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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

(500 records max)
United States Gulf of Mexico waters provide important nursery habitat for Mexico’s green turtle nesting populations

Released February 03, 2023 10:04 EST

2023, Frontiers in Marine Science (9)

Brian M. Shamblin, Kristen Hart, Margaret Lamont, Donna J. Shaver, Peter H. Dutton, Erin L. LaCasella, Campbell J. Nairn

Jeremy J. Kiszka, editor(s)

Resolving natal populations for juvenile green turtles is challenging given their potential for extensive dispersal during the oceanic stage and ontogenetic shifts among nursery habitats. Mitochondrial DNA markers have elucidated patterns of connectivity between green turtle nesting populations (rookeries) and juvenile foraging aggregations. However, missing rookery baseline data and haplotype sharing among populations have often impeded inferences, including estimating origins of Gulf of Mexico juveniles. Here, we assessed genetic structure among seven foraging aggregations spanning southern Texas (TX) to southwestern Florida (SWFL), including Port Fourchon, Louisiana (LA); a surface-pelagic aggregation (SP) offshore of Louisiana and Florida; Santa Rosa Island, Florida (SRI); St. Joseph Bay, Florida (SJB); and the Big Bend region, Florida (BB). We estimated source contributions to aggregations with novel genetic data (excluding SP and BB) using a Bayesian many-to-one mixed stock analysis (MSA) approach. Haplotype frequencies for western (TX, LA, SP, SRI) and eastern (SJB, BB, SWFL) aggregations were significantly differentiated. The largest shift in haplotype frequencies between proximal nursery sites occurred between SRI and SJB, separated by only 150 km, highlighting the lack of a geographic yardstick for predicting genetic structure. In contrast to previous MSA results, there was no signal of Florida juveniles at any foraging site. Mexican contributions dominated in all aggregations, with strong connectivity between western Bay of Campeche (Tamaulipas/Veracruz) rookeries and western foraging aggregations. MSA indicated more diverse Mexican origins for eastern aggregations, with larger inputs from the eastern Bay of Campeche (Campeche/Yucatán), Campeche Bank, and Quintana Roo rookeries. These results demonstrate the significance of the Gulf of Mexico coast and offshore waters of the United States as important nursery habitat for green turtles of Mexican origin and highlight the need for international coordination for management of these populations.

Ecotoxicological studies indicate that sublethal and lethal processes limit insect-mediated contaminant flux

Released February 03, 2023 09:59 EST

2023, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

C.I Olson, G.B Beaubien, R.R Otter, David Walters, Mills. M.A

Merolimnic insects can accumulate and transport considerable amounts of aquatic contaminants to terrestrial systems. The rate of contaminant biotransport, termed insect-mediated contaminant flux (IMCF), depends on emergent insect biomass and contaminant accumulation, both functions of environmental concentration. Here we develop a mathematical model of IMCF and apply it to three ecotoxicological studies obtained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ECOTOX database to determine at which concentration maximum IMCF occurs. Model results demonstrate that the maximum IMCF depends on competing rates of biomass loss and contaminant accumulation and does not necessarily occur at the highest insect or environmental contaminant concentration. Additionally, modeling results suggest that sublethal contaminant effects (e.g., decreased growth) on insect biomass can be an important and potentially underappreciated control on IMCF.

Enhancing the predictability of ecology in a changing world: A call for an organism-based approach

Released February 03, 2023 09:51 EST

2023, Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics (9)

C.J.M. Musters, Don DeAngelis, Jeffrey A. Harvey, Wolf M. Mooij, Peter M. van Bodegom, Geert R. de Snoo

Ivo Siekmann, editor(s)

Ecology is usually very good in making descriptive explanations of what is observed, but is often unable to make predictions of the response of ecosystems to change. This has implications in a human-dominated world where a suite of anthropogenic stresses are threatening the resilience and functioning of ecosystems that sustain mankind through a range of critical regulating and supporting services. In ecosystems, cause-and-effect relationships are difficult to elucidate because of complex networks of negative and positive feedbacks. Therefore, being able to effectively predict when and where ecosystems could pass into different (and potentially unstable) new states is vitally important under rapid global change. Here, we argue that such better predictions may be reached if we focus on organisms instead of species, because organisms are the principal biotic agents in ecosystems that react directly on changes in their environment. Several studies show that changes in ecosystems may be accurately described as the result of changes in organisms and their interactions. Organism-based theories are available that are simple and derived from first principles, but allow many predictions. Of these we discuss Trait-based Ecology, Agent Based Models, and Maximum Entropy Theory of Ecology and show that together they form a logical sequence of approaches that allow organism-based studies of ecological communities. Combining and extending them makes it possible to predict the spatiotemporal distribution of groups of organisms in terms of how metabolic energy is distributed over areas, time, and resources. We expect that this “Organism-based Ecology” (OE) ultimately will improve our ability to predict ecosystem dynamics.

Sea otters in a California estuary: Detecting temporal and spatial dynamics with volunteer monitoring

Released February 03, 2023 09:10 EST

2022, Ecosphere (13)

Ron Eby, Susan Rosso, John Copriviza, Robert Scoles, Yohn Gideon, Joseph Mancino, Karl A. Mayer, Julie L. Yee, Kerstin Wasson

Volunteer monitoring can support conservation of imperiled wildlife, by providing higher resolution data in space and time than those available from professional scientists. However, concerns have been raised that data collected by amateurs are inaccurate or inconsistent and thus do not allow for robust detection of spatial or temporal trends. We evaluated the rigor and value of volunteer monitoring data for one iconic wildlife species, the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), in Elkhorn Slough estuary in central California, USA, and explored whether volunteer monitoring could provide added value to complement limited professional surveys. First, we compiled and analyzed sea otter counts taken on daily ecotourist boat trips along the estuary, and then compared temporal patterns to data collected by professional scientists tasked with monitoring this federally listed species. Second, we analyzed data on sea otter abundance, habitat use, and behavior collected by a team of trained volunteers, the Elkhorn Slough Reserve Otter Monitoring Program. Overall, we demonstrated the ability to detect important ecological patterns relevant to sea otter conservation and wetland habitat management using volunteer-derived datasets. Long-term trends and inter-annual variability were similar between professional agency monitoring data and volunteer datasets. Moreover, the much higher frequency of volunteer observations allowed for seasonal and tidal dynamics to be detected that could not be revealed by less frequent professional monitoring. We found higher sea otter abundance in the estuary in spring–summer, indicating seasonality in use of the estuary. We detected differences in habitat use of the estuary between higher and lower tides, and greater frequency of foraging at low tide and in certain areas. Volunteer observations revealed fine-scale differences in habitat use: eelgrass beds were used much more heavily than adjacent areas only a few meters away. Volunteer data can thus provide critical information about coastal habitat use and behavior that can improve conservation strategies for threatened wildlife species.

Midwinter dry spells amplify post-fire snowpack decline

Released February 03, 2023 08:46 EST

2023, Geophysical Research Letters (50)

Benjamin J. Hatchett, Arielle L. Koshkin, Kristen Guirguis, Karl Rittger, Anne W. Nolin, Anne Heggli, Alan M. Rhoades, Amy E. East, Erica R. Siirila-Woodburn, W. Tyler Brandt, Alexander Gershunov, Kayden Haleakala

Increasing wildfire and declining snowpacks in mountain regions threaten water availability. We combine satellite-based fire detections with snow seasonality classifications to examine fire activity in California’s seasonal and ephemeral snow zones. We find a nearly tenfold increase in fire activity during 2020-2021 versus 2001-2019. Accumulation season broadband snow albedo declined 25-71% in two burned sites (2021 and 2022) as measured by in-situ data relative to un-burned conditions, with greater declines associated with increased burn severity. By enhancing snowpack susceptibility to melt, decreased snow albedo and canopy drove midwinter melt during a multi-week dry spell in 2022. Despite similar meteorological conditions in 2013 and 2022, which we link to persistent high pressure weather regimes, minimal melt occurred in 2013. Post-fire differences are confirmed with satellite measurements. With growing geographical overlap between wildfire and snow, our findings suggest California’s snowpack is increasingly vulnerable to the compounding effects of dry spells and wildfire.

Riparian spiders: Sentinels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran-contaminated sediment

Released February 03, 2023 08:10 EST

2023, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (42) 414-420

Gale B. Beaubien, Dalon P. White, David Walters, Ryan R. Otter, Ken M. Fritz, Brian Crone, Marc A. Mills

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) are persistent, toxic, and bioaccumulative. Currently, PCDD/F monitoring programs primarily use fish and birds with potentially large home ranges to monitor temporal trends over broad spatial scales; sentinel organisms that provide targeted sediment contaminant information across small geographic areas have yet to be developed. Riparian orb-weaving spiders, which typically have small home ranges and consume primarily adult aquatic insects, are potential PCDD/F sentinels. Recent studies have demonstrated that spider tissue concentrations indicate the source and magnitude of dioxin-like chlorinated compounds in contaminated sediments, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Our aim in the present study was to assess the utility of riparian spiders as sentinels for PCDD/F-contaminated sediments. We measured PCDD/F (total [Σ] and homologs) in surface sediments and spiders collected from three sites within the St. Louis River basin (Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA). We then compared (1) patterns in ΣPCDD/F concentrations between sediment and spiders, (2) the distribution of homologs within sediments and spiders when pooled across sites, and (3) the relationship between sediment and spider concentrations of PCDD/F homologs across 13 stations sampled across the three sites. The ΣPCDD/F concentrations in sediment (mean ± standard error 286 591 ± 97 614 pg/g) were significantly higher than those in riparian spiders (2463 ± 977 pg/g, p < 0.001), but the relative abundance of homologs in sediment and spiders were not significantly different. Spider homolog concentrations were significantly and positively correlated with sediment concentrations across a gradient of sediment PCDD/F contamination (R2 = 0.47, p < 0.001). Our results indicate that, as has been shown for other legacy organic chemicals like PCBs, riparian spiders are suitable sentinels of PCDD/F in contaminated sediment.

Regional water table in the Antelope Valley and Fremont Valley groundwater basins, Southwestern Mojave Desert, California, March 2014

Released February 03, 2023 06:58 EST

2022, Scientific Investigations Map 3420

Meghan Dick, Nicholas F. Teague

Water levels were measured during March 2014 in wells in the Antelope Valley and Fremont Valley groundwater basins, southwestern Mojave Desert, California, in cooperation with the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water District, Palmdale Water District, and Littlerock Creek Irrigation District. A regional water-table map was constructed. Historical water-level data from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) database were used to construct water-level hydrographs to show long-term (1917-2014) water-level changes in the Antelope Valley and Fremont Valley groundwater basins.

Groundwater quality in the Mohawk and western New York River Basins, New York, 2016

Released February 02, 2023 11:30 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2022-1021

Devin L. Gaige, Tia-Marie Scott, James E. Reddy, Meaghan R. Keefe

Water samples were collected from July through December 2016 from 9 production wells and 13 domestic wells in the Mohawk River Basin, and from 17 production wells and 17 domestic wells in the western New York River Basins. The samples were collected and processed by using standard U.S. Geological Survey methods and were analyzed for 320 physicochemical properties and constituents, including dissolved gases, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, radionuclides, and indicator bacteria, to characterize groundwater quality in the basins. Analytical results are provided in the companion U.S. Geological Survey data release titled “Groundwater Quality Data From the Mohawk and Western New York River Basins, New York, 2016.”

The Mohawk River Basin study area covers 3,500 square miles in New York. Of the 22 wells sampled in the Mohawk River Basin, 8 are completed in sand and gravel, and 14 are completed in bedrock aquifers. Most constituents in the samples from the Mohawk River Basin were present in concentrations below the maximum contaminant levels used in public supply drinking-water regulations by the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Values for some of the properties and concentrations of some constituents—pH, color, iron, manganese, aluminum, sodium, chloride, dissolved solids, radon-222, and heterotrophic plate count—sometimes equaled or exceeded primary, secondary, or proposed drinking-water standards.

The western New York River Basins study area covers 5,340 square miles in western New York and includes parts of the Lake Erie and Niagara River Basins, the western Lake Ontario Basin (between the Niagara River and Genesee River Basins), and the Allegheny River Basin. Of the 34 wells sampled in the western New York River Basins, 16 are completed in sand and gravel, and 18 are completed in bedrock aquifers. Most constituents in the samples from the western New York River Basins were present in concentrations below the maximum contaminant levels used in public supply drinking-water regulations by the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Values for some of the properties and concentrations of some constituents—color, chloride, sodium, dissolved solids, iron, manganese, aluminum, arsenic, barium, radon-222, methane, total coliform bacteria, fecal coliform bacteria, and Escherichia coli bacteria—sometimes equaled or exceeded primary, secondary, or proposed drinking-water standards.

Creek and quarry water quality at Pipestone National Monument and pilot study of pathogen detection methods in waterfall mist at Winnewissa Falls, Pipestone, Minnesota, 2018–19

Released February 01, 2023 14:59 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5122

Aliesha L. Krall, Kerensa A. King, Victoria G. Christensen, Joel P. Stokdyk, Barbara C. Scudder Eikenberry, S. A. Stevenson

Pipestone National Monument is a 301-acre site sacred to many Native American Tribes, providing cultural exhibits and walking trails to Pipestone Creek, Winnewissa Falls, and historical pipestone quarries for numerous visitors each year. However, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has determined turbidity and fecal coliform bacteria occur in Pipestone Creek in high enough numbers to be a potential health hazard. Concerns also were raised about exposure risk from waterfall mist to visitors and staff. The U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service collaborated on a study to collect 21 water-quality samples from 8 creek sites and 3 quarries in 2018 and analyzed them for over 250 water-quality parameters and contaminants. Additional samples were collected in August 2019 to assess the waterfall mists from Winnewissa Falls. Nutrient concentrations in the creek and quarries were elevated in 2018, indicating they are affected by agricultural inputs. All sample concentrations for nitrate and total nitrogen in Pipestone Creek exceeded Minnesota standards and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nutrient criteria. Minnesota standards and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nutrient criteria for total phosphorus also were exceeded in some of the quarry samples. Twenty of 210 micropollutants had measurable concentrations: 13 pesticides, 5 pharmaceuticals, and 2 other types of micropollutants. Atrazine, deethylatrazine, and metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid were detected in all 21 samples collected during the study. The five pharmaceuticals detected were acetaminophen, gabapentin, gemfibrozil, metformin, and oxycodone. Gabapentin (10 of 21 samples) and metformin (8 of 21 samples) were the most commonly detected pharmaceuticals. None of the detected micropollutant concentrations exceeded any Minnesota standards or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aquatic life benchmarks, except the acute toxicity benchmark for nonvascular plants for atrazine. Two cyanotoxins, anatoxin-a and microcystin, were detected, but concentrations were below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for swimming or recreation. Notably, total coliform, fecal coliform, and Escherichia coli were detected in all creek samples, and concentrations generally decreased downstream, suggesting contamination potentially occurred upstream from the monument. Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis was not detected in any creek sediment samples but was detected in three water samples from the creek. Three organisms were detected in the 2019 water and mist sampling from Winnewissa Falls. Two of these organisms can cause illness in humans (Cryptosporidium and Legionella), and a third (ruminant Bacteroides) is an indicator of manure contamination. Despite few samples, pathogen-positive water samples and air sampling demonstrated the feasibility and utility of the mist sampling approach outlined in this report.

Comparison of surrogate models to estimate pesticide concentrations at six U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Network sites during water years 2013–18

Released January 31, 2023 10:00 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5109

S. Alex. Covert, Aubrey R. Bunch, Charles G. Crawford, Gretchen P. Oelsner

During water years 2013–18, the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Project sampled the National Water Quality Network for Rivers and Streams year-round and reported on 221 pesticides at 72 sites across the United States. Pesticides are difficult to measure, their concentrations often represent discrete snapshots in time, and capturing peak concentrations is expensive. Three types of regression models were developed to estimate concentrations for two selected pesticides at each of six National Water Quality Network for Rivers and Streams sites. The regression models used continuously measured streamflow and water-quality properties (differing combinations of pH, specific conductance, turbidity, and water temperature); discrete water-quality samples analyzed for atrazine, azoxystrobin, bentazon, bromacil, imidacloprid, simazine, and triclopyr; and time as an additional explanatory variable for seasonality.

The modeling approaches included (1) a standard regression that included surrogates (differing combinations of pH, specific conductance, turbidity, and water temperature) and periodic functions (sine-cosine) of pesticide application use as predictor variables; (2) the seasonal wave with flow adjustment model that included a seasonal component and flow anomalies but excluded surrogates; and (3) the seasonal wave with flow adjustment model that included a seasonal component, flow anomalies, and surrogates. Models were evaluated using three measures of model performance: generalized coefficient of determination (generalized R2), Akaike’s Information Criteria, and scale (the estimated standard deviation of the tobit regression error term). Because of low observation numbers, results from this study can be considered a pilot effort with the possibility that some models are overfit.

In all cases, estimated pesticide concentrations modeled with base SEAWAVE-Q were better than the standard surrogate regression models; all 39 generalized R2 values increased by 3–56 percent (median of 25 percent) when compared to the standard surrogate regression models, and all Akaike’s Information Criteria and scale values decreased. The addition of surrogate variables such as pH, specific conductance, turbidity, and water temperature to the base SEAWAVE-Q model to improve estimates of pesticide concentrations resulted in only modest improvements; generalized R2 values increased by only 0–10 percent (median of 3 percent). In some instances, combinations of the surrogates produced more appreciative improvements in model results, but in those instances, we hypothesize that the surrogates correlated with some unknown measure that directly relates to pesticide transport.

Mineral commodity summaries 2023

Released January 31, 2023 08:25 EST

2023, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2023

U.S. Geological Survey

Each mineral commodity chapter of the 2023 edition of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries (MCS) includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year salient statistics, and world production, reserves, and resources. The MCS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2022 mineral production data for the world. More than 90 individual minerals and materials are covered by 2-page synopses.

For mineral commodities for which there is a Government stockpile, detailed information concerning the stockpile status is included in the 2-page synopsis.

Abbreviations and units of measure and definitions of selected terms used in the report are in Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively. Reserves and resources information is in Appendix C, which includes “Part A—Resource and Reserve Classification for Minerals” and “Part B—Sources of Reserves Data.” A directory of USGS minerals information country specialists and their responsibilities is in Appendix D.

The USGS continually strives to improve the value of its publications to users. Constructive comments and suggestions by readers of the MCS 2023 are welcomed.

Joint spatiotemporal models to predict seabird densities at sea

Released January 31, 2023 07:01 EST

2023, Frontiers in Marine Science (10)

Mayumi L. Arimitsu, John F. Piatt, James Thorson, Kathy Kuletz, Gary Drew, Sarah K. Schoen, Dan Cushing, Caitlin Kroeger, William Sydeman

Introduction: Seabirds are abundant, conspicuous members of marine ecosystems worldwide. Synthesis of distribution data compiled over time is required to address regional management issues and understand ecosystem change. Major challenges when estimating seabird densities at sea arise from variability in dispersion of the birds, sampling effort over time and space, and differences in bird detection rates associated with survey vessel type.

Methods: Using a novel approach for modeling seabirds at sea, we applied joint dynamic species distribution models (JDSDM) with a vector-autoregressive spatiotemporal framework to survey data collected over nearly five decades and archived in the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database. We produced monthly gridded density predictions and abundance estimates for 8 species groups (77% of all birds observed) within Cook Inlet, Alaska. JDSDMs included habitat covariates to inform density predictions in unsampled areas and accounted for changes in observed densities due to differing survey methods and decadal-scale variation in ocean conditions.

Results: The best fit model provided a high level of explanatory power (86% of deviance explained). Abundance estimates were reasonably precise, and consistent with limited historical studies. Modeled densities identified seasonal variability in abundance with peak numbers of all species groups in July or August. Seabirds were largely absent from the study region in either fall (e.g., murrelets) or spring (e.g., puffins) months, or both periods (shearwaters).

Discussion: Our results indicated that pelagic shearwaters (Ardenna spp.) and tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) have declined over the past four decades and these taxa warrant further investigation into underlying mechanisms explaining these trends. JDSDMs provide a useful tool to estimate seabird distribution and seasonal trends that will facilitate risk assessments and planning in areas affected by human activities such as oil and gas development, shipping, and offshore wind and renewable energy.

Linear regression model documentation for computing water-quality constituent concentrations or densities using continuous real-time water-quality data for the Kansas River above Topeka Weir at Topeka, Kansas, November 2018 through June 2021

Released January 30, 2023 12:58 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5130

Thomas J. Williams

The Kansas River and its associated alluvial aquifer provide drinking water to more than 950,000 people in northeastern Kansas. Water suppliers that rely on the Kansas River as a water-supply source use physical and chemical processes to treat and remove contaminants before public distribution. An early-notification system of changing water-quality conditions allows water suppliers to proactively make decisions that affect water treatment. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Kansas Water Office (funded in part through the Kansas Water Plan), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, The Nature Conservancy, the City of Lawrence, the City of Manhattan, the City of Olathe, the City of Topeka, WaterOne, and Evergy, began collecting water-quality data at the Kansas River above Topeka Weir at Topeka, Kansas (USGS site 06888990, hereafter referred to as the “Topeka site”), during November 2018 to develop linear regression models that relate continuous in situ water-quality sensor measurements to discretely sampled water-quality constituent concentrations or densities. The addition of the Topeka site expanded an existing water-quality monitoring network, which included the upstream Kansas River at Wamego, Kans., and downstream Kansas River at De Soto, Kans., sites. Linear regression analysis was used to develop models that compute real-time concentrations or densities for total dissolved solids, major ions, hardness as calcium carbonate, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus species), chlorophyll a, total suspended solids, suspended sediment, and Escherichia coli at the Topeka site using data collected during November 2018 through June 2021. Water-quality constituent concentrations or densities computed from the models documented in this report are available at the USGS National Real-Time Water-Quality website (, are useful to the public for cultural and recreational purposes, and can be used to guide water-treatment processes, compare conditions with Federal and State water-quality criteria, and characterize changes in Kansas River water-quality conditions through time.

Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology (ASIST)

Released January 30, 2023 11:45 EST

2023, Fact Sheet 2022-3016

Katharine Dahm, Daniel Jones, Patrick Anderson, Meghan Dick, Todd Hawbaker, Robert Horton


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is initiating a study approach focused on building cross-disciplinary connections to weave together the scientific knowledge related to drought conditions and effects in the Colorado River Basin. The basin is experiencing the worst drought in recorded history, posing unprecedented new challenges in the basin and in areas relying on water from the basin. Science is continually advancing, and there is an increasing need to interpret the connections between studies to predict the effects of drought and other changes affecting the Earth system. The USGS primarily works in independent disciplines and science centers to provide cutting-edge science to advance research and science applications worldwide. The complexity and volume of research that has been conducted related to drought in the Colorado River Basin is difficult to quantify. To complicate matters, studies, models, and datasets are cataloged and may be available in multiple, unrelated locations, across various internal systems, data repositories, and local offices. Furthermore, there are limited interactions and interfaces between scientists and partners working in different science disciplines; in many cases, individual science products require stakeholders to integrate complex interdisciplinary data across geographical and topical extents. The diverse array of interdisciplinary science and science products produced by the USGS highlights the need for a wide ranging collaborative support structure.

Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology Project—Science strategy

Released January 30, 2023 11:45 EST

2023, Circular 1502

Katharine Dahm, Todd Hawbaker, Rebecca Frus, Adrian Monroe, John Bradford, William Andrews, Alicia Torregrosa, Eric Anderson, David Dean, Sharon Qi

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducts a wide variety of science that improves understanding of droughts and their effects on ecosystems and society. This work includes data collection and monitoring of aquatic and terrestrial systems; assessment and analysis of patterns, trends, drivers, and impacts of drought; development and application of predictive models; and delivery of information and decision-making tools to stakeholders. Stakeholders, which include Federal, Tribal, State, and local agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and others, use this information to anticipate, assess, react to, and mitigate drought conditions and impacts. There is no obvious near-term solution to reduce the frequency and severity of droughts or to mitigate drought impacts. Multidecadal drought is a “grand challenge” that benefits from integration of existing technolo­gies, data, knowledge, and models across related and dispa­rate disciplines, facilitated by new science and technology. In response, the USGS initiated a new integrated-science approach in the Colorado River Basin in 2020. The Colorado River Basin was specifically selected because of concerns about future drought and its consequences for the region. This document explains how the Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology (ASIST) project extends and enhances the science supported by USGS Mission Areas and Programs and articulates scientific gaps and stakeholder needs to identify and reduce drought risks. The approach seeks to answer complex Earth science questions developed in partner­ship with stakeholders about severe long-term drought. An inte­grated approach is required to tackle these complex questions, which any single science discipline cannot answer on its own.

In addition to increased understanding of drought and drought effects in complex systems, the Colorado River Basin ASIST project was designed to improve efficiencies through rapid location of a broad array of data sources, assembly of model-ready multidisciplinary data, and delivery of actionable science to stakeholders at the speeds and scales needed for deci­sion making. The project team identified the following actions needed for USGS to implement and advance an integrated science approach in the Colorado River Basin: (1) engage with stakeholders to document their needs and iteratively co-produce science and science delivery tools to address these needs, (2) integrate monitoring and observation systems developed by USGS and other agencies that track droughts and their effects, (3) collect and provide analysis-ready data to support integrated applications, (4) integrate data and model connections to predict multiple drought impacts, (5) conduct multidisciplinary coor­dination to improve interpretations, (6) leverage the knowledge base across USGS to enhance decision making, and (7) support the development of new integrated science approaches and technologies that provide analysis and management tools that can be used to adapt to the effects of drought in the Colorado River Basin. Proposals for initial short-term use-case projects were solicited, a subset of which was selected for funding to test implementation of these actions. Additionally, the project organized and convened a series of science and technology collaboration workshops in the USGS focused on challenges that were identified and prioritized by the short-term use-case projects and during the initial stakeholder analysis. These work­shops were designed to bring together diverse perspectives to discuss science and technology challenges, stakeholder needs, capabilities, and knowledge gaps, with the goal of determin­ing how the USGS can address challenges, identify future opportunities for continued engagement between participants, and inform the next steps for the Colorado River Basin ASIST project. Continuing to collaboratively engage with a wide range of stakeholders using an integrated approach will provide a suitable foundation of data and tools to formulate actionable intelligence for predicting droughts and informing adaptation to the effects of long-term drought in a holistic, timely, and effective manner.

Hydrologic change in the St. Louis River Basin from iron mining on the Mesabi Iron Range, northeastern Minnesota

Released January 30, 2023 09:30 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5124

Timothy K. Cowdery, Anna C. Baker, Megan J. Haserodt, Daniel T. Feinstein, Randall J. Hunt

This study compares the results of two regional steady-state U.S. Geological Survey Modular Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow (MODFLOW) models constructed to quantify the hydrologic changes in the St. Louis River Basin from iron mining on the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota. The U.S. Geological Survey collaborated in this study with bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to inform management decisions about aquatic resources in the St. Louis River Basin. A model constructed and calibrated to represent average 1995–2015 mining conditions produced regional groundwater heads and flows. A pre-mining scenario model was constructed from this mining model but had the land and bedrock surfaces restored to pre-mining topographies and had modeled mining features (mine pits, tailings basins, waste-rock piles, and mining-disturbed areas) eliminated to represent general pre-mining stratigraphy and hydrogeology. Many of the features important to the hydrology of this mining area (like individual mine pits) are difficult to represent in groundwater models and required the use of modeling tools to indirectly account for their effects. The difference between the results of these two models represents mining’s effects on the hydrology in the Mesabi Iron Range area of the St Louis River Basin. The mining and pre-mining regional models also can provide boundary conditions and initial properties for future local or site-specific groundwater-flow models in the area.

Total groundwater flow through the mining model is 171 million cubic feet per day. Areal recharge is the largest source of groundwater (78 and 81 percent of total groundwater flow in the mining and pre-mining scenario models, respectively). Seepage from streams and lakes provides another 17 percent of the total groundwater flow through both models. Water leaves aquifers through seepage to streams (discharge as base flow, 43 percent in both models) and areal seepage to the land surface (surface seepage), for example to wetlands (45 and 49 percent, mining and pre-mining scenario models respectively).

Comparison of the results from the mining and pre-mining scenario models shows that iron mining has produced measurable hydrologic changes in the St. Louis River Basin, but that most of those changes and the highest magnitude changes occur near the mining features. Flow changes to and from surface-water bodies like streams and wetlands were analyzed in detail because of their importance in sustaining surface waters and aquatic life. Overall, groundwater flow in the mining model was 3.62 million cubic feet per day (2.2 percent) greater than total pre-mining model groundwater flow. This was caused by an increase in recharge from tailings basins and a decrease in discharge from surface seepage. Groundwater discharge to mine pits was the largest change in groundwater flows between the models (a change representing 2.8 percent of total pre-mining model groundwater flow). Net recharge to groundwater from tailings basins (2.4 percent), net decrease in surface seepage from groundwater (2.7 percent), and net increase in seepage to streams (1.0 percent) were all in this same range of total pre-mining model groundwater flow. Groundwater lost through mine-pit withdrawals was nearly offset by groundwater gained through recharge from tailings basins. However, because losses and gains occurred in different areas, the effect of mining can have more substantial effects on local areas than the model-wide averages represent.

Livestock removal increases plant cover across a heterogeneous dryland landscape on the Colorado Plateau

Released January 30, 2023 07:12 EST

2023, Environmental Research Letters

Brandon E McNellis, Anna C Knight, Travis W. Nauman, Samuel Norton Chambers, C.W. Brungard, S.E. Fick, C.G. Livensperger, C.G. Borthwick, Michael C. Duniway

Livestock removal is increasingly used as a management option to mitigate the negative impacts of grazing-related disturbances on rangelands. Removal generally increases plant cover, but it is unclear when, where, and by how much plant and soil cover changes can be expected. On the Colorado Plateau, complex geology, topography, soils, and climate all interact to mediate the relationship between land cover, climate, and disturbance. In this study we used new developments in land cover mapping and analysis to assess landscape plant and bare soil cover up to 30 years after livestock removal from two grazing allotments in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA. Results indicate that livestock removal increases plant cover 0.17-0.32% per year and reduces bare soil cover 0.34-0.41% per year, although these rates may be suppressed by warming temperatures. Soils, assessed through Soil Geomorphic Units, played a strong but complex role in mediating land cover changes through time. These results suggest that livestock removal is an effective strategy for increasing plant cover and reducing bare soil on the Colorado Plateau, but including soil information in decision making will enhance efficiency by improving manager's ability to prioritize management actions effectively across space and through time.

iBluff: An open-source R package for geomorphic analysis of coastal bluffs/cliffs

Released January 30, 2023 06:32 EST

2023, SoftwareX (21)

Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy

The R package iBluff is designed for coastal bluffs/bluffs morphological analysis and offers an automatic and reproducible alternative to identify bluff edges using a bare earth digital elevation model (DEM) instead of hand digitizing. This package extracts elevation profiles along automatically identified transects on the bluff-face, bluff top, toe, secondary inflections, relative concavity/convexity of bluff-face, and beach dunes (crests and troughs). The package requires at a minimum a bare earth DEM as a raster and a generalized line shapefile (shoreline) approximately parallel with the bluff-face. Both files should be in the same projected coordinate system. The iBluff package was developed to expand and generalize studies of high-relief coastal areas, investigate erosion and seasonality, and could be extended to use three-dimensional (3D) point-cloud data instead of a DEM.

    New maps of conductive heat flow in the Great Basin, USA: Separating conductive and convective influences

    Released January 27, 2023 06:50 EST

    2023, Conference Paper, Proceedings, 48th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering

    Jacob DeAngelo, Erick Burns, Emilie Gentry, Joseph F. Batir, Cary Ruth Lindsey, Stanley Paul Mordensky

    Geothermal well data from Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were used to create maps of estimated background conductive heat flow across the Great Basin region of the western United States. These heat flow maps were generated as part of the USGS hydrothermal and Enhanced Geothermal Systems resource assessment process, and the creation process seeks to remove the influence of hydrothermal convection from the predictions of the background conductive heat flow. The heat flow maps were constructed using a custom-developed iterative process using weighted regression, in which convectively influenced outliers were de-emphasized by assigning lower weights to measurements with heat flow values further from the estimated local trend (e.g., local convective influence). The local linear weighted regression algorithm is two-dimensional locally estimated scatterplot smoothing where smoothness was controlled by varying the number of nearby wells used for each local interpolation. Three maps resulting from conductive heat flow models are detailed in this paper, highlighting the influence of measurement confidence. The three maps use either: measurements from all wells with equal weight (no confidence weights), or one of two different published categorization methods to de-emphasize low-quality measurements; one categorization method graded thermal gradient quality, the other categorization method graded thermal conductivity quality. Each map is an estimate of background conductive heat flow as a function of reported data quality, and a point coverage is also provided for all wells in the compiled dataset. The point coverage includes an important new attribute for geothermal wells: the residual, which can be interpreted as the departure of a well from the estimated background heat flow conditions, and the value of the residual may be useful in identifying the influence of fluids (hydrothermal or groundwater) on conductive heat flow. Of the three maps presented, the map that de-emphasized the impact of wells with low-quality thermal gradient measurements appears to perform best because it did not incorporate many of the wells in the Snake River Plain that do not penetrate the aquifer and are therefore very unlikely to reflect true conductive conditions.

    Revising supraglacial rock avalanche magnitudes and frequencies in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    Released January 27, 2023 06:33 EST

    2023, Geomorphology (425)

    William Smith, Stuart A. Dunning, Neil Ross, Jon Telling, Erin K. Bessette-Kirton, Dan H. Shugar, Jeffrey A. Coe, M. Geertsema

    The frequency of large supraglacial landslides (rock avalanches) occurring in glacial environments is thought to be increasing due to feedbacks with climate warming and permafrost degradation. However, it is difficult to (i) test this; (ii) establish cause–effect relationships; and (iii) determine associated lag-times, due to both temporal and spatial biases in detection rates. Here we applied the Google Earth Engine supraglacial debris input detector (GERALDINE) to Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve (GLBA), Alaska. We find that the number of rock avalanches (RAs) has previously been underestimated by 53 %, with a bias in past detections towards large area RAs. In total, GLBA experienced 69 RAs during 1984–2020, with the highest frequency in the last three years. Of these, 58 % were deposited into the accumulation zone and then sequestered into the ice within two years. RA sources clustered spatially at high elevations and around certain peaks and ridges, predominantly at the boundary of modelled permafrost likelihood. They also clustered temporally, occurring mainly between May and September when air temperatures were high enough to initiate rock-permafrost degradation mechanisms. There was a chronic background debris supply from RAs, with at least one RA occurring in all but nine years; however, a debris rich period during 2012–2016 was driven by three large RAs delivering 44 % of all (1984–2020) debris (by area). Comparable investigation of slope-failures in other remote currently glaciated regions is lacking. If RA rates are similar elsewhere, especially the bias towards emplacement onto/into accumulation zones, their contribution to glacial sediment budgets has been globally underestimated.

    Continuous stream discharge, salinity, and associated data collected in the lower St. Johns River and its tributaries, Florida, 2021

    Released January 26, 2023 14:05 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2022-1111

    Patrick J. Ryan

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, is deepening the St. Johns River channel in Jacksonville, Florida, by 7 feet along 13 miles of the river channel beginning at the mouth of the river at the Atlantic Ocean, in order to accommodate larger, fully loaded cargo vessels. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, monitored stage, discharge, and (or) water temperature and salinity at 26 continuous data collection stations in the St. Johns River and its tributaries.

    This is the sixth annual report by the U.S. Geological Survey on data collection for the Jacksonville Harbor deepening project. Prior reports in this series documented data collected from October 2015 to September 2020. This report contains information pertinent to data collection during the 2021 water year, from October 2020 to September 2021. There were no modifications this year to the previously installed monitoring network. Data at each station were compared for the length of the project and on a yearly basis to show the annual variability of discharge and salinity in the project area.

    Discharge and salinity varied widely during the 2021 water year data collection period, which included above-average rainfall for four of the five counties in the study area. Total annual rainfall for all counties ranked third among the annual totals computed for the 6 years considered for this study. Annual mean discharge at Durbin Creek was highest among the tributaries, followed by Trout River, Clapboard Creek, Ortega River, Pottsburg Creek at U.S. 90, Julington Creek, Pottsburg Creek near South Jacksonville, Dunn Creek, Cedar River, and Broward River, whose annual mean discharge was lowest. Annual mean discharge at 7 of the 10 tributary monitoring sites was higher for the 2021 water year than for the 2020 water year, and the computed annual mean flow at Clapboard Creek was the highest over the 6 years considered for this study. The annual mean discharge for each of the main-stem sites was higher for the 2021 water year than for the 2020 water year and ranked second among the annual totals computed for the 6 years considered for this study.

    Among the tributary sites, annual mean salinity was highest at Clapboard Creek, the site closest to the Atlantic Ocean, and was lowest at Durbin Creek, the site farthest from the ocean. Annual mean salinity data from the main-stem sites on the St. Johns River indicate that salinity decreased with distance upstream from the ocean, which was expected. Relative to annual mean salinity calculated for the 2020 water year, annual mean salinity at all monitoring locations was lower for the 2021 water year except at the tributary site of Durbin Creek, which remained the same. The 2021 annual mean salinity at all sites ranked second lowest since the beginning of the study in 2016 except at Julington Creek and Racy Point, which tied for lowest, and Durbin Creek, which had the same value for each year.

    Interaction of a legacy groundwater contaminant plume with the Little Wind River from 2015 through 2017, Riverton Processing site, Wyoming

    Released January 26, 2023 12:30 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5089

    David L. Naftz, Christopher C. Fuller, Robert L. Runkel, John Solder, W. Payton Gardner, Neil Terry, Martin A. Briggs, Terry M. Short, Daniel J. Cain, William L Dam, Patrick A. Byrne, James R. Campbell

    The Riverton Processing site was a uranium mill 4 kilometers southwest of Riverton, Wyoming, that prepared uranium ore for nuclear reactors and weapons from 1958 to 1963. The U.S. Department of Energy completed surface remediation of the uranium tailings in 1989; however, groundwater below and downgradient from the tailings site and nearby Little Wind River was not remediated. Beginning in 2010, a series of floods along the Little Wind River began to mobilize contaminants in the unsaturated zone, resulting in substantial increases of uranium and other contaminants of concern in monitoring wells completed inside the contaminant plume. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy started a series of university and Government agency retrospective and field investigations to understand the processes controlling contaminant increases in the groundwater plume. The goals of the field investigations described in this report were to (1) identify and quantify the contaminant flux and potential associated biological effects from groundwater associated with the legacy plume as it enters a perennial stream reach, and (2) assess chemical exposure and potential effects to biological receptors from the interaction of the contaminant plume and the river.

    Field investigations along the Little Wind River were completed by the U.S. Geological Survey during 2015–17 in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management to characterize: (1) seepage areas and seepage rates; (2) pore-water and bed sediment chemistry and hyporheic exchange and reactive loss; and (3) exposure pathways and biological receptors. All data collected during the study are contained in two U.S. Geological Survey data releases, available at and A variety of tools and methods were used during the field characterizations. Streambed temperature mapping, electrical resistivity tomography, electromagnetic induction, fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing, tube seepage meters, vertical thermal sensor arrays, and an environmental tracer (radon) were used to identify areas of groundwater seepage and associated seepage rates along specific sections of the study reach of the river. Drive points, minipiezometers, diffusive equilibrium in thin-film/diffusive gradients in thin-film probes, bed-sediment samples, and equal discharge increment sampling methods were used to characterize pore-water chemistry, estimate hyporheic exchange and reactive loss of selected chemical constituents, and quantify contaminant loadings entering the study reach. Sampling and analysis of surface sediments, filamentous algae, periphytic algae, and macroinvertebrates were used to characterize biological exposure pathways, metal uptake, and receptors.

    Areas of focused groundwater discharge identified by the fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing surveys corresponded closely with areas of elevated electrical conductivity identified by the electromagnetic induction survey results in the top 5 meters of sediment. During three monitoring periods in 2016, the mean vertical seepage rate measured with tube seepage meters was 0.45 meter per day, ranging from −0.02 to 1.55 meters per day. Five of the 11 locations where vertical thermal profile data were collected along the study reach during August 2017 indicated mean upwelling values ranging from 0.11 to 0.23 meter per day. Radon data collected from the Little Wind River during June, July, and August 2016 indicated a consistent inflow of groundwater to the central part of the study reach, in the area congruous with the center of the previously mapped groundwater plume discharge zone. During August 2017, the greatest attenuation of uranium from reactive loss in pore-water samples was observed at three locations along the study reach, at depths between 6 and 15 centimeters, and similar trends in molybdenum attenuation were also observed. Bed-sediment concentration profiles collected during 2017 also indicated attenuation of uranium and molybdenum from groundwater during hyporheic mixing of surface water with the legacy plume during groundwater upwelling into the river. Streamflow measurements combined with equal discharge increment water sampling along the study reach indicated an increase in dissolved uranium concentrations in the downstream direction during 2016 and 2017. Net uranium load entering the Little Wind River study reach was about 290 and 435 grams per day during 2016 and 2017, respectively. Biological samples indicated that low levels of uranium and molybdenum exposure were confined to the benthos in the Little Wind River within and immediately downstream from the perimeter of the groundwater plume. Concentrations of molybdenum and uranium in filamentous algae were consistently low at all sites in the study reach with no indication of increased exposure of dissolved bioavailable molybdenum or uranium at sites next to or downstream from the groundwater plume.

    Comparison of the August 2017 results from electromagnetic induction, tube seepage meters, vertical thermal profiling, and pore-water chemistry surveys were in general agreement in identifying areas with upwelling groundwater conditions along the study reach. However, the electroconductivity values measured with electromagnetic induction in the top 100 centimeters of sediment did not agree with sodium concentrations measured in pore-water samples collected at similar streambed depths. Differences and similarities between multiple methods can result in additional insights into hydrologic and biogeochemical processes that may be occurring along a reach of a river system interacting with shallow groundwater inputs. It may be advantageous to apply a variety of geophysical, geochemical, hydrologic, and biological tools at other Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action ( sites during the investigation of legacy contaminant plume interactions with surface-water systems.

    Assessment of habitat use by juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Willamette River Basin, 2020–21

    Released January 26, 2023 12:01 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2023-1001

    Gabriel S. Hansen, Russell W. Perry, Tobias J. Kock, James S. White, Philip V. Haner, John M. Plumb, J. Rose Wallick

    We conducted a field study during 2020–21 to describe habitat use patterns of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the mainstem Willamette, McKenzie, and Santiam Rivers and to evaluate how habitat suitability criteria affected the predictive accuracy of a hydraulic habitat model. Two approaches were used to collect habitat use data: a stratified sampling design was used to ensure that a representative sample of available habitats was included in our sampling; and a targeted sampling design was used to collect additional data in habitat cells where juvenile Chinook salmon were observed. Habitat attributes and fish presence data were collected in habitat cells that were approximately 2 square meters during April, June, and July. A total of 632 cells were sampled during the study and included habitat located in the main channel (373 cells), side channels (228 cells), and in alcoves (31 cells). Juvenile Chinook salmon were observed in 42 percent of the cells located in the main channel, 38 percent of the cells located in side channels, and 7 percent of the cells located in alcoves. We used logistic regression to develop resource selection functions for April, June, and July, which produced probability-based predictions of habitat use for juvenile Chinook salmon based on water velocity and water depth. The resource selection functions revealed a habitat shift by juvenile Chinook salmon to locations with higher water velocities and greater water depths from April to July as juvenile Chinook salmon size increased. The resource selection functions that we developed are an important addition to habitat modeling in the Willamette River basin because they were developed from in-basin data, capture seasonal differences in habitat use, and facilitate probability-based estimates of habitat use for juvenile Chinook salmon. These advancements will improve habitat modeling efforts for juvenile Chinook salmon during spring and summer months within the Willamette River.

