Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Eagle Ford Group and associated Cenomanian–Turonian Strata, U.S. Gulf Coast, Texas, 2018

Released June 22, 2018 11:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3033

Katherine J. Whidden, Janet K. Pitman, Ofori N. Pearson, Stanley T. Paxton, Scott A. Kinney, Nicholas J. Gianoutsos, Christopher J. Schenk, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Justin E. Birdwell, Michael E. Brownfield, Lauri A. Burke, Russell F. Dubiel, Katherine L. French, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Seth S. Haines, Phuong A. Le, Kristen R. Marra, Tracey J. Mercier, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Cheryl A. Woodall

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 8.5 billion barrels of oil and 66 trillion cubic feet of gas in continuous accumulations in the Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford Group and associated Cenomanian–Turonian strata in onshore lands of the U.S. Gulf Coast region, Texas.

Extraction and development of inset models in support of groundwater age calculations for glacial aquifers

Released June 22, 2018 09:15 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5038

Daniel T. Feinstein, Leon J. Kauffman, Megan J. Haserodt, Brian R. Clark, Paul F. Juckem

The U.S. Geological Survey developed a regional model of Lake Michigan Basin (LMB). This report describes the construction of five MODFLOW inset models extracted from the LMB regional model and their application using the particle-tracking code MODPATH to simulate the groundwater age distribution of discharge to wells pumping from glacial deposits. The five study areas of the inset model correspond to 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) basins. Two of the basins are tributary to Lake Michigan from the east, two are tributary to the lake from the west, and one is just west of the western boundary of the Lake Michigan topographic basin. The inset models inherited many of the inputs to the parent LMB model, including the hydrostratigraphy and layering scheme, the hydraulic conductivity assigned to bedrock layers, recharge distribution, and water use in the form of pumping rates from glacial and bedrock wells. The construction of the inset models entailed modifying some inputs, most notably the grid spacing (reduced from cells 5,000 feet on a side in the parent LMB model to 500 feet on a side in the inset models). The refined grid spacing allowed for more precise location of pumped wells and more detailed simulation of groundwater/surface-water interactions. The glacial hydraulic conductivity values, the top bedrock surface elevation, and the surface-water network input to the inset models also were modified. The inset models are solved using the MODFLOW–NWT code, which allows for more robust handling of conditions in unconfined aquifers than previous versions of MODFLOW. Comparison of the MODFLOW inset models reveals that they incorporate a range of hydrogeologic conditions relative to the glacial part of the flow system, demonstrated by visualization and analysis of model inputs and outputs and reflected in the range of ages generated by MODPATH for existing and hypothetical glacial wells. Certain inputs and outputs are judged to be candidate predictors that, if treated statistically, may be capable of explaining much of the variance in the simulated age metrics. One example of a predictor that model results indicate strongly affects simulated age is the depth of the well open interval below the simulated water table. The strength of this example variable as an overall predictor of groundwater age and its relation to other predictors can be statistically tested through the metamodeling process. In this way the inset models are designed to serve as a training area for metamodels that estimate groundwater age in glacial wells, which in turn will contribute to ongoing studies, under the direction of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment, of contaminant susceptibility of shallow groundwater across the glacial aquifer system.

Arsenic geochemistry of alluvial sediments and pore waters affected by mine tailings along the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne River floodplains

Released June 22, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (229) 1-18

Bryce D. Pfeifle, John F. Stamm, James J. Stone

Gold mining operations in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota resulted in the discharge of arsenopyrite-bearing mine tailings into Whitewood Creek from 1876 to 1977. Those tailings were transported further downstream along the Belle Fourche River, the Cheyenne River, and the Missouri River. An estimated 110 million metric tons of tailings remain stored in alluvial deposits of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers. Pore-water dialysis samplers were deployed in the channel and backwaters of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers to determine temporal and seasonal changes in the geochemistry of groundwater in alluvial sediments. Alluvial sediment adjacent to the dialysis samplers were cored for geochemical analysis. In comparison to US Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards and reference concentrations of alluvial sediment not containing mine tailings, the Belle Fourche River sites had elevated concentrations of arsenic in pore water (2570 μg/L compared to 10 μg/L) and sediment (1010 ppm compared to < 34 ppm), respectively. Pore water arsenic concentration was affected by dissolution of iron oxyhydroxides under reducing conditions. Sequential extraction of iron and arsenic from sediment cores indicates that substantial quantities of soluble metals were present. Dissolution of arsenic sorbed to alluvial sediment particles appears to be affected by changing groundwater levels that cause shifts in redox conditions. Bioreductive processes did not appear to be a substantial transport pathway but could affect speciation of arsenic, especially at the Cheyenne River sampling sites where microbial activity was determined to be greater than at Belle Fourche sampling sites.

High latitude Southern Hemisphere fire history during the mid-late Holocene (750- 6000 yr BP)

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Climate of the Past (14) 871-886

Dario Battistel, Natalie Kehrwald, Piero Zennaro, Giuseppe Pellegrino, Elena Barbaro, Roberta Zangrando, Xanthi X. Pedeli, Cristiano Varin, Andrea Spolaor, Paul T. Vallelonga, Andrea Gambaro, Carlo Barbante

We determined the specific biomass burning biomarker levoglucosan in an ice core from the TALos Dome Ice CorE drilling project (TALDICE) during the mid- to late Holocene (6000–750 BP). The levoglucosan record is characterized by a long-term increase with higher rates starting at  ∼  4000 BP and peaks between 2500 and 1500 BP. The anomalous increase in levoglucosan centered at  ∼  2000 BP is consistent with other Antarctic biomass burning records. Multiple atmospheric phenomena affect the coastal Antarctic Talos Dome drilling site, where the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the most prominent as the Southern Annular Mode Index (SAMA) correlates with stable isotopes in precipitation throughout the most recent 1000 years of the ice core. If this connection remains throughout the mid- to late Holocene, then our results demonstrate that changes in biomass burning, rather than changes in atmospheric transport, are the major influence on the TALDICE levoglucosan record. Comparisons with charcoal syntheses help evaluate fire sources, showing a greater contribution from southern South American fires than from Australian biomass burning. The levoglucosan peak centered at  ∼  2000 BP occurs during a cool period throughout the Southern Hemisphere, yet during a time of increased fire activity in both northern and southern Patagonia. This peak in biomass burning is influenced by increased vegetation in southern South America from a preceding humid period, in which the vegetation desiccated during the following cool, dry period. The Talos Dome ice core record from 6000 to  ∼  750 BP currently does not provide clear evidence that the fire record may be strongly affected by anthropogenic activities during the mid- to late Holocene, although we cannot exclude at least a partial influence.

Response of mercury in an Adirondack (NY, USA) forest stream to watershed lime application

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts (20) 607-620

Geoffrey D. Millard, Charles T. Driscoll, Douglas Burns, Mario R. Montesdeoca, Karen Murray

Surface waters in Europe and North America previously impacted by acid deposition are recovering in conjunction with declining precursor emissions since the 1980s. Lime has been applied to some impacted watersheds to accelerate recovery. The response to liming can be considered a proxy for future recovery from acid deposition. Increases in dissolved organic carbon concentrations have been observed in surface waters in response to increased pH associated with recovery from acid deposition. Although not previously described, recovery-related increases in dissolved organic carbon could drive increases in mercury concentrations and loads because of the affinity of mercury for dissolved organic matter. We used a before–after impact-response approach to describe the response of stream mercury cycling to the application of lime to the watershed of a small stream in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, USA. Dissolved organic carbon, total mercury and methylmercury concentrations increased significantly in streamwater within two weeks of treatment, to previously unobserved oncentrations. After six months, post-treatment before–after impact-control (BACI) tests indicate that mean dissolved organic carbon concentrations and total mercury to dissolved organic carbon ratios remained significantly higher and limed site fluxes of methylmercury were lower than those at the reference stream. This pattern suggests total mercury is leaching at elevated levels from the limed watershed, but limitations in production and transport to the stream channel likely resulted in increases in methylmercury concentration that were of limited duration.

Stability of mercury concentration measurements in archived soil and peat samples

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Chemosphere (208) 707-711

Tomáš Navrátil, Douglas Burns, Tereza Nováková, Jiří Kaňa, Jan Rohovec, Michal Roll, Vojtěch Ettler

Archived soil samples can provide important information on the history of environmental contamination and by comparison with recently collected samples, temporal trends can be inferred. Little previous work has addressed whether mercury (Hg) concentrations in soil samples are stable with long-term storage under standard laboratory conditions. In this study, we have re-analyzed using cold vapor atomic adsorption spectroscopy a set of archived soil samples that ranged from relatively pristine mountainous sites to a polluted site near a non-ferrous metal smelter with a wide range of Hg concentrations (6 - 6485 µg kg-1). Samples included organic and mineral soils and peats with a carbon content that ranged from 0.2 to 47.7%. Soil samples were stored in polyethylene bags or bottles and held in laboratory rooms where temperature was not kept to a constant value. Mercury concentrations in four subsets of samples were originally measured in 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and re-analyzed in 2017, i.e. after 17, 12, 11 and 10 years of storage. Statistical analyses of either separated or lumped data yielded no significant differences between the original and current Hg concentrations. Based on these analyses, we show that archived soil and peat samples can be used to evaluate historical soil mercury contamination.

Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Waterbirds (41) 179-182

Peter C. McGowan, Kaitlyn Reintsma, Jeffery D. Sullivan, Katie P. DeVoss, Jennifer L. Wall, Mia D. Zimnik, Carl R. Callahan, Bill Schultz, Diann J. Prosser

The availability of shelter to avoid predation and ameliorate physiologically stressful conditions is often important to the survival of avian hatchlings. However, as changes in habitat availability force birds to nest in nontraditional locations, young must quickly adapt to using novel sources of shelter. Two Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies (one vegetated and one barren) were observed during the 2017 breeding season on a remote island habitat restoration project during data collection for a larger associated study. While chicks within the vegetated colony sought shade under vegetation, those in the barren colony were frequently found under anthropogenically constructed chick shelters. The first reported instance of Common Tern chicks using Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows for shelter was also observed in the barren colony. This behavior, when paired with other similar reports, suggests that this species is able to recognize beneficial shelters, both natural and anthropogenic, and use them at a young age, an important ability if they are to successfully reproduce in atypical habitats

Regional spectral analysis of moderate earthquakes in northeastern North America—Final Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Project V6240, Task 3

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1073

John Boatwright

We analyze the Fourier spectra of S+Lg+surface wave groups from the horizontal and vertical components of broadband and accelerogram recordings of 120 small and moderate (2< Mw <6) earthquakes recorded by Canadian and American stations sited on rock at distances from 3 to 600 kilometers. There are seven Mw 4.0–4.5, six M4.5–5.0, and three Mw ≥5 earthquakes in this event set. We test the regional spectral analysis by comparing the moment magnitudes with the moment magnitudes from the earthquake moment tensors determined by Bob Herrmann (St. Louis University) for 27 events, obtaining dMw=0.004±0.074. We determine the Lg attenuation in seven regions within northeastern North America: Charlevoix, lower St. Lawrence, Maine, Northern New York, lower Great Lakes, Ontario, and Nunavut. These attenuation estimates yield an average attenuation Q= (368±13)f (0.54±0.02) for the Appalachian region, a stronger attenuation Q= (317±16)f (0.54±0.03) for the Appalachian lowlands, and a weaker attenuation Q=(455±20)f (0.51±0.02) for Ontario and western Quebec. For events in Nunavut and northernmost Quebec, we estimate a similar attenuation for r <450 km, but a weaker attenuation Q= (773±70)f (0.27±0.06) for Lg propagation for 450< r <1700 kilometers. This far-regional attenuation allows us to analyze recordings of the 1989 Ungava and Payne Bay earthquakes obtained in Ontario and southern Quebec. We use these regional attenuations to determine the corner frequencies, stress drops, and radiated energies of the 120 earthquakes.

Shoreline erosion at selected areas along Lake Sharpe on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota, 1966–2015

Released June 21, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5058

Ryan F. Thompson, John F. Stamm

The Lower Brule Reservation in central South Dakota is losing land because of shoreline erosion along Lake Sharpe, a reservoir on the Missouri River, which has caused detrimental effects for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe including losses of cultural sites, recreation access points, wildlife habitat, irrigated cropland, and landmass. To better understand and quantify shoreline erosion, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and the U.S. Geological Survey cooperated on a series of data-collection efforts and study of shoreline erosion along Lake Sharpe. Data collected or compiled for 1966–2015 were used to describe and quantify shoreline erosion along Lake Sharpe. The progression of shoreline erosion near the community of Lower Brule, South Dakota, was tracked by comparing current or recent aerial imagery with existing historical maps. At 33 evaluation lines along a 7-mile reach of Lake Sharpe shoreline near Lower Brule, cumulative change of shoreline from 1966 to 2010 ranged from about −224 feet of deposition to 770 feet of erosion.

Photographic and location data were collected for this study to understand the processes affecting erosion and estimate erosion rates. Photographs were collected only in the 7-mile reach near Lower Brule, but locations of the bank over time were collected at the 7-mile reach and two additional reaches within the Lower Brule Reservation. Global navigation satellite system equipment was used in real-time kinematic mode to collect bank locations along three reaches of interest. Reach-length data were collected four times between November 2011 and November 2012. A small, unmanned aerial system (drone) was used to capture digital video along the shoreline of the 7-mile reach.

Water-level fluctuations contribute to the number of wet-dry cycles experienced by the soils at the shoreline or bank. The soils present under the current (2017) location of the reservoir are predominantly terrace alluvium, consisting of sand and silt. Detailed soils data for Lyman County indicate that the dominant soil type along the southern part of the shoreline in the 7-mile reach is Bullcreek clay. Weather within the study area can affect the erosion rate. Air temperature can potentially affect erosion rates by freezing and thawing water and soils. Mean hourly wind speeds vary somewhat throughout the year but averaged 13.3 miles per hour. The direction of prevailing winds near Lower Brule indicates that there are several miles of fetch to build large waves.

Annual erosion rates calculated or measured throughout this study varied by location. Long-term annual average erosion rates of the 7-mile reach, as calculated by image analysis, ranged from −5.1 feet per year (deposition) to 17.5 feet per year (erosion). Short-term annual erosion rates measured using global navigation satellite system equipment during 2010–12 ranged from about 0 to 31.7 feet per year for the 7-mile reach. Existing scour countermeasures have been effective variably. Fieldstone rip-rap seems to have stabilized the shoreline, whereas tree strips paralleling the shoreline seem to have slowed erosion.

Avian keratin disorder of Alaska black-capped chickadees is associated with Poecivirus infection

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Virology Journal (15)

Maxine Zylberberg, Caroline R. Van Hemert, Colleen M. Handel, Joseph L. DeRisi


Avian keratin disorder (AKD) is an epizootic of debilitating beak deformities, first documented in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in Alaska during the late 1990s. Similar deformities have now been recorded in dozens of species of birds across multiple continents. Despite this, the etiology of AKD has remained elusive, making it difficult to assess the impacts of this disease on wild populations. We previously identified an association between infection with a novel picornavirus, Poecivirus, and AKD in a small cohort of black-capped chickadees.


To test if the association between Poecivirus and AKD holds in a larger study population, we used targeted PCR followed by Sanger sequencing to screen 124 symptomatic and asymptomatic black-capped chickadees for Poecivirus infection. We further compared the efficacy of multiple non-terminal field sampling methods (buccal swabs, cloacal swabs, fecal samples, and blood samples) for Poecivirus screening. Finally, we used both in situ hybridization and a strand-specific expression assay to localize Poecivirus to beak tissue of AKD-positive individuals and to determine if virus is actively replicating in beak tissue.


Poecivirus was detected in 28/28 (100%) individuals with AKD, but only 9/96 (9.4%) asymptomatic individuals with apparently normal beaks (p < 0.0001). We found that cloacal swabs are the most sensitive of these sample types for detecting Poecivirus in birds with AKD, but that buccal swabs should be combined with cloacal swabs in evaluating the infection status of asymptomatic birds. Finally, we used both in situ hybridization and a strand-specific expression assay to localize Poecivirus to beak tissue of AKD-positive individuals and to provide evidence of active viral replication.


The data presented here show a strong, statistically significant relationship between Poecivirus infection and AKD, and provide evidence that Poecivirus is indeed an avian virus, infecting and actively replicating in beak tissue of AKD-affected BCCH. Taken together, these data corroborate and extend the evidence for a potential causal association between Poecivirus and AKD in the black-capped chickadee. Poecivirus continues to warrant further investigation as a candidate agent of AKD.

A model ensemble for projecting multi‐decadal coastal cliff retreat during the 21st century

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface

Patrick Limber, Patrick Barnard, Sean Vitousek, Li Erikson

Sea cliff retreat rates are expected to accelerate with rising sea levels during the 21st century. Here we develop an approach for a multi‐model ensemble that efficiently projects time‐averaged sea cliff retreat over multi‐decadal time scales and large (>50 km) spatial scales. The ensemble consists of five simple 1‐D models adapted from the literature that relate sea cliff retreat to wave impacts, sea level rise (SLR), historical cliff behavior, and cross‐shore profile geometry. Ensemble predictions are based on Monte Carlo simulations of each individual model, which account for the uncertainty of model parameters. The consensus of the individual models also weights uncertainty, such that uncertainty is greater when predictions from different models do not agree. A calibrated, but unvalidated, ensemble was applied to the 475 km‐long coastline of Southern California (USA), with 4 SLR scenarios of 0.5, 0.93, 1.5, and 2 m by 2100. Results suggest that future retreat rates could increase relative to mean historical rates by more than two‐fold for the higher SLR scenarios, causing an average total land loss of 19 – 41 m by 2100. However, model uncertainty ranges from +/‐ 5 – 15 m, reflecting the inherent difficulties of projecting cliff retreat over multiple decades. To enhance ensemble performance, future work could include weighting each model by its skill in matching observations in different morphological settings

Improvements in absolute seismometer sensitivity calibration using local earth gravity measurements

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (108) 503-510

Robert E. Anthony, Adam Ringler, David Wilson

The ability to determine both absolute and relative seismic amplitudes is fundamentally limited by the accuracy and precision with which scientists are able to calibrate seismometer sensitivities and characterize their response. Currently, across the Global Seismic Network (GSN), errors in midband sensitivity exceed 3% at the 95% confidence interval and are the least‐constrained response parameter in seismic recording systems. We explore a new methodology utilizing precise absolute Earth gravity measurements to determine the midband sensitivity of seismic instruments. We first determine the absolute sensitivity of Kinemetrics EpiSensor accelerometers to 0.06% at the 99% confidence interval by inverting them in a known gravity field at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL). After the accelerometer is calibrated, we install it in its normal configuration next to broadband seismometers and subject the sensors to identical ground motions to perform relative calibrations of the broadband sensors. Using this technique, we are able to determine the absolute midband sensitivity of the vertical components of Nanometrics Trillium Compact seismometers to within 0.11% and Streckeisen STS‐2 seismometers to within 0.14% at the 99% confidence interval. The technique enables absolute calibrations from first principles that are traceable to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) measurements while providing nearly an order of magnitude more precision than step‐table calibrations.

Organochlorine chemical residues in Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) eggs from Greater Washington, DC USA

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (100) 741-747

Christopher J. Schmitt, Kathy R. Echols, Paul Peterman, Carl Orazio, Christiana Grimm, Shirlee Tan, Nora E. Diggs, Peter P. Marra

Northern Cardinal eggs from six neighborhoods near Washington DC were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides and PCBs. All compounds were detected more frequently and at higher concentrations in more heavily urbanized neighborhoods. DDT (mostly as p,pʹ-DDE) was detected in all neighborhoods. p,pʹ-DDT was typically 0.5‒16 ng/g (ww) in most suburban neighborhoods but was not detected (< 0.1 ng/g) in more rural areas; however, p,pʹ-DDT was 127‒1130 ng/g in eggs from two suburban Maryland nests and comprised 65.7% of total p,pʹ-DDT isomers in the most contaminated sample, indicating recent exposure to un-weathered DDT. Total chlordane (sum of 5 compounds) was 2‒70 ng/g; concentrations were greatest in older suburban neighborhoods. Total PCB (sum of detected congeners) was < 5‒21 ng/g. Congener patterns were similar in all neighborhoods and resembled those typical of weathered mixtures. Results indicate that wildlife remains exposed to low concentrations of legacy contaminants in suburban neighborhoods and that cardinal eggs can be used to monitor localized contamination.

Origin of methane and sources of high concentrations in Los Angeles groundwater

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences (123) 818-831

Justin Kulongoski, Peter B. McMahon, Michael Land, Michael Wright, Theodore Johnson, Matthew K. Landon

In 2014, samples from 37 monitoring wells at 17 locations, within or near oil fields, and one site >5 km from oil fields, in the Los Angeles Basin, California, were analyzed for dissolved hydrocarbon gas isotopes and abundances. The wells sample a variety of depths of an aquifer system composed of unconsolidated and semiconsolidated sediments under various conditions of confinement. Concentrations of methane in groundwater samples ranged from 0.002 to 150 mg/L—some of the highest concentrations reported in a densely populated urban area. The δ13C and δ2H of the methane ranged from −80.8 to −45.5 per mil (‰) and −249.8 to −134.9‰, respectively, and, along with oxidation‐reduction processes, helped to identify the origin of methane as microbial methanogenesis and CO2 reduction as its main formation pathway. The distribution of methane concentrations and isotopes is consistent with the high concentrations of methane in Los Angeles Basin groundwater originating from relatively shallow microbial production in anoxic or suboxic conditions. Source of the methane is the aquifer sediments rather than the upward migration or leakage of thermogenic methane associated with oil fields in the basin.

Landslides triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New Zealand

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

C. Massey, D. Townsend, Ellen M. Rathje, Kate E. Allstadt, B. Lukovic, Yoshihiro Kaneko, Brendon A. Bradley, J. Wartman, Randall W. Jibson, D. N. Petley, Nick Horspool, I. Hamling, J. Carey, S. Cox, John Davidson, S. Dellow, Jonathan W. Godt, Christopher Holden, Katherine D. Jones, Anna E. Kaiser, M. Little, B. Lyndsell, S. McColl, R. Morgenstern, Francis K. Rengers, D. Rhoades, B. Rosser, D. Strong, C. Singeisen, M. Villeneuve

The 14 November 2016 MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake generated more than 10,000 landslides over a total area of about 10,000  km210,000  km2, with the majority concentrated in a smaller area of about 3600  km23600  km2. The largest landslide triggered by the earthquake had an approximate volume of 20(±2)  Mm320(±2)  M m3, with a runout distance of about 2.7 km, forming a dam on the Hapuku River. In this article, we present version 1.0 of the landslide inventory we have created for this event. We use the inventory presented in this article to identify and discuss some of the controls on the spatial distribution of landslides triggered by the Kaikōura earthquake. Our main findings are (1) the number of medium to large landslides (source area 10,000  m2≥10,000  m2) triggered by the Kaikōura earthquake is smaller than for similar‐sized landslides triggered by similar magnitude earthquakes in New Zealand; (2) seven of the largest eight landslides (from 5 to 20  Mm320  M m3) occurred on faults that ruptured to the surface during the earthquake; (3) the average landslide density within 200 m of a mapped surface fault rupture is three times that at a distance of 2500 m or more from a mapped surface fault rupture; (4) the “distance to fault” predictor variable, when used as a proxy for ground‐motion intensity, and when combined with slope angle, geology, and elevation variables, has more power in predicting landslide probability than the modeled peak ground acceleration or peak ground velocity; and (5) for the same slope angles, the coastal slopes have landslide point densities that are an order of magnitude greater than those in similar materials on the inland slopes, but their source areas are significantly smaller.

Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: A new framework and management tool

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Environmental Management (218) 374-387

Eduardo Gonzalez, Vanesa Martinez-Fernandez, Patrick B. Shafroth, Anna A. Sher, Annie L. Henry, Virginia Garofano-Gomez, Dov Corenblit

Human activities on floodplains have severely disrupted the regeneration of foundation riparian shrub and tree species of the Salicaceae family (Populus and Salix spp.) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Restoration ecologists initially tackled this problem from a terrestrial perspective that emphasized planting. More recently, floodplain restoration activities have embraced an aquatic perspective, inspired by the expanding practice of managing river flows to improve river health (environmental flows). However, riparian Salicaceae species occupy floodplain and riparian areas, which lie at the interface of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems along watercourses. Thus, their regeneration depends on a complex interaction of hydrologic and geomorphic processes that have shaped key life-cycle requirements for seedling establishment. Ultimately, restoration needs to integrate these concepts to succeed. However, while regeneration of Salicaceae is now reasonably well-understood, the literature reporting restoration actions on Salicaceae regeneration is sparse, and a specific theoretical framework is still missing. Here, we have reviewed 105 peer-reviewed published experiences in restoration of Salicaceae forests, including 91 projects in 10 world regions, to construct a decision tree to inform restoration planning through explicit links between the well-studied biophysical requirements of Salicaceaeregeneration and 17 specific restoration actions, the most popular being planting (in 55% of the projects), land contouring (30%), removal of competing vegetation (30%), site selection (26%), and irrigation (24%). We also identified research gaps related to Salicaceae forest restoration and discuss alternative, innovative and feasible approaches that incorporate the human component.

Lateral and vertical distribution of downstream migrating juvenile sea lamprey

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Great Lakes Research (44) 491-496

V. Alex Sotola, Scott M. Miehls, Lee G. Simard, J. Ellen Marsden

Sea lamprey is considered an invasive and nuisance species in the Laurentian Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, and the Finger Lakes of New York and is a major focus of control efforts. Currently, management practices focus on limiting the area of infestation using barriers to block migratory adults, and lampricides to kill ammocoetes in infested tributaries. No control efforts currently target the downstream-migrating post-metamorphic life stage which could provide another management opportunity. In order to apply control methods to this life stage, a better understanding of their downstream movement patterns is needed. To quantify spatial distribution of downstream migrants, we deployed fyke and drift nets laterally and vertically across the stream channel in two tributaries of Lake Champlain. Sea lamprey was not randomly distributed across the stream width and lateral distribution showed a significant association with discharge. Results indicated that juvenile sea lamprey is most likely to be present in the thalweg and at midwater depths of the stream channel. Further, a majority of the catch occurred during high flow events, suggesting an increase in downstream movement activity when water levels are higher than base flow. Discharge and flow are strong predictors of the distribution of out-migrating sea lamprey, thus managers will need to either target capture efforts in high discharge areas of streams or develop means to guide sea lamprey away from these areas.

A simple, cost-effective emitter for controlled release of fish pheromones: development, testing, and application to management of the invasive sea lamprey

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, PLoS ONE (13) 1-17

Michael C. Wagner, James E. Hanson, Trevor D. Meckley, Nicholas Johnson, Jason D. Bals

Semiochemicals that elicit species-specific attraction or repulsion have proven useful in the management of terrestrial pests and hold considerable promise for control of nuisance aquatic species, particularly invasive fishes. Because aquatic ecosystems are typically large and open, use of a semiochemical to control a spatially dispersed invader will require the development of a cost-effective emitter that is easy to produce, environmentally benign, inexpensive, and controls the release of the semiochemical without altering its structure. We examined the release properties of five polymers, and chose polyethylene glycol (PEG) as the best alternative. In a series of laboratory and field experiments, we examined the response of the invasive sea lamprey to PEG, and to a partial sex pheromone emitted from PEG that has proven effective as a trap bait to capture migrating sea lamprey prior to spawning. Our findings confirm that the sea lamprey does not behaviorally respond to PEG, and that the attractant response to the pheromone component was conserved when emitted from PEG. Further, we deployed the pheromone-PEG emitters as trap bait during typical control operations in three Great Lakes tributaries, observing similar improvements in trap performance when compared to a previous study using mechanically pumped liquid pheromone. Finally, the polymer emitters tended to dissolve unevenly in high flow conditions. We demonstrate that housing the emitter stabilizes the dissolution rate at high water velocity. We conclude the performance characteristics of PEG emitters to achieve controlled-release of a semiochemical are sufficient to recommend its use in conservation and management activities related to native and invasive aquatic organisms.

Analysis of mean seismic ground motion and its uncertainty based on the UCERF3 geologic slip rate model with uncertainty for California

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Seismological Research Letters

Yuehua Zeng

The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) model (Field et al., 2014) considers epistemic uncertainty in fault‐slip rate via the inclusion of multiple rate models based on geologic and/or geodetic data. However, these slip rates are commonly clustered about their mean value and do not reflect the broader distribution of possible rates and associated probabilities. Here, we consider both a double‐truncated 2σ Gaussian and a boxcar distribution of slip rates and use a Monte Carlo simulation to sample the entire range of the distribution for California fault‐slip rates. We compute the seismic hazard following the methodology and logic‐tree branch weights applied to the 2014 national seismic hazard model (NSHM) for the western U.S. region (Petersen et al., 2014, 2015). By applying a new approach developed in this study to the probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) using precomputed rates of exceedance from each fault as a Green’s function, we reduce the computer time by about 10^5‐fold and apply it to the mean PSHA estimates with 1000 Monte Carlo samples of fault‐slip rates to compare with results calculated using only the mean or preferred slip rates. The difference in the mean probabilistic peak ground motion corresponding to a 2% in 50‐yr probability of exceedance is less than 1% on average over all of California for both the Gaussian and boxcar probability distributions for slip‐rate uncertainty but reaches about 18% in areas near faults compared with that calculated using the mean or preferred slip rates. The average uncertainties in 1σ peak ground‐motion level are 5.5% and 7.3% of the mean with the relative maximum uncertainties of 53% and 63% for the Gaussian and boxcar probability density function (PDF), respectively.

Isotope niche dimension and trophic overlap between bigheaded carps and native filter-feeding fish in the lower Missouri River, USA

Released June 20, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, PLoS ONE (13)

Jianzhu Wang, Duane C. Chapman, Jun Xu, Yang Wang, Binhe Gu

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values (δ13C and δ15N) were used to evaluate trophic niche overlap between two filter-feeding fishes (known together as bigheaded carp) native to China, silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), and three native filter-feeding fish including bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus), gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) and paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) in the lower Missouri River, USA, using the Bayesian Stable Isotope in R statistics. Results indicate that except for bigmouth buffalo, all species displayed similar trophic niche size and trophic diversity. Bigmouth buffalo occupied a small trophic niche and had the greatest trophic overlap with silver carp (93.6%) and bighead carp (94.1%) followed by gizzard shad (91.0%). Paddlefish had a trophic niche which relied on some resources different from those used by other species, and therefore had the lowest trophic overlap with bigheaded carp and other two native fish. The trophic overlap by bigheaded carp onto native fish was typically stronger than the reverse effects from native fish. Average niche overlap between silver carp and native species was as high as 71%, greater than niche overlap between bighead carp and native fish (64%). Our findings indicate that bigheaded carps are a potential threat to a diverse and stable native fish community.

Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2015

Released June 19, 2018 10:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3035

Molly A. Maupin

A total of 322 Bgal/d of water withdrawals was reported for eight categories of use in the United States in 2015, which was 9 percent less than in 2010 (354 Bgal/d), and continued a declining trend since 2005. The decline in total withdrawals in 2015 primarily was caused by significant decreases (28.8 Bgal/d) in thermoelectric power, which accounted for 89 percent of the decrease in total withdrawals. Between 2010 and 2015, withdrawals decreased in all categories except irrigation (2 percent increase), mining (1 percent increase), and livestock (no change). Fresh surface-water withdrawals (198 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and fresh groundwater withdrawals (82.3 Bgal/d) were about 8 percent more than in 2010. Saline surface-water withdrawals (38.6 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and saline groundwater withdrawals (2.34 Bgal/d) were 5 percent more than in 2010. Total population in the United States in 2015 (325 million) increased by 4 percent (12.4 million) from 2010, which was similar to the increase between 2005 and 2010. For the first time since 1995, consumptive use for irrigation and thermoelectric power were reported. Consumptive use accounted for 62 percent (73.2 Bgal/d) of water used for irrigation, and 3 percent (4.31 Bgal/d) of water used for thermoelectric power in 2015.

Estimated use of water in the United States in 2015

Released June 19, 2018 10:00 EST

2018, Circular 1441

Cheryl A. Dieter, Molly A. Maupin, Rodney R. Caldwell, Melissa A. Harris, Tamara I. Ivahnenko, John K. Lovelace, Nancy L. Barber, Kristin S. Linsey

Water use in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be about 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 9 percent less than in 2010. The 2015 estimates put total withdrawals at the lowest level since before 1970, following the same overall trend of decreasing total withdrawals observed from 2005 to 2010. Freshwater withdrawals were 281 Bgal/d, or 87 percent of total withdrawals, and saline-water withdrawals were 41.0 Bgal/d, or 13 percent of total withdrawals. Fresh surface-water withdrawals (198 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and fresh groundwater withdrawals (82.3 Bgal/day) were about 8 percent greater than in 2010. Saline surface-water withdrawals were 38.6 Bgal/d, or 14 percent less than in 2010. Total saline groundwater withdrawals in 2015 were 2.34 Bgal/d, mostly for mining use.

