Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

(500 records max)

Digitized analog boomer seismic-reflection data collected during U.S. Geological Survey cruises Erda 90-1_HC, Erda 90-1_PBP, and Erda 91-3 in Mississippi Sound, June 1990 and September 1991

Released April 21, 2017 09:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1047

Stephen T. Bosse, James G. Flocks, Arnell S. Forde

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program has actively collected geophysical and sedimentological data in the northern Gulf of Mexico for several decades, including shallow subsurface data in the form of high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles (HRSP). Prior to the mid-1990s most HRSP data were collected in analog format as paper rolls of continuous profiles up to 25 meters long. A large portion of this data resides in a single repository with minimal metadata. As part of the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program, scientists at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center are converting the analog paper records to digital format using a large-format continuous scanner.

This report, along with the accompanying USGS data release (Bosse and others, 2017), serves as an archive of seismic profiles with headers, converted Society of Exploration Geophysicists Y format (SEG-Y) files, navigation data, and geographic information system data files for digitized boomer seismic-reflection data collected from the Research Vessel (R/V) Erda during two cruises in 1990 and 1991. The Erda 90-1 geophysical cruise was conducted in two legs. The first leg included seismic data collected from the Hancock County region of the Mississippi Sound (Erda 90-1_HC) from June 4 to June 6, 1990. The second leg included seismic data collected from the Petit Bois Pass area of Mississippi Sound (Erda 90-1_PBP) from June 8 to June 9, 1990. The Erda 91-3 cruise occurred between September 12 and September 23, 1991, and surveyed the Mississippi Sound region just west of Horn Island, Mississippi.

Feasibility Study for the Quantitative Assessment of Mineral Resources in Asteroids

Released April 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1041

Laszlo Keszthelyi, Justin Hagerty, Amanda Bowers, Karl Ellefsen, Ian Ridley, Trude King, David Trilling, Nicholas Moskovitz, Will Grundy

This study was undertaken to determine if the U.S. Geological Survey’s process for conducting mineral resource assessments on Earth can be applied to asteroids. Successful completion of the assessment, using water and iron resources to test the workflow, has resulted in identification of the minimal adjustments required to conduct full resource assessments beyond Earth. We also identify the types of future studies that would greatly reduce uncertainties in an actual future assessment. Whereas this is a feasibility study and does not include a complete and robust analysis of uncertainty, it is clear that the water and metal resources in near-Earth asteroids are sufficient to support humanity should it become a fully space-faring species.

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units - A model partnership program

Released April 20, 2017 15:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3022

Donald E. Dennerline, Dawn E. Childs

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units (CRU) program is a unique model of cooperative partnership among the USGS, other U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal agencies, universities, State fish and wildlife agencies, and the Wildlife Management Institute. These partnerships are maintained as one of the USGS’s strongest links to Federal and State land and natural resource management agencies.

Established in 1935 to meet the need for trained professionals in the growing field of wildlife management, the program currently consists of 40 Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units located on university campuses in 38 States and supports 119 research scientist positions when fully funded. The threefold mission of the CRU program is to (1) conduct scientific research for the management of fish, wildlife, and other natural resources; (2) provide technical assistance to natural resource managers in the application of scientific information to natural resource policy and management; and (3) train future natural resource professionals.

U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2016 research abstracts

Released April 20, 2017 15:00 EST

2017, Circular 1427

Donald E. Dennerline, Dawn E. Childs, editor(s)

Introduction

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has several strategic goals that focus its efforts on serving the American people. The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area has responsibility for the following objectives under the strategic goal of “Science to Manage and Sustain Resources for Thriving Economies and Healthy Ecosystems”:

This report provides abstracts of the majority of ongoing research investigations of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program and is intended to complement the 2016 Cooperative Research Units Program Year in Review Circular 1424 (https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1424). The report is organized by the following major science themes that contribute to the objectives of the USGS:

Longshore water-current velocity and the potential for transport of contaminants—A pilot study in Lake Erie from Walnut Creek to Presque Isle State Park beaches, Erie, Pennsylvania, June and August 2015

Released April 20, 2017 13:45 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1206

Elizabeth A. Hittle

Bacteria-driven restrictions and (or) advisories on swimming at beaches in Presque Isle State Park (PISP), Erie, Pennsylvania, can occur during the summer months. One of the suspected sources of bacteria is sediment. A terrestrial sediment source to the west of PISP is Walnut Creek, which discharges to Lake Erie about 8.5 kilometers southwest of PISP Beach 1. On June 24, June 25, August 18, and August 19, 2015, synoptic surveys were conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Sea Grant, in Lake Erie between Walnut Creek and PISP Beach 1 to characterize the water-current velocity and direction to determine whether sediment from Walnut Creek could be affecting the PISP beaches. Water-quality data (temperature, specific conductance, and turbidity) were collected in conjunction with the synoptic surveys in June. Water-quality data (Escherichia coli [E. coli] bacteria, temperature, and turbidity) were collected about a meter from the shore (nearshore) on June 24, August 19, and after a precipitation event on August 11, 2015. Additionally, suspended sediment was collected nearshore on June 24 and August 11, 2015. Samples collected near Walnut Creek during all three bacterial sampling events contained higher counts than other samples. Counts steadily decreased from west to east, then increased about 1–2 kilometers from PISP Beach 1; however, this study was not focused on examining other potential sources of bacteria.

The Velocity Mapping Toolbox (VMT) was used to process the water-current synoptic surveys, and the results were visualized within ArcMap. For the survey accomplished on June 24, 2015, potential paths a particle could take between Walnut Creek and PSIP Beach 1 if conditions remained steady over a number of hours were visualized. However, the water-current velocity and direction were variable from one day to the other, indicating this was likely an unrealistic assumption for the study area. This analysis was not accomplished for the other surveys due to unsteady lake conditions encountered on June 25 and August 18, and reduced quality of the survey on August 19.

Volcanic air pollution hazards in Hawaii

Released April 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3017

Tamar Elias, A. Jeff Sutton

Noxious sulfur dioxide gas and other air pollutants emitted from Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i react with oxygen, atmospheric moisture, and sunlight to produce volcanic smog (vog) and acid rain. Vog can negatively affect human health and agriculture, and acid rain can contaminate household water supplies by leaching metals from building and plumbing materials in rooftop rainwater-catchment systems. U.S. Geological Survey scientists, along with health professionals and local government officials are working together to better understand volcanic air pollution and to enhance public awareness of this hazard.

Evaluation of harvest and information needs for North American sea ducks

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (12) 1-29

Mark D. Koneff, Guthrie S. Zimmerman, Chris P. Dwyer, Kathleen K. Fleming, Paul I. Padding, Patrick K. Devers, Fred A. Johnson, Michael C. Runge, Anthony J. Roberts

Wildlife managers routinely seek to establish sustainable limits of sport harvest or other regulated forms of take while confronted with considerable uncertainty. A growing body of ecological research focuses on methods to describe and account for uncertainty in management decision-making and to prioritize research and monitoring investments to reduce the most influential uncertainties. We used simulation methods incorporating measures of demographic uncertainty to evaluate risk of overharvest and prioritize information needs for North American sea ducks (Tribe Mergini). Sea ducks are popular game birds in North America, yet they are poorly monitored and their population dynamics are poorly understood relative to other North American waterfowl. There have been few attempts to assess the sustainability of harvest of North American sea ducks, and no formal harvest strategy exists in the U.S. or Canada to guide management. The popularity of sea duck hunting, extended hunting opportunity for some populations (i.e., special seasons and/or bag limits), and population declines have led to concern about potential overharvest. We used Monte Carlo simulation to contrast estimates of allowable harvest and observed harvest and assess risk of overharvest for 7 populations of North American sea ducks: the American subspecies of common eider (Somateria mollissima dresseri), eastern and western populations of black scoter (Melanitta americana) and surf scoter (M. perspicillata), and continental populations of white-winged scoter (M. fusca) and long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis). We combined information from empirical studies and the opinions of experts through formal elicitation to create probability distributions reflecting uncertainty in the individual demographic parameters used in this assessment. Estimates of maximum growth (rmax), and therefore of allowable harvest, were highly uncertain for all populations. Long-tailed duck and American common eider appeared to be at high risk of overharvest (i.e., observed harvest < allowable harvest in 5–7% and 19–26% of simulations, respectively depending on the functional form of density dependence), whereas the other populations appeared to be at moderate risk to low risk (observed harvest < allowable harvest in 22–68% of simulations, again conditional on the form of density dependence). We also evaluated the sensitivity of the difference between allowable and observed harvest estimates to uncertainty in individual demographic parameters to prioritize information needs. We found that uncertainty in overall fecundity had more influence on comparisons of allowable and observed harvest than adult survival or observed harvest for all species except long-tailed duck. Although adult survival was characterized by less uncertainty than individual components of fecundity, it was identified as a high priority information need given the sensitivity of growth rate and allowable harvest to this parameter. Uncertainty about population size was influential in the comparison of observed and allowable harvest for 5 of the 6 populations where it factored into the assessment. While this assessment highlights a high degree of uncertainty in allowable harvest, it provides a framework for integration of improved data from future research and monitoring. It could also serve as the basis for harvest strategy development as management objectives and regulatory alternatives are specified by the management community.

