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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Drilling, construction, water chemistry, water levels, and regional potentiometric surface of the upper carbonate-rock aquifer in Clark County, Nevada, 2009–2015

Released May 23, 2019 15:22 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3434

Jon W. Wilson

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated a cooperative study through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (Bureau of Land Management, 1998) to install six wells in the carbonate-rock and basin-fill aquifers of Clark County, Nevada, in areas of sparse groundwater data. This map uses water levels from these new wells, water levels from existing wells, and altitudes of spring discharge points to update a regional potentiometric map of the carbonate-rock aquifer and provide evidence to interpret the direction of regional groundwater flow. This potentiometric surface map is accompanied by drilling and borehole geophysical logs, well construction information, lithology, water chemistry, and water levels from the newly drilled wells.

San Francisco Bay triennial bird egg monitoring program for contaminants, California—2018

Released May 23, 2019 14:38 EST

2019, Data Series 1114

Joshua T. Ackerman, C. Alex Hartman, Mark P. Herzog, Matthew Toney

The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP), administered by the San Francisco Estuary Institute, is a large-scale effort to monitor contaminant trends in water, sediment, fish, and birds throughout San Francisco Bay (San Francisco Estuary Institute, 2016). As part of the RMP and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) long-term Wildlife Contaminants Program, the USGS samples doublecrested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) and Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri) eggs throughout the San Francisco Bay approximately every 3 years to assess temporal trends in contaminant concentrations. This sampling has previously been carried out by USGS in 2009, 2012, and 2016. This document summarizes egg collections for 2018, as well as mercury concentrations in Forster’s tern eggs on an individual egg basis. These data are available in a USGS data release (Ackerman and others, 2019).

Dam effects on bedload transport on the upper Santa Ana River, California, and implications for native fish habitat

Released May 23, 2019 14:35 EST

2019, River Research and Applications 1-14

Scott A. Wright, J Toby Minear

Dams disrupt the flow of water and sediment and thus have the potential to affect the downstream geomorphic characteristics of a river. Though there are some well‐known and common geomorphic responses to dams, such as bed armouring, the response downstream from any particular dam is dependent on local conditions. Herein, we investigate the response of the upper Santa Ana River in southern California, USA, to the construction of a large dam at the transition from mountains to valley, using calculations of bedload transport capacity on the mainstem below the dam and for major tributaries. Approximate sediment budgets were constructed for downstream reaches to estimate deposition and erosion rates for sand, gravel, and cobble particle sizes. Our results indicate that the classical response of bed armouring and erosion is likely limited to a short reach immediately below the dam. Farther downstream, though transport capacity is reduced by flow regulation by the dam, the channel reaches are likely to remain depositional but with reduced deposition rates. Persistent deposition, as opposed to erosion, is the result of the replenishment of flow and sediment supply by large downstream tributaries. In addition, the calculations indicate that the composition of the bed is unlikely to change substantially in downstream reaches. A Monte Carlo approach was employed to estimate the uncertainty in the sediment budget predictions. The impacts of the dam on the geomorphic character of the river downstream could have implications for native fish that rely on coarse substrate that supports their food base.

Turbidity current observations in a large reservoir following a major wildfire

Released May 23, 2019 14:28 EST

2019, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering (145)

Scott A. Wright, Mathieu D. Marineau

Turbidity currents are generated when denser river water plunges and flows along the bottom of a lake, reservoir, or ocean. The plunging and downstream movement are driven by density differences due to temperature and/or suspended sediment, and currents have been observed to move slowly over long distances. This study presents observations of multiple turbidity currents in a large reservoir in California, United States, during runoff events following a major wildfire in the upstream watershed. Several aspects of the currents are documented and discussed, including the conditions leading to plunging, the vertical and longitudinal structure of turbidity within the currents, the velocity of the currents, and the development of a muddy lake upstream from an old submerged dam in the reservoir.

Climate adaptation Science Centers—Annual report for 2018

Released May 23, 2019 13:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1041

Elda Varela Minder

2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center! With the passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget on March 23, 2018, our program name was changed from the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center to the National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC). The eight regional Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers were renamed Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs). The name changes more clearly align the national and regional centers and emphasize their focus on meeting natural resource adaptation needs. Although the program has a new name, our mission has not changed. We are still hard at work delivering science to help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people adapt to a changing climate.

During the past 10 years, the NCASC and the eight regional CASCs funded over 425 science projects and built a network of research partners, resource management stakeholders, interdisciplinary staff, fellows, and early career researchers. In celebration of our work and accomplishments over the last 10 years, the NCASC began a monthly web post series on “10 Things You May Not Know” about topics our science has focused on, including drought, glaciers, and wildfire.

Additionally, CASCs that had completed their initial hosting agreement with the USGS underwent a formal review and recompetition process. New hosting agreements were awarded to the Southwest and North Central CASCs in 2018. Read the 2018 annual report to learn more about the CASCs' great science, partnerships, capacity building, and more from 2018.

Atrazine induced transgenerational reproductive effects in medaka (Oryzias latipes)

Released May 22, 2019 16:27 EST

2019, Environmental Pollution (251) 639-650

Jacob A. Cleary, Donald E. Tillitt, Fredrick S. vom Saal, Diane Nicks, Rachel Claunch, Ramji K. Bhandari

Atrazine is presently one of the most abundantly used herbicides in the United States, and a common contaminant of natural water bodies and drinking waters in high-use areas. Dysregulation of reproductive processes has been demonstrated in atrazine exposed fish, including alteration of key endocrine pathways on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. However, the potential for atrazine-induced transgenerational inheritance of reproductive effects in fish has not been investigated. The present study examined the effects of early developmental atrazine exposure on transgenerational reproductive dysregulation in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). F0 medaka were exposed to atrazine (ATZ, 5 or 50 μg/L), 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2, 0.002 or 0.05 μg/L), or solvent control during the first twelve days of development with no subsequent exposure over three generations. This exposure overlapped with the critical developmental window for embryonic germ cell development, gonadogenesis, and sex determination. Exposed males and females of the F0 generation were bred to produce an F1 generation, and this was continued until the F2 generation. Sperm count and motility were not affected in F0 males; however, both parameters were significantly reduced in the males from F2 Low EE2 (0.002 μg/L), Low ATZ (5 μg/L), and High ATZ (50 μg/L) lineages. Fecundity was unaffected by atrazine or EE2 in F0 through F2 generations; however, fertilization rate was decreased in low atrazine and EE2 exposure lineages in the F2 generation. There were significant transgenerational differences in expression of the genes involved in steroidogenesis and DNA methylation. These results suggest that although early life exposure to atrazine did not cause significant phenotypes in the directly exposed F0 generation, subsequent generations of fish were at greater risk of reproductive dysfunction.

Mapping cropland extent of Southeast and Northeast Asia using multi-year time-series Landsat 30-m data using Random Forest classifier on Google Earth Engine

Released May 22, 2019 16:11 EST

2019, International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation (81) 110-124

Adam Oliphant, Prasad S. Thenkabail, Pardhasaradhi Teluguntla, Jun Xiong, Murali Krishna Gumma, Russell G. Congalton, Kamini Yadav

Cropland extent maps are useful components for assessing food security. Ideally, such products are a useful addition to countrywide agricultural statistics since they are not politically biased and can be used to calculate cropland area for any spatial unit from an individual farm to various administrative unites (e.g., state, county, district) within and across nations, which in turn can be used to estimate agricultural productivity as well as degree of disturbance on food security from natural disasters and political conflict. However, existing cropland extent maps over large areas (e.g., Country, region, continent, world) are derived from coarse resolution imagery (250 m to 1 km pixels) and have many limitations such as missing fragmented and\or small farms with mixed signatures from different crop types and\or farming practices that can be, confused with other land cover. As a result, the coarse resolution maps have limited useflness in areas where fields are small (<1 ha), such as in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, coarse resolution cropland maps have known uncertainties in both geo-precision of cropland location as well as accuracies of the product. To overcome these limitations, this research was conducted using multi-date, multi-year 30-m Landsat time-series data for 3 years chosen from 2013 to 2016 for all Southeast and Northeast Asian Countries (SNACs), which included 7 refined agro-ecological zones (RAEZ) and 12 countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, Laos, South Korea, and Brunei). The 30-m (1 pixel = 0.09 ha) data from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) were used in the study. Ten Landsat bands were used in the analysis (blue, green, red, NIR, SWIR1, SWIR2, Thermal, NDVI, NDWI, LSWI) along with additional layers of standard deviation of these 10 bands across 1 year, and global digital elevation model (GDEM)-derived slope and elevation bands. To reduce the impact of clouds, the Landsat imagery was time-composited over four time-periods (Period 1: January- April, Period 2: May-August, and Period 3: September-December) over 3-years. Period 4 was the standard deviation of all 10 bands taken over all images acquired during the 2015 calendar year. These four period composites, totaling 42 band data-cube, were generated for each of the 7 RAEZs. The reference training data (N = 7849) generated for the 7 RAEZ using sub-meter to 5-m very high spatial resolution imagery (VHRI) helped generate the knowledge-base to separate croplands from non-croplands. This knowledge-base was used to code and run a pixel-based random forest (RF) supervised machine learning algorithm on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud computing environment to separate croplands from non-croplands. The resulting cropland extent products were evaluated using an independent reference validation dataset (N = 1750) in each of the 7 RAEZs as well as for the entire SNAC area. For the entire SNAC area, the overall accuracy was 88.1% with a producer’s accuracy of 81.6% (errors of omissions = 18.4%) and user’s accuracy of 76.7% (errors of commissions = 23.3%). For each of the 7 RAEZs overall accuracies varied from 83.2 to 96.4%. Cropland areas calculated for the 12 countries were compared with country areas reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and other national cropland statistics resulting in an R2 value of 0.93. The cropland areas of provinces were compared with the province statistics that showed an R2 = 0.95 for South Korea and R2 = 0.94 for Thailand. The cropland products are made available on an interactive viewer at www.croplands.org and for download at National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC): https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/node/1281.

The importance of groundwater flow to the formation of modern thrombolitic microbialites

Released May 22, 2019 15:12 EST

2019, Geobiology

John Warden, Lee Coshell, Michael R. Rosen, Daniel O. Breecker, Katinka X. Ruthrof, Christopher R. Omelon

Modern microbialites are often located within groundwater discharge zones, yet the role of groundwater in microbialite accretion has yet to be resolved. To understand relationships between groundwater, microbialites, and associated microbial communities, we quantified and characterized groundwater flow and chemistry in active thrombolitic microbialites in Lake Clifton, Western Australia, and compared these observations to inactive thrombolites and lakebed sediments. Groundwater flows upward through an interconnected network of pores within the microstructure of active thrombolites, discharging directly from thrombolite heads into the lake. This upwelling groundwater is fresher than lake water and is hypothesized to support microbial mat growth by reducing salinity and providing limiting nutrients in an osmotically stressful and oligotrophic habitat. This is in contrast to inactive thrombolites that show no evidence of microbial mat colonization and are infiltrated by hypersaline lake water. Groundwater discharge through active thrombolites contrasts with the surrounding lakebed, where hypersaline lake water flows downward through sandy sediments at very low rates. Based on an appreciation for the role of microorganisms in thrombolite accretion, our findings suggest conditions favorable to thrombolite formation still exist in certain locations of Lake Clifton despite increasing lake water salinity. This study is the first to characterize groundwater flow rates, paths, and chemistry within a microbialite‐forming environment and provides new insight into how groundwater can support microbial mats believed to contribute to microbialite formation in modern and ancient environments.

Groundwater quality in the Delaware, Genesee, and St. Lawrence River Basins, New York, 2015

Released May 22, 2019 11:30 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1005

Tia-Marie Scott, Elizabeth A. Nystrom, James E. Reddy

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, collected groundwater samples from 5 production wells and 5 domestic wells in the Delaware River Basin, 8 production wells and 7 domestic wells in the Genesee River Basin, and 1 municipal well, 7 production wells, and 13 domestic wells in the St. Lawrence River Basin in New York. All samples were collected from May through November 2015 in an effort to characterize groundwater quality in these basins. The samples were collected and processed by using standard U.S. Geological Survey procedures and were analyzed for 148 physiochemical properties and constituents, including dissolved gases, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, radionuclides, and indicator bacteria.

The Delaware River Basin study area covers 2,360 square miles (mi2) in southeastern New York. Of the 10 wells sampled in the Delaware River Basin, 3 are completed in sand and gravel, and 7 are completed in bedrock. Groundwater in the Delaware River Basin was generally of good quality, although properties and concentrations of some constituents—pH, iron, manganese, aluminum, radon-222, and total coliform bacteria—sometimes equaled or exceeded primary, secondary, or proposed drinking-water standards. The constituent most frequently detected in concentrations exceeding drinking-water standards (10 of 10 samples) was radon-222.

The Genesee River Basin study area includes the entire 2,439 mi2 of the basin in western New York. Of the 15 wells sampled in the Genesee River Basin, 6 are completed in sand and gravel, and 9 are completed in bedrock. Groundwater in the Genesee River Basin was generally of good quality, although properties and concentrations of some constituents—chloride, sodium, dissolved solids, iron, manganese, aluminum, arsenic, radon-222, methane, total coliform bacteria, fecal coliform bacteria, and Escherichia coli bacteria—sometimes equaled or exceeded primary, secondary, or proposed drinking-water standards. The constituent most frequently detected in concentrations exceeding drinking-water standards (12 of 15 samples) was radon-222.

The St. Lawrence River Basin study area includes the entire 5,650 mi2 of the basin in northeastern New York. Of the 21 wells sampled in the St. Lawrence River Basin, 7 are completed in sand and gravel, and 14 are completed in bedrock. Groundwater in the St. Lawrence River Basin was generally of good quality, although properties and concentrations of some constituents—pH, chloride, sodium, dissolved solids, iron, manganese, sulfate, nitrate, radon-222, total coliform bacteria, fecal coliform bacteria, and Escherichia coli bacteria—sometimes equaled or exceeded primary, secondary, or proposed drinking-water standards. The constituent most frequently detected in concentrations exceeding drinking-water standards (14 of 21 samples) was radon-222.

Sea-cliff bedstraw (Galium buxifolium) patterns and trends, 2005–14, on Santa Cruz and San Miguel Islands, Channel Islands National Park, California

Released May 22, 2019 08:38 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1054

Kathryn McEachern, Katherine A. Chess, Karen Flagg, Kenneth G. Niessen

Sea-cliff bedstraw (Galium buxifolium [Rubiaceae]) is a delicate dioecious subshrub endemic to Santa Cruz and San Miguel Islands, in the northern California Channel Islands. It was listed as endangered in 1997 under the Federal Endangered Species Act, threatened by soil loss, habitat alteration, and herbivory from more than a century of ranching land use. At the time of listing, there were eight populations known from Santa Cruz Island and two from San Miguel Island, restricted to shaded, northfacing volcanic ocean bluffs. The recovery plan included criteria to be considered for delisting such as stabilizing or increasing populations on both islands and recovery actions such as searching for more populations, seed banking, researching seed germination and life history, and reversing factors causing decline.

We began studying sea-cliff bedstraw on Santa Cruz Island in the early 2000s to better understand factors related to decline. We surveyed historic populations and searched for new occurrences 2004–06, researched population size-class structure and floral biology 2005–06 at three sites, and tracked demography 2005–14 while treating the invasive periwinkle (Vinca major) with herbicide at a fourth site. We collected seeds for germination studies and long-term seed banking from all four study sites.

The historically known Santa Cruz Island sites were still extant on the sea-cliffs, and we located 14 occurrences not documented at the time of listing. Sea-cliff bedstraw floral morphology appears evenly balanced between mainly pistillate and staminate plants at the study sites, with other floral types present as well, in the populations we sampled. Seed germination trials showed about a 40 percent germination rate from fresh imbibed seeds. Life-history stage structure 2005–06 varied from purely reproductive plants at one site to nearly equal representation of vegetative and reproductive plants at a second site, with seedlings also present at the remaining two sites.

Demographic study of tagged plants at the long-term study plot 2005–14 showed an episodic pattern of high recruitment with low mortality once plants became established beyond the first summer dormant season. A flush of seedlings was seen after periwinkle reduction, indicating that the periwinkle may have been repressing seedling establishment. About 93 percent of the already-established plants tagged in 2005 and 2006 were still present 10 years later in 2014. Findings indicate that sea-cliff bedstraw individuals are long-lived and once established have good survival rates. Taken together, these results imply that population growth is driven more by germination and recruitment into the mature population than by mortality of established plants, at least since feral animal eradication from Santa Cruz Island. Therefore, conservation actions might be best focused on nurturing safe sites for seed germination and seedling survival.

Petrographic, geochemical, and geochronologic data for cenozoic volcanic rocks of the Tonopah, Divide, and Goldfield Mining Districts, Nevada

Released May 21, 2019 12:10 EST

2019, Data Series 1099

Edward A. du Bray, David A. John, Peter A. Vikre, Joseph P. Colgan, Michael A. Cosca, Leah E. Morgan, Robert J. Fleck, Wayne R. Premo, Christopher S. Holm-Denoma

The purpose of this report is to summarize geochemical, petrographic, and geochronologic data for samples, principally those of unmineralized Tertiary volcanic rocks, from the Tonopah, Divide, and Goldfield mining districts of west-central Nevada (fig. 1). Much of the data presented here for the Tonopah and Divide districts are for samples collected by Bonham and Garside (1979) during geologic mapping in and around those districts, whereas much of that for samples from the Goldfield district were obtained by Ashley (1974; 1979; 1990a). Additional data were derived from samples collected between 2012–2015, as part of the Mineral Resources Program funded project titled: “Magmatic-tectonic history and component sources of major precious metal deposits in the southern Walker Lane”. A small amount of additional geochemical data for samples from each of the districts were compiled from other sources. Individual sample collectors are identified by appropriate entries in the “Collector” field (appendix 1) and published sources of geochemical data are defined by entries in the “Chem_Src” data field (appendix 1).

Radiometric ages of volcanic rocks on the fort rock dome and in the aquarius mountains, Yavapai and Mohave Counties, Arizona

Released May 21, 2019 10:18 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1038

Gary S. Fuis, Andrew T. Calvert, Katie Sullivan

The Fort Rock dome, in Yavapai County, Ariz., is a roughly circular geologic structure in plan view, 2.5 km in diameter, that is similar in many ways to an impact crater; however, it is a structural dome caused by a potassic mafic intrusion at depth, and the crater-like depression in its center is erosional in origin. The Aquarius Mountains, west of the Fort Rock dome, in Mohave County, contain a felsic volcanic center that erupted tuffs, non-welded ash-flow tuffs, and lahars following dome emplacement.

This report discusses the radiometric ages of samples of rock units from both the Fort Rock dome and the Aquarius Mountains eruptive center. The ages for all samples span a short interval of time from 22.3 to 21.7 m.y. (earliest Miocene). The individual sample ages are consistent with the stratigraphic order of the rock units in the area, and the short age span is consistent with the absence of any significant unconformities in the section.

Monitoring volcanic deformation

Released May 21, 2019 09:00 EST

2019, Book chapter, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Maurizio Battaglia, Jorge Alpala, Rosa Alpala, Mario Angarita, Dario Arcos, Leonardo Eullides, Pablo Euillades, Cyrill Mueller, Lourdes Narvaez

Whereas research in volcano geodesy seeks to push the boundaries of our knowledge of the physics of volcanoes, monitoring looks at changes in volcano behavior to predict when a volcanic crisis might develop. To be effective, geodetic monitoring must be done before, during, and after eruptions and must be integrated with other monitoring techniques. It requires the type of long-term commitment of time and resources that academic and industry scientists generally cannot make. A few, well-placed geodetic monitoring stations can make a huge difference to a country's ability to alert its people to an imminent volcanic eruption.

Monitoring strategies vary greatly depending on several factors such as the activity of the individual volcano, access, and available personnel and funding. Rapid advances in technology allow for more precise geodetic monitoring today than was imaginable when many of the existing volcano observatories were established. Today, deformation measurements at active volcanoes are usually made with continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) stations, supplemented by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images. Neither method requires a continuous presence of personnel in the field, except for the installation and maintenance of the GPS stations; however subsequent data analysis can be highly complex.

Optimizing an inner-continental shelf geologic framework investigation through data repurposing and machine learning

Released May 21, 2019 08:48 EST

2019, Geosciences (9)

Elizabeth A. Pendleton, Laura L. Brothers, Ed Sweeney

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have collected approximately 5,400 km2 of geophysical and hydrographic data on the Atlantic continental shelf between Delaware and Virginia over the past decade and a half. Although originally acquired for different objectives, the comprehensive coverage and variety of data (bathymetry, backscatter, imagery and physical samples) presents an opportunity to merge collections and create high-resolution, broad-scale geologic maps of the seafloor. This compilation of data repurposes hydrographic data, expands the area of geologic investigation, highlights the versatility of mapping data, and creates new geologic products that would not have been independently possible. The data are classified using a variety of machine learning algorithms, including unsupervised and supervised methods. Four unique classes were targeted for classification, and source data include bathymetry, backscatter, slope, curvature, and shaded-relief. A random forest classifier used on all five source data layers was found to be the most accurate method for these data. Geomorphologic and sediment texture maps are derived from the classified acoustic data using over 200 groundtruth samples. The geologic data products can be used to identify sediment sources, inform resource management, link seafloor environments to sediment texture, improve our understanding of seafloor structure and sediment pathways, and demonstrate how ocean mapping resources can be useful beyond their original intent to maximize the footprint and scientific impact of a study.