Thermoelectric power and irrigation remained the two largest uses of water in 2015, and total withdrawals decreased for thermoelectric power but increased for irrigation. With­drawals in 2015 for thermoelectric power were 18 percent less and withdrawals for irrigation were 2 percent greater than in 2010. Similarly, other uses showed reductions compared to 2010, specifically public supply (–7 percent), self-supplied domestic (–8 percent), self-supplied industrial (–9 percent), and aquaculture (–16 percent). In addition to irrigation (2 percent), mining (1 percent) reported larger withdrawals in 2015 than in 2010. Livestock withdrawals remained essentially the same in 2015 compared to 2010 (0 percent change). Thermoelectric power, irrigation, and public-supply withdrawals accounted for 90 percent of total withdrawals in 2015.

Withdrawals for thermoelectric power were 133 Bgal/d in 2015 and represented the lowest levels since before 1970. Surface-water withdrawals accounted for more than 99 percent of total thermoelectric-power withdrawals, and 72 percent of those surface-water withdrawals were from freshwater sources. Saline surface-water withdrawals for thermoelectric power accounted for 97 percent of total saline surface-water withdrawals for all uses. Thermoelectric-power withdrawals accounted for 41 percent of total withdrawals for all uses, and freshwater withdrawals for thermoelectric power accounted for 34 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals for all uses. Total consumptive use for thermoelectric power was 4.31 Bgal/d in 2015 or 3 percent of the total thermoelectric-power withdrawals.

Irrigation withdrawals were 118 Bgal/d in 2015, an increase of 2 percent from 2010 (116 Bgal/d), but were approximately equal to withdrawals estimated in the 1960s. Irrigation withdrawals, all freshwater, accounted for 42 percent of total freshwater withdrawals for all uses and 64 percent of total freshwater withdrawals for all uses excluding thermoelectric power. Surface-water withdrawals (60.9 Bgal/d) accounted for 52 percent of the total irrigation withdrawals, or about 8 percent less than in 2010. Ground­water withdrawals for irrigation were 57.2 Bgal/d in 2015, about 16 percent more than in 2010. About 63,500 thousand acres (or 63.5 million acres) were irrigated in 2015, an increase from 2010 of about 1,130 thousand acres (2 percent). The number of acres irrigated using sprinkler and microirrigation systems accounted for 63 percent of the total irrigated lands in 2015. Total consumptive use for irrigation was 73.2 Bgal/d in 2015 or 62 percent of the total use (withdrawals and reclaimed wastewater).

Public-supply withdrawals in 2015 were 39.0 Bgal/d, or 7 percent less than in 2010, continuing the declines observed from 2005 to 2010. Total population in the United States increased from 312.6 million people in 2010 to 325.0 million people in 2015, an increase of 4 percent. Public-supply withdrawals accounted for 14 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals for all uses and 21 percent of freshwater with­drawals for all uses, excluding thermoelectric power. The number of people that received potable water from public-supply facilities in 2015 was 283 million, or about 87 percent of the total United States population. This percentage is 1 percent greater than in 2010. Self-supplied domestic withdrawals were 3.26 Bgal/d, or 8 percent less than in 2010. More than 98 percent of the self-supplied domestic withdrawals were from groundwater sources.

Self-supplied industrial withdrawals were 14.8 Bgal/d in 2015, a 9 percent decline from 2010, continuing the downward trend since the peak of 47 Bgal/d in 1970. Total self-supplied industrial withdrawals were 5 percent of total withdrawals for all uses and 8 percent of total withdrawals for all uses, excluding thermoelectric power. Most of the total self-supplied industrial withdrawals were from surface-water sources (82 percent), and nearly all (94 percent) of those surface-water withdrawals were from freshwater sources. Nearly all of the groundwater withdrawals for self-supplied industrial use (98 percent) were from freshwater sources.

Total aquaculture withdrawals were 7.55 Bgal/d in 2015, or 16 percent less than in 2010, and surface water was the primary source (79 percent). Most of the surface-water withdrawals occurred at facilities that operated flow-through raceways, which returned the water to the source directly after use. Aquaculture withdrawals accounted for 2 percent of the total withdrawals for all uses and 4 percent of the total withdrawals for all uses, excluding thermoelectric.

Total mining withdrawals in 2015 were 4.00 Bgal/d, or about 1 percent of total withdrawals from all uses and 2 percent of total withdrawals from all uses, excluding thermoelectric. Mining withdrawals increased 1 percent from 2010 to 2015. Groundwater withdrawals accounted for 72 percent of the total mining withdrawals, and most of the groundwater was saline (65 percent). Most (77 percent) of the surface-water withdrawals for mining was freshwater.

Livestock withdrawals in 2015 were 2.00 Bgal/d, the same as in 2010. All livestock withdrawals were from freshwater sources, mostly from groundwater (62 percent). Livestock withdrawals accounted for about 1 percent of total freshwater withdrawals for all uses, excluding thermoelectric power.

In 2015, more than 50 percent of the total withdrawals in the United States were accounted for by 12 States (California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, Arkansas, New York, Illinois, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and Nebraska). California accounted for almost 9 percent of the total withdrawals and 9 percent of freshwater withdrawals in the United States, predominantly for irrigation. Texas accounted for almost 7 percent of total withdrawals, predominantly for thermoelectric power, irrigation, and public supply. Florida accounted for 23 percent of the total saline-water withdrawals in the United States, mostly from surface-water sources for thermoelectric power. Texas and California accounted for 59 percent of the total saline groundwater withdrawals in the United States, mostly for mining.

Laboratory tests of three Z‐Land Fairfield Nodal 5‐Hz, three‐component sensors

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Seismological Research Letters

Adam Ringler, Robert E. Anthony, M.S Karplus, Austin Holland, David Wilson

We conduct a number of laboratory tests at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory to verify the self‐noise and fidelity in which 3 three‐component Fairfield Nodal Z‐Land, Generation 2, 5‐Hz sensors are able to record seismic signals. In addition to the incoherent self‐noise of the sensors, we estimate the sensitivity of the units in digital volts/m/s, the damping, and the free period. These three parameters allow us to completely characterize the response of the instruments. We find that the responses of all components match a mean‐derived response to within 5% of amplitude and 0.03 radians in phase. This close agreement suggests that for most applications a nominal response is suitable. We also checked the timing of the units as compared to a Quanterra Q330HR and found good agreement up to 200samples/s . Finally, we compared the results of our noise tests on these sensors to a couple of nodal sensors recently deployed at the Community Wavefield Demonstration Experiment in north‐central Oklahoma and found that local site noise and not the sensor self‐noise is a fundamental limiter in the resolution of these deployed sensors at frequencies above ∼0.1Hz .

Reverse weathering in marine sediments and the geochemical cycle of potassium in seawater: Insights from the K isotopic composition (41K/39K) of deep-sea pore-fluids

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

Danielle P. Santiago Ramos, Leah Morgan, Nicholas S. Lloyd, John A. Higgins

In situ Al-silicate formation, also known as “reverse weathering,” is an important sink of many of the major and minor cations in seawater (e.g. Mg, K, and Li). However, the importance of this sink in global geochemical cycles and isotopic budgets of these elements remains poorly constrained. Here, we report on the potassium isotopic composition (41K/39K) of deep-sea sediment pore-fluids from four (Integrated) Ocean Drilling Program sites (1052, U1378, U1395 and U1403) to characterize potassium isotopic fractionation associated with the formation of authigenic Al-silicate minerals in marine sediments and its role in elevating the 41K/39K of seawater relative to bulk silicate Earth. Isotopic ratios are obtained by high-resolution multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) in cold plasma conditions with a long-term external reproducibility of ca. 0.17‰. We find that, although all sites are characterized by pore-fluid K concentrations that decline with increasing depth, their K isotopic profiles vary systematically from site-to-site; at sites characterized by rapid sedimentation rates, pore-fluid profiles of 41K/39K are relatively invariant whereas at sites characterized by slow sedimentation rates, 41K/39K declines with depth by up to 1.8‰. Results from 1-D diffusion-advection-reaction models suggest that these differences may result from a complex interplay between sedimentation rate and fractionation of K isotopes during diffusion, Al-silicate authigenesis, and ion exchange. Model simulations suggest fractionation factors between 0.9980 and 1.0000 for reverse weathering reactions in deep-sea sediments. Although deep-sea sites do not constitute major sinks of K in seawater, some of the processes responsible for K isotopic fractionation at these sites (diffusion and Al-silicate authigenesis) likely play a role in determining the 41K/39K of seawater.

Variation in plant defense suppresses herbivore performance

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Current Biology (28) 1981-1986

Ian Pearse, Ryan Paul, Paul J. Ode

Defensive variability of crops and natural systems can alter herbivore communities and reduce herbivory. However, it is still unknown how defense variability translates into herbivore suppression. Nonlinear averaging and constraints in physiological tracking (also more generally called time-dependent effects) are the two mechanisms by which defense variability might impact herbivores. We conducted a set of experiments manipulating the mean and variability of a plant defense, showing that defense variability does suppress herbivore performance and that it does so through physiological tracking effects that cannot be explained by nonlinear averaging. While nonlinear averaging predicted higher or the same herbivore performance on a variable defense than on an invariable defense, we show that variability actually decreased herbivore performance and population growth rate. Defense variability reduces herbivore performance in a way that is more than the average of its parts. This is consistent with constraints in physiological matching of detoxification systems for herbivores experiencing variable toxin levels in their diet and represents a more generalizable way of understanding the impacts of variability on herbivory. Increasing defense variability in croplands at a scale encountered by individual herbivores can suppress herbivory, even if that is not anticipated by nonlinear averaging.

Respiratory hazard assessment of combined exposure to complete gasoline exhaust and respirable volcanic ash in a multicellular human lung model at the air-liquid interface

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Environmental Pollution (238) 977-987

Ines Tomasek, Claire J. Horwell, Christoph Bisig, David Damby, Pierre Comte, Jan Czerwinski, Alke Petri-Fink, Martin J D Clift, Barbara Drasler, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauer

Communities resident in urban areas located near active volcanoes can experience volcanic ash exposures during, and following, an eruption, in addition to sustained exposures to high concentrations of anthropogenic air pollutants (e.g., vehicle exhaust emissions). Inhalation of anthropogenic pollution is known to cause the onset of, or exacerbate, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It is further postulated similar exposure to volcanic ash can also affect such disease states. Understanding of the impact of combined exposure of volcanic ash and anthropogenic pollution to human health, however, remains limited.

The aim of this study was to assess the biological impact of combined exposure to respirable volcanic ash (from Soufrière Hills volcano (SHV), Montserrat and Chaitén volcano (ChV), Chile; representing different magmatic compositions and eruption styles) and freshly-generated complete exhaust from a gasoline vehicle. A multicellular human lung model (an epithelial cell-layer composed of A549 alveolar type II-like cells complemented with human blood monocyte-derived macrophages and dendritic cells cultured at the air-liquid interface) was exposed to diluted exhaust (1:10) continuously for 6 h, followed by immediate exposure to the ash as a dry powder (0.54 ± 0.19 μg/cm2 and 0.39 ± 0.09 μg/cm2 for SHV and ChV ash, respectively). After an 18 h incubation, cells were exposed again for 6 h to diluted exhaust, and a final 18 h incubation (at 37 °C and 5% CO2). Cell cultures were then assessed for cytotoxic, oxidative stress and (pro-)inflammatory responses.

Results indicate that, at all tested (sub-lethal) concentrations, co-exposures with both ash samples induced no significant expression of genes associated with oxidative stress (HMOX1, NQO1) or production of (pro-)inflammatory markers (IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α) at the gene and protein levels. In summary, considering the employed experimental conditions, combined exposure of volcanic ash and gasoline vehicle exhaust has a limited short-term biological impact to an advanced lung cell in vitro model.

Sampling strategies to improve passive optical remote sensing of river bathymetry

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Remote Sensing (10)

Carl Legleiter, Brandon Overstreet, Paul J. Kinzel

Passive optical remote sensing of river bathymetry involves establishing a relation between depth and reflectance that can be applied throughout an image to produce a depth map. Building upon the Optimal Band Ratio Analysis (OBRA) framework, we introduce sampling strategies for constructing calibration data sets that lead to strong relationships between an image-derived quantity and depth across a range of depths. Progressively excluding observations that exceed a series of cutoff depths from the calibration process improved the accuracy of depth estimates and allowed the maximum detectable depth ($d_{max}$) to be inferred directly from an image. Depth retrieval in two distinct rivers also was enhanced by a stratified version of OBRA that partitions field measurements into a series of depth bins to avoid biases associated with under-representation of shallow areas in typical field data sets. In the shallower, clearer of the two rivers, including the deepest field observations in the calibration data set did not compromise depth retrieval accuracy, suggesting that $d_{max}$ was not exceeded and the reach could be mapped without gaps. Conversely, in the deeper and more turbid stream, progressive truncation of input depths yielded a plausible estimate of $d_{max}$ consistent with theoretical calculations based on field measurements of light attenuation by the water column. This result implied that the entire channel, including pools, could not be mapped remotely. However, truncation improved the accuracy of depth estimates in areas shallower than $d_{max}$, which comprise the majority of the channel and are of primary interest for many habitat-oriented applications.

Evolution of the 2015 Cotopaxi eruption revealed by combined geochemical & seismic observations

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Silvana Hidalgo, Jean Battaglia, Santiago Arellano, Daniel Sierra, Benjamin Bernard, Rene Parra, Peter Kelly, Florian Dinger, Charlotte Barrington, Pablo Samaniego

Through integration of multiple data streams to monitor volcanic unrest scientists are able to make more robust eruption forecast and to obtain a more holistic interpretation of volcanic systems. We examined gas emission and gas geochemistry, seismic and petrologic data recorded during the 2015 unrest of Cotopaxi (Ecuador) in order to decipher the origin and temporal evolution of this eruption. Identification of families of similar seismic events and the use of seismic amplitude ratios reveals temporal changes in volcanic processes. SO2 (300 to 24000 t/d), BrO/SO2 (5-10 x10-5), SO2/HCl (5.8 ± 4.8 and 6.6 ± 3.0) and CO2/SO2 (0.6 to 2.1) measured throughout the eruption indicate a shallow magmatic source. Bulk ash and glass chemistry indicate a homogenous andesitic (SiO2 wt%=56.94 ± 0.25) magma having undergone extensive S-exsolution and degassing during ascent. These data lead us to interpret this eruption as a magma intrusion and ascend to shallow levels. The intrusion progressively interacted with the hydrothermal system, boiled off water, and produced hydromagmatic explosions. A small volume of this intrusion continued to fragment and produced episodic ash emissions until it was sufficiently degassed and rheologically stiff. Based on the 470 kt of measured SO2 we estimate that ~ 65.3 x106 m3 of magma were required to supply the emitted gases. This volume exceeds the volume of erupted juvenile material by a factor of 50. This result emphasizes the importance of careful monitoring of Cotopaxi to identify the intrusion of a new batch of magma, which could rejuvenate the non-erupted material.

Bathymetric contour map, surface area and capacity table, and bathymetric difference map for Clearwater Lake near Piedmont, Missouri, 2017

Released June 19, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Map 3409

Joseph M. Richards, Richard J. Huizinga

Clearwater Lake, on the Black River near Piedmont in Reynolds County, Missouri, was constructed in 1948 and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood-risk reduction, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat. The lake area is about 1,800 acres with about 34 miles of shoreline at the conservation pool elevation of 498 feet. Since the completion of the lake in 1948, sedimentation likely has caused the storage capacity of the lake to decrease gradually. The loss of storage capacity can decrease the effectiveness of the lake to mitigate flooding, and excessive sediment accumulation also can reduce aquatic habitat in some areas of the lake. Many lakes operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have periodic bathymetric and sediment surveys to monitor the status of the lake. The U.S. Geological Survey completed one such survey of Clearwater Lake in 2008 during a period of high lake level using bathymetric surveying equipment consisting of a multibeam echosounder, a singlebeam echosounder, 1/3 arc-second National Elevation Dataset data (used outside the multibeam echosounder survey extent), and the waterline derived from 2008 aerial light detection and ranging (lidar) data. In May 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, surveyed the bathymetry of Clearwater Lake to prepare an updated bathymetric map and a surface area and capacity table. The 2008 survey was contrasted with the 2017 survey to document the changes in the bathymetric surface of the lake.

Adaptation with climate uncertainty: An examination of agricultural land use in the United States

Released June 18, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Land Use Policy (77) 392-401

Jianhong E. Mu, Bruce A. McCarl, Benjamin M. Sleeter, John T. Abatzoglou, Hongliang Zhang

This paper examines adaptation responses to climate change through adjustment of agricultural land use. The climate drivers we examine are changes in long-term climate normals (e.g., 10-year moving averages) and changes in inter-annual climate variability. Using US county level data over 1982 to 2012 from Census of Agriculture, we find that impacts of long-term climate normals are as important as that of inter-annual climate variability. Projecting into the future, we find projected climate change will lead to an expansion in crop land share across the northern and interior western United States with decreases in the south. We also find that grazing land share increases in southern regions and Inland Pacific Northwest and declines in the northern areas. However, the extent to which the adaptation potential would be is dependent on the climate model, emission scenario and time horizon under consideration.

Characterizing the sponge grounds of Grays Canyon, Washington, USA

Released June 18, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (150) 146-155

Abby N. Powell, M. Elizabeth Clarke, Erica Fruh, Jason Chaytor, Henry M. Reiswig, Curt E. Whitmire

Deep-sea sponge grounds are relatively understudied ecosystems that may provide key habitats for a large number of fish and invertebrates including commercial species. Glass sponge grounds have been discovered from the tropics to polar regions but there are only a few places with high densities of dictyonine sponges. Dictyonine glass sponges have a fused skeleton, which stays intact when they die and in some areas the accumulation of successive generations of sponges leads to the formation of reefs. In 2010 and 2016, we surveyed an area near Grays Canyon in Washington, USA, where dense aggregations of glass sponges and potential sponge reefs were discovered in 2007. Our primary aims were to make a preliminary assessment of whether the glass sponges form reefs at this location, characterize the sponge assemblage present at this site and examine associations between the sponges and commercially important species. Multibeam mapping and sub-bottom profiling indicate that the glass sponges at this site do not form reefs and are mostly attached to hard substrates. Analysis of photographs collected by an autonomous underwater vehicle and samples collected by a remotely operated vehicle guided by telepresence revealed the presence of two abundant dictyonine sponge species at this site, Heterochone calyx and Aphrocallistes vastus (mean densities = 1.43 ± 0.057 per 10 m2, max = 24 per 10 m2). We also observed a large number of non-reef-building glass sponges and various demosponges including a potentially new species in the genus Acarnus. A diverse fish assemblage was recorded at this site including eight species of rockfish. Rockfish abundance was positively related to sponge abundance. Spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros) were also abundant and were strongly associated with sponges. Despite not finding sponge reefs, this is an ecologically significant area. Further research is necessary to determine the environmental factors that give rise to the abundance of large dictyonine sponges at this location and also to determine if other similar sponge grounds exist along the west coast of the United States.

Book review: A new view on the species abundance distribution

Released June 18, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Donald L. DeAngelis

The sampled relative abundances of species of a taxonomic group, whether birds, trees, or moths, in a natural community at a particular place vary in a way that suggests a consistent underlying pattern, referred to as the species abundance distribution (SAD). Preston [1] conjectured that the numbers of species, plotted as a histogram of logarithmic abundance classes called octaves, seemed to fit a lognormal distribution; that is, the histograms look like normal distributions, although truncated on the left-hand, or low-species-abundance, end. Although other specific curves for the SAD have been proposed in the literature, Preston’s lognormal distribution is widely cited in textbooks and has stimulated attempts at explanation. An important aspect of Preston’s lognormal distribution is the ‘veil line’, a vertical line drawn exactly at the point of the left-hand truncation in the distribution, to the left of which would be species missing from the sample. Dewdney rejects the lognormal conjecture. Instead, starting with the long-recognized fact that the number of species sampled from a community, when plotted as histograms against population abundance, resembles an inverted J, he presents a mathematical description of an alternative that he calls the ‘J distribution’, a hyperbolic density function truncated at both ends. When multiplied by species richness, R, it becomes the SAD of the sample.

Quantifying anthropogenic contributions to century-scale groundwater salinity changes, San Joaquin Valley, California, USA

Released June 15, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Science of the Total Environment (642) 125-136

Jeffrey Hansen, Bryant Jurgens, Miranda S. Fram

Total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations in groundwater tapped for beneficial uses (drinking water, irrigation, freshwater industrial) have increased on average by about 100 mg/L over the last 100 years in the San Joaquin Valley, California (SJV). During this period land use in the SJV changed from natural vegetation and dryland agriculture to dominantly irrigated agriculture with growing urban areas. Century-scale salinity trends were evaluated by comparing TDS concentrations and major ion compositions of groundwater from wells sampled in 1910 (Historic) to data from wells sampled in 1993-2015 (Modern). TDS concentrations in subregions of the SJV, the southern (SSJV), western (WSJV), northeastern (NESJV), and southeastern (SESJV) were calculated using a cell-declustering method. TDS concentrations increased in all regions, with the greatest increases found in the SSJV and SESJV. Evaluation of the Modern data from the NESJV and SESJV found higher TDS concentrations in recently recharged (post-1950) groundwater from shallow (< 50 m) wells surrounded predominantly by agricultural land uses, while premodern (pre-1950) groundwater from deeper wells, and recently recharged groundwater from wells surrounded by mainly urban, natural, and mixed land uses had lower TDS concentrations, approaching the TDS concentrations in the Historic groundwater. For the NESJV and SESJV, inverse geochemical modeling with PHREEQC indicated that weathering of primary silicate minerals accounted for the majority of the increase in TDS concentrations, contributing more than nitrate from fertilizers and sulfate from soil amendments combined. Bicarbonate showed the greatest increase among major ions, resulting from enhanced silicate weathering due to recharge of irrigation water enriched in CO2 during the growing season. The results of this study demonstrate that large anthropogenic changes to the hydrologic regime, like massive development of irrigated agriculture in semi-arid areas like the SJV, can cause large changes in groundwater quality on a regional scale.

Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity

Released June 15, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Landscape Ecology (33) 879-893

Mariëlle L. van Toor, Bart Kranstauber, Scott H. Newman, Diann J. Prosser, John Y. Takekawa, Georgios Technitis, Robert Weibel, Martin Wikelski, Kamran Safi

Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of importance. Objectives We introduce an approach that combines movement-informed simulated trajectories with an environment-informed estimate of the trajectories’ plausibility to derive connectivity. Using the example of bar-headed geese we estimated migratory connectivity at a landscape level throughout the annual cycle in their native range. Methods We used tracking data of bar-headed geese to develop a multi-state movement model and to estimate temporally explicit habitat suitability within the species’ range. We simulated migratory movements between range fragments, and calculated a measure we called route viability. The results are compared to expectations derived from published literature. Results Simulated migrations matched empirical trajectories in key characteristics such as stopover duration. The viability of the simulated trajectories was similar to that of the empirical trajectories. We found that, overall, the migratory connectivity was higher within the breeding than in wintering areas, corroborating previous findings for this species. Conclusions We show how empirical tracking data and environmental information can be fused for meaningful predictions of animal movements throughout the year and even outside the spatial range of the available data. Beyond predicting migratory connectivity, our framework will prove useful for modelling ecological processes facilitated by animal movement, such as seed dispersal or disease ecology.

Tectonic development of western California during the Late Mesozoic

Released June 15, 2018 00:00 EST

1969, Article

M. Clark Blake Jr., W.P. Irwin, R.G. Coleman

No abstract available.

Diurnal patterns of methane flux from a seasonal wetland: mechanisms and methodology

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Wetlands (45) 4933-4943

Sheel Bansal, Brian Tangen, Raymond Finocchiaro

Methane emissions from wetlands are temporally dynamic. Few chamber-based studies have explored diurnal variation in methane flux with high temporal replication. Using an automated sampling system, we measured methane flux every 2.5 to 4 h for 205 diel cycles during three growing seasons (2013–2015) from a seasonal wetland in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. During ponded conditions, fluxes were generally positive (i.e., methanogenesis dominant, 10.1 ± 0.8 mg m−2 h−1), had extreme range of variation (from −1 to 70 mg m−2 h−1), and were highest during late day. In contrast, during dry conditions fluxes were very low and primarily negative (i.e., oxidation dominant, −0.05 ± 0.002 mg m−2 h−1), with the highest (least negative) fluxes occurring at pre-dawn. During semi-saturated conditions, methane fluxes also were very low, oscillated between positive and negative values (i.e., balanced between methanogenesis and methane oxidation), and exhibited no diel pattern. Methane flux was positively correlated with air temperature during ponded conditions (r = 0.57) and negatively during dry conditions (r = −0.42). Multiple regression analyses showed that temperature, light and water-filled pore space explained 72% of variation in methane flux. Methane fluxes are highly temporally dynamic and follow contrasting diel patterns that are dependent on dominant microbial processes influenced by saturation state.

Rapid crop cover mapping for the conterminous United States

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Reports (8)

Devendra Dahal, Bruce K. Wylie, Daniel Howard

Timely crop cover maps with sufficient resolution are important components to various environmental planning and research applications. Through the modification and use of a previously developed crop classification model (CCM), which was originally developed to generate historical annual crop cover maps, we hypothesized that such crop cover maps could be generated rapidly during the growing season. Through a process of incrementally removing weekly and monthly independent variables from the CCM and implementing a ‘two model mapping’ approach, we found it viable to generate conterminous United States-wide rapid crop cover maps at a resolution of 250 m for the current year by the month of September. In this approach, we divided the CCM model into one ‘crop type model’ to handle the classification of nine specific crops and a second, binary model to classify the presence or absence of ‘other’ crops. Under the two model mapping approach, the training errors were 0.8% and 1.5% for the crop type and binary model, respectively, while test errors were 5.5% and 6.4%, respectively. With spatial mapping accuracies for annual maps reaching upwards of 70%, this approach demonstrated a strong potential for generating rapid crop cover maps by the 1st of September.

Dryland photoautotrophic soil surface communities endangered by global change

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Nature Geoscience (11) 185-189

Emilio Rodriguez-Caballero, Jayne Belnap, Burkhard Büdel, Paul J. Crutzen, Meinrat O. Andreae, Ulrich Pöschl, Bettina Weber

Photoautotrophic surface communities forming biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are crucial for soil stability as well as water, nutrient and trace gas cycling at regional and global scales. Quantitative information on their global coverage and the environmental factors driving their distribution patterns, however, are not readily available. We use observations and environmental modelling to estimate the global distribution of biocrusts and their response to global change using future projected scenarios. We find that biocrusts currently covering approximately 12% of Earth’s terrestrial surface will decrease by about 25–40% within 65 years due to anthropogenically caused climate change and land-use intensification, responding far more drastically than vascular plants. Our results illustrate that current biocrust occurrence is mainly driven by a combination of precipitation, temperature and land management, and future changes are expected to be affected by land-use and climate change in similar proportion. The predicted loss of biocrusts may substantially reduce the microbial contribution to nitrogen cycling and enhance the emissions of soil dust, which affects the functioning of ecosystems as well as human health and should be considered in the modelling, mitigation and management of global change.

Seagrass impact on sediment exchange between tidal flats and salt Marsh, and the sediment budget of shallow bays

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Geophysical Research Letters

Carmine Donatelli, Neil Kamal Ganju, Sergio Fagherazzi, Nicoletta Leonardi

Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that strongly impact their physical and biological surroundings and are therefore frequently referred to as ecological engineers. The effect of seagrasses on coastal bay resilience and sediment transport dynamics is understudied. Here we use six historical maps of seagrass distribution in Barnegat Bay, USA, to investigate the role of these vegetated surfaces on the sediment storage capacity of shallow bays. Analyses are carried out by means of the Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST) numerical modeling framework. Results show that a decline in the extent of seagrass meadows reduces the sediment mass potentially stored within bay systems. The presence of seagrass reduces shear stress values across the entire bay, including unvegetated areas, and promotes sediment deposition on tidal flats. On the other hand, the presence of seagrasses decreases suspended sediment concentrations, which in turn reduces the delivery of sediment to marsh platforms. Results highlight the relevance of seagrasses for the long-term survival of coastal ecosystems, and the complex dynamics regulating the interaction between subtidal and intertidal landscapes.

Historical sediment mercury deposition trends for South Dakota lakes

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Paleolimnology

Maria K. Squillace, Heidi L. Sieverding, Hailemelekot H. Betemariam, Noel R. Urban, Michael R. Penn, Thomas M. DeSutter, Steven R. Chipps, James J. Stone


Select South Dakota, USA water bodies, including both natural lakes and man-made impoundments, were sampled and analyzed to assess mercury (Hg) dynamics and historical patterns of total Hg deposition.

Materials and methods

Sediment cores were collected from seven South Dakota lakes. Mercury concentrations and flux profiles were determined using lead (210Pb) dating and sedimentation rates.

Results and discussion

Most upper lake sediments contained variable heavy metal concentrations, but became more consistent with depth and age. Five of the seven lakes exhibited Hg accumulation fluxes that peaked between 1920 and 1960, while the remaining two lakes exhibited recent (1995–2009) Hg flux spikes. Historical sediment accumulation rates and Hg flux profiles demonstrate similar peak and stabilized values. Mercury in the sampled South Dakota lakes appears to emanate from watershed transport due to erosion from agricultural land use common to the Northern Great Plains.


For sampled South Dakota lakes, watershed inputs are more significant sources of Hg than atmospheric deposition.

A guide to processing bat acoustic data for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Released June 14, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1068

Brian Reichert, Cori Lausen, Susan Loeb, Ted Weller, Ryan Allen, Eric Britzke, Tara Hohoff, Jeremy Siemers, Braden Burkholder, Carl Herzog, Michelle Verant

The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) aims to improve the state of conservation science for all species of bats shared by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To accomplish this goal, NABat offers guidance and standardized protocols for acoustic monitoring of bats. In this document, “A Guide to Processing Bat Acoustic Data for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat),” we provide general recommendations and specific workflows for the process of identifying bat species from acoustic files recorded using the NABat stationary point and mobile transect acoustic monitoring protocols.

Bedrock geologic map of the Littleton and Lower Waterford quadrangles, Essex and Caledonia Counties, Vermont, and Grafton County, New Hampshire

Released June 13, 2018 14:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1087

Douglas W. Rankin

The bedrock geologic map of the Littleton and Lower Waterford quadrangles covers an area of approximately 107 square miles (277 square kilometers) north and south of the Connecticut River in east-central Vermont and adjacent New Hampshire. This map was created as part of a larger effort to produce a new bedrock geologic map of Vermont through the collection of field data at a scale of 1:24,000. A large part of the map area consists of the Bronson Hill anticlinorium, a post-Early Devonian structure that is cored by metamorphosed Cambrian to Devonian sedimentary, volcanic, and plutonic rocks. The northwestern part of the map is divided by the Monroe fault which separates Early Devonian rocks of the Connecticut Valley-Gaspé trough from rocks of the Bronson Hill anticlinorium.

The Bronson Hill anticlinorium is the apex of the Middle Ordovician to earliest-Silurian Bronson Hill magmatic arc that contains the Ammonoosuc Volcanics, Partridge Formation, and Oliverian Plutonic suite, and extends from Maine, down the eastern side of the Connecticut River in New Hampshire, to Long Island Sound. The deformed and partially eroded arc is locally overlain by a relatively thin Silurian section of metasedimentary rocks (Clough Quartzite and Fitch Formation) that thickens to the east. The Silurian section near Littleton is disconformably overlain by a thicker, Lower Devonian section that includes mostly metasedimentary rocks and minor metavolcanic rocks of the Littleton Formation. The Bronson Hill anticlinorium is bisected by a series of northeast-southwest trending Mesozoic normal faults. Primarily among them is the steeply northwest-dipping Ammonoosuc fault that divides older and younger units (upper and lower sections) of the Ammonoosuc Volcanics. The Ammonoosuc Volcanics are lithologically complex and predominantly include interlayered and interfingered rhyolitic to basaltic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks, as well as lesser amounts of metamorphic and metasedimentary rocks. The Ammonoosuc Volcanics overlies the Albee Formation that consists of interlayered feldspathic sandstone, siltstone, pelite, and slate.

During the Late Ordovician, a series of arc-related plutons intruded the Ammonoosuc Volcanics, including the Whitefield pluton to the east, the Scrag granite of Billing (1937) in the far southeastern corner of the map, the Highlandcroft Granodiorite just to the west of the Ammonoosuc fault, and the Joslin Turn tonalite (just north of the Connecticut River). To the east of the Monroe fault lies the late Silurian Comerford Intrusive Complex, which consists of metamorphosed gabbro, diorite, tonalite, aplitic tonalite, and crosscutting diabase dikes. Abundant mafic dikes of the Comerford Intrusive Complex intruded the Albee Formation and Ammonoosuc Volcanics well east of the Monroe fault.

This report consists of a single geologic map sheet and an online geographic information systems database that includes contacts of bedrock geologic units, faults, outcrops, and structural geologic information.