    Simulation of regional groundwater flow and advective transport of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and vicinity, New Jersey, 2018

    Released January 26, 2023 10:05 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2022-1112

    Alex R. Fiore, Susan J. Colarullo

    A three-dimensional numerical model of groundwater flow was developed and calibrated for the unconsolidated New Jersey Coastal Plain aquifers underlying Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) and vicinity, New Jersey, to evaluate groundwater flow pathways of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination associated with use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) at the base. The regional subsurface flow model spans an area of approximately 518 square miles around JBMDL and is based on a previously developed hydrogeologic framework of the area. Steady-state flow in the unconsolidated aquifers was simulated using the MODFLOW 6 groundwater flow model, which is able to account for hydrostratigraphic pinchouts and discontinuities in the Coastal Plain aquifers underlying JBMDL. To account for local patterns of fluid flow driving advective subsurface migration of PFAS, the grid was refined using quadtree meshes spanning 21 areas where historical AFFF use was identified, five off-site reconnaissance areas identified by AFCEC as areas in which the occurrence of PFAS is most likely to pose a potential danger to local drinking water supplies, and along streams that behave as drains in the base-flow-dominated Coastal Plain.

    Following grid refinement, four physical processes known to govern subsurface flow were introduced to the model. These included effective precipitation recharge, discharge to streams and stream-connected wetlands, regional inflows and outflows along the model bottom, and withdrawals from wells, each of which were incorporated into the model as either external or internal boundary conditions. To account for effective precipitation recharge, a specified-flow boundary was assigned along the top of the model. Similarly, regional flows predicted using the modified U.S Geological Survey’s New Jersey Coastal Plain Regional Aquifer System Analysis model were treated as specified-flow boundary conditions along the bottom of the model. Base-flow losses were treated as drains along streams delineated using a 10-foot LiDAR dataset. Drains were also assigned to cells falling within stream-connected National Hydrologic Database wetlands. Finally, well-pumpage data mined from the New Jersey Water Transfer database were added to the model to account for extraction of groundwater through pumping from industrial-supply and drinking-water-supply wells. Along model edges established at groundwater divides, where the net flux of water across the boundary is equal to zero, natural no-flow boundary conditions were imposed.

    The refined flow model was calibrated using the parameter-estimation (PEST) program, which adjusts model parameters by performing a gradient search over the sum-of-squared-error objective function until the parameter set that produces simulated water levels and base flows most closely matches 544 water levels and 20 estimated base flows and closely adheres to initial parameter estimates. Based on the analysis of calibration residuals, the model did not appear to be affected by significant model structural error.

    The MODPATH particle-tracking algorithm was used to estimate advective transport paths of PFAS in the vicinity of JBMDL. Forward tracking was used to determine paths of PFAS away from AFFF source areas to streams, wetlands, pumping wells, and geographic areas that PFAS may contaminate. Additionally, reverse tracking was used to determine particle pathlines away from off-site PFAS reconnaissance areas, or areas within which all sources of PFAS might be advectively transported into subsurface drinking-water supplies, to locations at land surface that may indicate a source of PFAS.

    The coupled and calibrated groundwater flow and particle-tracking transport model provide valuable tools for predicting the relative extent of PFAS contamination from onsite legacy source areas. The calibrated model also provides measures of water-level and base-flow observation influence that can help guide future data-collection efforts related to groundwater and surface water sampling for PFAS.

    Rangeland Condition Monitoring Assessment and Projection, 1985–2021

    Released January 26, 2023 09:48 EST

    2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3004

    Matthew B. Rigge

    The Rangeland Condition Monitoring Assessment and Projection (RCMAP) project quantifies the percentage cover of rangeland components across the western United States using Landsat imagery from 1985 to 2021. The RCMAP product suite consists of nine fractional components: annual herbaceous, bare ground, herbaceous, litter, nonsagebrush shrub, perennial herbaceous, sagebrush, shrub, and tree, in addition to the temporal trends of each component. Several enhancements were made to the RCMAP process relative to prior generations. First, we have trained time-series predictions directly from 331 high-resolution sites collected from 2013 to 2018 and additional field data; for example, Bureau of Land Management Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring instead of using the 2016 “base” map as an intermediary. This removes one level of model error and allows the direct association of high-resolution derived training data to the corresponding year of Landsat imagery. Neural network models have replaced Cubist models as our classifier. Continuous Change Detection and Classification synthetic Landsat images were obtained for six monthly periods for each region and were added as predictors. These data enhance the phenologic detail of imagery, improving discrimination among components. Postprocessing has been improved with updated fire recovery equations stratified by ecosystem resistance and resilience classes. Additionally, postprocessing has been enhanced through a revised noise detection model, based on third order polynomial models for each component and each pixel. These data can be used to answer critical questions regarding the effect of climate change and the suitability of management practices. Component products can be downloaded from the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium website at

    National Civil Applications Center

    Released January 26, 2023 06:15 EST

    2023, Fact Sheet 2022-3085

    Paul M. Young


    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Civil Applications Center (NCAC) analyzes remote-sensing data from the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to support public safety missions and to study land-surface and environmental changes. The NCAC provides remotely sensed images to USGS scientists and other civilian Federal agencies; the images come from intelligence and military sensors, referred to as U.S. National Imagery Systems (USNIS), and unclassified commercial satellite data purchased by the DOD. Often these data are referred to as Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), which is defined in U.S. Code, title 10, section 467 as “the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on or about the earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.” The NCAC also provides the secretariat with staff and manages the U.S. interagency Civil Applications Committee (CAC), which oversees and facilitates the appropriate civilian uses of overhead remote-sensing technology and data collected by military and intelligence systems and commercial sources. Funded by the USGS National Land Imaging Program, the NCAC operates facilities in Reston, Virginia, and Lakewood, Colorado.

    Sampling and analysis plan for the Koocanusa Reservoir and upper Kootenai River, Montana, water-quality monitoring program, 2021

    Released January 25, 2023 13:29 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2022-1113

    Sara L. Caldwell Eldridge, Melissa A. Schaar, Chad B. Reese, Ashley M. Bussell, Thomas Chapin

    In 2021, the U.S. Geological Survey will collect water-quality samples and environmental data from 3 sites in Koocanusa Reservoir and from 1 site in the Kootenai River. The transboundary Koocanusa Reservoir is in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, and northwestern Montana, United States, and was formed with the construction of Libby Dam on the Kootenai River 26 kilometers upstream from Libby, Montana. Two of the reservoir sites and the Kootenai River site, in the Libby Dam tailwater (the outflow of the reservoir flow into the Kootenai River), are equipped with automated, high-frequency ServoSipper water samplers. At the two reservoir sites, these samplers are mounted to pontoon platforms and automatically collect samples from multiple depths; a ServoSipper sampler was deployed at one site in 2019, and another ServoSipper sampler will be deployed at a second site in 2021. Discrete water-quality samples will be collected monthly at two depths at the river site and at two of the reservoir sites. The goal of this project is to collect multidepth, high-frequency vertical and temporal water-quality samples and data to understand the limnological and biological processes that control variations and trends in selenium concentrations and loads throughout Koocanusa Reservoir and in the Libby Dam tailwater at the southern end of the reservoir. This sampling and analysis plan documents the organization, sampling and data-collection scheme and design, pre- and post-collection processes, and quality-assurance and quality-control procedures.

    The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

    Released January 25, 2023 11:27 EST

    2023, Professional Paper 1842-Z

    Jill A. Shaffer, Lawrence D. Igl, Douglas H. Johnson, Marriah L. Sondreal, Christopher M. Goldade, Melvin P. Nenneman, Betty R. Euliss

    Keys to Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) management include providing grasslands with a shrub or forb component or shrub-dominated edge habitat, which includes dense grass and moderately high litter cover, and avoiding disturbances that completely eliminate woody vegetation. Clay-colored Sparrows have been reported to use habitats with 20–186 centimeters (cm) average vegetation height, 3–50 cm visual obstruction reading, 15–74 percent grass cover, 5–23 percent forb cover, less than 30 percent shrub cover, 1–20 percent bare ground, 10–63 percent litter cover, and less than or equal to 5 cm litter depth.

    Context-dependent representation of within- and between-model uncertainty: Aggregating probabilistic predictions in infectious disease epidemiology

    Released January 25, 2023 06:51 EST

    2023, Journal of the Royal Society Interface (20)

    Emily Howerton, Michael C. Runge, Tiffany L. Bogich, Rebecca K. Borchering, Hidetoshi Inamine, Justin Lessler, Luke C Mullany, William J.M. Probert, Claire P. Smith, Shaun Truelove, Cècile Viboud, Katriona Shea

    Probabilistic predictions support public health planning and decision making, especially in infectious disease emergencies. Aggregating outputs from multiple models yields more robust predictions of outcomes and associated uncertainty. While the selection of an aggregation method can be guided by retrospective performance evaluations, this is not always possible. For example, if predictions are conditional on assumptions about how the future will unfold (e.g. possible interventions), these assumptions may never materialize, precluding any direct comparison between predictions and observations. Here, we summarize literature on aggregating probabilistic predictions, illustrate various methods for infectious disease predictions via simulation, and present a strategy for choosing an aggregation method when empirical validation cannot be used. We focus on the linear opinion pool (LOP) and Vincent average, common methods that make different assumptions about between-prediction uncertainty. We contend that assumptions of the aggregation method should align with a hypothesis about how uncertainty is expressed within and between predictions from different sources. The LOP assumes that between-prediction uncertainty is meaningful and should be retained, while the Vincent average assumes that between-prediction uncertainty is akin to sampling error and should not be preserved. We provide an R package for implementation. Given the rising importance of multi-model infectious disease hubs, our work provides useful guidance on aggregation and a deeper understanding of the benefits and risks of different approaches.

    Survey of fish communities in tributaries to the Mohawk River, New York, 2019

    Released January 24, 2023 09:40 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5121

    Scott D. George, Dylan R. Winterhalter, Barry P. Baldigo

    Fish communities of the Mohawk River and associated sections of the New York State Canal System have been well documented but little information is available regarding the status of fish communities in the extensive network of tributaries that feed the Mohawk River. This lack of information is problematic because changes in species distributions or general ecosystem health may go unnoticed in the absence of baseline data. The need for baseline information has been made particularly urgent by the recent establishment of a high-profile invasive fish species in the mainstem of the Mohawk River, the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). Round goby can adversely affect aquatic ecosystems in numerous ways and are able to colonize streams in addition to large rivers and lakes. This potential threat to the aquatic ecosystem, therefore, has created an urgent need to quantify the distribution and abundance of fish species inhabiting tributaries to the Mohawk River before round goby can begin colonizing these habitats. In response, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mohawk River Basin Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation initiated a study in 2019 to collect quantitative information on fish communities and stream habitats in tributaries to the Mohawk River that could be used in the future to determine the effects of round goby on local fish assemblages and identify substrate and other habitat characteristics that facilitate or inhibit colonization by round goby.

    Fish communities were surveyed at 20 sites on tributaries to the Mohawk River during summer 2019, using three-pass depletion backpack electrofishing surveys. The resulting data were used to produce quantitative estimates of fish population density and biomass for all species at each site. A total of 11,794 individual fish and 37 species were captured during the 20 surveys. Longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), white sucker (Catostomus commersonii), blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare), and creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) were the most frequently encountered species, occurring at 18, 18, 17, 17, and 16 of the 20 sites, respectively. Six darter species, small bottom-dwelling fish that are highly vulnerable to displacement by round goby, were captured during the surveys, and at least one darter species was captured at all but one of the sites. Round goby were only captured at one site, Ninemile Creek near Rome, New York, where they occurred at a low density. Overall, the results indicated that round goby had not extensively colonized tributaries to the Mohawk River as of 2019, and the suite of data collected in this project should serve as a valuable baseline for future assessments of the effects of round goby and other stressors on aquatic ecosystems.

    Estimating flood magnitude and frequency for unregulated streams in Wisconsin

    Released January 24, 2023 07:56 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5118

    Sara B. Levin, Chris A. Sanocki

    Flood frequency characteristics and estimated flood discharges for the 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, 0.5-, and 0.2-percent annual exceedance probabilities were computed at 299 streamgaged locations in Wisconsin. The State was divided into four flood frequency regions using a cluster analysis to produce regions which are homogeneous with respect to physical basin characteristics. Regression equations relating flood discharges to basin characteristics within each region were developed and can be used to estimate flood discharges at ungaged locations in Wisconsin. Basin characteristics included in the final regression equations include drainage area, saturated hydraulic conductivity, percent forest, percent herbaceous upland, percent open water, and the maximum 24-hour precipitation with a 10-year recurrence interval. The standard error of prediction for regression equations ranges between 40 and 71 percent, and the pseudo coefficient of determination ranges between 0.8 and 0.95. Nonmonotonic trends in the annual peak flow time series in the southwest part of the State are producing bias in some flood discharge estimates at streamgages with shorter (less than 20 years) periods of record. This bias increases the uncertainty in regression equations in this flood frequency region.

    Over half a century record of limnology data from Lake Powell, desert southwest United States: From reservoir filling to present day (1964–2021)

    Released January 24, 2023 06:54 EST

    2023, Limnology and Oceanography Letters

    Bridget Deemer, Caitlin M. Andrews, Kristin E. Strock, Nicholas Voichick, James Hensleigh, John Beaver, Robert Radtke

    Lake Powell is a large water storage reservoir in the arid southwestern United States. Here, we present a 58-yr limnology dataset that captures water quality parameters from reservoir filling to present day (temperature, salinity, major ions, total suspended solids), as well as a 38-yr record of Secchi depth, and a ~ 30-yr record of nutrients, phytoplankton, and zooplankton assemblages. The dataset includes 5208 unique site visits spanning 258 unique sites of which 9 have been consistently visited. It also spans the establishment of an invasive bivalve (Dreissena bugensis, i.e. Quagga mussel) which was first detected in 2012. Given the general lack of long-term data from lakes or reservoirs in arid regions, this dataset represents a unique contribution to regional, continental, and global-scale limnology studies. As the hot drought in the desert southwest continues, we expect this dataset will inform water management decision-making for this largest reservoir in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

    A novel non-destructive workflow for examining germanium and co-substituents in ZnS

    Released January 24, 2023 06:44 EST

    2023, Frontiers in Earth Science (11)

    Sarah M. Hayes, Ryan J. McAleer, Nadine M. Piatak, Sarah Jane White, Robert R. Seal II

    A suite of complementary techniques was used to examine germanium (Ge), a byproduct critical element, and co-substituent trace elements in ZnS and mine wastes from four mineral districts where germanium is, or has been, produced within the United States. This contribution establishes a comprehensive workflow for characterizing Ge and other trace elements, which captures the full heterogeneity of samples through extensive pre-characterization. This process proceeded from optical microscopy, to scanning electron microscopy and cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging, to electron microprobe analysis, prior to synchrotron-based investigations. Utilizing non-destructive techniques enabled reanalysis, which proved essential for verifying observations and validating unexpected results. In cases where the Fe content was <0.3 wt% in ZnS, cathodoluminescence imaging proved to be an efficient means to qualitatively identify trace element zonation that could then be further explored by other micro-focused techniques. Micro-focused X-ray diffraction was used to map the distribution of the non-cubic ZnS polymorph, whereas micro-focused X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) phase mapping distinguished between Ge4+ hosted in primary ZnS and a weathering product, hemimorphite [Zn4Si2O7(OH)2·H2O]. Microprobe data and μ-XRF maps identified spatial relationships among trace elements in ZnS and implied substitutional mechanisms, which were further explored using Ge and copper (Cu) X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES). Both oxidation states of Ge (4+ and 2+) were identified in ZnS along with, almost exclusively, monovalent Cu. However, the relative abundance of Ge oxidation states varied among mineral districts and, sometimes, within samples. Further, bulk XANES measurements typically agreed with micro-focused XANES (μ-XANES) spectra, but unique micro-environments were detected, highlighting the importance of complementary bulk and micro-focused measurements. Some Ge μ-XANES utilized a high energy resolution fluorescence detector, which improved spectral resolution and spectral signal-to-noise ratio. This detector opens new opportunities for exploring byproduct critical elements in complex matrices. Overall, the non-destructive workflow employed here can be extended to other byproduct critical elements to more fully understand fundamental ore enrichment processes, which have practical implications for critical element exploration, resource quantification, and extraction.

    Maps of elevation of top of Pierre Shale and surficial deposit thickness with hydraulic properties from borehole geophysics and aquifers tests within and near Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, 2020–21

    Released January 23, 2023 15:57 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Map 3502

    Colton J. Medler, William G. Eldridge, Todd M. Anderson, Stephanie N. Phillips

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center, collected borehole geophysical data and completed simple aquifer tests to estimate the thickness and hydraulic properties of surficial deposits. The purpose of data collection was to create generalized contour maps of Pierre Shale elevation and surficial deposit thickness within and near Ellsworth Air Force Base (study area). Natural gamma and electromagnetic induction data were collected to refine or determine surficial deposit thickness at selected wells. Additionally, data from previous geophysical studies and driller logs were compiled and combined with results from natural gamma and electromagnetic induction data to provide a more spatially complete image of the subsurface. Borehole nuclear magnetic resonance (bNMR) data were collected to estimate hydraulic conductivity and water content of surficial deposits overlying Pierre Shale. Simple aquifer tests using water slugs (slug tests) were completed to estimate hydraulic conductivity of surficial deposits, and results were compared to hydraulic conductivity estimates from bNMR data. All data used to construct maps and estimate hydraulic properties are provided in an accompanying U.S. Geological Survey data release (available at

    Generalized contour maps were constructed using results from 26 borehole geophysical logs, 35 geophysical transects from previous studies, and 304 wells with driller logs. Pierre Shale elevation generally followed land-surface topography, sloping from high elevations in the north to lower elevations in the south. Topographic highs of Pierre Shale, where present, could act as groundwater divides that potentially affect groundwater flow direction. Surficial deposit thickness varied spatially and ranged from 0 to 86 feet. Surficial deposits generally were thickest in higher elevation areas near ephemeral streams in the northern part of the study area. Hydraulic conductivity estimated from bNMR results using two analytical methods ranged from 0.1 to 2,314 feet per day, whereas hydraulic conductivity estimated from slug tests ranged from 0.001 to 193 feet per day. Hydraulic conductivity estimates from slug tests were plotted with surficial deposit thickness contours instead of bNMR estimates because bNMR estimates were determined to overestimate hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity values generally were greater in the southwestern part of study area than the northeastern part.

    The EDMAP Program: Training the next generation of geologic mappers

    Released January 23, 2023 10:25 EST

    2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3002

    Jenna L. Shelton, Christopher S. Swezey, Michael Marketti


    Detailed geologic maps are the basis of most earth science investigations and can be used for natural hazard mitigation, resource identification and exploration, infrastructure planning, and more. As a part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) congressionally mandated National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP), the EDMAP program (referred to as EDMAP) is a partnership between the USGS and participating colleges and universities that provides mentorship and training opportunities for earth science students nationwide. EDMAP supports graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students—under the guidance of a faculty member who serves as a “principal investigator”—for the training of students to become geologic mappers. Between 1996 and 2021, EDMAP funded geologic mapping educational experiences and training for 1,373 students at more than 170 universities.

    A global perspective on bacterial diversity in the terrestrial deep subsurface

    Released January 23, 2023 06:42 EST

    2023, Microbiology (169)

    A. Soares, A. L. Edwards, A. Bagnoud, J. Bradley, Elliott Barnhart, M. Bomberger Brown, K. Budwill, S. M. Caffrey, M. Fields, J. Gralnick., V. Kadnikov, L. Momper, M. Osburn, A. Mu, J.W. Moreau, D. Moser, L. Purkamo, S. M. Rassner, C. S. Sheik, B. Sherwood Lollar, B. M. Toner, G. Voordouw, K. Wouters, A. C. Mitchell

    While recent efforts to catalogue Earth’s microbial diversity have focused upon surface and marine habitats, 12–20 % of Earth’s biomass is suggested to exist in the terrestrial deep subsurface, compared to ~1.8 % in the deep subseafloor. Metagenomic studies of the terrestrial deep subsurface have yielded a trove of divergent and functionally important microbiomes from a range of localities. However, a wider perspective of microbial diversity and its relationship to environmental conditions within the terrestrial deep subsurface is still required. Our meta-analysis reveals that terrestrial deep subsurface microbiota are dominated by  and , probably as a function of the diverse metabolic strategies of these taxa. Evidence was also found for a common small consortium of prevalent  and  operational taxonomic units across the localities. This implies a core terrestrial deep subsurface community, irrespective of aquifer lithology, depth and other variables, that may play an important role in colonizing and sustaining microbial habitats in the deep terrestrial subsurface. An  contamination-aware approach to analysing this dataset underscores the importance of downstream methods for assuring that robust conclusions can be reached from deep subsurface-derived sequencing data. Understanding the global panorama of microbial diversity and ecological dynamics in the deep terrestrial subsurface provides a first step towards understanding the role of microbes in global subsurface element and nutrient cycling.

    Nitrogen-15 NMR study on the incorporation of nitrogen into aquatic NOM upon chloramination

    Released January 23, 2023 06:42 EST

    2023, Aquatic Sciences (85)

    Kevin A. Thorn

    Chloramination is being used increasingly in water treatment to lower the formation of regulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs). How monochloramine nitrogen becomes incorporated into aquatic natural organic matter (NOM) and potentially affects the formation of nitrogenous DBPs is an unresolved question in the chemistry of humic substances. To address the problem, Suwannee River NOM and Suwannee River fulvic acid were reacted with preformed 15NH2Cl and analyzed by solid and liquid state 15N NMR spectrometry. Both samples were also reacted with 15NH4Cl as a control. A majority of the monochloramine nitrogen incorporated into the samples matched the structural forms resulting from the control reaction with ammonia, indicating that condensation reactions of ammonia with the carbonyl functionality can partly explain the transformation of the 15NH2Cl nitrogen into the NOM. These structural forms include aminohydroquinone, 1° amide, indole, and pyridine-like nitrogens. Spectra of the samples reacted with 15NH2Cl also showed possible evidence for nitrosophenol nitrogens, which would arise from the reaction of hydroxylamine or nitrite, intermediates in the chemical oxidation of the inorganic nitrogen to nitrate.