Developing criteria to establish Trusted Digital Repositories

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Data Science Journal (16) 1-13

John L. Faundeen

This paper details the drivers, methods, and outcomes of the U.S. Geological Survey’s quest to establish criteria by which to judge its own digital preservation resources as Trusted Digital Repositories. Drivers included recent U.S. legislation focused on data and asset management conducted by federal agencies spending $100M USD or more annually on research activities. The methods entailed seeking existing evaluation criteria from national and international organizations such as International Standards Organization (ISO), U.S. Library of Congress, and Data Seal of Approval upon which to model USGS repository evaluations. Certification, complexity, cost, and usability of existing evaluation models were key considerations. The selected evaluation method was derived to allow the repository evaluation process to be transparent, understandable, and defensible; factors that are critical for judging competing, internal units. Implementing the chosen evaluation criteria involved establishing a cross-agency, multi-disciplinary team that interfaced across the organization. 

Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Science of the Total Environment (595) 556-566

Nubia Luz Estrada, John Karl Bohlke, Neil C. Sturchio, Baohua Gu, Greg Harvey, Kent O. Burkey, David A. Grantz, Margaret T. McGrath, Todd A. Anderson, Balaji Rao, Ritesh Sevanthi, Paul B. Hatzinger, W. Andrew Jackson

Natural perchlorate (ClO4) in soil and groundwater exhibits a wide range in stable isotopic compositions (δ37Cl, δ18O, and Δ17O), indicating that ClO4 may be formed through more than one pathway and/or undergoes post-depositional isotopic alteration. Plants are known to accumulate ClO4, but little is known about their ability to alter its isotopic composition. We examined the potential for plants to alter the isotopic composition of ClO4 in hydroponic and field experiments conducted with snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). In hydroponic studies, anion ratios indicated that ClO4 was transported from solutions into plants similarly to NO3 but preferentially to Cl (4-fold). The ClO4 isotopic compositions of initial ClO4 reagents, final growth solutions, and aqueous extracts from plant tissues were essentially indistinguishable, indicating no significant isotope effects during ClO4 uptake or accumulation. The ClO4 isotopic composition of field-grown snap beans was also consistent with that of ClO4 in varying proportions from irrigation water and precipitation. NO3 uptake had little or no effect on NO3 isotopic compositions in hydroponic solutions. However, a large fractionation effect with an apparent ε (15N/18O) ratio of 1.05 was observed between NO3 in hydroponic solutions and leaf extracts, consistent with partial NO3 reduction during assimilation within plant tissue. We also explored the feasibility of evaluating sources of ClO4 in commercial produce, as illustrated by spinach, for which the ClO4 isotopic composition was similar to that of indigenous natural ClO4. Our results indicate that some types of plants can accumulate and (presumably) release ClO4 to soil and groundwater without altering its isotopic characteristics. Concentrations and isotopic compositions of ClO4and NO3 in plants may be useful for determining sources of fertilizers and sources of ClO4 in their growth environments and consequently in food supplies.

Management of plains cottonwood at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Natural Resource Report NPS/THRO/NRR—2017/1395

Jonathan M. Friedman, Eleanor R. Griffin

Establishment of cottonwood trees is driven by flood-induced channel migration, which provides the new surfaces necessary for successful germination and survival. Along the Little Missouri River the largest floods typically result from snowmelt in March or April. Seed release occurs in early summer, and seedlings usually germinate in moist, open locations on point bars at relatively low elevations above the channel. Subsequent channel migration allows seedlings to mature by protecting them from scour in floods and ice jams. Management actions that decrease channel movement will reduce cottonwood reproduction. Growth and survival of cottonwood trees are strongly decreased by extreme low flows. As a result, management activities that decrease low flows could strongly reduce growth or kill trees. Surface-flow diversions are less damaging to trees if carried out during the spring when flows are relatively high. Herbicide application by helicopter to control leafy spurge appears to have inadvertently damaged or killed about 25% of the cottonwood forest along the Little Missouri River in the South Unit. Area of adult trees sprayed has been reduced since 2007 to limit this damage. It is not known whether spraying of cottonwood seedlings on unforested point bars is reducing cottonwood reproduction in the South Unit. Warmer temperatures since 1976 have reduced flood peaks and the ice jamming that magnifies those peaks; as a result channel movement, cottonwood establishment and cottonwood growth have decreased. Increasing temperatures associated with global climate change could continue this trend.

The California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program – Providing science and geospatial data for California's State Waters

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ocean and Coastal Management (140) 88-104

Samuel Y. Johnson, Guy R. Cochrane, Nadine Golden, Peter Dartnell, Stephen Hartwell, Susan Cochran, Janet Watt

The California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program (CSCMP) is a collaborative effort to develop comprehensive bathymetric, geologic, and habitat maps and data for California's State Waters. CSCMP began in 2007 when the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) allocated funding for high-resolution bathymetric mapping, largely to support the California Marine Life Protection Act and to update nautical charts. Collaboration and support from the U.S. Geological Survey and other partners has led to development and dissemination of one of the world's largest seafloor-mapping datasets. CSCMP provides essential science and data for ocean and coastal management, stimulates and enables research, and raises public education and awareness of coastal and ocean issues. Specific applications include:

    •Delineation and designation of marine protected areas
    •Characterization and modeling of benthic habitats and ecosystems
    •Updating nautical charts
    •Earthquake hazard assessments
    •Tsunami hazard assessments
    •Planning offshore infrastructure
    •Providing baselines for monitoring change
    •Input to models of sediment transport, coastal erosion, and coastal flooding
    •Regional sediment management
    •Understanding coastal aquifers
    •Providing geospatial data for emergency response

Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions, Part 1. Science basis and applications

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-360

Jeanne C. Chambers, Jeffrey L. Beck, John B. Bradford, Jared Bybee, Steve Campbell, John Carlson, Thomas J Christiansen, Karen J. Clause, Gail Collins, Michele R. Crist, Jonathan B. Dinkins, Kevin E Doherty, Fred Edwards, Shawn Espinosa, Kathleen A. Griffin, Paul Griffin, Jessica R. Haas, Steve Hanser, Douglas W. Havlina, Kenneth F. Henke, Jacob D. Hennig, Linda A Joyce, Francis F. Kilkenny, Sarah M Kulpa, Laurie L Kurth, Jeremy D Maestas, Mary Manning, Kenneth E. Mayer, Brian A. Mealor, Clinton McCarthy, Mike Pellant, Marco A. Perea, Karen L. Prentice, David A. Pyke, Lief A. Wiechman , Amarina Wuenschel

The Science Framework is intended to link the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy with long-term strategic conservation actions in the sagebrush biome. The Science Framework provides a multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies within the sagebrush biome. The emphasis is on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems and Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The approach provided in the Science Framework links sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative, invasive plant species to species habitat information based on the distribution and abundance of focal species. A geospatial process is presented that overlays information on ecosystem resilience and resistance, species habitats, and predominant threats and that can be used at the mid-scale to prioritize areas for management. A resilience and resistance habitat matrix is provided that can help decisionmakers evaluate risks and determine appropriate management strategies. Prioritized areas and management strategies can be refined by managers and stakeholders at the local scale based on higher resolution data and local knowledge. Decision tools are discussed for determining appropriate management actions for areas that are prioritized for management. Geospatial data, maps, and models are provided through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) ScienceBase and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Landscape Approach Data Portal. The Science Framework is intended to be adaptive and will be updated as additional data become available on other values and species at risk. It is anticipated that the Science Framework will be widely used to: (1) inform emerging strategies to conserve sagebrush ecosystems, sagebrush dependent species, and human uses of the sagebrush system, and (2) assist managers in prioritizing and planning on-the-ground restoration and mitigation actions across the sagebrush biome.

Amphibian conservation: clarifications to comments from Andreone

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Oryx (51) 216-217

Erin L. Muths, Robert N. Fisher

We appreciate the comments from Andreone (2016) regarding our proposed alternative strategy for addressing the amphibian crisis. Andreone recognizes the utility of an Incident Command System approach but doubts the feasibility of implementation at an international level. We stated in our original article, however, that ‘the feasibility of our suggestion is debatable, but our point is that radically different approaches are necessary to effectively manage the largest extinction event in modern history’ (Muths & Fisher, 2015). There are examples of where such top-down strategies are being applied; e.g. for the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis (Stanford & Rodda, 2007), and biosecurity planning for Micronesia and Hawaii (NAVFAC Pacific, 2016). Another example is presented by Andreone. In Madagascar a community-wide conservation plan has been developed complete with prioritization of specific actions (Andreone, 2016). As with any top-down strategy, challenges will surface, especially when making decisions that affect economics. We note this caveat in our article, and Andreone points out such issues in Madagascar, where there are mismatches in priorities between biodiversity conservation and civil needs. Our suggestion is that a new paradigm needs to be considered given the gravity of amphibian decline, and one option may be to take a global approach focusing on specific, major threats. Application of an Incident Command System would not necessitate competition with, or emasculation of, local conservation priorities or actions.

Reassessment of the Upper Fremont Glacier ice-core chronologies by synchronizing of ice-core-water isotopes to a nearby tree-ring chronology

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science & Technology (51) 4230-4238

Nathan J. Chellman, Joseph R. McConnell, Monica Arienzo, Gregory T. Pederson, Sarah Aarons, Adam Csank

The Upper Fremont Glacier (UFG), Wyoming, is one of the few continental glaciers in the contiguous United States known to preserve environmental and climate records spanning recent centuries. A pair of ice cores taken from UFG have been studied extensively to document changes in climate and industrial pollution (most notably, mid-19th century increases in mercury pollution). Fundamental to these studies is the chronology used to map ice-core depth to age. Here, we present a revised chronology for the UFG ice cores based on new measurements and using a novel dating approach of synchronizing continuous water isotope measurements to a nearby tree-ring chronology. While consistent with the few unambiguous age controls underpinning the previous UFG chronologies, the new interpretation suggests a very different time scale for the UFG cores with changes of up to 80 years. Mercury increases previously associated with the mid-19th century Gold Rush now coincide with early-20th century industrial emissions, aligning the UFG record with other North American mercury records from ice and lake sediment cores. Additionally, new UFG records of industrial pollutants parallel changes documented in ice cores from southern Greenland, further validating the new UFG chronologies while documenting the extent of late 19th and early 20th century pollution in remote North America.