Nonbreeding duck use at Central Flyway National Wildlife Refuges

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management (9) 45-64

Kent Andersson, Craig A. Davis, Grant Harris, David A. Haukos

Within the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages waterfowl on numerous individual units (i.e., Refuges) within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Presently, the extent of waterfowl use that Refuges receive and the contribution of Refuges to waterfowl populations (i.e., the proportion of the Central Flyway population registered at each Refuge) remain unassessed. Such an evaluation would help determine to what extent Refuges support waterfowl relative to stated targets, aid in identifying species requiring management attention, inform management targets, and improve fiscal efficiencies. Using historic monitoring data (1954–2008), we performed this assessment for 23 Refuges in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska during migration and wintering months (October–March). We examined six dabbling ducks and two diving ducks, plus all dabbling ducks and all diving ducks across two periods (long-term [all data] and short-term [last 10 October–March periods]). Individual Refuge use was represented by the sum of monthly duck count averages for October–March. We used two indices of Refuge contribution: peak contribution and January contribution. Peak contribution was the highest monthly count average for each October–March period divided by the indexed population total for the Central Flyway in the corresponding year; January contribution used the January count average divided by the corresponding population index. Generally, Refuges in Kansas, Nebraska, and New Mexico recorded most use and contribution for mallards Anas platyrhynchos. Refuges along the Texas Gulf Coast recorded most use and contribution for other dabbling ducks, with Laguna Atascosa and Aransas (including Matagorda Island) recording most use for diving ducks. The long-term total January contribution of the assessed Refuges to ducks wintering in the Central Flyway was greatest for green-winged teal Anas creccawith 35%; 12–15% for American wigeon Mareca americana, gadwall Mareca strepera, and northern pintail Anas acuta; and 7–8% for mallard and mottled duck Anas fulvigula. Results indicated that the reliance on the National Wildlife Refuge System decreased for these ducks, with evidence suggesting that, for several species, the assessed Refuges may be operating at carrying capacity. Future analyses could be more detailed and informative were Refuges to implement a single consistent survey methodology that incorporated estimations of detection bias in the survey process, while concomitantly recording habitat metrics on and neighboring each Refuge.

Multistate models of bigheaded carps in the Illinois River reveal spatial dynamics of invasive species

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Biological Invasions

Alison A. Coulter, Marybeth Brey, Matthew Lubejko, Jahn L. Kallis, David P. Coulter, David C. Glover, Gregory W. Whitledge, James E. Garvey

Knowledge of the spatial distributions and dispersal characteristics of invasive species is necessary for managing the spread of highly mobile species, such as invasive bigheaded carps (Bighead Carp [Hypophthalmichthys nobilis] and Silver Carp [H. molitrix]). Management of invasive bigheaded carps in the Illinois River has focused on using human-made barriers and harvest to limit dispersal towards the Laurentian Great Lakes. Acoustic telemetry data were used to parameterize multistate models to examine the spatial dynamics of bigheaded carps in the Illinois River to (1) evaluate the effects of existing dams on movement, (2) identify how individuals distribute among pools, and (3) gauge the effects of reductions in movement towards the invasion front. Multistate models estimated that movement was generally less likely among upper river pools (Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island) than the lower river (La Grange and Peoria) which matched the pattern of gated versus wicket style dams. Simulations using estimated movement probabilities indicated that Bighead Carp accumulate in La Grange Pool while Silver Carp accumulate in Alton Pool. Fewer Bighead Carp reached the upper river compared to Silver Carp during simulations. Reducing upstream movement probabilities (e.g., reduced propagule pressure) by ≥ 75% into any of the upper river pools could reduce upper river abundance with similar results regardless of location. Given bigheaded carp reproduction in the upper Illinois River is presently limited, reduced movement towards the invasion front coupled with removal of individuals reaching these areas could limit potential future dispersal towards the Great Lakes.

Cyanobacteria reduce quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) spawning and fertilization success

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Freshwater Science

Anna G. Boegehold, Nicholas Johnson, Jeffrey L. Ran, Donna R. Kashian

Quagga mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) are highly fecund broadcast spawners invasive to freshwaters of North America and western Europe. We hypothesized that environmental cues from phytoplankton can trigger gamete release in quagga mussels. Nutritious algae may stimulate dreissenid spawning, but less palatable food, such as bloom-forming cyanobacteria, could be a hindrance. The objective of our study was to test whether exposure to cyanobacteria can inhibit quagga mussel spawning and fertilization. We assessed spawning in the presence of serotonin, a known spawning inducer, where adult quagga mussels placed in individual vials were exposed to 13 cyanobacteria cultures and purified algal toxin (microcystin-LR) with artificial lake water as the control. Fertilization success was evaluated by combining eggs with sperm in conjunction with cyanobacteria, and enumerating zygote formation marked by cellular cleavage. Several cyanobacterial strains reduced spawning and fertilization success, but microcystin-LR had no effect. Fertilization was more sensitive to cyanobacteria than gamete release. Only 1 culture, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, inhibited spawning, whereas 6 cultures consisting of Anabaena flos-aquae, Dolichospermum lemmermanii, Gloeotrichia echinulata, Lyngbya wollei, and 2 Microcystis aeruginosa isolates reduced fertilization rates by up to 44%. The effects of cyanobacteria on reproduction in invasive freshwater mussels in the wild have not yet been identified. However, our laboratory studies show that concentrations of cyanobacteria that are possible during bloom conditions probably limit reproduction. Reproductive consequences on wild populations may become more prevalent as cyanobacteria blooms occur earlier in the year, making overlap between blooms and mussel spawning more common. Describing the mechanism by which cyanobacteria inhibit spawning and fertilization could reveal novel control methods to limit reproduction of this invasive species.

Protection from UV light is an evolutionarily conserved feature of the haematopoietic niche

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Nature

Friedrich G. Kapp, Julie R. Perlin, Elliott J. Hagedorn, John M. Gansner, Daniel E. Schwarz, Lauren A. O'Connell, Nicholas Johnson, Chris Amemiya, David E. Fisher, Ute Wolfle, Eirini Trompouki, Charlotte M. Niemeyer, Wolfgang Driever, Leonard I. Zon

Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) require a specific microenvironment, the haematopoietic niche, which regulates HSPC behaviour. The location of this niche varies across species, but the evolutionary pressures that drive HSPCs to different microenvironments remain unknown. The niche is located in the bone marrow in adult mammals, whereas it is found in other locations in non-mammalian vertebrates, for example, in the kidney marrow in teleost fish. Here we show that a melanocyte umbrella above the kidney marrow protects HSPCs against ultraviolet light in zebrafish. Because mutants that lack melanocytes have normal steady-state haematopoiesis under standard laboratory conditions, we hypothesized that melanocytes above the stem cell niche protect HSPCs against ultraviolet-light-induced DNA damage. Indeed, after ultraviolet-light irradiation, unpigmented larvae show higher levels of DNA damage in HSPCs, as indicated by staining of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and have reduced numbers of HSPCs, as shown by cmyb (also known as myb) expression. The umbrella of melanocytes associated with the haematopoietic niche is highly evolutionarily conserved in aquatic animals, including the sea lamprey, a basal vertebrate. During the transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment, HSPCs relocated into the bone marrow, which is protected from ultraviolet light by the cortical bone around the marrow. Our studies reveal that melanocytes above the haematopoietic niche protect HSPCs from ultraviolet-light-induced DNA damage in aquatic vertebrates and suggest that during the transition to terrestrial life, ultraviolet light was an evolutionary pressure affecting the location of the haematopoietic niche.

Rapid 3-D analysis of rockfalls

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, GSA Today (28)

Greg M. Stock, A. Guerin, Nikita N. Avdievitch, Brian D. Collins, Michel Jaboyedoff

Recent fatal and damaging rockfalls in Yosemite National Park indicate the need for rapid response data collection methods to inform public safety and assist with management response. Here we show the use of multiple-platform remote sensing methods to rapidly capture pertinent data needed to inform management and the public following a several large rockfalls from El Capitan cliff in Yosemite Valley, California.

A distributed pipeline for DIDSON data processing

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Conference Paper, 2017 IEEE International Conference on Big Data

Liling Li, Tyler Danner, Jesse Eickholt, Erin L. McCann, Kevin Pangle, Nicholas Johnson

Technological advances in the field of ecology allow data on ecological systems to be collected at high resolution, both temporally and spatially. Devices such as Dual-frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) can be deployed in aquatic environments for extended periods and easily generate several terabytes of underwater surveillance data which may need to be processed multiple times. Due to the large amount of data generated and need for flexibility in processing, a distributed pipeline was constructed for DIDSON data making use of the Hadoop ecosystem. The pipeline is capable of ingesting raw DIDSON data, transforming the acoustic data to images, filtering the images, detecting and extracting motion, and generating feature data for machine learning and classification. All of the tasks in the pipeline can be run in parallel and the framework allows for custom processing. Applications of the pipeline include monitoring migration times, determining the presence of a particular species, estimating population size and other fishery management tasks.

Characterization of Sea Lamprey stream entry using dual‐frequency identification sonar

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (147) 514-524

Erin L. McCain, Nicholas Johnson, Peter J. Hrodey, Kevin L. Pangle

Effective methods to control invasive Sea Lampreys Petromyzon marinus in the Laurentian Great Lakes often rely on knowledge of the timing of the Sea Lamprey spawning migration, which has previously been characterized using data gathered from traps. Most assessment traps are located many kilometers upstream from the river mouth, so less is known about when Sea Lampreys enter spawning streams and which environmental cues trigger their transition from lakes to rivers. To decide how to develop barriers and traps that target Sea Lampreys when they enter a stream, the stream entry of Sea Lampreys into a Lake Huron tributary during 2 years was assessed using dual‐frequency identification sonar (DIDSON). Sea Lampreys entered the stream in low densities when temperatures first reached 4°C, which was up to 6 weeks and a mean of 4 weeks earlier than when they were first captured in traps located upstream. The probability of stream entry was significantly affected by stream temperature and discharge, and stream entry timing peaked when stream temperatures rose to 12°C and discharge was high. Examination of the entry at a finer temporal resolution (i.e., minutes) indicated that Sea Lampreys did not exhibit social behavior (e.g., shoaling) during stream entry. Our findings indicate that Sea Lampreys may be vulnerable to alternative trap types near river mouths and hydraulic challenges associated with traditional traps. Also, seasonal migration barriers near stream mouths may need to be installed soon after ice‐out to effectively block the entire adult Sea Lamprey cohort from upstream spawning habitat.

Reexamination of the subsurface fault structure in the vicinity of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, central California, using steep-reflection, earthquake, and magnetic data

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1093

Edward Zhang, Gary S. Fuis, Rufus D. Catchings, Daniel S. Scheirer, Mark Goldman, Klaus Bauer

We reexamine the geometry of the causative fault structure of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in central California, using seismic-reflection, earthquake-hypocenter, and magnetic data. Our study is prompted by recent interpretations of a two-part dip of the San Andreas Fault (SAF) accompanied by a flower-like structure in the Coachella Valley, in southern California. Initially, the prevailing interpretation of fault geometry in the vicinity of the Loma Prieta earthquake was that the mainshock did not rupture the SAF, but rather a secondary fault within the SAF system, because network locations of aftershocks defined neither a vertical plane nor a fault plane that projected to the surface trace of the SAF. Subsequent waveform cross-correlation and double-difference relocations of Loma Prieta aftershocks appear to have clarified the fault geometry somewhat, with steeply dipping faults in the upper crust possibly connecting to the more moderately southwest-dipping mainshock rupture in the middle crust. Examination of steep-reflection data, extracted from a 1991 seismic-refraction profile through the Loma Prieta area, reveals three robust fault-like features that agree approximately in geometry with the clusters of upper-crustal relocated aftershocks. The subsurface geometry of the San Andreas, Sargent, and Berrocal Faults can be mapped using these features and the aftershock clusters. The San Andreas and Sargent Faults appear to dip northeastward in the uppermost crust and change dip continuously toward the southwest with depth. Previous models of gravity and magnetic data on profiles through the aftershock region also define a steeply dipping SAF, with an initial northeastward dip in the uppermost crust that changes with depth. At a depth 6 to 9 km, upper-crustal faults appear to project into the moderately southwest-dipping, planar mainshock rupture. The change to a planar dipping rupture at 6–9 km is similar to fault geometry seen in the Coachella Valley.

National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3027

John L. Faundeen, Ryan Longhenry

The National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive is managed on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 (51 U.S.C. §601) directed the U.S. Department of the Interior to establish a permanent global archive consisting of imagery over land areas obtained from satellites orbiting the Earth. The law also directed the U.S. Department of the Interior, delegated to the U.S. Geological Survey, to ensure proper storage and preservation of imagery, and timely access for all parties. Since 2008, these images have been available at no cost to the user.

Streamflow and selenium loads during synoptic sampling of the Gunnison River and its tributaries near Delta, Colorado, November 2015

Released June 13, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5029

Michael R. Stevens, Kenneth J. Leib, Judith C. Thomas, Nancy J. Bauch, Rodney J. Richards

In response to the need for more information about selenium (Se) sources and transport, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, completed a study that characterized Se loads in a reach of the Gunnison River between Delta and Grand Junction, Colo. This report identifies where possible dissolved Se loading is occurring in a study reach in the Lower Gunnison River Basin between Delta and Grand Junction on November 19, 2015.

The combined Se loads from the Gunnison River at Delta (site 3) and the Uncompahgre River at Delta (site 4) were about 95 percent of the load at the furthest downstream main-stem sample location at the Gunnison River below Roubideau Creek near Delta (site 20) (31.6 and 33.4 pounds per day, respectively), indicating that about 5 percent of the total load (1.8 pounds) was potentially contributed from diffuse groundwater inflow. Main-stem streamflow accounting during November 2015 in a downstream direction was not supportive of substantial net gains or losses in the main-stem water balance.

The cumulative load from measured tributary inflows downstream from the Uncompahgre River confluence only amounted to 1.2 pounds of the main-stem loads (1.8 pounds gain) from site 4 to the end of the synoptic reach at site 20. The remaining 33 percent (about 0.6 pounds) of Se load increase was not accounted for by known tributary inflow. Yet, the small changes in the streamflow mass balance in the same reach does not strongly support a net inflow explanation for the apparent gain in load.

Based on the results of the loading and streamflow analysis, when errors in the loading estimates are considered, there is no conclusive evidence of an appreciable amount of Se load that is unaccounted for in the study reach of the Gunnison River as was originally hypothesized. Differences determined from comparisons of cumulative tributary loads and Gunnison River main-stem loads for this study are within error estimates of the main-stem loads.

Spatial patterns of development drive water use

Released June 12, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Water Resources Research (54) 1633-1649

G.M. Sanchez, J.W. Smith, Adam J. Terando, G. Sun, R.K. Meentemeyer

Water availability is becoming more uncertain as human populations grow, cities expand into rural regions and the climate changes. In this study, we examine the functional relationship between water use and the spatial patterns of developed land across the rapidly growing region of the southeastern United States. We quantified the spatial pattern of developed land within census tract boundaries, including multiple metrics of density and configuration. Through non‐spatial and spatial regression approaches we examined relationships and spatial dependencies between the spatial pattern metrics, socio‐economic and environmental variables and two water use variables: a) domestic water use, and b) total development‐related water use (a combination of public supply, domestic self‐supply and industrial self‐supply). Metrics describing the spatial patterns of development had the highest measure of relative importance (accounting for 53% of model's explanatory power), explaining significantly more variance in water use compared to socio‐economic or environmental variables commonly used to estimate water use. Integrating metrics characterizing the spatial pattern of development into water use models is likely to increase their utility and could facilitate water‐efficient land use planning.

Hydrographic surveys of rivers and lakes using a multibeam echosounder mapping system

Released June 12, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3021

Richard J. Huizinga, David C. Heimann

A multibeam echosounder is a type of sound navigation and ranging device that uses sound waves to “see” through even murky waters. Unlike a single beam echosounder (also known as a depth sounder or fathometer) that releases a single sound pulse in a single, narrow beam and “listens” for the return echo, a multibeam system emits a multidirectional radial beam to obtain information within a fan-shaped swath. The timing and direction of the returning sound waves provide detailed information on the depth of water and the shape of the river channel, lake bottom, or any underwater features of interest. This information has been used by the U.S. Geological Survey to efficiently generate high-resolution maps of river and lake bottoms.

Subdivision of the San Lorenzo Formation (Eocene and Oligocene) west-central California

Released June 12, 2018 00:00 EST

1964, AAPG Bulletin (48) 670-679

E.E. Brabb

The San Lorenzo Formation was for many years considered synonymous with Oligocene Series. The formation name was extended, incorrectly in most cases, to rocks as far north as British Columbia and as far south as southern California. The formation in its type area was never adequately studied, resulting in fallacious concepts of its faunas and erroneous correlations.

The San Lorenzo Formation has been subdivided into the Twobar Shale Member of Narizian (late Eocene) age and Rices Mudstone Member of Rufugian and Zemorrian (Eocene and Oligocene) age. Faunas and lithology suggest that the older member was deposited slowly in a bathyal, open-sea environment, whereas the Rices Mudstone Member seems to have been deposited rapidly in a restricted basin. Glauconite at the contact of the members suggests a stratigraphic break in the depositional sequence.

Most, perhaps all, of the so-called characteristic San Lorenzo mollusks are from the upper (Zemorrian) part of the Rices Mudstone Member, or from the overlying Vaqueros Sandstone. The "transitional sandstone" of Arnold is Vaqueros, not San Lorenzo.

Subdivision of the San Lorenzo Formation and the discovery of glauconitic marker beds provide additional stratigraphic control in an oil province characterized by poor exposures.

Voyageurs National Park: Water-level regulation and effects on water quality and aquatic biology

Released June 11, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Conference Paper, World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2018

Victoria G. Christensen, Ryan P. Maki, Jaime F. LeDuc

Following dam installations in the remote Rainy Lake Basin during the early 1900s, water-level fluctuations were considered extreme (1914–1949) compared to more natural conditions. In 1949, the International Joint Commission (IJC), which sets rules governing dam operation on waters shared by the United States and Canada, established the first rule curves to regulate water levels on these waterbodies. However, rule curves established prior to 2000 were determined to be detrimental to the ecosystem. Therefore, the IJC implemented an order in 2000 to change rule curves and to restore a more natural water regime. After 2000, measured chlorophyll-a concentrations in the two most eutrophic water bodies decreased whereas concentrations in oligotrophic lakes did not show significant water-quality differences. Fish mercury data were inconclusive, due to the variation in water levels and fish mercury concentrations, but can be used by the IJC as part of a long term data set.

A history of trade routes and water-level regulation on waterways in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, USA

Released June 11, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Conference Paper, World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2018

Victoria G. Christensen, Andrew E. LaBounty

Unlike most national parks, main access to Voyageurs National Park is by boat. This remote system of interconnected waterways along the USA-Canada border was an important transportation route for thousands of years of American Indian occupation, leading up to and including the trade route of the voyageurs, or French-Canadian fur traders from around 1680 to 1870. The Ojibwe people collaborated with the voyageurs and the two cultures developed a trade network that continued to rely on these waterways. By the mid-1800s, European fashion changed, and the fur trade dwindled while the Ojibwe remained tied to the land and waters. The complexity of the waterways increased with the installation of dams on two of the natural lakes in the early 1900s. Modern water levels have affected—and in some cases destabilized—vulnerable landforms within the past century. The knowledge of these effects can be used by resource managers to weigh the consequences of hydrologic manipulation in Voyageurs National Park.

Real-time water quality monitoring at a Great Lakes National Park

Released June 11, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Environmental Quality

Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Meredith Nevers, Dawn Shively, Ashley Spoljaric, Christopher Otto

Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used by the USEPA to establish new recreational water quality criteria in 2012 using the indicator bacteria enterococci. The application of this method has been limited, but resource managers are interested in more timely monitoring results. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of qPCR as a rapid, alternative method to the time-consuming membrane filtration (MF) method for monitoring water at select beaches and rivers of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, MI. Water samples were collected from four locations (Esch Road Beach, Otter Creek, Platte Point Bay, and Platte River outlet) in 2014 and analyzed for culture-based (MF) and non-culture-based (i.e., qPCR) endpoints using Escherichia coli and enterococci bacteria. The MF and qPCR enterococci results were significantly, positively correlated overall (r = 0.686, p < 0.0001, n = 98) and at individual locations as well, except at the Platte River outlet location: Esch Road Beach (r = 0.441, p = 0.031, n = 24), Otter Creek (r = 0.592, p = 0.002, n = 24), and Platte Point Bay (r = 0.571, p = 0.004, n = 24). Similarly, E. coli MF and qPCR results were significantly, positively correlated (r = 0.469, p < 0.0001, n = 95), overall but not at individual locations. Water quality standard exceedances based on enterococci levels by qPCR were lower than by MF method: 3 and 16, respectively. Based on our findings, we conclude that qPCR may be a viable alternative to the culture-based method for monitoring water quality on public lands. Rapid, same-day results are achievable by the qPCR method, which greatly improves protection of the public from water-related illnesses.

Acoustic telemetry observation systems: challenges encountered and overcome in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Released June 11, 2018 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Charles C. Krueger, Christopher Holbrook, Thomas R. Binder, Christopher Vandergoot, Todd A. Hayden, Darryl W. Hondorp, Nancy Nate, Kelli Paige, Stephen Riley, Aaron T. Fisk, Steven J. Cooke

The Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS), organized in 2012, aims to advance and improve conservation and management of Great Lakes fishes by providing information on behavior, habitat use, and population dynamics. GLATOS faced challenges during establishment, including a funding agency-imposed urgency to initiate projects, a lack of telemetry expertise, and managing a flood of data. GLATOS now connects 190+ investigators, provides project consultation, maintains a web-based data portal, contributes data to Ocean Tracking Network’s global database, loans equipment, and promotes science transfer to managers. The GLATOS database currently has 50+ projects, 39 species tagged, 8000+ fish released, and 150+ million tag detections. Lessons learned include (1) seek advice from others experienced in telemetry; (2) organize networks prior to when shared data is urgently needed; (3) establish a data management system so that all receivers can contribute to every project; (4) hold annual meetings to foster relationships; (5) involve fish managers to ensure relevancy; and (6) staff require full-time commitment to lead and coordinate projects and to analyze data and publish results.

Addresses, topics of interest, and geographic distribution of professors working on landslides in the United States

Released June 11, 2018 00:00 EST

1984, Report

E.E. Brabb, Ann R. FitzSimmons

Preliminary geologic framework developed for a proposed environmental monitoring study of a deep, unconventional Marcellus Shale drill site, Washington County, Pennsylvania

Released June 08, 2018 14:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1057

Robert G. Stamm


In the fall of 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was afforded an opportunity to participate in an environmental monitoring study of the potential impacts of a deep, unconventional Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing site. The drill site of the prospective case study is the “Range Resources MCC Partners L.P. Units 1-5H” location (also referred to as the “RR–MCC” drill site), located in Washington County, southwestern Pennsylvania. Specifically, the USGS was approached to provide a geologic framework that would (1) provide geologic parameters for the proposed area of a localized groundwater circulation model, and (2) provide potential information for the siting of both shallow and deep groundwater monitoring wells located near the drill pad and the deviated drill legs.

The lead organization of the prospective case study of the RR–MCC drill site was the Groundwater and Ecosystems Restoration Division (GWERD) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Aside from the USGS, additional partners/participants were to include the Department of Energy, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the developer Range Resources LLC. During the initial cooperative phase, GWERD, with input from the participating agencies, drafted a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) that proposed much of the objectives, tasks, sampling and analytical procedures, and documentation of results.

Later in 2012, the proposed cooperative agreement between the aforementioned partners and the associated land owners for a monitoring program at the drill site was not executed. Therefore, the prospective case study of the RR–MCC site was terminated and no installation of groundwater monitoring wells nor the collection of nearby soil, stream sediment, and surface-water samples were made.

Prior to the completion of the QAPP and termination of the perspective case study the geologic framework was rapidly conducted and nearly completed. This was done for three principal reasons. First, there was an immediate need to know the distribution of the relatively undisturbed surface to near-surface bedrock geology and unconsolidated materials for the collection of baseline surface data prior to drill site development (drill pad access road, drill pad leveling) and later during monitoring associated with well drilling, well development, and well production. Second, it was necessary to know the bedrock geology to support the siting of: (1) multiple shallow groundwater monitoring wells (possibly as many as four) surrounding and located immediately adjacent to the drill pad, and (2) deep groundwater monitoring wells (possibly two) located at distance from the drill pad with one possibly being sited along one of the deviated production drill legs. Lastly, the framework geology would provide the lateral extent, thickness, lithology, and expected discontinuities of geologic units (to be parsed or grouped as hydrostratigraphic units) and regional structure trends as inputs into the groundwater model.

This report provides the methodology of geologic data accumulation and aggregation, and its integration into a geographic information system (GIS) based program. The GIS program will allow multiple data to be exported in various formats (shapefiles [.shp], database files [.dbf], and Keyhole Markup Language files [.KML]) for use in surface and subsurface geologic site characterization, for sampling strategies, and for inputs for groundwater modeling.

Geologic map of the Fort Morgan 7.5' quadrangle, Morgan County, Colorado

Released June 08, 2018 11:40 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Map 3408

Margaret E. Berry, Emily M. Taylor, Janet L. Slate, James B. Paces, Paul R. Hanson, Theodore R. Brandt

The Fort Morgan 7.5′ quadrangle is located on the semiarid plains of northeastern Colorado, along the South Platte River corridor where the river has incised into Upper Cretaceous Pierre Shale. The Pierre Shale is largely covered by surficial deposits that formed from alluvial, eolian, and hillslope processes operating in concert with environmental changes from the late Pliocene to the present. The South Platte River, originating high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, has played a major role in shaping surficial geology in the map area, which is several tens of kilometers downstream from where headwater tributaries join the river. Recurrent glaciation (and deglaciation) of basin headwaters has affected river discharge and sediment supply far downstream, influencing deposition of alluvium and river incision in the Fort Morgan quadrangle. Distribution and characteristics of the alluvial deposits indicate that during the Pleistocene the course of the river within the map area shifted progressively southward as it incised, and by late middle Pleistocene the river was south of its present position, cutting and filling a deep paleochannel near the south edge of the quadrangle. The river shifted back to the north during the late Pleistocene. Kiowa and Bijou Creeks are unglaciated tributaries originating in the Colorado Piedmont east of the Front Range that also have played a major role in shaping surficial geology of the map area. Periodically during the late Pleistocene, major flood events on these tributaries deposited large volumes of sediment at and near their confluences, forming a broad, low-gradient fan composed of sidestream alluvium that could have occasionally dammed the river for short periods of time. Wildcat Creek, also originating on the Colorado Piedmont, and the small drainage of Cris Lee Draw dissect the map area north of the river. Eolian sand deposits of the Sterling (north of river) and Fort Morgan (south of river) dune fields cover much of the quadrangle and record past episodes of sand mobilization during times of prolonged drought. With the onset of irrigation and damming during historical times, the South Platte River has changed from a broad, shallow, and sandy braided river with highly variable seasonal discharge to a much narrower, deeper river with braided-meandering transition morphology and more uniform discharge.

On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America

Released June 08, 2018 11:15 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1043

Jeffrey J. Love, E. Joshua Rigler, Anna Kelbert, Carol A. Finn, Paul A. Bedrosian, Christopher C. Balch

A review is given of the present feasibility for accurately mapping geoelectric fields across North America in near-realtime by modeling geomagnetic monitoring and magnetotelluric survey data. Should this capability be successfully developed, it could inform utility companies of magnetic-storm interference on electric-power-grid systems. That real-time mapping of geoelectric fields is a challenge is reflective of (1) the spatiotemporal complexity of geomagnetic variation, especially during magnetic storms, (2) the sparse distribution of ground-based geomagnetic monitoring stations that report data in realtime, (3) the spatial complexity of three-dimensional solid-Earth impedance, and (4) the geographically incomplete state of continental-scale magnetotelluric surveys.

Against the current— The Mojave River from sink to source: The 2018 Desert Symposium field trip road log

Released June 08, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Conference Paper, Against the Current: The Mojave River from Sink to Source; 2018 Desert Symposium

David Miller, R.E. Reynolds, Krishangi D. Groover, David C. Buesch, H. J. Brown, Geoffrey Cromwell, Jill Densmore-Judy, A.L. Garcia, D. Hughson, J.R. Knott, Jeffrey E. Lovich

The Mojave River evolved over the past few million years by “fill and spill” from upper basins near its source in the Transverse Ranges to lower basins. Each newly “spilled into” basin in the series? sustained a long-lived lake but gradually filled with Mojave River sediment, leading to spill to a yet lower elevation? basin. The Mojave River currently terminates at Silver Lake, near Baker, CA, but previously overflowed this terminus onward to Lake Manly in Death Valley during the last glacial cycle. The river’s origin and evolution are intricately interwoven with tectonic, climatic, and geomorphic processes through time, beginning with San Andreas fault interactions that created a mountain range across a former externally draining river. We will see and discuss the Mojave River’s predecessor streams and basins, its evolution as it lengthened to reach the central Mojave Desert, local and regional tectonic controls, groundwater flow, flood history, and support of isolated perennial stream reaches that host endemic species. In association with these subjects are supporting studies such as paleoclimate records, location and timing for groundwater and wetlands in the central Mojave Desert, and effects of modern water usage. The trip introduces new findings for the groundwater basin of Hinkley Valley, including an ongoing remediation project that provides a wealth of information on past and present river flow and associated development of the groundwater system.

Bend-scale geomorphic classification and assessment of the Lower Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa, to the Mississippi River for application to pallid sturgeon management

Released June 07, 2018 15:10 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5069

Robert B. Jacobson, Michael E. Colvin, Edward A. Bulliner, Darcy Pickard, Caroline M. Elliott

Management actions intended to increase growth and survival of pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) age-0 larvae on the Lower Missouri River require a comprehensive understanding of the geomorphic habitat template of the river. The study described here had two objectives relating to where channel-reconfiguration projects should be located to optimize effectiveness. The first objective was to develop a bend-scale (that is, at the scale of individual bends, defined as “cross-over to cross-over”) geomorphic classification of the Lower Missouri River to help in the design of monitoring and evaluation of such projects. The second objective was to explore whether geomorphic variables could provide insight into varying capacities of bends to intercept drifting larvae. The bend-scale classification was based on geomorphic and engineering variables for 257 bends from Sioux City, Iowa, to the confluence with the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri. We used k-means clustering to identify groupings of bends that shared the same characteristics. Separate 3-, 4-, and 6-cluster classifications were developed and mapped. The three classifications are nested in a hierarchical structure. We also explored capacities of bends to intercept larvae through evaluation of linear models that predicted persistent sand area or catch per unit effort (CPUE) of age-0 sturgeon as a function of the same geomorphic variables used in the classification. All highly ranked models that predict persistent sand area contained mean channel width and standard deviation of channel width as significant variables. Some top-ranked models also included contributions of channel sinuosity and density of navigation structures. The sand-area prediction models have r-squared values of 0.648–0.674. In contrast, the highest-ranking CPUE models have r-squared values of 0.011–0.170, indicating much more uncertainty for the biological response variable. Whereas the persistent sand model documents that physical processes of transport and accumulation are systematic and predictable, the poor performance of the CPUE models indicate that additional processes will need to be considered to predict biological transport and accumulation.

Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16

Released June 07, 2018 13:45 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5060

Stephen P. Opsahl, MaryLynn Musgrove, Barbara J. Mahler, Rebecca B. Lambert

As questions regarding the influence of increasing urbanization on water quality in the Edwards aquifer are raised, a better understanding of the sources, fate, and transport of compounds of concern in the aquifer—in particular, nutrients and pesticides—is needed to improve water management decision-making capabilities. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the San Antonio Water System, performed a study from 2010 to 2016 to better understand how water quality changes under a range of hydrologic conditions and in contrasting land-cover settings (rural and urban) in the Edwards aquifer. The study design included continuous hydrologic monitoring, continuous water-quality monitoring, and discrete sample collection for a detailed characterization of water quality at a network of sites throughout the aquifer system. The sites were selected to encompass a “source-to-sink” (that is, from aquifer recharge to aquifer discharge) approach. Network sites were selected to characterize rainfall, recharging surface water, and groundwater; groundwater sites included wells in the unconfined part of the aquifer (unconfined wells) and in the confined part of the aquifer (confined wells) and a major discharging spring. Storm-related samples—including rainfall samples, stormwater-runoff (surface-water) samples, and groundwater samples—were collected to characterize the aquifer response to recharge.