    The effects of substrate and sediment burial on survival of developing pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus) embryos

    Released January 23, 2023 06:39 EST

    2023, Environmental Biology of Fishes

    Kimberly Chojnacki, Amy E. George, Aaron J. Delonay

    The shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) and endangered pallid sturgeon (S. albus) deposit demersal and adhesive eggs in swift currents, near or over coarse substrate. Hydrographic surveys have demonstrated the dynamic nature of spawning habitats and that coarse substrates may episodically be buried (partially or completely) by fine sediments. To evaluate embryo survival of both species in various substrate conditions, laboratory trials were conducted with substrates of clean glass, gravel, medium-coarse sand (MCS), and fine sand-silt (FSS). Embryos in MCS and FSS were tested three ways: unburied, partially buried, and fully buried (1–2-mm depth). Embryos were exposed to trial conditions for 10 days from the day of fertilization (5 days beyond expected hatching). For both species, mean hatch of normally developed free embryos was highest in unburied treatments where embryos were incubated on substrates and not covered with sediments and ranged from 81.0 to 87.1% for shovelnose sturgeon and 55.2–80.0% for pallid sturgeon. Mean hatch of normal free embryos was lowest where incubating embryos were fully buried by MCS or FSS and ranged from 2.4 to 11.6% for shovelnose sturgeon and 4.8–15.2% for pallid sturgeon. We observed free embryos with physical abnormalities in all treatments; however, the occurrence was most variable in treatments fully and partially buried by MCS. Hatch of both species was also delayed in treatments where embryos were incubated fully and partially buried by MCS. Our results may be useful to estimate the relative suitability of spawning substrates in relevant river reaches.

    Damage amplification during repetitive seismic waves in mechanically loaded rocks

    Released January 23, 2023 06:37 EST

    2023, Scientific Reports (13)

    Anthony Lamur, Jackie E. Kendrick, Lauren N. Schaefer, Yan Lavallée, Ben M. Kennedy

    Cycles of stress build-up and release are inherent to tectonically active planets. Such stress oscillations impart strain and damage, prompting mechanically loaded rocks and materials to fail. Here, we investigate, under uniaxial conditions, damage accumulation and weakening caused by time-dependent creep (at 60, 65, and 70% of the rocks’ expected failure stress) and repeating stress oscillations (of ± 2.5, 5.0 or 7.5% of the creep load), simulating earthquakes at a shaking frequency of ~ 1.3 Hz in volcanic rocks. The results show that stress oscillations impart more damage than constant loads, occasionally prompting sample failure. The magnitudes of the creep stresses and stress oscillations correlate with the mechanical responses of our porphyritic andesites, implicating progressive microcracking as the cause of permanent inelastic strain. Microstructural investigation reveals longer fractures and higher fracture density in the post-experimental rock. We deconvolve the inelastic strain signal caused by creep deformation to quantify the amount of damage imparted by each individual oscillation event, showing that the magnitude of strain is generally largest with the first few oscillations; in instances where pre-existing damage and/or the oscillations’ amplitude favour the coalescence of micro-cracks towards system scale failure, the strain signal recorded shows a sharp increase as the number of oscillations increases, regardless of the creep condition. We conclude that repetitive stress oscillations during earthquakes can amplify the amount of damage in otherwise mechanically loaded materials, thus accentuating their weakening, a process that may affect natural or engineered structures. We specifically discuss volcanic scenarios without wholesale failure, where stress oscillations may generate damage, which could, for example, alter pore fluid pathways, modify stress distribution and affect future vulnerability to rupture and associated hazards.

    Water Science School [Bookmark]

    Released January 23, 2023 05:30 EST

    2023, General Information Product 219

    Tara A. Gross


    The U.S. Geological Survey’s online Water Science School is a one-stop shop for water education resources. In addition to sharing images, data, and diagrams, the Water Science School provides lesson plans for teachers as well as multiple interactive activities for students, such as questionnaires, calculators, and quizzes. This bookmark introduces Drippy, the Water Science School mascot, and shares fun facts about water that can also be found on our website at

    Bioenergetics model for the nonnative Redside Shiner

    Released January 22, 2023 06:33 EST

    2023, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

    Rachelle Carina Johnson, David Beauchamp, Julian D. Olden


    Redside Shiner Richardsonius balteatus has expanded from its native range in the Pacific Northwest region of North America to establish populations in six other western states. This expansion has fueled concerns regarding competition between Redside Shiner and native species, including salmonids. We developed a bioenergetic model for Redside Shiner, providing a powerful tool to quantify its trophic role in invaded ecosystems and evaluate potential impacts on native species.


    Mass- and temperature-dependent functions for consumption and respiration were fit based on controlled laboratory experiments of maximum consumption rates and routine metabolic rates using intermittent-flow respirometry, across a range of fish sizes (0.6–27.3 g) and temperatures (5–31°C). Laboratory growth experiments were conducted to corroborate model performance across different temperatures and feeding rates.


    Initial bioenergetic simulations of long-term growth experiments indicated large model error for predicted consumption and growth, and deviations from observed responses varied systematically as a function of daily consumption rate (J·g−1·d−1) and water temperature. A growth rate error correction function was developed and included in the bioenergetics model framework on a daily time step, resulting in decreased absolute model error in all experimental groups. Predicted values from the corrected model were highly correlated with observed values (�2; consumption = 0.97, final weight = 0.99) and unbiased. These results show that the optimal temperature for Redside Shiner growth (18°C) exceeds that of Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. by 2–6°C under a scenario of high food availability and moderate food quality.


    Consequently, increases in water temperature associated with climate change may favor growth and expansion of Redside Shiner populations, while negatively affecting some salmonids. The bioenergetics model presented here provides the necessary first step in quantifying trophic impacts in sensitive ecosystems where Redside Shiner have invaded or in ecosystems where anadromous salmonid reintroductions are being considered.

    Using Global Fiducials Library high-resolution imagery, commercial satellite imagery, Landsat and Sentinel satellite imagery, and aerial photography to monitor change at East Timbalier Island, Louisiana, 1953–2021

    Released January 20, 2023 10:30 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5107

    Gary B. Fisher, E. Terrence Slonecker, Shawn J. Dilles, Bruce F. Molnia, Kim M. Angeli

    This report documents morphological changes between 1953 and 2021 at East Timbalier Island, Louisiana, a Gulf of Mexico barrier island. East Timbalier Island, which was located west of the Mississippi River Delta at the front of Timbalier Bay, was one of the most rapidly changing barrier islands on Earth. Since aerial photographs were initially taken in 1953, the Island steadily lost length and area, finally eroding away by early summer 2021. After major storm events, sediment eroded from the Island and migrated hundreds of meters north. In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew breached the Island in several places, resulting in increased erosion and land loss. Until it completely eroded away, the Island underwent a cycle of washovers, vegetation removal, breaching, and erosion with sediment transport to the north. Satellite imagery shows that three such cycles occurred between 1992 and 2017, despite the partial restoration of the Island between 1998 and 2000. Each cycle increased the distance between the Island and the mainland to the east, reducing both the sediment supply from the east and the protection that Timbalier Bay and the adjacent coastal lands received from the barrier island. Previously, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Civil Applications Center used 1-meter resolution imagery archived at the USGS Global Fiducials Library (GFL), collected between 2000 and 2010 by U.S. National Imaging Systems, to monitor the changes at the Island. New research expands this study retrospectively and prospectively using aerial photography collected from 1953 to 2012 and in 2020; declassified imagery collected in 1962, 1972, and 1975; DigitalGlobe satellite imagery collected since 2004; Landsat satellite imagery collected since 1972; Sentinel–2 satellite imagery collected since 2015; and GFL imagery collected from 1991 to 2020.

    Persistence and quality of vegetation cover in expired Conservation Reserve Program fields

    Released January 20, 2023 07:14 EST

    2023, Ecosphere (14)

    Mark W. Vandever, Kenneth Elgersma, Sarah K. Carter, Ai Wen, Justin L. Welty, Robert Arkle, Timothy J. Assal, David Pilliod, David M. Mushet, Rich Iovanna

    For nearly 40 years, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has implemented practices to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators on highly erodible cropland in the United States. However, an approximately 40,470 ha (10 million acres) decline in enrolled CRP land over the last decade has greatly reduced the program's environmental benefits. We sought to assess the program's enduring benefits in the central and western United States by (1) determining the proportion of fields that persist in CRP cover after contracts expired, (2) identifying the type of agricultural production that CRP fields shift to after contract expiration, (3) comparing the vegetation characteristics of expired CRP fields that are persisting in CRP-type cover with enrolled CRP fields, and (4) identifying differences in management activities (e.g., haying, grazing) between expired and enrolled CRP fields. We conducted edge-of-field vegetation cover surveys in 1092 CRP fields with contracts that expired ≥3 years prior and 1786 currently enrolled CRP fields in 14 states. We found that 41% of expired CRP fields retained at least half of their area in CRP-type cover, with significant variation in persistence among regions ranging from 19% to 84%. When expired fields retained CRP vegetation, bare ground was low in all regions and grass cover was somewhat greater than in fields with current CRP contracts, but at the expense of forb cover in some regions. Evidence of more frequent management in expired CRP fields may explain differences between active and expired CRP fields. Overall, there is clear evidence that CRP-type cover frequently persists and provides benefits for more than three years after contract expiration. Retaining CRP-type cover, post-contract, is an under-recognized program benefit that persists across the central and western United States long after the initial retirement from cropland.

    Local weather and endogenous factors affect the initiation of migration in short- and medium-distance songbird migrants

    Released January 20, 2023 06:51 EST

    2023, Journal of Avian Biology

    Theodore J. Zenzal Jr., Darren Johnson, Frank R. Moore, Zoltán Németh

    Migratory birds employ a variety of mechanisms to ensure appropriate timing of migration based on integration of endogenous and exogenous information. The cues to fatten and depart from the non-breeding area are often linked to exogenous cues such as temperature or precipitation and the endogenous program. Shorter distance migrants should rely heavily on environmental information when initiating migration given relatively close proximity to the breeding area. However, the ability to fatten and subsequently depart may be linked to individual circumstances, including current fuel load and body size. For early and late departing migrants, we investigate effects of temperature, precipitation, lean body mass, fuel load and day of year on the initiation of migration (i.e. fuel load and departure timing) from the non-breeding region by analyzing 21 years of banding data for four species of short- and medium-distance migrants. Temperatures at the non-breeding area were related to temperatures at potential stopover areas. Despite local cues being predictive of conditions further north, the amount variation explained by local weather conditions in our models differed by species and temporal period but was low overall (< 33% variation explained). For each species, we also compared lean body mass and fuel load between early and late departing migrants, which showed mixed results. Our combined results suggest that most individuals migrating short or medium distances in our study did not time the initiation of migration with local predictive cues alone, but rather other factors such as lean body mass, fuel load, day of year, which may be a proxy for the endogenous program, and those beyond the scope of our study also influenced the initiation of migration. Our study contributes to understanding which factors influence departure decisions of short- and medium-distance migrants as they transition from the non-breeding to the migratory phase of the annual cycle.

    Trends in tree cover change over three decades related to interannual climate variability and wildfire in California

    Released January 19, 2023 07:22 EST

    2023, Environmental Research Letters (18)

    Francis K Dwomoh, Roger F. Auch, Jesslyn F. Brown, Heather J. Tollerud

    The U.S. State of California has experienced frequent drought events, hotter temperatures and other disruptions to the climate system whose effects on ecosystems have been widely reported in recent decades. Studies primarily confined to specific vegetation communities or species, individual drought incidents, or analysis over a relatively short intervals, has limited our understanding of the broad-scale effects on tree cover and the spatiotemporal variability of effects across broader regions. We focused analysis on multi-annual land cover and land surface change to assess patterns and trends in tree cover loss in tree-dominated Californian ecoregions from 1986 to 2019. The top three years of total tree cover loss for the state were 2018 (1901 km2), 2015 (1556 km2), and 2008 (1549 km2). Overall, annual tree cover loss had upward trends. Tree cover loss rapidly surged later in the study period and was apparently driven by climate stress and wildfires. Underlying geographic variability was apparent in both non-fire and fire-related tree cover loss that sharply increased during hotter multi-year droughts. The increasingly hotter and drier climate conditions were associated with significant increases in fire-induced mortality. Our findings indicate that a possible effect of future hotter and drier climate would lead to further tree cover loss, thereby endangering California's ecosystem goods and services. Geographic variability in tree cover trends indicates that ecoregion-specific mitigation and adaptation strategies would be useful to conserve the region's forest resources. Such strategies may benefit from consideration of historical disturbances, ecoregion's sensitivity to disturbance types, as well as potential ecoregion-specific climate-vegetation-fire feedbacks.

    A model of transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity from electrical resistivity distribution derived from airborne electromagnetic surveys of the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, Midwest USA

    Released January 19, 2023 06:50 EST

    2023, Hydrogeology Journal

    Scott Ikard, Burke J. Minsley, James Robert Rigby, Wade Kress

    Groundwater-flow models require the spatial distribution of the hydraulic conductivity parameter. One approach to defining this spatial distribution in groundwater-flow model grids is to map the electrical resistivity distribution by airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey and establish a petrophysical relation between mean resistivity calculated as a nonlinear function of the resistivity layering and thicknesses of the layers and aquifer transmissivity compiled from historical aquifer tests completed within the AEM survey area. The petrophysical relation is used to transform AEM resistivity to transmissivity and to hydraulic conductivity over areas where the saturated thickness of the aquifer is known. The US Geological Survey applied this approach to a gain better understanding of the aquifer properties of the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer. Alluvial-aquifer transmissivity data, compiled from 160 historical aquifer tests in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP), were correlated to mean resistivity calculated from 16,816 line-kilometers (km) of inverted resistivity soundings produced from a frequency-domain AEM survey of 95,000 km2 of the MAP. Correlated data were used to define petrophysical relations between transmissivity and mean resistivity by omitting from the correlations the aquifer-test and AEM sounding data that were separated by distances greater than 1 km and manually calibrating the relation coefficients to slug-test data. The petrophysical relation yielding the minimum residual error between simulated and slug-test data was applied to 2,364 line-km of AEM soundings in the 1,000-km2 Shellmound (Mississippi) study area to calculate hydraulic property distributions of the alluvial aquifer for use in future groundwater-flow models.

    Identifying building locations in the wildland–urban interface before and after fires with convolutional neural networks

    Released January 19, 2023 06:28 EST

    2023, International Journal of Wildland Fire

    Neda K. Kasraee, Todd Hawbaker, Volker C. Radeloff

    Background: Wildland–urban interface (WUI) maps identify areas with wildfire risk, but they are often outdated owing to the lack of building data. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) can extract building locations from remote sensing data, but their accuracy in WUI areas is unknown. Additionally, CNNs are computationally intensive and technically complex, making them challenging for end-users, such as those who use or create WUI maps, to apply.

    Aims: We identified buildings pre- and post-wildfire and estimated building destruction for three California wildfires: Camp, Tubbs and Woolsey.

    Methods: We evaluated a CNN-based building dataset and a CNN model from a separate commercial vendor to detect buildings from high-resolution imagery. This dataset and model represent to end-users the state of the art of what is readily available for potential WUI mapping.

    Key results: We found moderate accuracies for the building dataset and the CNN model and a severe underestimation of buildings and their destruction rates where trees occluded buildings. The CNN model performed best post-fire with accuracies ≥73%.

    Conclusions: Existing CNNs may be used with moderate accuracy for identifying individual buildings post-fire and mapping the extent of the WUI. The implications are, however, that CNNs are too inaccurate for post-fire damage assessments or building counts in the WUI.

    Addressing a potential weakness in indices of predation, herbivory, and parasitism

    Released January 18, 2023 11:14 EST

    2023, Population Ecology

    Jean V. Adams

    Quantification of predation, herbivory, and parasitism is critical to understanding the dynamics and trophic interactions of populations in an ecosystem. Such quantification can be challenging if the availability or consumption of the taxa are difficult to assess. Sometimes the consumption of a single prey, forage, or host is used as an overall index of the predation, herbivory, or parasitism for a population of interest. Occasionally, human-manipulated baits are used to derive similar indices. However, all such indices are susceptible to influence by variation in the abundance of the preferred taxon relative to other taxa as the result of preference switching. In this article, I describe a test for preference switching (and an adjustment, if detected) that does not require availability and consumption of the prey (forage, or host) to be measured on the same scale. The ability to detect and adjust for preference switching in such situations may advance the understanding of biological preference in taxa not previously studied in this respect.

    Drivers of survival of translocated tortoises

    Released January 18, 2023 08:43 EST

    2023, Journal of Wildlife Management (87)

    Jeremy S Mack, Kristin H. Berry

    Translocation of animals, especially for threatened and endangered species, is a currently popular but very challenging activity. We translocated 158 adult Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), a threatened species, from the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, in the central Mojave Desert in California, USA, to 4 plots as part of a long-distance, hard-release, mitigation-driven translocation to prevent deaths from planned military maneuvers. We monitored demographic and behavioral variables of tortoises fitted with radio-transmitters from 2008 to 2018. By the end of the project, 17.72% of tortoises were alive, 65.82% were dead, 15.19% were missing, and 1.27% were removed from the study because they returned to Fort Irwin. Mortality was high during the first 3 years: >50% of the released animals died, primarily from predation. Thereafter, mortality declined but remained high. After 10.5 years, survival was highest, 37.50% (15/40), on the plot closest to original home sites, whereas from 2.56% to 23.68% remained alive on the other 3 release plots. Surviving tortoises settled early, repeatedly using locations where they constructed burrows, compared with tortoises that died or disappeared. Models of behavioral and other variables indicated that numbers of repeatedly used locations (burrows) were a driver of survival throughout the study, although plot location, size and sex of tortoises, and distance traveled were contributors, especially during early years. Because >50% mortality occurred, we considered this translocation unsuccessful. The study area appeared to be an ecological sink with historical and current anthropogenic uses contributing to habitat degradation and a decline in both the resident and released tortoises. Our findings will benefit design and selection of future translocation areas.

    Incorporating temperature into seepage loss estimates for a large unlined irrigation canal

    Released January 18, 2023 06:52 EST

    2023, Journal of Hydrology (617)

    Ramon C. Naranjo, David Smith, Evan J. Lindenbach

    Quantifying seepage losses from unlined irrigation canals is necessary to improve water use and conservation. The use of heat as a tracer is widely used in quantifying seepage rates across the sediment–water interface. In this study, field observations and two-dimensional numerical models were used to simulate seepage losses during the 2018 and 2019 irrigation season in the Truckee Canal system. Nineteen transects were instrumented with temperature probes and stage recording devices for inverse modeling to derive seepage flux and volumetric losses over the 39 km length of canal. The numerical models for each transect were calibrated and validated using the two-year dataset. Soil zones and observation data were used in each numerical model to help guide calibration of vertical and lateral heat and fluid fluxes. Model simulations were used to derive multivariable regression equations that consider stage, temperature, and hydraulic gradient. The results demonstrate the value of long-term datasets that illustrate the seasonality of groundwater levels, siltation, stage, and temperature on seepage rates. Seepage rates estimated by the numerical models range from 0.16 to 4.6 m3/d m−1. Total annual volumetric losses estimated for 2018 and 2019 were 1.6 × 10-2 to 1.2 × 10-2 km3, respectively. The seepage losses estimated by this study account for 32 % to 41 % of the inflow volumes. Regression models were able to reproduce seepage time-series simulated by the numerical models reasonably well. In arid environments, water diverted into irrigation canals may be influenced by seasonal variations in temperature sufficient to influence the water accounting of conveyed surface flows.

    Comparison of traditional and geometric morphometrics using Lake Huron ciscoes of the Coregonus artedi complex

    Released January 18, 2023 06:50 EST

    2023, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

    Benjamin E Martin, Brian O'Malley, Randy E Eshenroder, Yu-Chun Kao, Chris Olds, Timothy P. O'Brien, Chris L. Davis

    Here we determine how traditional morphometrics (TM) compares with geometric morphometrics (GM) in discriminating among morphologies of four forms of ciscoes of the Coregonus artedi complex collected from Lake Huron. One of the forms comprised two groups of the same deepwater cisco separated by capture depth, whereas the other three forms were shallow-water ciscoes. Our three groups of shallow-water ciscoes were better separated (3% versus 19% overlap) in Principle Component Analysis (PCA) with TM data than with GM data incorporating semilandmarks (evenly spaced nonhomologous landmarks used to bridge between widely separated homologous landmarks). Our two deepwater cisco groups, comprising a putatively single form collected from different depths, separated more in PCAs with GM data (33% overlap) than in PCAs with TM data (66% overlap), an anomaly caused by greater decompression of the swimbladder and deformation of the body wall in the group captured at greater depths. Separation of the two deepwater cisco groups captured at different depths was not affected by the removal of semilandmarks. Assignment of forms using canonical variate analysis (CVA) accurately assigned 86% of individuals using TM data, 98% of individuals using GM data incorporating semilandmarks, and 100% of individuals using GM data without semilandmarks. However, we considered assignments from the same form of deepwater cisco into separate groups as misassignments resulting from different capture depths, which reduced the accuracy of assignments with GM data to 66% with semilandmarks. Our study implies that TM will continue to have an important role in morphological discrimination within Coregonus and other fishes similarly shaped.