The pathogenesis of H7 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

Released May 21, 2019 08:42 EST

2019, Avian Diseases (63) 230-234

Christopher B. Stephens, Diann Prosser, Mary J. Pantin-Jackwood, Alicia Berlin, Erica Spackman

Waterfowl are the natural hosts of avian influenza virus (AIV), and through migration spread the virus worldwide. Most AIVs carried by wild waterfowl are low pathogenic strains; however, Goose/Guangdong/1996 lineage clade H5 highly pathogenic (HP) AIV now appears to be endemic in wild birds in much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Most research efforts studying AIV pathogenicity in waterfowl thus far have been directed toward dabbling ducks. In order to better understand the role of diving ducks in AIV ecology, we previously characterized the pathogenesis of clade H5 HPAIV in lesser scaup (Aythya affinis). In an effort to further elucidate AIV infection in diving ducks, the relative susceptibility and pathogenesis of two North American lineage H7 HPAIV isolates from the most recent outbreaks in the United States was investigated. Lesser scaup were inoculated with either A/turkey/IN/1403-1/2016 H7N8 or A/chicken/TN/17-007147-2/2017 H7N9 HPAIV by the intranasal route. The approximate 50% bird infectious dose (BID50) of the H7N8 isolate was determined to be 103 50% egg infectious doses (EID50), and the BID50 of the H7N9 isolate was determined to be <102 EID50, indicating some variation in adaptation between the two isolates. No mortality or clinical disease was observed in either group except for elevated body temperatures at 2 and 4 days postinoculation (DPI). Virus shedding was detected up to 14 DPI from both groups, and there was a trend for shedding to have a longer duration and at higher titer levels from the cloacal route. These results demonstrate that lesser scaup are susceptible to both H7 lineages of HPAIV, and similar to dabbling duck species, they shed virus for long periods relative to gallinaceous birds and don't present with clinical disease.

Spatially explicit modelling of floodplain forest succession: Interactions among flood inundation, forest successional processes, and other disturbances in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain, USA

Released May 21, 2019 08:35 EST

2019, Ecological Modelling (405) 15-32

Nathan R. De Jager, Molly Van Appledorn, Timothy J. Fox, Jason J. Rohweder, Lyle J. Guyon, Andrew R. Meier, Robert J. Cosgriff, Benjamin J. Vandermyde

Simulation models are often used to identify hydrologic regimes suitable for different riparian or floodplain tree species. However, most existing models pay little attention to forest successional processes or other disturbances that may interact with the hydrologic regime of river systems to alter forest dynamics in space and time. In this study, we introduce a flood disturbance module to the LANDIS-II forest succession modelling framework to enable investigations into how inundation interacts with other disturbances and successional processes to alter floodplain forest cover and community dynamics. We illustrate the functionality of the model using a case study with multiple scenarios in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain, USA. We found that model predictions of total forest cover and the abundance of specific forest community types were generally related to uncertainty in the susceptibility of different species and age classes to inundation. By simulation year 100, increases or decreases in total forest cover and forest type distributions were roughly proportional to the initial differences in the susceptibility of species and age classes to inundation. The largest decrease in total forest cover was associated with a scenario that included disturbance by the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and when using susceptibility parameters corresponding to the weakest flood tolerance. In contrast, changes in the composition of aboveground biomass were not sensitive to differences in susceptibility, and generally showed shifts toward later successional species with higher shade tolerance and longer lifespans for all scenarios. Our findings suggest that flood inundation interacts with other disturbances (e.g., insect outbreaks) and forest successional processes to alter forest abundance, distribution, and species composition in this system. Our modelling framework should allow for future studies that examine such interactions in other systems, and in the context of alternative hydrologic scenarios and other disturbance regimes.

Knowing your limits: Estimating range boundaries and co-occurrence zones for two competing plethodontid salamanders

Released May 21, 2019 08:29 EST

2019, Ecosphere (10) 1-19

S. M. Amburgey, D. A. W. Miller, Adrianne B, Brand, Andrea M. Dietrich, Evan H. Campbell Grant

Understanding threats to species persistence requires knowledge of where species currently occur. We explore methods for estimating two important facets of species distributions, namely where the range limit occurs and how species interactions structure distributions. Accurate understanding of range limits is crucial for predicting range dynamics and shifts in response to interspecific interactions and climate change. Additionally, species interactions are increasingly recognized as an important but not well‐understood predictor of range shifts. Our objective was to predict range limits and contact zones for two plethodontid salamanders, the highly range‐restricted Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) and the wide‐ranging red‐backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus). Using detection/non‐detection data, we assess four methodological decisions when estimating species’ distributions: (1) accounting for imperfect detection, (2) covariates to predict species occurrences, (3) accounting for species interactions, and (4) the inclusion of spatial autocorrelation. We found that Shenandoah salamander and red‐backed salamander co‐occurrence would have been underestimated and the range edge misidentified had we not accounted for incomplete detection. Covariates related to habitat were not sufficient to explain species’ range boundaries. Models that included spatial autocorrelation (i.e., a conditional autoregressive random effect) performed better than models that included just species interactions (i.e., detection and occurrence were conditional on the other species being present) and models that included both spatial autocorrelation and species interactions. Further, we found that the breadth of primary contact zones was typically 60–170 m, which is greater on average than previous estimates. In addition, we frequently observed secondary, disjunct contact zones along the range boundary. Understanding the extent to which species co‐occur and how the range boundaries are shaped is crucial to conservation efforts. Our work indicates that accounting for detection is crucial for accurately characterizing range edges and that spatial models may be especially effective in modeling distributions at the boundary.

Assessing water quality from highway runoff at selected sites in North Carolina with the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM)

Released May 20, 2019 17:00 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5031

J. Curtis Weaver, Gregory E. Granato, Sharon A. Fitzgerald

In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) entered into a cooperative agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to develop a North Carolina-enhanced variation of the national Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM) with available North Carolina-specific streamflow and water-quality data and to demonstrate use of the model by documenting selected simulation scenarios. The USGS developed the national SELDM in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration to provide the tools and techniques necessary for performing stormwater-quality simulations. SELDM uses a stochastic mass-balance approach to estimate combinations of flows, concentrations, and loads of stormwater constituents from the site of interest (often a highway catchment; nonhighway areas, such as a large impervious area at a shopping center complex, also can be used) and the basin upstream from the stormwater outfall to assess the risk for adverse effects of runoff. SELDM also can be used to simulate the effectiveness of volume reduction, hydrograph extension, and water-quality concentration reductions by stormwater best management practices (BMPs), which are designed to help mitigate the effects of runoff on receiving water bodies.

Some of the statistical inputs needed for the North Carolina-enhanced SELDM were either calculated or augmented using local or regional data from North Carolina. Streamflow statistics used by SELDM were determined for 266 streamgages across North Carolina on the basis of data available through the 2015 water year. Recession ratio statistics used for triangular hydrographs were also developed for 30 streamgages across the State. The NCDOT identified previous research reports on highway-runoff and BMP studies in North Carolina for review of potential data addition to the national FHWA Highway-Runoff Database (HRDB). Following USGS review of these data, a total of 25,087 event mean concentration values and 1,140 storm events for 39 highway-runoff sites and 195 analytes were uploaded to the national HRDB from six North Carolina highway-runoff research reports and a recent USGS bridge deck runoff study. Using data for 27 streamgages in North Carolina, a total of 57 water-quality transport curves were developed for seven constituents for use in simulating water-quality conditions in the upstream basin. Performance data for three BMPs (bioretention, grass strip or swale, and wetland channel) from NCDOT research data were incorporated into the North Carolina-enhanced SELDM for volume-reduction statistics, including the effectiveness of treating four water-quality constituents (total suspended solids, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, nitrate plus nitrite) and turbidity.

Simulations using the North Carolina-enhanced SELDM are presented for two hypothetical upstream basins in the Piedmont ecoregion and one hypothetical highway site to demonstrate how simulations can be used to provide risk-based information about potential effects of stormwater runoff on downstream water quality and the potential for mitigating those risks by using BMPs. The first group of simulations explores the stochastic variability in dilution factors (the ratio of the highway runoff to the total downstream stormflow) for a hypothetical Piedmont rural creek having drainage areas ranging from 1 to 100 square miles. The second group of simulations examines dilution factors based on variations in precipitation, streamflow, and recession ratios for two hypothetical Piedmont upstream basins (rural and urban) where the drainage area was held constant at 25 square miles. These simulations indicate the sensitivity of results to variations in each of the three variables. The third group of simulations examines the effects of varied concentrations in the upstream basin on water-quality conditions downstream from the highway crossing. Variations in upstream water-quality conditions for three constituents (suspended sediment concentration, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus) are based on water-quality transport curves selected from among the 57 curves developed as part of this study to represent low-, medium-, and high-concentration statistics. Simulations completed for this third group also examine the potential effects of grass swale and bioretention BMP treatment on total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations in highway runoff. The BMP performance data from the NCDOT research reports were applied in this group of simulations.

The stochastic mass-balance approach used in SELDM analyses and simulations provides a strong tool for engineers and water-resource managers to use in exploring a wide range of possible hydrologic and water-quality inputs and their effects on downstream water quality. The results of this study can not only aid engineers and managers in planning for potential adverse effects of runoff at site-specific locations, they can also help the USGS and other Federal and State agencies with oversight responsibilities in stormwater-quality issues to continue gathering data on potential water-quality effects in receiving streams.

Movements of juvenile Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) in the Yakima and Columbia Rivers, Washington, 2018—A pilot study using acoustic telemetry

Released May 17, 2019 09:18 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1058

Theresa L. Liedtke, Ralph T. Lampman, Z. Daniel Deng, Tyler E. Beals, Michael S. Porter, Amy C. Hansen, Tobias J. Kock, Ryan G. Tomka, Patrick Monk

Telemetry has been an invaluable tool to improve our understanding of adult Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) movements and to guide management approaches to protect and restore this species of concern. Juvenile and larval lamprey, however, are much smaller than adults, and have not been monitored with telemetry because available transmitters have traditionally been too large. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a prototype micro-transmitter of appropriate size for use in small fish such as juvenile lampreys and eels. Through a collaborative research approach, we used these prototype transmitters to do a pilot level evaluation of juvenile lamprey (macrophthalmia) movements in the Yakima and Columbia Rivers in 2018. Our project monitored tagged lamprey using acoustic monitoring arrays installed and maintained for juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) migration studies done by our partners. The study was done in the lower Yakima River, Washington, from river mile 111 to the river mouth, and in the Columbia River, from the Yakima River mouth to Camas, Washington, downstream of Bonneville Dam. We released four groups of tagged lamprey from May 9 to 15, 2018. Two groups were released at the upper site (located at the State Route 24 bridge, about 4.5 river miles upstream of Wapato Dam), and two groups were released at the lower site (about 1.7 miles upstream of the Yakima River mouth). We detected 95.6 percent of the tagged lamprey, with more individuals detected in the Columbia River than in the Yakima River. Lamprey arrived at Bonneville Dam in an average of 8.0–9.6 days from the upper site (300 river miles) and in an average of 6.5 days from the lower site (193 river miles). Lamprey moved through the study area at an average rate of 30–35 miles per day and generally remained at each detection site for less than about 20 minutes. Most lamprey (63 percent) arrived at detection sites during periods of darkness, but some travel occurred during daylight and transitional light periods.

Assessment of Paleozoic Shale-Oil and Shale-Gas Resources in the Tarim Basin of China, 2018

Released May 16, 2019 15:55 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3011

Christopher J. Potter, Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Thomas M. Finn, Cheryl A. Woodall, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Kristen R. Marra, Phuong A. Le, Ronald M. Drake II, Michael E. Brownfield, Janet K. Pitman

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 1.4 billion barrels of shale oil and 26.9 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in Paleozoic formations in the Tarim Basin of China.

The 3D Elevation Program—Supporting California's Economy

Released May 16, 2019 15:30 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3029

Carol L. Ostergren, Drew Decker, William J. Carswell, Jr.


California faces unprecedented challenges presented by shifting weather patterns that are defining a “new normal.” The result has been extreme weather events, prolonged drought, flooding, and debris flows. These conditions drive severe tree mortality, increase wildfire occurrence and intensity, reduce water availability, and hasten subsidence in groundwater basins. Collectively, these challenges threaten public safety, compromise infrastructure, and adversely impact the economic well-being of California's citizens. Critical applications that address these issues depend on light detection and ranging (lidar) data that provide a highly detailed, three-dimensional (3D) model of the Earth’s surface. The U.S. Geological Survey 3D Elevation Program works in partnership with Federal, State, Tribal, U.S. territorial, and local agencies to acquire consistent lidar coverage to meet the needs of California and the Nation.

Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Reggane Basin Province, Algeria, 2018

Released May 16, 2019 14:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3016

Christopher J. Schenk, Michael E. Brownfield, Tracey J. Mercier, Cheryl A. Woodall, Phuong A. Le, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Thomas M. Finn, Kristen R. Marra, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Janet K. Pitman, Ronald M. Drake II

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 63 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Reggane Basin Province of Algeria.

Revisions to suspended-sediment concentration, percent smaller than 0.063 millimeter, and instantaneous suspended-sediment discharge reported for a cooperative program between the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the lower Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin, October 1989 to February 2015

Released May 16, 2019 06:35 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5147

Katherine K. Norton, Lisa D. Olsen, Todd E. Baumann, Lane B. Simmons, Athena P. Clark, Dennis K. Demcheck, Marlon Johnson

This report presents revised results for four parameters reported for suspended-sediment samples that were collected in the lower Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin as part of a cooperative program between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Valley Division, New Orleans District and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The cooperative program has been active since 1973 at seven sites: two sites on the main stem of the Mississippi River, three sites on the Atchafalaya River, one site on the Old River Outflow Channel, and one site on the lower Red River above the confluence with the Old River Outflow Channel. The four parameters—suspended-sediment concentration, percent by mass of the sediment that passes through a 0.063-millimeter (US 230) sieve, instantaneous stream discharge, and instantaneous suspended-sediment discharge—reported for 2,895 samples have been modified to reflect the findings of a full review of the cooperative program, which was initiated by both agencies in January 2015. The revised results are for samples collected from October 1989 through February 2015. Ninety-four percent of the revised values for suspended-sediment concentration are lower than their corresponding original reported values, indicating that less suspended sediment moves through the lower Mississippi River system than was previously reported. For example, the median revised instantaneous suspended-sediment discharge at the Mississippi River at Tarbert Landing, Miss. (USGS station 07295100), was 315,000 short tons per day, compared to 378,000 short tons per day as originally reported. At the Atchafalaya River at Simmesport, La. (USGS station 07381490), the median revised suspended-sediment discharge was 105,000 short tons per day, compared to 143,000 short tons per day as originally reported. The systematic downward revision in instantaneous suspended-sediment discharge values was due to a systematic downward revision in the suspended fine (less than 0.063 millimeter) sediment concentration. The effect of the revision on the suspended-sand concentration and instantaneous suspended-sand discharge was weaker. Any model of sediment load or transport processes in the basin that uses data from the affected samples should be reevaluated on the basis of the revised results.

Assessment of coal mine methane (CMM) and abandoned mine methane (AMM) resource potential of longwall mine panels: example from Northern Appalachian Basin, USA

Released May 15, 2019 14:42 EST

2019, International Journal of Coal Geology (208) 37-53

Cevat (Ozgen) Karacan, Peter D. Warwick

"Coal mine methane (CMM) and abandoned mine methane (AMM), are by-products of underground coal mining. The quantity and the emission rate of CMM and AMM may vary depending on the type of mine, gas content of the mined coal seam, and gas sourced from strata and coal beds in overlying and underlying formations affected by mining. Therefore, if a mine has the potential of accumulating gas after being abandoned and sealed properly, methane may be produced and used as an energy source to serve to local communities around the mine. Producing AMM also prevents methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, from leaking to the atmosphere through seals, shaft plugs or surface cracks. One of the technical barriers in front of investments to economical utilization of CMM and AMM is the difficulty to predict how much methane may be available in the gas emission zone (GEZ) as a resource during mining, and after the panels are sealed and the mine is abandoned. Another difficulty is to estimate how much of the potential methane resource can be produced, and its production feasibility with boreholes, such as gob gas ventholes (GGV) converted to capture AMM. In this study, a comparative assessment is presented to address the issues stated above. The assessment was conducted on two adjacent panels of a longwall mine that operated until 2016 in the Pennsylvania section of the Northern Appalachian Basin. The study is based on two approaches that might be used depending on the availability of data, extensive or minimal. The first approach uses an extensive geological data set, geostatistics, and measured shaft gas emission and GGV production values that were collected while the panel(s) were active to assess the AMM resource. The second approach uses a minimal amount of geologic data and its uncertainty as probabilistic distributions as well as predicted during-mining emissions using a publicly available software. Results showed that both approaches provide relatively comparable estimates of AMM resources and AMM recovery potential using wellbores. The differences in assessed quantities are mostly due to the characteristics of the two methods. In that regard, this paper can be considered as guidance to choose the assessment approach based on data availability. "

Insights from Rock-Eval analysis on the influence of sample weight on hydrocarbon generation from Lower Permian organic-matter rich rocks, West Bokaro basin, India

Released May 15, 2019 14:22 EST

2019, Marine and Petroleum Geology (106) 160-170

B Hazra, Cevat (Ozgen) Karacan, Mani T Devleena, Pradeep K. Singh, Ashok K. Singh

Among the different Rock-Eval parameters, the hydrocarbons released under S2 peak of Rock-Eval is of significance as it indicates the residual hydrocarbon content of the rock. Further, through its relationship with TOC content, it helps in calculating hydrogen indices (HI) which helps in understanding the type of organic-matter present in a rock [HI= (S2/TOC)*100]. The present study documents the role of sample weight/amount used for analysis on Rock-Eval S2 parameter for unconventional source-rock characterization. For the purpose of study, a vitrain-band sample type (manually isolated from a coal), a high-TOC shale sample type, and a carbonaceous shale sample type, were analyzed at two different particle sizes (viz. 1mm-500 microns and 212-75 microns) and different sample weights (5-15 mg for organic-matter rich rocks, and 30-60 mg for shale) using a Rock-Eval basic cycle (heating rate at 25 °C/min). Although S2 is reported as mg HC/ g rock, with increase in sample weight, an increase in hydrocarbons released under S2 peak of Rock-Eval was observed for all three sample types for both the particle sizes. The observations were further validated using a Norwegian geochemical standard (JR-1). Further, all the samples were reanalyzed by conducting pyrolysis experiments at a lower heating rate of 5 °C/min. The impact of sample weight on S2 and hydrogen index (HI) was observed to be more pronounced for the JR-1 standard (higher hydrocarbon yield) than the Types III-IV organic-matter bearing rocks. It thus calls for interpreters to be aware of the influence of mass of organic-matter on hydrocarbon generation, and to monitor the maximum S2 values of organic-matter bearing rocks, within the Flame Ionization Detector (FID) detection limits. Further, it is recommended that for Type III organic-matter bearing rocks with TOC content>20 wt %, elemental analysis should be used to derive atomic H/C and O/C ratios for Van Krevelen diagram-based kerogen typing.

Relationships between regional coastal land cover distributions and elevation reveal data uncertainty in a sea-level rise impacts model

Released May 15, 2019 09:56 EST

2019, Article

Erika E. Lentz, Nathaniel G. Plant, E. Robert Thieler

Understanding land loss or resilience in response to sea-level rise (SLR) requires spatially extensive and continuous datasets to capture landscape variability. We investigate sensitivity and skill of a model that predicts dynamic response likelihood to SLR across the northeastern U.S. by exploring several data inputs and outcomes. Using elevation and land cover datasets, we determine where data error is likely, quantify its effect on predictions, and evaluate its influence on prediction confidence. Results show data error is concentrated in low-lying areas with little impact on prediction skill, as the inherent correlation between the datasets can be exploited to reduce data uncertainty using Bayesian inference. This suggests the approach may be extended to regions with limited data availability and/or poor quality. Furthermore, we verify that model sensitivity in these first-order landscape change assessments is well-matched to larger coastal process uncertainties, for which process-based models are important complements to further reduce uncertainty.

A unified catalog of earthquake hypocenters and magnitudes at volcanoes in Alaska—1989 to 2018

Released May 15, 2019 09:19 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5037

John A. Power, Paul A. Friberg, Matthew M. Haney, Thomas Parker, Scott D. Stihler, James P. Dixon

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has maintained an earthquake catalog since 1989 that now contains over 120,000 hypocenters and magnitudes that occurred near Alaskan volcanoes. Since 1989 the seismic instrumentation and data acquisition and processing techniques have undergone numerous changes as computer systems and seismic processing software have advanced and evolved. In this report we recalculate earthquake hypocenters and magnitudes in a consistent manner between October 1989 and January 2018. The new hypocenters and magnitudes are archived at the AVO within an AQMS database and in the compressed UNIX tar file that accompanies this publication.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Northwest Canada Interior Basins Province, Arctic Canada

Released May 15, 2019 08:24 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1824-G

Marilyn E. Tennyson, Janet K. Pitman

Thomas E. Moore, Donald L. Gautier, editor(s)

The Northwest Canada Interior Basins Province is bounded by the Mackenzie and Richardson Mountains on the southwest and west, by the Eskimo Lakes Arch on the northwest, and by the erosional limit of Paleozoic strata on the east. It lies within the far northwest part of the Paleozoic continent of Laurentia. During early Paleozoic time, it was part of a passive margin formed when the Neoproterozoic supercontinent Rodinia broke apart. A Cambrian marine transgressive sequence gave way to an evaporitic intrashelf basin, succeeded by a westward-building carbonate bank from Late Cambrian through Middle Devonian time. In Late Devonian and early Carboniferous time, the region was buried by a thick succession of south-prograding clastic strata derived from orogenic belts to the northeast and north. A subsequent period of inactivity and erosion persisted until sedimentation resumed as the opening of the Canada Basin initiated an Early Cretaceous marine transgression over much of the region. Later in Cretaceous time, clastic strata derived from Cordilleran uplifts to the southwest began to prograde north, ending with eventual Laramide uplift and deformation in latest Cretaceous and Paleogene time.

Two petroleum systems are known within the province. A petroleum system in Cambrian to Middle Devonian strata, sourced by alginitic Cambrian shales and sealed by Cambrian evaporites, is proven by modest gas discoveries in the Colville Hills; generation is attributed to burial under the Upper Devonian clastic wedge. An Upper Devonian petroleum system, proven by the presence of the 250-million-barrel Norman Wells field at the southern edge of the province, was sourced by organic-rich shale of the Canol Formation. Generation is similarly inferred to have been driven by burial beneath the Devonian clastic wedge, perhaps augmented locally by additional Cretaceous burial. Potential reservoirs include Devonian reefs and sandstones stratigraphically below and laterally equivalent to the source rocks, as well as overlying sandstones in the clastic wedge. Subordinate source rocks could include organic-rich shales within the clastic wedge.