A lake-centric geospatial database to guide research and inform management decisions in an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska experiencing climate and land-use changes

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ambio

Benjamin M. Jones, Christopher D. Arp, Matthew S. Whitman, Debora A. Nigro, Ingmar Nitze, John Beaver, Anne Gadeke, Callie Zuck, Anna K. Liljedahl, Ronald Daanen, Eric Torvinen, Stacey Fritz, Guido Grosse

Lakes are dominant and diverse landscape features in the Arctic, but conventional land cover classification schemes typically map them as a single uniform class. Here, we present a detailed lake-centric geospatial database for an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska. We developed a GIS dataset consisting of 4362 lakes that provides information on lake morphometry, hydrologic connectivity, surface area dynamics, surrounding terrestrial ecotypes, and other important conditions describing Arctic lakes. Analyzing the geospatial database relative to fish and bird survey data shows relations to lake depth and hydrologic connectivity, which are being used to guide research and aid in the management of aquatic resources in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Further development of similar geospatial databases is needed to better understand and plan for the impacts of ongoing climate and land-use changes occurring across lake-rich landscapes in the Arctic.

Rapid evolution meets invasive species control: The potential for pesticide resistance in sea lamprey

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Erin S. Dunlop, Robert L. McLaughlin, Jean V. Adams, Michael L. Jones, Oana Birceanu, Mark R. Christie, Lori A. Criger, Julia L.M. Hinderer, Robert M. Hollingworth, Nicholas Johnson, Stephen R. Lantz, Weiming Li, James R. Miller, Bruce J. Morrison, David Mota-Sanchez, Andrew M. Muir, Maria S. Sepulveda, Todd B. Steeves, Lisa Walter, Erin Westman, Isaac Wirgin, Michael P. Wilkie

Rapid evolution of pest, pathogen and wildlife populations can have undesirable effects; for example, when insects evolve resistance to pesticides or fishes evolve smaller body size in response to harvest. A destructive invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes, the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) has been controlled with the pesticide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) since the 1950s. We evaluated the likelihood of sea lamprey evolving resistance to TFM by (1) reviewing sea lamprey life history and control; (2) identifying physiological and behavioural resistance strategies; (3) estimating the strength of selection from TFM; (4) assessing the timeline for evolution; and (5) analyzing historical toxicity data for evidence of resistance. The number of sea lamprey generations exposed to TFM was within the range observed for fish populations where rapid evolution has occurred. Mortality from TFM was estimated as 82-90%, suggesting significant selective pressure. However, 57 years of toxicity data revealed no increase in lethal concentrations of TFM. Vigilance and the development of alternative controls are required to prevent this aquatic invasive species from evolving strategies to evade control.

Review of suspended sediment in lower South Bay relevant to light attenuation and phytoplankton blooms

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Report, Lower South Bay Nutrient Synthesis

David H. Schoellhamer, Gregory Shellenbarger, Maureen Downing-Kunz, Andrew J. Manning

Lower South Bay (LSB), a shallow subembayment of San Francisco Bay (SFB), is situated south of the Dumbarton Bridge, and is surrounded by, and interconnected with, a network of sloughs, marshes, and former salt ponds undergoing restoration (Figure ES.1). LSB receives 120 million gallons per day of treated wastewater effluent from three publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) that service San Jose and the densely populated surrounding region. During the dry season, when flows from creeks and streams are at their minimum, POTW effluent comprises the majority of freshwater flow to Lower South Bay. Although LSB has a large tidal prism, it experiences limited net exchange with the surrounding Bay, because much of the water that leaves on ebb tides returns during the subsequent flood tides. The limited exchange leads to distinctly different biogeochemical conditions in LSB compared to other SFB subembayments, including LSB having the highest nutrient concentrations and highest phytoplankton biomass.

Glacial Lake Hitchcock and the sea: Fieldtrip Guidebook for the 78th Annual Reunion of the Northeast Friends of the Pleistocene

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Book

Janet R. Stone, J.C. Ridge, Ralph S. Lewis, Mary DiGiacomo-Cohen

Margaret A. Thomas, editor(s)

The fieldtrip will demonstrate the evidence for a close connection of Lake Hitchcock levels with lake levels and the position of sea level in Long Island Sound via a channel cut into glacial lake deposits in the lower Connecticut River valley, which issuperposed on a bedrock ridge at the mouth of the Connecticut River. On the trip we will explain important offshore features like an extensive  ‐40‐m marine delta, and the altitudes of “The Race” spillway cut through the Harbor Hill moraine, Block Channel spillway cut through the terminal moraine, and the  ‐85‐m Block Delta built into Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) eustatic sea level 115 km south of the terminal moraine. The history of lake levels and knowledge of eustatic sea levels provided by the Barbadossea level curve (Bard and others, 1990) have implications for the magnitude of glacio‐ isostatic depression and the timing of rebound.  We will also review recent refinements to the chronology of ice retreat through the region as a result of new varve cores and the newly calibrated North American Varve Chronology (NAVC) (Ridge, 2004, Ridge and others, 2012) and discuss implications for the timing and mechanism of glacial Lake Hitchcock drainage in Connecticut.

South Park, Colorado: The interplay of tectonics and sedimentation creates one of Colorado’s crown jewels

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Book chapter, Unfolding the Geology of the West: Geological Society of America Field Guide

Peter E Barkmann, Edward J Sterne, Marieke Dechesne, Karen J. Houck

S.M. Keller, Matthew L. Morgan, editor(s)

Recent mapping efforts and hydrocarbon exploration in the South Park Basin have brought to light the magnitude in complexity of a structural basin already recognized for its unique sedimentary and tectonic setting. This fi eld trip to one of Colorado’s scenic gems will examine how Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic strata record the tectonic signatures of at least three orogenic episodes. We will cross the Elkhorn–Williams Range thrust system into the structural block caught between Laramide uplifts, and preserving synorogenic sediments from the Pennsylvanian– Permian ancestral Rocky Mountain tectonic episode in juxtaposition with synorogenic sediments from the subsequent Laramide tectonic episode. Late Cretaceous marine sediments from the Western Interior Seaway caught up in complex fold-fault structures between Laramide uplifts create targets for petroleum exploration. Evidence of evaporitic tectonism originating from Pennsylvanian evaporite deposits and hinting at structural complexity dots the landscape. The trip will also explore a postLaramide surface preserved in a graben developed in the hanging wall of the Elkhorn fault system and view post-Laramide volcanic features. Glacier-carved ranges held up by Precambrian crystalline basement and Paleozoic sediments hardened by contact metamorphism from Paleogene stocks and sills rim the basin. Pleistocene glaciofl uvial deposits fan out from the high ranges to blanket the highly deformed basin, masking many of the primary structural features.

Contributions of moderately low flows and large floods to geomorphic change in the Rio Puerco Arroyo, New Mexico

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Conference Paper, New Mexico Fall Field Conference Guidebook

Eleanor R. Griffin, Jonathan M. Friedman

Abstract—From the mid-1800s to around 1930, monsoonal floods incised an arroyo roughly 100 m wide and 10 m deep along the lower Rio Puerco, NM, from the confluence with the Rio San Jose downstream to the mouth at the Rio Grande, causing sedimentation and flooding downstream. Since the 1930s, the channel has greatly narrowed, a densely vegetated floodplain has developed, the arroyo has partly filled, and downstream sedimentation has greatly decreased. Application of herbicide to a 12-km reach of the arroyo in 2003 to control non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) prompted ongoing studies of channel change in the presence and absence of dense, riparian, woody vegetation. We used digital terrain models and satellite imagery to quantify changes in channel width and location in the sprayed reach and in an unsprayed reach downstream during a moderately low-flow interval (November 2006 to March 2010) and during an interval with a large flood (March 2010 to January/February 2014). Channel width increased in magnitude and variability in the sprayed reach but not in the unsprayed reach over both intervals, continuing a pattern first observed in an earlier study of the period 2003 to 2006. Since the herbicide application in 2003, there have been a total of five meander cutoffs in the sprayed reach and none in the unsprayed reach. In kilometer-long sections of the sprayed reach, channel width is now approaching that at the beginning of the period of channel narrowing in 1935.

The Impacts of flow alterations to crayfishes in Southeastern Oklahoma, with an emphasis on the mena crayfish (orconectes menae)

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Report

Shannon K. Brewer, Joseph J. Dyer

Human activities can alter the environment to the point that it is unsuitable to the native species resulting in a loss of biodiversity. Ecologists understand the importance of biodiversity and the conservation of vulnerable species. Species that are narrowly endemic are considered to be particularly vulnerable because they often use specific habitats that are highly susceptible to human disturbance. The basic components of species conservation are 1) delineation of the spatial distribution of the species, 2) understanding how the species interacts with its environment, and 3) employing management strategies based on the ecology of the species. In this study, we investigated several crayfish species endemic to the Ouachita Mountains in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We established the spatial distributions (i.e., range) of the crayfish using Maximum Entropy species distribution modeling. We then investigated crayfish habitat use with quantitative sampling and a paired movement study. Finally, we evaluated the ability of crayfish to burrow under different environmental conditions in a controlled laboratory setting. Crayfish distribution at the landscape scale was largely driven by climate, geology and elevation. In general, the endemic crayfish in this study occurred above 300-m elevation where the geology was dominated by sandstone and shale, and rainfall totals were the highest compared to the rest of the study region. Our quantitative data indicated crayfish did not select for specific habitat types at the reach scale; however, crayfish appeared to continue to use shallow and dry habitat even as the streams dried. Movement by passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagged crayfish was highly variable but crayfish tended to burrow in response to drought rather than migrate to wet habitat. Controlled laboratory experiments revealed smaller substrate size (pebble) restricted crayfish burrowing more than larger substrates (cobble). We also found excess fine sediment restricted crayfish burrowing regardless of dominant substrate size. Our results suggest climate change and sedimentation resulting from land-use practices, combined with increased water withdrawals have the potential to alter crayfish distributions and affect persistence of some crayfish populations.