Elevated nitrate concentrations relative to national background values and the widespread detection of pesticides indicate that the Edwards aquifer is vulnerable to contamination and that vulnerability is affected by factors such as land cover, aquifer hydrogeology, and changes in hydrologic conditions. Greater vulnerability of groundwater in urban areas relative to rural areas was evident from results for urban groundwater sites, which generally had higher nitrate concentrations, elevated δ15N-nitrate values, a greater diversity of pesticides, and higher pesticide concentrations. The continuum of water quality from unconfined rural groundwater sites (least affected by anthropogenic contamination) to unconfined urban groundwater sites (most affected by anthropogenic contamination) demonstrates enhanced vulnerability of urban versus rural land cover. Differences in contaminant occurrences and concentration among unconfined urban wells indicate that the urban parts of the aquifer are not uniformly vulnerable, but rather are affected by spatial differences in the sources of nutrients and pesticides. In urban areas, the shallow, unconfined groundwater sites showed greater temporal variability in both nutrient and pesticide concentrations, as well as a greater degree of contamination, than did deeper, confined groundwater sites. In comparison to that of the shallow, unconfined groundwater sites, the water quality of the deeper, confined groundwater sites was relatively invariant during this multiyear study. Although aquifer hydrogeology is an important factor related to aquifer vulnerability, land cover likely has a greater influence on pesticide contamination of groundwater. Temporal variability in hydrologic conditions for the Edwards aquifer is apparent in data for surface water as a source of groundwater recharge, water-level altitude in wells, spring discharge, and groundwater quality. This temporal variability affects recharge sources, recharge amounts, groundwater traveltimes, flow routing, water-rock interaction processes, dilution, mixing, and, in turn, water quality. Relations of land cover, aquifer hydrogeology, and changing hydrologic conditions to water quality are complex but provide insight into the vulnerability of Edwards aquifer groundwater—a vital drinking-water resource.

2017 National Park visitor spending effects : Economic contributions to local communities, states, and the Nation

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2018/1616

Catherine M. Cullinane Thomas, Lynne Koontz, Egan Cornachione

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. This economic effects analysis measures how NPS visitor spending cycles through local economies, generating business sales and supporting jobs and income. In 2017, the National Park System received an estimated 331 million recreation visits. Visitors to National Parks spent an estimated \$18.2 billion in local gateway regions (defined as communities within 60 miles of a park). The contribution of this spending to the national economy was 306 thousand jobs, \$11.9 billion in labor income, \$20.3 billion in value added, and \$35.8 billion in economic output. The lodging sector saw the highest direct contributions with \$5.5 billion in economic output directly contributed to local gateway economies nationally. The sector with the next greatest direct contributions was the restaurants and bars sector, with \$3.7 billion in economic output directly contributed to local gateway economies nationally. Results from the Visitor Spending Effects report series are available online via an interactive tool. Users can view year-by-year trend data and explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and economic output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. This interactive tool is available at

Three visualization approaches for communicating and exploring PIT tag data

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fisheries (43) 241-248

Benjamin Letcher, Jeffrey D. Walker, Matthew O'Donnell, Andrew R. Whiteley, Keith Nislow, Jason Coombs

As the number, size and complexity of ecological datasets has increased, narrative and interactive raw data visualizations have emerged as important tools for exploring and understanding these large datasets. As a demonstration, we developed three visualizations to communicate and explore passive integrated transponder tag data from two long-term field studies. We created three independent visualizations for the same dataset, allowing separate entry points for users with different goals and experience levels. The first visualization uses a narrative approach to introduce users to the study. The second visualization provides interactive cross-filters that allow users to explore multi-variate relationships in the dataset. The last visualization allows users to visualize the movement histories of individual fish within the stream network. This suite of visualization tools allows a progressive discovery of more detailed information and should make the data accessible to users with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests.

Mean composite fire severity metrics computed with Google Earth Engine offer improved accuracy and expanded mapping potential

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Remote Sensing (10)

Sean Parks, Lisa M. Holsinger, Morgan Voss, Rachel A. Loehman, Nathaniel P. Robinson

Landsat-based fire severity datasets are an invaluable resource for monitoring and research purposes. These gridded fire severity datasets are generally produced with pre-and post-fire imagery to estimate the degree of fire-induced ecological change. Here, we introduce methods to produce three Landsat-based fire severity metrics using the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform: the delta normalized burn ratio (dNBR), the relativized delta normalized burn ratio (RdNBR), and the relativized burn ratio (RBR). Our methods do not rely on time-consuming a priori scene selection and instead use a mean compositing approach in which all valid pixels (e.g. cloud-free) over a pre-specified date range (pre- and post-fire) are stacked and the mean value for each pixel over each stack is used to produce the resulting fire severity datasets. This approach demonstrates that fire severity datasets can be produced with relative ease and speed compared the standard approach in which one pre-fire and post-fire scene are judiciously identified and used to produce fire severity datasets. We also validate the GEE-derived fire severity metrics using field-based fire severity plots for 18 fires in the western US. These validations are compared to Landsat-based fire severity datasets produced using only one pre- and post-fire scene, which has been the standard approach in producing such datasets since their inception. Results indicate that the GEE-derived fire severity datasets show improved validation statistics compared to parallel versions in which only one pre-fire and post-fire scene are used. We provide code and a sample geospatial fire history layer to produce dNBR, RdNBR, and RBR for the 18 fires we evaluated. Although our approach requires that a geospatial fire history layer (i.e. fire perimeters) be produced independently and prior to applying our methods, we suggest our GEE methodology can reasonably be implemented on hundreds to thousands of fires, thereby increasing opportunities for fire severity monitoring and research across the globe.

Evaluating outcomes of management targeting the recovery of a migratory songbird of conservation concern

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, PeerJ

Henry M. Streby, Gunnar R. Kramer, Sean M. Peterson, David Andersen

Assessing outcomes of habitat management is critical for informing and adapting conservation plans. From 2013 – 2019, a multi-stage management initiative aims to create >25,000 ha of shrubland and early-successional vegetation to benefit Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) in managed forested landscapes of the western Great Lakes region. We studied a dense breeding population of Golden-winged Warblers at Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Minnesota, USA, where shrubs and young trees were sheared during the winter of 2014-2015 in a single treatment supported in part by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and in part by other funding source(s) to benefit Golden-winged Warblers and other species associated with young forest [e.g., American Woodcock (Scalopax minor)] and as part of maintenance of early successional forest cover on the refuge.

The influence of neap-spring tidal variation and wave energy on sediment flux in salt marsh tidal creeks

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Jessica Lacy, Matthew C. Ferner, John C. Callaway

Sediment flux in marsh tidal creeks is commonly used to gage sediment supply to marshes. We conducted a field investigation of temporal variability in sediment flux in tidal creeks in the accreting tidal marsh at China Camp State Park adjacent to northern San Francisco Bay. Suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), velocity, and depth were measured near the mouths of two tidal creeks during three six-to-ten-week deployments: two in winter and one in summer. Currents, wave properties and SSC were measured in the adjacent shallows. All deployments spanned the largest spring tides of the season. Results show that tidally-averaged suspended-sediment flux (SSF) in the tidal creeks decreased with increasing tidal energy, and SSF was negative (bayward) for tidal cycles with maximum water surface elevation above the marsh plain. Export during the largest spring tides dominated the cumulative SSF measured during the deployments. During ebb tides following the highest tides, velocities exceeded 1 m/s in the narrow tidal creeks, resulting in negative tidally-averaged water flux, and mobilizing sediment from the creek banks or bed. Storm surge also produced negative SSF. Tidally-averaged SSF was positive in wavey conditions with moderate tides. Spring-tide sediment export was about 50% less at a station 130 m further up the tidal creek than at the creek mouth. The negative tidally-averaged water flux near the creek mouth during spring tides indicates that in the lower marsh, some of the water flooding directly across the bay--marsh interface drains through the tidal creeks, and suggests that this interface may be a pathway for sediment supply to the lower marsh as well.

Mineral resource of the month: Chromium

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Earth Magazine (June 2018) 48-49

Ruth Schulte

Although chromium is a metal, it does not occur naturally in metallic form. Chromium can be found in many minerals, but the only economically significant chromium-bearing mineral is chromite. Chromite has been mined from four different deposit types: stratiform chromite, podiform chromite, placer chromite, and laterite deposits. Most of the world's resources, however, are located in stratiform chromite deposits, such as the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. The economic potential of chromite resources depends on the thickness and continuity of the deposit and on the grade of the ore. Many of the major stratiform chromite deposits also contain economic levels of platinum, paladium, rhodium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium.

Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Biological Conservation (224) 71-74

Sarah A. Bekessy, Michael C. Runge, Alex Kusmanoff, David A. Keith, Brendan A. Wintle

Given the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues, we review the effectiveness of “ecosystem services” as a frame for promoting biodiversity conservation. Since its inception as a communications tool in the 1970s, the concept of ecosystem services has become pervasive in biodiversity policy. While the goal of securing ecosystem services is absolutely legitimate, we argue that it has had limited success as a vehicle for securing public interest and support for nature, which is crucial to securing long-term social mandates for protection. Emerging evidence suggests that focusing on ecosystem services rather than the intrinsic value of nature is unlikely to be effective in bolstering public support for nature conservation. Theory to guide effective communication about nature is urgently needed. In the mean-time, communicators should reflect on their objectives and intended audience and revisit the way nature is framed to ensure maximum resonance.

Injection-induced moment release can also be aseismic

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Geophysical Research Letters

Arthur McGarr, Andrew J. Barbour

The cumulative seismic moment is a robust measure of the earthquake response to fluid injection for injection volumes ranging from 3100 to about 12 million m3. Over this range, the moment release is limited to twice the product of the shear modulus and the volume of injected fluid. This relation also applies at the much smaller injection volumes of the field experiment in France reported by Guglielmi, et al. (2015) and laboratory experiments to simulate hydraulic fracturing described by Goodfellow, et al. (2015). In both of these studies, the relevant moment release for comparison with the fluid injection was aseismic and consistent with the scaling that applies to the much larger volumes associated with injection-induced earthquakes with magnitudes extending up to 5.8. Neither the micro-earthquakes, at the site in France, nor the acoustic emission in the laboratory samples contributed significantly to the deformation due to fluid injection.

Quantifying relative importance: Computing standardized effects in models with binary outcomes

Released June 07, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecosphere (9)

James B. Grace, Darren Johnson, Jonathan S. Lefcheck, Jarrett E.K. Byrnes

Scientists commonly ask questions about the relative importances of processes, and then turn to statistical models for answers. Standardized coefficients are typically used in such situations, with the goal being to compare effects on a common scale. Traditional approaches to obtaining standardized coefficients were developed with idealized Gaussian variables in mind. When responses are binary, complications arise that impact standardization methods. In this paper, we review, evaluate, and propose new methods for standardizing coefficients from models that contain binary outcomes. We first consider the interpretability of unstandardized coefficients and then examine two main approaches to standardization. One approach, which we refer to as the Latent-Theoretical or LT method, assumes that underlying binary observations there exists a latent, continuous propensity linearly related to the coefficients. A second approach, which we refer to as the Observed-Empirical or OE method, assumes responses are purely discrete and estimates error variance empirically via reference to a classical R2 estimator. We also evaluate the standard formula for calculating standardized coefficients based on standard deviations. Criticisms of this practice have been persistent, leading us to propose an alternative formula that is based on user-defined “relevant ranges”. Finally, we implement all of the above in an open-source package for the statistical software R. Results from simulation studies show that both the LT and OE methods of standardization support a similarly-broad range of coefficient comparisons. The LT method estimates effects that reflect underlying latent-linear propensities, while the OE method computes a linear approximation for the effects of predictors on binary responses. The contrast between assumptions for the two methods is reflected in persistently weaker standardized effects associated with OE standardization. Reliance on standard deviations for standardization (the traditional approach) is critically examined and shown to introduce substantial biases when predictors are non-Gaussian. The use of relevant ranges in place of standard deviations has the capacity to place LT and OE standardized coefficients on a more comparable scale. As ecologists address increasingly complex hypotheses, especially those that involve comparing the influences of different controlling factors (e.g., top-down versus bottom-up or biotic versus abiotic controls), comparable coefficients become a necessary component for evaluations.

Water-table and potentiometric-surface altitudes in the upper glacial, Magothy, and Lloyd aquifers of Long Island, New York, April–May 2016

Released June 06, 2018 12:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Map 3398

Michael D. Como, Jason S. Finkelstein, Simonette L. Rivera, Jack Monti Jr., Ronald J. Busciolano

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with State and local agencies, systematically collects groundwater data at varying measurement frequencies to monitor the hydrologic conditions on Long Island, New York. Each year during April and May, the U.S. Geological Survey completes a synoptic survey of water levels to define the spatial distribution of the water table and potentiometric surfaces within the three main water-bearing units underlying Long Island—the upper glacial, Magothy, and Lloyd aquifers—and the hydraulically connected Jameco and North Shore aquifers. These data and the maps constructed from them are commonly used in studies of the hydrology of Long Island and are used by water managers and suppliers for aquifer management and planning purposes.

Water-level measurements made in 424 monitoring wells (observation and supply wells), 13 streamgages, and 2 lake gages across Long Island during April–May 2016 were used to prepare the maps in this report. Groundwater measurements were made by the wetted-tape or electric-tape method to the nearest hundredth of a foot. Contours of water-table and potentiometric-surface altitudes were created using the groundwater measurements. The water-table contours were interpreted using water-level data collected from 275 observation wells and 1 supply well screened in the upper glacial aquifer and the shallow Magothy aquifer and 13 streamgages and 2 lake gages. The potentiometric-surface contours of the Magothy aquifer were interpreted from measurements at 88 wells (61 observation wells and 27 supply wells) screened in the middle to deep Magothy aquifer and the contiguous and hydraulically connected Jameco aquifer. The potentiometric-surface contours of the Lloyd aquifer were interpreted from measurements at 60 wells (55 observation wells and 5 supply wells) screened in the Lloyd aquifer and the contiguous and hydraulically connected North Shore aquifer. Many of the supply wells are in continuous operation and, therefore, were turned off for a minimum of 24 hours before measurements were made to allow the water levels in the wells to recover to ambient (nonpumping) conditions. Full recovery time at some of these supply wells can exceed 24 hours; therefore, water levels measured at these wells are assumed to be less accurate than those measured at observation wells, which are not pumped. In addition to pumping stresses, density differences (saline water) also lower the water levels measured in certain wells. Recent water-quality data are lacking in these wells; therefore, a conversion to freshwater head could not be performed accurately and was not attempted. In this report, all water-level altitudes are referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29).

The land surface altitude, or topography, was obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The data were collected using light detection and ranging (lidar) and were used to produce a three-dimensional digital elevation model. The lidar data have a horizontal accuracy of 1.38 feet and a vertical accuracy of 0.40 foot at a 95-percent confidence level for the “open terrain” land-cover category. The digital elevation model was developed jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey as part of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Land surface altitude is referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). On Long Island, NAVD 88 is approximately 1 foot higher than NGVD 29.

Hydrographs are included on these maps for selected wells that have continuous digital recording equipment, and each hydrograph includes the water level measured during the synoptic survey. These hydrographs are representative of the 2016 water year and show the changes throughout that period; a water year is the 12-month period from October 1 to September 30 and is designated by the year in which it ends.

Toxicity assessment of sediments collected upstream and downstream from the White Dam in Clarke County, Georgia

Released June 06, 2018 08:45 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1036

Peter J. Lasier

The White Dam in Clarke County, Georgia, has been proposed for breaching. Efforts to determine potential risks to downstream biota included assessments of sediment collected in the vicinity of the dam. Sediments collected from sites upstream and downstream from the dam were evaluated for toxicity in 42-day exposures using the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca. Endpoints of the study were survival, growth, and reproduction of H. azteca. Results indicated no significant differences between the collected sediments and the water-only treatment used for comparison of the test endpoints. Therefore, based on the laboratory experiments in this study, sediment migration downstream from a breach of the Dam may not pose a toxicity risk to downstream biota.

Minimum energy requirements for desalination of brackish groundwater in the United States with comparison to international datasets

Released June 06, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Water Research (141) 387-404

Yvana D. Ahdab, Gregory P. Thiel, John Karl Böhlke, Jennifer S. Stanton, John H. Lienhard

This paper uses chemical and physical data from a large 2017 U.S. Geological Surveygroundwater dataset with wells in the U.S. and three smaller international groundwater datasets with wells primarily in Australia and Spain to carry out a comprehensive investigation of brackish groundwater composition in relation to minimum desalinationenergy costs. First, we compute the site-specific least work required for groundwater desalination. Least work of separation represents a baseline for specific energy consumptionof desalination systems. We develop simplified equations based on the U.S. data for least work as a function of water recovery ratio and a proxy variable for composition, either total dissolved solids, specific conductance, molality or ionic strength. We show that the U.S. correlations for total dissolved solids and molality may be applied to the international datasets. We find that total molality can be used to calculate the least work of dilute solutions with very high accuracy. Then, we examine the effects of groundwater solute composition on minimum energy requirements, showing that separation requirements increase from calcium to sodium for cations and from sulfate to bicarbonate to chloride for anions, for any given TDS concentration. We study the geographic distribution of least work, total dissolved solids, and major ions concentration across the U.S. We determine areas with both low least work and high water stress in order to highlight regions holding potential for desalination to decrease the disparity between high water demand and low water supply. Finally, we discuss the implications of the USGS results on water resource planning, by comparing least work to the specific energy consumption of brackish water reverse osmosisplants and showing the scaling propensity of major electrolytes and silica in the U.S. groundwater samples.

Faunal and stable isotopic analyses of benthic foraminifera from the Southeast Seep on Kimki Ridge offshore southern California, USA

Released June 06, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (150) 92-117

Mary McGann, James E. Conrad

We investigated the benthic foraminiferal faunal and stable carbon and oxygen isotopic composition of a 15-cm push core (NA075-092b) obtained on a Telepresence-Enabled cruise to the Southeast Seep on Kimki Ridge offshore southern California. The seep core was taken at a depth of 973 m in the vicinity of a Beggiatoa bacterial mat and vesicomyid clams (Calyptogena) and compared to previously published data of living assemblages from ~ 714 m, four reference cores obtained at ~ 1030 m, and another one at 739 m. All of the reference sites are also from the Inner Continental Borderland but with no evidence of methane seepage.

No endemic species were found at the seep site and most of the taxa recovered there have been reported previously from other seep or low oxygen environments. Q- and R-mode cluster analyses clearly illustrated differences in the faunal assemblages of the seep and non-seep sites. The living assemblage at Southeast Seep was characterized by abundant Takayanagia delicata, Cassidulina translucens, and Spiroplectammina biformis, whereas the non-seep San Pedro Basin reference assemblage was comprised primarily of Chilostomella oolina and Globobulimina pacifica. Density and species richness were lower at the seep site compared to the non-seep site, reflecting the harsher living conditions there. The dead assemblage at the seep site was dominated by Gyroidina turgida compared to Cassidulina translucens at the ~ 1030 m non-seep site and Cassidulina translucens, Pseudoparrella pacifica, and Takayanagia delicata at the 739 m non-seep site. Density was three times lower at Southeast Seep than at the non-seep sites of comparable water depth but species richness was ~ 30% higher. Stable carbon isotopic values were considerably depleted in the seep samples compared to the non-seep samples, with a progression from lightest to heaviest average δ13C values evident at the seep site reflecting microhabitat preference and vital effect: the deep infaunal species of Globobulimina, the shallow infaunal species Uvigerina peregrina, the epifaunal species Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi, and the shallow infaunal but aragonite-shelled species Hoeglundina elegans. The δ13C values downcore among each benthic species indicates ongoing fluid seepage through at least the last 3800 cal yr B.P. at Southeast Seep. Besides the continual local seepage, evidence from δ13C values of planktic foraminifera in the seep core suggest two pulses of methane (at 3000 and 3700 cal yr B.P.) were released that were large enough to influence much of the water column. Paired benthic and planktic foraminiferal stable oxygen isotope records provide evidence that there were no paleoenvironmental changes such as increased bottom-water temperature or changes in oxygen isotopic composition of bottom and pore waters during this 3800-year record to induce the methane releases. Instead, Southeast Seep appears to be the result of local faulting providing pathways for fluid to flow to the seafloor at a fault stepover or transpressional bend in the regional strike-slip system.

Warm water temperatures and shifts in seasonality increase trout recruitment but only moderately decrease adult size in western North American tailwaters

Released June 06, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Environmental Biology of Fishes

Kimberly L. Dibble, Charles B. Yackulic, Theodore A. Kennedy

Dams throughout western North America have altered thermal regimes in rivers, creating cold, clear “tailwaters” in which trout populations thrive. Ongoing drought in the region has led to highly publicized reductions in reservoir storage and raised concerns about potential reductions in downstream flows. Large changes in riverine thermal regimes may also occur as reservoir water levels drop, yet this potential impact has received far less attention. We analyzed historic water temperature and fish population data to anticipate how trout may respond to future changes in the magnitude and seasonality of river temperatures. We found that summer temperatures were inversely related to reservoir water level, with warm temperatures associated with reduced storage and with dams operated as run-of-river units. Variation in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) recruitment was linked to water temperature variation, with a 5-fold increase in recruitment occurring at peak summer temperatures (18 °C vs. 7 °C) and a 2.5-fold increase in recruitment when peak temperatures occurred in summer rather than fall. Conversely, adult trout size was only moderately related to temperature. Rainbow and brown trout (Salmo trutta) size decreased by ~24 mm and 20 mm, respectively, as mean annual and peak summer temperatures increased. Further, rainbow trout size decreased by ~29 mm with an earlier onset of cold winter temperatures. While increased recruitment may be the more likely outcome of a warmer and drier climate, density-dependent growth constraints could exacerbate temperature-dependent growth reductions. As such, managers may consider implementing flows to reduce recruitment or altering infrastructure to maintain coldwater reservoir releases.

Understanding the influence of nutrients on stream ecosystems in agricultural landscapes

Released June 06, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Circular 1437

Mark D. Munn, Jeffrey W. Frey, Anthony J. Tesoriero, Robert W. Black, John H. Duff, Kathy E. Lee, Terry R. Maret, Christopher A. Mebane, Ian R. Waite, Ronald B. Zelt

Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together, these actions lead to immediate and long-term economic, social, and environmental benefits that make a difference to the lives of the almost 400 million people projected to live in the United States by 2050.

In 1991, Congress established the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) to address where, when, why, and how the Nation’s water quality has changed, or is likely to change in the future, in response to human activities and natural factors. Since then, NAWQA has been a leading source of scientific data and knowledge used by national, regional, State, and local agencies to develop science-based policies and management strategies to improve and protect water resources used for drinking water, recreation, irrigation, energy development, and ecosystem needs ( Plans for the third decade of NAWQA (2013–23) address priority water-quality issues and science needs identified by NAWQA stakeholders, such as the Advisory Committee on Water Information and the National Research Council, and are designed to meet increasing challenges related to population growth, increasing needs for clean water, and changing land-use and weather patterns.

Excess nutrients are a pervasive problem of streams, lakes, and coastal waters. The current report, “The Quality of Our Nation’s Waters—Understanding the Effects of Nutrients on Stream Ecosystems in Agricultural Landscapes,” presents a summary of results from USGS investigations conducted from 2003 to 2011 on processes that influence nutrients and how nutrient enrichment can alter biological components of agricultural streams. This study included collecting data from 232 sites distributed among eight study areas. This report summarizes findings on processes that influence nutrients and how nutrient enrichment can alter biological communities in agricultural streams. These findings are relevant to local, State, regional, and national decision-makers involved in efforts to (1) better understand the influence of nutrients on agricultural streams, (2) develop nutrient criteria for streams and rivers, (3) reduce nutrients to streams and downstream receiving waters, and (4) develop tools for tracking nutrient and biological conditions following nutrient reduction strategies. All NAWQA reports are available online at

We hope this publication will provide you with insights and information to meet your water-resource needs and will foster increased citizen awareness and involvement in the protection and restoration of our Nation’s waters. The information in this report is intended primarily for those interested or involved in resource management and protection, conservation, regulation, and policymaking at the regional and national levels.

Agriculture — A river runs through it — The connections between agriculture and water quality

Released June 06, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Circular 1433

Paul D. Capel, Kathleen A. McCarthy, Richard H. Coupe, Katia M. Grey, Sheila E. Amenumey, Nancy T. Baker, Richard L. Johnson

Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together, these actions lead to immediate and longterm economic, social, and environmental benefits that make a difference to the lives of the almost 400 million people projected to live in the United States by 2050.

In 1991, Congress established the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) to address where, when, why, and how the Nation’s water quality has changed, or is likely to change in the future, in response to human activities and natural factors. Since then, NAWQA has been a leading source of scientific data and knowledge used by national, regional, state, and local agencies to develop science-based policies and management strategies to improve and protect water resources used for drinking water, recreation, irrigation, energy development, and ecosystem needs. Plans for the third decade of NAWQA (2013–23) address priority water-quality issues and science needs identified by NAWQA stakeholders, such as the Advisory Committee on Water Information and the National Research Council, and are designed to meet increasing challenges related to population growth, increasing needs for clean water, and changing land-use and weather patterns.

This report is one of a series of publications, The Quality of Our Nation’s Waters, which describes major findings of the NAWQA Project on water-quality issues of regional and national concern and provides science-based information for assessing and managing the quality of our groundwater resources. Other reports in this series focus on occurrence and distribution of nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds in streams and groundwater, the effects of contaminants and stream-flow alteration on the condition of aquatic communities in streams, and on the quality of groundwater from private domestic and public supply wells. Each reports builds toward a more comprehensive understanding of the quality of regional and national water resources. All NAWQA reports are available online (

We hope this publication will provide you with insights and information to meet your water-resource needs and will foster increased citizen awareness and involvement in the protection and restoration of our Nation’s waters. The information in this report is intended primarily for those interested or involved in resource management and protection, conservation, regulation, and policymaking at the regional and national levels.

Chasing a changing climate: Reproductive and dispersal traits predict how sessile species respond to global warming

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Diversity and Distributions

Jennifer M. Archambault, W. Gregory Cope, Thomas J. Kwak


Studies of species' range shifts have become increasingly relevant for understanding ecology and biogeography in the face of accelerated global change. The combination of limited mobility and imperilled status places some species at a potentially greater risk of range loss, extirpation or extinction due to climate change. To assess the ability of organisms with limited movement and dispersal capabilities to track shifts associated with climate change, we evaluated reproductive and dispersal traits of freshwater mussels (Unionida), sessile invertebrates that require species‐specific fish for larval dispersal.


North American Atlantic Slope rivers.


To understand how unionid mussels may cope with and adapt to current and future warming trends, we identified mechanisms that facilitated their colonization of the northern Atlantic Slope river basins in North America after the Last Glacial Maximum. We compiled species occurrence and life history trait information for each of 55 species, and then selected life history traits for which ample data were available (larval brooding duration, host fish specificity, host infection strategy, and body size) and analysed whether the trait state for each was related to mussel distribution in Atlantic Slope rivers.


Brooding duration (p < .01) and host fish specificity (p = .02) were significantly related to mussel species distribution. Long‐term brooders were more likely than short‐term brooders to colonize formerly glaciated rivers, as were host generalists compared to specialists. Body size and host infection strategy were not predictive of movement into formerly glaciated rivers (p > .10).

Main conclusions

Our results are potentially applicable to many species for which life history traits have not been well‐documented, because reproductive and dispersal traits in unionid mussels typically follow phylogenetic relationships. These findings may help resource managers prioritize species according to climate change vulnerability and predict which species might become further imperilled with climate warming. Finally, we suggest that similar trait‐based decision support frameworks may be applicable for other movement limited taxa.

Limited hatchery introgression into wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations despite reoccurring stocking

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Evolutionary Applications

Shannon L. White, William L. Miller, Stephanie A. Dowell, Meredith L. Bartron, Tyler Wagner

Due to increased anthropogenic pressures on many fish populations, supplementing wild populations with captive‐raised individuals has become an increasingly common management practice. Stocking programs can be controversial due to uncertainty about the long‐term fitness effects of genetic introgression on wild populations. In particular, introgression between hatchery and wild individuals can cause declines in wild population fitness, resiliency, and adaptive potential, and contribute to local population extirpation. However, low survival and fitness of captive‐raised individuals can minimize the long‐term genetic consequences of stocking in wild populations, and to date the prevalence of introgression in actively stocked ecosystems has not been rigorously evaluated. We quantified the extent of introgression in 30 populations of wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in a Pennsylvania watershed, and examined the correlation between introgression and 11 environmental covariates. Genetic assignment tests were used to determine the origin (wild vs. captive‐raised) for 1742 wild‐caught and 300 hatchery brook trout. To avoid assignment biases, individuals were assigned to two simulated populations that represented the average allele frequencies in wild and hatchery groups. Fish with intermediate probabilities of wild ancestry were classified as introgressed, with threshold values determined through simulation. Even with reoccurring stocking at most sites, over 93% of wild‐caught individuals probabilistically assigned to wild origin, and only 5.6% of wild‐caught fish assigned to introgressed. Models examining environmental drivers of introgression explained less than 3% of the among‐population variability, and all estimated effects were highly uncertain. This was not surprising given overall low introgression observed in this study. Our results suggest that introgression of hatchery‐derived genotypes can occur at low rates, even in actively stocked ecosystems and across a range of habitats. However, a cautious approach to stocking may still be warranted, as the potential effects of stocking on wild population fitness and the mechanisms limiting introgression are not known.

Avian response to shade‐layer restoration in coffee plantations in Puerto Rico

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Restoration Ecology

Amarilys D. Irizarry, Jaime A. Collazo, Krishna Pacifici, Brian J. Reich, Kathryn E. Battle

Documenting the evolving processes associated with habitat restoration and how long it takes to detect avian demographic responses is crucial to evaluate the success of restoration initiatives and to identify ways to improve their effectiveness. The importance of this endeavor prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to evaluate their sun‐to‐shade coffee restoration program in Puerto Rico initiated in 2003. We quantified the responses of 12 resident avian species using estimates of local occupancy and extinction probabilities based on surveys conducted in 2015–2017 at 65 restored farms grouped according to time‐since‐initial‐restoration (TSIR): new (2011–2014), intermediate (2007–2010), and old (2003–2006). We also surveyed 40 forest sites, which served as reference sites. Vegetation complexity increased with TSIR, ranging between 35 and 40% forest cover in farms 6–9 years TSIR. Forest specialists (e.g. Loxigilla portoricencis) exhibited highest average occupancy in farms initially classified as intermediate (6–9 years) and old (>10 years), paralleling occupancy in secondary forests. Occupancy of open‐habitat specialists (e.g. Tiaris olivaceus) was more variable, but higher in recently restored farms. Restoring the shade layer has the potential to heighten ecological services derived from forest specialists (e.g. frugivores) without losing the services of many open‐habitat specialists (e.g. insectivores). Annual local extinction probability for forest specialists decreased with increasing habitat complexity, strengthening the potential value of shade restoration as a tool to enhance habitat for avifauna that evolved in forested landscapes.

Groundwater flux estimation in streams: A thermal equilibrium approach

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Hydrology (561) 822-832

Yan Zhou, Garey A. Fox, Ron B. Miller, Robert Mollenhauer, Shannon K. Brewer

Stream and groundwater interactions play an essential role in regulating flow, temperature, and water quality for stream ecosystems. Temperature gradients have been used to quantify vertical water movement in the streambed since the 1960s, but advancements in thermal methods are still possible. Seepage runs are a method commonly used to quantify exchange rates through a series of streamflow measurements but can be labor and time intensive. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a thermal equilibrium method as a technique for quantifying groundwater flux using monitored stream water temperature at a single point and readily available hydrological and atmospheric data. Our primary assumption was that stream water temperature at the monitored point was at thermal equilibrium with the combination of all heat transfer processes, including mixing with groundwater. By expanding the monitored stream point into a hypothetical, horizontal one-dimensional thermal modeling domain, we were able to simulate the thermal equilibrium achieved with known atmospheric variables at the point and quantify unknown groundwater flux by calibrating the model to the resulting temperature signature. Stream water temperatures were monitored at single points at nine streams in the Ozark Highland ecoregion and five reaches of the Kiamichi River to estimate groundwater fluxes using the thermal equilibrium method. When validated by comparison with seepage runs performed at the same time and reach, estimates from the two methods agreed with each other with an R2 of 0.94, a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 0.08 (m/d) and a Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) of 0.93. In conclusion, the thermal equilibrium method was a suitable technique for quantifying groundwater flux with minimal cost and simple field installation given that suitable atmospheric and hydrological data were readily available.

Genetic population structure of Shoal Bass within their native range

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Andrew T. Taylor, Michael D. Tringali, Steven M. Sammons, Travis R. Ingram, Patrick M. O'Rouke, Douglas L. Peterson, James M. Long

Endemic to the Apalachicola River basin of the southeastern USA, the Shoal Bass Micropterus cataractae is a fluvial‐specialist sport fish that is imperiled because of anthropogenic habitat alteration. To counter population declines, restorative stocking efforts are becoming an increasingly relevant management strategy. However, population genetic structure within the species is currently unknown, but it could influence management decisions, such as brood source location. Leveraging a collaborative effort to collect and genotype specimens with 16 microsatellite loci, our objective was to characterize hierarchical population structure and genetic differentiation of the Shoal Bass across its native range, including an examination of structuring mechanisms, such as relatedness and inbreeding levels. Specimens identified as Shoal Bass were collected from 13 distinct sites (N ranged from 17 to 209 per location) and were then taxonomically screened to remove nonnative congeners and hybrids (pure Shoal Bass N ranged from 13 to 183 per location). Our results revealed appreciable population structure, with five distinct Shoal Bass populations identifiable at the uppermost hierarchical level that generally corresponded with natural geographic features and anthropogenic barriers. Substructure was recovered within several of these populations, wherein differences appeared related to spatial isolation and local population dynamics. An analysis of molecular variance revealed that 3.6% of the variation in our data set was accounted for among three larger river drainages, but substructure within each river drainage also explained an additional 8.9% of genetic variation, demonstrating that management at a scale lower than the river drainage level would likely best conserve genetic diversity. Results provide a population genetic framework that can inform future management decisions, such as brood source location, so that genetic diversity within and among populations is conserved and overall adaptability of the species is maintained.