Principal risks to the lower Paleozoic petroleum system include (1) inadequate reservoir volume for a field of the minimum size and (2) petroleum loss by remigration caused by Laramide deformation. One lower Paleozoic assessment unit (AU) was quantitatively assessed, with estimated resources of 0 to 117 million barrels of oil (MMBO), mean 23 MMBO; and 0 to 1,364 billion cubic feet of gas (BCFG), mean 310 BCFG. The principle risks to the Devonian petroleum system were considered to be (1) lack of preservation due to extensive erosion before the Cretaceous, and (2) inadequate reservoir volume, because the best potential reservoir strata, Devonian reefs, may be absent throughout most of the province owing to either lack of deposition or erosion. These risks were sufficiently high that the single AU defined in the Devonian petroleum system was not quantitatively assessed, because the chance of a field of the minimum size, 50 million barrels of oil equivalent, was estimated to be only 0.1.

Seed-vectored microbes: Their roles in improving seedling fitness and competitor plant suppression

Released May 15, 2019 07:59 EST

2019, Book chapter, Seed endophytes: Biology and biotechnology.

James F. Jr. White, Kathryn L. Kingsley, Susan Butterworth, Lara Brindisi, Judy W Gatei, Matthew T. Elmore, Satish Kumar Verma, Xiang Yao, Kurt P. Kowalski

This chapter discusses the role of seed-vectored microbes in modulating seedling development and increasing fitness of plants in terms of increased biotic and abiotic stress tolerance.

Data management plan for the U.S. Geological Survey Washington Water Science Center

Released May 14, 2019 14:08 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1049

Kathleen E. Conn, Mark C. Mastin, Andrew J. Long, Richard S. Dinicola, Cynthia Barton

The primary mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Mission Area is to collect and disseminate reliable, impartial, and timely information needed to understand the water resources of the Nation, including data on streamflow, groundwater, water quality, water use, and availability. Management of data throughout the entire data lifecycle is necessary to meet the mission and maintain the USGS reputation of producing high-quality data as the Nation’s primary earth-science information agency. This document describes the data management procedures of the USGS Washington Water Science Center, including responsibilities of staff and workflow procedures.

Assessing morphologic controls on atoll island alongshore sediment transport gradients due to future sea-level rise

Released May 14, 2019 13:57 EST

2019, Frontiers in Marine Science

James B. Shope, Curt D. Storlazzi

Atoll islands’ alongshore sediment transport gradients depend on how island and reef morphology affect incident wave energy. It is unclear, though, how potential atoll morphologic configurations influence shoreline erosion and/or accretion patterns, and how these relationships will respond to future sea-level rise (SLR). Schematic atoll models with varying morphologies were used to evaluate the relative control of individual morphological parameters on alongshore transport gradients. Incident wave transformations were simulated using a physics-based numerical model and alongshore erosion and accretion was calculated using empirical formulae. The magnitude of the transport gradients increased with SLR: initial erosion or accretion patterns intensified. Modeled morphologic parameters that significantly influenced alongshore transport were the atoll diameter, reef flat width, reef flat depth, and island width. Modeled atolls with comparably small diameters, narrow and deep reef flats with narrow islands displayed greater magnitudes of erosion and/or accretion, especially with SLR. Windward island shorelines are projected to accrete toward the island’s longitudinal ends and lagoon due to SLR, whereas leeward islands erode along lagoon shorelines and extend toward the island ends. Oblique island, oriented parallel to the incident deepwater wave direction, shorelines are forecast to build out leeward along the reef rim and toward the lagoon while eroding along regions exposed to direct wave attack. These findings make it possible to evaluate the relative risk of alongshore erosion/accretion on atolls due to SLR in a rapid, first-order analysis.

It is raining plastic

Released May 14, 2019 11:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1048

Gregory A. Wetherbee, Austin K. Baldwin, James F. Ranville

Atmospheric deposition samples were collected using the National Atmospheric Deposition Program / National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) at 6 sites in the Denver-Boulder urban corridor and 2 adjacent sites in the Colorado Front Range. Weekly wet-only atmospheric deposition samples collected at these sites during winter-summer of 2017 were filtered (0.45 micrometers, polyethersulfone) to obtain particulates washed from the atmosphere (washout). Plastics were identified on over 90 percent of the filters. The plastic materials are mostly fibers that are only visible with magnification (~40X). Fibers were present in a variety of colors; the most frequently observed color was blue followed by red > silver > purple > green > yellow > other colors. Plastic particles such as beads and shards were also observed with magnification. More plastic fibers were observed in samples from urban sites than from isolated, montane sites. However, frequent observation of plastic fibers in washout samples from the isolated Loch Vale site in Rocky Mountain National Park (elevation 3,159 meters) suggests that wet-deposition of plastic is ubiquitous and not just an urban condition. The mass of plastic in even the most concentrated samples was not large enough to weigh or reliably estimate. Developing a routine capability to calculate plastic wet-deposition loads is not possible with current technology. Counting plastic fibers under a microscope and multiplying the counts by a mean mass per fiber might be possible, but it is tedious, expensive, and has large inherent error. A means to estimate the recovery of the plastic materials from the NADP samples is needed. However, saving the NADP filters for subsequent analysis would make a washout deposition network possible with very little added expense, and methods could be developed to more accurately estimate plastic loads using the NTN. It is unclear how these plastic materials are accumulating and being assimilated in the environment and biota. Moreover, the potential effects of these materials on biota is not understood.

Linking management planning for coastal wetlands to potential future wave attenuation under a range of relative sea-level rise scenarios

Released May 14, 2019 08:32 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14) 1-19

Ann Hijuelos, Jasper Dijkstra, Tim J.B. Carruthers, Karel Heynert, Denise Reed, Bregje van Wesenbeeck

Understanding changes in wave attenuation by emergent vegetation as wetlands degrade or accrete over time is crucial for incorporation of wetlands into holistic coastal risk management. Linked SLAMM and XBeach models were used to investigate potential future changes in wave attenuation over a 50-year period in a degrading, subtropical wetland and a prograding, temperate wetland. These contrasting systems also have differing management contexts and were contrasted to demonstrate how the linked models can provide management-relevant insights. Morphological development of wetlands for different scenarios of sea-level rise and accretion was simulated with SLAMM and then coupled with different vegetation characteristics to predict the influence on future wave attenuation using XBeach. The geomorphological context, subsidence, and accretion resulted in large predicted reductions in the extent of vegetated land (e.g., wetland) and changes in wave height reduction potential across the wetland. These were exacerbated by increases in sea-level from +0.217 m to +0.386 m over a 50-year period, especially at the lowest accretion rates in the degrading wetland. Mangrove vegetation increased wave attenuation within the degrading, subtropical, saline wetland, while grazing reduced wave attenuation in the temperate, prograding wetland. Coastal management decisions and actions, related to coastal vegetation type and structure, have the potential to change future wave attenuation at a spatial scale relevant to coastal protection planning. Therefore, a coastal management approach that includes disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, and climate change, can be informed by coastal modeling tools, such as those demonstrated here for two contrasting case studies.

Hydrologic lag effects on wetland greenhouse gas fluxes

Released May 14, 2019 05:48 EST

2019, Atmosphere (10)

Brian A. Tangen, Sheel Bansal

Hydrologic margins of wetlands are narrow, transient zones between inundated and dry areas. As water levels fluctuate, the dynamic hydrology at margins may impact wetland greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes that are sensitive to soil saturation. The Prairie Pothole Region of North America consists of millions of seasonally-ponded wetlands that are ideal for studying hydrologic transition states. Using a long-term GHG database with biweekly flux measurements from 88 seasonal wetlands, we categorized each sample event into wet to wet (W→W), dry to wet (D→W), dry to dry (D→D), or wet to dry (W→D) hydrologic states based on the presence or absence of ponded water from the previous and current event. Fluxes of methane were 5-times lower in the D→W compared to W→W states, indicating a lag ‘ramp-up’ period following ponding. Nitrous oxide fluxes were highest in the W→D state and accounted for 20% of total emissions despite accounting for only 5.2% of wetland surface area during the growing season. Fluxes of carbon dioxide were unaffected by transitions, indicating a rapid acclimation to current conditions by respiring organisms. Results of this study highlight how seasonal drying and re-wetting impact GHGs and demonstrate the importance of hydrologic transitions on total wetland GHG balance.

Assessment of undiscovered continuous tight-gas resources in the Mesaverde Group and Wasatch Formation, Uinta-Piceance Province, Utah and Colorado, 2018

Released May 13, 2019 18:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3027

Ronald M. Drake II, Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Phuong A. Le, Thomas M. Finn, Ronald C. Johnson, Cheryl A. Woodall, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Kristen R. Marra, Janet K. Pitman, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Seth S. Haines, Marilyn E. Tennyson

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 24 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Mesaverde Group and Wasatch Formation of the Uinta-Piceance Province in northeast Utah and northwest Colorado.

Monitoring live vegetation in semiarid and arid rangeland environments with satellite remote sensing in northern Kenya

Released May 13, 2019 11:49 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1037

Amina Rangoonwala, Elijah W. Ramsey III

As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) commitment to provide technical assistance to the Kenyan Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the DOI International Technical Assistance Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s regional mission in East Africa, created a high spatial and time-sensitive live vegetation monitoring system for NRT. The system built with advanced field and sensor technologies produced directly calibrated and highly accurate satellite mapping that is extendable both forward and backward in time. The maps are produced in a simple 0–100-percent representation of live vegetation status and change over time. The backbone of the mapping is the Sentinel satellite remote sensing systems with 5-day collection frequencies and ground spatial resolutions of 10 meters. The European Space Agency (ESA) offers free Sentinel satellite image data through conveniently accessed websites and free user-friendly image processing software downloadable directly onto a personal workstation. ESA provides free online software support. The mapping capability was extended from the forward mapping of Sentinel back in time with the Landsat satellite remote sensing system that has an available and free data archive back to 1983. Although Landsat has coarser spatial resolution, the Landsat to Sentinel live vegetation mapping comparison supports the use of Landsat to provide NRT the historical recreation of prominent live vegetation changes.

Analysis for agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico topobathymetric digital elevation model with 3-Dimensional Elevation Program 1/3 arc-second digital elevation models

Released May 13, 2019 11:35 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1016

Cynthia Miller-Corbett

Topographical differencing and edge-matching analyses were used to evaluate agreement of the Coastal National Elevation Database Applications Project’s Northern Gulf of Mexico topobathymetric digital elevation model (TBDEM) with The National Map 3-Dimensional Elevation Program (3DEP) 1/3 arc-second digital elevation models (DEMs). In addition to topographic map products provided through the National Geospatial Program, the model integrates bathymetric and topobathymetric datasets for three-dimensional (3D) mapping of rivers, lakes, and bays in the upland and intertidal wetlands to offshore environments in coastal zones from the border between Texas and Louisiana to east of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Contoured elevation differences between the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM and the 3DEP 1/3 arc-second DEMs indicate that 85 percent of elevation data in the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM agree (no difference for contoured elevations) between 95 and 100 percent with 3DEP 1/3 arc-second DEMs. Edge matching differences between adjacent Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM source projects or between the TBDEM and 3DEP DEMs indicate most seams between integrated and 3DEP DEMs are smooth. Where seams did not match, most differences were in the range of tenths to hundredths of a meter. Valid differences that are greater than plus or minus 2 meters in areas of bathymetric data are found in the Mississippi River, Atchafalaya River, Lower Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake Pass channel, the Vermilion Bay bathymetric datasets, and where topobathymetric datasets are integrated in the model. Areas with positive or negative outlier difference elevations seem to be a result of site conditions that affect light detection and ranging (lidar) waveform return signals, misclassification of surface features, or possibly because of interpolation required to develop a smooth elevation surface. Results of this analysis provide information to help understand model parameters and agreement of the Northern Gulf of Mexico TBDEM developed using different data types from different sources with The National Map 3DEP DEMs.

Inclusion of bathymetric and topobathymetric data types in the 3DEP aligns with the mission to respond to growing needs for a wide range of three-dimensional representations of the Nation and supports the U.S. Geological Survey strategy for developing a National Terrain Model to provide hydrographic and elevation data that extend the elevation surface below water bodies. The 3D Nation Requirements and Benefits Study sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess local to regional Tribal, State, and Federal technical requirements, needs, and benefits for using topographic and bathymetric 3DEP elevation data will be used to help develop and refine future program alternatives for 3D elevation data that include a category for bathymetry and topobathymetry. At the time of this report (2019), 3DEP acquisition is specific to topographic lidar that meets lidar DEM specifications and which requires surface-water feature areas to be hydroflattened. Cataloging bathymetric and topobathymetric DEMs as part of the 3DEP will require new specifications for acoustic, lidar, merged acoustic and lidar, and possibly other bathymetric and topobathymetric survey data types.

Eradication of two non-native cichlid fishes in Miami, Florida (USA)

Released May 10, 2019 14:52 EST

2019, Management of Biological Invasions (10)

Pamela J. Schofield, Howard L. Jelks, Kelly B. Gestring

The proliferation of non-native fishes in Florida is a serious problem, and new species continue to be introduced to the state. Fishes in the Family Cichlidae have been especially successful colonizers of south Florida freshwater habitats. Herein we report a multi-agency effort to eradicate two non-native cichlid fishes in Miami, Florida (Bay Snook Petenia splendida and Blue Mbuna Labeotropheus fuelleborni). These fishes were removed before they were observed in the extensive, interconnected canal system through which they may have been able to expand throughout south Florida and access protected areas such as Everglades National Park. The study site, Pinecrest Gardens, is important because it contains remnant coastal cypress-strand habitat in an increasingly urbanized landscape that historically provided refuge to native amphidromous fishes and invertebrates. The project took considerable time (3.5 years), and we detail in this report how it evolved from a focus on isolating the non-native fishes and reducing their population sizes to an eradication. Gardens’ staff hydrologically isolated their ponds from nearby waterbodies by plugging a culvert with a solid gate. That provided the interagency team with more time to remove the potential threats. Compromises were made between fish management strategies and the Gardens’ priorities. Hurricane impacts helped shift priorities to more aggressive fish-management strategies. Cooperation among several federal and state agencies, as well as the Gardens, was key to the project’s success. We hope this effort may serve as a model for removing non-native species before they spread into ecosystems where eradication is not practical.

Assessment of undiscovered copper resources of the world, 2015

Released May 10, 2019 12:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5160

Jane M. Hammarstrom, Michael L. Zientek, Heather L. Parks, Connie L. Dicken, U.S. Geological Survey Global Copper Mineral Resource Assessment Team

The U.S. Geological Survey completed the first-ever global assessment of undiscovered copper resources for the two most significant sources of global copper supply: porphyry copper deposits and sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits. The geology-based study identified 236 areas for undiscovered copper in 11 regions of the world. Estimated amounts of undiscovered copper resources are reported at different levels of probability. The results of the assessment indicate that a mean of at least 3,500 million metric tons (Mt) of undiscovered copper associated with these deposit types may exist worldwide, exceeding the 2,100 Mt of identified copper resources tabulated for these deposit types.

Porphyry copper deposits contain 1,800 Mt of identified copper resources and are estimated to contain a mean of at least 3,100 Mt of undiscovered copper resources. South America is the dominant source for both identified and undiscovered porphyry copper resources. However, several regions of Asia, including China, have significant potential for undiscovered porphyry copper resources. The amount of mean undiscovered porphyry copper resources that may be economic to extract varies as a function of likely depth to a deposit and quality of local infrastructure that could support mining.

Sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits contain 310 Mt of identified copper resources and are estimated to contain a mean of at least 420 Mt of undiscovered copper resources. The sedimentary basins that may contain significant undiscovered copper resources are the Katanga Basin in central Africa, the Southern Permian Basin of Poland and Germany, the Chu-Sarysu Basin of Kazakhstan, and the Kodar-Udokan area of Russia. Sedimentary basins in the Northwest Botswana Rift in Botswana and Namibia, the Benguela and Cuanza Basins of Angola, and the Cambrian rocks of Egypt, Israel, and Jordan are recognized as having significant potential for undiscovered copper resources in sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits; however, these areas require additional research, analysis, and evaluation before quantitative resource estimates can be made.

The estimate of at least 3,500 Mt of undiscovered copper in two deposit types provides a basis for long-range planning for this important commodity. U.S. copper consumption is 2 Mt per year, world consumption is about 20 Mt per year, and global production from these two deposit types is about 12 Mt per year. Total global copper production from all deposit types from 1879 to 2012 was about 600 Mt. The world’s use of mineral resources, such as copper, will continue to increase in the foreseeable future to support a growing world population and increasing standards of living. The world has sufficient copper to last for decades. However, increases in exploration and growth in mining capacity will be necessary to identify and develop undiscovered resources to supply projected demand.

Responses of Native American cultural heritage to changes in environmental setting

Released May 10, 2019 08:38 EST

2019, AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples

Gustavo A. Bisbal, Chas E Jones Jr.

Cultural expressions of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIAN) reflect the relationship between AIAN and the plant and animal species present in an area. Different forces that modify that relationship and influence those expressions can potentially shape AIAN cultural heritage and even compromise their cultural identity. Herein, we propose seven modalities to illustrate how AIAN cultural expressions may respond to changes in environmental settings that alter the relationship between plant and animal assemblages, and Native peoples. Each modality provides insight into the vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity of AIAN cultural expressions to changes in environmental settings. Future research may delve deeper into these modalities and help identify appropriate methods for managing culturally important resources. More culturally sensitive management approaches may strengthen conservation practices and safeguard the cultural legacy of indigenous groups.

Aluminum- and iron-based coagulation for in-situ removal of dissolved organic carbon, disinfection byproducts, mercury and other constituents from agricultural drain water

Released May 09, 2019 09:52 EST

2019, Ecological Engineering (134) 26-38

Sandra M. Bachand, Tamara E. C. Kraus, Dylan Stern, Yan Ling Liang, William R. Horwath, Philip A. M. Bachand

Agricultural production on wetland soils can be significant sources of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), disinfection byproduct precursors, mercury and nutrients to downstream water bodies and accelerate land subsidence. Presented as a potential solution for in-situ water quality improvement and land subsidence mitigation, chemically enhanced treatment wetlands (CETWs) were used to leverage both coagulation and wetland processes. In this study, we evaluated the performance of coagulants ferric sulfate (Fe dosing) and polyaluminum chloride (Al dosing) to remove pollutants from agricultural drain water using the coagulation system designed for CETWs. Both coagulation treatments removed over 70% DOC from source waters, resulting in removal efficiencies (mg-DOC removed per mg-metal dosed) of 1 under Al dosing and 0.5 under Fe dosing. Coagulation by both treatments preferentially removed UV254 active compounds compared to the bulk DOC concentration, suggesting coagulation targeted aromatics more effectively. Phosphates and haloacetic acids were also removed more readily, whereas trihalomethanes, dissolved organic nitrogen and filtered mercury species were removed at similar or lower rates than DOC. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen was not amenable to coagulation and removal was not observed. Freundlich, Langmuir and Monod models explained 33% of the variance for Al dosing and 78 – 89% of the variance for Fe dosing. All three models indicated Al dosing had higher removal efficiency and affinity for DOC than Fe dosing under study conditions, but when used to predict maximum removal efficiency there was no cohesiveness between the three models due to different model assumptions. Consideration of fluorescence dissolved organic matter and UV254 as surrogates for DOC concentration showed both were equally suitable before coagulant application, but as surrogates after coagulant application, neither could be deemed more fit as a surrogate since both were shown suitable for different treatment scenarios.

Spatial integration of biological and social objectives to identify priority landscapes for waterfowl habitat conservation

Released May 08, 2019 12:45 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1029

Anastasia Krainyk, James E. Lyons, Michael G. Brasher, Dale D. Humburg, Greg J. Souilliere, John M. Coluccy, Mark J. Petrie, David W. Howerter, Stuart M. Slattery, Mindy B. Rice, Joe C. Fuller

Waterfowl population management and habitat conservation compose one of the oldest and most successful adaptive management frameworks in the world. Since its inception, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) has emphasized strategically targeted conservation investments in regions that most affect waterfowl population dynamics. By 2012, regional conservation had progressively become more science-based and strategic: many migratory bird partnerships had initiated or completed projects on mapping and modeling waterfowl distribution and abundances using geospatial techniques. However, when developing a map depicting and titled “Areas of Greatest Continental Significance to North American Ducks, Geese, and Swans” for the 2012 NAWMP Revision, waterfowl professionals articulated the need for improved decision frameworks and use of consistent datasets for refining large-scale spatial products depicting priority areas for waterfowl and people. This report describes a framework for developing a spatial value model to support the identification of North American geographies of importance to waterfowl during the breeding and non-breeding periods and to resource users who could potentially support (financially and (or) politically) waterfowl habitat conservation. Objectives used to identify priority geographies were determined through a collaborative process of the NAWMP Science Support Team, Priority Landscapes Committee (PLC), and other experts in the fields of waterfowl biology and ecology, environmental science, and human dimensions. ArcGIS Desktop was used as the platform for managing, analyzing, combining and displaying the spatial data as well as producing new data through spatial analysis functions. Thirty-eight spatial layers were developed, and several composite spatially explicit products (maps of North America) were produced based on PLC recommendations. The composite products have extensive similarities to the 2012 NAWMP map depicting areas of greatest continental significance to North American waterfowl. There are also some differences, especially in regions of the high Arctic and in Mexico. These differences between spatial value model maps and the 2012 NAWMP output likely arose from inclusion of social objectives, reduced dependence on expert opinion to generate abundance estimates, lack of population surveys in some regions and availability of expanded survey data in other regions, and use of model-based waterfowl population estimates for some unsurveyed areas.

The structured decision-making framework application in this study is discussed, and the appropriate use of the products and their limitations are outlined. Additionally, options for future improvements are presented by identifying gaps in data collection, waterfowl-habitat association assumptions, and uncertainties related to social objectives. These spatial products are intended for use by national, regional, and province/state level wildlife professionals to aid their decisions in targeting waterfowl habitat conservation.