Foreword: The dynamics of change in Alaska’s boreal forests: Resilience and vulnerability in response to climate warming

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Canadian Journal of Forest Research (40) 1195-1196

Anthony McGuire, F. Stuart Chapin III, Roger W. Ruess

Long-term research by the Bonanza Creek (BNZ) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program has documented natural patterns of interannual and successional variability of the boreal forest in interior Alaska against which we can detect changes in system behavior. Between 2004 and 2010 the BNZ LTER program focused on understanding the dynamics of change through studying the resilience and vulnerability of Alaska's boreal forest in response to climate warming. The overarching question in this endeavor has been “How are boreal ecosystems responding, both gradually and abruptly, to climate warming, and what new landscape patterns are emerging?”

Species conservation profile of the smallmouth bass micropterus dolomieu

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2015, Book chapter, Black bass diversity: Multidisciplinary science for conservation

Shannon K. Brewer

Michael D. Tringali, James M. Long, Timothy W. Birdsong, Michael S. Allen, editor(s)

No abstract available

Wildlife corridors and developed landscapes

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

2009, Book chapter, The Planner's Guide to Natural Resource Conservation: the Science of Land Conversion Beyond the Metropolitan Fringe.

Stephen Destefano

Abstract not available

A vegetation classification logic-based on remote-sensing for use in global biogeochemical models

Released April 19, 2017 00:00 EST

1994, Ambio (23) 77-81

Steven W. Running, Thomas R Loveland, L.L. Pierce

A simple new classification logic for global vegetation is proposed. The critical features of this classification are that: it is based on simple, observable, unambiguous character- istics of vegetation structure that are important to ecosystem biogeochemistry and can be measured in the field for validation; the structural characteristics can be determined by remote sensing, so that repeatable and efficient global re-classifications of existing vegetation will be possible; and the defined vegetation classes directly translate into the biophysical parameters of interest by global climate and biogeochemical models. A first test of this logic for the continental United States is presented based on an existing 1 km Normalized Difference Vegetation Index database. Currently recognized global biome classes can easily be derived from this classification by adding climate descriptors and defining mixtures of these fundamental six vegetation classes.

Wyoming Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment

Released April 18, 2017 15:45 EST

2015, Open-File Report 2015-1155

Natasha B. Carr, Cynthia P. Melcher, editor(s)

The Wyoming Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The overall goals of the BLM Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) are to identify important ecosystems and wildlife habitats at broad spatial scales; identify where these resources are at risk from Change Agents, including development, wildfire, invasive species, disease and climate change; quantify cumulative effects of anthropogenic stressors; and assess current levels of risk to ecological resources across a range of spatial scales and jurisdictional boundaries by assessing all lands within an ecoregion. There are several components of the REAs. Management Questions, developed by the BLM and stakeholders for the ecoregion, identify the regionally significant information needed for addressing land-management responsibilities. Conservation Elements represent regionally significant species and ecological communities that are of management concern. Change Agents that currently affect or are likely to affect the condition of species and communities in the future are identified and assessed. REAs also identify areas that have high conservation potential that are referred to as “large intact areas.” At the ecoregion level, the ecological value of large intact areas is based on the assumption that because these areas have not been greatly altered by human activities (such as development), they are more likely to contain a variety of plant and animal communities and to be resilient and resistant to changes resulting from natural disturbances such as fire, insect outbreaks, and disease.

The Wyoming Basin Ecoregion encompasses approximately 133,656 square kilometers (51,604.87 square miles), including portions of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. The Wyoming Basin has some of the highest quality wildlife habitats remaining in the Intermountain West. The wide variety of habitats includes intermountain basins dominated by sagebrush shrublands interspersed with deciduous and conifer woodlands and montane or subalpine forests at higher elevations. The Wyoming Basin also supports ranching and agricultural operations that are important to the region’s economy and vital to conserving habitats for wildlife. The region also contains abundant energy resources, including large natural gas reserves and areas of high wind-energy potential. Combined with increased residential and industrial development, fast-paced energy development is resulting in notable land-use changes, including habitat loss and fragmentation.

In the Wyoming Basin REA, we evaluated the following seven communities as Conservation Elements: streams and rivers, wetlands, riparian forests and shrublands, sagebrush steppe, desert shrublands, foothill shrublands and woodlands, and mountain forests and alpine zones. We evaluated a total of 14 species and species assemblages as Conservation Elements: aspen forests and woodlands, five-needle pine forests and woodlands, juniper woodlands, cutthroat trout, three-species fish assemblage, northern leatherside chub, sauger, spadefoot assemblage, greater sage-grouse, golden eagle, ferruginous hawk, sagebrush-obligate birds, pygmy rabbit, and mule deer.

We evaluated Management Questions (Core and Integrated) for each species and community for the Wyoming Basin REA. Core Management Questions address primary management issues, including (1) where is the Conservation Element, and what are its key ecological attributes (characteristics of species and communities that may affect their long-term persistence or viability); (2) what and where are the Change Agents; and (3) how do the Change Agents affect the key ecological attributes? Integrated Management Questions synthesize the Core Management Questions as follows: (1) where are the areas with high landscape-level ecological values; (2) where are the areas with high landscape-level risks; and (3) where are the potential areas for conservation, restoration, and development? The associated maps and key findings for each Management Question are summarized for each Conservation Element in individual chapters. Additional chapters on landscape intactness and an REA synthesis are included.

Octocoral diseases in a changing ocean

Released April 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Marine animal forests: The ecology of benthic biodiversity hotspots

Ernesto Weil, Caroline S. Rogers, Aldo Croquer

Octocorals (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) constitute a geographically widely distributed and common group of marine invertebrates commonly referred to as “soft-corals,” “sea fans,” “horny corals,” “sea feathers,” and “sea plumes.” They are found from shallow coastal habitats to mesophotic and abyssal depths. Octocorals are important members of most Atlantic-Caribbean, Indo-Pacific, and Mediterranean coastal and mesophotic reef communities; however, information about their susceptibility to diseases, predation, and competition, and their relationship with changing environmental conditions is limited. At least 19 diseases have been observed in at least 42 common octocoral species throughout their range. Twelve of these have been reported in the wider Caribbean (CA), one in Brazil (BR), two in the Mediterranean (ME), one in the Eastern Pacific (EP), and three in the western Pacific (WP). Pathogenic and/or environmental causes have been identified for eight diseases, including viruses, terrestrial fungi, protozoans, bacteria and cyanobacteria, filamentous algae, parasitic copepods, and high temperature. Only a few of the suspected pathogens have been tested with Koch’s postulates. At least eight disease outbreaks have led to extensive octocoral mortalities in the CA, ME, BR, and EP with detrimental ecological consequences. The fungal disease Aspergillosis has produced the highest mortalities in the CA and the EP. Other fungi, protozoans, and the bacterium Vibrio coralliilyticus were identified as potential causes of the death of millions of colonies in two Mediterranean disease outbreaks. Bacterial and fungal agents seemed to be responsible for the mass mortalities in Brazil and the WP. Most outbreaks in all regions were linked to high thermal anomalies associated with climate change, which seems to be the major driver. Other biological stressors such as predation and/or competition produce injuries that may contribute to the spread of infections and mortality. Overfishing of common predators could lead to population explosions of octocoral-feeding species that produced mass mortalities in some Caribbean localities. Our lack of knowledge of causes and pathogenesis of octocoral diseases parallels that of hard corals. New diseases are being described almost every year concomitant with increasing seawater temperatures. The ecological and economic consequences could be significant, with drastic changes in the seascape of shallow coral reefs and other coastal marine habitats and reduction of their ecological services. Given our limited knowledge, our best options for recovery of octocorals and coral reefs in general include sound management of coastal fisheries, development and tourism; reduction of land- and sea-based pollution; and abating effects of climate change.

Shallow-depth location and geometry of the Piedmont Reverse splay of the Hayward Fault, Oakland, California

Released April 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2016-1123

Rufus D. Catchings, Mark R. Goldman, David Trench, Michael Buga, Joanne H. Chan, Coyn J. Criley, Luther M. Strayer

The Piedmont Thrust Fault, herein referred to as the Piedmont Reverse Fault (PRF), is a splay of the Hayward Fault that trends through a highly populated area of the City of Oakland, California (fig. 1A). Although the PRF is unlikely to generate a large-magnitude earthquake, slip on the PRF or high-amplitude seismic energy traveling along the PRF may cause considerable damage during a large earthquake on the Hayward Fault. Thus, it is important to determine the exact location, geometry (particularly dip), and lateral extent of the PRF within the densely populated Oakland area. In the near surface, the PRF juxtaposes Late Cretaceous sandstone (of the Franciscan Complex Novato Quarry terrane of Blake and others, 1984) and an older Pleistocene alluvial fan unit along much of its mapped length (fig. 1B; Graymer and others, 1995). The strata of the Novato Quarry unit vary greatly in strike (NW, NE, and E), dip direction (NE, SW, E, and NW), dip angle (15° to 85°), and lithology (shale and sandstone), and the unit has been intruded by quartz diorite in places. Thus, it is difficult to infer the structure of the fault, particularly at depth, with conventional seismic reflection imaging methods. To better determine the location and shallow-depth geometry of the PRF, we used high-resolution seismic imaging methods described by Catchings and others (2014). These methods involve the use of coincident P-wave (compressional wave) and S-wave (shear wave) refraction tomography and reflection data, from which tomographic models of P- and S-wave velocity and P-wave reflection images are developed. In addition, the coincident P-wave velocity (VP) and S-wave velocity (VS) data are used to develop tomographic models of VP/VS ratios and Poisson’s ratio, which are sensitive to shallow-depth faulting and groundwater. In this study, we also compare measurements of Swave velocities determined from surface waves with those determined from refraction tomography. We use the combination of seismic methods to infer the fault location, dip, and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) site classification along the seismic profile. Our seismic study is a smaller part of a larger study of the PRF by Trench and others (2016).