    Structured decision making to prioritize regional bird monitoring needs

    Released January 18, 2023 06:39 EST

    2023, INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics

    Auriel M. V. Fournier, R. Randy Wilson, Jeffrey S. Gleason, Evan M. Adams, Janell M. Brush, Robert J. Cooper, Stephen J. DeMaso, Melanie J. L. Driscoll, Peter C. Frederick, Patrick Jodice, Mary Ann Ottinger, David B. Reeves, Michael A. Seymour, Stephanie M. Sharuga, John M. Tirpak, William G. Vermillion, Theodore J. Zenzal Jr., James E. Lyons, Mark S. Woodrey

    Conservation planning for large ecosystems has multiple benefits but is often challenging to implement because of the multiple jurisdictions, species, and habitats involved. In addition, decision making at large spatial scales can be hampered because many approaches do not explicitly incorporate potentially competing values and concerns of stakeholders. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, establishing baselines was challenging because of (1) variation in study designs, (2) inconsistent use of explicit objectives and hypotheses, (3) inconsistent use of standardized monitoring protocols, and (4) variation in spatial and temporal scope associated with avian monitoring projects before the spill. Herein, we show how the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network members used structured decision making to identify bird monitoring priorities. We used multiple tools and techniques to clearly define the problem and stakeholder objectives and to identify bird monitoring priorities at the scale of the entire northern Gulf of Mexico region. Although our example is specific to the northern Gulf of Mexico, this approach provides an example of how stakeholder values can be incorporated into the coordination process of broad-scale monitoring programs to address management, restoration, and scientific questions in other ecosystems and for other taxa.

    Beyond presence mapping: Predicting fractional cover of non-native vegetation in Sentinel-2 imagery using an ensemble of MaxEnt models

    Released January 17, 2023 09:12 EST

    2023, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

    Todd M. Preston, Aaron Johnston, Kyle Gregory Ebenhoch, Robert H. Diehl

    Non-native species maps are important tools for understanding and managing biological invasions. We demonstrate a novel approach to extend presence modeling to map fractional cover (FC) of non-native yellow sweet clover Melilotus officinalis in the Northern Great Plains, USA. We used ensembles of MaxEnt models to map FC across landscapes from satellite imagery trained from regional aerial imagery that was trained by local unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. Clover cover from field surveys and classified UAV imagery were nearly identical (n = 22, R2 = 0.99). Two classified UAV images provided training data to map clover presence with MaxEnt and National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial imagery. We binned cover predictions from NAIP imagery within each Sentinel-2 pixel into eight cover classes to create pure (100%) and FC (20%–95%) training data and modeled each class separately using MaxEnt and Sentinel-2 imagery. We mapped pure clover with one classification threshold and compared its performance to 15 candidate maps that included FC predictions outside pure predictions. Each FC map represented alternative combinations of five MaxEnt thresholds and three approaches to assign cover to pixels with multiple predictions from the FC ensemble. Evaluations of performance with independent datasets revealed maps including FC corresponded to field (n = 32, R2 range: 0.39–0.68) and UAV (n = 20, R2 range: 0.61–0.84) data better than pure clover maps (R2 = 0.15 and 0.31, respectively). Overall, the pure clover map predicted 3.2% cover, whereas the three best performing FC maps predicted 6.6%–8.0% cover. Including FC predictions increased accuracy and cover predictions which can improve ecological understanding of invasions. Our method allows efficient FC mapping for vegetative species discernible in UAV imagery and may be especially useful for mapping rare, irruptive or patchily distributed species with poor representation in field data, which challenges landscape-level mapping.

    Moving Aircraft River Velocimetry (MARV): Framework and proof-of-concept on the Tanana River

    Released January 17, 2023 07:11 EST

    2023, Water Resources Research (59)

    Carl J. Legleiter, Paul J. Kinzel, Mark Laker, Jeff Conaway

    Information on velocity fields in rivers is critical for designing infrastructure, modeling contaminant transport, and assessing habitat. Although non-contact approaches to measuring flow velocity are well established, these methods assume a stationary imaging platform. This study eliminates this constraint by introducing a framework for moving aircraft river velocimetry (MARV). The workflow takes as input images acquired from an airplane and involves orthorectification, frame overlap analysis, image enhancement, particle image velocimetry (PIV), and aggregation of the resulting velocity vectors onto a prediction grid. We also use new metrics to quantify the agreement between image-derived and field-measured velocity vectors in terms of both orientation and magnitude. The potential of MARV was evaluated using data from two Alaskan rivers: a large, highly turbid channel and its smaller, clearer tributary. Sediment boil vortices on the mainstem provided natural features trackable via PIV and estimated velocities corresponded closely with field measurements (R2 up to 0.911). We compared an exhaustive approach that evaluates overlap for all frame combinations to a simpler rolling window implementation and found that the more efficient algorithm did not compromise accuracy. Sensitivity analysis suggested that the method was robust to window parameterization. Comparing PIV output from different flying heights and imaging systems indicated that larger pixels led to higher accuracy and that a more advanced dual-camera system provided superior performance. Results from the tributary were less encouraging, presumably due to a lack of trackable features in visible images. Testing across a range of rivers is needed to assess the generality of MARV.

    Green turtle movements in the Gulf of Mexico: Tracking reveals new migration corridor and habitat use suggestive of MPA expansion

    Released January 17, 2023 06:36 EST

    2023, Global Ecology and Conservation (42)

    Margaret Lamont, Allison Benscoter, Kristen Hart

    Globally, Marine Protected Areas are an important tool in the conservation of large marine vertebrates. Recent studies have highlighted the use of protected areas by imperiled green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the southern Gulf of Mexico. To identify and characterize inter-nesting, migratory, and foraging areas for green turtles that nest in the northern Gulf of Mexico, we deployed 14 satellite tags on 13 individual green turtles after nesting in Northwest Florida. We used switching state-space modeling to highlight turtle use in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in habitat outside of protected areas such as near Cape Sable, Florida and off the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Turtles were tracked for 21–217 days and migrated for a mean of 22 days. Five individuals used stopover sites during migration; these sites were in areas of dense seagrass habitat, often within boundaries of existing Aquatic Preserves. Turtles established mean foraging home ranges of 118.0 km2 (50% kernel density estimate) with foraging centroids that were 0.33–7.3 km apart. The area off Cape Sable, Florida, which lies outside of currently protected area boundaries, appears to be a hotspot for green turtles that nest throughout the Gulf of Mexico. While protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico are used by this subset of nesting green turtles, several key sites remain unprotected. These findings are relevant when considering expansion of currently protected areas and in defining critical habitat for this species.

    Juxtaposition of intensive agriculture, vulnerable aquifers, and mixed chemical/microbial exposures in private-well tapwater in northeast Iowa

    Released January 17, 2023 06:35 EST

    2023, Environmental Science and Technology: Water (868)

    Paul Bradley, Dana W. Kolpin, Darrin A. Thompson, Kristin Romanok, Kelly Smalling, Sara Breitmeyer, Mary C. Cardon, David M. Cwiertny, Nicola Evans, R. William Field, Michael J. Focazio, Laura E. Beane Freeman, Carrie E Givens, James L. Gray, Gordon L. Hager, Michelle Hladik, Jonathan N. Hoffman, Rena R. Jones, Leslie K. Kanagy, Rachael F. Lane, R. Blaine McCleskey, Danielle Medgyesi, Elizabeth Medlock-Kakaley, Shannon M. Meppelink, Michael T. Meyer, Diana A. Stavreva, Mary H. Ward

    In the United States and globally, contaminant exposure in unregulated private-well point-of-use tapwater (TW) is a recognized public-health data gap and an obstacle to both risk-management and homeowner decision making. To help address the lack of data on broad contaminant exposures in private-well TW from hydrologically-vulnerable (alluvial, karst) aquifers in agriculturally-intensive landscapes, samples were collected in 2018–2019 from 47 northeast Iowa farms and analyzed for 35 inorganics, 437 unique organics, 5 in vitro bioassays, and 11 microbial assays. Twenty-six inorganics and 51 organics, dominated by pesticides and related transformation products (35 herbicide-, 5 insecticide-, and 2 fungicide-related), were observed in TW. Heterotrophic bacteria detections were near ubiquitous (94 % of the samples), with detection of total coliform bacteria in 28 % of the samples and growth on at least one putative-pathogen selective media across all TW samples. Health-based hazard index screening levels were exceeded frequently in private-well TW and attributed primarily to inorganics (nitrate, uranium). Results support incorporation of residential treatment systems to protect against contaminant exposure and the need for increased monitoring of rural private-well homes. Continued assessment of unmonitored and unregulated private-supply TW is needed to model contaminant exposures and human-health risks.

    Geologic map of the Silver Zone Pass quadrangle, Elko County, Nevada

    Released January 16, 2023 13:56 EST

    2022, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 192

    David M. Miller, Linda L. Berg

    This 1:24,000-scale geologic map of the Silver Zone Pass quadrangle lies in the southern Toano Range in Elko County, Nevada. Metamorphic and sedimentary strata of the quadrangle range from Neoproterozoic to Permian in age. Important intrusions include the Late Jurassic (ca. 159 Ma) Silver Zone Pass pluton and Cretaceous Toano Spring pluton. In particular, the Silver Zone Pass pluton involves undeformed dikes that crosscut metamorphic foliations and the pluton is associated with pluton-margin anticlines. Interpretation of these characteristics suggests that the pluton was syn-kinematic with respect to metamorphism and strain, thus requiring a phase of Late Jurassic deformation. A Miocene rhyolite lava is of particular interest as one of the few topaz-bearing volcanic rocks in Nevada. A major detachment fault places non-metamorphosed Paleozoic rocks over low-grade Paleozoic and Proterozoic rocks. High-angle normal faults tilted the range in several blocks, and Miocene Humboldt Formation were deposited on, and faulted against, bedrock. Rocks of the Toano Range are bounded by broad valleys on the east and west, with the eastern basin being at much lower elevation than the western basin. Pleistocene lakes, which created distinctive beach deposits, occupied both basins, with Lake Bonneville on the east and Lake Waring on the west. Silver Zone Pass owes its low relief to the enhanced weathering and erosion of the rock within the pass, a granodiorite pluton. The weathering has created some unusual landforms such as tors.

    Hydrogen isotope behavior during rhyolite glass hydration under hydrothermal conditions

    Released January 16, 2023 13:51 EST

    2022, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (337) 33-48

    Michael R. Hudak, Ilya N. Bindeman, James M. Watkins, Jacob B. Lowenstern

    The diffusion of molecular water (H2Om) from the environment into volcanic glass can hydrate the glass up to several wt% at low temperature over long timescales. During this process, the water imprints its hydrogen isotope composition (δDH2O) to the glass (δDgl) offset by a glass-H2O fractionation factor (ΔDgl-H2O = δDgl – δDH2O) which is approximately −33‰ at Earth surface temperatures. Glasses hydrate much more rapidly at higher, sub-magmatic temperatures as they interact with H2O during eruption, transport, and emplacement. To aid in the interpretation of δDgl in natural samples, we present hydrogen isotope results from vapor hydration experiments conducted at 175–375 °C for durations of hours to months using natural volcanic glasses. The results can be divided into two thermal regimes: above 250 °C and below 250 °C. Lower temperature experiments yield raw ΔDgl-H2O values in the range of −33 ± 11‰. Experiments at 225 °C using both positive and negative initial ΔDgl-H2O values converge on this range of values, suggesting this range represents the approximate equilibrium fractionation for H isotopes between glass and H2O vapor (103lnαgl-H2O) below 250 °C. Variation in ΔDgl-H2O (−33 ± 11‰) between different experiments and glasses may arise from incomplete hydration, analytical uncertainty, differences in glass chemistry, and/or subordinate kinetic isotope effects. Experiments above 250 °C yield unexpectedly low δDgl values with ΔDgl-H2O values of ≤–85‰. While alteration alone is incapable of explaining the data, these run products have more extensive surface alteration and are not interpreted to reflect equilibrium fractionation between glass and H2O vapor. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) shows that glass can hydrate with as much as 5.9 wt% H2Om and 1.0 wt% hydroxl (OH) in the highest P-T experiment at 375 °C and 21.1 MPa. Therefore, we employ a 1D isotope diffusion–reaction model of glass hydration to evaluate the roles of equilibrium fractionation, isotope diffusion, water speciation reactions internal to the glass, and changing boundary conditions (e.g. alteration and dissolution). At lower temperatures, the best fitting model results to experimental data for low silica rhyolite (LSR) glasses require only an equilibrium fractionation factor and yield 103lnαgl-H2O values of −33‰ ± 5‰ and −25‰ ± 5‰ at 175 °C and 225 °C, respectively. At higher temperatures, ΔDgl-H2O is dominated by boundary layer effects during glass hydration and glass surface alteration. The modeled bulk δDgl value is highly responsive to changes in the δDgl boundary condition regardless of the magnitude of other kinetic effects. Observed glass dissolution and surficial secondary mineral formation are likely to impose a disequilibrium boundary layer that drives extreme δDgl fractionation with progressive glass hydration. These results indicate that the observed ΔDgl-H2O of ∼−33 ± 11‰ can be cautiously applied as an equilibrium 103lnαgl-H2O value to natural silicic glasses hydrated below 250 °C to identify hydration sources. This approximate ΔDgl-H2O may be applicable to even higher temperature glasses hydrated on short timescales (of seconds to minutes) in phreatomagmatic or submarine eruptions before H2O in the glass is primarily affected by boundary layer effects associated with alteration on the glass surface.

    Physicochemical coastal groundwater dynamics between Kauhakō Crater lake and Kalaupapa settlement, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

    Released January 16, 2023 13:44 EST

    2023, Marine Pollution Bulletin (187)

    Ferdinand Oberle, Olivia Cheriton, Peter W Swarzenski, Eric K. Brown, Curt D. Storlazzi

    Land-based sources of groundwater pollution can be a critical threat to coral reefs, and a better understanding of “ridge-to-reef” water movement is required to advance management and coral survival in the Anthropocene. In this study a more complete understanding of the geological, atmospheric, and oceanic drivers behind coastal groundwater exchange on the Kalaupapa peninsula, on Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i, is obtained by analyzing high resolution geochemical and geophysical time-series data. In concert with multiyear water level analyses, a tidally and precipitation-driven groundwater connection between Kauhakō Crater lake and submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) fluxes are demonstrated. Results include an average discharge rate of 190 cm d−1 and the detection of water-flow pathways past cesspools that likely contribute to higher nutrient loading near the SGD sites. This underlines the importance of managing anthropogenic nutrients that enter the shallow freshwater lens such as through cesspools and are consequently discharged via SGD onto coral reef habitats.

    Subaqueous clinoforms created by sandy wave-supported gravity flows: Lessons from the central California shelf

    Released January 16, 2023 13:25 EST

    2023, Marine Geology (456)

    Elisa Medri, Alexander R. Simms, Jared W. Kluesner, Samuel Y. Johnson, Stuart P. Nishenko, H. Gary Greene, James E. Conrad

    Subaqueous clinoforms are an important yet underappreciated shelf feature. Their origins are typically associated with subaerial deltas but recent work has identified similar features in settings without a significant fluvial source. These other studies have shown that such subaqueous clinoforms, also known as infralittoral prograding wedges (IPWs), are created largely by wave-induced processes. This study uses geophysical, sedimentological, and radiocarbon data to determine the sedimentary characteristics and genesis of a shore-parallel subaqueous clinoform developed far from any significant river on the central California continental shelf; a feature known locally as the Cross Hosgri Slope. Sediment cores through the feature reveal that it is composed of beds with an erosive base, followed by a thin coarsening upward sequence of shelly fine sands transitioning to a fining upward sequence marked by alternating parallel and ripple cross laminated very fine sands. The deposit is often capped by fine silts that are commonly interbedded with thin very fine sand beds. Radiocarbon dating of shells within the cores paired with seismic profiles indicate the subaqueous clinoform initiated progradation ~7 ka, nucleating on an older Younger Dryas relict shoreface. We suggest the CHS was created by winter-storm waves mobilizing sands in water depths up to ~ 70 m that transitioned into wave-supported gravity flows. The wave-supported gravity flows traveled downslope to water depths of up to ~85 m, corresponding to the foot of the subaqueous clinoform. They did not travel beyond this depth as wave influence at these depths is negligible and the shelf slope is insufficient to maintain movement of the load alone. Our work suggests that wave-supported gravity flows can entrain very fine sands and silts and build subaqueous clinoforms, even in the absence of a significant river source. Furthermore, we provide a facies model for sandy wave-supported gravity flow deposits.

    Hydrodynamics and habitat interact to structure fish communities within terminal channels of a tidal freshwater delta

    Released January 16, 2023 12:45 EST

    2023, Ecosphere (14)

    Brock Huntsman, Matthew Young, Frederick Feyrer, Paul Stumpner, Larry R Brown, Jon R. Burau

    Terminal channels were historically a common feature of tidal delta ecosystems but have become increasingly rare as landscapes have been modified. Tidal hydrodynamics are a defining feature in tidal terminal channel ecosystems from which native aquatic communities have evolved. However, few studies have explored the relationship between fish community structure and hydrodynamics in these tidal terminal channel ecosystems. We sampled fish communities throughout a network of terminal channels within the northeasternmost region of the San Francisco Estuary to determine the relationship between fish community structure and hydrodynamics within these environments. We collected two years (2017 and 2018) of fish community samples using gill nets and analyzed data using multivariate community analyses and count models. We found metrics of fish diversity and counts of native fishes to be greatest upstream (farthest from tidal influence) of the tidal excursion within terminal channels. Counts of non-native fishes were less affected by this hydrodynamic feature of terminal channels and more tightly correlated to local habitat conditions (e.g., water temperature, depth). Our results suggest that channel hydrodynamics plays a role in structuring fish communities within terminal channels, particularly native fishes. These results indicate that hydrodynamics in tidal delta ecosystems may be able to be altered in ways that benefit native fishes without the cost of water pumping.

    Characterization of a small population of the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly (Megalagrion xanthomelas) in anchialine pools at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawai‘i Island

    Released January 16, 2023 12:31 EST

    2022, Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society (54) 93-109

    Robert W. Peck, Sarah Nash

    The endangered orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly (Megalagrion xanthomelas) is a lowland inhabitant of freshwater and brackish wetland environments. Formerly one of the most widely distributed native insects in Hawai‘i, it now appears restricted to small populations on the islands of O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i. On Hawai‘i island, anchialine pools provide important habitat for M. xanthomelas, and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (Park) supports one of only a few documented populations on the western side of the island. This study aimed to estimate the population size of M. xanthomelas at this Park, characterize its habitat, and identify substrates on which females oviposit eggs. We conducted visual surveys for adult M. xanthomelas at anchialine pools during June 2016–August 2017. On average, the observed population was 10.7 individuals per month (range = 5–20; standard error = 1.3). Males were observed 6.1 times more frequently than females, likely reflecting the less cryptic nature of males compared to females. Females exhibited oviposition behavior on a variety of substrates, but small branches were used most frequently. Factors restricting this population are poorly known, but invasive fish may limit its distribution across the Park. Removal of invasive fishes from anchialine pools and ‘Aimakapā Fishpond may restore much habitat for this rare species in the Park.

    Breaking up is hard to do: Magmatism during oceanic arc breakup, subduction reversal, and cessation

    Released January 16, 2023 12:18 EST

    2022, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (23)

    James F. Gill, Erin Todd, Kaj Hoernle, Folkmar Hauff, Alison Ann Price, Matthew G. Jackson

    The formerly continuous Vitiaz Arc broke into its Vanuatu and Fijian portions during a reversal of subduction polarity in the Miocene. Basaltic volcanism in Fiji that accompanied the breakup ranged from shoshonitic to low-K and boninitic with increasing distance from the broken edge of the arc that, presumably, marks the broken edge of the slab. The Sr-Pb-Nd isotope ratios of the slab-derived component in the breakup basalts most closely match those of the isotopically most depleted part of the Samoan seamount chain on the Pacific Plate that was adjacent to the site of breakup at 4-8 Ma, and differ from those of subsequent basalts in spreading segments of the surrounding backarc North Fiji and Lau Basins. Subduction of the Samoan Chain along the Vitiaz Trench Lineament may have controlled the limit of polarity reversal and, hence, where the double saloon doors (Martin, 2013) opened. Prior to breakup, Fijian volcanics were more similar isotopically to the Louisville Seamount Chain.

    Enhancements to population monitoring of Yellowstone grizzly bears

    Released January 16, 2023 12:00 EST

    2023, Ursus (33)

    Frank T. van Manen, Michael Ebinger, Cecily M. Costello, Daniel D. Bjornlie, Justin Clapp, Daniel Thompson, Mark A. Haroldson, Kevin L. Frey, Curtis Hendricks, Jeremy M. Nicholson, Kerry A. Gunther, Katharine R. Wilmot, Hilary Cooley, Jennifer Fortin-Noreus, Pat Hnilicka, Daniel B. Tyers

    In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, counts of female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) with cubs-of-the-year (females with cubs) from systematic aerial surveys and opportunistic ground sightings are combined with demographic data to derive annual population estimates. We addressed 2 limitations to the monitoring approach. As part of a rule set, a conservative distance of >30 km currently is used as a threshold to assign sightings to unique females with cubs, resulting in underestimation bias. Using telemetry locations of females with cubs collected during 1997–2019, we created 1,000 data sets for each of 5 levels of simulated number of females with cubs, simulated sightings by selecting among these locations, and evaluated the classification performance of alternative distance criteria (12–30 km). Under all scenarios, 12–16-km criteria maximized classification performance and minimized estimation bias; the 16-km criterion was optimal for current conditions and sampling efforts. Our second objective was to test generalized additive models (GAMs) as a flexible trend analysis technique. We simulated 1,000 time series for each of 10 scenarios (10, 15, and 20% decline over periods of 5, 10, and 15 yrs, plus stability), applied GAMs, and assessed metrics associated with the posterior distribution of the instantaneous rate of change. We detected declines among >99.6% of replicates under the 15 and 20% decline scenarios and in 84.7–94.7% of replicates under the 10% decline scenario. From decline onset to first detection, periods ranged from 3.7 (20% decline over 5 yrs) to 11.1 (10% decline over 15 yrs), with 3.9–8.8 years mean duration of detection events. The GAM approach allows detection of directional changes in population trend, including early warning metrics, and stabilization after such changes. Retrospective application of the 16-km distance criterion and GAMs resulted in higher population estimates and growth rates than are reported using current methods.