When volcanoes fall down—Catastrophic collapse and debris avalanches

Released May 08, 2019 11:28 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3023

Lee Siebert, Mark E. Reid, James W. Vallance, Thomas C. Pierson

Despite their seeming permanence, volcanoes are prone to catastrophic collapse that can affect vast areas in a matter of minutes. Large collapses begin as gigantic landslides that quickly transform to debris avalanches—chaotically tumbling masses of rock debris that can sweep downslope at extremely high velocities, inundating areas far beyond the volcano. Rapid burial by the debris avalanches themselves, associated eruptions and lahars (volcanic mudflows), and inundation by tsunamis triggered when avalanches impact bodies of water can all cause widespread devastation to people and property.

Monitoring long-term changes in forage fish distribution, abundance and body condition

Released May 08, 2019 10:23 EST

2019, Report

Mayumi L. Arimitsu, John F. Piatt

We collected data on forage fish abundance, distribution and body condition in Prince William Sound, Alaska during summers in 2012 through 2016. This included acoustic – trawl surveys, aerial-acoustic surveys, opportunistic sampling where we encountered forage aggregations, and concurrent measurements of forage fish habitat. Acoustic indices of density suggest low abundance of age-0 walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus), capelin (Mallotus villosus), and krill (Euphausiacea), but higher abundance of age-0 (< 80 mm), age-1 (80-140 mm) herring, and gelatinous zooplankton in 2015. Aerial school density of adult herring was highest in 2015 compared to 2014 or 2016, but acoustic indices of adult Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) did not follow the same pattern. Weight-length-age relationships differed significantly among years for capelin and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), with higher body condition in 2013 and 2012 than in 2014 and 2015. This work has provided information on prey resources in coastal areas of the Gulf of Alaska that is consistent with recent observations in the larger Gulf of Alaska region. Ongoing analyses will be important in understanding the marine ecosystem response to anomalously warm conditions beginning in 2014.

2018 USA National Phenology Annual Report

Released May 08, 2019 10:15 EST

2019, Report

Jake F. Weltzin, Theresa M. Crimmins

This report provides a very high-level summary of some of the USA-NPN’s accomplishments over the past year. The purpose is to share with USA-NPN funders, partners, and the general public the value of the organization.

Control of invasive sea lampreys using the piscicides TFM and niclosamide: Toxicology, successes & future prospects

Released May 08, 2019 10:02 EST

2019, Aquatic Toxicology (211) 235-252

Michael Wilkie, Terrance Hubert, Michael A. Boogaard, Oana Birceanu

The invasion of the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America by sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) in the early 20th century contributed to the depletion of commercial, recreational and culturally important fish populations, devastating the economies of communities that relied on the fishery. Sea lamprey populations were subsequently controlled using an aggressive integrated pest-management program which employed barriers and traps to prevent sea lamprey from migrating to their spawning grounds and the use of the piscicides (lampricides) 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) and niclosamide to eliminate larval sea lampreys from their nursery streams. Although sea lampreys have not been eradicated from the Great Lakes, populations have been suppressed to less than 10 % of their peak numbers in the mid-1900s. The ongoing use of lampricides provides the foundation for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes, one of the most successful invasive species control programs in the world. Yet, significant gaps remain in our understanding of how lampricides are taken-up and handled by sea lampreys, how lampricides exert their toxic effects, and how they adversely affect non-target invertebrate and vertebrates species. In this review we examine what has been learned about the uptake, handling and elimination, and the mode of TFM and niclosamide toxicity in lampreys, and in non-target invertebrates and vertebrates, particularly in the last 10 years. It is now is clear that the mode of TFM toxicity is the same in non-target fishes and lampreys, in which TFM interferes with oxidative phosphorylation by the mitochondria leading to decreased ATP production. Vulnerability to TFM is related to abiotic factors such as water pH and alkalinity, which we propose changes the relative amounts of the bioavailable un-ionized form of TFM in the gill microenvironment. Niclosamide, which is also a molluscicide used to control snails in areas prone to schistosomiasis infections of humans, likely works in a similar manner, but less is known about other aspects of its toxicology. The effects of TFM include reductions in energy stores, particularly glycogen and high energy phosphagens. However, non-target fishes readily recover from sub-lethal TFM exposure as demonstrated by the rapid restoration of energy stores and clearance of TFM. Although both TFM and niclosamide are non-persistent in the environment and critical for sea lamprey control, increasing public and institutional concerns about pesticides in the environment makes it imperative to explore other means of sea lamprey control. Accordingly, we also address possible “next-generation” strategies of sea lamprey control including genetic tools such as RNA interference and CRISPR-Cas9 to impair critical physiological processes (e.g. reproduction, digestion, metamorphosis) in lamprey, and the use of green chemistry to develop more environmentally benign chemical methods of sea lamprey control.

Basin, climatic, and irrigation factors associated with median summer water yields for streams in Southwestern Michigan, 1945-2015

Released May 07, 2019 16:15 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5071

David J. Holtschlag

Median summer water yields and resultant flows for streams are used in Michigan to regulate large water withdrawals to help prevent negative effects on characteristic fish populations. Large water withdrawals commonly are associated with irrigation in rural areas. In an earlier statewide report, an index-flow statistic for the period of record, defined as the median flow during the summer month of lowest flow, was used to characterize median summer flows and associated water yields. In this report, the annual series of median summer water yields for the period July 1 through September 30 within the period of record is used to characterize median summer water yields. For 27 streamgages included in both reports, the average index water yield was at the 37th percentile of the distribution of median summer water yields. In contrast to an index statistic, an annual time series provides a basis for detecting trends in median summer water yields and for determining basin, climatic, and irrigation factors affecting spatial and temporal variations in summer water yields. Daily flow data from 40 selected U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in southwestern Michigan were used in this analysis. Two mixed models were identified to estimate median summer water yields based on fixed basin characteristics and temporally varying climatic factors for 1945–2015. No irrigation data were available prior to 1970, so no irrigation variables were included in the mixed models for 1945–2015. Then, two mixed models were developed for 1970–2015, a period in which a partial annual series of county-level irrigation data also were available. One of the 1970–2015 mixed models provides a basis for estimating median summer water yields at sites in southwestern Michigan using an estimated trend component, and selected basin, climatic, and irrigation factors. Re-estimation of model parameters in this mixed model with more spatially precise information on irrigation withdrawals may improve model accuracy.

Resurgence of cisco (Coregonus artedi) population levels in Lake Michigan

Released May 07, 2019 13:28 EST

2019, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Randall M. Claramunt, Jason Smith, Kevin Donner, Annalise Povolo, Matthew E. Herbert, Tracy Galarowicz, Tracy L. Claramunt, Scott DeBoe, Wendylee Stott, Jory L. Jonas

In recent decades, many factors that were linked with the decline of Great Lakes cisco (Coregonus artedi) populations have subsided. The goal of this study was to investigate where cisco exist in Lake Michigan and evaluate evidence for recovery including when, where, and to what extent it is occurring. We evaluated datasets from several independent monitoring efforts that did and did not target cisco. We also evaluated trends in commercial and recreational catches of cisco. Across these datasets, there was strong evidence of a sustained recovery of cisco stocks that began in Lake Michigan in the mid-2000s. Fall gill net surveys and commercial fisheries provided reasonable indications of a population recovery in the northeast by 2011. Further south, Ludington Pump Storage barrier net monitoring also recorded increasing numbers of cisco starting in 2011. Recreational harvest estimates were valuable in evaluating spatial distributions but were less valuable as an early signal of abundance shifts. Measures of the recreational harvest of cisco most notably increased in 2014. The highest catch rates and harvest occurred in Grand Traverse Bay and northern Lake Michigan as evidenced by recreational, commercial, and fall netting surveys. Observations of cisco are expanding and have increased in intensity along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan south to Muskegon in both fishery dependent and independent surveys. The similarity in trends from all data sources indicate that cisco abundance has increased, and their range within the basin continues to expand.

Global patterns of tree stem growth and stand aboveground wood production in mangrove forests

Released May 07, 2019 12:16 EST

2019, Forest Ecology and Management (444) 382-392

Yanmei Xiong, Roxelane Cakir, Sang Minh Phan, Anne Ola, Ken Krauss, Catherine E. Lovelock

Mangrove forests provide important ecological and economic services including carbon sequestration and storage. The conservation and restoration of mangroves are expected to play an important role in mitigating climate change, and understanding the factors influencing mangrove stem growth and wood production are important in predicting and improving mangrove carbon sequestration and responses to environmental change. In this study, we collected data of individual diameter at breast height (DBH) growth rate and stand level aboveground wood production in both non-plantation (commonly termed as natural) mangroves and mangrove plantations across the world. Climatic factors, proxies of edaphic factors, as well as biological factors (e.g. mangrove species) were included as explanatory variables in the analyses to determine factors influencing the global patterns of tree growth rate and stand wood production of mangroves. Using hierarchical Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis we found interactions among environmental and biological factors in controlling mangrove tree growth rate and stand wood production. We also found different global patterns of tree growth rate and stand wood production between non-plantation mangroves and plantations. Climatic conditions (precipitation of driest season, precipitation seasonality) were the most important factors influencing the global pattern of tree DBH growth rate in non-plantation mangroves, with edaphic and biological characteristics also playing a role under specific climatic conditions. The global pattern of stand wood production in non-plantation mangroves was primarily determined by stand mean DBH growth rate of individual trees. However, in mangrove plantations management measures, specifically species selection and planting density, were the most important factors influencing the global patterns of tree growth rate and stand wood production. Our study provides parameters for a global estimation of long-term carbon sequestration in both non-plantation mangroves and mangrove plantations. In addition, our results help us better predict the dynamics of tree growth and carbon sequestration of non-plantation mangroves under changing climate.

Adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) behavior and movement from Roza Dam to Cle Elum Dam, Washington, 2018

Released May 07, 2019 10:20 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1053

Tobias J. Kock, Scott D. Evans, Brian K. Ekstrom, Amy C. Hansen

An evaluation was conducted to describe adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) upstream movement patterns from Roza Dam to Cle Elum Dam in the Yakima Basin, Washington. Sockeye salmon adults that arrive at Roza Dam are currently trapped and transported upstream of Cle Elum Dam because upstream fish-passage facilities are not currently in place at the dam. However, these facilities are being designed, so resource managers wanted to confirm that sockeye salmon could successfully move upstream through the Roza Dam-to-Cle Elum Dam reach. A total of 20 adult sockeye salmon were collected, tagged with a radio transmitter, and released at Roza Dam during July 2018. These fish were monitored using a series of fixed monitoring sites and mobile tracking for 2 months. All tagged sockeye salmon successfully moved upstream and were detected in the tailrace of Cle Elum Dam. Median elapsed time from release at Roza Dam to first detection at Cle Elum Dam was 17 days (d) and ranged from 7 to 30 d. We examined migration delay at the Town Ditch diversion dam by comparing elapsed time of detection at that site to elapsed time of detection at other sites in the study area. We found that median elapsed time at the Town Ditch site (19.7 hours) was substantially higher than median elapsed time at other sites (1.7 hours or less). This suggests that tagged sockeye salmon were delayed at the diversion dam. However, most tagged fish (75 percent) arrived at Cle Elum Dam within 20 d of release, and all fish arrived within 30 d, which suggests that delay at the diversion dam may be of little consequence. Our results suggest that adult sockeye salmon can readily migrate upstream from Roza Dam to Cle Elum Dam.

Developing an expert elicited simulation model to evaluate invasive species and fire management alternatives

Released May 07, 2019 09:57 EST

2019, Ecosphere (10)

Catherine S. Jarnevich, Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Nicholas E. Young, Dana M. Backer, Sarah A. Cline, Leonardo Frid, Perry Grissom

Invasive species can alter ecosystem properties and cause state shifts in landscapes. Resource managers charged with maintaining landscapes require tools to understand implications of alternative actions (or inactions) on landscape structure and function. Simulation models can serve as a virtual laboratory to explore these alternatives and their potential impacts on a landscape. To be useful, however, managers need to participate in model development to ensure that model structure can evaluate the response of key resources to plausible actions. Here, we detail development of a state‐and‐transition simulation model (STSM) to evaluate buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L. syn Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link) in Saguaro National Park (SNP), Arizona, USA, through collaboration between managers and researchers. We integrate expert knowledge and research to create and parameterize a stochastic, spatially explicit STSM to evaluate specific management objectives. We also develop a dynamic link between the STSM and a fire behavior model to allow exploration of potential novel processes introduced to the ecosystem by buffelgrass invasion. Our projections show that buffelgrass can be expected to increase on the landscape and that the integration of fire into the model accelerates the projected rate of invasion and increases degradation of resources of management concern. We highlight the benefit of engaging end users in the modeling process so that the model is targeted to evaluate management objectives, in this case retention of saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose) on the landscape. Being able to integrate an external model that can help address the unique characteristics of a problem such as the introduction of fire into the SNP desert ecosystem increases the ability of simulations to address complex ecological and management questions.

Selecting a landscape model for natural resource management applications

Released May 07, 2019 09:45 EST

2019, Current Landscape Ecology Reports

Robert E. Keane, Rachel A. Loehman, Lisa M. Holsinger

Purpose of Review: Climate change and associated ecological impacts have challenged many conventional, observation-based approaches for predicting ecosystem and landscape responses to natural resource management. Complex spatial ecological models provide powerful, flexible tools which managers and others can use to make inferences about management impacts on future, no-analog landscape conditions. However, land managers who wish to use ecosystem and landscape models for natural resource applications are faced with the difficult task of deciding among many models that differ in important ways. Here, we summarize a process to aid managers in the selection of an appropriate model for natural resource management. Recent Findings: To guide management planning, scientifically credible information on how landscapes will respond to management actions under changing climate is required. Landscape models are increasingly used in a management context to evaluate of impacts of changing climate and interacting stressors on ecosystems and to test effects of alternative management options on desired conditions. However, the wide range of available models makes selection of appropriate and viable models a complex process. Summary: We present a series of preliminary steps to define critical scales of time, space, and ecological organization to guide an experimental design for a modeling project and then list a set of criteria for selecting a landscape or ecological model. Material presented includes the preliminary steps (crafting modeling objective, designing modeling project), organizational concerns (resources available, expertise on hand, timelines), and modeling details (complexity, design, documentation) of model selection.

Resilience of benthic macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in a Catskill Mountain river, New York, USA: Implications for water quality monitoring and assessment

Released May 07, 2019 09:32 EST

2019, Ecological Indicators (104) 107-115

Alexander J. Smith, Barry P. Baldigo, Brian T Duffy, Scott D. George, Brian Dresser

Changes in the timing, magnitude, frequency, and duration of extreme hydrologic events are becoming apparent and could disrupt species assemblages and stream ecosystems across the Northeastern United States. Between August 28 and 29 of 2011, an average of 31 cm of rain from Tropical Storm Irene fell across Eastern New York State in less than 24 h and caused historic flooding in numerous streams of the Catskill Mountain Region. Peak discharges exceeded the 0.01 annual exceedance probability (> 100 year flood) in many Catskill Mountain streams. Approximately one week later, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee deposited another 19 cm of rain onto saturated soils and caused additional flooding. Data from annual benthic macroinvertebrate surveys completed at 5 sites in the Upper Esopus Creek, a premier trout stream in the region, during August 2009–2011 (before the floods) were compared to data collected from the same sites in September 2011, November 2011, March 2012 and August 2012 (after the floods). The impact, rate of recovery and the factors which might affect the resilience of benthic macroinvertebrate communities were evaluated. The results of biological water quality assessment metrics immediately after the floods resembled those of highly polluted waters, yet severe floods were the only disturbance. Prior to the floods, standard biological assessment metrics showed that communities were not impacted and water quality was pristine. A large decrease in macroinvertebrate density was evident in the September 2011 surveys following the floods and bioassessment metrics reflected highly degraded water quality conditions. Most community metrics rebounded in 3–7 months (November 2011 and March 2012), and full recovery was evident in 12 months (August 2012) which suggests that macroinvertebrate assemblages are relatively resilient to the effects of extreme floods in these low-order streams. Therefore, macroinvertebrate samples collected from a flood-impacted stream before full recovery occurs might reflect loss of diversity and abundance from the flood disturbance and incorrectly attribute the impact to impaired water quality. The strong short-term impacts and the relatively rapid recovery of macroinvertebrate communities following catastrophic floods have important ramifications for routine bioassessment programs considering changing hydrologic regimes in streams across the Northeast and elsewhere.

Flood-inundation maps for the Amite and Comite Rivers from State Highway 64 to U.S. Highway 190 at Central, Louisiana

Released May 07, 2019 08:40 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5028

John B. Storm

Flood-inundation maps for a 14.5-mile reach of the Amite River and a 20.2-mile reach of the Comite River from State Highway 64 to U.S. Highway 190 were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the City of Central, Louisiana. These maps, which can be accessed through an interactive mapper at the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Program website and from a companion USGS data release, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgages Amite River at Magnolia, La., (07377300) and Comite River near Comite, La. (07378000).

Flood profiles were computed for the Amite and Comite River reaches by using the two-dimensional (2D), finite-volume numerical modeling options in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System (USACE HEC-RAS) software version 5.0.3. Models were calibrated to the current (2018) stage-discharge relations at the Amite River at Magnolia, La., and Comite River near Comite, La., streamgages, water-surface profiles from the March and August 2016 floods, and documented high-water marks from the flood of August 2016.

The hydraulic models were used to compute 37 individual water-surface profiles (21 for the Amite River and 16 for the Comite River) at 1.0-foot intervals ranging from the National Weather Service flood stage to the highest peak on record at the two streamgages. The 37 simulated water-surface profiles were used with a light detection and ranging-derived digital elevation model to delineate the flood extent and associated depth at each water level. The delineated areas (inundation maps) were merged into 127 combinations or possible flooding scenarios based on annual peak stage information from the two streamgaging stations.

The availability of these maps, along with real-time data delivered via the internet, 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 recovery efforts after floods.

Jump-starting coastal wetland restoration: A comparison of marsh and mangrove foundation species

Released May 06, 2019 14:16 EST

2019, Restoration Ecology

Erik S. Yando, Michael Osland, Scott Jones, Mark W. Hester

During coastal wetland restoration, foundation plant species play a critical role in creating habitat, modulating ecosystem functions, and supporting ecological communities. Following initial hydrologic restoration, foundation plant species can help stabilize sediments and jump-start ecosystem development. Different foundation species, however, have different traits and environmental tolerances. To understand how these traits and tolerances impact restoration trajectories, there is a need for comparative studies among foundation species. In subtropical and tropical climates, coastal wetland restoration practitioners can sometimes choose between salt marsh and/or mangrove foundation species. Here, we compared the early life history traits and environmental tolerances of two foundation species: (1) a salt marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora), and (2) a mangrove tree (Avicennia germinans). In an 18-month study of a recently-restored coastal wetland in southeastern Louisiana (USA), we examined growth and survival along an elevation gradient and compared expansion and recruitment rates. We found that the rapid growth, expansion, and recruitment rates of the salt marsh grass make it a better species for quickly establishing ecological structure at suitable elevations. The slower growth, limited expansion, and lower recruitment of the mangrove species show its limited capacity for immediate structural restoration, especially in areas where it co-occurs with perennial salt marsh foundation species. Our findings suggest that the structural attributes needed in recently-restored areas (e.g., erosion control, vegetation structure) can be achieved more quickly using fast-growing foundation marsh species. Following salt marsh grass establishment, mangroves can then be used to further assist ecosystem development. This work highlights how appropriate foundation species can help jump-start ecosystem development to meet restoration objectives.

Using the beta distribution to analyze plant cover data

Released May 06, 2019 13:34 EST

2019, Journal of Ecology

Christian Damgaard, Kathryn M. Irvine

Most plant species are spatially aggregated. Local demographic and ecological processes (e.g. vegetative growth and limited seed dispersal) result in a clustered spatial pattern within an environmentally homogenous area. Spatial aggregation should be considered when modelling plant abundance data.

Commonly, plant abundance is quantified by measuring cover within multiple areal plots or along multiple lines randomly placed within a study area. A common practice for analyzing plant cover is to use statistical methods that rely on the normal distribution for quantifying uncertainty. This is problematic because plant cover data tend to be left‐skewed (J‐shaped), right skewed (L‐shaped) or U‐shaped and, therefore, commonly violate classic statistical assumptions, such as normality.

We outline statistical analyses that explicitly account for spatial aggregation by assuming that plant cover is beta‐distributed. The beta distribution is a flexible choice because within the open unit interval it can take on a wide range of shapes (L, J, U, or a bell‐shaped). We discuss and introduce extensions to the beta distribution that address common analysis issues encountered in plant cover datasets, such as i) the treatment of zero and one cover values, ii) hierarchical data structures, and iii) observations errors. For heuristic purposes, we focus on single species analyses, but we demonstrate how the outlined methods can be generalized to more species.

The assumption that plant cover is beta‐distributed allows us to estimate the degree of spatial aggregation, and the ecological significance of this new knowledge is discussed. We provide a summary of available software for analyses (emphasizing standard R packages) and include worked examples and a simulation study comparing analysis options as supplemental information.

Synthesis. Previously, the state of the statistical software made it practically difficult for empirical plant ecologists to analyze their cover data correctly, but new theory and R‐packages have been developed, and this difficulty no longer exists. We recommend that empirical plant ecologists embrace the new statistical possibilities for exploring the exciting ecological features in spatial variation of plant cover.

Remote sensing of river flow in Alaska—New technology to improve safety and expand coverage of USGS streamgaging

Released May 06, 2019 12:49 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3024

Jeff Conaway, John R. Eggleston, Carl J. Legleiter, John W. Jones, Paul J. Kinzel, John W. Fulton

The U.S. Geological Survey monitors water level (water surface elevation relative to an arbitrary datum) and measures streamflow in Alaska rivers to compute and compile river flow records for use by water resource planners, engineers, and land managers to design infrastructure, manage floodplains, and protect life, property, and aquatic resources. Alaska has over 800,000 miles of rivers including the Yukon River, the third longest river in the United States. These rivers are home to rare and important ecosystems and are used for recreation, hydropower generation, commercial fishing, and transportation. River flow measurements are essential for wise and safe development and use of Alaska rivers.