Spatial variability and macro‐scale drivers of growth for native and introduced Flathead Catfish populations

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (147) 554-565

Danielle L. Massie, Geoffrey Smith, Timothy F. Bonvechio, Aaron J. Bunch, David O. Lucchesi, Tyler Wagner

Quantifying spatial variability in fish growth and identifying large‐scale drivers of growth are fundamental to many conservation and management decisions. Although fish growth studies often focus on a single population, it is becoming increasingly clear that large‐scale studies are likely needed for addressing transboundary management needs. This is particularly true for species with high recreational value and for those with negative ecological consequences when introduced outside of their native range, such as the Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris. This study quantified growth variability of the Flathead Catfish across a large portion of its contemporary range to determine whether growth differences existed between habitat types (i.e., reservoirs and rivers) and between native and introduced populations. Additionally, we investigated whether growth parameters varied as a function of latitude and time since introduction (for introduced populations). Length‐at‐age data from 26 populations across 11 states in the USA were modeled using a Bayesian hierarchical von Bertalanffy growth model. Population‐specific growth trajectories revealed large variation in Flathead Catfish growth and relatively high uncertainty in growth parameters for some populations. Relatively high uncertainty was also evident when comparing populations and when quantifying large‐scale patterns. Growth parameters (Brody growth coefficient [K] and theoretical maximum average length [L]) were not different (based on overlapping 90% credible intervals) between habitat types or between native and introduced populations. For populations within the introduced range of Flathead Catfish, latitude was negatively correlated with K. For native populations, we estimated an 85% probability that L estimates were negatively correlated with latitude. Contrary to predictions, time since introduction was not correlated with growth parameters in introduced populations of Flathead Catfish. Results of this study suggest that Flathead Catfish growth patterns are likely shaped more strongly by finer‐scale processes (e.g., exploitation or prey abundances) as opposed to macro‐scale drivers.

Neonicotinoid insecticides negatively affect performance measures of non‐target terrestrial arthropods: a meta‐analysis

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecological Applications

Anson Main, Elisabeth B. Webb, Keith W. Goyne, Doreen C. Mengel

Neonicotinoid insecticides are currently the fastest‐growing and most widely used insecticide class worldwide. Valued for their versatility in application, these insecticides may cause deleterious effects in a range of non‐target (beneficial) arthropods. However, it remains unclear whether strong patterns exist in terms of their major effects, if broad measures of arthropod performance are negatively affected, or whether different functional groups are equally vulnerable. Here, we present a meta‐analysis of 372 observations from 44 field and laboratory studies that describe neonicotinoid effects on 14 arthropod orders across five broad performance measures: abundance, behavior, condition, reproductive success, and survival. Across studies, neonicotinoids negatively affected all performance metrics evaluated; however, magnitude of the effects varied. Arthropod behavior and survival were the most negatively affected and abundance was the least negatively affected. Effects on arthropod functional groups were inconsistent. Pollinator condition, reproductive success, and survival were significantly lower in neonicotinoid treatments compared to untreated controls; whereas, neonicotinoid effects on detritivores were not significant. Although magnitude of arthropod response to neonicotinoids varied among performance measures and functional groups, we documented a consistent negative relationship between exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides in published studies and beneficial arthropod performance.

Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in Willow Flycatchers

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, The Auk (135) 647-656

Tad Theimer, Mark K. Sogge, Suzanne N. Cardinal, Scott L. Durst, Eben H. Paxton

Changes in habitat quality, including those caused by extreme events like droughts and floods, could alter costs and benefits of territoriality and thereby the prevalence and reproductive consequences for individuals capable of breeding that do not do so (floaters). We studied floating behavior in a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) in central Arizona during one year of extreme drought, one year of lake inundation, and three years of near average precipitation. In all years, most floaters were second year (SY) males, and most subsequently settled outside of the patch where they were detected in the floating year, suggesting that floaters did not “queue” at high-quality territories in order to achieve higher reproductive success in subsequent years. Instead, cohorts that floated in non-drought years had lower apparent survival and lower reproductive success compared to territorial birds. In the extreme drought year, however, the number of floaters was 1.5 times greater than in all other years combined, more females floated, and apparent survival and mean annual productivity in subsequent years was higher for males that floated in that year than for those that were territorial. Inundation of habitat due to rising reservoir levels did not result in an increase in floaters because many birds nested in inundated areas where trees projected above the water so that the relative amount of available habitat was not reduced to the extent habitat models predicted. Overall, our results indicate that the prevalence and reproductive and demographic consequences of floating can change under extreme climatic events like severe drought.

Ichthyophonus in sport-caught groundfishes from southcentral Alaska

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms (128) 169-173

Bradley P. Harris, Sarah R. Webster, Nathan Wolf, Jacob L. Gregg, Paul Hershberger

This report of Ichthyophonus in common sport-caught fishes throughout the marine waters of southcentral Alaska represents the first documentation of natural Ichthyophonus infections in lingcod Ophiodon elongates and yelloweye rockfish Sebastes ruberrimus. In addition, the known geographic range of Ichthyophonus in black rockfish S. melanops has been expanded northward to include southcentral Alaska. Among all species surveyed, the infection prevalence was highest (35%, n = 334) in Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis. There were no gross indications of high-level infections or clinically diseased individuals. These results support the hypothesis that under typical conditions Ichthyophonus can occur at high infection prevalence accompanied with low-level infection among a variety of fishes throughout the eastern North Pacific Ocean, including southcentral Alaska.

Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation-management strategies in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5012

Richard J. Camp, S. Paul Berkowitz, Kevin W. Brink, James D. Jacobi, Rhonda Loh, Jonathan Price, Lucas B. Fortini

Climate change is expected to alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in the Hawaiian Islands. Land managers and other responsible agencies will need to know how plant-species habitats will change over the next century in order to manage these resources effectively. This issue is a major concern for resource managers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO), where currently managed Special Ecological Areas (SEAs) for important plant species and communities may no longer provide suitable habitats in the future as the climate changes. Expanding invasive-species distributions also may pose a threat to areas where native plants currently predominate.

The objective of this project was to combine recent climate-modeling efforts for the state of Hawai‘i with existing models of plant-species distribution in order to forecast suitable habitat ranges under future climate conditions derived from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 3 (CMIP3) global circulation model that was dynamically downscaled for the Hawaiian Islands by using the Hawai‘i Regional Climate Model (HRCM). The HRCM uses the A1B emission scenario (a median future climate projection) from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). On the basis of this model, maps showing projected plant-species ranges were generated for four years as snapshots in time (2000, 2040, 2070, 2090) and for three different trajectories of climate change (gradual, linear, rapid) between the present and future.

We mapped probabilistic surfaces of suitable habitat for 39 plant species (both native and alien [nonnative]) identified as being of interest to HAVO resource managers. We displayed these surfaces in terms of change relative to present conditions, whether the range of a given plant species was expected to contract, expand, or remain the same in the future. Within HAVO, approximately two-thirds (18 of 29) of the modeled native plant species were projected to contract in range, whereas one-third (11 of 29) were projected to increase. Most of the HAVO SEAs were projected to lose most of the native plant species modeled. Within HAVO, all alien plant species except Lantana camara were projected to contract in range within the park; this trend was observed in most SEAs, including those at low, middle, and high elevations. Congruence was good in the “current” (2000) distribution of plant-species richness and SEA configurations; however, the congruence between species-richness hotspots and SEAs diminished by the projected “end-of-century” (2090) distribution. Over time, the projected species-richness hotspots increasingly occurred outside of the currently configured SEA boundaries.

Small values in big data: The continuing need for appropriate metadata

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecological Informatics (45) 26-30

Craig A. Stow, Katherine E. Webster, Tyler Wagner, Noah R. Lottig, Patricia A. Soranno, YoonKyung Cha

Compiling data from disparate sources to address pressing ecological issues is increasingly common. Many ecological datasets contain left-censored data – observations below an analytical detection limit. Studies from single and typically small datasets show that common approaches for handling censored data — e.g., deletion or substituting fixed values — result in systematic biases. However, no studies have explored the degree to which the documentation and presence of censored data influence outcomes from large, multi-sourced datasets. We describe left-censored data in a lake water quality database assembled from 74 sources and illustrate the challenges of dealing with small values in big data, including detection limits that are absent, range widely, and show trends over time. We show that substitutions of censored data can also bias analyses using ‘big data’ datasets, that censored data can be effectively handled with modern quantitative approaches, but that such approaches rely on accurate metadata that describe treatment of censored data from each source.

Monitoring riparian-vegetation composition and cover along the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona

Released June 05, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Techniques and Methods 2-A14

Emily C. Palmquist, Barbara E. Ralston, Daniel A. Sarr, Taylor C. Johnson

Vegetation in the riparian zone (the area immediately adjacent to streams, such as stream banks) along the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, supports many ecosystem and societal functions. In both Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon, this ecosystem has changed over time in response to flow alterations, invasive species, and recreational use. Riparian-vegetation cover and composition are likely to continue to change as these pressures persist and new ones emerge. Because this system is a valuable resource that is known to change in response to flow regime and other disturbances, a long-term monitoring protocol has been designed with three primary objectives:

  1. Annually measure and summarize the status (composition and cover) of native and non-native vascular-plant species within the riparian zone of the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead.
  2. At 5-year intervals, assess change in vegetation composition and cover in the riparian zone, as related to geomorphic setting and dam operations, particularly flow regime.
  3. Collect data in a manner that can be used by multiple stakeholders, particularly the basinwide monitoring program overseen by the National Park Service’s Northern Colorado Plateau Network Inventory and Monitoring program.

A protocol for the long-term monitoring of riparian vegetation is described in detail and standard operating procedures are included herein for all tasks. Visual estimates of foliar and ground covers are collected in conjunction with environmental measurements to assess correlations of foliar cover with abiotic and flow variables. Sample quadrats are stratified by frequency of inundation, geomorphic feature, and by river segment to account for differences in vegetation type. Photographs of sites are also taken to illustrate qualitative characteristics of the site at the time of sampling. Procedures for field preparation, generating random samples, data collection, data management, collecting and managing unknown species collections, and reporting are also described. Although this protocol is intended to be consistent over the long-term, procedures for minor and major revisions to the protocol are also outlined.

Freshwater mussel survey for the Columbia Dam removal, Paulins Kill, New Jersey

Released June 04, 2018 14:30 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1074

Heather S. Galbraith, Carrie J. Blakeslee, Jeffrey C. Cole, Erik L. Silldorff

Semi-quantitative mussel surveys, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, were completed in the vicinity of the Columbia Dam, on the Paulins Kill, New Jersey, in August 2017 in order to document the mussel species composition and relative abundance prior to removal of the dam. Surveys were conducted from the Brugler Road Bridge downriver approximately 2,000 meters (m) to the Columbia Dam and downriver from the dam about 300 m to 75 m upriver from the confluence of the Paulins Kill with the Delaware River. Sixteen sections (average length=175 m) were surveyed by personnel snorkeling or SCUBA diving; 13 sections were upriver from the dam, and 3 were downriver from the dam. Mussels, as they were encountered by surveyors, were removed from the sediment, immediately identified to species, and replaced in their original collection locations. Habitat data were collected for each surveyed section. Upriver and downriver from the dam, river margins with dense vegetation were examined for mussels by personnel using snorkels in transects (approximately 25 meters) perpendicular to river flow every 50 m on both sides of the river. Only two species were found upriver from the dam, and those were present in relatively low numbers. Catch per unit effort is reported here within parentheses as the average across upriver sections in number of mussels per person hour of survey time: 42 Elliptio complanata (2.6) and 1 Pyganodon cataracta (0.1) were found upriver from the dam. No mussels were found in the dense vegetation either upriver or downriver of the dam by surveyors using snorkels. Significantly higher species richness and mussel catch per unit effort were found downriver from the dam than upriver, including 106 E. complanta (32.5), 27 Utterbackiana implicata (8.2), 1 Alasmidonta undulata (0.4), 2 Lampsilis cariosa (0.5), 6 Lampsilis radiata (2.1), 4 P. cataracta (1.1), and 1 Strophitus undulatus (0.4). The average habitat assessment score did not differ upriver and downriver from the dam.

Coastal wetland adaptation to sea level rise: Quantifying potential for landward migration and coastal squeeze

Released June 04, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Applied Ecology

Sinéad M. Borchert, Michael J. Osland, Nicholas M. Enwright, Kereen Griffith

  1. Coastal wetland ecosystems are expected to migrate landwards in response to rising seas. However, due to differences in topography and coastal urbanization, estuaries vary in their ability to accommodate migration. Low‐lying urban areas can constrain migration and lead to wetland loss (i.e. coastal squeeze), especially where existing wetlands cannot keep pace with rising seas via vertical adjustments. In many estuaries, there is a pressing need to identify landward migration corridors and better quantify the potential for landward migration and coastal squeeze.
  2. We quantified and compared the area available for landward migration of tidal saline wetlands and the area where urban development is expected to prevent migration for 39 estuaries along the wetland‐rich USA Gulf of Mexico coast. We did so under three sea level rise scenarios (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 m by 2100).
  3. Within the region, the potential for wetland migration is highest within certain estuaries in Louisiana and southern Florida (e.g. Atchafalaya/Vermilion Bays, Mermentau River, Barataria Bay, and the North and South Ten Thousand Islands estuaries).
  4. The potential for coastal squeeze is highest in estuaries containing major metropolitan areas that extend into low‐lying lands. The Charlotte Harbor, Tampa Bay, and Crystal‐Pithlachascotee estuaries (Florida) have the highest amounts of urban land expected to constrain wetland migration. Urban barriers to migration are also high in the Galveston Bay (Texas) and Atchafalaya/Vermilion Bays (Louisiana) estuaries.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Coastal wetlands provide many ecosystem services that benefit human health and well‐being, including shoreline protection and fish and wildlife habitat. As the rate of sea level rise accelerates in response to climate change, coastal wetland resources could be lost in areas that lack space for landward migration. Migration corridors are particularly important in highly urbanized estuaries where, due to low‐lying coastal development, there is not space for wetlands to move and adapt to sea level rise. Future‐focused landscape conservation plans that incorporate the protection of wetland migration corridors can increase the adaptive capacity of these valuable ecosystems and simultaneously decrease the vulnerability of coastal human communities to the harmful effects of rising seas.

Prairie Pothole Region wetlands and subsurface drainage systems: Key factors for determining drainage setback distances

Released June 04, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management (9) 274-284

Brian Tangen, Mark T. Wiltermuth

Use of agricultural subsurface drainage systems in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America continues to increase, prompting concerns over potential negative effects to the Region's vital wetlands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects a large number of wetlands through conservation easements that often utilize standard lateral setback distances to provide buffers between wetlands and drainage systems. Because of a lack of information pertaining to the efficacy of these setback distances for protecting wetlands, information is required to support the decision making for placement of subsurface drainage systems adjacent to wetlands. We used qualitative graphical analyses and data comparisons to identify characteristics of subsurface drainage systems and wetland catchments that could be considered when assessing setback distances. We also compared setback distances with catchment slope lengths to determine if they typically exclude drainage systems from the catchment. We demonstrated that depth of a subsurface drainage system is a key factor for determining drainage setback distances. Drainage systems located closer to the surface (shallow) typically could be associated with shorter lateral setback distances compared with deeper systems. Subsurface drainage systems would be allowed within a wetland's catchment for 44–59% of catchments associated with wetland conservation easements in North Dakota. More specifically, results suggest that drainage setback distances generally would exclude drainage systems from catchments of the smaller wetlands that typically have shorter slopes in the adjacent upland contributing area. For larger wetlands, however, considerable areas of the catchment would be vulnerable to drainage that may affect wetland hydrology. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service easements are associated with > 2,000 km2 of wetlands in North Dakota, demonstrating great potential to protect these systems from drainage depending on policies for installing subsurface drainage systems on these lands. The length of slope of individual catchments and depth of subsurface drainage systems could be considered when prescribing drainage setback distances and assessing potential effects to wetland hydrology. Moreover, because of uncertainties associated with the efficacy of standard drainage setback distances, exclusion of subsurface drainage systems from wetland catchments would be ideal when the goal is to protect wetlands.

Contrasting perspectives on the Lava Creek Tuff eruption, Yellowstone, from new U–Pb and 40Ar/39Ar age determinations

Released June 04, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Bulletin of Volcanology (80) 1-12

Colin J. N. Wilson, Mark Stelten, Jacob B. Lowenstern

The youngest major caldera-forming event at Yellowstone was the ~ 630-ka eruption of the Lava Creek Tuff. The tuff as mapped consists of two major ignimbrite packages (members A and B), linked to widespread coeval fall deposits and formation of the Yellowstone Caldera. Subsequent activity included emplacement of numerous rhyolite flows and domes, and development of two structurally resurgent domes (Mallard Lake and Sour Creek) that accommodate strain due to continual uplift/subsidence cycles. Uplifted lithologies previously mapped on and adjacent to Sour Creek dome were thought to include the ~ 2.08-Ma Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, cropping out beneath Lava Creek Tuff members A and B. Mapped outcrops of this Huckleberry Ridge Tuff material were sampled as welded ignimbrite (sample YR345) on Sour Creek dome, and at nearby Bog Creek as welded ignimbrite (YR311) underlain by an indurated lithic lag breccia containing blocks of another welded ignimbrite (YR324). Zircon near-rim U–Pb analyses from these samples yield weighted mean ages of 661 ± 13 ka (YR345: 95% confidence), 655 ± 11 ka (YR311), and 664 ± 15 ka (YR324) (combined weighted mean of 658.8 ± 6.6 ka). We also studied two samples of ignimbrite previously mapped as Huckleberry Ridge Tuff on the northeastern perimeter of the Yellowstone Caldera, ~ 12 km ENE of Sour Creek dome. Sanidines from these samples yield 40Ar/39Ar age estimates of 634.5 ± 6.8 ka (8YC-358) and 630.9 ± 4.1 ka (8YC-359). These age data show that all these units represent previously unrecognized parts of the Lava Creek Tuff and do not have any relationship to the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff. Our observations and data imply that the Lava Creek eruption was more complex than is currently assumed, incorporating two tuff units additional to those currently mapped, and which themselves are separated by a time break sufficient for cooling and some reworking. The presence of a lag breccia suggests that a source vent lay nearby (< ~ 3 km) for some of the tuffs and that the Yellowstone Caldera boundary in this area could be reconsidered.

Climatic sensitivity of dryland soil CO2 fluxes differs dramatically with biological soil crust successional state

Released June 04, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecosystems

Colin Tucker, Scott Ferrenberg, Sasha C. Reed

Arid and semiarid ecosystems make up approximately 41% of Earth’s terrestrial surface and are suggested to regulate the trend and interannual variability of the global terrestrial carbon (C) sink. Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are common dryland soil surface communities of bryophytes, lichens, and/or cyanobacteria that bind the soil surface together and that may play an important role in regulating the climatic sensitivity of the dryland C cycle. Major uncertainties exist in our understanding of the interacting effects of changing temperature and moisture on CO2 uptake (photosynthesis) and loss (respiration) from biocrust and sub-crust soil, particularly as related to biocrust successional state. Here, we used a mesocosm approach to assess how biocrust successional states related to climate treatments. We subjected bare soil (Bare), early successional lightly pigmented cyanobacterial biocrust (Early), and late successional darkly pigmented moss-lichen biocrust (Late) to either ambient or + 5°C above ambient soil temperature for 84 days. Under ambient temperatures, Late biocrust mesocosms showed frequent net uptake of CO2, whereas Bare soil, Early biocrust, and warmed Late biocrust mesocosms mostly lost CO2 to the atmosphere. The inhibiting effect of warming on CO2 exchange was a result of accelerated drying of biocrust and soil. We used these data to parameterize, via Bayesian methods, a model of ecosystem CO2 fluxes, and evaluated the model with data from an autochamber CO2 system at our field site on the Colorado Plateau in SE Utah. In the context of the field experiment, the data underscore the negative effect of warming on fluxes both biocrust CO2 uptake and loss—which, because biocrusts are a dominant land cover type in this ecosystem, may extend to ecosystem-scale C cycling.

Ecological resilience indicators for mangrove ecosystems

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Ecological Resilience Indicators for Five Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems

Richard H. Day, Scott T. Allen, Jorge Brenner, Kathleen Goodin, Don Faber-Langendoen, Katherine Wirt Ames

Mangrove ecosystems are coastal wetland ecosystems dominated by mangrove species that are typically found in the intertidal zone, characterized by frequently flooded saline soil conditions. The majority of the approximately 500,000 acres of mangrove ecosystem in the United States occurs in the NGoM, and almost all of that is in Florida, with over 90 percent in the four southern counties of Lee, Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe. Scattered stands and individuals occur north and westward into Louisiana and Texas (Osland et al., 2016). The three common mangrove species are: black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). The mangrove system described in this project includes Tidal Mangrove Shrubland and Tidal Mangrove Forest as classified in CMECS (FGDC, 2012). It is classified as Caribbean Fringe Mangrove (G004) in the USNVC (2016), with a variety of distinct associations, based on species dominance and ecological setting.

40Ar/39Ar geochronology and petrogenesis of the Table Mountain Shoshonite, Golden, Colorado, U.S.A.

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Rocky Mountain Geology (53) 1-28

Alexie E. G. Millikin, Leah Morgan, Jeffery Noblett

The Upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleogene Table Mountain Shoshonite lava flows and their proposed source, the Ralston Buttes intrusions, provide insight into the volcanic history of the Colorado Front Range. This study affirms the long-held hypothesis linking the extrusive Table Mountain lava flows and their intrusive equivalents at Ralston Buttes through major- and trace- element geochemistry. Systematic 40Ar/39Ar geochronology from all flows and intrusive units refines the eruptive history, improves precision on previously reported ages, and provides tighter constraints on the position of the K-Pg boundary in this location. Four flows are recognized on North and South Table mountains outside of Golden, Colorado. Flow 1 (66.5 ± 0.3 Ma, all ages reported with 2σ uncertainty) is the oldest, most compositionally distinct flow and is separated from younger flows by approximately 35 m of sedimentary deposits of the Denver Formation. Stratigraphically adjacent flows 2 (65.8 ± 0.2 Ma), 3 (65.5 ± 0.3 Ma), and 4 (65.9 ± 0.3 Ma) are compositionally indistinguishable. Lavas (referred to here as unit 5) that form three cone-shaped structures (shown by this study to be volcanic vents of a new unit 5) on top of North Table Mountain are compositionally similar to other units, but yield an age almost 20 m.y. younger (46.94 ± 0.15 Ma). Geochemistry and geochronology suggest that the rim phase of the Ralston plug (65.4 ± 0.2 Ma) is a reasonable source for flows 2, 3, and 4. All units are shoshonites—potassic basalts containing plagioclase, augite, olivine, and magnetite phenocrysts—and plot in the continental-arc field in tectonic discrimination diagrams. A continental-arc setting coupled with Late Cretaceous to early Paleogene ages suggest the high-K magmatism is associated with Laramide tectonism.

Remote sensing analysis of vegetation at the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona and surrounding area

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (12) 1-19

Laura M. Norman, Barry R. Middleton, Natalie R. Wilson

Mapping of vegetation types is of great importance to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and their management of forestry and fire fuels. Various remote sensing techniques were applied to classify multitemporal Landsat 8 satellite data, vegetation index, and digital elevation model data. A multitiered unsupervised classification generated over 900 classes that were then recoded to one of the 16 generalized vegetation/land cover classes using the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP) map as a guide. A supervised classification was also run using field data collected in the SWReGAP project and our field campaign. Field data were gathered and accuracy assessments were generated to compare outputs. Our hypothesis was that a resulting map would update and potentially improve upon the vegetation/land cover class distributions of the older SWReGAP map over the 24,000  km2 study area. The estimated overall accuracies ranged between 43% and 75%, depending on which method and field dataset were used. The findings demonstrate the complexity of vegetation mapping, the importance of recent, high-quality-field data, and the potential for misleading results when insufficient field data are collected.

Habitat associations of three crayfish endemic to the Ouachita Mountain Ecoregion

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Southeastern Naturalist (17) 257-269

Joseph J. Dyer, Shannon K. Brewer

Many crayfish are of conservation concern because of their use of unique habitats and often narrow ranges. In this study, we determined fine-scale habitat use by 3 crayfishes that are endemic to the Ouachita Mountains, in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We sampled Faxonius menae (Mena Crayfish), F. leptogonopodus (Little River Creek Crayfish), and Fallicambarus tenuis (Ouachita Mountain Crayfish) from wet and dry erosional channel units of 29 reaches within the Little River catchment. We compared channel-unit and microhabitat selection for each species. Crayfish of all species and life stages selected erosional channel units more often than depositional units, even though these sites were often dry. Accordingly, crayfish at all life stages typically selected the shallowest available microhabitats. Adult crayfish of all species and juvenile Little River Creek Crayfish selected patches of coarse substrate, and all crayfish tended to use the lowest amount of bedrock available. In general, we showed that these endemic crayfish used erosional channel units of streams, even when the channel units were dry. Conservation efforts that protect erosional channel units and mitigate actions that cause channel downcutting to bedrock would benefit these crayfish, particularly during harsh, summer drying periods.

Estimation of stream conditions in tributaries of the Klamath River, northern California

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Arcata Fisheries Technical Report TR 2018-32

Christopher V. Manhard, Nicholas A. Som, Edward C. Jones, Russell W. Perry

Because of their critical ecological role, stream temperature and discharge are requisite inputs for models of salmonid population dynamics. Coho Salmon inhabiting the Klamath Basin spend much of their freshwater life cycle inhabiting tributaries, but environmental data are often absent or only seasonally available at these locations. To address this information gap, we constructed daily averaged water temperature models that used simulated meteorological data to estimate daily tributary temperatures, and we used flow differentials recorded on the mainstem Klamath River to estimate daily tributary discharge. Observed temperature data were available for fourteen of the major salmon bearing tributaries, which enabled estimation of tributary-specific model parameters at those locations. Water temperature data from six mid-Klamath Basin tributaries were used to estimate a global set of parameters for predicting water temperatures in the remaining tributaries. The resulting parameter sets were used to simulate water temperatures for each of 75 tributaries from 1980-2015. Goodness-of-fit statistics computed from a cross-validation analysis demonstrated a high precision of the tributary-specific models in predicting temperature in unobserved years and of the global model in predicting temperatures in unobserved streams. Klamath River discharge has been monitored by four gages that broadly intersperse the 292 kilometers from the Iron Gate Dam to the Klamath River mouth. These gages defined the upstream and downstream margins of three reaches. Daily discharge of tributaries within a reach was estimated from 1980-2015 based on drainage-area proportionate allocations of the discharge differential between the upstream and downstream margin. Comparisons with measured discharge on Indian Creek, a moderate-sized tributary with naturally regulated flows, revealed that the estimates effectively approximated both the variability and magnitude of discharge.

Estimating freshwater productivity, overwinter survival, and migration patterns of Klamath River Coho Salmon

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Arcata Fisheries Technical Report TR 2018-33

Christopher V. Manhard, Nicholas A. Som, Russell W. Perry, Jimmy Faukner, Toz Soto

An area of great importance to resource management and conservation biology in the Klamath Basin is balancing water usage against the life history requirements of threatened Coho Salmon. One tool for addressing this topic is a freshwater dynamics model to forecast Coho Salmon productivity based on environmental inputs. Constructing such a forecasting tool requires local data to quantify the unique life history processes of Coho Salmon inhabiting this region. Here, we describe analytical methods for estimating a series of sub-models, each capturing a different life history process, which will eventually be synchronized as part of a freshwater dynamics model for Klamath River Coho Salmon. Specifically, we draw upon extensive population monitoring data collected in the basin to estimate models of freshwater productivity, overwinter survival, and migration patterns. Our models of freshwater productivity indicated that high summer temperatures and high winter flows can both adversely affect smolt production and that such relationships are more likely in tributaries with naturally regulated flows due to substantial intraannual environmental variation. Our models of overwinter survival demonstrated extensive variability in survival among years, but not among rearing locations, and demonstrated that a substantial proportion (~ 20%) of age-0+ fish emigrate from some rearing sites in the winter. Our models of migration patterns indicated that many age-0+ fish redistribute in the basin during the summer and winter. Further, we observed that these redistributions can entail long migrations in the mainstem where environmental stressors likely play a role in cueing refuge entry. Finally, our models of migration patterns indicated that changes in discharge are important in cueing the seaward migration of smolts, but that the nature of this behavioral response can differ dramatically between tributaries with naturally and artificially regulated flows. Collectively, these analyses demonstrate that environmental variation interacts with most phases of the freshwater life history of Klamath River Coho Salmon and that anthropogenic environmental variation can have a particularly large bearing on productivity.

The utility of point count surveys to predict wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities: An example focused on golden eagles

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecological Indicators (88) 126-133

Maitreyi Sur, James R. Belthoff, Emily R. Bjerre, Brian A. Millsap, Todd Katzner

Wind energy development is rapidly expanding in North America, often accompanied by requirements to survey potential facility locations for existing wildlife. Within the USA, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are among the most high-profile species of birds that are at risk from wind turbines. To minimize golden eagle fatalities in areas proposed for wind development, modified point count surveys are usually conducted to estimate use by these birds. However, it is not always clear what drives variation in the relationship between on-site point count data and actual use by eagles of a wind energy project footprint. We used existing GPS-GSM telemetry data, collected at 15 min intervals from 13 golden eagles in 2012 and 2013, to explore the relationship between point count data and eagle use of an entire project footprint. To do this, we overlaid the telemetry data on hypothetical project footprints and simulated a variety of point count sampling strategies for those footprints. We compared the time an eagle was found in the sample plots with the time it was found in the project footprint using a metric we called “error due to sampling”. Error due to sampling for individual eagles appeared to be influenced by interactions between the size of the project footprint (20, 40, 90 or 180 km2) and the sampling type (random, systematic or stratified) and was greatest on 90 km2 plots. However, use of random sampling resulted in lowest error due to sampling within intermediate sized plots. In addition sampling intensity and sampling frequency both influenced the effectiveness of point count sampling. Although our work focuses on individual eagles (not the eagle populations typically surveyed in the field), our analysis shows both the utility of simulations to identify specific influences on error and also potential improvements to sampling that consider the context-specific manner that point counts are laid out on the landscape.

Movement behavior preceding autumn mortality for white-tailed deer in central New York

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Mammalogy (99) 675-683

Brigham J. Whitman, W. F. Porter, Amy C. Dechen Quinn, David M. Williams, Jacqueline L. Frair, Harold Underwood, Joanne C. Crawford

A common yet largely untested assumption in the theory of animal movements is that increased rates and a wider range of movements, such as occurs during breeding, make animals more vulnerable to mortality. We examined mortality among 34 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) wearing GPS collars during the autumn breeding season of 2006 and 2007 in a heavily hunted, forest-agricultural landscape of central New York state. We evaluated whether individuals having higher rates of movement incurred higher rates of mortality and whether mortality risk was higher when deer were in less familiar areas. We used a Cox proportional hazards model to analyze how mortality risk changes with movement rates measured over 3 time periods: < 1 day, up to 2 weeks prior to death, and 3–4 weeks prior to death. Overall, deer increased their movement rates as autumn progressed, males more so than females. However, deer that died moved at a slower rate relative to surviving deer up to 2 weeks prior to death (ß = -2.22 ± 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -3.91 to -0.51) and a slower rate on their day of death compared to deer that survived (ß = -1.77 ± 0.73; 95% CI = -3.19 to -0.33). Site familiarity was not significantly related to mortality risk. Deer were equally likely to die within their 50% core use area as elsewhere within their autumn home range. We hypothesize that increased sociality associated with breeding may make animals more vulnerable to harvest mortality. Our findings contradict general assumptions about the influences of movement behavior on mortality risk, suggesting that patterns may be sensitive to the spatiotemporal context of the movement analysis.