    Genetic diversity goals and targets have improved, but remain insufficient for clear implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

    Released January 16, 2023 07:21 EST

    2023, Conservation Genetics

    Sean M. Hoban, Michael W. Bruford, Jessica M. da Silva, W. Chris Funk, Richard Frankham, Michael J. Gill, Catherine E. Grueber, Myriam Heuertz, Margaret Hunter, Francine Kershaw, Robert C. Lacy, Caroline Lees, Margarida Lopes-Fernandes, Anna J. MacDonald, Alicia Mastretta-Yanes, Philip J. K. McGowan, Mariah H. Meek, Joachim Mergeay, Katie L. Millette, Cinnamon S. Mittan-Moreau, Laetitia M. Navarro, David O'Brien, Rob Ogden, Gernot Segelbacher, Ivan Paz-Vinas, Cristiano Vernesi, Linda Laikre

    Genetic diversity among and within populations of all species is necessary for people and nature to survive and thrive in a changing world. Over the past three years, commitments for conserving genetic diversity have become more ambitious and specific under the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) draft post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF). This Perspective article comments on how goals and targets of the GBF have evolved, the improvements that are still needed, lessons learned from this process, and connections between goals and targets and the actions and reporting that will be needed to maintain, protect, manage and monitor genetic diversity. It is possible and necessary that the GBF strives to maintain genetic diversity within and among populations of all species, to restore genetic connectivity, and to develop national genetic conservation strategies, and to report on these using proposed, feasible indicators.

    Watershed- and reach-scale drivers of phosphorus retention and release by streambed sediment in a western Lake Erie watershed during summer

    Released January 16, 2023 07:06 EST

    2023, Science of the Total Environment (863)

    Rebecca Kreiling, Patrik Mathis Perner, Kenna Jean Breckner, Tanja N. Williamson, Lynn A. Bartsch, James M. Hood, Nathan F. Manning, Laura T. Johnson

    Reducing phosphorus (P) concentrations in aquatic ecosystems, is necessary to improve water quality and reduce the occurrence of harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms. Managing P reduction requires information on the role rivers play in P transport from land to downstream water bodies, but we have a poor understanding of when and where river systems are P sources or sinks. During the summers of 2019 and 2021, we sampled streambed sediment at 78 sites throughout the Maumee River network (a major source of P loads to Lake Erie) focusing on the zero equilibrium P concentration (EPC0), the soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentration at which sediment neither sorbs nor desorbs P. We used structural equation modeling to identify direct and indirect drivers of EPC0. Stream sediment was a P sink at 40 % and 67 % of sites in 2019 and 2021, respectively. During both years, spatial variation in EPC0 was shaped by stream water SRP concentrations, sediment P saturation, and sediment physicochemical characteristics. In turn, SRP concentrations and sediment P saturation (PSR) were influenced by agricultural land use and stream size. Effect of stream size differed among years with stream size having a greater effect on SRP in 2019 and on PSR in 2021. Streambed sediment is currently a net P sink across the sites sampled in the Maumee River network during summer, but sediment at these locations, especially sites in headwater streams, may become a P source if stream water SRP concentrations decrease. Our results improve the understanding of watershed- and reach-scale controls on EPC0 but also indicate the need for further research on how changes in SRP concentration as a result of conservation management implementation influences the role of streambed sediment in P transport to Lake Erie.

    Changes in habitat suitability for wintering dabbling ducks during dry conditions in the Central Valley of California

    Released January 15, 2023 08:20 EST

    2023, Ecosphere (14)

    Erin E. Conlisk, Kristin B. Byrd, Elliott Matchett, Austen Lorenz, Michael L. Casazza, Gregory H. Golet, Mark D. Reynolds, Kristin A. Sesser, Matthew E. Reiter

    In arid and Mediterranean regions, landscape-scale wetland conservation requires understanding how wildlife responds to dynamic freshwater availability and conservation actions to enhance wetland habitat. Taking advantage of Landsat satellite data and structured and community science bird survey data, we built species distribution models to describe how three duck species, the Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca), and Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), respond to freshwater supply and food resources on different flooded land cover types in the Central Valley of California. Specifically, our models compared duck habitat suitability between the wettest and driest conditions in each month from September through April. Using abundance-weighted boosted regression trees, we created three sets of species occurrence models based on different covariates: (1) near real-time (hereafter “real-time”) covariates in which duck observations were matched to the water availability within the 16-day window of a Landsat observation, (2) a combination of real-time covariates and waterfowl food resource covariates describing annual corn and rice biomass and managed wetland moist soil seed yield estimates derived from Landsat data, and (3) long-term average covariates—the most common approach to species distribution modeling—in which long-term average surface water availability was used. We modeled the monthly occurrence of three duck species as a function of surface water availability, land cover type, road density, temperature, and bird data source. We found that dry conditions result in reduced habitat suitability, with the biggest reductions in November through January and in agricultural fields; in contrast, suitability of flooded wetland habitat was relatively robust to surface water availability. When models of habitat suitability based on long-term average climate conditions were compared to models based on real-time conditions, the highest long-term suitability values occurred in areas where suitability was high regardless of whether it was a wet or a dry year. While all models performed well, the inclusion of crop and wetland plant yield covariates resulted in slightly higher model performance. Overall, species distribution models created using data on the environmental conditions present at the time of bird observations can aid conservation efforts under extreme conditions over large spatial scales.

    Nest-site selection model for endangered Everglade snail kites to inform ecosystem restoration

    Released January 15, 2023 07:09 EST

    2023, Ecosphere (14)

    Allison Benscoter, Laura D'Acunto, Saira Haider, Robert J. Fletcher Jr., Stephanie Romanach

    dictors of nesting for snail kites in south Florida. The results of our modeling indicate that hydrology, percent canopy cover, and proximity to recently burned areas were the most important factors associated with nest-site selection for snail kites. Water depths between 75 and 100 cm, water recession rates between 0 and 1.25 cm/day, percent canopy covers <20%, and areas <10 km from recently burned habitat were associated with the greatest likelihood of nest-site selection. KiteNest is applicable to natural resource management decisions in the Everglades and may be useful independently or in conjunction with other ecological models for restoration decision support.

    Elevation-based probabilistic mapping of irregularly flooded wetlands along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast

    Released January 14, 2023 07:17 EST

    2023, Remote Sensing of Environment (287)

    Nicholas Enwright, Wyatt C. Cheney, Kristine O. Evans, Hana R. Thurman, Mark S. Woodrey, Auriel M.V. Fournier, Dean B. Gesch, Jonathan L. Pitchford, Jason M. Stoker, Stephen C. Medeiros

    Irregularly flooded wetlands are found above the mean high water tidal datum and are exposed to tides and saltwater less frequently than daily. These wetlands provide important ecosystem services, such as providing habitat for fish and wildlife, enhancing water quality, ameliorating flooding impacts, supporting coastal food webs, and protecting upslope areas from erosion. Mapping irregularly flooded wetlands is challenging given their expansive coverage and dynamic nature. Furthermore, coastal wetlands are expected to change over the coming century due to sea-level rise and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme storms. Consequently, coastal managers need baseline information on the spatial distribution of wetlands along with efficient and repeatable methods for observing changes. In this study, we used coastal wetlands from existing land use land cover data, best available lidar-derived digital elevation models, and Monte Carlo simulations to incorporate elevation uncertainty to create a probabilistic map of irregularly flooded wetlands along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast (USA). Our approach integrated findings from a review of coastal wetland elevation error in lidar datasets and an analysis of spatial autocorrelations of wetland elevation. We found a positive correlation (r = 0.563, p < 0.0001) when comparing the probability estimated from a digital elevation model and in situ elevation observations. The differences in probability had a mean bias error of −0.04 (i.e., digital elevation model-based probability tends to be slightly lower), a mean absolute error of 0.20, and a root mean square error of 0.26. Beyond this overall validation, we explored error metrics for land cover classes and lidar collection details. To quantify areal coverage of the probabilistic output, we classified the probability values into equal bins using an interval of 0.33. The areal coverage of the lowest probability bin (“unlikely”; probability ≤0.33) was separated into the upper and lower portions of the irregularly flooded wetland zone. Of the coastal wetlands along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast about 38% were classified as unlikely and low with the greatest coverage in south Louisiana and the Everglades and around 33% were classified as unlikely and high with the greatest coverage in the Everglades and Texas. The relative coverage within the highest probability bin (“likely”; probability >0.66) covered around 13%, with the greatest coverage in south Florida, south Louisiana, and Texas. The framework developed in this study can be transferred to other coastal wetland areas and updated to observe changes with sea-level rise.

    Hydrogeology, land-surface subsidence, and documentation of the Gulf Coast Land Subsidence and Groundwater-Flow (GULF) model, southeast Texas, 1897–2018

    Released January 13, 2023 11:33 EST

    2023, Professional Paper 1877

    John Ellis, Jacob E. Knight, Jeremy T. White, Michelle Sneed, Joseph D. Hughes, Jason K. Ramage, Christopher L. Braun, Andrew Teeple, Linzy K. Foster, Samuel H. Rendon, Justin T. Brandt

    Executive Summary

    As a part of the Texas Water Development Board groundwater availability modeling program, the U.S. Geological Survey developed the Gulf Coast Land Subsidence and Groundwater-Flow model (hereinafter, the “GULF model”) and ensemble to simulate groundwater flow and land-surface subsidence in the northern part of the Gulf Coast aquifer system (the study area) in Texas from predevelopment (1897) through 2018. Since the publication of a previous groundwater model for the greater Houston area in 2012, there have been changes to the distribution of groundwater withdrawals and advances in modeling tools. To reflect these changes and to simulate more recent conditions, the GULF model was developed in cooperation with the Harris-Galveston and Fort Bend Subsidence Districts to provide an updated Groundwater Availability Model.

    Since the early 1900s, most of the groundwater withdrawals in the study area have been from three of the hydrogeologic units that compose the Gulf Coast aquifer system—the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers and, more recently, from the Catahoula confining unit. Withdrawals from these hydrogeologic units are used for municipal supply, commercial and industrial use, and irrigation purposes. Withdrawals of large quantities of groundwater in the greater Houston area have caused widespread groundwater-level declines in the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers of more than 300 feet (ft). Early development of the aquifer system, which began before 1900, resulted in nearly 50 percent of the eventual historical groundwater-level minimums having been reached as early as 1946 in some areas. These groundwater-level declines led to more than 9 ft of land-surface subsidence—historically in central and southeastern Harris County and Galveston County, but more recently in northern, northwestern, and western Harris County, Montgomery County, and northern Fort Bend County—from depressurization and compaction of clay and silt layers interbedded in the aquifer sediments.

    In a generalized conceptual model of the Gulf Coast aquifer system, water enters the groundwater system in topographically high outcrops of the hydrogeologic units in the northwestern part of the aquifer system. Groundwater that does not discharge to streams flows to intermediate and deep zones of the aquifer system southeastward of the outcrop areas where it is discharged by wells and by upward leakage in topographically low areas near the coast. The uppermost parts of the aquifer system, which include outcrop areas, are under water-table (unconfined) conditions where the groundwater is not confined under pressure. As depth increases in the aquifer system and interbedded clay and silt layers accumulate, water-table conditions evolve into confined conditions where the groundwater is under pressure.

    Groundwater flow and land-surface subsidence in the GULF model and ensemble were simulated by using MODFLOW 6 with the Skeletal Storage, Compaction, and Subsidence package. The model consists of six layers, one for each of the five hydrogeologic units in the northern part of the Gulf Coast aquifer system and a surficial top layer that includes part of each hydrogeologic unit. Transient groundwater flow was simulated during 1897–2018 by using a combination of multiyear, annual, and monthly stress periods. An initial steady-state stress period was configured to represent predevelopment mean annual inflows and outflows. The subsidence package used in the GULF model and ensemble uses a head-based subsidence formulation that simulates the delayed drainage response from clay and silt sediment to changes in groundwater levels.

    The GULF model and ensemble were history matched to groundwater-level observations at selected wells, land-surface subsidence at benchmarks, aquifer compaction at borehole extensometers, and vertical displacement from Global Positioning System stations. A Bayesian framework was used to represent uncertainty in modeled parameters and simulated outputs of interest. History matching and uncertainty quantification were performed by using a Monte Carlo approach enabled through iterative ensemble smoother software to produce an ensemble of models fit to historical data. The iterative ensemble smoother substantially reduced the computational demand of parameter estimation by approximating the first-order relation between model inputs and outputs, thereby allowing 183,207 adjustable parameters to be used for history matching at a relatively low computational and time cost.

    The history-matched parameter values are within the ranges of previously published values and agree with the current understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of parameter uncertainty for the Gulf Coast aquifer system. A good agreement between the observed (or estimated) and simulated groundwater levels, land-surface subsidence, compaction, and vertical displacement was obtained across the modeled area based on qualitative and quantitative comparisons. Ensemble mean annual groundwater-flow rates to the Chicot, Evangeline, Jasper aquifers and Catahoula confining unit were 0.0–0.49 inch (in.), 0.09–0.33 in., 0.01–0.07 in., and 0.01–0.05 in., respectively. GULF model mean annual groundwater-flow rates to the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers and Catahoula confining unit were 0.31 in., 0.19 in., 0.03 in., and 0.03 in., respectively.

    The GULF-model-simulated recharge to the outcrop area was the largest inflow (75 percent), and recharge to other areas was 25 percent of the model inflow. The simulated outflows included (1) net surface-water/groundwater exchange with study area streams (50 percent), (2) groundwater use (49 percent), and (3) net surface-water/groundwater exchange with the Gulf of Mexico (1 percent). The sum of the simulated values of the outflows (1,041,973 acre-feet per year [acre-ft/yr]) and the elastic expansion of the fine-grained sediment and numerical solver error (339 acre-ft/yr) minus the inflows (654,172 acre-ft/yr) represents the reduction of storage from the Gulf Coast aquifer system (388,140 acre-ft/yr). Most of the storage depletion is caused by the long-term groundwater-level declines that have resulted primarily in inelastic compaction.

    The GULF model was used to estimate Jasper aquifer compaction at selected benchmarks in Montgomery County and northern Harris County, which are the primary locations of Jasper aquifer groundwater use. Simulated Jasper aquifer compaction in northern Harris County was between 0.2 and 0.5 ft, or between about 5 and 16 percent of simulated subsidence at the benchmark locations. Simulated Jasper aquifer compaction in Montgomery County was between 0.8 and 1.2 ft, or between about 33 and 57 percent of simulated subsidence at the benchmark locations.

    Quality of groundwater used for domestic drinking-water supply in the Coachella Valley, 2020

    Released January 13, 2023 11:10 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2022-1122

    Andrew L. Soldavini, Jennifer S. Harkness, Zeno F. Levy, Miranda S. Fram

    Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water in the Coachella Valley in the desert region of southern California. Although most people in Coachella Valley are served by public drinking-water systems, about 20,000 people rely on private domestic or small-system wells (referred to herein as domestic wells). Recently, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found that 39 percent of the groundwater resources used by domestic wells in Coachella Valley contained arsenic, fluoride, or both constituents at concentrations greater than the maximum contaminant levels established for public drinking-water systems. Uranium, chromium, nitrate, and perchlorate were detected at moderate concentrations below maximum contaminant levels. Elevated (above background) perchlorate concentrations in some areas indicate that domestic wells may receive recharge from Colorado River water used for irrigation or aquifer replenishment. Moderate total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations throughout the study area and the co-occurrence of high concentrations of TDS and perchlorate indicates that Colorado River water is a source of recharge in the southeastern Indio groundwater subbasin. Four volatile organic compounds were detected at low concentrations, and pesticides and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances were not detected.

    Genetic basis of thiaminase I activity in a vertebrate, zebrafish Danio rerio

    Released January 13, 2023 07:15 EST

    2023, Scientific Reports (13)

    Catherine A. Richter, Allison N. Evans, Scott A. Heppell, James L. Zajicek, Donald E. Tillitt

    Thiamine (vitamin B1) metabolism is an important driver of human and animal health and ecological functioning. Some organisms, including species of ferns, mollusks, and fish, contain thiamine-degrading enzymes known as thiaminases, and consumption of these organisms can lead to thiamine deficiency in the consumer. Consumption of fish containing thiaminase has led to elevated mortality and recruitment failure in farmed animals and wild salmonine populations around the world. In the North American Great Lakes, consumption of the non-native prey fish alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) by native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) led to thiamine deficiency in the trout, contributed to elevated fry mortality, and impeded natural population recruitment. Several thiaminases have been genetically characterized in bacteria and unicellular eukaryotes, and the source of thiaminase in multicellular organisms has been hypothesized to be gut microflora. In an unexpected discovery, we identified thiaminase I genes in zebrafish (Danio rerio) with homology to bacterial tenA thiaminase II. The biochemical activity of zebrafish thiaminase I (GenBank NP_001314821.1) was confirmed in a recombinant system. Genes homologous to the zebrafish tenA-like thiaminase I were identified in many animals, including common carp (Cyprinus carpio), zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and alewife. Thus, the source of thiaminase I in alewife impacting lake trout populations is likely to be de novo synthesis.

    The influence of short-term temporal variability on the efficacy of dragonfly larvae as mercury biosentinels

    Released January 13, 2023 06:48 EST

    2023, Science of the Total Environment (867)

    James Willacker, Collin Eagles-Smith, Sarah J. Nelson, Colleen M. Flanagan-Pritz, David P. Krabbenhoft

    Mercury (Hg) exposure to fish, wildlife, and humans is widespread and of global concern, thus stimulating efforts to reduce emissions. Because the relationships between rates of inorganic Hg loading, methylmercury (MeHg) production, and bioaccumulation are extremely complex and challenging to predict, there is a need for reliable biosentinels to understand the distribution of Hg in the environment and monitor the effectiveness of reduction efforts. However, it is important to assess how temporal and spatial variation at multiple scales influences the efficacy of specific biosentinels. Seasonal and interannual variation in total Hg (THg) concentrations of dragonfly larvae were examined in relation to spatial variability among 21 sites in two U.S. national parks with contrasting ecologies and Hg deposition patterns. Dragonfly THg differed among sampling events at 17 of the 21 sites, but by an average of only 20.4 % across events, compared to an average difference of 52.7 % among sites. Further, THg concentrations did not follow consistent seasonal patterns across sites or years, suggesting that the observed temporal variation was unlikely to bias monitoring efforts. Importantly, for a specific site, there was no difference in % MeHg in dragonflies among sampling events. Finally, there was significant temporal variability in the biogeochemical factors (aqueous inorganic Hg, aqueous MeHg, DOC, SO4, and pH) influencing dragonfly THg, with the importance of individual factors varying by 2.4 to 4.3-fold across sampling events. Despite these results, it is noteworthy that the observed temporal variation in dragonfly THg concentrations was neither large nor consistent enough to bias spatial assessments. Thus, although this temporal variation may provide insights into the processes influencing biological Hg concentrations, it is unlikely to impair the use of dragonflies as biosentinels for monitoring spatial or temporal patterns at scales relevant to most mitigation efforts.

    Potential effects of climate change on Appalachian stoneflies (Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata)

    Released January 12, 2023 15:06 EST

    2023, Open-File Report 2021-1104-B

    Marta P. Lyons, Catherine A. Nikiel, Olivia E. LeDee, Ryan Boyles

    Plecoptera (stoneflies) are an order of insects where most species rely on clean, fast-moving freshwater for an aquatic larval stage followed by a short terrestrial adult stage. Most species of Plecoptera seem to be restricted to specific stream types and thermal regimes. Climate-driven changes are likely to alter stream temperatures and flow, resulting in physiological stress, reduced reproductive success, and possibly latitudinal or elevational distribution shifts. This report focuses on climate projections and the resulting ecological effect for three species of Appalachian stoneflies: Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata. Although species-specific information is sparse for these three species, climate studies for other Plecoptera spp. are applicable. In the focal region, temperature is increasing and likely leading to increased stream temperatures. In response, Plecoptera spp. will likely experience physiological stress from increasing metabolic rates and energy demands concurrent with changing food quality and access. Warming temperatures and decreased larval energy stores are likely to contribute to lower adult body size and longevity, thus decreasing reproductive success. Whereas projected changes to precipitation and runoff are less certain, under drier future climate projections, decreased streamflow may further stress larval Plecoptera. Remenus kirchneri, A. kosztarabi, and T. lobata will likely retain stable permanent stream habitats for the analyzed future (2006–99). Changing climate is of particular concern for mountaintop species R. kirchneri and T. lobata because they may be unable to track shifts in suitable climate and habitat.