The ecological uncertainty of wildfire fuel breaks: examples from the sagebrush steppe

Released May 06, 2019 09:56 EST

2019, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Douglas Shinneman, Matthew J. Germino, David S. Pilliod, Cameron L. Aldridge, Nicole Vaillant, Peter S. Coates

Fuel breaks are increasingly being implemented at broad scales (100s to 10,000s of square kilometers) in fire‐prone landscapes globally, yet there is little scientific information available regarding their ecological effects (eg habitat fragmentation). Fuel breaks are designed to reduce flammable vegetation (ie fuels), increase the safety and effectiveness of fire‐suppression operations, and ultimately decrease the extent of wildfire spread. In sagebrush (Artemisia spp) ecosystems of the western US, installation of extensive linear fuel breaks is also intended to protect habitat, especially for the greater sage‐grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), a species that is sensitive to habitat fragmentation. We examine this apparent contradiction in the Great Basin region, where invasive annual grasses have increased wildfire activity and threaten sagebrush ecosystems. Given uncertain outcomes, we examine how implementation of fuel breaks might (1) directly alter ecosystems, (2) create edges and edge effects, (3) serve as vectors for wildlife movement and plant invasions, (4) fragment otherwise contiguous sagebrush landscapes, and (5) benefit from scientific investigation intended to disentangle their ecological costs and benefits.

The use of national datasets to produce an average annual water budget for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, 2000–13

Released May 06, 2019 07:01 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3001

Meredith Reitz, Wade H. Kress


Water is a critically important resource for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP) region, supporting a multibillion-dollar agricultural industry. There are concerns that continued withdrawals of groundwater for irrigation may decrease future water supplies. The U.S. Geological Survey has a history of conducting research in the MAP region and recently began an effort to integrate multiple monitoring analyses and modeling to characterize and project water availability for the region. Here, we utilize the data and results from existing national-scale datasets and refine them to create long-term steady state annual water budgets at a regional scale (the MAP) from 2000 to 2013. The water budget is described and mapped as the distribution of available water into three components: (1) evapotranspiration (65 percent); (2) quickflow runoff to streams (27 percent); and (3) groundwater recharge (8 percent). We also present a comparison of long-term recharge rates with groundwater extraction rates. These results will be useful as a starting point for the water budget and evaluations of future water availability in the MAP.

Spatial variation in aquatic invertebrate and riparian songbird mercury exposure across a river-reservoir system with a legacy of mercury contamination

Released May 05, 2019 12:56 EST

2019, Ecotoxicology 1-10

Allyson K. Jackson, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, Colleen Emery

Mercury (Hg) loading and methylation in aquatic systems causes a variety of deleterious effects for fish and wildlife populations. Relatively little research has focused on Hg movement into riparian food webs and how this is modulated by habitat characteristics. This study characterized differences in Hg exposure in aquatic invertebrates and riparian songbirds across a large portion of the Willamette River system in western Oregon, starting at a Hg-contaminated Superfund site in the headwaters (Black Butte Hg Mine) and including a reservoir known to methylate Hg (Cottage Grove Reservoir), all downstream reaches (Coast Fork and Willamette River) and off-channel wetland complexes (Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex). After accounting for year, date, and site differences in a mixed effects model, MeHg concentrations in aquatic invertebrates varied spatially among habitat categories and invertebrate orders. Similarly, THg in songbird blood varied by among habitat categories and bird species. The highest Hg concentrations occurred near the Hg mine, but Hg did not decline linearly with distance from the source of contamination. Birds were consistently elevated in Hg in habitats commonly associated with enhanced MeHg production, such as backwater or wetlands. We found a positive but weak correlation between aquatic invertebrate MeHg concentrations and songbird THg concentrations on a site-specific basis. Our findings suggest that Hg risk to riparian songbirds can extend beyond point-source contaminated areas, highlighting the importance of assessing exposure in surrounding habitats where methylmercury production may be elevated, such as reservoirs and wetlands.

Connectivity of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in southern California: A genetic survey of a mobile ungulate in a highly fragmented urban landscape

Released May 04, 2019 09:37 EST

2019, Landscape Ecology 1-19

Devaughn Fraser, Kirsten E. Ironside, Robert K. Wayne, Erin E. Boydston

Urbanization is a substantial force shaping the genetic and demographic structure of natural populations. Urban development and major highways can limit animal movements, and thus gene flow, even in highly mobile species. Characterizing varying species responses to human activity and fragmentation is important for maintaining genetic continuity in wild animals and for preserving biodiversity. As one of the only common and wide-ranging large wild herbivores in much of urban North America, deer play an important ecological role in urban ecosystems, yet the genetic impacts of development on deer are not well known.

Assessing water-quality changes in U.S. rivers at multiple geographic scales using results from probabilistic and targeted monitoring

Released May 04, 2019 08:58 EST

2019, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (191)

Lori A. Sprague, Richard M Mitchell, Amina I. Pollard, James A. Falcone

Two commonly used approaches for water quality monitoring are probabilistic and targeted. In a probabilistic approach like the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Rivers and Streams Assessment, monitoring sites are selected using a statistically representative approach. In a targeted approach like that used by many monitoring organizations, monitoring sites are chosen individually to answer specific questions. One important goal of both approaches is documenting long-term changes in water quality. Here, we compare chloride change results in US rivers and streams between the early 2000s and early 2010s from both approaches. The probabilistic approach provided an unbiased representation of change in all US rivers and streams, but was designed to measure low-streamflow conditions within a spring/summer index period during periodic survey years. The targeted approach was focused on larger, more developed watersheds but samples were collected frequently throughout the assessment period in different seasons and streamflows. The probabilistic results showed a small decrease in chloride concentrations in rivers and streams with the lowest concentrations, but no consistent increase or decrease in the remainder. The increased granularity of the targeted results showed that there was, in fact, a mix of changes occurring, with increases at 132 sites, decreases at 112 sites, and relatively stable conditions at 55 sites. The combined results suggest that chloride is not responding to a widespread, common driver across the USA and that management of chloride would be most effective when targeted regionally or locally.

Drift and beaching patterns of sea otter carcasses and car tire dummies

Released May 03, 2019 14:23 EST

2019, Marine Mammal Science

Colleen C. Young, Tomoharu Eguchi, Jack A. Ames, Michelle M. Staedler, Brian Hatfield, Mike Harris, Emily A Golson-Fisch

Enumerating and examining marine animal carcasses is important for quantifying mortality rates and determining causes of mortality. Drifter experiments are one tool for estimating at‐sea mortality and determining factors affecting carcass drift, but they require validation to confirm drifters accurately replicate the drift characteristics of the species of interest. The goal of this study was to determine whether dummies constructed from car tires were appropriate substitutes for sea otter (Enhydra lutris) carcasses. We released 33 sets of targets (carcasses and dummies) in a one‐to‐one ratio on 15 randomly chosen dates between January 1995 and December 1996. They were telemetrically tracked until they beached or were no longer detected. Beaching rates were similar between carcasses (69.7%) and dummies (66.7%). Our results indicated that there was no statistical difference in the drifting pattern, as measured by distance traveled and location, between carcasses and dummies, and that cumulative wind speed, days since release, and release month were predictors of drift patterns. We concluded that dummies constructed from car tires do imitate sea otter carcasses and could be used to estimate at‐sea mortality of sea otters, or, if released during or after an oil spill, could be used to direct search efforts for carcasses.

Preliminary stage and streamflow data at selected U.S. Geological Survey streamgages in New England for the floods of April 2019

Released May 03, 2019 13:57 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1052

Richard G. Kiah, Brianna A. Smith, Nicholas W. Stasulis

The combination of rainfall and snowmelt in northern New England and rainfall in southern New England resulted in minor to major flooding from April 15 to 24, 2019, according to stage and streamflow data collected at 63 selected U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgages. A typical USGS streamgage measures and records stream stage and estimates streamflow based on a relation (rating curve) of discrete measurements of streamflow and the recorded stage. USGS hydrographers were deployed during and after these storms to measure the streamflow of the flooded rivers and confirm streamgage rating curves.

Preliminary Data Indicate...

  • The National Weather Service flood stage was reached at 36 USGS streamgages selected for monitoring; the minor flood stage category was reached at 30 streamgages, moderate flood stage category at 5 streamgages, and major flood stage category at 1 streamgage.
  • Peak streamflows for the period of record occurred at three streamgages in Maine. Of these, the peak at the St. John River at Ninemile Bridge, Maine streamgage was the highest in its 67-year period of record.
  • A total of 30 streamgages—15 streamgages in Maine, 9 in Vermont, 4 in New Hampshire, and 1 each in Connecticut and Massachusetts—recorded peak streamflows within the top 10 for their period of record. Two of these streamgages, the Clyde River at Newport, Vermont and the Saco River at Cornish, Maine, have periods of record greater than 100 years.
  • In total, USGS hydrographers made more than 210 streamflow measurements during the April 15–24 floods in New England.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Eurasia Basin Province, 2008

Released May 03, 2019 08:00 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1824-DD

Thomas E. Moore, Janet K. Pitman

Thomas E. Moore, Donald L. Gautier, editor(s)

The Eurasia Basin Petroleum Province comprises the younger, eastern half of the Arctic Ocean, including the Eurasia Basin and the outboard part of the continental margin of northern Europe in the Barents and Kara Seas. The province includes the slope and rise sedimentary prism of the Lena Delta, the north-facing outer shelf, slope, and rise of the European passive margin, and sedimentary accumulations in the deep Nansen and Amundsen Basins. The entire province lies north of the Arctic Circle beneath the polar ice cap and includes the North Pole.

The province is divided into four assessment units (AUs). The Lena Prodelta AU in the eastern part of the province consists of the deep-marine part of the Lena Delta, which has been deposited across the Gakkel Ridge, an ultraslow spreading ridge. The Nansen Basin Margin AU in the southern part of the province comprises the Cenozoic passive margin sequence of the rift margin of the western (European) part of the Eurasian plate. This AU spans the continent-ocean boundary and includes prerift strata along the outer continental margin. The Nansen Basin and Amundsen Basin AUs encompass the deep abyssal plains of the Eurasia Basin. Lying south of the Gakkel Ridge spreading center, the sedimentary fill of Nansen Basin AU consists of the distal clinoform deposits shed from the western Eurasia passive margin. North of the Gakkel Ridge, Amundsen Basin AU consists of a nascent distal passive-margin sequence derived from the adjacent Lomonosov Ridge and overlying flat-lying deep marine strata shed from distant source areas in Siberia and Greenland after the Lomonosov Ridge subsided below sea level at about 50 Ma. The primary petroleum system thought to be present is sourced in ~50–44 Ma (early to middle Eocene) condensed pelagic deposits that could be widespread in the province.

Mean estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable petroleum resources include <1 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and about 1.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of nonassociated gas in Lena Prodelta AU, and < 0.4 BBO and 3.4 TCF nonassociated gas in the Nansen Basin Margin AU. Quantities of natural gas liquids and associated natural gas also are assessed in each of these AUs. The Nansen Basin and Amundsen Basin AUs were not quantitatively assessed because they were judged to have less than 10 percent probability of containing at least one accumulation of 50 MMBOE (million barrels of oil equivalent), the minimum probability required for evaluation in the U.S. Geological Survey Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal.

Groundwater quality in the Sacramento Metropolitan shallow aquifer, California

Released May 02, 2019 13:50 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1047

George L. Bennett V

The Sacramento metropolitan (SacMetro) study unit covers approximately 3,250 square kilometers of the Central Valley along the eastern edge of the northern and southern ends of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, respectively. Groundwater withdrawals supply a significant portion of the water-resource needs of the region. In the southern portion of the study unit, groundwater accounts for nearly 90 percent of water demand in the area (South Area Water Council, 2011).

Groundwater sampled in the SacMetro study unit comes from alluvial aquifers primarily composed of sediments derived from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east. Recharge to the groundwater system is primarily from the streams draining the Sierra Nevada, and from precipitation and infiltration of applied irrigation water (California Department of Water Resources, 2003). The public-supply aquifer system assessments of this area in 2005 found elevated concentrations of inorganic constituents including arsenic, iron, and manganese as well as of solvents in some wells (Bennett and others, 2010; 2011).

This study was designed to provide a statistically representative assessment of the quality of groundwater resources used for domestic drinking water in the SacMetro study unit. A complete listing of what was measured, including the sampling results, are presented in Bennett and others, 2019. A total of 49 wells were sampled between July 2017 and November 2017 (Bennett and others, 2019). The wells in the study were 32–160 meters deep, and water levels were 1–62 meters below land surface.

An experimental test of weed-suppressive bacteria effectiveness in rangelands in southwestern Idaho, 2016–18

Released May 02, 2019 12:04 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1050

Brynne E. Lazarus, Matthew J. Germino

Approaches and techniques for control of exotic annual grasses are a high priority in sagebrush-steppe and other rangelands. Strains of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf) have been proposed to be selectively pathogenic to multiple species of exotic annual grasses with effects evident by the second year, and with no effect on native or desirable species including native bunchgrasses. However, scientifically defensible tests of the target and non-target/risk effects of these hypothetically weed-suppressive bacteria (WSB) strains in the field have been lacking in rangelands and other environments. We evaluated the effects of two strains of Pf WSB (D7 and MB906) sprayed on the surface in autumn 2016 at three sites in sagebrush steppe across southwestern Idaho that had cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), and other exotic annual grasses. Treatments also were replicated within each site (n=3, 8.3×8.3 meter plots) and included evaluation of the WSB strains with and without herbicides (imazapic and rimsulfuron) and with or without discing to mix surface-spray of the WSB into deeper soils. By the second year following application (spring 2018), neither strain of WSB affected exotic annual grasses, perennial bunchgrasses, or total community cover, either with WSB alone or in combination with herbicides or discing. We conclude that neither the D7 nor MB906 strains of Pf WSB have a negative effect on exotic annuals at the sites we evaluated.

Wildland fire science at the U.S. Geological Survey—supporting wildland fire and land management across the United States

Released May 02, 2019 11:15 EST

2019, General Information Product 190

Paul F. Steblein, Mark P. Miller, Suzanna C. Soileau

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Wildland Fire Science Program produces information to identify the causes of wildfires, understand the impacts and benefits of both wildfires and prescribed fires, and help prevent and manage larger, catastrophic events. USGS fire scientists provide information and develop tools that are widely used by stakeholders to make decisions before, during, and after wildfires in desert, grassland, tundra, wetland, and forest ecosystems across the United States. Active areas of research include—

  • Wildland fire behavior and risk management
  • Fire ecology, fire effects, and post-fire restoration of ecosystems
  • Risk assessments for human health, public safety, and the Nation’s infrastructure
  • Remote sensing and geospatial tools and data.

Establishment of Salsola tragus on aeolian sands: A Southern Colorado Plateau case study

Released May 02, 2019 09:39 EST

2019, Invasive Plant Science and Management

Kathryn A. Thomas, Margaret Hiza

Russian-thistle (Salsola tragus L.), is a nonnative, C4 photosynthesizing, annual plant that infests disturbed and natural areas in the arid U.S. Southwest. Land managers of natural areas may need to decide whether a S. tragus infestation is potentially harmful and whether it should be actively managed. One factor informing that decision is an understanding of the conditions under which this weed emerges and establishes and how those processes affect where and when infestations occur. We studied S. tragus establishment on aeolian (windblown) sandy soils at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ. Our sites were a previously disturbed sand sheet and a semistabilized sand dune. Measurements in plots on these sites over two growing seasons revealed a similar number of S. tragus seedlings emerging on both sites early in the 2015 growing season. As the season progressed, S. tragus cover (seedling survival and growth) was lower on the sand dune, except for a plot placed entirely on a coppice mound. In 2016, S. tragus seedling emergence and development of cover, measured on plots at both sites, was exceptionally low, as was summer rainfall. A growth chamber assay of seedling emergence from soil and litter samples collected at each site showed emergence was greatest from samples collected where S. tragus litter remained on the soil surface, and otherwise was infrequent. Our study suggests that S. tragus emergence and early establishment are sensitive to low precipitation and that soil-surface microtopography and grass and shrub cover may be determinants of the spatial pattern of infestation on sandy soils. As aeolian sands occur throughout drylands of the U.S. Southwest, deeper understanding of the conditions under which S. tragus seedlings emerge and establish can inform management of this invasive annual in those habitats.

In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part II: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE and BTBPE on hatching success, morphometric and physiological endpoints in American kestrels

Released May 02, 2019 07:28 EST

2019, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (179) 151-159

Margaret Eng, Natalie K. Karouna-Renier, Paula F. P. Henry, Robert J. Letcher, Sandra L. Schultz, Thomas G. Bean, Lisa E. Peters, Vince P. Palace, Tony D. Williams, John E. Elliott, Kim J. Fernie

Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3-dibromopropyl ether) (TBBPA-BDBPE) and 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTPBE) are both brominated flame retardants (BFRs) that have been detected in birds; however, their potential biological effects are largely unknown. We assessed the effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE and BTBPE in a model avian predator, the American kestrel (Falco sparverius). Fertile eggs from a captive population of kestrels were injected on embryonic day 5 (ED5) with a vehicle control or one of three doses within the range of concentrations that have been detected in biota (nominal concentrations of 0, 10, 50 or 100 ng/g egg; measured concentrations 0, 3.0, 13.7 or 33.5 ng TBBPA-BDBPE/g egg and 0, 5.3, 26.8 or 58.1 ng BTBPE/g egg). Eggs were artificially incubated until hatching (ED28), at which point blood and tissues were collected to measure morphological and physiological endpoints, including organ somatic indices, circulating and glandular thyroid hormone concentrations, thyroid gland histology, hepatic deiodinase activity, and markers of oxidative stress. Neither compound had any effects on embryo survival through 90% of the incubation period or on hatching success, body mass, organ size, or oxidative stress of hatchlings. There was evidence of sex-specific effects in the thyroid system responses to the BTBPE exposures, with type 2 deiodinase (D2) activity decreasing at higher doses in female, but not in male hatchlings, suggesting that females may be more sensitive to BTBPE. However, there were no effects of TBBPA-BDBPE on the thyroid system in kestrels. For the BTPBE study, a subset of high-dose eggs were collected throughout the incubation period to measure changes in BTBPE concentrations. There was no decrease in BTBPE over the incubation period, suggesting that BTBPE is slowly metabolized by kestrel embryos throughout their ~28-d development. These two compounds, therefore, do not appear to be particularly toxic to embryos of the American kestrel.

In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part I: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE on survival, morphometric and physiological endpoints in zebra finches

Released May 02, 2019 07:24 EST

2019, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (179) 104-110

Margaret Eng, Tony D. Williams, Kim J. Fernie, Natalie K. Karouna-Renier, Paula F. P. Henry, Robert J. Letcher, John E. Elliott

Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3-dibromopropyl) ether (TBBPA-BDBPE) is an additive flame retardant used in polyolefins and polymers. It has been detected in biota, including in avian eggs, yet little is known of its effects. We assessed the pattern of TBBPA-BDBPE concentrations in songbird eggs over the incubation period, and the effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE in a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). To assess concentrations during embryo development, eggs were injected on the day they were laid with the vehicle control (safflower oil) or 100 ng TBBPA-BDBPE/g egg, and whole egg contents were collected throughout embryonic development on day 0 (unincubated), 5, 10 and 13. To evaluate effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE, eggs were injected at Hamburger-Hamilton stage 18 (~80 hours after initiation of incubation) with safflower oil only, 10, 50 or 100 ng TBBPA-BDBPE/g egg (albumin injection volume 1 µl/g). Eggs were monitored for hatching success, and nestlings were monitored for growth and survival. At 15 days post-hatch, tissues were collected to assess physiological effects. TBBPA-BDBPE was incorporated into the egg as the embryo developed, and concentrations started declining in late incubation, suggesting biotransformation by the embryo. There were no effects on hatching success, nestling survival, growth, organ somatic indices, or thyroid hormone homeostasis; however, there was evidence that body condition declined in a dose-dependent manner towards the end of the rapid nestling growth phase. This decreased body condition could be a delayed effect of early developmental exposure, or it may be the result of increased exposure to biotransformation products of TBBPA-BDBPE produced over the nestling period, which are predicted to be more bioaccumulative and toxic than the parent compound.

Success of lake restoration depends on spatial aspects of nutrient loading and hydrology

Released May 01, 2019 12:24 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (679) 248-259

Annette B.G. Janssen, Dianneke van Wijk, Luuk P.A. van Gerven, Elisabeth S. Bakker, Robert J. Brederveld, Donald L. DeAngelis, Jan H. Janse, Wolf M. Mooij

Many aquatic ecosystems have deteriorated due to human activities and their restoration is often troublesome. It is proposed here that the restoration success of deteriorated lakes critically depends on hitherto largely neglected spatial heterogeneity in nutrient loading and hydrology. A modelling approach is used to study this hypothesis by considering four lake types with contrasting nutrient loading (point versus diffuse) and hydrology (seepage versus drainage). By comparing the longterm effect of common restoration measures (nutrient load reduction, lake flushing or biomanipulation) in these four lake types, we found that restoration through reduction of nutrient loading is effective in all cases. In contrast, biomanipulation only works in seepage lakes with diffuse nutrient inputs, while lake flushing will even be counterproductive in lakes with nutrient point sources. The main conclusion of the presented analysis is that a priori assessment of spatial heterogeneity caused by nutrient loading and hydrology is essential for successful restoration of lake ecosystems.