Sediment accretion and carbon storage in constructed wetlands receiving water treated with metal-based coagulants

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecological Engineering (111) 176-185

Elizabeth Stumpner, Tamara Kraus, Yan Liang, Sandra M. Bachand, William R. Horwath, Philip A.M. Bachand

In many regions of the world, subsidence of organic rich soils threatens levee stability and freshwater supply, and continued oxidative loss of organic matter contributes to greenhouse gas production. To counter subsidence in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta of northern California, we examined the feasibility of using constructed wetlands receiving drainage water treated with metal-based coagulants to accrete mineral material along with wetland biomass, while also sequestering carbon in wetland sediment. Nine field-scale wetlands were constructed which received local drainage water that was either untreated (control), or treated with polyaluminum chloride (PAC) or iron sulfate (FeSO4) coagulants. After 23 months of flooding and coagulant treatment, sediment samples were collected near the inlet, middle, and outlet of each wetland to determine vertical accretion rates, bulk density, sediment composition, and carbon sequestration rates. Wetlands treated with PAC had the highest and most spatially consistent vertical accretion rates (~6 cm year-1), while the FeSO4 wetlands had similarly high accretion rates near the inlet but rates similar to the untreated wetland (~1.5 cm year-1) at the middle and outlet sites. The composition of the newly accreted sediment in the PAC and FeSO4 treatments was high in the added metal (aluminum and iron, respectively), but the percent metal by weight was similar to native soils of California. As has been observed in other constructed wetlands, the newly accreted sediment material had lower bulk densities than the native soil material (0.04-0.10 g cm-3 versus 0.2-0.3 g cm-3), suggesting these materials will consolidate over time. Finally, this technology accelerated carbon burial, with rates in PAC treated wetland (0.63 kg C m-2 yr-1) over 2-fold greater than the untreated control (0.28 kg C m-2 yr-1). This study demonstrates the feasibility of using constructed wetlands treated with coagulants to reverse subsidence by accreting the resulting organo-metal flocculent and storing carbon at rates exceeding untreated wetlands. Management and design questions remain for how to best integrate this technology into heavily subsided land to lower the risks and consequences associated with levee failure, improve water quality, and ultimately restore these lands to tidal wetlands.

Evaluating indices of lipid and protein content in lesser snow and Ross's geese during spring migration

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Wildlife Society Bulletin

Elisabeth B. Webb, Drew N. Fowler, Brendan A. Woodall, Mark P. Vrtiska

Assessing nutrient stores in avian species is important for understanding the extent to which body condition influences success or failure in life‐history events. We evaluated predictive models using morphometric characteristics to estimate total body lipids (TBL) and total body protein (TBP), based on traditional proximate analyses, in spring migrating lesser snow geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens) and Ross's geese (A. rossii). We also compared performance of our lipid model with a previously derived predictive equation for TBL developed for nesting lesser snow geese. We used external and internal measurements on 612 lesser snow and 125 Ross's geese collected during spring migration in 2015 and 2016 within the Central and Mississippi flyways to derive and evaluate predictive models. Using a validation data set, our best performing lipid model for snow geese better predicted TBL (root mean square error [RMSE] of 23.56) compared with a model derived from nesting individuals (RMSE = 48.60), suggesting the importance of season‐specific models for accurate lipid estimation. Models that included body mass and abdominal fat deposit best predicted TBL determined by proximate analysis in both species (lesser snow goose, R2 = 0.87, RMSE = 23.56: Ross's geese, R2 = 0.89, RMSE = 13.75). Models incorporating a combination of external structural measurements in addition to internal muscle and body mass best predicted protein values (R2 = 0.85, RMSE = 19.39 and R2 = 0.85, RMSE = 7.65, lesser snow and Ross's geese, respectively), but protein models including only body mass and body size were also competitive and provided extended utility to our equations for field applications. Therefore, our models indicated the importance of specimen dissection and measurement of the abdominal fat pad to provide the most accurate lipid estimates and provide alternative dissection‐free methods for estimating protein.

The influence of drought on flow‐ecology relationships in Ozark Highland streams

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Freshwater Biology

Dustin T. Lynch, D. R. Leasure, Daniel D. Magoulick

  1. Drought and summer drying can have strong effects on abiotic and biotic components of stream ecosystems. Environmental flow‐ecology relationships may be affected by drought and drying, adding further uncertainty to the already complex interaction of flow with other environmental variables, including geomorphology and water quality.
  2. Environment–ecology relationships in stream communities in Ozark Highland streams, USA, were examined over two years with contrasting environmental conditions, a drought year (2012) and a flood year (2013). We analysed fish, crayfish and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages using two different approaches: (1) a multiple regression analysis incorporating predictor variables related to habitat, water quality, geomorphology and hydrology and (2) a canonical ordination procedure using only hydrologic variables in which forward selection was used to select predictors that were most related to our response variables.
  3. Reach‐scale habitat quality and geomorphology were found to be the most important influences on community structure, but hydrology was also important, particularly during the flood year. We also found substantial between‐year variation in environment–ecology relationships. Some ecological responses differed significantly between drought and flood years, while others remained consistent. We found that magnitude was the most important flow component overall, but that there was a shift in relative importance from low flow metrics during the drought year to average flow metrics during the flood year, and the specific metrics of importance varied markedly between assemblages and years.
  4. Findings suggest that understanding temporal variation in flow‐ecology relationships may be crucial for resource planning. While some relationships show temporal variation, others are consistent between years. Additionally, different kinds of hydrologic variables can differ greatly in terms of which assemblages they affect and how they affect them. Managers can address this complexity by focusing on relationships that are temporally stable and flow metrics that are consistently important across groups, such as flood frequency and flow variability.

World distribution of uranium deposits

Released June 01, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Report

M. C. Fairclough, J. A. Irvine, L. F. Katona, W. L. Simmon, P. Bruneton, Mark J. Mihalasky, M. Cuney, M. Aranha, O. Pylypenko, K. Poliakovska

Deposit data derived from IAEA UDEPO ( database with assistance from P. Bruneton (France) and M. Mihalasky (U.S.A.). The map is an updated companion to "World Distribution of Uranium Deposits (UDEPO) with Uranium Deposit Classification, IAEA Tech-Doc-1629". Geology was derived from L.B. Chorlton, Generalized Geology of the World, Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529 , 2007. Map production by M.C. Fairclough (IAEA), J.A. Irvine (Austrailia), L.F. Katona (Australia) and W.L. Slimmon (Canada). World Distribution of Uranium Deposits, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria. Cartographic Assistance was supplied by the Geological Survey of South Australia, the Saskatchewan Geological Survey and United States Geological Survey to the IAEA. Coastlines, drainage, and country boundaries were obtained from ArcMap, 1:25 000 000 scale, and are copyrighted data containing the intellectual property of Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). The use of particular designations of countries or territories does not imply any judgment by the publisher, the IAEA, as to the legal status of such countries or territories, of their authorities and institutions or of the delimitation of their boundaries. Any revisions or additional geological information known to the user would be welcomed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Geological Survey of Canada.

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Canning Basin Province, Australia, 2017

Released May 31, 2018 13:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3023

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable resources of 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 34.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Canning Basin Province of Australia.

A preliminary study of variation of Trapa in Japan

Released May 31, 2018 09:30 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1075

Yasuro Kadono

Nancy B. Rybicki, Vincent Lai, editor(s)


Frequent occurrence of intermediate forms and poor knowledge on the variability of characters have caused some difficulties in the taxonomy of Trapa in Japan. Thus I made a preliminary analysis on the variation of nuts collected from 21 populations in Southwestern Japan. Attention was paid to some morphometrical characters of the nut and development of lower spines or “pseudohorns.” Each population usually contained different forms of nuts. Among them, however, several entities could be recognized based on the shape of nut as follows. 1) Two-spined form: This included nuts of middle size (width 30–50 mm) and ones of big size (width over 45 mm). In case of the former ones, the nuts with pseudohorns of varying degree of development usually occurred together within one population and even on a single plant. I propose to treat them as one taxon, Trapa japonica, sensu OHWI (1965), without inventing varieties. But at the same time, it was remarkable that the tendency of development of pseudohorns was apparently different from population to population. The bigger ones included two types, that is, one without pseudohorns and the other with pseudohorns. The former one may be identified as T. bispinosa ROXB., but the latter one has not been described in literature. 2) Four-spined form: The nuts of small size (width of about 20 mm) were well definable and thought to be T. incisa SIEB. et ZUCC. The nuts of bigger size showed some variations with respect to their size and/or stoutness of lower spines. The big ones (width over 45 mm) may be treated as one taxon, T. natans or its variety. The nuts of middle size have been named T. natans var. pumila NAKANO. But so far as present materials were concerned, its entity seemed dubious. They might be immature nuts of bigger ones. The different patterns of variation among populations were ascribed to genetic differentiation. Predominance of self-pollination and isolation of habitats were thought to promote genetic isolation and preservation of genetic variations which occurred in each population. But the possibility of hybridization cannot be excluded.

Assessment of capacity-building activities for forest measurement, reporting, and verification, 2011–15

Released May 31, 2018 09:15 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1031

Elitsa I. Peneva-Reed, J. Erika Romijn

This report was written as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey, SilvaCarbon, and Wageningen University with funding provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the European Space Agency, respectively, to address a pressing need for enhanced result-based monitoring and evaluation of delivered capacity-building activities. For this report, the capacity-building activities delivered by capacity-building providers (referred to as “providers” hereafter) during 2011–15 (the study period) to support countries in building measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) were assessed and evaluated.

Summarizing capacity-building activities and outcomes across multiple providers was challenging. Many of the providers did not have information readily available, which precluded them from participating in this study despite the usefulness of their information. This issue led to a key proposed future action: Capacity-building providers could establish a central repository within the Global Forestry Observation Initiative (GFOI; where data from past, current, and future activities of all capacity-building providers could be stored. The repository could be maintained in a manner to continually learn from previous lessons.

Although various providers monitored and evaluated the success of their capacity-building activities, such evaluations only assessed the success of immediate outcomes and not the overarching outcomes and impacts of activities implemented by multiple providers. Good monitoring and evaluation should continuously monitor and periodically evaluate all factors affecting the outcomes of a provided capacity-building activity.

The absence of a methodology to produce quantitative evidence of a causal link between multiple capacity-building activities delivered and successful outcomes left only a plausible association. A previous publication argued that plausible association, although not a precise measurement of cause and effect, was a realistic tool. Our review of the available literature on this subject did not find another similar assessment to assess capacity-building activities for supporting the countries in building MRV system for REDD+.

Four countries from the main forested regions of Africa, the Americas, and Asia were chosen as subjects for this report based on the length of time SilvaCarbon and other providers have provided capacity-building activities toward MRV system for REDD+: Colombia (the Americas), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; Africa), Peru (the Americas), and the Republic of the Philippines (referred to as “the Philippines” hereafter; Asia).

Several providers were contacted for information to include in this report, but, because of various constraints, only SilvaCarbon, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) participated in this study. These three providers supported various targeted capacity-building activities through-out Africa, the Americas, and Asia, including the following: technical workshops at national and regional levels (referred to as “workshops” hereafter), hands on training, study tours, technical details by experts, technical consultation between providers and recipients, sponsorship for travel, organizing network meetings, developing sampling protocols, assessing deforestation and degradation drivers, estimating carbon stock and flow, designing monitoring systems for multiple uses, promoting public-private partnerships to scale up investments on MRV system for REDD+, and assisting with the design of national forest monitoring systems.

Their activities were planned in coordination with key partners in each country and region and with the support and assistance of other providers. Note that several other organizations and institutions assisted the providers to deliver capacity-building activities, including Boston University, Conservation International, Stanford University, University of Maryland, and Wageningen University & Research.

Rio Grande transboundary integrated hydrologic model and water-availability analysis, New Mexico and Texas, United States, and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1091

Randall T. Hanson, Andre Ritchie, Scott E. Boyce, Ian Ferguson, Amy Galanter, Lorraine E. Flint, Wesley Henson

Changes in population, agricultural development and practices (including shifts to more water-intensive crops), and climate variability are increasing demands on available water resources, particularly groundwater, in one of the most productive agricultural regions in the Southwest—the Rincon and Mesilla Valley parts of Rio Grande Valley, Doña Ana and Sierra Counties, New Mexico, and El Paso County, Texas. The goal of this study was to produce an integrated hydrological simulation model to help evaluate water-management strategies, including conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater for historical conditions, and to support long-term planning for the Rio Grande Project. This report describes model construction and applications by the U.S. Geological Survey, working in cooperation and collaboration with the Bureau of Reclamation.

This model, the Rio Grande Transboundary Integrated Hydrologic Model, simulates the most important natural and human components of the hydrologic system, including selected components related to variations in climate, thereby providing a reliable assessment of surface-water and groundwater conditions and processes that can inform water users and help improve planning for future conditions and sustained operations of the Rio Grande Project (RGP) by the Bureau of Reclamation. Model development included a revision of the conceptual model of the flow system, construction of a Transboundary Rio Grande Watershed Model (TRGWM) water-balance model using the Basin Characterization Model (BCM), and construction of an integrated hydrologic flow model with MODFLOW-One-Water Hydrologic Flow Model (referred to as One Water). The hydrologic models were developed for and calibrated to historical conditions of water and land use, and parameters were adjusted so that simulated values closely matched available measurements (calibration). The calibrated model was then used to assess the use and movement of water in the Rincon Valley, Mesilla Basin, and northern part of the Conejos-Médanos Basin, with the entire region referred to as the “Transboundary Rio Grande” or TRG. These tools provide a means to understand hydrologic system response to the evolution of water use in the region, its availability, and potential operational constraints of the RGP.
The conceptual model identified surface-water and groundwater inflows and outflows that included the movement and use of water both in natural and in anthropogenic systems. The groundwater-flow system is characterized by a layered geologic sedimentary sequence combined with the effects of groundwater pumping, operation of the RGP, natural runoff and recharge, and the application of irrigation water at the land surface that is captured and reused in an extensive network of canals and drains as part of the conjunctive use of water in the region.

Historical groundwater-level fluctuations followed a cyclic pattern that were aligned with climate cycles, which collectively resulted in alternating periods of wet or dry years. Periods of drought that persisted for one or more years are associated with low surface-water availability that resulted in higher rates of groundwater-level decline. Rates of groundwater-level decline also increased during periods of agricultural intensification, which necessitated increasing use of groundwater as a source of irrigation water. Agriculture in the area was initially dominated by alfalfa and cotton, but since 1970 more water-intensive pecan orchards and vegetable production have become more common. Groundwater levels substantially declined in subregions where drier climate combined with increased demand, resulting in periods of reduced streamflows.

Most of the groundwater was recharged in the Rio Grande Valley floor, and most of the pumpage and aquifer storage depletion was in Mesilla Basin agricultural subregions. A cyclic imbalance between inflows and outflows resulted in the modeled cyclic depletion (groundwater withdrawals in excess of natural recharge) of the groundwater basin during the 75-year simulation period of 1940–2014. Changes in groundwater storage can vary considerably from year to year, depending on land use, pumpage, and climate conditions. Climatic drivers of wet and dry years can greatly affect all inflows, outflows, and water use. Although streamflow and, to a minor extent, precipitation during inter-decadal wet-year periods replenished the groundwater historically, contemporary water use and storage depletion could have reduced the effects of these major recharge events. The average net groundwater flow-rate deficit for 1953–2014 was estimated to be about 8,990 acre-feet per year.

Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, River Research and Applications

Brian R. Gray, Dale M. Robertson, James T. Rogala

Recent interest in the potential effects of climate change has prompted studies of air temperature and precipitation associations with water temperatures in rivers and streams. We examined associations between summer surface water temperatures and both air temperature and discharge for 5 reaches of the Upper Mississippi River during 1994–2011. Water–air temperature associations at a given reach approximated 1:1 when estimated under an assumption of reach independence but declined to approximately 1:2 when water temperatures were permitted to covary among reaches and were also adjusted for upstream air temperatures. Estimated water temperature–discharge associations were weak. An apparently novel feature of this study is that of addressing changes in associations between water and air temperatures when both are correlated among reaches.

Adaptive population divergence and directional gene flow across steep elevational gradients in a climate‐sensitive mammal

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Molecular Ecology (27) 2512-2528

Matthew D. Waterhouse, Liesl P. Erb, Erik Beever, Michael A. Russello

The American pika is a thermally sensitive, alpine lagomorph species. Recent climate-associated population extirpations and genetic signatures of reduced population sizes range-wide indicate the viability of this species is sensitive to climate change. To test for potential adaptive responses to climate stress, we sampled pikas along two elevational gradients (each ~470 to 1640 m) and employed three outlier detection methods, BAYESCAN, LFMM, and BAYPASS, to scan for genotype-environment associations in samples genotyped at 30,763 SNP loci. We resolved 173 loci with robust evidence of natural selection detected by either two independent analyses or replicated in both transects. A BLASTN search of these outlier loci revealed several genes associated with metabolic function and oxygen transport, indicating natural selection from thermal stress and hypoxia. We also found evidence of directional gene flow primarily downslope from large high-elevation populations and reduced gene flow at outlier loci, a pattern suggesting potential impediments to the upward elevational movement of adaptive alleles in response to contemporary climate change. Finally, we documented evidence of reduced genetic diversity associated the south-facing transect and an increase in corticosterone stress levels associated with inbreeding. This study suggests the American pika is already undergoing climate-associated natural selection at multiple genomic regions. Further analysis is needed to determine if the rate of climate adaptation in the American pika and other thermally sensitive species will be able to keep pace with rapidly changing climate conditions.

Habitat selection, movement patterns, and hazards encountered by northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) in an agricultural landscape

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Herpetological Conservation and Biology (13) 113-130

Melinda G. Knutson, Jennifer H. Herner-Thogmartin, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Joshua M. Kapfer, John Nelson

Telemetry data for 59 Northern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens) breeding in ponds in Houston and Winona Counties, MN; 2001-2002. Agricultural intensification is causing declines in many wildlife species, including Northern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens). Specific information about frog movements, habitat selection, and sources of mortality can be used to inform conservation-focused land management and acquisition. We studied Northern Leopard Frogs in southeastern Minnesota, part of the Driftless Area ecoregion, characterized by hills and valleys and a mix of agriculture, forests, small towns and farmsteads. In this area, small farm ponds, originally built to control soil erosion are used by the species for breeding and wintering in addition to riparian wetlands. But, this agricultural landscape may be hazardous for frogs moving between breeding, feeding, and wintering habitats. We surgically implanted transmitters into the peritoneal cavity of 59 Northern Leopard Frogs and tracked them from May to October 2001-2002. The total distance traveled by radio-tagged frogs ranged from 12 to 3316 m, the 95% home range averaged 5.3 ± 1.2 (SE) ha, and the 50% core area averaged 1.05 ± 0.3 (SE) ha. As expected, Northern Leopard Frogs selected wetlands over all other land cover classes and row crops were generally avoided at all levels of selection. Only a few tracked frogs were successful at dispersing (n = 6). Most frogs attempting to disperse (n =31) ended up missing (n = 14), died due to mowing (n = 8), or were recorded as transmitter failure (n = 2) or unknown mortalities (n = 1). For the conservation of Northern Leopard Frogs in this agricultural setting, we must consider both the aquatic and the terrestrial needs of this species. Conservation agencies that restore, manage, and acquire wetlands should consider the hazards posed by land uses adjacent to frog breeding and wintering sites and plan for movement corridors between these locations. For example, grasslands that are mowed or hayed between April and October in the north central U.S. and are adjacent to wetlands, pose a direct threat to frogs because these cultivated grasslands are primary locations for summer occupancy. When conservation land managers are selecting sites for acquisition or restoration they should avoid investments that will situate the wetland adjacent to heavily travelled roads and agricultural lands likely to be mowed or hayed. Increasing habitat amount and quality at amphibian breeding, feeding and wintering sites should reduce the energy required and hazards associated with moving long distances. Large, diverse wetlands probably provide all of the requirements needed by Northern Leopard Frogs for survival including food, shelter, breeding and overwintering areas.

Exposure-related effects of Zequanox on juvenile lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Management of Biological Invasions (9) 163-175

James A. Luoma, Todd J. Severson, Jeremy K. Wise, Matthew Barbour

The environmental fate, persistence, and non-target animal impacts of traditional molluscicides for zebra, Dreissena polymorpha, and quagga, D. bugensis, mussel control led to the development of the biomolluscicide Zequanox. Although previous research has demonstrated the specificity of Zequanox, one study indicated sensitivity of salmonids and lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, following non-label compliant exposures to Zequanox. This study was conducted to evaluate sublethal and lethal impacts of Zequanox exposure on juvenile lake sturgeon and lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, following applications that were conducted in a manner consistent with the Zequanox product label. Fish were exposed to 50 or 100 mg/L of Zequanox as active ingredient for 8 h and then held for 33 d to evaluate latent impacts. No acute mortality was observed in either species; however, significant latent mortality (P < 0.01, df = 9; 46.2%) was observed in lake trout that were exposed to the highest dose of Zequanox. Statistically significant (P < 0.03, df = 9), but biologically minimal differences were observed in the weight (range 20.17 to 21.49 g) of surviving lake sturgeon at the termination of the 33 d post-exposure observation period. Statistically significant (P < 0.05, df = 9) and biologically considerable differences were observed in the weight (range 6.19 to 9.55 g) of surviving lake trout at the termination of the 33 d post-exposure observation period. Histologic evaluation of lake trout gastrointestinal tracts suggests that the mode of action in lake trout is different from the mode of action that induces zebra and quagga mussel mortality. Further research could determine the sensitivity of other salmonid species to Zequanox and determine if native fish will avoid Zequanox treated water.

Managing salinity in Upper Colorado River Basin streams: Selecting catchments for sediment control efforts using watershed characteristics and random forests models

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Water (10)

Fred Tillman, David W. Anning, Julian A. Heilman, Susan G. Buto, Matthew P. Miller

Elevated concentrations of dissolved-solids (salinity) including calcium, sodium, sulfate, and chloride, among others, in the Colorado River cause substantial problems for its water users. Previous efforts to reduce dissolved solids in upper Colorado River basin (UCRB) streams often focused on reducing suspended-sediment transport to streams, but few studies have investigated the relationship between suspended sediment and salinity, or evaluated which watershed characteristics might be associated with this relationship. Are there catchment properties that may help in identifying areas where control of suspended sediment will also reduce salinity transport to streams? A random forests classification analysis was performed on topographic, climate, land cover, geology, rock chemistry, soil, and hydrologic information in 163 UCRB catchments. Two random forests models were developed in this study: one for exploring stream and catchment characteristics associated with stream sites where dissolved solids increase with increasing suspended-sediment concentration, and the other for predicting where these sites are located in unmonitored reaches. Results of variable importance from the exploratory random forests models indicate that no simple source, geochemical process, or transport mechanism can easily explain the relationship between dissolved solids and suspended sediment concentrations at UCRB monitoring sites. Among the most important watershed characteristics in both models were measures of soil hydraulic conductivity, soil erodibility, minimum catchment elevation, catchment area, and the silt component of soil in the catchment. Predictions at key locations in the basin were combined with observations from selected monitoring sites, and presented in map-form to give a complete understanding of where catchment sediment control practices would also benefit control of dissolved solids in streams.

Drivers and uncertainties of forecasted range shifts for warm-water fishes under climate and land cover change

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Kristen Bouska, Gregory W. Whitledge, Christopher Lant, Justin Schoof

Land cover is an important determinant of aquatic habitat and is projected to shift with climate changes, yet climate-driven land cover changes are rarely factored into climate assessments. To quantify impacts and uncertainty of coupled climate and land cover change on warm-water fish species’ distributions, we used an ensemble model approach to project distributions of 14 species. For each species, current range projections were compared to 27 scenario-based projections and aggregated to visualize uncertainty. Multiple regression and model selection techniques were used to identify drivers of range change. Novel, or no-analogue, climates were assessed to evaluate transferability of models. Changes in total probability of occurrence ranged widely across species, from a 63% increase to a 65% decrease. Distributional gains and losses were largely driven by temperature and flow variables and underscore the importance of habitat heterogeneity and connectivity to facilitate adaptation to changing conditions. Finally, novel climate conditions were driven by mean annual maximum temperature, which stresses the importance of understanding the role of temperature on fish physiology and the role of temperature-mitigating management practices.

Computing under-ice discharge: A proof-of-concept using hydroacoustics and the Probability Concept

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Hydrology (562) 733-748

John W. Fulton, Mark F. Henneberg, Taylor J. Mills, Michael S. Kohn, Brian Epstein, Elizabeth A. Hittle, William C. Damschen, Christopher D. Laveau, Jason M. Lambrecht, William H. Farmer

Under-ice discharge is estimated using open-water reference hydrographs; however, the ratings for ice-affected sites are generally qualified as poor. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, conducted a proof-of-concept to develop an alternative method for computing under-ice discharge using hydroacoustics and the Probability Concept.

The study site was located south of Minturn, Colorado (CO), USA, and was selected because of (1) its proximity to the existing USGS streamgage 09064600 Eagle River near Minturn, CO, and (2) its ease-of-access to verify discharge using a variety of conventional methods. From late September 2014 to early March 2015, hydraulic conditions varied from open water to under ice. These temporal changes led to variations in water depth and velocity. Hydroacoustics (tethered and uplooking acoustic Doppler current profilers and acoustic Doppler velocimeters) were deployed to measure the vertical-velocity profile at a singularly important vertical of the channel-cross section. Because the velocity profile was non-standard and cannot be characterized using a Power Law or Log Law, velocity data were analyzed using the Probability Concept, which is a probabilistic formulation of the velocity distribution. The Probability Concept-derived discharge was compared to conventional methods including stage-discharge and index-velocity ratings and concurrent field measurements; each is complicated by the dynamics of ice formation, pressure influences on stage measurements, and variations in cross-sectional area due to ice formation.

No particular discharge method was assigned as truth. Rather one statistical metric (Kolmogorov-Smirnov; KS), agreement plots, and concurrent measurements provided a measure of comparability between various methods. Regardless of the method employed, comparisons between each method revealed encouraging results depending on the flow conditions and the absence or presence of ice cover.

For example, during lower discharges dominated by under-ice and transition (intermittent open-water and under-ice) conditions, the KS metric suggests there is not sufficient information to reject the null hypothesis and implies that the Probability Concept and index-velocity rating represent similar distributions. During high-flow, open-water conditions, the comparisons are less definitive; therefore, it is important that the appropriate analytical method and instrumentation be selected. Six conventional discharge measurements were collected concurrently with Probability Concept-derived discharges with percent differences (%) of −9.0%, −21%, −8.6%, 17.8%, 3.6%, and −2.3%.

This proof-of-concept demonstrates that riverine discharges can be computed using the Probability Concept for a range of hydraulic extremes (variations in discharge, open-water and under-ice conditions) immediately after the siting phase is complete, which typically requires one day. Computing real-time discharges is particularly important at sites, where (1) new streamgages are planned, (2) river hydraulics are complex, and (3) shifts in the stage-discharge rating are needed to correct the streamflow record. Use of the Probability Concept does not preclude the need to maintain a stage-area relation. Both the Probability Concept and index-velocity rating offer water-resource managers and decision makers alternatives for computing real-time discharge for open-water and under-ice conditions.

Conceptual framework and trend analysis of water-level responses to hydrologic stresses, Pahute Mesa–Oasis Valley groundwater basin, Nevada, 1966-2016

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5064

Tracie R. Jackson, Joseph M. Fenelon

This report identifies water-level trends in wells and provides a conceptual framework that explains the hydrologic stresses and factors causing the trends in the Pahute Mesa–Oasis Valley (PMOV) groundwater basin, southern Nevada. Water levels in 79 wells were analyzed for trends between 1966 and 2016. The magnitude and duration of water-level responses to hydrologic stresses were analyzed graphically, statistically, and with water-level models.

The conceptual framework consists of multiple stress-specific conceptual models to explain water-level responses to the following hydrologic stresses: recharge, evapotranspiration, pumping, nuclear testing, and wellbore equilibration. Dominant hydrologic stresses affecting water-level trends in each well were used to categorize trends as nonstatic, transient, or steady state.

The conceptual framework of water-level responses to hydrologic stresses and trend analyses provide a comprehensive understanding of the PMOV basin and vicinity. The trend analysis links water-level fluctuations in wells to hydrologic stresses and potential factors causing the trends. Transient and steady-state trend categorizations can be used to determine the appropriate water-level data for groundwater studies.

Ecohydrological implications of aeolian sediment trapping by sparse vegetation in drylands

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecosystems

Howell B. Gonzales, Sujith Ravi, Junran Li, Joel B. Sankey

Aeolian processes are important drivers of ecosystem dynamics in drylands, and important feedbacks exist among aeolian – hydrological processes and vegetation. The trapping of wind-borne sediments by vegetation may result in changes in soil properties beneath the vegetation, which, in turn, can alter hydrological and biogeochemical processes. Despite the relevance of aeolian transport to ecosystem dynamics, the interactions between aeolian transport and vegetation in shaping dryland landscapes where sediment distribution is altered by relatively rapid changes in vegetation composition such as shrub encroachment, is not well understood. Here, we used a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling framework to investigate the sediment trapping efficiencies of vegetation canopies commonly found in a shrub-grass ecotone in the Chihuahuan Desert (New Mexico, USA) and related the results to spatial heterogeneity in soil texture and infiltration measured in the field. A CFD open-source software package was used to simulate aeolian sediment movement through three-dimensional architectural depictions of Creosote shrub (Larrea tridentata) and Black Grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda) vegetation types. The vegetation structures were created using a computer-aided design software (Blender), with inherent canopy porosities, which were derived using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measurements of plant canopies. Results show that considerable heterogeneity in infiltration and soil grain size distribution exist between the microsites, with higher infiltration and coarser soil texture under shrubs. Numerical simulations also indicate that the differential trapping of canopies might contribute to the observed heterogeneity in soil texture. In the early stages of encroachment, the shrub canopies, by trapping coarser particles more efficiently, might maintain higher infiltration rates leading to faster development of the microsites (among other factors) with enhanced ecological productivity, which might provide positive feedbacks to shrub encroachment.

Post-fire redistribution of soil carbon and nitrogen at a grassland-shrubland ecotone

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecosystems

Guan Wang, Junran Li, Sujith Ravi, David Dukes, Howell B. Gonzales, Joel B. Sankey

The rapid conversion of grasslands into shrublands has been observed in many arid and semiarid regions worldwide. Studies have shown that fire can provide certain forms of reversibility for shrub-grass transition due to resource homogenization and shrub mortality, especially in the early stages of shrub encroachment. Field-level post-fire soil resource redistribution has rarely been tested. Here we used prescribed fire in a shrubland-grassland transition zone in the northern Chihuahuan Desert to test the hypothesis that fire facilitates the remobilization of nutrient-enriched soil from shrub microsites to grass and bare microsites and thereby reduces the spatial heterogeneity of soil resources. Results show that the shrub microsites had the lowest water content compared to grass and bare microsites after fire, even when rain events occurred. Significant differences of total soil carbon (TC) and total soil nitrogen (TN) among the three microsites disappeared one year after the fire. The spatial autocorrelation distance increased from 1~2 m, approximately the mean size of an individual shrub canopy, to over 5 m one year after the fire for TC and TN. Patches of high soil C and N decomposed one year after the prescribed fire. Overall, fire stimulates the transfer of soil C and N from shrub microsites to nutrient-depleted grass and bare microsites. Such a redistribution of soil C and N, coupled with the reduced soil water content under the shrub canopies, suggests that fire might influence the competition between shrubs and grasses, leading to a higher grass, compared to shrub, coverage in this ecotone.

Evaluation of social attraction measures to establish Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri) nesting colonies for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, San Francisco Bay, California—2017 Annual Report

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1090

C. Alex Hartman, Joshua T. Ackerman, Mark P. Herzog, Yiwei Wang, Cheryl Strong

Forster’s terns (Sterna forsteri), historically one of the most numerous colonial-breeding waterbirds in South San Francisco Bay, California, have had recent decreases in the number of nesting colonies and overall breeding population size. The South Bay Salt Pond (SBSP) Restoration Project aims to restore 50–90 percent of former salt evaporation ponds to tidal marsh habitat in South San Francisco Bay. This restoration will remove much of the historical island nesting habitat used by Forster’s terns, American avocets (Recurvirostra americana), and other waterbirds. To address this issue, the SBSP Restoration Project organized the construction of new nesting islands in managed ponds that will not be restored to tidal marsh, thereby providing enduring island nesting habitat for waterbirds. In 2012, 16 new islands were constructed in Pond A16 in the Alviso complex of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, increasing the number of islands in this pond from 4 to 20. However, despite a history of nesting on the four historical islands in Pond A16 before 2012, no Forster’s terns have nested in Pond A16 since the new islands were constructed.

In 2017, we used social attraction measures (decoys and electronic call systems) to attract Forster’s terns to islands within Pond A16 to re-establish nesting colonies. We maintained these systems from March through August 2017. To evaluate the effect of these social attraction measures, we also completed waterbird surveys between April and August, where we recorded the number and location of all Forster’s terns and other waterbirds using Pond A16, and monitored waterbird nests. We compared bird survey and nest monitoring data collected in 2017 to data collected in 2015 and 2016, prior to the implementation of social attraction measures, allowing for direct evaluation of social attraction efforts on Forster’s terns.

To increase the visibility and stakeholder involvement of this project, we engaged in multiple outreach activities, including the development of a project web site ( and educational video (; publication of a popular article (; and public presentations to relay findings to managers, stakeholders, and the general public.