    Recent history of glacial lake outburst floods, analysis of channel changes, and development of a two-dimensional flow and sediment transport model of the Snow River near Seward, Alaska

    Released January 12, 2023 09:48 EST

    2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5099

    Robin A. Beebee

    Snow Lake, a glacially dammed lake on the Snow Glacier near Seward, Alaska, drains rapidly every 14 months–3 years, causing flooding along the Snow River. Highway, railroad, and utility infrastructure on the lower Snow River floodplain is vulnerable to flood damage. Historical hydrology, geomorphology, and two-dimensional hydraulic and sediment transport modeling were used to assess the flood risks from Snow Lake outburst floods. Floods have become more frequent, peaked more rapidly, and have had generally higher peaks over the last 20 years as the Snow Glacier has thinned, translating to a greater potential for flood damage. Rapidly shifting channel locations and the occasional introduction of large volumes of debris to the river also threaten infrastructure on the floodplain and in the channel. An assessment of the historical channel planform between 1951 and 2019 showed that there have been more and less stable segments along the lower Snow River and that channel migration has generally been toward the east. An analysis of floodplain elevations using 2008 light detection and ranging (lidar) showed that the main channel is relatively high compared to floodplain channels that carry floodwaters along the railroad grade, so that once the main channel banks are overtopped water rapidly disperses throughout the floodplain. A two-dimensional flow and sediment transport model was developed, and its simulation results were compared to three past outburst floods from 2007, 2017, and 2019. Despite the complex floodplain and channel geometry, coarse resolution of the mesh, and sediment input data, the model successfully simulated areas of observed scour along the railroad grade and at the guidebank to the highway bridge. The modeled water-surface elevations generally replicated peak elevations recorded at a streamgage in the middle of the model domain and at pressure transducers installed on the floodplain and main channel, although there were discrepancies on the rising limb and some locations had a poorer fit than others. A model of a hypothetical check flood, approximately 150 percent of the largest recorded outburst flood, was developed to provide hydraulic variables to use when planning for infrastructure upgrades.

    Sea level rise may pose conservation challenges for the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow

    Released January 12, 2023 06:56 EST

    2023, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (10)

    Stephanie Romanach, Saira Haider, Allison Benscoter

    Biodiversity conservation under a changing climate is a challenging endeavor. Landscapes are shifting as a result of climate change and sea level rise but plant communities in particular may not keep up with the pace of change. Predictive ecological models can help decision makers understand how species are likely to respond to change and then adjust management actions to align with desired future conditions. Florida’s Everglades is a wetland ecosystem that is host to many species, including a large number of endangered and endemic species. Everglades ecosystem restoration has been ongoing for decades, but consideration of sea level rise impacts in restoration planning is more recent. Incorporating potential impacts from sea level rise into restoration planning should benefit species and their coastal habitats, most notably at the southern Florida peninsula. The endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammospiza maritima mirabilis) occurs in marl prairie habitat at the southern end of the Everglades. The locations of three of its six subpopulations are proximate to the coast. We used a spatially explicit predictive model, EverSparrow, to estimate probability of sparrow presence considering both hydrologic change from restoration and sea level rise. We found that the probability of sparrow presence decreased with increasing sea level rise. Within approximately 50 years, probability of presence significantly decreased for all three coastal subpopulation areas, with areas above 40% probability increasingly limited. Given the exceptionally low dispersal ability of this species and the geographic restrictions for habitat expansion, our results highlight the importance of freshwater flow into the southern Everglades marl prairie for habitat conservation.

    Taxonomic identity, biodiversity, and antecedent disturbances shape the dimensional stability of stream invertebrates

    Released January 12, 2023 06:35 EST

    2023, Limnology and Oceanography Letters

    Daniel C Allen, Brian A Gill, Anya Metcalfe, Sophia M Bonjour, Scott Starr, Junna Wang, Diana Valentin, Nancy B. Grimm

    The “dimensional stability” approach measures different components of ecological stability to investigate how they are related. Yet, most empirical work has used small-scale and short-term experimental manipulations. Here, we apply this framework to a long-term observational dataset of stream macroinvertebrates sampled between the winter flooding and summer monsoon seasons. We test hypotheses that relate variation among stability metrics across different taxa, the magnitude of antecedent (monsoon) and immediate (winter) floods to stability metrics, and the relative importance of disturbance magnitude and taxonomic richness on community dimensional stability. Cluster analysis revealed four distinct stability types, and we found that the magnitude of floods during the prior monsoon was more important in influencing stability than the winter flood itself. For dimensional stability at the community level, taxonomic richness was more important than disturbance magnitude. This work demonstrates that abiotic and biotic factors determine dimensional stability in a natural ecosystem.

    Research needs identified for potential effects of energy development activities on environmental resources of the Williston Basin, United States

    Released January 11, 2023 09:22 EST

    2023, Fact Sheet 2022-3088

    Gregory C. Delzer, Max Post van der Burg

    Unconventional oil and gas development that uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is rapidly changing the landscape and exponentially increasing oil production within the Williston Basin, especially in North Dakota and eastern Montana. The activities associated with unconventional oil and gas development are complex and wide reaching and include, in part, road and well-pad construction, leaks from pits or tanks, chemical spills, discharge of wastewater, drilling before casing installation, leaks during or after hydraulic fracturing, failed casing seals, pipeline breaks, abandoned wells, deep-well disposal of flowback or produced wastewater, and induced subsurface migration pathways that can potentially adversely affect the environmental resources within the Williston Basin.

    An aridity threshold model of fire sizes and annual area burned in extensively forested ecoregions of the western USA

    Released January 11, 2023 07:15 EST

    2023, Ecological Modelling (477)

    Paul D. Henne, Todd Hawbaker

    Wildfire occurrence varies among regions and through time due to the long-term impacts of climate on fuel structure and short-term impacts on fuel flammability. Identifying the climatic conditions that trigger extensive fire years at regional scales can enable development of area burned models that are both spatially and temporally robust, which is crucial for understanding the impacts of past and future climate change. We identified region-specific thresholds in fire-season aridity that distinguish years with limited, moderate, and extensive area burned for 11 extensively forested ecoregions in the western United States. We developed a new area burned model using these relationships and demonstrate its application in the Southern Rocky Mountains using climate projections from five global climate models (GCMs) that bracket the range of projected changes in aridity. We used the aridity thresholds to classify each simulation year as having limited, moderate, or extensive area burned and defined fire-size distributions from historical fire records for these categories. We simulated individual fires from a regression relating fire season aridity to the annual number of fires and drew fire sizes from the corresponding fire-size distributions. We project dramatic increases in area burned after 2020 under most GCMs and after 2060 with all GCMs as the frequency of extensive fire years increases. Our adaptable model can readily incorporate new observations (e.g., extreme fire years) to directly address the non-stationarity of fire-climate relationships as climatic conditions diverge from past observations. Our aridity threshold fire model provides a simple yet spatially robust approach to project regional changes in area burned with broad applicability to ecosystem and vegetation simulation models.

    “Aftershock Faults” and what they could mean for seismic hazard assessment

    Released January 11, 2023 06:57 EST

    2023, The Seismic Record (3) 1-11

    Thomas E. Parsons, Eric L. Geist, Sophie E. Parsons

    We study stress‐loading mechanisms for the California faults used in rupture forecasts. Stress accumulation drives earthquakes, and that accumulation mechanism governs recurrence. Most moment release in California occurs because of relative motion between the Pacific plate and the Sierra Nevada block; we calculate relative motion directions at fault centers and compare with fault displacement directions. Dot products between these vectors reveal that some displacement directions are poorly aligned with plate motions. We displace a 3D finite‐element model according to relative motions and resolve stress tensors onto defined fault surfaces, which reveal that poorly aligned faults receive no tectonic loading. Because these faults are known to be active, we search for other loading mechanisms. We find that nearly all faults with no tectonic loading show increase in stress caused by slip on the San Andreas fault, according to an elastic dislocation model. Globally, faults that receive a sudden stress change respond with triggered earthquakes that obey an Omori law rate decay with time. We therefore term this class of faults as “aftershock faults.” These faults release ∼4% of the moment release in California, have ∼0.1%–5% probability of M 6.7 earthquakes in 30 yr, and have a 0.001%–1% 30 yr M 7.7 probability range.

    Drivers and facilitators of the illegal killing of elephants across 64 African sites

    Released January 11, 2023 06:40 EST

    2023, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (290)

    Timothy Kuiper, Res Altwegg, Colin Beale, Thea Carroll, Holy Dublin, Severin Hauenstein, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Carl Schwarz, Chris Thouless, Andy Royle, E.J. Milner-Gulland

    Ivory poaching continues to threaten African elephants. We (1) used criminology theory and literature evidence to generate hypotheses about factors that may drive, facilitate or motivate poaching, (2) identified datasets representing these factors, and (3) tested those factors with strong hypotheses and sufficient data quality for empirical associations with poaching. We advance on previous analyses of correlates of elephant poaching by using additional poaching data and leveraging new datasets for previously untested explanatory variables. Using data on 10 286 illegally killed elephants detected at 64 sites in 30 African countries (2002–2020), we found strong evidence to support the hypotheses that the illegal killing of elephants is associated with poor national governance, low law enforcement capacity, low household wealth and health, and global elephant ivory prices. Forest elephant populations suffered higher rates of illegal killing than savannah elephants. We found only weak evidence that armed conflicts may increase the illegal killing of elephants, and no evidence for effects of site accessibility, vegetation density, elephant population density, precipitation or site area. Results suggest that addressing wider systemic challenges of human development, corruption and consumer demand would help reduce poaching, corroborating broader work highlighting these more ultimate drivers of the global illegal wildlife trade.

    Comparison of ventifact orientations and recent wind direction indicators on the floor of Jezero crater, Mars

    Released January 11, 2023 06:36 EST

    2023, JGR-Planets

    Kenneth E. Herkenhoff, Rob Sullivan, Claire E Newman, Gerhard Paar, Mariah Baker, Daniel Viudez-Moreiras, James W. Ashley, Andreas Bechtold, Jorge I Nunez

    Wind-abraded rocks and aeolian bedforms have been observed at the Mars 2020 Perseverance landing site, providing evidence for recent and older wind directions. This study reports orientations of aeolian features measured in Perseverance images to infer formative wind directions. It compares these measurements with orbital observations, climate model predictions, and wind data acquired by the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer. Three-dimensional orientations of flute textures on rocks, regolith wind tails extending from behind obstacles, and other aeolian features were measured using Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) derived from Mastcam-Z and navigation camera (Navcam) stereo images. Orientations of rock flutes measured in images acquired through Sol (martian day) 400 yielded a mean azimuth of 94° ± 7° (wind from the west). However, similar measurements of regolith wind tails indicate that recent sand-driving winds have been blowing from the east-southeast, nearly the opposite direction (mean azimuth = 285° ± 15°). Atmospheric modeling generally predicts net annual sand transport from the east-southeast at present, consistent with Perseverance regolith wind tail and orbital observations. The orientation of ventifact flutes thus suggests that they were formed under a different climate regime. Differences in orientations of recent and paleo-wind indicators have been noted at other Mars landing sites and may result from major orbital/axial changes that can cause significant changes in atmospheric circulation. Orientation differences between modern and older wind direction indicators at Jezero are useful clues to the climate history of the region.

    Burmese pythons in Florida: A synthesis of biology, impacts, and management tools

    Released January 10, 2023 07:02 EST

    2023, NeoBiota (80) 1-119

    Jacquelyn C. Guzy, Bryan G. Falk, Brian J. Smith, John David Willson, Robert Reed, Nicholas Aumen, Michael L. Avery, Ian A. Bartoszek, Earl Campbell, Michael Cherkiss, Natalie M. Claunch, Andrea Faye Currylow, Tylan Dean, Jeremy Dixon, Richard M. Engeman, Sarah Funck, Rebekah Gibble, Kodiak C. Hengstebeck, John S. Humphrey, Margaret Hunter, Jillian Josimovich, Jennifer Ketterlin Eckles, Michael Kirkland, Frank J. Mazzotti, Robert A. McCleery, Melissa A. Miller, Matthew F. McCollister, M. Rockwell Parker, Shannon E. Pittman, Michael R. Rochford, Christina Romagosa, Art Roybal, Ray W. Snow, McKayla M. Spencer, Hardin Waddle, Amy A. Yackel Adams, Kristen Hart

    Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) are native to southeastern Asia, however, there is an established invasive population inhabiting much of southern Florida throughout the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. Pythons have severely impacted native species and ecosystems in Florida and represent one of the most intractable invasive-species management issues across the globe. The difficulty stems from a unique combination of inaccessible habitat and the cryptic and resilient nature of pythons that thrive in the subtropical environment of southern Florida, rendering them extremely challenging to detect. Here we provide a comprehensive review and synthesis of the science relevant to managing invasive Burmese pythons. We describe existing control tools and review challenges to productive research, identifying key knowledge gaps that would improve future research and decision making for python control.

    Contaminant exposure and transport from three potential reuse waters within a single watershed

    Released January 10, 2023 06:47 EST

    2023, Environmental Science & Technology (57) 1353-1365

    Jason R. Masoner, Dana W. Kolpin, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Paul Bradley, Brian Arnall, Kenneth J. Forshay, James L. Gray, Justin F. Groves, Michelle Hladik, Laura E. Hubbard, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Rachael F. Lane, R. Blaine McCleskey, Bridgette F. Polite, David A. Roth, Michael Pettijohn, Michaelah C. Wilson

    Global demand for safe and sustainable water supplies necessitates a better understanding of contaminant exposures in potential reuse waters. In this study, we compared exposures and load contributions to surface water from the discharge of three reuse waters (wastewater effluent, urban stormwater, and agricultural runoff). Results document substantial and varying organic-chemical contribution to surface water from effluent discharges (e.g., disinfection byproducts [DBP], prescription pharmaceuticals, industrial/household chemicals), urban stormwater (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, nonprescription pharmaceuticals), and agricultural runoff (e.g., pesticides). Excluding DBPs, episodic storm-event organic concentrations and loads from urban stormwater were comparable to and often exceeded those of daily wastewater-effluent discharges. We also assessed if wastewater-effluent irrigation to corn resulted in measurable effects on organic-chemical concentrations in rain-induced agricultural runoff and harvested feedstock. Overall, the target-organic load of 491 g from wastewater-effluent irrigation to the study corn field during the 2019 growing season did not produce substantial dissolved organic-contaminant contributions in subsequent rain-induced runoff events. Out of the 140 detected organics in source wastewater-effluent irrigation, only imidacloprid and estrone had concentrations that resulted in observable differences between rain-induced agricultural runoff from the effluent-irrigated and nonirrigated corn fields. Analyses of pharmaceuticals and per-/polyfluoroalkyl substances in at-harvest corn-plant samples detected two prescription antibiotics, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin, at concentrations of 36 and 70 ng/g, respectively, in effluent-irrigated corn-plant samples; no contaminants were detected in noneffluent irrigated corn-plant samples.

    Validating a non-lethal method of aging endangered juvenile Lost River and Shortnose Suckers

    Released January 10, 2023 06:45 EST

    2023, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

    Barbara A. Martin, Summer M. Burdick, Rachael Katelyn Paul-Wilson, Ryan J Bart

    Populations of imperiled Lost River Deltistes luxatus, and Shortnose Chasmistes brevirostris, suckers in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon are experiencing long-term decreases in abundance due to limited recruitment of juvenile suckers into the adult populations. Researchers use estimated ages based on fin rays to study environmental factors affecting year-class formation, generate annual juvenile sucker survival indices, and study variations in early life history. Biased or imprecise age estimates can lead to erroneous conclusions and have implications for age-based survival estimates, indications of recruitment, and growth estimators. We examined fin rays collected from individual suckers captured on multiple occasions and determined that juvenile suckers deposit a translucent increment on fin rays annually. Size at age data for suckers first captured as young as age-0 corroborated our finding of annual increment formation and indicate the first increments are formed at age-1. We used edge and marginal increment analysis conducted on fin rays to determine the timing of annual increment formation. Our results indicate that increment formation occurs on fin rays of juvenile suckers from October through May, and peaks between February and April.

    Wind-energy development alters pronghorn migration at multiple scales

    Released January 10, 2023 06:44 EST

    2023, Ecology and Evolution (13)

    Megan Cochran Milligan, Aaron Johnston, Jeffery L. Beck, Kaitlyn L. Taylor, Embere Hall, Lee Knox, Teal Cufaude, Cody Wallace, Geneva W. Chong, Matthew Kauffman

    Migration is a critical behavioral strategy necessary for population persistence and ecosystem functioning, but migration routes have been increasingly disrupted by anthropogenic activities, including energy development. Wind energy is the world's fastest growing source of electricity and represents an important alternative to hydrocarbon extraction, but its effects on migratory species beyond birds and bats are not well understood. We evaluated the effects of wind-energy development on pronghorn migration, including behavior and habitat selection, to assess potential effects on connectivity and other functional benefits including stopovers. We monitored GPS-collared female pronghorn from 2010 to 2012 and 2018 to 2020 in south-central Wyoming, USA, an area with multiple wind-energy facilities in various stages of development and operation. Across all time periods, we collected 286 migration sequences from 117 individuals, including 121 spring migrations, 123 fall migrations, and 42 facultative winter migrations. While individuals continued to migrate through wind-energy facilities, pronghorn made important behavioral adjustments relative to turbines during migration. These included avoiding turbines when selecting stopover sites in spring and winter, selecting areas farther from turbines at a small scale in spring and winter, moving more quickly near turbines in spring (although pronghorn moved more slowly near turbines in the fall), and reducing fidelity to migration routes relative to wind turbines under construction in both spring and fall. For example, an increase in distance to turbine from 0 to 1 km translated to a 33% and 300% increase in the relative probability of selection for stopover sites in spring and winter, respectively. The behavioral adjustments pronghorn made relative to wind turbines could reduce the functional benefits of their migration, such as foraging success or the availability of specific routes, over the long term.

    Connecting habitat to species abundance: The role of light and temperature on the abundance of walleye in lakes

    Released January 10, 2023 06:37 EST

    2023, Canadian Journal Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (80) 273-286

    Shad Mahlum, Kelsey Vitense, Hayley Rikert Corson-Dosch, Lindsay Platt, Jordan Read, Patrick J Schmalz, Melissa Treml, Gretchen JA Hansen

    Walleye (Sander vitreus) are an ecologically important species managed for recreational, tribal, and commercial harvest. Walleye prefer cool water and low light conditions, and therefore changing water temperature and clarity potentially impacts walleye habitat and populations across the landscape. Using survey data collected from 1993 to 2018 from 312 lakes in Minnesota, we evaluated the relationship between thermal-optical habitat and the relative abundance of small (0–300 mm), medium (300–450 mm), and large (450 + mm) walleye. Thermal-optical habitat was positively correlated with the relative abundance of small and medium walleye but not large walleye. Walleye were more abundant in larger, naturally reproducing lakes opposed to smaller, stocked lakes. Thermal-optical habitat changed in 59% of lakes since 1980 (26% increasing and 33% decreasing) and appears to be driven primarily by changes in water clarity and thus optical habitat area. Our study provides important insights into local and regional drivers that influence walleye populations that can be used to assist fisheries managers in setting population goals and managing harvest.

    The source, fate, and transport of arsenic in the Yellowstone hydrothermal system - An overview

    Released January 09, 2023 08:21 EST

    2022, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (432)

    R. Blaine McCleskey, D. Kirk Nordstrom, Shaul Hurwitz, Daniel R. Colman, David A. Roth, Madeline Oxner Johnson, Eric S. Boyd

    The Yellowstone Plateau Volcanic Field (YPVF) contains >10,000 thermal features including hot springs, pools, geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles with diverse chemical compositions. Arsenic (As) concentrations in YPVF thermal waters typically range from 0.005 to 4 mg/L, but an As concentration of 17 mg/L has been reported. Arsenic data from thermal springs, outflow drainages, rivers, and from volcanic rocks and silica sinter were used to identify the sources, characterize geochemical and microbial processes affecting As, and quantify As fluvial transport. Arsenic in YPVF thermal waters is mainly derived from high temperature leaching of rhyolites. Arsenic concentrations in thermal waters primarily depend on water type, which is controlled by boiling, evaporation, mixing, and mineral precipitation and dissolution. Springs with low As concentrations include acid-SO4 (0.1 ± 0.1 mg/L), NH4-SO4 rich (0.003 ± 0.007 mg/L), and dilute thermal waters (0.1 ± 0.1 mg/L); travertine-forming waters have moderate As concentrations (0.4 ± 0.2 mg/L); and neutral- Cl waters (1.2 ± 0.8 mg/L) common in the western portion of the Yellowstone Caldera and Cl-rich waters (1.9 ± 1.2 mg/L) primarily from Basins near the Caldera boundary have elevated As concentrations. Reduced As species (arsenite and thiolated-As species) are most prevalent near the orifice of hot springs, and then As rapidly oxidizes to arsenate along drainages. Previously published cultivation-based studies and metagenomic data from microbial communities inhabiting a variety of hot springs indicate a widespread distribution of arsenite oxidation and arsenate reduction capabilities among the hot springs. Widespread use and transformation of As by thermophilic microorganisms promotes more soluble and toxic forms. Most of the water discharged from thermal springs eventually ends up in a nearby river where As remains soluble and exhibits little attenuation during downstream transport. Since 2010, 183 ± 10 metric tons/year of As were transported from Yellowstone National Park (YNP) via rivers. The discharge from YPVF thermal features impairs river water quality whereby As concentrations exceed 10 μg/L for many rivers reaches within and downstream from YNP.

    Long-term, high-resolution permafrost monitoring reveals coupled energy balance and hydrogeologic controls on talik dynamics near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Québec, Canada)

    Released January 09, 2023 07:01 EST

    2023, Water Resources Research (59)

    Philippe Fortier, Jean-Michel Lemieux, Nathan L Young, Michelle A. Walvoord, Richard Fortier

    Rising temperatures in the Arctic and subarctic are driving the rapid thaw of permafrost by reducing permafrost cooling, increasing active layer thickness, and promoting talik formation. In this study, the cyrohydrogeology of a permafrost mound located within the discontinuous permafrost zone near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Québec, Canada) is characterized through the analysis of a dataset covering more than two decades of monitoring. This dataset captures a high degree of interannual variability in air temperature and ground thermal conditions, as well as the formation and closure of a supra-permafrost talik. Data indicate that variable saturation and advective heat transport directly contribute to the expansion and contraction of the talik. Data further indicate the presence of two distinct thermo-hydrologic settings resulting from differences in surface conditions, as well as subsurface thermal and flow regimes. The first, found at the top of the mound feature, is characterized by very low moisture contents (< 0.05 m3/m3), while the second, found at the side of the mound feature, shows higher annual moisture contents that strongly influence the dynamics of heat and groundwater flow. The data were synthesized into a detailed conceptual model of the cyrohydrogeological dynamics that highlights the important role of hydrogeological characterization and long-term datasets in understanding the effects of groundwater flow on seasonal frost and permafrost dynamics. Specifically, the results presented here show that in the absence of long-term datasets, longer-period transient phenomena such as talik opening and closure may be misrepresented as uni-directional feedback loops, as opposed to highly-dynamic temporary phenomena.