Feather mercury concentrations in North American raptors sampled at migration monitoring stations

Released May 01, 2019 12:01 EST

2019, Ecotoxicology 379-391

Ryan Baurbour, Breanna L. Martinico, Joshua T. Ackerman, Mark P. Herzog, Angus C. Hull, Allen M. Fish, Joshua M. Hull

We assessed total mercury (THg) concentrations in breast feathers of diurnal North American raptors collected at migration monitoring stations. For 9 species in the Pacific Flyway, we found species and age influenced feather THg concentrations whereas sex did not. Feather THg concentrations µg/g dry weight (dw) averaged (least-squared mean±standard error) higher for raptors that generally consume >75% avian prey (sharp-shinned hawk Accipiter striatus: n=113; 4.35±0.45 µg/g dw, peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus: n=12; 3.93±1.11 µg/g dw, Cooper’s hawk Accipiter cooperii: n=20; 2.35±0.50 µg/g dw, and merlin Falco columbarius: n=59; 1.75±0.28 µg/g dw) than for raptors that generally consume <75% avian prey (northern harrier Circus hudsonius: n=112; 0.75±0.10 µg/g dw, red-tailed hawk Buteo jamaicensis: n=109; 0.56±0.06 µg/g dw, American kestrel Falco sparverius: n=16; 0.57±0.14 µg/g dw, prairie falcon Falco mexicanus: n=10; 0.41±0.13 µg/g dw) except for red-shouldered hawks Buteo lineatus: n=10; 1.94±0.61 µg/g dw. Feather THg concentrations spanning 13-years (2002-2014) in the Pacific Flyway differed among 3 species, where THg increased for juvenile northern harrier, decreased for adult red-tailed hawk, and showed no trend for adult sharp-shinned hawk. Mean feather THg concentrations in juvenile merlin were greater in the Mississippi Flyway (n=56; 2.14±0.18 µg/g dw) than those in the Pacific Flyway (n=49; 1.15±0.11 µg/g dw) and Intermountain Flyway (n=23; 1.14±0.16 µg/g dw), and Atlantic Flyway (n=38; 1.75±0.19 µg/g dw) averaged greater than the Pacific Flyway. Our results indicate that raptor migration monitoring stations provide a cost-effective sampling opportunity for biomonitoring environmental contaminants within and between distinct migration corridors and across time.

Effectiveness of fish screens in protecting lamprey (Entosphenus and Lampetra spp.) ammocoetes—Pilot testing of variable screen angle

Released May 01, 2019 11:20 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1044

Theresa L. Liedtke, Daniel J. Didricksen, Lisa K. Weiland, Joshua A. Ragala, Ralph Lampman

Thousands of screened water diversions throughout the Columbia River Basin of the Pacific Northwest are sources of entrainment (unintended diversion into an unsafe passage route), injury, and mortality for a range of fish species and screening criteria have been developed to reduce and mitigate these effects. Large knowledge gaps exist concerning the potential effects of these screens on juvenile and larval lampreys (Entosphenus and Lampetra spp.) that may be particularly vulnerable to screening effects owing to their small size, unique morphology, and poor swimming performance. The few studies that have evaluated screen impacts for lampreys have compared common screen materials in a laboratory setting using a large, recirculating flume, and have reported that screen size and material influence the risk of entrainment. We compared entrainment rate, impingement rate and duration, injury rate, and delayed (24-hour) mortality of larval lamprey (ammocoetes) exposed to two screen angles. A 20-degree screen was tested because it is a common configuration, and a 12-degree screen was selected to represent a screen more parallel to flow than the 20-degree screen. We included juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in tests for both screen angles so that any screen interaction improvements observed for lamprey could be considered in light of their effect on salmonids (Oncorhynchus spp.). Study fish were released singly into the flume at two locations: near-screen (SCR) releases at about 30 centimeters upstream of the screen and mid-channel (MID) releases at about 1.4 meters upstream of the screen. We completed 120 screen trials with ammocoetes and 117 screen trials with juvenile tout during April–May 2018. Ammocoetes had short mean trial durations (less than 30 seconds) and were most frequently bypassed. Over one-half of the ammocoetes briefly (for less than 1 second) contacted the screen. Rates of screen contact were similar between the two screen angles, but higher for SCR releases (about 83–90 percent) than for MID releases (about 28–44 percent). Screen impingements were not common (8.3 percent of ammocoetes) and did not result in significant injury or delayed mortality. The final logistic regression model showed that screen angle and release location did not significantly affect whether ammocoetes were bypassed. The size of the lamprey, expressed as mass or length, was the only significant predictor of fate. We noted an estimated 4.7-percent increase in the odds of being bypassed for every 1-milligram increase in ammocoete mass and a 49-percent increase in the odds of being bypassed for every 1-millimeter increase in length. Trout did not experience negative effects with the 12-degree screen; they had short mean trial durations (less than 40 seconds) and limited contact with the screens (11.1 percent of trout), were most commonly bypassed, and none were entrained. Screen angle and release location were not significant drivers of fate for trout. The 12-degree and 20-degree screens performed comparably for both lamprey and trout and effectively bypassed these fishes. Some metrics showed advantages for the 12-degree screen, suggesting that screens installed more parallel to flow might warrant further testing.

Spatial and temporal variability in ripple formation and migration across a coral reef flat and lagoon

Released May 01, 2019 10:59 EST

2019, Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface (123) 1013-1034

Kurt J. Rosenberger, Curt D. Storlazzi, Andrew Pomeroy, Olivia Cheriton, Ryan J. Lowe, Jeff Hansen

Sediment produced on fringing coral reefs that is transported along the bed or in suspension affects ecological reef communities as well as the morphological development of the reef, lagoon, and adjacent shoreline. This study quantified the physical process contribution and relative importance of sea‐swell waves, infragravity waves, and mean currents to the spatial and temporal variability of sediment in suspension. Estimates of bed shear stresses demonstrate that sea‐swell waves are the key driver of the suspended sediment concentration (SSC) variability spatially (reef flat, lagoon, and channels) but cannot fully describe the SSC variability alone. The comparatively small but statistically significant contribution to the bed shear stress by infragravity waves and currents, along with the spatial availability of sediment of a suitable size and volume, is also important. Although intratidal variability in SSC occurs in the different reef zones, the majority of the variability occurs over longer slowly varying (subtidal) timescales, which is related to the arrival of large swell waves at a reef location. The predominant flow pathway, which can transport suspended sediment, consists of cross‐reef flow across the reef flat that diverges in the lagoon and returns offshore through channels. This pathway is primarily due to subtidal variations in wave‐driven flows but can also be driven alongshore by wind stresses when the incident waves are small. Higher frequency (intratidal) current variability also occurs due to both tidal flows and variations in the water depth that influence wave transmission across the reef and wave‐driven currents.

A synthesis of ecosystem management strategies for forests in the face of chronic N deposition

Released May 01, 2019 09:33 EST

2019, Environmental Pollution (248) 1046-1058

Christopher M. Clark, J. Richkus, Philip W Jones, Jennifer Phelan, Douglas A. Burns, Wim deVries, Enzai Du, Mark E. Fenn, Laurence Jones, Shaun A. Watmough

The relative importance of nitrogen (N) deposition as a stressor to global forests is likely to increase in the future, as N deposition increases in Asia and Africa, and as sulfur declines more than nitrogen in Europe, the US, and Canada. Even so, it appears that decreased N deposition may not be sufficient to induce recovery, suggesting that management interventions may be necessary to promote recovery over timescales desired by decision makers. Here we report a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of four remediation approaches (prescribed burning, thinning, liming, carbon addition) on three recovery responses from N deposition (decreased soil N availability, increased soil alkalinity, increased plant biodiversity), focusing on literature from North America. We found 72 publications (with 2156 responses) from the Web of Science that focused on one of these treatments but only 29 (with 408 responses) reported results appropriate for meta-analysis (others examined other end points or did not report sufficient data). We found that carbon addition was the only treatment that decreased N availability (effect size: -1.6 to -1.8), while liming, thinning, and burning all tended to increase N availability (effect sizes: +0.2 to +1.1). Only liming had a significant effect on soil alkalinity (+10% to 80% across metrics). Only prescribed burning and thinning affected plant diversity, but with opposing effects across metrics (i.e. increased richness, decreased Shannon or Simpson diversity) but effects were often statistically marginal. Thus, it appears that no single treatment will be effective in promoting recovery from N deposition for all three responses of interest, and combinations of treatments should be explored (esp. liming in combination with other treatments). These conclusions are based on the limited published data available, underscoring the need for more studies in forested areas and more consistent reporting across studies.

New geochemical evidence for the origin of North America's largest dune field, the Nebraska Sand Hills, central Great Plains, USA

Released May 01, 2019 09:21 EST

2019, Geomorphology (332) 188-212

Daniel R. Muhs, James R. Budahn

The Nebraska Sand Hills region is the largest dune field in North America and has diverse aeolian landforms. It has been active during both the late Pleistocene and late Holocene. Despite decades of study, the source of sediment for this large sand sea is still controversial. Here we report new trace element compositions of aeolian sand that are compared to four hypothesized sediment sources, Tertiary rocks of the Arikaree Group and Ogallala Group, unconsolidated sands of Pliocene age, and Platte River system sands. All four potential sources have a mineralogy that is similar to the Nebraska Sand Hills. K/Rb, K/Ba, Sc-Th-La, Eu/Eu*, LaN/YbN, As/Sb, and Fe/Sc values show, however, that Pliocene sediments and sands from the Platte River system are not likely sources. The Arikaree Group could be a minor contributor, but sands from the Ogallala Group appear to have the best compositional fit to the Nebraska Sand Hills. Although past studies have proposed the Ogallala Group as an important sand source, the hypothesis has been questioned, because the unit is well cemented by calcrete in its upper part. However, examination of the landscape upwind of the Nebraska Sand Hills shows that the Ogallala Group, where it occurs at the land surface, is highly dissected in much of this region, which makes sand-sized particles available for aeolian entrainment whenever drought conditions diminish a protective vegetation cover.

Historical changes in New York State streamflow: Attribution of temporal shifts and spatial patterns from 1961 to 2016

Released May 01, 2019 07:50 EST

2019, Journal of Hydrology (574) 308-323

Robin Glas, Douglas A. Burns, Laura K. Lautz

To better understand the effects of climate change on streamflow, the hydrologic response to both temperature and precipitation needs to be examined at the mesoscale. New York State provides a hydrologically diverse mesoscale region, where sub-regional clusters of watersheds may respond differently to changes in temperature and in seasonal precipitation rates. Connections between streamflow and climate were examined for 97 gaging stations across the state and surrounding areas, for a historical period of 56 years of daily average streamflow. Gages were grouped into clusters if their mean annual discharge rates were strongly correlated to one another. Within each cluster, sharp temporal changes in discharge, or change points, were identified. These change points clustered both spatially and by flow regime, with low, medium, and high flows increasing around 1970 for much of the state consistent with other studies in the region. A step increase in Catskill low flows in 2003 coincides with increases in summer precipitation, and is consistent with a positive correlation between summer precipitation and annual low flows. Our results support previous studies that have shown that streamflow at this mesoscale is strongly tied to precipitation, and the strength of that connection is modulated by land cover, geographic position, and seasonal moisture conditions. Across the state, the winter-spring center of volume date has moved earlier along with increasing January streamflow rates, the result of warmer winter temperatures and an increased proportion of precipitation as rain. The transition to a post-1970s pluvial period also coincided with more frequent peak over threshold flows statewide, and this wetter period has continued to the present day.

Temporal variability in stream fish assemblage metrics and implications for long-term monitoring

Released May 01, 2019 07:40 EST

2019, Ecological Indicators (101) 661-669

Scott D. George, Barry P. Baldigo, Daniel S. Stich

High natural variability in the condition of fish communities in headwater streams complicates detection of long-term responses to changes in water quality. As a result, little is known about the impacts and recovery of fishes from acid deposition in streams of New York. Twenty-one fish metrics from annual electrofishing surveys at 13 streams sites in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains were assessed to quantify temporal variability and identify effective monitoring strategies for detecting change in headwater stream fish assemblages. Metrics included the density and biomass of Brook Trout populations and entire fish communities using length-, area-, and effort-based standardization techniques. Linear mixed models were used to estimate changes in coefficients of variation (CV) for different classes of metrics and standardization techniques, and a simulation-based power analysis was conducted to assess differences in statistical power for each metric with various sampling designs. Metric CV varied significantly as a result of standardization technique and whether metrics were calculated for the entire community or Brook Trout only. The sampling effort necessary to detect a 30% change with power of 0.80 was strongly correlated with CV (R2 = 0.77). The number of sampling events at the 13 sites needed to detect this change ranged from 1 to >60, suggesting metric selection can strongly affect statistical power and the resources necessary to detect change. Thus, metric selection is a complex decision that must consider study objectives and biological relevance, in addition to natural variability and statistical power. However, adequate statistical power was achieved at relatively small sample sizes using certain metrics, indicating that fish communities in headwater streams can be a valuable component of long-term assessments of acidification impacts and recovery.

Virally-vectored vaccine candidates against white-nose syndrome induce anti-fungal immune response in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)

Released May 01, 2019 07:11 EST

2019, Scientific Reports (9)

Tonie E. Rocke, Brock Kingstad-Bakke, Marcel Wuthrich, Ben Stading, Rachel C. Abbott, Marcos Isidoro Ayza, Hannah E. Dobson, Lucas dos Santos Dias, Kevin Galles, Julia S. Lankton, Elizabeth Falendysz, Jeffrey M. Lorch, J. Scott Fites, Jaime Lopera-Madrid, Bruce Klein, Jorge E. Osorio, J. Paul White

White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has killed millions of North American hibernating bats. Currently, methods to prevent the disease are limited. We conducted two trials to assess potential WNS vaccine candidates in wild-caught Myotis lucifugus. In a pilot study, we immunized bats with one of four vaccine treatments or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) as a control and challenged them with Pd upon transfer into hibernation chambers. Bats in one vaccine-treated group, that received raccoon poxviruses (RCN) expressing Pd calnexin (CAL) and serine protease (SP), developed WNS at a lower rate (1/10) than other treatments combined (14/23), although samples sizes were small. The results of a second similar trial provided additional support for this observation. Bats vaccinated orally or by injection with RCN-CAL and RCN-SP survived Pd challenge at a significantly higher rate (P = 0.01) than controls. Using RT-PCR and flow cytometry, combined with fluorescent in situ hybridization, we determined that expression of IFN-γ transcripts and the number of CD4 + T-helper cells transcribing this gene were elevated (P < 0.10) in stimulated lymphocytes from surviving vaccinees (n = 15) compared to controls (n = 3). We conclude that vaccination with virally-vectored Pdantigens induced antifungal immunity that could potentially protect bats against WNS.

Evaluation of ground motion models for USGS seismic hazard forecasts: Induced and tectonic earthquakes in the Central and Eastern U.S.

Released April 30, 2019 15:42 EST

2019, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (109) 322-335

Daniel E. McNamara, Mark D. Petersen, Eric M. Thompson, Peter M. Powers, Allison Shumway, Susan M. Hoover, Morgan P. Moschetti, Emily Wolin

Ground motion model (GMM) selection and weighting introduces a significant source of uncertainty in United States Geological Survey (USGS) seismic hazard models. The increase in moderate moment magnitude induced earthquakes (Mw 4 to 5.8) in Oklahoma and Kansas since 2009, due to increased wastewater injection related to oil and gas production (Keranen et al., 2013; 2014; Weingarten et al., 2015; McNamara et al., 2015a), provides useful near-source (< 40 km) instrumental ground-motion observations for comparisons between central and eastern US (CEUS) induced (Rennolet et al., 2017) and tectonic (Goulet et al., 2014) earthquakes. In this study, we evaluate over 50 GMMs using two well-established probabilistic scoring methods: log likelihood (LLH) (Scherbaum et al., 2004; 2009) and multivariate LLH (MLLH) (Mak et al., 2017). The LLH approach compares the mean and standard deviation (σ) of the observed and modeled ground motions. The MLLH approach advances the LLH method by considering the variability (φ,τ) of multiple correlated variables namely intra- (within) and inter- (between) event residuals. For the probabilistic scoring GMM evaluation methods (LLH, MLLH), we compute horizontal component peak ground acceleration (PGA) and 1s period pseudo spectral acceleration (PSA1.0) total residuals using GMM software (nshmp-haz) recently implemented by the USGS National Seismic Hazard Model Project (NSHMP). We observe from LLH and MLLH scores that: 1) newer GMMs with lower standard deviations (σ,φ,τ) score better than older GMMs with higher published uncertainty; 2) 2014 CEUS GMMs score better for CEUS tectonic earthquakes than induced earthquakes; 3) NGA-West2, G17 and A15 GMMs score well for CEUS induced earthquake ground motions; and 4) NGA-East GMMs score well for CEUS tectonic earthquake ground motions. We also use the LLH and MLLH scores to evaluate GMM weights applied in past USGS seismic hazard forecasts and to inform weighting of GMMs in future seismic hazard forecasts.

Estimated 2016 groundwater level and drawdown from predevelopment to 2016 in the Santa Fe Group Aquifer System in the Albuquerque Area, Central New Mexico

Released April 30, 2019 11:45 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3433

Amy E. Galanter, Lucas T.S. Curry

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA), has developed a series of maps and associated reports to document changes in the groundwater level in the production zone of the Santa Fe Group aquifer system in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, area. The current map and associated report document the construction of contours representing the groundwater-level surface of winter (November to March) conditions for water year 2016 and estimated net groundwater-level declines (called drawdown) since widespread groundwater pumping began in the early 1960s (called predevelopment conditions).

Prior to 2008, groundwater withdrawal from the Santa Fe Group aquifer system was the principal water supply for the study area. The large quantity of withdrawal relative to recharge resulted in drawdown throughout the Albuquerque area. In response, the ABCWUA implemented a strategy for sustainable development of its water resources, including the diversion of surface water as part of the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project in 2008. The 2016 groundwater-level contours indicate that the general direction of groundwater flow is towards clusters of production wells in the eastern and northwestern parts of the study area. Drawdown from predevelopment to 2016 is greatest along the eastern margin of the study area and in the northwestern part of the study area, likely correlated with groundwater withdrawals and potentially compounded by proximity to faults. Comparing drawdown in water year 2016 to that of water years 2002, 2008, and 2012 shows a reduction in drawdown (groundwater-level rebound) in the study area since 2008, which corresponds with the timing of reductions in groundwater withdrawals as a result of the ABCWUA’s San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project. Time-series analysis of groundwater-level measurements in piezometers within the study area also indicates the recent groundwater-level rebound since 2008.

Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction

Released April 30, 2019 10:55 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1027

Curt D. Storlazzi, Borja G. Reguero, Aaron D. Cole, Erik Lowe, James B. Shope, Ann E. Gibbs, Barry A. Nickel, Robert T. McCall, Ap R. van Dongeren, Michael W. Beck

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making. Here we combine engineering, ecologic, geospatial, social, and economic tools to provide a rigorous valuation of the coastal protection benefits of all U.S. coral reefs in the States of Hawaiʻi and Florida, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We follow risk-based valuation approaches to map flood zones at 10-square-meter resolution along all 3,100+ kilometers of U.S. reef-lined shorelines for different storm probabilities to account for the effect of coral reefs in reducing coastal flooding. We quantify the coastal flood risk reduction benefits provided by coral reefs across storm return intervals using the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Bureau of Economic Analysis to identify their annual expected benefits, a measure of the annual protection provided by coral reefs. Based on these results, the annual protection provided by U.S. coral reefs is estimated in:

  • avoided flooding to more than 18,180 people;
  • avoided direct flood damages of more than \$825 million to more than 5,694 buildings;
  • avoided flooding to more than 33 critical infrastructure facilities, including essential facilities, utility systems, and transportation systems; and
  • avoided indirect damages of more than \$699 million in economic activity of individuals and more than \$272 million in avoided business interruption annually.

Thus, the annual value of flood risk reduction provided by U.S. coral reefs is more than 18,000 lives and \$1.805 billion in 2010 U.S. dollars. These data provide stakeholders and decision makers with spatially explicit, rigorous valuation of how, where, and when U.S. coral reefs provide critical coastal storm flood reduction benefits. The overall goal is to ultimately reduce the risk to, and increase the resiliency of, U.S. coastal communities.

Geology and paleontology of the late Miocene Wilson Grove Formation at Bloomfield Quarry, Sonoma County, California

Released April 30, 2019 07:09 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5021

Charles L. Powell, Robert W. Boessenecker, N. Adam Smith, Robert J. Fleck, Sandra J. Carlson, James R. Allen, Douglas J. Long, Andrei M. Sarna-Wojcicki, Raj B. Guruswami-Naidu

An extensive fauna of at least 77 taxa is reported from the basal Wilson Grove Formation in a small quarry just north of the town of Bloomfield, Sonoma County, California. The fauna represents intertidal to shallow subtidal water depths and water temperatures interpreted from the fauna, consistent with the latitude of the fossil locality (37° north) during the late Miocene. The fauna from Bloomfield Quarry is unusually large and diverse from such a small area. It consists of thousands of specimens of 4 brachiopod, 42 mollusk (28 bivalves and 14 gastropods), 6 arthropod (1 crab, 1 shrimp, and 4 barnacles), and 25 vertebrate (3 sharks, 1 ray, 8 bony fishes, 9 marine mammals, and 4 birds) taxa. Unusual in the fauna is the abundant and diverse brachiopod fauna, the diverse barnacle fauna, which was described previously, and the extensive and diverse vertebrate fauna. Most significant among the vertebrates is the walrus fauna, which is the most diverse assemblage of walrus yet reported worldwide from a single locality.

A single strontium (Sr) isotope age determination of about 8 million years (megaannum, Ma) from a pectinid mollusk is consistent with a new age determination of the overlying, informally named Roblar tuff as described by Sarna-Wojcicki in 1992 (6.203±0.011 Ma) and previously reported age determinations (recalculated here) from basalt (9.27±0.06 Ma) underlying these deposits. The Roblar tuff at Bloomfield Quarry can be correlated with other sites, including the Delgada Fan offshore northern California and the Coalinga anticline in California’s Central Valley. These age determinations conform with the “Jacalitos” California provincial molluscan stage age, the Hemphillian North American Land Mammal age determined from the fossils, and is part of the International Tortonian Stage of the Miocene.

Hydrologic Influences on Water Levels at Three Oaks Recreation Area, Crystal Lake, Illinois, April 14 through September 27, 2016

Released April 29, 2019 15:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5105

Amy M. Gahala

Hydrologic influences on water levels were investigated at Three Oaks Recreation Area (TORA), a former sand-and-gravel quarry converted into recreational lakes in Crystal Lake, Illinois. From 2009 to 2015, average water levels in the lakes declined nearly 4 feet. It was not clear if these declines were related to variations in weather (precipitation or evaporation) or other hydrologic influences such as municipal supply pumping or nearby quarry operations. Data were collected using three approaches to determine the possibility of such hydrologic influences. First, water levels were collected at 15 minute intervals at three wells equipped with pressure transducers from April 14 through September 27, 2016. The continuous data allowed assessment of lake and well water level responses to precipitation, pumping influences, and quarry operations. Second, a single-day synoptic water-level survey was completed to create a water table map to determine groundwater flow directions. Third, single-well aquifer tests (slug tests) were completed on the three data-collection wells to estimate the aquifer’s horizontal hydraulic conductivity. Collectively, these data were used to determine the velocity and volume of water entering and exiting TORA.

Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms for use in a genetic stock identification system for greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) subspecies wintering in California

Released April 29, 2019 09:58 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1040

Robert E. Wilson, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Jeffrey M. DaCosta, Craig R. Ely, Michael D. Sorenson, Sandra L. Talbot

California provides wintering habitat for most greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons [GWFG]) in the Pacific Flyway and this population has rapidly increased since the 1980s. Increased harvest of GWFG wintering in California may prevent agricultural depredation while providing increased hunting opportunities. However, changes in harvest levels are unlikely to be uniform across the species because of the presence of multiple subspecies of GWFG in the Pacific Flyway, each with their own population distribution and trends. White-fronted geese in the Cook Inlet Basin of south-central Alaska, a potentially vulnerable subspecies (Tule goose, A. a. elgasi), are among the geese that winter predominantly in the Sacramento Valley and Suisun and Napa marshes of north-central California. Efforts to limit sport harvest of Tule geese are complicated because although the subspecies is phenotypically larger and darker in color than other subspecies, they can be difficult to identify in the field and in hunter bag checks. To assist in an accurate assessment of Tule goose harvest, we used double-digest restriction site-associated deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing (ddRAD-seq) techniques to develop a genetic stock identification panel of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to differentiate Tule geese from individuals belonging to other GWFG subspecies and populations that winter in California. Although the panel we developed was designed and tested for Fluidigm SNP-type technology, the ddRAD-seq sequences can be used to design SNP panels for use in other platforms.

Overview of future USGS Gulf of Mexico buoyant storage assessment project

Released April 28, 2019 08:51 EST

2019, Conference Paper

Sean T. Brennan

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a member of a U.S. Department of Energy-funded partnership headed by the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology that is working to assess the feasibility of offshore geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in the Gulf of Mexico. The role of the USGS is to assess the buoyant geologic CO2 storage resource of the western half of the offshore Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Buoyant CO2 storage is the CO2 held in place by a top and lateral seal (either a sealing formation or a sealing fault), that creates a column of CO2 in communication across pore space in a geologic reservoir. This assessment will be similar to the USGS assessment of onshore buoyant geologic CO2 storage [1] and will employ a modified version of existing USGS methodology [2] to assess the buoyant CO2 storage capacity in the GoM.

Global virtual water trade and the hydrological cycle: Patterns, drivers, and socio-environmental impacts

Released April 26, 2019 13:52 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters (14)

Paolo D'Odorico, Joel A. Carr, Carole Dalin, Jampel Dell'Angelo, Megan Konar, Francesco Laio, Luca Ridolfi, Lorenzo Rosa, Samir Suweis, Stefania Tamea, Marta Tuninetti

The increasing global demand for farmland products is placing unprecedented pressure on the global agricultural system and its water resources. Many regions of the world, that are affected by a chronic water scarcity relative to their population, strongly depend on the import of agricultural commodities and associated embodied (or virtual) water. The globalization of water through virtual water trade is leading to a displacement of water use and a disconnection between human populations and the water resources they rely on. Despite the recognized importance of these phenomena in reshaping the patterns of water dependence through teleconnections between consumers and producers, their effect on global and regional water resources has just started to be quantified. This review investigates the global spatiotemporal dynamics, drivers, and impacts of virtual water trade through an integrated analysis of surface water, groundwater, and root-zone soil moisture consumption for agricultural production; it evaluates how virtual water flows compare to the major “physical water fluxes” in the Earth System; and provides a new reconceptualization of the hydrologic cycle to account also for the role of water redistribution by the hidden ‘virtual water cycle’.

Erosion monitoring along selected bank locations of the Coosa River in Alabama using terrestrial light detection and ranging (T–lidar) technology, 2014–17

Released April 26, 2019 12:37 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5023

Richard J. Huizinga, Daniel M. Wagner

The Alabama Power Company operates a series of dams on the Coosa River in east central Alabama. Seven dams impound the river to form six reservoirs: Weiss Lake, H Neely Henry Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lay Lake, Lake Mitchell, and Lake Jordan. Streamflow below these reservoirs is primarily controlled by power generation at the dams, and there is ongoing concern about the stability of selected stream banks downstream from the dams. During relicensing in the early 2000s, the Alabama Power Company and stakeholders identified particular areas of concern to monitor and document the extent of erosion. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Alabama Power Company, conducted a 3-year monitoring program, from 2014 to 2017, of the geomorphic conditions of six selected reaches along the Coosa River. The six reaches included two downstream from H Neely Henry Dam near Gadsden, two downstream from Logan Martin Dam near Vincent, and two downstream from Walter Bouldin Dam near Wetumpka, Alabama. The geomorphic monitoring was conducted using boat- and tripod-mounted terrestrial light detection and ranging technology. Site LM–108, an island in the Coosa River downstream from Logan Martin Dam, exhibited the greatest amount of normalized erosion, 2.05 cubic meters per square meter of area, likely because this site experiences head-on flow from the river. Bank retreat at the upstream end of the island (LM–108) was estimated at 2.9 meters for the study period. The remaining five reaches were exposed to shear flow from the river; the greatest amount of normalized erosion, 0.467 cubic meter per square meter of area, was exhibited by site WB–106 on the right bank downstream from Walter Bouldin Dam. Results of the comparisons of terrestrial light detection and ranging scans indicated that intervals between scans that exhibited the greatest amounts of erosion generally corresponded to periods of above-median flow, and that intervals between scans that exhibited the least amounts of erosion, or deposition, generally corresponded to periods of below-median flow. Relatively smaller surface areas could be surveyed at some sites because inundation or dense vegetation obscured parts of the banks, suggesting that, in future investigations, it may be preferable to conduct scans during periods of leaf-off and low flow to avoid bias introduced by parts of the banks of interest being inundated or obscured by vegetation.

Formation of pedestalled, relict lakes on the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Released April 26, 2019 09:52 EST

2019, Journal of Glaciology 1-7

Grant J MacDonald, Alison F Banwell, Ian C Willis, David Mayer, Becky Goodsell, Douglas R MacAyeal

Surface debris covers much of the western portion of the McMurdo Ice Shelf and has a strong influence on the local surface albedo and energy balance. Differential ablation between debris-covered and debris-free areas creates an unusual heterogeneous surface of topographically low, high-ablation, and topographically raised (‘pedestalled’), low-ablation areas. Analysis of Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery from 1999 to 2018, alongside field observations from the 2016/2017 austral summer, shows that pedestalled relict lakes (‘pedestals’) form when an active surface meltwater lake that develops in the summer, freezes-over in winter, resulting in the lake-bottom debris being masked by a high-albedo, superimposed, ice surface. If this ice surface fails to melt during a subsequent melt season, it experiences reduced surface ablation relative to the surrounding debris-covered areas of the ice shelf. We propose that this differential ablation, and resultant hydrostatic and flexural readjustments of the ice shelf, causes the former supraglacial lake surface to become increasingly pedestalled above the lower topography of the surrounding ice shelf. Consequently, meltwater streams cannot flow onto these pedestalled features, and instead divert around them. We suggest that the development of pedestals has a significant influence on the surface-energy balance, hydrology and flexure of the ice shelf.

Reducing sampling uncertainty in aeolian research to improve change detection

Released April 26, 2019 09:36 EST

2019, Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface

Nicholas P. Webb, Adrian Chappell, Brandon L. Edwards, Sarah E. McCord, Justin W. Van Zee, Bradley F. Cooper, Ericha M. Courtright, Michael C. Duniway, Brenton Sharratt, Negussie H Tedela, David Toledo

Measurements of aeolian sediment transport support our understanding of mineral dust impacts on Earth and human systems and assessments of aeolian process sensitivities to global environmental change. However, sample design principles are often overlooked in aeolian research. Here, we use high‐density field measurements of sediment mass flux across land use and land cover types to examine sample size and power effects on detecting change in aeolian transport. Temporal variances were 1.6 to 10.1 times the magnitude of spatial variances in aeolian transport for six study sites. Differences in transport were detectable for >67% of comparisons among sites using ~27 samples. Failure to detect change with smaller sample sizes suggests that aeolian transport measurements and monitoring are much more uncertain than recognized. We show how small and selective sampling, common in aeolian research, gives the false impression that differences in aeolian transport can be detected, potentially undermining inferences about process and impacting reproducibility of aeolian research.

Chapter A7. Section 7.4. Algal Biomass Indicators

Released April 25, 2019 19:12 EST

2007, Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations 09-A7.4

Julie A. Hambrook Berkman, M.G. Canova

Indicators of algal biomass are used to assess water quality in both moving (lotic) and stillwater (lentic) ecosystems. Algal biomass in a water body can be estimated in three ways: (1) by quantifying chlorophyll a (CHL a), (2) by measuring carbon biomass as ash-free dry mass (AFDM), or (3) by measuring the particulate organic carbon (POC) in a sample. The CHL a procedure measures photosynthetic pigment common to all types of algae, while AFDM and POC procedures measure the carbon in a filtered water sample. Each chapter of the National Field Manual is published separately and revised periodically. Newly published and revised chapters will be announced on the USGS Home Page on the World Wide Web under 'New Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.'

Streamflow Gain and Loss, Hydrograph Separation, and Water Quality of Abandoned Mine Lands in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Eastern Kentucky, 2015–17

Released April 25, 2019 16:50 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5006

Mac A. Cherry

During 2015–17, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Forest Service), carried out a study to characterize the hydrology and water chemistry in two study areas within the Daniel Boone National Forest. One study area was within the Rock Creek drainage and the other study area included the Wildcat and Addison Branch drainages. Both study areas historically were mined for coal prior to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and contain abandoned coal mine sites that have since been the focus of remediation efforts. Synoptic surveys of streamflow and water-quality properties (water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen) of Rock Creek were done during November 2015 and May 2016, and surveys of Wildcat and Addison Branches were done during June 2016 and May 2017. Streamflow measurements were used to quantify contributions from tributaries and to compute streamflow gain and loss in designated reaches. Discrete measurements of water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen were used to evaluate conditions during a short timeframe and for comparison between study areas. Study designs for the two study areas differed because there was an operating streamgage on Rock Creek near Yamacraw, Kentucky (station number 03410590) where streamflow and water-quality properties (water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity) were monitored continuously, while Addison and Wildcat Branches were ungaged. Several hydrograph separation methods were used to estimate base flow and runoff at the Rock Creek gage. These data will be used by the Forest Service to evaluate the current (2018) conditions and plan remediation efforts.

The water quality at Rock Creek was less affected by acid mine drainage (AMD) than the Wildcat or Addison Branches. Appreciable losing reaches, where water flowed underground, were identified in both study areas. All losing reaches coincided with karst topography. Streamflow increased in areas with openings to underground mine tunnels, known as portals.

Six hydrograph separation methods (Base-flow index [BFI; standard and modified], HYSEP [fixed interval, sliding interval, and local minimum], and PART) were applied to daily mean streamflow collected from August 2015 to August 2017 at station number 03410590. The hydrograph separation methods partition total streamflow into base flow and streamflow that originated from surface runoff. Base flow typically reacts slowly to precipitation infiltration and is largely sustained by groundwater discharge. The estimated daily base flow and runoff made with the different separation methods are not highly different. On average, base flow accounted for more total streamflow than surface runoff during the study period, irrespective of method.

Water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, and turbidity values were measured from July 2016 through July 2017 with a continuous monitor installed at station number 03410590. Nearly neutral pH values that ranged from 6.8 to 7.9 standard units likely limited metal solubility in the surface water. The continuous specific conductance values ranged between 30 and 259 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius. The previous remediation efforts are likely continuing to improve the effect of AMD in the study area.

The dependence of hydroclimate projections in snow‐dominated regions of the western United States on the choice of statistically downscaled climate data

Released April 25, 2019 15:26 EST

2019, Water Resources Research (55) 2279-2300

Jay R. Alder, Steven W. Hostetler

We assess monthly temperature and precipitation data produced by four statistically based techniques that were used to downscale general circulation models (GCMs) in the Climate Model Intercomparison Program Phase 5 (CMIP5) (Taylor et al., 2012). We drive a simple water-balance model with the downscaled data to demonstrate the effect of the methods on the cold season hydrology of three, snow dominated regions in the western U.S. Independent of substantial variation among the GCM simulations over the regions (maximum range of ~3.5 °C and 50% change in precipitation), the four methods produce disparate high resolution representations of the magnitude and spatial patterns of future temperature and precipitation simulated by the models that range for up to ~3 °C and 30% change in precipitation that propagate into the hydrologic simulations. Temperature-dependent snowfall, accumulation, and melt in the model are sensitive to how atmospheric lapse rates are applied in the gridded observations that are used to remove the bias in raw GCM temperatures. By the end of the century the same downscaling method (Bias Corrected Spatial Disaggregation) yields a loss of cold-season snowpack of 34% over the Greater Yellowstone Area under a constant lapse rate ( 6.5°C km-1), whereas spatially variable lapse rates nearly double the loss to 66%, highlighting the roll of both lapse rates and high elevation stations in the bias correction dataset. The two newest downscaling methods (Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs and Localized Constructed Analogs) preserve the magnitude of change simulated GCMs better than the other methods and the produce comparable hydrologic projections. Because the downscaled data from the methods vary spatially and by GCM, the downscaled data should be evaluated carefully as part of the process of using downscaled climate products to drive hydrological models over the area of interest.

Improving estimates of coral reef construction and erosion with in-situ measurements

Released April 25, 2019 12:37 EST

2019, Limnology and Oceanography

Ilsa B. Kuffner, Lauren T. Toth, J. Harold Hudson, William B. Goodwin, Anastasios Stathakopoulos, Lucy (Contractor) Bartlett, Elizabeth M. Whitcher

The decline in living coral since the 1970s has conspicuously slowed reef construction on a global scale, but the related process of reef erosion is less visible and not often quantified. Here we present new data on the constructional and deconstructional side of the carbonate-budget equation in the Florida Keys, U.S.A. We documented Orbicella spp. calcification rates at four offshore reefs and quantified decadal-scale rates of Orbicella-reef erosion at a mid-shore patch reef. Using Orbicella coral heads fitted with permanent markers in 1998, we measured reef-elevation loss at 28 stations over 17.3 years to estimate a mean erosion rate of -5.5 (± 3.2, SD) mm yr-1. This loss equates to an erosion rate of -8.2 (± 4.8, SD) kg m-2 yr-1 on dead Orbicella colonies, or -6.6 kg m-2 yr-1 when adjusted reef-wide. Calculating net carbonate production using a census-based approach on the same patch reef in 2017, we estimated a reef-wide bioerosion rate of -1.9 (± 2.0, SD) kg m-2 yr-1, and a net carbonate production rate of 0.5 (± 0.3, SD) kg m-2 yr-1. Substituting the erosion rate we estimated with the markers would suggest that net carbonate production at this patch reef was lower and negative, -4.2 kg m-2 yr-1. This divergence could be a function of high erosion rates measured on the tops of Orbicella colonies, which may be preferentially targeted by parrotfish. Nonetheless, our study suggests the need for new field data to improve estimates of reef-structure persistence as coral reefs continue to degrade.

Geochemical and mineralogical maps, with interpretation, for soils of the conterminous United States

Released April 25, 2019 11:25 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5118

David B. Smith, Federico Solano, Laurel G. Woodruff, William F. Cannon, Karl J. Ellefsen

Between 2007 and 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a low-density (1 site per 1,600 square kilometers, 4,857 sites) geochemical and mineralogical survey of soils in the conterminous United States. The sampling protocol for the national-scale survey included, at each site, a sample from a depth of 0 to 5 centimeters, a composite of the soil A horizon, and a deeper sample from the soil C horizon or, if the top of the C horizon was at a depth greater than 1 meter, a sample from a depth of approximately 80–100 centimeters. The <2-millimeter fraction of each sample was analyzed for a suite of 45 major and trace elements by methods that yield the total or near-total elemental concentration. The major mineralogical components in the samples from the soil A and C horizons were determined by a quantitative X-ray diffraction method using Rietveld refinement. This report presents all the maps and statistical information for each determined element and mineral along with an interpretive section discussing the possible processes that caused the observed national-scale geochemical and mineralogical patterns. Most often, the geochemical and mineralogical patterns reflect the composition of the underlying soil parent material with some modifications caused by leaching of the more mobile elements (for example, calcium and sodium) in the humid areas of the country.

Chapter A7. Section 7.5. Cyanobacteria in Lakes and Reservoirs: Toxin And Taste-and-Odor Sampling Guidelines

Released April 25, 2019 11:01 EST

2008, Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations 09-A7.5

Jennifer L. Graham, Keith A. Loftin, Andrew C. Ziegler, Michael T. Meyer

Cyanobacteria (also referred to as blue-green algae) cause a multitude of water-quality concerns, including the potential to produce toxins and taste-and-odor compounds. Toxins and taste-and-odor compounds may cause significant economic and public health concerns, and are of particular interest in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers that are used for drinking-water supply, recreation, or aquaculture. The purpose of NFM 7.5 is to provide guidelines for collecting, processing, and handling samples to be analyzed for cyanobacterial community composition (enumeration and identification) and total, particulate, and dissolved cyanobacterial toxins and taste-and-odor compounds in lakes and reservoirs (sections 7.5.5 through 7.5.9). Sections 7.5.1 through 7.5.4, however, are designed to provide some background information about cyanobacteria, including typical study designs and objectives related to the spatial and temporal occurrence of cyanobacteria (modified from Graham and others, 2008), in order to provide a useful context for sampling activities. The information presented here pertains to the occurrence of planktonic (free-floating) cyanobacteria in lakes and reservoirs. Each chapter of the National Field Manual is published separately and revised periodically. Newly published and revised chapters will be announced on the USGS Home Page on the World Wide Web under 'New Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.'

Arsenic concentrations after drinking water well installation: Time-varying effects on arsenic mobilization

Released April 25, 2019 09:33 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (678) 681-691

Melinda L. Erickson, Helen F. Malenda, Emily C. Berquist, Joseph D. Ayotte

Chronic exposure to geogenic arsenic via drinking water is a worldwide health concern. However, effects of well installation and operation on arsenic concentrations and mobilization are not well understood. This knowledge gap impacts both reliable detection of arsenic in drinking water and effective public health recommendations to reduce exposure to arsenic. This study examines changes in arsenic and redox geochemistry over one year following installation of 254 new domestic water wells in three regions of the north-central USA that commonly have elevated arsenic concentrations. Our regions' geologic settings share some important characteristics with other high-arsenic aquifers: igneous bedrock aquifers; or late Pleistocene-age glacial sand and gravel aquifers interbedded with aquitards. Over the study, arsenic concentrations increased by 16% or more in 25% of wells in glacial aquifer regions, and the redox conditions changed towards more reducing. In wells in the bedrock region, there was no significant change in arsenic concentrations, and redox conditions changed towards more oxidizing. Our findings illustrate the importance of understanding short- to moderate-term impacts of well installation and operation on arsenic and aqueous chemistry, as it relates to human exposure. Our study informs water quality sampling requirements, which currently do not consider the implications sampling timing with respect to well installation. Evaluating arsenic concentrations in samples from new wells in the context of general regional pH and redox conditions can provide information regarding the degree of disequilibrium created by well drilling. Our analysis approach may be transferable and scalable to similar aquifer settings across the globe.

Cloud cover and delayed herbivory relative to timing of spring onset interact to dampen climate change impacts on net ecosystem exchange in a coastal Alaskan wetland

Released April 25, 2019 08:23 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters

Josh Leffler, Karen H. Beard, Katharine C. Kelsey, Ryan T. Choi, Joel A. Schmutz, Jeffrey Welker

Rapid warming in northern ecosystems over the past four decades has resulted in earlier spring, increased precipitation, and altered timing of plant-animal interactions, such as herbivory. Advanced spring phenology can lead to longer growing seasons and increased carbon (C) uptake. Greater precipitation coincides with greater cloud cover possibly suppressing photosynthesis. Timing of herbivory relative to spring phenology influences plant biomass. None of these changes are mutually exclusive and their interactions could lead to unexpected consequences for Arctic ecosystem function. We examined the influence of advanced spring phenology, cloud cover, and timing of grazing on C exchange in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska for three years. We combined advancement of the growing season using passive-warming open-top chambers (OTC) with controlled timing of goose grazing (early, typical, and late season) and removal of grazing. We also monitored natural variation in incident sunlight to examine the C exchange consequences of these interacting forcings. We monitored net ecosystem exchange of C (NEE) hourly using an autochamber system. Data were used to construct daily light curves for each experimental plot and sunlight data coupled with a clear-sky model was used to quantify daily and seasonal NEE over a range of incident sunlight conditions. Cloudy days resulted in the largest suppression of NEE, reducing C uptake by approximately 2 g C m-2 d-1 regardless of the timing of the season or timing of grazing. Delaying grazing enhanced C uptake by approximately 3 g C m-2 d-1. Advancing spring phenology reduced C uptake by approximately 1.5 g C m-2 d-1, but only when plots were directly warmed by the OTCs; spring advancement did not have a long-term influence on NEE. Consequently, the two strongest drivers of NEE, cloud cover and grazing, can have opposing effects and thus future growing season NEE will depend on the magnitude of change in timing of grazing and incident sunlight.

Comment on “Particle fluxes in groundwater change subsurface rock chemistry over geologic time”

Released April 25, 2019 06:23 EST

2019, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (514) 166-168

Carleton R. Bern, Tiffany Yesavage

Over the last decade, studies at the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (Shale Hills) have greatly expanded knowledge of weathering in previously understudied, shale-mantled terrains, as well as Earth's Critical Zone as a whole. Among the many discoveries made was the importance of redistribution and losses of micron-sized particles during development of shale-derived soils. A geochemical fingerprint of this process for Al and Fe was illustrated quantitatively by Jin et al. (2010). Subsequent papers, too numerous to list in a Comment, built upon this new recognition by evaluating the spatial and temporal aspects element mobilization. Recently, Kim et al. (2018) examined the composition of suspended, generally micron-sized particles in the Shale Hills stream, along with the dissolved load, across seasons and ranges of discharge.