Regional geophysics of western Utah and eastern Nevada, with emphasis on the Confusion Range

Released April 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Book

Edward A. Mankinen, Peter D. Rowley, Gary L. Dixon, Edwin H. McKee

As part of a long term geologic and hydrologic study of several regional groundwater flow systems in western Utah and eastern Nevada, the U.S. Geological Survey was contracted by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to provide geophysical data. The primary object of these data was to enable construction of the geological framework of the flow systems. The main new geophysical data gathered during the study were gravity observations, and existing aeromagnetic data were also compiled. These data resulted in regional maps of the isostatic gravity and aeromagnetic fields of the area. The isostatic gravity map shows a north-south grain to most of the area, which was imparted by post-20 Ma basin-range tectonism; whereas the aeromagnetic map shows an east-west grain to the area, imparted by Eocene to lower Miocene calc-alkaline calderas and source intrusions. To de-emphasize surface and near-surface features and to gain greater insight into contributions from deeper sources, the isostatic gravity anomalies were upward continued by 3 km and the aeromagnetic data were transformed to their magnetic potential ("pseudogravity"). Identification of maxima of the horizontal gradients in the gravity and magnetic-potential data helped define deep-seated crustal blocks that are characterized by major changes in density and magnetization. Maps showing these maxima were useful in defining large faults, especially range-bounding faults, and margins of igneous bodies and calderas. A gravity inversion method was used to separate the isostatic residual anomaly into pre-Cenozoic basement and young basin fill. Inasmuch as the primary aquifer in the area is sedimentary basin fill, this method is especially valuable for hydrogeologic analyses because it estimates the thickness of the fill. As befits its name, the geology of the Confusion Range of Utah has been a point of contention for many years, so we looked at it in greater detail in the course of our regional study. The northern part of the range is underlain by a large gravity high, which continues south through the Conger Range, Burbank Hills, and northern Mountain Home Range. This is the "structural trough" reported in the literature that was mapped as the axial part of a Sevier synclinorium and contains the maximum thickness (7 km) of high-density carbonates in the area, thus the largest high gravity anomaly.

Northeast and Midwest regional species and habitats at greatest risk and most vulnerable to climate impacts

Released April 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Report, Integrating climate change into the state wildlife action plans

Michelle D. Staudinger, Laura Hilberg, Maria Janowiak, C.O. Swanton

The objectives of this Chapter are to describe climate change vulnerability, it’s components, the range of assessment methods being implemented regionally, and examples of training resources and tools. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs) have already been conducted for numerous Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their dependent 5 habitats across the Northeast and Midwest. This chapter provides a synthesis of different assessment frameworks, information on the locations (e.g., States) where vulnerability assessments were conducted, lists of individual species and habitats with their respective vulnerability rankings, and a comparison of how vulnerability rankings were determined among studies.

A comparison of NLCD 2011 and LANDFIRE EVT 2010: Regional and national summaries.

Released April 18, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Report

Alexa McKerrow, Jon Dewitz, Donald G. Long, Kurtis Nelson, Joel A. Connot, Jim Smith

In order to provide the land cover user community a summary of the similarity and differences between the 2011 National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) and the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Program Existing Vegetation 2010 Data (LANDFIRE EVT), the two datasets were compared at a national (conterminous U.S.) and regional (Eastern, Midwestern, and Western) extents (Figure 1). The comparisons were done by generalizing the LANDFIRE data to be consistent with mapped land cover classes in the NLCD (i.e., crosswalked). Summaries of the comparisons were based on areal extent including 1) the total extent of each land cover class, and 2) land cover classes in corresponding 900-m2 areas. The results from the comparisons provide the user community information regarding the utility of both datasets relative to their intended uses.

Precipitation collector bias and its effects on temporal trends and spatial variability in National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network data

Released April 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Pollution (223) 90-101

Gregory A. Wetherbee

Precipitation samples have been collected by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program's (NADP) National Trends Network (NTN) using the Aerochem Metrics Model 301 (ACM) collector since 1978. Approximately one-third of the NTN ACM collectors have been replaced with N-CON Systems, Inc. Model ADS 00-120 (NCON) collectors. Concurrent data were collected over 6 years at 12 NTN sites using colocated ACM and NCON collectors in various precipitation regimes. Linear regression models of the colocated data were used to adjust for relative bias between the collectors. Replacement of ACM collectors with NCON collectors resulted in shifts in 10-year seasonal precipitation-weighted mean concentration (PWMC) trend slopes for: cations (−0.001 to −0.007 mgL−1yr−1), anions (−0.009 to −0.028 mgL−1yr−1), and hydrogen ion (+0.689 meqL-1yr−1). Larger shifts in NO3 and SO4−2 seasonal PWMC trend slopes were observed in the Midwest and Northeast US, where concentrations are generally higher than in other regions. Geospatial analysis of interpolated concentration rasters indicated regions of accentuated variability introduced by incorporation of NCON collectors into the NTN.

A window of opportunity for climate-change adaptation: Easing tree mortality by reducing forest basal area

Released April 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (15) 11-17

John B. Bradford, David M. Bell

Increasing aridity as a result of climate change is expected to exacerbate tree mortality. Reducing forest basal area – the cross-sectional area of tree stems within a given ground area – can decrease tree competition, which may reduce drought-induced tree mortality. However, neither the magnitude of expected mortality increases, nor the potential effectiveness of basal area reduction, has been quantified in dryland forests such as those of the drought-prone Southwest US. We used thousands of repeatedly measured forest plots to show that unusually warm and dry conditions are related to high tree mortality rates and that mortality is positively related to basal area. Those relationships suggest that while increasing high temperature extremes forecasted by climate models may lead to elevated tree mortality during the 21st century, future tree mortality might be partly ameliorated by reducing stand basal area. This adaptive forest management strategy may provide a window of opportunity for forest managers and policy makers to guide forest transitions to species and/or genotypes more suited to future climates.

A groundwater-flow model for the Treasure Valley and surrounding area, southwestern Idaho

Released April 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3027

James R. Bartolino, Sean Vincent

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in partnership with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) and Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB), will construct a numerical groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley and surrounding area. Resource managers will use the model to simulate potential anthropogenic and climatic effects on groundwater for water-supply planning and management. As part of model construction, the hydrogeologic understanding of the aquifer system will be updated with information collected during the last two decades, as well as new data collected for the study.

Capturing spatiotemporal variation in wildfires for improving postwildfire debris-flow hazard assessments: Chapter 20

Released April 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Natural Hazard Uncertainty Assessment: Modeling and Decision Support

Jessica R. Haas, Matthew P. Thompson, Anne C. Tillery, Joe H. Scott

Wildfires can increase the frequency and magnitude of catastrophic debris flows. Integrated, proactive natural hazard assessment would therefore characterize landscapes based on the potential for the occurrence and interactions of wildfires and postwildfire debris flows. This chapter presents a new modeling effort that can quantify the variability surrounding a key input to postwildfire debris-flow modeling, the amount of watershed burned at moderate to high severity, in a prewildfire context. The use of stochastic wildfire simulation captures variability surrounding the timing and location of ignitions, fire weather patterns, and ultimately the spatial patterns of watershed area burned. Model results provide for enhanced estimates of postwildfire debris-flow hazard in a prewildfire context, and multiple hazard metrics are generated to characterize and contrast hazards across watersheds. Results can guide mitigation efforts by allowing planners to identify which factors may be contributing the most to the hazard rankings of watersheds.

Analyzing vegetation dynamics of land systems with satellite data

Released April 17, 2017 00:00 EST

1992, Geocarto International (7) 53-61

Jeffery C. Eidenshink, Robert H. Haas

Large area assessment of vegetation conditions is a major requirement for understanding the impact of weather on food, fiber, and forage production. The distribution of vegetation is largely associated with climate, terrain characteristics, and human activity. The interpretation of vegetation dynamics from satellite data can be improved by stratifying the land surface into ecoregions. The Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, has developed a system for mapping major land resource areas (MLRA) that groups land areas in the United States on the basis of climate, physiography, land use, and land cover characteristics.

In 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey used National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite data to conduct a biweekly assessment of vegetation conditions in 17 western states. Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data were acquired daily, and were geographically registered, and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was computed for the Western United States during the 1989 growing season. Fifteen biweekly NDVI data sets were used to evaluate MLRA's as an appropriate stratification for monitoring and interpreting vegetation conditions in the study area.

The results demonstrate the feasibility of using MLRA's to stratify areas for monitoring phenological development and vegetation condition assessment within the growing season. Assessments of the NDVI at biweekly intervals are adequate for monitoring seasonal growth patterns on MLRA's where rangelands, forests, or cultivated agriculture are the primary resource type. Descriptive statistics are indicators of the uniformity or diversity of land use and land cover within an MLRA. Growing season profiles of the NDVI are characterized by the seasonal effects of climate on various land use and land cover classes.