    Paleomagnetically defined brief lifespans for two large shield volcanoes in the Cascades Arc

    Released January 09, 2023 06:53 EST

    2023, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (434)

    Anthony Francis Pivarunas, Dawnika Blatter, L. J. Patrick Muffler, Michael A. Clynne, Andrew T. Calvert, Lauren N Harrison, R.L. Christiansen

    Mafic to intermediate shield volcanoes with multi-cubic-kilometer eruptive volumes are common in the Cascades Volcanic Arc, but little is known about their eruptive histories as either singular or sustained episodes, or the total time required for their construction. Paleomagnetic data were collected from the lava flows of Ash Creek Butte (17 sites) and Crater Mountain (14 sites) in northern California; both volcanoes are large shields with total volumes of ∼11 km3 each. Tightly clustered paleomagnetic results at both volcanoes, when coupled with analysis of geomagnetic secular variation, suggest that each edifice was built in only a few centuries, possibly in as little time as 50–90 years, indicating sub-century to century scale eruptive durations for two sizeable regional shield volcanoes within the Cascades Arc. These rapidly built shield volcanoes are substantially larger than typically defined monogenetic volcanoes, yet both are wholly formed within a single ‘episode’ at the limits of temporal resolution. Paleomagnetic methods provide a high-resolution tool that can be applied to understanding the tempo of regional volcanism in arcs.

      Simulating post-dam removal effects of hatchery operations and disease on juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) production in the Lower Klamath River, California

      Released January 06, 2023 14:43 EST

      2023, Open-File Report 2022-1106

      Russell W. Perry, John M. Plumb, Michael J. Dodrill, Nicholas A. Som, H. Eve Robinson, Nicholas J. Hetrick

      Executive Summary

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been considering the approval to breach four dams on lower Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California. Approval of this application would allow for Strikeouts indicate text deletion hereafter. decommissioning and dam removal, beginning as early as 2023. This action would affect Klamath River salmon (Oncorhynchus ssp.) populations, a critical food source for federally endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). In the long run, reintroduction of salmon populations to the upper Klamath River Basin may increase salmon abundance available to Southern Resident Killer Whales, but in the near term, it is uncertain how changes in hatchery management and disease-caused mortality by the myxosporean parasite Ceratonova shasta will influence abundance of salmon populations entering the ocean. To assess this uncertainty, we used the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) to simulate population dynamics of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) for nine different population sources that rear and migrate through the Klamath River.

      S3 is a spatially explicit population model that runs on a daily time-step and simulates daily growth, survival, and movement of juvenile Chinook salmon from the time of spawning through ocean entry. The key features of this model relevant to this report include (1) a C. shasta disease submodel; (2) a temperature-dependent bioenergetics model that calculates daily growth rates; (3) size-dependent movement; (4) density-dependent dynamics that are influenced by the effect of flow on suitable habitat area; and (5) habitat, river flow, and water temperature specific to each scenario.

      We constructed and ran four scenarios: two scenarios for dams in place (Dams In) and dams removed (Dams Out), and given these dam-removal conditions, a low- and high-spore scenario for C. shasta. Each scenario was run for nine water years representing a range of conditions from dry to wet. Previously published daily river flows and water temperatures for Dams In and Dams Out provided physical inputs for each scenario. Daily spore concentrations were simulated using a three-part mechanistic model that used river discharge, water temperature, and the prevalence of infection (POI) of hatchery-origin Chinook salmon juveniles with C. shasta in the previous year3. We constructed two spore scenarios for each Dams In and Dams Out scenario, a “Low Spore” scenario and a “High Spore” scenario resulting in four scenarios for comparison. Spore scenarios were established by setting the prior-year POI of hatchery fish to 0.15 and 0.75 in the estimation of spore concentrations. Hatchery releases under Dams Out differed from those under the current Dams In scenario. Hatchery releases under the Dams Out scenario were modified to emulate changes in hatchery production that would occur under Dams Out conditions. This included moving hatchery production and releases from Iron Gate Dam to a proposed hatchery at Fall Creek, which would be located about 11 kilometers (km) upstream of Iron Gate Dam. It is anticipated that the Fall Creek hatchery would produce fewer fish at smaller and larger sizes at different release timings. For salmon inputs, we used observed historical abundance of main-stem spawners from brood year 2009 and juvenile salmon entering from tributaries in water year 2010, which represented an average return year for the 2005–18 period. Main-stem spawning was allowed to shift upstream from Iron Gate Dam under the Dams Out scenario. We also included hatchery-origin fish as natural spawners that would have otherwise returned to Iron Gate Hatchery in the first 3 years following dam removal.

      The S3 model simulated considerably higher total abundance for Dams Out relative to the respective Dams In scenarios, and higher abundance for the Low Spore scenario relative to the High Spore scenario. The difference in abundance between the four combinations of the dam-removal and spore scenarios varied among population groups. For main-stem natural production, juvenile abundance at ocean entry was 2–3 times higher for Dams Out scenarios than for Dams In scenarios, and juvenile abundance for High Spore scenarios was lower than that for the Dams Out Low Spores scenario. For hatchery releases, abundance at ocean entry was similar between Dams In and Dams Out scenarios for most water years, despite lower release sizes from Fall Creek Hatchery under Dams Out. For tributary populations, abundance for the High Spore scenarios was consistently lower than for the Low Spore scenarios, but differences between dam-removal scenarios varied among water years, with Dams Out scenarios having similar or higher abundance than Dams In scenarios, and dry water years having the largest difference between Dams In and Dams Out scenarios.

      We determined that different factors affected the response of each population group. For main-stem natural production, survival from fry emergence to ocean entry was higher under Dams Out scenarios compared to Dams In scenarios because juveniles emerged later and tended to arrive at the ocean sooner and at larger sizes, causing the population to have less time-dependent in-river mortality. Owing to their late release timing, hatchery populations had high disease-caused mortality in Dams In and Dams Out High Spore scenarios. Furthermore, a high proportion of infected fish (those that would be expected to die at some future point) survived to the ocean. Iron Gate Hatchery fish had lower survival rates than releases from Fall Creek Hatchery because the last mid-June release group from the 2010 Iron Gate Hatchery release incurred nearly total mortality in most water years owing to water temperatures exceeding 24 degrees Celsius. Our analysis shows how the S3 model was able to track different populations and provide insights on how the differential response of each population combined to influence the simulated number of juvenile Chinook salmon arriving at the Pacific Ocean where they become available as a food source for Southern Resident Killer Whales.

      Quality of groundwater used for domestic supply in the Modesto, Turlock, and Merced Subbasins of the San Joaquin Valley, California

      Released January 06, 2023 12:43 EST

      2023, Open-File Report 2022-1116

      Zeno F. Levy, Mariia Balkan, Jennifer L. Shelton


       More than 2 million Californians rely on groundwater from privately owned domestic wells for drinking-water supply. This report summarizes a water-quality survey of domestic and small-system drinking-water supply wells in the Modesto, Turlock, and Merced subbasins of the San Joaquin Valley where more than 78,000 residents are estimated to use privately owned domestic wells. Results indicate that inorganic and organic constituents in groundwater were respectively present above regulatory (maximum contaminant level, MCL) benchmarks for public drinking-water quality in 37 percent and 9 percent of the aquifer area used for domestic drinking-water supplies (herein, “domestic groundwater resources”).

      The most prevalent inorganic constituents exceeding regulatory benchmarks were nitrate, uranium, and arsenic. The only organic constituents exceeding regulatory benchmarks were the fumigant constituents 1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) and 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), but the herbicides atrazine and simazine were detected at low concentrations below one-tenth of regulatory benchmarks in 30 percent of domestic groundwater resources. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and manganese exceeded aesthetic-based (secondary maximum contaminant level [SMCL]) benchmarks for drinking water in 3 percent and 13 percent of domestic groundwater resources, respectively. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were detected in 23 percent of domestic groundwater resources, with 4 percent exceeding California state notification or response levels for specific compounds. Total coliform bacteria were detected in 20 percent of domestic groundwater resources. 

      Elevated concentrations of nitrate, uranium, TDS, and pesticides (fumigant constituents and herbicides) are related to agricultural land use and were typically present at shallow depths up to 75 meters below land surface. Agriculturally derived constituents were detected in wells screened below the Corcoran Clay Member of the Tulare Formation (herein, “Corcoran Clay”) in the southeastern part of the study area, where the Corcoran Clay tends to be shallower and thinner than in areas to the northwest. Nitrate, uranium, and TDS were most prevalent in the northwest part of the study area proximal to the valley trough where soils are poorly drained and agricultural land uses are predominantly grain, alfalfa, and dairy farms. Pesticides tended to occur in groundwater below coarse-grained surficial deposits and within a northwest to southeast trending band along the eastern extent of the Corcoran Clay that typically demarcates the western extent of well-drained soils associated with perennial orchard crops. Elevated concentrations of arsenic tended to occur west of this band in reducing groundwater but also sometimes co-occurred with elevated nitrate in oxic groundwater, most likely because of geochemical conditions in agriculturally affected groundwater that can enhance the mobility of arsenic from aquifer sediments. 

      Round goby detection in Lakes Huron and Michigan— An evaluation of eDNA and fish catches

      Released January 06, 2023 08:18 EST

      2023, Fishes (8)

      Katarzyna Przybyla-Kelly, Ashley M. Spoljaric, Meredith B. Nevers

      Aquatic surveys for fish in large water bodies (e.g., Laurentian Great Lakes of North America) often require a flexible approach using multiple methods, surveying different depths, and sampling across seasons, especially when the target species is elusive in its natural habitat. The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is an invasive, bottom-dwelling fish inhabiting rocky areas of all five Great Lakes. While trawl surveys are typically used for abundance assessments, angling has been demonstrated as a means of supplementing surveys with additional data. Yet, round goby abundance and distribution is still not well described. Recently, with considerable success, scientists have explored sampling environmental DNA (eDNA) to complement traditional monitoring techniques for population abundance estimates, early detection of invasive species, and spawning or migration events. Therefore, we collected eDNA from water samples alongside bottom trawls and hook and line angling in Lakes Huron and Michigan to detect round goby. eDNA samples were analyzed by both droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) to maximize the likelihood of detection. Overall, round goby was captured in 23% of the trawls, but the eDNA based methods detected round goby in 74% and 66% of samples by ddPCR and qPCR, respectively, mostly in samples collected at <30 m depths, and mostly in the fall. More studies comparing eDNA based methods to traditional monitoring, especially trawls in large open waters, may contribute to a better understanding of using eDNA in population assessments.

      Water and endangered fish in the Klamath River Basin: Do Upper Klamath Lake surface elevation and water quality affect adult Lost River and Shortnose Sucker survival?

      Released January 06, 2023 07:00 EST

      2022, North American Journal of Fisheries Management (42) 1414-1432

      Jacob Richard Krause, Eric C. Janney, Summer M. Burdick, Alta C. Harris, Brian S. Hayes

      In the western United States, water allocation decisions often incorporate the needs of endangered fish. In the Klamath River basin, an understanding of temporal variation in annual survival rates of Shortnose Suckers Chasmistes brevirostris and Lost River Suckers Deltistes luxatus and their relation to environmental drivers is critical to water management and sucker recovery. Extinction risk is high for these fish because most individuals in the populations are approaching their maximum life span and recruitment of new fish into the adult populations has never exceeded mortality losses in the past 22 years. We used a time series of mark–recapture data from the years 1999–2021 to analyze the relationship between lake level, water quality covariates, and survival of adult Shortnose Suckers and two spawning populations of Lost River Suckers in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. We compared competing model hypotheses in a maximum likelihood framework using Akaike's information criterion and then ran the top environmental covariates in a Bayesian framework to estimate how much of the variation in survival was explained by these covariates as compared to random variation. The complementary analyses found almost unequivocal support for our base model without environmental covariates. Estimated adult sucker survival was high across the time series and consistent with sucker life history (mean annual survival = 0.82–0.91). This suggests that adult suckers were generally robust to interannual variation in lake levels as well as consistently poor water quality within the years of our data set. Recovery time is limited, as a declining survival trend for adult suckers in recent years may be due to the onset of senescence. The successful recovery of suckers in Upper Klamath Lake may rely on shifting research from the causes of adult mortality and its relationship with lake surface elevation to the causes of poor recruitment into adult populations.

      Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources in the Lower Saxony Basin of Germany, 2020

      Released January 05, 2023 11:45 EST

      2023, Fact Sheet 2022-3081

      Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Cheryl A. Woodall, Thomas M. Finn, Kristen R. Marra, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Phuong A. Le, Ronald M. Drake II, Geoffrey S. Ellis

      Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 321 million barrels of shale oil and 435 billion cubic feet of shale gas in the Lower Saxony Basin, Germany.

      Geologic map of the source region of Shalbatana Vallis, Mars

      Released January 05, 2023 09:50 EST

      2023, Scientific Investigations Map 3492

      Daniel C. Berman, J. Alexis Palmero Rodriguez, Catherine M. Weitz, David A. Crown

      Xanthe Terra is a high-standing cratered plain located southeast of Lunae Planum and south of Chryse Planitia in the western equatorial region of Mars. It contains landforms shaped by diverse geologic processes, including various scales of channels and valleys, chaotic terrains, delta fan deposits, and landslides. An extensive outflow channel system is located within Xanthe Terra and the surrounding circum-Chryse region, including Shalbatana and Ravi Valles, thought to have formed by catastrophic flooding during the Hesperian to Amazonian Periods. The study region within Xanthe Terra is defined by Mars Transverse Mercator (MTM) quadrangles 00042 and 00047 (2.5° to −2.5° N, 310° to 320° E) and includes Orson Welles crater (124.5 km diameter, the source region for Shalbatana Vallis), the southernmost portion of Shalbatana Vallis, Aromatum Chaos (the source region for Ravi Vallis), the westernmost portion of Ravi Vallis, and the source area of Nanedi Valles. The Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Image System (THEMIS) IR daytime mosaic (100 m/pixel) was used as the primary base map. We constructed the geologic map of the source region of Shalbatana Vallis at 1:750,000 scale. We defined 16 geologic units in the map area, which we divided into the following groups: plains units, channel units, crater units, chaos units, flow units, and surficial units. Mapped linear features include ridge crests, scarp crests, channels, crests of crater rims, crests of buried or degraded crater rims, graben traces, grooves, troughs, and faults. Surface features include secondary crater chains and dark ejecta material. The geologic history of the map region can be summarized as follows. During the Noachian Period, ancient highland materials in the Xanthe Terra region, including lava and any ancient sedimentary units present, were reworked by impacts during the heavy bombardment. In particular, the impact that formed a basin that later underwent widespread resurfacing, likely as a combination of lava flows, reworked crater materials, and sedimentary deposits resulting in the flat-lying, smooth plains of Chryse Planitia. The Hesperian Period was characterized by the impact that formed Orson Welles crater and the subsequent formation of Shalbatana Vallis, as well as Aromatum Chaos and Ravi Vallis. During this period, depressions were filled with smooth material that was subsequently modified by collapse, subsidence, and flooding. Water filled and overflowed the tops of Orson Welles crater and other depressions. The Amazonian Period was characterized by ongoing collapse, as well as the formation of flow and surficial materials, including a lava flow that extends from Aromatum Chaos.

      High female desert tortoise mortality in the western Sonoran Desert during California’s epic 2012–2016 drought

      Released January 05, 2023 06:54 EST

      2023, Endangered Species Research (50) 1-16

      Jeffrey E. Lovich, Michele (Shellie) R. Puffer, Kristy L. Cummings, Terence R. Arundel, Michael S. Vamstad, Kathleen D. Brundige

      We conducted population surveys for desert tortoises Gopherus agassizii at 2 nearby sites in the western Sonoran Desert of California, USA, from 2015-2018, during the driest ongoing 22 yr period (2000-2021) in the southwestern USA in over 1200 yr. We hypothesized that drought-induced mortality would be female-biased due to water and energy losses attributable to egg production during protracted periods of resource limitation. At the higher-elevation, cooler, wetter Cottonwood site from 2015-2016, the sex ratio of live adult tortoises was biased toward males and the sex ratio of tortoises estimated to have died during the intensified drought conditions from 2012-2016 was essentially even. At the lower-elevation, warmer, drier Orocopia site from 2017-2018, the sex ratio of live adult tortoises was biased toward males and the sex ratio of tortoises with estimated times of death from 2012-2016 was biased toward females. High female mortality at the Orocopia site may have resulted from the interaction of drought effects and the bet-hedging reproductive strategy of tortoises wherein they continue to produce clutches of eggs in drought years. Annual reproductive output results in an estimated loss of up to 13.5% of female tortoise body mass including over 0.20 l of water. Combined with dehydration during severe droughts, these losses may compromise their ability to survive droughts lasting more than 2 yr. The low tortoise density and high mortality of females observed may reflect reduced survival of tortoises near the southern edge of their range due to climate change, including protracted and intensified droughts.

      Guide for benthic invertebrate studies in support of Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

      Released January 04, 2023 14:12 EST

      2023, Open-File Report 2022-1110

      David J. Soucek, Aïda M. Farag, John M. Besser, Jeffery A. Steevens

      This guide is intended to assist with characterizing injury to freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) in Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) cases. The contents are narrowly focused on insects, crustaceans, snails, and other invertebrate fauna that are typically considered part of BMI communities and are not intended to address studies of injury to larger benthic taxa such as freshwater mussels, crayfish, or benthic fishes or amphibians. Although some percentage of the community functions as predators, BMIs are predominantly primary consumers (for example, scrapers, shredders, and filterer/gatherer feeding groups) that play an essential role in converting carbon and nitrogen from plant tissues into animal biomass for higher-order consumers, especially in flowing waters. Aquatic contaminants can disrupt the quantity and quality of energy transferred (ecosystem function) by reducing invertebrate biomass and diversity. Additionally, the accumulation of toxic residues in invertebrate tissues may be a source of exposure leading to adverse effects in higher trophic levels. The goal of NRDAR BMI assessments is to establish direct linkages of contaminant exposure to injuries reflected by changes in community structure (for example, reduced density and taxa richness) or by effects at the individual population level (for example, survival, growth, and reproduction). BMIs are infrequently the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)-managed resource in a NRDAR case, with managed resources more frequently including migratory birds, fish, or other insectivorous vertebrates. Therefore, it is critical to have clearly defined objectives for evaluating BMIs and an understanding of how invertebrate data relate to the quantification of injuries to the DOI-managed resource. This guide is intended to assist decisions on whether or not to proceed with BMI studies, use of existing information and data for screening purposes, and what types of studies can support a BMI-injury determination. This document is intended to provide general considerations and best practices for assessing BMIs. Relevant guidance and references are listed throughout the report as sources for specific methods and analysis.

      Suppression of invasive Brown Treesnakes and reintroduction of native avifauna on Guam

      Released January 04, 2023 08:37 EST

      2023, Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (104)

      Robert McElderry, Eben H. Paxton, Andre Nguyen, Shane R. Siers

      Many agencies and interest groups are committed to re-establishing components of Guam's native avifauna through the reintroduction of captive-reared birds or translocation from other islands in the Marianas if the Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis; BTS) can be eliminated. Island-wide eradication of BTS from Guam continues to appear out of reach, but with recent and future advancement in BTS suppression technology, we may soon reach a point where suppression may enable the reintroduction of some of Guam's extirpated bird species. Our simulations indicate that bird persistence in Guam's forests would only be possible at a suppression level just short of full eradication.

      The future of ecosystem assessments is automation, collaboration, and artificial intelligence

      Released January 04, 2023 06:54 EST

      2023, Environmental Research Letters (18)

      Carmen Galaz-García, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Julien Brun, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Trevor Dhu, Nicholas J. Murray, Connor J. Nolan, Taylor H. Ricketts, Heidi M. Sosik, Daniel Sousa, Geoff Willard, Benjamin S Halpern

      Robust and routine ecosystem assessments will be fundamental to track progress towards achieving this decade’s global environmental and sustainability goals. Here we examine four needs that address common failure points of ecosystem assessments. These are (1) developing rapid, reproducible, and repeatable ecological data workflows, (2) harmonizing in situ and remotely sensed data, (3) integrating socioeconomic and biophysical data, and (4) increasing access to the digital resources and cyberinfrastructure needed to perform assessments. These four needs have profound potential to help us achieve our environmental objectives through cross-sector collaborations that leverage advancements in digital resources, remote data streams, and data science.

      Experimental infection of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) with SARS-CoV-2

      Released January 04, 2023 06:44 EST

      2023, mSphere

      Jeffrey S. Hall, Erik K. Hofmeister, Hon S. Ip, Sean Nashold, Ariel Elizabeth Leon, Carly Marie Malave, Elizabeth Falendysz, Tonie E. Rocke, M. Carossino, U. Balasuriya, Susan Knowles

      The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is thought to have originated in wild bats from Asia, and as the resulting pandemic continues into its third year, concerns have been raised that the virus will expand its host range and infect North American wildlife species, including bats. Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) live in large colonies in the southern United States, often in urban areas and, as such, could be exposed to the virus from infected humans. We experimentally challenged wild T. brasiliensis with SARS-CoV-2 to determine the susceptibility, reservoir potential, and population impacts of infection in this species. Of 10 bats oronasally inoculated with SARS-CoV-2, 5 became infected and orally excreted moderate amounts of virus for up to 18 days postinoculation. These five subjects all seroconverted and cleared the virus before the end of the study with no obvious clinical signs of disease. We additionally found no evidence of viral transmission to uninoculated subjects. These results indicate that while T. brasiliensis are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, infection of wild populations of T. brasiliensis would not likely cause mortality. However, the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from T. brasiliensis to or from humans, or to other animal species, is a possibility requiring further investigation to better define.