One prominent conclusion from Kim et al. (2018) is that Zr is essentially immobile at Shale Hills. Such a broad conclusion is in direct contradiction with one from Bern and Yesavage (2018) that Zr has been mobilized from soils at Shale Hills, and the losses relative to soil parent material are significant (median 41%). The point is important, because assuming Zr immobility is necessary to index gains and losses of other elements using the open-chemical-system transport function (τ). Both papers draw upon patterns and calculations using elemental concentration data from Shale Hills and attempt to construct conceptual frameworks to explain the results. Here, the argument is made that the understanding of substantial Zr mobility from soils at Shale Hills described by Bern and Yesavage (2018) is more accurate. Additionally, issues with adaptations of the standard τ equations used in Kim et al. (2018) and some previous papers are also addressed.

Calcrete uranium deposits in the Southern High Plains, USA

Released April 25, 2019 05:53 EST

2019, Ore Geology Reviews (109) 50-78

Susan Hall, Bradley S. Van Gosen, James B. Paces, Robert A. Zielinski

The Southern High Plains (SHP) is a new and emerging U.S. uranium province. Here, uranyl vanadates form deposits in Pliocene to Pleistocene sandstone, dolomite, and limestone. Fifteen calcrete uranium occurrences are identified; two of these, the Buzzard Draw and Sulfur Springs Draw deposits, have combined in-place resources estimated at about 4 million pounds of U3O8. Ore minerals carnotite and finchite are hosted in dolomite at the Sulfur Springs Draw deposit, with accessory fluorite, celestine, smectite/illite, autunite, and strontium carbonate. Host carbonate at the Sulfur Springs Draw deposit is ∼190 ka and mineralization mobilized as recently as 3.8 ka. Ash collected near the deposit is 631 ka and erupted from the Yellowstone caldera complex. The Triassic Dockum Group that contains sandstone-hosted uranium deposits throughout the region and underlies the SHP is a potential source for uranium and vanadium. Regional uplift and dissection reintroduced oxygenated groundwater into the Dockum Group, mobilizing uranium. Additional uranium may have been contributed to groundwater by weathering of volcanic ash in Pliocene and Pleistocene host rocks. The locations of the uranium occurrences are mostly in modern drainage systems in the southeast portion of the SHP. Modelling of modern groundwater in the SHP carried out in a parallel study shows that a single fluid could form carnotite through evaporation, and that fluids of the requisite composition are more prevalent in the southern portion of the SHP. The southeastern portion of the SHP hosts more uranium occurrences due to a variety of factors including (1) upward transport of groundwater and connectivity between source and host rock, (2) higher uranium and vanadium content of groundwater, (3) higher rates of groundwater recharge in this region to drive the mineralizing system, and (4) shallower groundwater facilitating surface evaporation. Ongoing erosion of host rocks challenges preservation of deposits and may limit their size.

Geomorphic change and biogeomorphic feedbacks in a dryland river: The Little Colorado River, Arizona, USA

Released April 24, 2019 17:11 EST

2019, GSA Bulletin

David Dean, David Topping

The Little Colorado River in Arizona, U.S.A. has undergone substantial geomorphic change since the early 1900s. We analyzed hydrologic and geomorphic data at different spatial and temporal scales to determine the type, magnitude, and rate of geomorphic change that has occurred since the early 20th century. Since the 1920s, there have been 4 alternating periods of high and low total-annual flow. Peak-flow magnitude, however, has progressively declined. In some reaches, the channel has narrowed between 72 and 88% since the 1930s. Increases in sinuosity in wide alluvial valleys have resulted in reductions in channel slope by ~21 to 32%; channel bed aggradation up to 1.4 m has also occurred in some reaches. Newly developed floodplains have been colonized by dense stands of vegetation that appear to have stabilized these surfaces. Large, long duration floods may cause some channel widening, and meander migration, however, these floods are infrequent, and narrowing resumes shortly thereafter. Channel narrowing, increases in sinuosity, decreases in slope, and increases in vegetative roughness appear to have caused biogeomorphic feedbacks, thereby exacerbating sediment deposition, and disrupting flood conveyance. In recent decades, there has been an increase in the travel time of floods up to ~100% compared to floods of the 1940s and 1950s, and this has likely led to increased flood attenuation, contributing to decreases in peak-flow magnitude. The progressive increase in water development in parts of the basin has also likely played some role in the progressive declines in peak flow over the duration of the study.

Modeling barrier island habitats using landscape position information

Released April 24, 2019 16:23 EST

2019, Remote Sensing (11)

Nicholas Enwright, Lei Wang, Hongqing Wang, Michael Osland, Laura Feher, Sinéad M. Borchert, Richard Day

Barrier islands are dynamic environments because of their position along the marine–estuarine interface. Geomorphology influences habitat distribution on barrier islands by regulating exposure to harsh abiotic conditions. Researchers have identified linkages between habitat and landscape position, such as elevation and distance from shore, yet these linkages have not been fully leveraged to develop predictive models. Our aim was to evaluate the performance of commonly used machine learning algorithms, including K-nearest neighbor, support vector machine, and random forest, for predicting barrier island habitats using landscape position for Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA. Landscape position predictors were extracted from topobathymetric data. Models were developed for three tidal zones: subtidal, intertidal, and supratidal/upland. We used a contemporary habitat map to identify landscape position linkages for habitats, such as beach, dune, woody vegetation, and marsh. Deterministic accuracy, fuzzy accuracy, and hindcasting were used for validation. The random forest algorithm performed best for intertidal and supratidal/upland habitats, while the K-nearest neighbor algorithm performed best for subtidal habitats. A posteriori application of expert rules based on theoretical understanding of barrier island habitats enhanced model results. For the contemporary model, deterministic overall accuracy was nearly 70%, and fuzzy overall accuracy was over 80%. For the hindcast model, deterministic overall accuracy was nearly 80%, and fuzzy overall accuracy was over 90%. We found machine learning algorithms were well-suited for predicting barrier island habitats using landscape position. Our model framework could be coupled with hydrodynamic geomorphologic models for forecasting habitats with accelerated sea-level rise, simulated storms, and restoration actions.

Extreme floods in the Black Hills area: New insights from recent research

Released April 24, 2019 15:42 EST

2012, Report

Recent research provides clear geologic evidence that floods even larger than the lethal floods of 1972 have occurred repeatedly over recent millennia in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This information is vitally important for planning for flash flood events in this area.

Geochemistry and mineralogy of soils collected in the lower Rio Grande valley, Texas

Released April 24, 2019 14:35 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1010

Helen A. Whitney, Federico Solano, Bernard E. Hubbard

Presented in this report are the chemical and mineralogical results of a soil study conducted in the lower Rio Grande valley, Texas. Samples were collected from soils formed on Holocene alluvial flood-plain and distributary channel deposits of the Rio Grande, flood plain and meander-belt deposits of the Pliocene Goliad Formation, and the Pleistocene Lissie and Beaumont Formations. The lower Rio Grande valley is located on the old distributary delta of the Rio Grande. The watersheds on the U.S. side of the delta no longer drain into the Rio Grande but are part of a complex system of irrigation channels and wastewater drains that flow into the lower Laguna Madre. The results of the study have been used to map concealed geologic units and identify potential mosquito breeding habitat.

Calibration of Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) to simulate prefire and postfire hydrologic response in the upper Rio Hondo Basin, New Mexico

Released April 24, 2019 13:17 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5022

Kyle R. Douglas-Mankin, C. David Moeser

The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is widely used to simulate the effects of climate, topography, land cover, and soils on landscape-level hydrologic responses and streamflow. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, developed procedures to apply the PRMS model to simulate the effects of fire on hydrologic responses.

A PRMS model was built of the upper Rio Hondo Basin from the headwaters to approximately 19 miles downstream from the USGS streamgage Rio Hondo above Chavez Canyon near Hondo, New Mexico, by using 24 hydrologic response units (HRUs), or hydrologically similar subareas, from the National Hydrologic Model. A quasi-graphical user interface was created to easily query and analyze published PRMS sensitivity-analysis data. Simulation of mean daily streamflow was most sensitive to parameters related to snowmelt or infiltration throughout the upper Rio Hondo Basin. In the basin’s eastern and northern HRUs, flashiness and timing of streamflow were most sensitive to interflow; in many western-basin HRUs (higher elevations), flashiness of streamflow was most sensitive to soil moisture parameters, and timing of streamflow was most sensitive to infiltration and evapotranspiration parameters.

The PRMS model was calibrated for the fire-affected North Fork Eagle Creek subwatershed by comparing modeled to observed daily streamflow for the nonfrozen (May through October) period for a prefire and postfire time period. The prefire model was calibrated for the period 2007–12 before the 2012 fire, and the postfire model was calibrated for a 2-year (2014–15) period after the fire. Model parameterization combined manual adjustment of 8 parameters on the basis of prior knowledge and automated adjustment of the most sensitive parameters by using the Let Us Calibrate interface. A gridded, daily precipitation dataset that captured the spatial heterogeneity across the study watershed was used as the precipitation input for calibration. Model performance was assessed as satisfactory by using standard statistical measures for prefire and postfire periods.

The calibrated model was run by using data from a single precipitation gage to better represent the effect of localized, extreme storms on postfire hydrologic response. The calibrated models for prefire and postfire conditions simulated streamflows with greater consistency than the uncalibrated model for the corresponding (prefire or postfire) period of hydrographic record. The effect of fire on streamflow was found to be primarily a shift from streamflow dominated by base flow prior to fire to streamflow dominated by surface runoff after fire.

An economic evaluation of adaptation pathways in coastal mega cities: An illustration for Los Angeles

Released April 24, 2019 12:43 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (678) 647-659

Lars T. de Ruig, Patrick L. Barnard, W. J. Wouter Botzen, Phyllis Grifman, Juliette Finzi Hart, Hans de Moel, Nick Sadrpour, Jeroen C.J.H. Aerts

Sea level rise and uncertainty in its projections pose a major challenge to flood risk management and adaptation investments in coastal mega cities. This study presents a comparative economic evaluation method for flood adaptation measures, which couples a cost–benefit analysis with the concept of adaptation pathways. Our approach accounts for uncertainty in sea level rise projections by allowing for flexibility of adaptation strategies over time. Our method is illustrated for Los Angeles County which is vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise. Results for different sea level rise scenarios show that applying adaptation pathways can result in higher economic efficiency (up to 10%) than individual adaptation strategies, despite the loss of efficiency of the initial strategy. However, we identified ‘investment tipping points’ after which a transition could decrease the economic efficiencies of a pathway significantly. Overall, we recommend that studies evaluating adaptation strategies should integrate cost–benefit analysis frameworks with adaptation pathways since this allows for better informing decision makers about the robustness and economic desirability of their investment choices.

Monitoring annual trends in abundance of eelgrass (Zostera marina) at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2018

Released April 24, 2019 12:17 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1042

David H. Ward, Courtney L. Amundson

A lagoon-wide, point-sampling survey of eelgrass (Zostera marina) abundance was conducted in Izembek Lagoon, Alaska, August 7–16, 2018, the ninth year of annual surveys (2007–11, 2015–18). Mean predicted aboveground biomass of eelgrass across 116 sampled points was 238 grams per square meter (g m-2) (95 percent confidence interval: 203–278 g m-2) in 2018, an increase of 240 percent from the previous year’s low estimate of 97 g m-2 (95 percent confidence interval: 78–120 g m-2). The increase marked the third year since 2015 where eelgrass biomass was above the long-term mean (158 g m-2). Eelgrass biomass was stable over the 9 years of this survey. A separate (transect) survey for eelgrass abundance at Grant Point-Old Boat Launch showed annual trends in eelgrass biomass similar to the lagoon-wide survey, but over a slightly longer time (2007–18). The estimates of above-average eelgrass biomass in Izembek Lagoon were likely influenced by relatively warm air temperatures and little or no ice in winter (air temperatures 2.7 degrees Celsius greater than the 12-year mean) and average (cool) air temperatures during the growing season (April–August) in 2018.

Pleistocene and Holocene landscape development of the South Platte River Corridor, Northeastern Colorado

Released April 24, 2019 10:25 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5020

Margaret E. Berry, Janet L. Slate, Emily M. Taylor

This report provides a synthesis of geologic mapping and geochronologic research along the South Platte River between the town of Masters and the city of Fort Morgan, northeastern Colorado. This work was undertaken to better understand landscape development along this part of the river corridor. The focus is on times of rapid change within the fluvial system that had a marked effect on the landscape. The study area is susceptible to drought, which destabilizes vegetation and makes the landscape vulnerable to eolian activity. This is reflected in a landscape that is largely covered by eolian sand and lesser amounts of loess. Past glaciation of the river’s headwaters had a major influence on river discharge and sediment supply, as have major flood events particularly on unglaciated tributaries heading on the piedmont.

In the mapping area, fluvial deposits of the South Platte River system span the Pliocene and early Pleistocene(?) deposits of Nussbaum Alluvium to present-day deposits of the active channel and floodplain. Results of the study indicate that along this stretch of the South Platte River, the early Pleistocene and first half of the middle Pleistocene were times of net incision, periodically interrupted by episodes of aggradation that resulted in deposition of alluvium that has been correlated to Rocky Flats Alluvium, Verdos Alluvium, and Slocum Alluvium. Net incision between depositional events formed a series of poorly preserved terrace deposits along the valley sides that are now largely covered by eolian deposits. Sometime after about 380 thousand years, the river cut a deep paleovalley into Upper Cretaceous Pierre Shale that was then filled with a thick sequence of inferred Louviers Alluvium (coeval with Bull Lake glaciation). Net aggradation continued during the late Pleistocene, resulting in burial of the Louviers paleovalley with a thick sequence of mainstream and sidestream Broadway Alluvium (coeval with Pinedale glaciation). Subsequent incision during the late Pleistocene–Holocene transition formed the Kersey (Broadway) terrace, whose riser forms a prominent bluff on the south side of the river valley. This episode of incision spanned a very short period and was followed by renewed aggradation that deposited the next-lower terrace alluvium (Kuner terrace alluvium). The Kuner terrace level was probably abandoned sometime around the beginning of the middle Holocene. Low terraces on the valley floor indicate that the river has been primarily cutting and backfilling laterally rather than incising during the late Holocene.

Synthesis of geologic mapping and chronologic data generated in this study indicate that the South Platte River in northeastern Colorado likely was highly sensitive to rapidly changing environmental conditions or crossed threshold conditions that triggered rapid geomorphic response during major climate changes associated with the late Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Historical times have been another period marked by rapid incision, reflected by gully incision and headward erosion in tributary valleys draining the north side of the South Platte River. This historical erosion could be related at least in part to extensive construction of irrigation ditches and reservoirs in the late 1800s–early 1900s, which altered drainage paths and groundwater flow and could have amplified natural factors such as climate change or intrinsic geomorphic instabilities within the system.

Chapter A6. Section 6.8. Use of multiparameter instruments for routine field measurements

Released April 24, 2019 10:00 EST

2012, Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations 09-A6.8

Jacob Gibs, Franceska D. Wilde, Heather A. Heckathorn

The miniaturization of sensors and other technological advances in electronics have resulted in water-quality instruments that house multiple sensors capable of simultaneous readings for various field measurements in environmental waters. With the use of these multiparameter instruments, field measurements can be determined with considerable reduction in the field work that generally is required when using multiple single-parameter instruments. This section addresses the short-term or discrete-measurement use of portable multiparameter instruments. Each chapter of the National Field Manual is published separately and revised periodically. Newly published and revised chapters will be announced on the USGS Home Page on the World Wide Web under 'New Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.'

Wildfire as a catalyst for hydrologic and geomorphic change

Released April 24, 2019 09:20 EST

2019, Environmental Science

Francis K. Rengers

Wildfire has been a constant presence on the Earth since at least the Silurian period, and is a landscape-scale catalyst that results in a step-change perturbation for hydrologic systems, which ripples across burned terrain, shaping the geomorphic legacy of watersheds. Specifically, wildfire alters two key landscape properties: (1) overland flow, and (2) soil erodibility. Overland flow and soil erodibility have both been seen to increase after wildfires, resulting in order-of-magnitude increases in erosion rates during rainstorms with relatively frequent recurrence intervals. On short timescales, wildfire increases erosion and leads to natural hazards that are costly and threatening to society. Over longer timescales, wildfire-induced erosion can account for the majority of total denudation in certain settings with long- term implications for landscape evolution. There is a special focus on debris flows in this document because they are the most destructive geomorphic process that is observed to follow wildfires after high severity burns. In the past several decades researchers have investigated important aspects of post-wildfire debris flows, such as: the provenance of sediment that is moved in debris flows, the hydrologic and soil properties required to produce debris flows, and debris flow initiation mechanisms. Herein we highlight the relevant research articles showing the current state of progress in debris flow research as well as pointing to the fundamental research on post-wildfire hydrology and erosion that is necessary for understanding how water and sediment behave after wildfires.

Arctic vegetation, temperature, and hydrology during Early Eocene transient global warming events

Released April 24, 2019 08:56 EST

2019, Global and Planetary Change (178) 139-152

Debra A. Willard, Timme H Donders, Tammo Reichgelt, David R Greenwood, Francien Peterse, Francesca Sangiorgi, Appy Sluijs, Stefan Schouten

Early Eocene global climate was warmer than much of the Cenozoic and was punctuated by a series of transient warming events or ‘hyperthermals’ associated with carbon isotope excursions when temperature increased by 4–8° C. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ~55 Ma) and Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (ETM2, 53.5 Ma) hyperthermals were of short duration (< 200 kyr) and dramatically restructured terrestrial vegetation and mammalian faunas at mid-latitudes. Data on the character and magnitude of change in terrestrial vegetation and climate during and after the PETM and ETM2 at high northern latitudes, however, are limited to a small number of stratigraphically restricted records. The Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX) marine sediment core from the Lomonosov Ridge in the Arctic Basin provides a stratigraphically expanded early Eocene record of Arctic terrestrial vegetation and climates. Using pollen/spore assemblages, palynofacies data, bioclimatic analyses (Nearest Living Relative, or NLR), and lipid biomarker paleothermometry, we present evidence for expansion of mesothermal (Mean Annual Temperatures 13–20˚C) forests to the Arctic during the PETM and ETM2. Our data indicate that PETM mean annual temperatures were ~1.8˚ - 3.5˚C warmer than the Late Paleocene. Mean winter temperatures in the PETM reached ≥6°C (~1.9˚C warmer than the late Paleocene), based on pollen-based bioclimatic reconstructions and the presence of palm and Bombacoideae pollen. Increased runoff of water and nutrients to the ocean during both hyperthermals resulted in greater salinity stratification and hypoxia/anoxia, based on marked increases in concentration of massive Amorphous Organic Matter (AOM) and dominance of low-salinity dinocysts. During the PETM recovery, taxodioid Cupressaceae-dominated swamp forests were important elements of the landscape, representing intermediate climate conditions between the early Eocene hyperthermals and background conditions of the late Paleocene.

Drivers and impacts of water level fluctuations in the Mississippi River delta: Implications for delta restoration

Released April 24, 2019 08:16 EST

2019, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Matthew R. Hiatt, Gregg Snedden, John W. Day, Robert V. Rohli, John A. Nyman, Robert R. Lane, Leigh A. Sharp

This review synthesizes the knowledge regarding the environmental forces affecting water level variability in the coastal waters of the Mississippi River delta and relates these fluctuations to planned river diversions. Water level fluctuations vary significantly across temporal and spatial scales, and are subject to influences from river flow, tides, vegetation, atmospheric forcing, climate change, and anthropogenic activities. Human impacts have strongly affected water level variability in the Mississippi River delta and other deltas worldwide. Collectively, the research reviewed in this article is important for enhancing environmental, economic, and social resilience and sustainability by assessing, mitigating, and adapting to geophysical changes that will cascade to societal systems in the coming decades in the economically and environmentally important Mississippi River delta. Specifically, this information provides a context within which to evaluate the impacts of diversions on the hydrology of the Mississippi delta and creates a benchmark for the evaluation of the impact of water level fluctuations on coastal restoration projects worldwide.

Efficacy of eDNA as an early detection indicator for Burmese pythons in the ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

Released April 24, 2019 08:06 EST

2019, Ecological Indicators (102) 617-622

Margaret Hunter, Gaia Meigs-Friend, Jason Ferrante, Brian (Contractor) Smith, Kristen Hart

Environmental DNA (eDNA) detection of invasive species can be used to delimited occupied ranges and estimate probabilities to inform management decisions. Environmental DNA is shed into the environment through skin cells and bodily fluids and can be detected in water samples collected from lakes, rivers, and swamps. In south Florida, invasive Burmese pythons occupy much of the Greater Everglades in mostly inaccessible habitat and are credited with causing severe declines of native species’ populations. Detection of Burmese pythons by traditional methods, such as trapping and visual searching, have been largely ineffective, making eDNA a superior method for differentiating invaded habitat. We adapted a quantitative PCR eDNA assay for droplet digital PCR, a state-of-the-art method that improves precision and accuracy. From August 2014 to October 2016, locations in and around Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Florida were surveyed for Burmese python eDNA. The Refuge is maintained to provide water storage and is considered one of the last remnants of the northern Everglades wetlands. Positive eDNA detections were made at each of the five sampling events, assessing a total of 399 samples, with moderate occurrence (ψ=58-91%) and detection (p=40-70%) probabilities, potentially reduced by high PCR inhibition-levels. The high occurrence rates and geographic distribution of the positive samples within the Refuge suggests a steady release of python eDNA from a resident Burmese python population and reduces support for primarily transport of eDNA through boats or flowing water from the north. The first confirmed sighting of a Burmese python in the Refuge occurred in September 2016, after eDNA testing had indicated the presence of pythons. An established population is not expected this far north, however, the detections likely indicate northern range limit of a consistent population at Loxahatchee on the eastern side of the Florida peninsula. Our study demonstrates the benefit of eDNA for determining more accurate range limits and expansion information for Burmese pythons, as well as laying the foundation for the assessment of control efforts.