The relative number of Forster’s terns using Pond A16, after adjusting for the overall South San Francisco Bay breeding population each year, was higher during the nesting period in 2017 (after social attraction was used) than in 2015 and 2016 (before social attraction was used). Furthermore, in 2017, more Forster’s terns were observed in the areas of Pond A16 where decoys and call systems were deployed during the pre-nesting and nesting periods. Although no Forster’s tern nests were recorded in Pond A16 before (2015, 2016) or after (2017) implementation of social attraction measures, bird survey results indicate that Forster’s terns were attracted to areas within Pond A16 where decoys and call systems were deployed, suggesting that terns may have been prospecting for future breeding sites. As social attraction efforts often benefit from multiple years of decoy and call system deployment, these first-year results suggest that continued implementation of social attraction measures could help to re-establish Forster’s tern breeding colonies in Pond A16 and other areas of South San Francisco Bay.

Construction and calibration of a groundwater-flow model to assess groundwater availability in the uppermost principal aquifer systems of the Williston Basin, United States and Canada

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5158

Kyle W. Davis, Andrew J. Long

The U.S. Geological Survey developed a groundwater-flow model for the uppermost principal aquifer systems in the Williston Basin in parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the United States and parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada as part of a detailed assessment of the groundwater availability in the area. The assessment was done because of the potential for increased demands and stresses on groundwater associated with large-scale energy development in the area. As part of this assessment, a three-dimensional groundwater-flow model was developed as a tool that can be used to simulate how the groundwater-flow system responds to changes in hydrologic stresses at a regional scale.

The three-dimensional groundwater-flow model was developed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s numerical finite-difference groundwater model with the Newton-Rhapson solver, MODFLOW–NWT, to represent the glacial, lower Tertiary, and Upper Cretaceous aquifer systems for steady-state (mean) hydrological conditions for 1981‒2005 and for transient (temporally varying) conditions using a combination of a steady-state period for pre-1960 and transient periods for 1961‒2005. The numerical model framework was constructed based on existing and interpreted hydrogeologic and geospatial data and consisted of eight layers. Two layers were used to represent the glacial aquifer system in the model; layer 1 represented the upper one-half and layer 2 represented the lower one-half of the glacial aquifer system. Three layers were used to represent the lower Tertiary aquifer system in the model; layer 3 represented the upper Fort Union aquifer, layer 4 represented the middle Fort Union hydrogeologic unit, and layer 5 represented the lower Fort Union aquifer. Three layers were used to represent the Upper Cretaceous aquifer system in the model; layer 6 represented the upper Hell Creek hydrogeologic unit, layer 7 represented the lower Hell Creek aquifer, and layer 8 represented the Fox Hills aquifer. The numerical model was constructed using a uniform grid with square cells that are about 1 mile (1,600 meters) on each side with a total of about 657,000 active cells.

Model calibration was completed by linking Parameter ESTimation (PEST) software with MODFLOW–NWT. The PEST software uses statistical parameter estimation techniques to identify an optimum set of input parameters by adjusting individual model input parameters and assessing the differences, or residuals, between observed (measured or estimated) data and simulated values. Steady-state model calibration consisted of attempting to match mean simulated values to measured or estimated values of (1) hydraulic head, (2) hydraulic head differences between model layers, (3) stream infiltration, and (4) discharge to streams. Calibration of the transient model consisted of attempting to match simulated and measured temporally distributed values of hydraulic head changes, stream base flow, and groundwater discharge to artesian flowing wells. Hydraulic properties estimated through model calibration included hydraulic conductivity, vertical hydraulic conductivity, aquifer storage, and riverbed hydraulic conductivity in addition to groundwater recharge and well skin.

The ability of the numerical model to accurately simulate groundwater flow in the Williston Basin was assessed primarily by its ability to match calibration targets for hydraulic head, stream base flow, and flowing well discharge. The steady-state model also was used to assess the simulated potentiometric surfaces in the upper Fort Union aquifer, the lower Fort Union aquifer, and the Fox Hills aquifer. Additionally, a previously estimated regional groundwater-flow budget was compared with the simulated steady-state groundwater-flow budget for the Williston Basin. The simulated potentiometric surfaces typically compared well with the estimated potentiometric surfaces based on measured hydraulic head data and indicated localized groundwater-flow gradients that were topographically controlled in outcrop areas and more generalized regional gradients where the aquifers were confined. The differences between the measured and simulated (residuals) hydraulic head values for 11,109 wells were assessed, which indicated that the steady-state model generally underestimated hydraulic head in the model area. This underestimation is indicated by a positive mean residual of 11.2 feet for all model layers. Layer 7, which represents the lower Hell Creek aquifer, is the only layer for which the steady-state model overestimated hydraulic head. Simulated groundwater-level changes for the transient model matched within plus or minus 2.5 feet of the measured values for more than 60 percent of all measurements and to within plus or minus 17.5 feet for 95 percent of all measurements; however, the transient model underestimated groundwater-level changes for all model layers. A comparison between simulated and estimated base flows for the steady-state and transient models indicated that both models overestimated base flow in streams and underestimated annual fluctuations in base flow.

The estimated and simulated groundwater budgets indicate the model area received a substantial amount of recharge from precipitation and stream infiltration. The steady-state model indicated that reservoir seepage was a larger component of recharge in the Williston Basin than was previously estimated. Irrigation recharge and groundwater inflow from outside the Williston Basin accounted for a relatively small part of total groundwater recharge when compared with recharge from precipitation, stream infiltration, and reservoir seepage. Most of the estimated and simulated groundwater discharge in the Williston Basin was to streams and reservoirs. Simulated groundwater withdrawal, discharge to reservoirs, and groundwater outflow in the Williston Basin accounted for a smaller part of total groundwater discharge.

The transient model was used to simulate discharge to 571 flowing artesian wells within the model area. Of the 571 established flowing artesian wells simulated by the model, 271 wells did not flow at any time during the simulation because hydraulic head was always below the land-surface altitude. As hydraulic head declined throughout the simulation, 68 of these wells responded by ceasing to flow by the end of 2005. Total mean simulated discharge for the 571 flowing artesian wells was 55.1 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), and the mean simulated flowing well discharge for individual wells was 0.118 ft3/s. Simulated discharge to individual flowing artesian wells increased from 0.039 to 0.177 ft3/s between 1961 and 1975 and decreased to 0.102 ft3/s by 2005. The mean residual for 34 flowing wells with measured discharge was 0.014 ft3/s, which indicates the transient model overestimated discharge to flowing artesian wells in the model area.

Model limitations arise from aspects of the conceptual model and from simplifications inherent in the construction and calibration of a regional-scale numerical groundwater-flow model. Simplifying assumptions in defining hydraulic parameters in space and hydrologic stresses and time-varying observational data in time can limit the capabilities of this tool to simulate how the groundwater-flow system responds to changes in hydrologic stresses, particularly at the local scale; nevertheless, the steady-state model adequately simulated flow in the uppermost principal aquifer systems in the Williston Basin based on the comparison between the simulated and estimated groundwater-flow budget, the comparison between simulated and estimated potentiometric surfaces, and the results of the calibration process.

Rapid discovery of SNPs differentiating hatchery steelhead trout from ESA-listed natural-origin steelhead trout using a 57K SNP array

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Wesley Larson, Yniv Palti, G. Gao, Kenneth I. Warheit, James E. Seeb

Natural-origin steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792)) in the Pacific Northwest, USA, are threatened by a number of factors including habitat destruction, disease, decline in marine survival, and a potential erosion of genetic viability due to introgression from hatchery strains. Our major goal was to use a recently developed SNP array containing ∼57 000 SNPs to identify a subset of SNPs that differentiate hatchery and natural-origin populations. We analyzed 35 765 polymorphic SNPs in nine populations of steelhead trout sampled from Puget Sound, Washington, USA. We then conducted two outlier tests and found 360 loci that were candidates for divergent selection between hatchery and natural-origin populations (mean FCT = 0.29, maximum = 0.65) and 595 SNPs that were candidates for selection among natural-origin populations (mean FST = 0.25, maximum = 0.51). Comparisons with a linkage map revealed that two chromosomes (Omy05 and Omy25) contained significantly more outliers than other chromosomes, suggesting that regions on Omy05 and Omy25 may be of adaptive significance. Our results highlight several advantages of the 57 000 SNP array as a tool for population and conservation genomics studies.

Environmental influences on the nesting phenology and productivity of Mississippi Kites (Ictinia mississippiensis)

Released May 31, 2018 00:00 EST

2017, The Condor (119) 298-307

Brandi C. Welch, Clint W. Boal, Ben R. Skipper

Identifying sources of annual variation in the reproductive success of a species may provide valuable insights into how the species may be affected by future environmental or climatic conditions. We examined annual variation in the nesting phenology, productivity, and apparent nest success of Mississippi Kites (Ictinia mississippiensis), a species common in urban areas in the southern Great Plains, from May through August. We monitored 498 Mississippi Kite nesting attempts in Lubbock, Texas, USA, between 2004 and 2015, from which we modeled daily survival rate as a function of local weather conditions, drought severity, and the state of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. We observed significant annual variation in median incubation initiation date (range = May 20 to June 5), the probability of nest success (range = 0.31–0.90), and productivity (range = 0.25–1.00 fledglings per nest). Our models of daily survival rate suggested that higher daily temperatures, severe storm events, extreme drought conditions, and La Niña events negatively influenced nest survival. These results suggest that increasing storm frequency and higher temperatures associated with climate change are likely to decrease the nesting success of Mississippi Kites in the southern Great Plains.

Spatial and temporal variance in fatty acid and stable isotope signatures across trophic levels in large river systems

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, River Research and Applications

Andrea Fritts, Brent C. Knights, Toben D. Lafrancois, Lynn Bartsch, Jon Vallazza, Michelle Bartsch, William B. Richardson, Byron N. Karns, Sean Bailey, Rebecca Kreiling

Fatty acid and stable isotope signatures allow researchers to better understand food webs, food sources, and trophic relationships. Research in marine and lentic systems has indicated that the variance of these biomarkers can exhibit substantial differences across spatial and temporal scales, but this type of analysis has not been completed for large river systems. Our objectives were to evaluate variance structures for fatty acids and stable isotopes (i.e. δ13C and δ15N) of seston, threeridge mussels, hydropsychid caddisflies, gizzard shad, and bluegill across spatial scales (10s-100s km) in large rivers of the Upper Mississippi River Basin, USA that were sampled annually for two years, and to evaluate the implications of this variance on the design and interpretation of trophic studies. The highest variance for both isotopes was present at the largest spatial scale for all taxa (except seston δ15N) indicating that these isotopic signatures are responding to factors at a larger geographic level rather than being influenced by local-scale alterations. Conversely, the highest variance for fatty acids was present at the smallest spatial scale (i.e. among individuals) for all taxa except caddisflies, indicating that the physiological and metabolic processes that influence fatty acid profiles can differ substantially between individuals at a given site. Our results highlight the need to consider the spatial partitioning of variance during sample design and analysis, as some taxa may not be suitable to assess ecological questions at larger spatial scales.

The use of lead isotope analysis to identify potential sources of lead toxicosis in a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with ventricular foreign bodies

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery (32) 34-39

Dana Franzen-Klein, David McRuer, Vincent Slabe, Todd Katzner

A male juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia with a left humeral fracture a large quantity of anthropogenic debris in the ventriculus, a blood lead level of 0.616 ppm, and clinical signs consistent with chronic lead toxicosis. Because of the poor prognosis for recovery and release, the eagle was euthanatized. Lead isotope analysis was performed to identify potential anthropogenic sources of lead in this bird. The lead isotope ratios in the eagle's femur (0.8773), liver (0.8761), and kidneys (0.8686) were most closely related to lead paint (0.8925), leaded gasoline (0.8450), and zinc smelting (0.8240). The lead isotope ratios were dissimilar to lead ammunition (0.8179) and the anthropogenic debris in the ventriculus. This case report documents foreign body ingestion in a free-ranging bald eagle and demonstrates the clinical utility of lead isotope analysis to potentially identify or exclude anthropogenic sources of lead poisoning in wildlife patients.

Lower lethal temperatures for nonnative freshwater fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Pam Schofield, Jeffrey L. Kline

Temperature is an important factor that shapes biogeography and species composition. In southern Florida, the tolerance of nonnative freshwater fishes to low temperatures is a critical factor in delineating their geographic spread. In this study, we provide empirical information on experimentally derived low-temperature tolerance limits of Banded Cichlid Heros severus and Spotfin Spiny Eel Macrognathus siamensis, two nonnative Everglades fishes that were lacking data, and African Jewelfish Hemichromis letourneuxi and Mayan Cichlid Cichlasoma urophthalmus, species for which previous results were derived from studies with small sample sizes. We also provide a literature review summarizing the current state of knowledge of low-temperature tolerances for all 17 nonnative freshwater fishes that have been found in Everglades National Park. Mean lower lethal temperature tolerances ranged from 4°C (Orinoco Sailfin Catfish Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus) to 16.1°C (Butterfly Peacock Bass Cichla ocellaris). These low-temperature limits may inform the understanding of the ecological role or influence of nonnative fishes and may lead to potential management opportunities and applications.

Partial migration of the nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre), from the Dry Tortugas Islands

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Environmental Biology of Fishes (101) 515-530

Harold L. Pratt Jr., Theo C. Pratt, Danielle Morley, Susan K. Lowerre-Barbieri, Angela Collins, Jeffrey C. Carrier, Kristen M. Hart, N.M. Whitney

Nurse sharks have not previously been known to migrate. Nurse sharks of the Dry Tortugas (DRTO) mating population have a highly predictable periodic residency cycle, returning to the Dry Tortugas Courtship and Mating Ground (DTCMG) annually (males) or bi- to triennially (females) during the June/July mating season. For 23 years we have followed the movements of 76 recaptured adults of a total of 115 tagged adults. Telemetry detections of 40 females tagged with acoustic transmitters show that most tagged and presumably post-partum females are continuously present in the DRTO in the fall, winter and early spring following the June mating season but these females depart in late March to early May. Detections reveal these females avoid the DTCMG completely during the next mating season, returning from late summer to fall. Telemetry records of nine of 17 adult males that co-habited with these females in the DTCMG depart DRTO waters every July. Both sexes may overwinter in the DRTO. Between 2011 and 2016 three males and five females with transmitters were detected to move up the west coast of Florida outside of the mating season as far north as the waters off Tampa Bay (335 km). Six others were only detected in the lower Florida Keys (292 km). Nine sharks returned to DRTO; one returned six times. Some overwintered and some resumed courtship in June, demonstrating both resident and migratory contingents within their population, partial migration and an ability to navigate with high spatial and temporal precision.

Influence of climate on alpine stream chemistry and water sources

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Hydrological Processes

Sydney Foks, Edward Stets, Kamini Singha, David W. Clow

The resilience of alpine/subalpine watersheds may be viewed as the resistance of streamflow or stream chemistry to change under varying climatic conditions, which is governed by the relative size (volume) and transit time of surface and subsurface water sources. Here, we use end‐member mixing analysis in Andrews Creek, an alpine stream in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, from water year 1994 to 2015, to explore how the partitioning of water sources and associated hydrologic resilience change in response to climate. Our results indicate that four water sources are significant contributors to Andrews Creek, including snow, rain, soil water, and talus groundwater. Seasonal patterns in source‐water contributions reflected the seasonal hydrologic cycle, which is driven by the accumulation and melting of seasonal snowpack. Flushing of soil water had a large effect on stream chemistry during spring snowmelt, despite making only a small contribution to streamflow volume. Snow had a large influence on stream chemistry as well, contributing large amounts of water with low concentrations of weathering products. Interannual patterns in end‐member contributions reflected responses to drought and wet periods. Moderate and significant correlations exist between annual end‐member contributions and regional‐scale climate indices (the Palmer Drought Severity Index, the Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index, and the Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index). From water year 1994 to 2015, the percent contribution from the talus‐groundwater end member to Andrews Creek increased an average of 0.5% per year (p < 0.0001), whereas the percent contributions from snow plus rain decreased by a similar amount (p = 0.001). Our results show how water and solute sources in alpine environments shift in response to climate variability and highlight the role of talus groundwater and soil water in providing hydrologic resilience to the system.

Activity of southeastern bats along sandstone cliffs used for rock climbing

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management (9) 255-265

Susan C. Loeb, Patrick G. R. Jodice

Bats in the eastern U.S. are facing numerous threats and many species are in decline. Although several species of bats commonly roost in cliffs, little is known about use of cliffs for foraging and roosting. Because rock climbing is a rapidly growing sport and may cause disturbance to bats, our objectives were to examine use of cliff habitats by bats and to assess the effects of climbing on their activity. We used radio-telemetry to track small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) to day roosts, and Anabat SD2 detectors to compare bat activity between climbed and unclimbed areas of regularly climbed cliff faces, and between climbed and unclimbed cliffs. Four adult male small-footed bats were tracked to nine day roosts, all of which were in various types of crevices including five cliff face roosts (three on climbed and two on unclimbed faces). Bat activity was high along climbed cliffs and did not differ between climbed and unclimbed areas of climbed cliffs. In contrast, overall bat activity was significantly higher along climbed cliffs than unclimbed cliffs; species richness did not differ between climbed and unclimbed cliffs or areas. Lower activity along unclimbed cliffs may have been related to lower cliff heights and more clutter along these cliff faces. Due to limited access to unclimbed cliffs of comparable size to climbed cliffs, we could not thoroughly test the effects of climbing on bat foraging and roosting activity. However, the high overall use of climbed and unclimbed cliff faces for foraging and commuting that we observed suggests that cliffs may be important habitat for a number of bat species. Additional research on bats' use of cliff faces will improve our understanding of the factors that affect their use of this habitat including the impacts of climbing.

Green‐wave surfing increases fat gain in a migratory ungulate

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Oikos

Arthur D. Middleton, Jerod A. Merkle, Douglas E. McWhirter, John G. Cook, Rachel C. Cook, P.J. White, Matthew J. Kauffman

Each spring, migratory herbivores around the world track or ‘surf’ green waves of newly emergent vegetation to distant summer or wet‐season ranges. This foraging tactic may help explain the great abundance of migratory herbivores on many seasonal landscapes. However, the underlying fitness benefits of this life‐history strategy remain poorly understood. A fundamental prediction of the green‐wave hypothesis is that migratory herbivores obtain fitness benefits from surfing waves of newly emergent vegetation more closely than their resident counterparts. Here we evaluate whether this behavior increases body‐fat levels – a critically important correlate of reproduction and survival for most ungulates – in elk Cervus elaphus of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Using satellite imagery and GPS tracking data, we found evidence that migrants (n = 23) indeed surfed the green wave, occupying sites 12.7 days closer to peak green‐up than residents (n = 16). Importantly, individual variation in surfing may help account for up to 6 kg of variation in autumn body‐fat levels. Our findings point to a pathway for anthropogenic changes to the green wave (e.g. climate change) or migrants’ ability to surf it (e.g. development) to impact migratory populations. To explore this possibility, we evaluated potential population‐level consequences of constrained surfing with a heuristic model. If green‐wave surfing deteriorates by 5–15 days from observed, our model predicts up to a 20% decrease in pregnancy rates, a 2.5% decrease in population growth, and a 30% decrease in abundance over 50 years. By linking green‐wave surfing to fitness and illustrating potential effects on population growth, our study provides new insights into the evolution of migratory behavior and the prospects for the persistence of migratory ungulate populations in a changing world.

Combining genetic, isotopic, and field data to better describe the influence of dams and diversions on Burbot Movement in the Wind River Drainage, Wyoming

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (147) 606-620

Zachary Hooley-Underwood, Elizabeth G. Mandeville, Paul C. Gerrity, J. W. Deromedi, Kevin Johnson, Annika W. Walters

Dams and water diversions fragment habitat, entrain fish, and alter fish movement. Many Burbot Lota lota populations are declining, with dams and water diversions thought to be a major threat. We used multiple methods to identify Burbot movement patterns and assess entrainment into an irrigation system in the Wind River, Wyoming. We assessed seasonal movement of Burbot with a mark–recapture (PIT tagging) study, natal origins of entrained fish with otolith microchemistry, and historic movement with genotyping by sequencing. We found limited evidence of entrainment in irrigation waters across all approaches. The mark–recapture study indicated that out‐migration from potential source populations could be influenced by flow regime but was generally low. Otolith and genomic results suggested the presence of a self‐sustaining population within the irrigation network. We conclude that emigration from natural tributary populations is not the current source of the majority of Burbot found in irrigation waters. Instead, reservoir and irrigation canal construction has created novel habitat in which Burbot have established a population. Using a multi‐scale approach increased our inferential abilities and mechanistic understanding of movement patterns between natural and managed systems.

Diel habitat selection of largemouth bass following woody structure installation in Table Rock Lake, Missouri

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fisheries Management and Ecology (25) 107-115

J.M. Harris, Craig P. Paukert, S.C. Bush, M.J. Allen, Michael Siepker

Largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (Lacepède) use of installed habitat structure was evaluated in a large Midwestern USA reservoir to determine whether or not these structures were used in similar proportion to natural habitats. Seventy largemouth bass (>380 mm total length) were surgically implanted with radio transmitters and a subset was relocated monthly during day and night for one year. The top habitat selection models (based on Akaike's information criterion) suggest largemouth bass select 2–4 m depths during night and 4–7 m during day, whereas littoral structure selection was similar across diel periods. Largemouth bass selected boat docks at twice the rate of other structures. Installed woody structure was selected at similar rates to naturally occurring complex woody structure, whereas both were selected at a higher rate than simple woody structure. The results suggest the addition of woody structure may concentrate largemouth bass and mitigate the loss of woody habitat in a large reservoir.

Synthesizing models useful for ecohydrology and ecohydraulic approaches: An emphasis on integrating models to address complex research questions

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecohydrology

Shannon K. Brewer, Thomas Worthington, Robert Mollenhauer, David Stewart, Ryan McManamay, Lucie Guertault, Desiree Moore

Ecohydrology combines empiricism, data analytics, and the integration of models to characterize linkages between ecological and hydrological processes. A challenge for practitioners is determining which models best generalizes heterogeneity in hydrological behaviour, including water fluxes across spatial and temporal scales, integrating environmental and socio‐economic activities to determine best watershed management practices and data requirements. We conducted a literature review and synthesis of hydrologic, hydraulic, water quality, and ecological models designed for solving interdisciplinary questions. We reviewed 1,275 papers and identified 178 models that have the capacity to answer an array of research questions about ecohydrology or ecohydraulics. Of these models, 43 were commonly applied due to their versatility, accessibility, user‐friendliness, and excellent user‐support. Forty‐one of 43 reviewed models were linked to at least 1 other model especially: Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (linked to 21 other models), Soil and Water Assessment Tool (19), and Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System (15). However, model integration was still relatively infrequent. There was substantial variation in model applications, possibly an artefact of the regional focus of research questions, simplicity of use, quality of user‐support efforts, or a limited understanding of model applicability. Simply increasing the interoperability of model platforms, transformation of models to user‐friendly forms, increasing user‐support, defining the reliability and risk associated with model results, and increasing awareness of model applicability may promote increased use of models across subdisciplines. Nonetheless, the current availability of models allows an array of interdisciplinary questions to be addressed, and model choice relates to several factors including research objective, model complexity, ability to link to other models, and interface choice.

Groundwater quality in the shallow aquifers of the Monterey Bay, Salinas Valley, and adjacent highland areas, California

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3026

Carmen Burton

The Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer study unit covers approximately 7,820 square kilometers (km2) in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties in the Central Coast Hydrologic Region of California. The study unit was divided into four study areas—Santa Cruz, Pajaro Valley, Salinas Valley, and Highlands. More than 75 percent of the water used for drinking-water supply in the Central Coast Hydrologic Region of California is groundwater, and there are more than 8,000 well driller’s logs for domestic wells (California Department of Water Resources, 2013).

Status and understanding of groundwater quality in the Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer Study Unit, 2012–13: California GAMA Priority Basin Project

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5057

Carmen Burton, Michael Wright

Groundwater quality in the approximately 7,820-square-kilometer (km2) Monterey-Salinas Shallow Aquifer (MS-SA) study unit was investigated from October 2012 to May 2013 as part of the second phase of the Priority Basin Project of the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The study unit is in the central coast region of California in the counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. The GAMA Priority Basin Project is being conducted by the California State Water Resources Control Board in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The MS-SA study was designed to provide a statistically robust assessment of untreated-groundwater quality in the shallow aquifer systems. The assessment was based on water-quality samples collected by the U.S. Geological Survey from 100 groundwater sites and 70 household tap sites, along with ancillary data such as land use and well-construction information. The shallow aquifer systems were defined by the depth interval of wells associated with domestic supply. The MS-SA study unit consisted of four study areas—Santa Cruz (210 km2), Pajaro Valley (360 km2), Salinas Valley (2,000 km2), and Highlands (5,250 km2).

This study had two primary components: the status assessment and the understanding assessment. The first primary component of this study—the status assessment—assessed the quality of the groundwater resource indicated by data from samples analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and naturally present inorganic constituents, such as major ions and trace elements. The status assessment is intended to characterize the quality of groundwater resources in the shallow aquifer system of the MS-SA study unit, not the treated drinking water delivered to consumers by water purveyors. As opposed to the public wells, however, water from private wells, which often tap the shallow aquifer, is usually consumed without any treatment. The second component of this study—the understanding assessment—identified the natural and human factors that potentially affect groundwater quality by evaluating land-use characteristics, measures of location, geologic factors, groundwater age, and geochemical conditions of the shallow aquifer. An additional component of this study was a comparison of MS-SA water-quality results to those of the GAMA Monterey Bay and Salinas Valley Groundwater Basins study unit. This study unit covered much of the same areal extent as the MS-SA, but assessed the deeper, public drinking-water aquifer system.

Relative concentrations (sample concentration divided by the benchmark concentration) were used to evaluate concentrations of constituents in groundwater samples relative to water-quality benchmarks for those constituents that have Federal or California benchmarks, such as maximum contaminant levels. For organic and special-interest constituents, relative concentrations were classified as high, greater than 1.0; moderate, greater than 0.1 and less than or equal to 1.0; or low, less than or equal to 0.1. For inorganic constituents, relative concentrations were classified as high, greater than 1.0; moderate, greater than 0.5 and less than or equal to 1.0; or low, less than or equal to 0.5. A relative concentration greater than 1.0 indicates that the concentration was greater than a benchmark. Aquifer-scale proportions were used to quantify regional-scale groundwater quality. The aquifer-scale proportions are the areal percentages of the shallow aquifer system where relative concentrations for a given constituent or class of constituents were high, moderate, or low.

Inorganic constituents were measured at high and moderate relative concentrations more frequently than organic constituents. In the MS-SA study unit, inorganic constituents with benchmarks were detected at high relative concentrations in 51 percent of the study unit. The greatest proportions of high relative concentrations of trace elements and radioactive constituents were in the Highlands and Santa Cruz study areas, whereas high relative concentrations of nutrients were most often detected in the Salinas Valley and Pajaro Valley study areas and salinity indicators were most often detected in the Highlands and Salinas Valley study areas. The trace elements detected at high relative concentrations were arsenic, boron, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and strontium. The radioactive constituents detected at high relative concentrations were adjusted gross alpha radioactivity and uranium. The nutrient detected at high relative concentrations was nitrate plus nitrite. The salinity indicators detected at high relative concentrations were chloride, sulfate, and total dissolved solids.

Organic constituents (VOCs and pesticides) were not detected at high relative concentrations in any of the study areas. The fumigant 1,2-dichloropropane was detected at moderate relative concentrations. The VOC chloroform and the pesticide simazine were the only organic constituents detected in more than 10 percent of samples. The constituents of special interest NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) and perchlorate were detected at high relative concentrations in the MS-SA study unit.

Selected constituents were evaluated with explanatory factors to identify potential sources or processes that could explain their presence and distribution. Trace elements and radioactive constituents came from natural sources and were not elevated by anthropogenic sources or processes, except for selenium and the radioactive constituent uranium. Arsenic, manganese, iron, selenium, and uranium concentrations were all influenced by oxidation-reduction conditions.

Unlike other trace elements and radioactive constituents, uranium and selenium can be affected by agricultural practices. Uranium and selenium can be released from aquifer sediments as a result of irrigation recharge water interacting with bicarbonate systems.
Nitrate can be strongly affected by anthropogenic sources. Nitrate concentrations were significantly higher in modern groundwater, indicating recent inputs of nitrate to the shallow aquifer system. Nitrate was positively correlated with agricultural land use, indicating that irrigation-return water could be leaching nitrogen fertilizer and naturally present nitrate to elevate nitrate concentrations in shallow groundwater.

The salinity indicators total dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate all had natural sources in the MS-SA study unit, primarily marine sediments. Concentrations of the constituents were elevated as a result of evaporative concentration of irrigation water or precipitation. Sulfate concentrations were significantly correlated to agricultural land use, indicating that agricultural land-use practices are a contributing source of sulfate to groundwater.

The samples with most of the detections of VOCs were from sites in the Pajaro Valley and northern part of the Salinas Valley. Most of the samples with pesticide detections were from sites in the Salinas Valley study area. The herbicide simazine was positively correlated to the percentage of agricultural land use, and its concentrations were higher in modern groundwater than in pre-modern groundwater.

Perchlorate, similar to nitrate, has natural and anthropogenic sources. Correlations of perchlorate to dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and percentage of agricultural land use indicated that the irrigation-return water could be leaching naturally present perchlorate, as well as perchlorate from historical applications of Chilean nitrate fertilizer, to increase perchlorate concentrations in groundwater.

The quality of the water in the shallow aquifer system from this study was compared with the quality of water in the public drinking-water aquifer in a previous GAMA (MS-PA) study in the same area. The shallow system was more oxic and had more sites with modern groundwater than the public drinking-water aquifer, which was more anoxic and had sites with more pre-modern groundwater. Arsenic and selenium were found at high relative concentrations in a greater proportion of the shallow system. Manganese and iron were found at high relative concentrations in a greater proportion of the public drinking-water aquifer. Uranium was found at higher relative concentrations in a greater proportion of the shallow system. Concentrations of arsenic, iron, manganese, and molybdenum are not likely to change much as groundwater percolates from the shallow system to the public drinking-water aquifer because there are no anthropogenic sources affecting these constituents. Uranium and selenium concentrations in the public drinking-water aquifer could be affected by the higher concentrations in the shallow system because of irrigation-return water, however.

Nitrate and salinity indicators had concentrations that were much higher in the shallow system than the deeper public drinking-water aquifer. High concentrations of these constituents in the shallow system could lead to increased concentrations in the public drinking-water aquifer in parts of the study units because of land-use practices, such as irrigated agriculture.

Organic constituents were detected more frequently in the public drinking-water aquifer than in the shallow system, possibly because more of the sites sampled in the public drinking-water aquifer were in urban areas compared to the sites sampled for the shallow system or because sources of contamination have decreased as a result of changes in use at the land surface.

Geochemistry of groundwater in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer, Idaho National Laboratory and vicinity, eastern Idaho

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Professional Paper 1837-A

Gordon W. Rattray

Nuclear research activities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in eastern Idaho produced radiochemical and chemical wastes that were discharged to the subsurface, resulting in detectable concentrations of some waste constituents in the eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) aquifer. These waste constituents may pose risks to the water quality of the aquifer. In order to understand these risks to water quality the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the DOE, conducted a study of groundwater geochemistry to improve the understanding of hydrologic and chemical processes in the ESRP aquifer at and near the INL and to understand how these processes affect waste constituents in the aquifer.

Geochemistry data were used to identify sources of recharge, mixing of water, and directions of groundwater flow in the ESRP aquifer at the INL. The geochemistry data were analyzed from 167 sample sites at and near the INL. The sites included 150 groundwater, 13 surface-water, and 4 geothermal-water sites. The data were collected between 1952 and 2012, although most data collected at the INL were collected from 1989 to 1996. Water samples were analyzed for all or most of the following: field parameters, dissolved gases, major ions, dissolved metals, isotope ratios, and environmental tracers.

Sources of recharge identified at the INL were regional groundwater, groundwater from the Little Lost River (LLR) and Birch Creek (BC) valleys, groundwater from the Lost River Range, geothermal water, and surface water from the Big Lost River (BLR), LLR, and BC. Recharge from the BLR that may have occurred during the last glacial epoch, or paleorecharge, may be present at several wells in the southwestern part of the INL. Mixing of water at the INL primarily included mixing of surface water with groundwater from the tributary valleys and mixing of geothermal water with regional groundwater. Additionally, a zone of mixing between tributary valley water and regional groundwater, trending southwesterly, extended from near the northeastern boundary of the INL to the southern boundary of the INL. Groundwater flow directions for regional groundwater were southwesterly, and flow directions for tributary groundwater were southeasterly upon entering the ESRP, but eventually began to flow southwesterly in a direction parallel with regional groundwater.

Several discrepancies were identified from comparison of sources of recharge determined from geochemistry data and backward particle tracking with a groundwater-flow model. Some discrepancies observed in the particle tracking results included representation of recharge from BC near the north INL boundary, groundwater from the BC valley not extending far enough south, regional groundwater that extends too far west in the southern part of the INL, and no representation of recharge from geothermal water in model layer 1 or recharge from the BLR in the southwestern part of the INL.

