which Pratt et al. (1998) did not clearly image. In contrast, our seismic images included structures on both sides of the fault zone from about 2.5 m depth to about 100 m depth at WVAH, allowing us to interpret more details.

Pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags: A method to investigate the migration and behavior of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in the Gulf of Alaska

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2003, Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin (10) 124-136

Andrew C Seitz, Derek Wilson, Brenda L. Norcross, Jennifer L. Nielsen

Pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags provide a fisheries-independent method of collecting environmental preference data (depth and ambient water temperature) and migration distance. In this study, we evaluate the use of pop-up archival transmitting tags as a method to investigate demersal fish. We report the results from eight pop-up archival transmitting tagged Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis (from 107 to 165 cm FL) that were released in and around Resurrection Bay, Alaska. Commercial fishermen recovered three tags, while five tags transmitted data to Argos satellites. Horizontal migration was not consistent among fish as four Pacific halibut remained in the vicinity of release while the other four traveled up to 358 km from the release site. Vertical movement was not consistent among fish or over time; however, they spent most of their time at depths of 150 to 350 m. The minimum and maximum depths reached by any of the Pacific halibut were 2 m and 502 m, respectively. The fish preferred water temperatures of approximately 6°C, but experienced temperatures between 4.3 and 12.2°C. Light attenuation with depth prevented geolocation software and light sensing hardware from accurately estimating geoposition for the majority of days. The methods, adapted from investigations on large pelagic fish, proved to be effective for studying Pacific halibut in the northern Gulf of Alaska. PAT tags allowed us to obtain high accuracy locations of the fish at the end of the tag deployments as well as preliminary data to identify approximate seasonal locations and to characterize their depth and temperature characteristics. By using PAT tags, we will be able to ensure tag returns during the winter season (which is closed to fishing) and gain valuable biological information even if fish migrate large distances or to unexpected locations.

Use of Landsat MSS and TM imagery to improve reconnaissance geologic mapping in the Ruby quadrangle, west-central Alaska: A section in Geological studies in Alaska by the U.S. Geological Survey, 1999

Released January 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2001, Professional Paper 1633

Keith A. Labay, Frederic H. Wilson, Kuuipo A. Burleigh

By using Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite images, the spatial relation of units JMtu (mafic, ultramafic, and sedimentary rocks, undivided) and PzZrqs (pelitic and quartzitic schist) of Wilson and others (1998) from the northeastern portion of the Ruby 1:250,000-scale quadrangle geologic map was further defined. The MSS image was first analyzed using spectral signatures to separate and highlight pixels associated only with the units of interest. This approach was ineffective at separating the units from areas of the image with similar spectral signatures, but it did show that unit JMtu and associated areas consistently had a high brightness value, while unit PzZrqs and associated areas consistently had a low brightness value. Consequently, a new approach was developed using spectral enhancement to emphasize the differences between these high- and low- brightness areas. Once the TM image was obtained, the spectral signature separation and spectral enhancement approaches were again tested, but the results were similar to those found using the MSS image. By using the results from the spectral enhancement of the MSS image in combination with current ground-truth data, the locations of units JMtu and PzZrqs in the Ruby quadrangle were reinterpreted.