Opinion: Why we need a centralized repository for isotopic data

Released April 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (114) 2997-3001

Jonathan N. Pauli, Seth D. Newsome, Joseph A. Cook, Chris Harrod, Shawn A. Steffan, Christopher J. O. Baker, Merav Ben-David, David Bloom, Gabriel J. Bowen, Thure E. Cerling, Carla Cicero, Craig Cook, Michelle Dohm, Prarthana S. Dharampal, Gary Graves, Robert Gropp, Keith A. Hobson, Chris Jordan, Bruce MacFadden, Suzanne Pilaar Birch, Jorrit Poelen, Sujeevan Ratnasingham, Laura Russell, Craig A. Stricker, Mark D. Uhen, Christopher T. Yarnes, Brian Hayden

Stable isotopes encode and integrate the origin of matter; thus, their analysis offers tremendous potential to address questions across diverse scientific disciplines (1, 2). Indeed, the broad applicability of stable isotopes, coupled with advancements in high-throughput analysis, have created a scientific field that is growing exponentially, and generating data at a rate paralleling the explosive rise of DNA sequencing and genomics (3). Centralized data repositories, such as GenBank, have become increasingly important as a means for archiving information, and “Big Data” analytics of these resources are revolutionizing science and everyday life.

The effects of drought and fire in the extirpation of an abundant semi-aquatic turtle from a lacustrine environment in the southwestern USA

Released April 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems (418) 1-11

Jeffrey E. Lovich, Mari Quillman, Brian Zitt, Adam Schroeder, David E. Green, Charles B. Yackulic, Paul Gibbons, Eric Goode

We documented a significant mortality event affecting a southwestern pond turtle (Actinemys pallida) population living in a lake in southern California, USA. The area around the lake was impacted by a large wildland fire in 2013 that occurred during a protracted drought. As the mortality event was still unfolding, we collected data in 2014 on water quality, demographic structure, and short-term survivorship of the population. Water quality was poor with low levels of dissolved oxygen and high salinity of up to 45.90 ppt. Many turtles were severely emaciated and coated with a pale mineralized layer on their shells and skin. Estimated survival rate was low leading to a projected 90% decline in 134 days and a high probability of extirpation within a year. The lake was dry in September 2015 with no evidence of live turtles. Necropsies and low volumetric body condition indices suggested death by starvation. Although this semi-aquatic species has the ability to aestivate in upland habitats during periods of low water or move to other nearby water bodies, it is unlikely that many were able to do so because of their extremely poor condition and the severity of the drought conditions throughout the area.

Community disruptions and business costs for distant tsunami evacuations using maximum versus scenario-based zones

Released April 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Natural Hazards (86) 619-643

Nathan J. Wood, Rick I. Wilson, Jamie L. Ratliff, Jeff Peters, Ed MacMullan, Tessa Krebs, Kimberley Shoaf, Kevin Miller

Well-executed evacuations are key to minimizing loss of life from tsunamis, yet they also disrupt communities and business productivity in the process. Most coastal communities implement evacuations based on a previously delineated maximum-inundation zone that integrates zones from multiple tsunami sources. To support consistent evacuation planning that protects lives but attempts to minimize community disruptions, we explore the implications of scenario-based evacuation procedures and use the California (USA) coastline as our case study. We focus on the land in coastal communities that is in maximum-evacuation zones, but is not expected to be flooded by a tsunami generated by a Chilean earthquake scenario. Results suggest that a scenario-based evacuation could greatly reduce the number of residents and employees that would be advised to evacuate for 24–36 h (178,646 and 159,271 fewer individuals, respectively) and these reductions are concentrated primarily in three counties for this scenario. Private evacuation spending is estimated to be greater than public expenditures for operating shelters in the area of potential over-evacuations ($13 million compared to $1 million for a 1.5-day evacuation). Short-term disruption costs for businesses in the area of potential over-evacuation are approximately $122 million for a 1.5-day evacuation, with one-third of this cost associated with manufacturing, suggesting that some disruption costs may be recouped over time with increased short-term production. There are many businesses and organizations in this area that contain individuals with limited mobility or access and functional needs that may have substantial evacuation challenges. This study demonstrates and discusses the difficulties of tsunami-evacuation decision-making for relatively small to moderate events faced by emergency managers, not only in California but in coastal communities throughout the world.

Potential effects of existing and proposed groundwater withdrawals on water levels and natural groundwater discharge in Snake Valley and surrounding areas, Utah and Nevada

Released April 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1026

Melissa D. Masbruch, Lynette E. Brooks

Several U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) agencies are concerned about the cumulative effects of groundwater development on groundwater resources managed by, and other groundwater resources of interest to, these agencies in Snake Valley and surrounding areas. The new water uses that potentially concern the DOI agencies include 12 water-right applications filed in 2005, totaling approximately 8,864 acre-feet per year. To date, only one of these applications has been approved and partially developed. In addition, the DOI agencies are interested in the potential effects of three new water-right applications (UT 18-756, UT 18-758, and UT 18-759) and one water-right change application (UT a40687), which were the subject of a water-right hearing on April 19, 2016.

This report presents a hydrogeologic analysis of areas in and around Snake Valley to assess potential effects of existing and future groundwater development on groundwater resources, specifically groundwater discharge sites, of interest to the DOI agencies. A previously developed steady-state numerical groundwater-flow model was modified to transient conditions with respect to well withdrawals and used to quantify drawdown and capture (withdrawals that result in depletion) of natural discharge from existing and proposed groundwater withdrawals. The original steady-state model simulates and was calibrated to 2009 conditions. To investigate the potential effects of existing and proposed groundwater withdrawals on the groundwater resources of interest to the DOI agencies, 10 withdrawal scenarios were simulated. All scenarios were simulated for periods of 5, 10, 15, 30, 55, and 105 years from the start of 2010; additionally, all scenarios were simulated to a new steady state to determine the ultimate long-term effects of the withdrawals. Capture maps were also constructed as part of this analysis. The simulations used to develop the capture maps test the response of the system, specifically the reduction of natural discharge, to future stresses at a point in the area represented by the model. In this way, these maps can be used as a tool to determine the source of water to, and potential effects at specific areas from, future well withdrawals.

Downward trends in water levels measured in wells indicate that existing groundwater withdrawals in Snake Valley are affecting water levels. The numerical model simulates similar downward trends in water levels; simulated drawdowns in the model, however, are generally less than observed water-level declines. At the groundwater discharge sites of interest to the DOI agencies, simulated drawdowns from existing well withdrawals (projected into the future) range from 0 to about 50 feet. Following the addition of the proposed withdrawals, simulated drawdowns at some sites increase by 25 feet. Simulated drawdown resulting from the proposed withdrawals began in as few as 5 years after 2014 at several of the sites. At the groundwater discharge sites of interest to the DOI agencies, simulated capture of natural discharge resulting from the existing withdrawals ranged from 0 to 87 percent. Following the addition of the proposed withdrawals, simulated capture at several of the sites reached 100 percent, indicating that groundwater discharge at that site would cease. Simulated capture following the addition of the proposed withdrawals increased in as few as 5 years after 2014 at several of the sites.


Developing flood-inundation maps for Johnson Creek, Portland, Oregon

Released April 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5024

Adam J. Stonewall, Benjamin A. Beal

Digital flood-inundation maps were created for a 12.9‑mile reach of Johnson Creek by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The flood-inundation maps depict estimates of water depth and areal extent of flooding from the mouth of Johnson Creek to just upstream of Southeast 174th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Each flood-inundation map is based on a specific water level and associated streamflow at the USGS streamgage, Johnson Creek at Sycamore, Oregon (14211500), which is located near the upstream boundary of the maps. The maps produced by the USGS, and the forecasted flood hydrographs produced by National Weather Service River Forecast Center can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapper Web site (http://wimcloud.usgs.gov/apps/FIM/FloodInundationMapper.html).

Water-surface elevations were computed for Johnson Creek using a combined one-dimensional and two‑dimensional unsteady hydraulic flow model. The model was calibrated using data collected from the flood of December 2015 (including the calculated streamflows at two USGS streamgages on Johnson Creek) and validated with data from the flood of January 2009. Results were typically within 0.6 foot (ft) of recorded or measured water-surface elevations from the December 2015 flood, and within 0.8 ft from the January 2009 flood. Output from the hydraulic model was used to create eight flood inundation maps ranging in stage from 9 to 16 ft. Boundary condition hydrographs were identical in shape to those from the December 2015 flood event, but were scaled up or down to produce the amount of streamflow corresponding to a specific water-surface elevation at the Sycamore streamgage (14211500). Sensitivity analyses using other hydrograph shapes, and a version of the model in which the peak flow is maintained for an extended period of time, showed minimal variation, except for overbank areas near the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

Simulated water-surface profiles were combined with light detection and ranging (lidar) data collected in 2014 to delineate water-surface extents for each of the eight modeled stages. The availability of flood-inundation maps in conjunction with real-time data from the USGS streamgages along Johnson Creek and forecasted hydrographs from the National Weather Service Northwest River Forecast Center will provide residents of the watershed and emergency management personnel with valuable information that may aid in flood response, including potential evacuations, road closures, and mitigation efforts. In addition, these maps may be used for post-flood recovery efforts.