Gas and ash emissions associated with the 2010–present activity of Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

Sofyan Primulyana, Christoph Kern, Allan Lerner, Ugan Saing, Syegi Kunrat, Hilma Alfianti, Mitha Marlia

Sinabung Volcano (Sumatra, Indonesia) awoke from over 1200 years of dormancy with multiple phreatic explosions in 2010. After a period of quiescence, Sinabung activity resumed in 2013, producing frequent explosions, lava dome extrusion, and pyroclastic flows from dome collapses, becoming one of the world's most active volcanoes and displacing over 20,000 citizens. This study presents a compilation of the geochemical datasets collected by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) from 2010 - current (2016), which provides insights into the evolution of the eruption. Based on observations of SO2 emissions, ash componentry, leachate chemistry, and bulk ash geochemistry, the eruption can be split into five distinct phases. The initial stage of phreatic summit explosions occurred from August - October 2010, during which background SO2 emissions averaged ~550 ± 180 t/d (1 s.d.). An eruptive pause (phase two) starting in October 2010 abruptly ended in September 2013 with a resumption of conduit-clearing eruptions. This third phase had a relatively modest background SO2 emission rate (avg. ~410 ± 275 t/d) and produced ash consisting entirely of accidental ejecta with high S/Cl leachate ratios (up to 30), suggestive of deep-sourced magma and the incorporation of hydrothermal sulfur-bearing phases. The most intense phase of the eruption (phase four) occurred from December 2013 to February 2014, when juvenile magma first reached the surface. This period included dozens of large eruptions per day, high SO2 emission rates (average: 1,120 ± 1,030 t/d, peak: ~3,800 t/d), the onset of lava dome extrusion, and a dramatic drop in S/Cl ash leachates to ratios < 5, all reflecting increased degassing from shallow magma and the clearing out of sulfurous phases from the old hydrothermal system. From late February 2014 through the time of writing (September 2016), Sinabung settled into a relatively steady state of lower activity (phase five). Ash emissions now consist of dominantly juvenile material, and background SO2 emission rates have been progressively decreasing to an average of ~250 - 300 t/d. Starting August 2016, SO2 emissions started being measured in a continuous manner using a network of permanent scanning DOAS instruments. We find that long-term SO2 emission rates have been gradually declining at Sinabung since early 2014, consistent with an apparent decrease in magma supply. Our degassing model suggests that large explosions and pyroclastic flows could continue in the near-term owing to conduit plugging and dome collapses, remaining a major threat until the magma supply rate decreases further and the eruption ends.

Predicting adult muskellunge abundance in northern Wisconsin lakes

Released May 30, 2018 00:00 EST

2017, American Fisheries Society Symposium 85

Janice A Kerns, Daniel A. Isermann, Thomas Cichosz, Gretchen Hansen, Timothy D. Simonson, Joseph M. Hennessy

No abstract available.

User’s guide for MapMark4GUI—A graphical user interface for the MapMark4 R package

Released May 29, 2018 02:30 EST

2018, Techniques and Methods 7-C18

Jason Shapiro

MapMark4GUI is an R graphical user interface (GUI) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to support user implementation of the MapMark4 R statistical software package. MapMark4 was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to implement probability calculations for simulating undiscovered mineral resources in quantitative mineral resource assessments. The GUI provides an easy-to-use tool to input data, run simulations, and format output results for the MapMark4 package. The GUI is written and accessed in the R statistical programming language. This user’s guide includes instructions on installing and running MapMark4GUI and descriptions of the statistical output processes, output files, and test data files.

Reduction of solids and nutrient loss from agricultural land by tailwater recovery systems

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (73) 284-297

A.R. Omer, Leandro E. Miranda, M. T. Moore, L. J. Krutz, J. M. Prince Czarnecki, R. Kröger, B. H. Baker, J. Hogue, P. J. Allen

Best management practices are being implemented throughout the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley with the aim of alleviating pressures placed on downstream aquatic systems by sediment and nutrient losses from agricultural land; however, research evaluating the performance of tailwater recovery (TWR) systems, an increasingly important practice, is limited. This study evaluated the ability of TWR systems to retain sediment and nutrients draining from agricultural landscapes. Composite flow-based samples were collected during flow events (precipitation or irrigation) over a two-year period in six TWR systems. Performance was evaluated by comparing concentrations and loads in water entering TWR systems (i.e., runoff or influent) from agricultural fields to water overflow exiting TWR systems (effluent). Tailwater recovery systems did not reduce concentrations of solids and nutrients, but did reduce loads of solids, phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N) by 43%, 32%, and 44%, respectively. Annual mean load reductions were 1,142 kg solids, 0.7 kg of P, and 3.8 kg of N. Performance of TWR systems was influenced by effluent volume, system fullness, time since the previous event, and capacity of the TWR system. Mechanistically, TWR systems retain runoff on the agricultural landscape, thereby reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients entering downstream waterbodies. System performance can be improved through manipulation of influential parameters.

Placing the Common Era in a Holocene context: Millennial to centennial patterns and trends in the hydroclimate of North America over the past 2000 years

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Climate of the Past (14) 665-686

Bryan Shuman, Cody C. Routson, Nicholas P. McKay, Sherilyn Fritz, Darrell S. Kaufman, Matthew Kirby, Connor Nolan, Gregory T. Pederson, Jeannine-Marie St. Jacques

A synthesis of 93 hydrologic records from across North and Central America, and adjacent tropical and Arctic islands, reveals centennial to millennial trends in the regional hydroclimates of the Common Era (CE; past 2000 years). The hydrological records derive from materials stored in lakes, bogs, caves, and ice from extant glaciers, which have the continuity through time to preserve low-frequency ( > 100 year) climate signals that may extend deeper into the Holocene. The most common pattern, represented in 46 (49 %) of the records, indicates that the centuries before 1000 CE were drier than the centuries since that time. Principal component analysis indicates that millennial-scale trends represent the dominant pattern of variance in the southwestern US, northeastern US, mid-continent, Pacific Northwest, Arctic, and tropics, although not all records within a region show the same direction of change. The Pacific Northwest and the southernmost tier of the tropical sites tended to dry toward present, as many other areas became wetter than before. In 22 records (24 %), the Medieval Climate Anomaly period (800–1300 CE) was drier than the Little Ice Age (1400–1900 CE), but in many cases the difference was part of the longer millennial-scale trend, and, in 25 records (27 %), the Medieval Climate Anomaly period represented a pluvial (wet) phase. Where quantitative records permitted a comparison, we found that centennial-scale fluctuations over the Common Era represented changes of 3–7 % in the modern interannual range of variability in precipitation, but the accumulation of these long-term trends over the entirety of the Holocene caused recent centuries to be significantly wetter, on average, than most of the past 11 000 years.

Substrate and flow characteristics associated with White Sturgeon recruitment in the Columbia River Basin

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Heliyon (4)

James R. Hatten, Michael Parsley, Gary Barton, Thomas Batt, Ryan L. Fosness

A study was conducted to identify habitat characteristics associated with age 0+ White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1863) recruitment in three reaches of the Columbia River Basin: Skamania reach (consistent recruitment), John Day reach (intermittent/inconsistent recruitment), and Kootenai reach (no recruitment). Our modeling approach involved numerous steps. First, we collected information about substrate, embeddedness, and hydrodynamics in each reach. Second, we developed a set of spatially explicit predictor variables. Third, we built two habitat (probability) models with Skamania reach training data where White Sturgeon recruitment was consistent. Fourth, we created spawning maps of each reach by populating the habitat models with in-reach physical metrics (substrate, embeddedness, and hydrodynamics). Fifth, we examined model accuracy by overlaying spawning locations in Skamania and Kootenai reaches with habitat predictions obtained from probability models. Sixth, we simulated how predicted habitat changed in each reach after manipulating physical conditions to more closely match Skamania reach. Model verification confirmed White Sturgeon generally spawned in locations with higher model probabilities in Skamania and Kootenai reaches, indicating the utility of extrapolating the models. Model simulations revealed significant gains in White Sturgeon habitat in all reaches when spring flow increased, gravel/cobble composition increased, or embeddedness decreased. The habitat models appear well suited to assist managers when identifying reach-specific factors limiting White Sturgeon recruitment in the Columbia River Basin or throughout its range.

Fish community responses to submerged aquatic vegetation in Maumee Bay, Western Lake Erie

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Jacob Miller, Patrick Kocovsky, Daniel Wiegmann, Jeffery G. Miner

Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in clearwater systems simultaneously provides habitat for invertebrate prey and acts as refugia for small fishes. Many fishes in Lake Erie rely on shallow, heavily vegetated bays as spawning grounds and the loss or absence of which is known to reduce recruitment in other systems. The Maumee River and Maumee Bay, which once had abundant macrophyte beds, have experienced a decline of SAV and an increase in suspended solids (turbidity) over the last century due to numerous causes. To compare fish communities in open‐water (turbid) and in SAV (clearer water) habitats in this region, which is designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an Area of Concern, and to indicate community changes that could occur with expansion of SAV habitat, we sampled a 300‐ha sector of northern Maumee Bay that contained both habitats. Using towed neuston nets through patches of each habitat, we determined that areas of SAV contained more species and a different species complex (based on the Jaccard index and the wetland fish index), than did the open‐water habitat (averaging 8.6 versus 5 species per net trawl). The SAV habitat was dominated by centrarchids, namely Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, and Black Crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus. Open‐water habitat was dominated by Spottail Shiner Notropis hudsonius, Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum, and White Perch Morone americana, an invasive species. These results indicate that restoration efforts aimed at decreasing turbidity and increasing the distribution of SAV could cause substantive shifts in the fish community and address important metrics for assessing the beneficial use impairments in this Area of Concern.

Klamath River Basin water-quality data

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3031

Cassandra D. Smith, Stewart A. Rounds, Leonard L. Orzol

The Klamath River Basin stretches from the mountains and inland basins of south-central Oregon and northern California to the Pacific Ocean, spanning multiple climatic regions and encompassing a variety of ecosystems. Water quantity and water quality are important topics in the basin, because water is a critical resource for farming and municipal use, power generation, and for the support of wildlife, aquatic ecosystems, and endangered species. Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Oregon (112 square miles) and is known for its seasonal algal blooms. The Klamath River has dams for hydropower and the upper basin requires irrigation water to support agriculture and grazing. Multiple species of endangered fish inhabit the rivers and lakes, and the marshes are key stops on the Pacific flyway for migrating birds. For these and other reasons, the water resources in this basin have been studied and monitored to support their management distribution.

Concentrations of nitrate in drinking water in the lower Yakima River Basin, Groundwater Management Area, Yakima County, Washington, 2017

Released May 29, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Data Series 1084

Raegan L. Huffman

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the lower Yakima River Basin Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) group, conducted an intensive groundwater sampling collection effort of collecting nitrate concentration data in drinking water to provide a baseline for future nitrate assessments within the GWMA. About every 6 weeks from April through December 2017, a total of 1,059 samples were collected from 156 wells and 24 surface-water drains. The domestic wells were selected based on known location, completion depth, ability to collect a sample prior to treatment on filtration, and distribution across the GWMA. The drains were pre-selected by the GWMA group, and further assessed based on ability to access sites and obtain a representative sample.

More than 20 percent of samples from the domestic wells and 12.8 percent of drain samples had nitrate concentrations that exceeded the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 milligrams per liter established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At least one nitrate concentration above the MCL was detected in 26 percent of wells and 33 percent of drains sampled. Nitrate was not detected in 13 percent of all samples collected.

Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the downdip Paleogene formations, U.S. Gulf Coast, 2017

Released May 25, 2018 16:00 EST

2018, Fact Sheet 2018-3019

Marc L. Buursink, Colin A. Doolan, Catherine B. Enomoto, William H. Craddock, James L. Coleman Jr., Michael E. Brownfield, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Timothy R. Klett, Phuong A. Le, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Kristen R. Marra, Tracey J. Mercier, Ofori N. Pearson, Janet K. Pitman, Christopher J. Schenk, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Katherine J. Whidden, Cheryl A. Woodall

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional resources of 100 million barrels of oil and 16.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the downdip Paleogene formations in onshore lands and State waters of the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Long-term changes in pond permanence, size, and salinity in Prairie Pothole Region wetlands: The role of groundwater-pond interaction

Released May 25, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies (17) 1-23

James W. LaBaugh, Donald O. Rosenberry, David M. Mushet, Brian Neff, Richard D. Nelson, Ned H. Euliss Jr.

Study Region

Cottonwood Lake area wetlands, North Dakota, U.S.A.

Study Focus

Fluctuations in pond permanence, size, and salinity are key features of prairie-pothole wetlands that provide a variety of wetland habitats for waterfowl in the northern prairie of North America. Observation of water-level and salinity fluctuations in a semi-permanent wetland pond over a 20-year period, included periods when the wetland occasionally was dry, as well as wetter years when the pond depth and surface extent doubled while volume increased 10 times.

New hydrological insights for the study region

Compared to all other measured budget components, groundwater flow into the pond often contributed the least water (8–28 percent) but the largest amount (>90 percent) of specific solutes to the water and solute budgets of the pond. In drier years flow from the pond into groundwater represented > 10 percent of water loss, and in 1992 was approximately equal to evapotranspiration loss. Also during the drier years, export of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfate by flow from the pond to groundwater was substantial compared with previous or subsequent years, a process that would have been undetected if groundwater flux had been calculated as a net value. Independent quantification of water and solute gains and losses were essential to understand controls on water-level and salinity fluctuations in the pond in response to variable climate conditions.

Use of created snags by cavity‐nesting birds across 25 years

Released May 25, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Wildlife Management

Amy M. Barry, Joan Hagar, James W. Rivers

Snags are important habitat features for many forest‐dwelling species, so reductions in the number of snags can lead to the loss of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Intentional snag creation is often used in managed forests to mitigate the long‐term declines of naturally created snags, yet information regarding the use of snags by wildlife across long timescales (>20 yr) is lacking and prevents a complete understanding of how the value of created snags change through time. We used a long‐term experiment to assess how harvest treatment (i.e., small‐patch group selection, 2‐story, and clearcut) and snag configuration (i.e., scattered and clustered) influenced nesting in and foraging on 25–27‐year‐old Douglas‐fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) snags by cavity‐nesting birds. In addition, we compared our contemporary measures of bird use to estimates obtained from historical surveys conducted on the same group of snags to quantify how bird use changed over time. Despite observing created snags for >750 hours across 2 consecutive breeding seasons, we found limited evidence of nesting activity. Only 11% of created snags were used for breeding, with nesting attempts by 4 bird species (n = 36 nests); however, we detected 12 cavity‐nesting species present on our study sites. Furthermore, nearly all nests (94%) belonged to the chestnut‐backed chickadee (Poecile rufescens), a weak cavity‐excavating species that requires well‐decayed wood for creating nest cavities. Our surveys also recorded few observations of birds using created snags as foraging substrates, with only 1 foraging event recorded for every 20 hours of observation. We detected 82% fewer nests and recorded 7% fewer foraging observations during contemporary field work despite spending >7.5 times more effort observing created snags relative to historical surveys. We conclude that 25–27‐year‐old created Douglas‐fir snags provided limited opportunities for nesting and foraging by most cavity‐nesting birds, and that the period of greatest use by this group occurred within 5–15 years of creation. 

Water Resources Data, Pennsylvania, Water Year 2005, Volume 2. Susquehanna and Potomac River Basins

Released May 25, 2018 00:00 EST

2006, Water Data Report PA-05-2

R.R. Durlin, W.P. Schaffstall, M.R. Beaver

Water resources data for the 2005 water year for Pennsylvania consist of records of discharge and water quality of streams; contents and elevations of lakes and reservoirs; and water levels and water quality of ground-water wells. This report, Volume 2 contains (1) discharge records for 89 continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations, 13 partial-record stations, 23 special study and miscellaneous streamflow sites; (2) elevation and contents for 12 lakes and reservoirs, and water-quality records for 12 lakes and reservoirs; (3) water-quality records for 33 gaging stations and 68 ungaged streamsites; (4) water-level records for 40 network observation wells; and (5) water-quality analyses at 35 special study ground-water wells. Site locations are shown in figures throughout the report. Additional water data collected at various sites not involved in the systematic data-collection program are also presented. These data together with the data in Volumes 1 and 3, represent that part of the National Water Data System operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating State, local, and Federal agencies in Pennsylvania.

Water Resources Data, Pennsylvania, Water Year 2005, Volume 1. Delaware River Basin

Released May 25, 2018 00:00 EST

2006, Water Data Report PA-05-1

R.R. Durlin, W.P. Schaffstall, M.R. Beaver

Water resources data for the 2005 water year for Pennsylvania consist of records of discharge and water quality of streams; contents and elevations of lakes and reservoirs; and water levels and water quality of ground-water wells. This report, Volume 1 contains (1) discharge records for 75 continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations, 5 partial-record stations, 41 special-study and miscellaneous streamflow sites; (2) elevation and contents records for 13 lakes and reservoirs, and water-quality records for 5 lakes and reservoirs; (3) water-quality records for 24 gaging stations and 10 ungaged streamsites; (4) water-quality records for 73 special-study stations; (5) water-level records for 52 network observation wells; and (6) water-quality analyses of ground water from 42 ground-water wells. Site locations are shown in figures 6-19. Additional water data collected at various sites not involved in the systematic data-collection program are also presented. These data together with the data in Volumes 2 and 3, represent that part of the National Water Data System operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating State, local, and Federal agencies in Pennsylvania.

Comparability among four invertebrate sampling methods and two multimetric indexes, Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado, 2010–2012

Released May 24, 2018 11:10 EST

2018, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5061

James F. Bruce, James J. Roberts, Robert E. Zuellig

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Colorado Springs City Engineering and Colorado Springs Utilities, analyzed previously collected invertebrate data to determine the comparability among four sampling methods and two versions (2010 and 2017) of the Colorado Benthic Macroinvertebrate Multimetric Index (MMI). For this study, annual macroinvertebrate samples were collected concurrently (in space and time) at 15 USGS surface-water gaging stations in the Fountain Creek Basin from 2010 to 2012 using four sampling methods. The USGS monitoring project in the basin uses two of the methods and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends the other two. These methods belong to two distinct sample types, one that targets single habitats and one that targets multiple habitats. The study results indicate that there are significant differences in MMI values obtained from the single-habitat and multihabitat sample types but methods from each program within each sample type produced comparable values. This study also determined that MMI values calculated by different versions of the Colorado Benthic Macroinvertebrate MMI are indistinguishable. This indicates that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment methods are comparable with the USGS monitoring project methods for single-habitat and multihabitat sample types. This report discusses the direct application of the study results to inform the revision of the existing USGS monitoring project in the Fountain Creek Basin.

Aligning environmental management with ecosystem resilience: a First Foods example from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, USA

Released May 24, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Ecology and Society (23)

Eric J Quaempts, Krista Jones, Scott J. O'Daniel, Timothy J. Beechie, Geoffrey C. Poole

The concept of “reciprocity” between humans and other biota arises from the creation belief of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). The concept acknowledges a moral and practical obligation for humans and biota to care for and sustain one another, and arises from human gratitude and reverence for the contributions and sacrifices made by other biota to sustain human kind. Reciprocity has become a powerful organizing principle for the CTUIR Department of Natural Resources, fostering continuity across the actions and policies of environmental management programs at the CTUIR. Moreover, reciprocity is the foundation of the CTUIR “First Foods” management approach. We describe the cultural significance of First Foods, the First Foods management approach, a resulting management vision for resilient and functional river ecosystems, and subsequent shifts in management goals and planning among tribal environmental staff during the first decade of managing for First Foods. In presenting this management approach, we highlight how reciprocity has helped align human values and management goals with ecosystem resilience, yielding management decisions that benefit individuals and communities, indigenous and nonindigenous, as well as human and nonhuman. We further describe the broader applicability of reciprocity-based approaches to natural resource management.

Projected 21st century coastal flooding in the Southern California Bight. Part 1: Development of the third generation CoSMoS model

Released May 24, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (6) 1-31

Andrea O'Neill, Li Erikson, Patrick Barnard, Patrick Limber, Sean Vitousek, Jonathan Warrick, Amy C. Foxgrover, Jessica Lovering

Due to the effects of climate change over the course of the next century, the combination of rising sea levels, severe storms, and coastal change will threaten the sustainability of coastal communities, development, and ecosystems as we know them today. To clearly identify coastal vulnerabilities and develop appropriate adaptation strategies due to projected increased levels of coastal flooding and erosion, coastal managers need local-scale hazards projections using the best available climate and coastal science. In collaboration with leading scientists world-wide, the USGS designed the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) to assess the coastal impacts of climate change for the California coast, including the combination of sea-level rise, storms, and coastal change. In this project, we directly address the needs of coastal resource managers in Southern California by integrating a vast range of global climate change projections in a thorough and comprehensive numerical modeling framework. In Part 1 of a two-part submission on CoSMoS, methods and the latest improvements are discussed, and an example of hazard projections is presented.

Canopy volume removal from oil and gas development activity in the upper Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania and New York (USA): An assessment using lidar data

Released May 24, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Environmental Management (222) 66-75

John A. Young, Kelly O. Maloney, Terry Slonecker, Lesley E. Milheim, David Siripoonsup

Oil and gas development is changing the landscape in many regions of the United States and globally. However, the nature, extent, and magnitude of landscape change and development, and precisely how this development compares to other ongoing land conversion (e.g. urban/sub-urban development, timber harvest) is not well understood. In this study, we examine land conversion from oil and gas infrastructure development in the upper Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania and New York, an area that has experienced much oil and gas development over the past 10 years. We quantified land conversion in terms of forest canopy geometric volume loss in contrast to previous studies that considered only areal impacts. For the first time in a study of this type, we use fine-scale lidar forest canopy geometric models to assess the volumetric change due to forest clearing from oil and gas development and contrast this land change to clear cut forest harvesting, and urban and suburban development. Results show that oil and gas infrastructure development removed a large volume of forest canopy from 2006 to 2013, and this removal spread over a large portion of the study area. Timber operations (clear cutting) on Pennsylvania State Forest lands removed a larger total volume of forest canopy during the same time period, but this canopy removal was concentrated in a smaller area. Results of our study point to the need to consider volumetric impacts of oil and gas development on ecosystems, and to place potential impacts in context with other ongoing land conversions.

Assessing the impacts of dams and levees on the hydrologic record of the Middle and Lower Mississippi River, USA

Released May 24, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Geomorphology (313) 88-100

Jonathan W.F. Remo, Brian Ickes, Julia K. Ryherd, Ross J. Guida, Matthew D. Therrell

The impacts of dams and levees on the long-term (>130 years) discharge record was assessed along a ~1200 km segment of the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. To aid in our evaluation of dam impacts, we used data from the U.S. National Inventory of Dams to calculate the rate of reservoir expansion at five long-term hydrologic monitoring stations along the study segment. We divided the hydrologic record at each station into three periods: (1) a pre-rapid reservoir expansion period; (2) a rapid reservoir expansion period; and (3) a post-rapid reservoir expansion period. We then used three approaches to assess changes in the hydrologic record at each station. Indicators of hydrologic alteration (IHA) and flow duration hydrographs were used to quantify changes in flow conditions between the pre- and post-rapid reservoir expansion periods. Auto-regressive interrupted time series analysis (ARITS) was used to assess trends in maximum annual discharge, mean annual discharge, minimum annual discharge, and standard deviation of daily discharges within a given water year. A one-dimensional HEC-RAS hydraulic model was used to assess the impact of levees on flood flows. Our results revealed that minimum annual discharges and low-flow IHA parameters showed the most significant changes. Additionally, increasing trends in minimum annual discharge during the rapid reservoir expansion period were found at three out of the five hydrologic monitoring stations. These IHA and ARITS results support previous findings consistent with the observation that reservoirs generally have the greatest impacts on low-flow conditions. River segment scale hydraulic modeling revealed levees can modestly increase peak flood discharges, while basin-scale hydrologic modeling assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers showed that tributary reservoirs reduced peak discharges by a similar magnitude (2 to 30%). This finding suggests that the effects of dams and levees on peak flood discharges are in part offsetting one another along the modeled river segments and likely other substantially leveed segments of the Mississippi River.

Blurred lines: Multiple freshwater and marine algal toxins at the land-sea interface of San Francisco Bay, California

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Harmful Algae (73) 138-147

Melissa B. Peacock, Corinne M. Gibble, David B. Senn, James E. Cloern, Raphael M. Kudela

San Francisco Bay (SFB) is a eutrophic estuary that harbors both freshwater and marine toxigenic organisms that are responsible for harmful algal blooms. While there are few commercial fishery harvests within SFB, recreational and subsistence harvesting for shellfish is common. Coastal shellfish are monitored for domoic acid and paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), but within SFB there is no routine monitoring for either toxin. Dinophysis shellfish toxins (DSTs) and freshwater microcystins are also present within SFB, but not routinely monitored. Acute exposure to any of these toxin groups has severe consequences for marine organisms and humans, but chronic exposure to sub-lethal doses, or synergistic effects from multiple toxins, are poorly understood and rarely addressed. This study documents the occurrence of domoic acid and microcystins in SFB from 2011 to 2016, and identifies domoic acid, microcystins, DSTs, and PSTs in marine mussels within SFB in 2012, 2014, and 2015. At least one toxin was detected in 99% of mussel samples, and all four toxin suites were identified in 37% of mussels. The presence of these toxins in marine mussels indicates that wildlife and humans who consume them are exposed to toxins at both sub-lethal and acute levels. As such, there are potential deleterious impacts for marine organisms and humans and these effects are unlikely to be documented. These results demonstrate the need for regular monitoring of marine and freshwater toxins in SFB, and suggest that co-occurrence of multiple toxins is a potential threat in other ecosystems where freshwater and seawater mix.

Enhancement of a parsimonious water balance model to simulate surface hydrology in a glacierized watershed

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface (123) 1116-1132

Melissa M. Valentin, Roland J. Viger, Ashley E. Van Beusekom, Lauren E. Hay, Terri S. Hogue, Nathan Leon Foks

The U.S. Geological Survey monthly water balance model (MWBM) was enhanced with the capability to simulate glaciers in order to make it more suitable for simulating cold region hydrology. The new model, MWBMglacier, is demonstrated in the heavily glacierized and ecologically important Copper River watershed in Southcentral Alaska. Simulated water budget components compared well to satellite‐based observations and ground measurements of streamflow, evapotranspiration, snow extent, and total water storage, with differences ranging from 0.2% to 7% of the precipitation flux. Nash Sutcliffe efficiency for simulated and observed streamflow was greater than 0.8 for six of eight stream gages. Snow extent matched satellite‐based observations with Nash Sutcliffe efficiency values of greater than 0.89 in the four Copper River ecoregions represented. During the simulation period 1949 to 2009, glacier ice melt contributed 25% of total runoff, ranging from 12% to 45% in different tributaries, and glacierized area was reduced by 6%. Statistically significant (p < 0.05) decreasing and increasing trends in annual glacier mass balance occurred during the multidecade cool and warm phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, respectively, reinforcing the link between climate perturbations and glacier mass balance change. The simulations of glaciers and total runoff for a large, remote region of Alaska provide useful data to evaluate hydrologic, cryospheric, ecologic, and climatic trends. MWBM glacier is a valuable tool to understand when, and to what extent, streamflow may increase or decrease as glaciers respond to a changing climate.

Origin of last-glacial loess in the western Yukon-Tanana Upland, central Alaska, USA

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Quaternary Research (89) 797-819

Daniel Muhs, Jeffrey S. Pigati, James R. Budahn, Gary L. Skipp, E. Arthur Bettis III, Britta Jensen

Loess is widespread over Alaska, and its accumulation has traditionally been associated with glacial periods. Surprisingly, loess deposits securely dated to the last glacial period are rare in Alaska, and paleowind reconstructions for this time period are limited to inferences from dune orientations. We report a rare occurrence of loess deposits dating to the last glacial period, ~19 ka to ~12 ka, in the Yukon-Tanana Upland. Loess in this area is very coarse grained (abundant coarse silt), with decreases in particle size moving south of the Yukon River, implying that the drainage basin of this river was the main source. Geochemical data show, however, that the Tanana River valley to the south is also a likely distal source. The occurrence of last-glacial loess with sources to both the south and north is explained by both regional, synoptic-scale winds from the northeast and opposing katabatic winds that could have developed from expanded glaciers in both the Brooks Range to the north and the Alaska Range to the south. Based on a comparison with recent climate modeling for the last glacial period, seasonality of dust transport may also have played a role in bringing about contributions from both northern and southern sources.

The limits of earthquake early warning: Timeliness of ground motion estimates

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Science Advances (4)

Sarah E. Minson, Men-Andrin Meier, Annemarie S. Baltay, Thomas C. Hanks, Elizabeth S. Cochran

The basic physics of earthquakes is such that strong ground motion cannot be expected from an earthquake unless the earthquake itself is very close or has grown to be very large. We use simple seismological relationships to calculate the minimum time that must elapse before such ground motion can be expected at a distance from the earthquake, assuming that the earthquake magnitude is not predictable. Earthquake early warning (EEW) systems are in operation or development for many regions around the world, with the goal of providing enough warning of incoming ground shaking to allow people and automated systems to take protective actions to mitigate losses. However, the question of how much warning time is physically possible for specified levels of ground motion has not been addressed. We consider a zero-latency EEW system to determine possible warning times a user could receive in an ideal case. In this case, the only limitation on warning time is the time required for the earthquake to evolve and the time for strong ground motion to arrive at a user’s location. We find that users who wish to be alerted at lower ground motion thresholds will receive more robust warnings with longer average warning times than users who receive warnings for higher ground motion thresholds. EEW systems have the greatest potential benefit for users willing to take action at relatively low ground motion thresholds, whereas users who set relatively high thresholds for taking action are less likely to receive timely and actionable information.

A biodynamic understanding of dietborne and waterborne Ag uptake from Ag NPs in the sediment-dwelling oligochaete, Tubifex tubifex

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, NanoImpact (11) 33-41

Stine Rosendal Tangaa, Margrethe Winther-Nielsen, Henriette Selck, Marie-Noele Croteau

Metal nanoparticles (Me-NPs) are increasingly used in various products, such as inks and cosmetics, enhancing the likelihood of their release into aquatic environments. An understanding of the mechanisms controlling their bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity in aquatic biota will help support environmental risk assessment. Here we characterized unidirectional parameters for uptake and elimination of silver (Ag) in the sediment-dwelling oligochaete Tubifex tubifex after waterborne (0.01–47 nmol Ag/L) and dietborne (0.4–482 nmol Ag/g dw sed.) exposures to Ag NPs and AgNO3, respectively. Worms accumulated Ag from AgNO3more efficiently than from Ag NPs during waterborne exposure. The Ag uptake rate constants from water were 8.2 L/g/d for AgNO3 and 0.34 L/g/d for Ag NPs. Silver accumulated from both forms was efficiently retained in tissues, as no significant loss of Ag was detected after up to 20 days of depuration in clean media. High mortality (~50%) during depuration (i.e. after 17 days) was only observed for worms exposed to waterborne AgNO3 (3 nmol/L). Sediment exposures to both Ag forms resulted in low accumulation, i.e., the uptake rate constants were 0.002 and 0.005 g/g/d for AgNO3 and Ag NPs, respectively. Avoidance was only observed for worms exposed to sediment amended with AgNO3. Incorporation of the estimated rate constants into a biodynamic model predicted that sediment is likely the most important route of uptake for Ag in both forms in ecologically relevant aquatic environments. However, inference of bioavailability from our estimations of Ag assimilation efficiencies (AE) suggests that Ag (AE: 3–12% for AgNO3 and 0.1–0.8% for Ag NPs) is weakly bioavailable from sediment for this species. Thus, Ag amended to sediment as NPs might not pose greater problems than 'conventional' Ag for benthic organisms such as T. tubifex.

Nanomaterials in the environment: Behavior, fate, bioavailability, and effects—An updated review

Released May 23, 2018 00:00 EST

2018, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Jamie R. Lead, Graeme E. Batley, Pedro J.J. Alvarez, Marie-Noele Croteau, Richard D. Handy, Michael J. McLaughlin, Jonathon D. Judy, Kristin Schirmer

This review covers developments in studies of nanomaterials (NMs) in the environment, since the much‐cited review of Klaine et al. (2008). It discusses novel insights on fate and behavior, metrology, transformations, bioavailability, toxicity mechanisms and environmental impacts, with a focus on terrestrial and aquatic systems. Overall the findings were that: i) despite the substantial developments, there remain critical gaps, in large part due to the lack of analytical, modelling and field capabilities and in part due to the breadth and complexity of the area; ii) a key knowledge gap is the lack of data on environmental concentrations and dosimetry generally; iii) there is substantial evidence that there are nano‐specific effects (different from both ions and larger particles) in the environment in terms of fate, bioavailability and toxicity, but this is not consistent for all NMs, species and all relevant processes; iv) a paradigm is emerging that NMs are less toxic than equivalent dissolved materials but more toxic than the corresponding bulk materials; v) translation of incompletely understood science into regulation and policy continues to be challenging. There is a developing consensus that NMs may pose a relatively low environmental risk, however, with the uncertainty and lack of data in many areas, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. In addition, this emerging consensus will likely change rapidly with qualitative changes in the technology and increased future discharges.