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Haynesville Formation, U.S. Gulf Coast, 2016

Released April 13, 2017 09:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3016

Stanley T. Paxton, Janet K. Pitman, Scott A. Kinney, Nicholas J. Gianoutsos, Ofori N. Pearson, Katherine J. Whidden, Russell F. Dubiel, Christopher J. Schenk, Lauri A. Burke, Timothy R. Klett, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Tracey J. Mercier, Seth S. Haines, Brian A. Varela, Phuong A. Le, Thomas M. Finn, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Sarah J. Hawkins, Kristen R. Marra, Marilyn E. Tennyson

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 1.1 billion barrels of conventional oil and 195.8 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Upper Jurassic Haynesville Formation in onshore lands and State waters of the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Bossier Formation, U.S. Gulf Coast, 2016

Released April 13, 2017 09:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3015

Stanley T. Paxton, Janet K. Pitman, Scott A. Kinney, Nicholas J. Gianoutsos, Ofori N. Pearson, Katherine J. Whidden, Russell F. Dubiel, Christopher J. Schenk, Lauri A. Burke, Timothy R. Klett, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Tracey J. Mercier, Seth S. Haines, Brian A. Varela, Phuong A. Le, Thomas M. Finn, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Sarah J. Hawkins, Kristen R. Marra, Marilyn E. Tennyson

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 2.9 billion barrels of conventional oil and 108.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Upper Jurassic Bossier Formation in onshore lands and State waters of the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

δ13C and d15N in the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys kempii after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Endangered Species Research (33) 281-289

Kimberly J. Reich, Melania C. López-Castro, Donna J. Shaver, Claire Iseton, Kristen M. Hart, Michael J. Hooper, Christopher J. Schmitt

The Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010 and subsequent oil spill released 3.19 × 106 barrels (5.07 × 108 L) of MC252 crude oil into important foraging areas of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys kempii (Lk) in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM). We measured δ13C and δ15N in scute biopsy samples from 33 Lk nesting in Texas during 2010–-12. Of these, 27 were equipped with satellite transmitters and were tracked to traditional foraging areas in the northern GoM after the spill. Differences in δ13C between the oldest and newest scute layers from 2010 nesters were not significantly different, but δ13C in the newest layers from 2011 and 2012 nesters was significantly lower compared to 2010. δ15N differences were not statistically significant. Collectively, the stable isotope and tracking data indicate that the lower δ13C values reflect the incorporation of oil rather than changes in diet or foraging area. Discriminant analysis indicated that 51.5% of the turtles sampled had isotope signatures indicating oil exposure. Growth of the Lk population slowed in the years following the spill. The involvement of oil exposure in recent population trends is unknown, but long-term effects may not be evident for many years. Our results indicate that C isotope signatures in scutes may be useful biomarkers of sea turtle exposure to oil.

Benefits of the destinations, not costs of the journeys, shape partial migration patterns

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Animal Ecology

Charles B. Yackulic, Stephen Blake, Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau

1. The reasons that lead some animals to seasonally migrate, and others to remain in the same area year-round, are poorly understood. Associations between traits, such as body size, and migration provide clues. For example, larger species and individuals are more likely to migrate.

2. One explanation for this size bias in migration is that larger animals are capable of moving faster (movement hypothesis). However, body size is linked to many other biological processes. For instance, the energetic balances of larger animals are generally more sensitive to variation in food density because of body size effects on foraging and metabolism and this sensitivity could drive migratory decisions (forage hypothesis).

3. Identifying the primary selective forces that drive migration ultimately requires quantifying fitness impacts over the full annual migratory cycle. Here, we develop a full annual migratory cycle model from metabolic and foraging theory to compare the importance of the forage and movement hypotheses. We parameterize the model for Galapagos tortoises, which were recently discovered to be size-dependent altitudinal migrants.

4. The model predicts phenomena not included in model development including maximum body sizes, the body size at which individuals begin to migrate, and the seasonal timing of migration and these predictions generally agree with available data. Scenarios strongly support the forage hypothesis over the movement hypothesis. Furthermore, male Galapagos tortoises on Santa Cruz Island would be unable to grow to their enormous sizes without access to both highlands and lowlands.

5. Whereas recent research has focused on links between traits and the migratory phases of the migratory cycle, we find that effects of body size on the non-migratory phases are far more important determinants of the propensity to migrate. Larger animals are more sensitive to changing forage conditions than smaller animals with implications for maintenance of migration and body size in the face of environmental change.

Low-pathogenic influenza A viruses in North American diving ducks contribute to the emergence of a novel highly pathogenic influenza A(H7N8) virus

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Virology (91)

Yifei Xu, Andrew M. Ramey, Andrew S Bowman, Thomas J. DeLiberto, Mary Lea Killian, Scott Krauss, Jacqueline M. Nolting, Mia Kim Torchetti, Andrew B. Reeves, Richard J. Webby, David E. Stallknecht, Xiu-Feng Wan

Introductions of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses of subtypes H5 and H7 into poultry from wild birds have the potential to mutate to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses, but such viruses' origins are often unclear. In January 2016, a novel H7N8 HPAI virus caused an outbreak in turkeys in Indiana, USA. To determine the virus's origin, we sequenced the genomes of 441 wild-bird origin influenza A viruses (IAVs) from North America and subjected them to evolutionary analyses. The results showed that the H7N8 LPAI virus most likely circulated among diving ducks in the Mississippi flyway during autumn 2015 and was subsequently introduced to Indiana turkeys, in which it evolved high pathogenicity. Preceding the outbreak, an isolate with six gene segments (PB2, PB1, PA, HA, NA, and NS) sharing >99% sequence identity with those of H7N8 turkey isolates was recovered from a diving duck sampled in Kentucky, USA. H4N8 IAVs from other diving ducks possessed five H7N8-like gene segments (PB2, PB1, NA, MP, and NS; >98% sequence identity). Our findings suggest that viral gene constellations circulating among diving ducks can contribute to the emergence of IAVs that affect poultry. Therefore, diving ducks may serve an important and understudied role in the maintenance, diversification, and transmission of IAVs in the wild-bird reservoir.

Optimization of a Plaque Neutralization Test (PNT) to identify the exposure history of Pacific Herring to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV)

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health (29) 74-82

Lucas Hart, Ashley Mackenzie, Maureen Purcell, Rachel L. Thompson, Paul Hershberger

Methods for a plaque neutralization test (PNT) were optimized for the detection and quantification of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) neutralizing activity in the plasma of Pacific Herring Clupea pallasii. The PNT was complement dependent, as neutralizing activity was attenuated by heat inactivation; further, neutralizing activity was mostly restored by the addition of exogenous complement from specific-pathogen-free Pacific Herring. Optimal methods included the overnight incubation of VHSV aliquots in serial dilutions (starting at 1:16) of whole test plasma containing endogenous complement. The resulting viral titers were then enumerated using a viral plaque assay in 96-well microplates. Serum neutralizing activity was virus-specific as plasma from viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) survivors demonstrated only negligible reactivity to infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, a closely related rhabdovirus. Among Pacific Herring that survived VHSV exposure, neutralizing activity was detected in the plasma as early as 37 d postexposure and peaked at approximately 64 d postexposure. The onset of neutralizing activity was slightly delayed in fish reared at 7.4°C relative to those in warmer temperatures (9.9°C and 13.1°C); however, neutralizing activity persisted for at least 345 d postexposure in all temperature treatments. It is anticipated that this novel ability to assess VHSV neutralizing activity in Pacific Herring will enable retrospective comparisons between prior VHS infections and year-class recruitment failures. Additionally, the optimized PNT could be employed as a forecasting tool capable of identifying the potential for future VHS epizootics in wild Pacific Herring populations.

Geomorphic process from topographic form: automating the interpretation of repeat survey data in river valleys

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Alan Kasprak, Joshua Caster, Sara G. Bangen, Joel B. Sankey

The ability to quantify the processes driving geomorphic change in river valley margins is vital to geomorphologists seeking to understand the relative role of transport mechanisms (e.g. fluvial, aeolian, and hillslope processes) in landscape dynamics. High-resolution, repeat topographic data are becoming readily available to geomorphologists. By contrasting digital elevation models derived from repeat surveys, the transport processes driving topographic changes can be inferred, a method termed ‘mechanistic segregation.’ Unfortunately, mechanistic segregation largely relies on subjective and time consuming manual classification, which has implications both for its reproducibility and the practical scale of its application. Here we present a novel computational workflow for the mechanistic segregation of geomorphic transport processes in geospatial datasets. We apply the workflow to seven sites along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, where geomorphic transport is driven by a diverse suite of mechanisms. The workflow performs well when compared to field observations, with an overall predictive accuracy of 84% across 113 validation points. The approach most accurately predicts changes due to fluvial processes (100% accuracy) and aeolian processes (96%), with reduced accuracy in predictions of alluvial and colluvial processes (64% and 73%, respectively). Our workflow is designed to be applicable to a diversity of river systems and will likely provide a rapid and objective understanding of the processes driving geomorphic change at the reach and network scales. We anticipate that such an understanding will allow insight into the response of geomorphic transport processes to external forcings, such as shifts in climate, land use, or river regulation, with implications for process-based river management and restoration.

Geogenic organic contaminants in the low-rank coal-bearing Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer of East Texas, USA

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrogeology Journal

Jayeeta Chakraborty, Matthew S. Varonka, William H. Orem, Robert B. Finkelman, William Manton

The organic composition of groundwater along the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in East Texas (USA), sampled from rural wells in May and September 2015, was examined as part of a larger study of the potential health and environmental effects of organic compounds derived from low-rank coals. The quality of water from the low-rank coal-bearing Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer is a potential environmental concern and no detailed studies of the organic compounds in this aquifer have been published. Organic compounds identified in the water samples included: aliphatics and their fatty acid derivatives, phenols, biphenyls, N-, O-, and S-containing heterocyclic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), aromatic amines, and phthalates. Many of the identified organic compounds (aliphatics, phenols, heterocyclic compounds, PAHs) are geogenic and originated from groundwater leaching of young and unmetamorphosed low-rank coals. Estimated concentrations of individual compounds ranged from about 3.9 to 0.01 μg/L. In many rural areas in East Texas, coal strata provide aquifers for drinking water wells. Organic compounds observed in groundwater are likely to be present in drinking water supplied from wells that penetrate the coal. Some of the organic compounds identified in the water samples are potentially toxic to humans, but at the estimated levels in these samples, the compounds are unlikely to cause acute health problems. The human health effects of low-level chronic exposure to coal-derived organic compounds in drinking water in East Texas are currently unknown, and continuing studies will evaluate possible toxicity.

Integrated species distribution models: combining presence-background data and site-occupancy data with imperfect detection

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Methods in Ecology and Evolution (8) 420-430

Vira Koshkina, Yang Wang, Ascelin Gordon, Robert Dorazio, Matthew White, Lewi Stone

  1. Two main sources of data for species distribution models (SDMs) are site-occupancy (SO) data from planned surveys, and presence-background (PB) data from opportunistic surveys and other sources. SO surveys give high quality data about presences and absences of the species in a particular area. However, due to their high cost, they often cover a smaller area relative to PB data, and are usually not representative of the geographic range of a species. In contrast, PB data is plentiful, covers a larger area, but is less reliable due to the lack of information on species absences, and is usually characterised by biased sampling. Here we present a new approach for species distribution modelling that integrates these two data types.
  2. We have used an inhomogeneous Poisson point process as the basis for constructing an integrated SDM that fits both PB and SO data simultaneously. It is the first implementation of an Integrated SO–PB Model which uses repeated survey occupancy data and also incorporates detection probability.
  3. The Integrated Model's performance was evaluated, using simulated data and compared to approaches using PB or SO data alone. It was found to be superior, improving the predictions of species spatial distributions, even when SO data is sparse and collected in a limited area. The Integrated Model was also found effective when environmental covariates were significantly correlated. Our method was demonstrated with real SO and PB data for the Yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) in south-eastern Australia, with the predictive performance of the Integrated Model again found to be superior.
  4. PB models are known to produce biased estimates of species occupancy or abundance. The small sample size of SO datasets often results in poor out-of-sample predictions. Integrated models combine data from these two sources, providing superior predictions of species abundance compared to using either data source alone. Unlike conventional SDMs which have restrictive scale-dependence in their predictions, our Integrated Model is based on a point process model and has no such scale-dependency. It may be used for predictions of abundance at any spatial-scale while still maintaining the underlying relationship between abundance and area.

Cloud detection algorithm comparison and validation for operational Landsat data products

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Remote Sensing of Environment (194) 379-390

Steven Curtis Foga, Pat Scaramuzza, Song Guo, Zhe Zhu, Ronald Dilley, Tim Beckmann, Gail L. Schmidt, John L. Dwyer, MJ Hughes, Brady Laue

Clouds are a pervasive and unavoidable issue in satellite-borne optical imagery. Accurate, well-documented, and automated cloud detection algorithms are necessary to effectively leverage large collections of remotely sensed data. The Landsat project is uniquely suited for comparative validation of cloud assessment algorithms because the modular architecture of the Landsat ground system allows for quick evaluation of new code, and because Landsat has the most comprehensive manual truth masks of any current satellite data archive. Currently, the Landsat Level-1 Product Generation System (LPGS) uses separate algorithms for determining clouds, cirrus clouds, and snow and/or ice probability on a per-pixel basis. With more bands onboard the Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI)/Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) satellite, and a greater number of cloud masking algorithms, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is replacing the current cloud masking workflow with a more robust algorithm that is capable of working across multiple Landsat sensors with minimal modification. Because of the inherent error from stray light and intermittent data availability of TIRS, these algorithms need to operate both with and without thermal data. In this study, we created a workflow to evaluate cloud and cloud shadow masking algorithms using cloud validation masks manually derived from both Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM +) and Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS data. We created a new validation dataset consisting of 96 Landsat 8 scenes, representing different biomes and proportions of cloud cover. We evaluated algorithm performance by overall accuracy, omission error, and commission error for both cloud and cloud shadow. We found that CFMask, C code based on the Function of Mask (Fmask) algorithm, and its confidence bands have the best overall accuracy among the many algorithms tested using our validation data. The Artificial Thermal-Automated Cloud Cover Algorithm (AT-ACCA) is the most accurate nonthermal-based algorithm. We give preference to CFMask for operational cloud and cloud shadow detection, as it is derived from a priori knowledge of physical phenomena and is operable without geographic restriction, making it useful for current and future land imaging missions without having to be retrained in a machine-learning environment.

Effects of experimental removal of barred owls on population demography of northern spotted owls in Washington and Oregon—2016 progress report

Released April 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1040

J. David Wiens, Katie M. Dugger, Krista E. Lewicki, David C. Simon

Evidence indicates that competition with invasive barred owls (Strix varia) is causing rapid declines in populations of northern spotted owls (S. occidentalis caurina), and that the long-term persistence of spotted owls may be in question without additional management intervention. A pilot study in California showed that removal of barred owls in combination with habitat conservation may be able to slow or even reverse population declines of spotted owls at local scales, but it remains unknown whether similar results can be obtained in areas with different forest conditions and a greater density of barred owls. In 2015, we implemented a before-after-control-impact (BACI) experimental design on three study areas in Oregon and Washington with at least 20 years of pre-treatment demographic data on spotted owls to determine if removal of barred owls can improve localized population trends of spotted owls. Here, we report on research accomplishments and preliminary results from the first 21 months (March 2015–December 2016) of the planned 5-year experiment.

Quantifying the demographic cost of human-related mortality to a raptor population

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (12)

W. Grainger Hunt, David Wiens, Peter R. Law, Mark R. Fuller, Teresa L. Hunt, Daniel E. Driscoll, Ronald E. Jackman

Raptors are exposed to a wide variety of human-related mortality agents, and yet population-level effects are rarely quantified. Doing so requires modeling vital rates in the context of species life-history, behavior, and population dynamics theory. In this paper, we explore the details of such an analysis by focusing on the demography of a resident, tree-nesting population of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the vicinity of an extensive (142 km2) windfarm in California. During 1994–2000, we tracked the fates of >250 radio-marked individuals of four life-stages and conducted five annual surveys of territory occupancy and reproduction. Collisions with wind turbines accounted for 41% of 88 uncensored fatalities, most of which were subadults and nonbreeding adults (floaters). A consistent overall male preponderance in the population meant that females were the limiting sex in this territorial, monogamous species. Estimates of potential population growth rate and associated variance indicated a stable breeding population, but one for which any further decrease in vital rates would require immigrant floaters to fill territory vacancies. Occupancy surveys 5 and 13 years later (2005 and 2013) showed that the nesting population remained intact, and no upward trend was apparent in the proportion of subadult eagles as pair members, a condition that would have suggested a deficit of adult replacements. However, the number of golden eagle pairs required to support windfarm mortality was large. We estimated that the entire annual reproductive output of 216–255 breeding pairs would have been necessary to support published estimates of 55–65 turbine blade-strike fatalities per year. Although the vital rates forming the basis for these calculations may have changed since the data were collected, our approach should be useful for gaining a clearer understanding of how anthropogenic mortality affects the health of raptor populations, particularly those species with delayed maturity and naturally low reproductive rates.

Environmental Escherichia coli: Ecology and public health implications - A review

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Applied Microbiology

Jeonghwan Jang, Hor-Gil Hur, Michael J. Sadowsky, Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Tao Yan, Satoshi Ishii

Escherichia coli is classified as a rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacterium in the family Enterobacteriaceae. The bacterium mainly inhabits the lower intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, including humans, and is often discharged into the environment through feces or wastewater effluent. The presence of E. coli in environmental waters has long been considered as an indicator of recent fecal pollution. However, numerous recent studies have reported that some specific strains of E. coli can survive for long periods of time, and potentially reproduce, in extra-intestinal environments. This indicates that E. coli can be integrated into indigenous microbial communities in the environment. This naturalization phenomenon calls into question the reliability of E. coli as a fecal indicator bacterium (FIB). Recently, many studies reported that E. coli populations in the environment are affected by ambient environmental conditions affecting their long-term survival. Large-scale studies of population genetics provide the diversity and complexity of E. coli strains in various environments, affected by multiple environmental factors. This review examines the current knowledge on the ecology of E. coli strains in various environments in regards to its role as a FIB and as a naturalized member of indigenous microbial communities. Special emphasis is given on the growth of pathogenic E. coli in the environment, and the population genetics of environmental members of the genus Escherichia. The impact of environmental E. coli on water quality and public health is also discussed.

Simulation of rapid ecological change in Lake Ontario

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research

James E. McKenna Jr., Marc Chalupnicki, Dawn E. Dittman, James M. Watkins

Lower trophic level processes are integral to proper functioning of large aquatic ecosystems and have been disturbed in Lake Ontario by various stressors including exotic species. The invasion of benthic habitats by dreissenid mussels has led to systemic changes and native faunal declines. Size-dependent physiological rates, spatial differences and connectivity, competition, and differential population dynamics among invertebrate groups contributed to the change and system complexity. We developed a spatially explicit, individual-based mechanistic model of the benthic ecosystem in Lake Ontario, with coupling to the pelagic system, to examine ecosystem dynamics and effects of dreissenid mussel invasion and native fauna losses. Benthic organisms were represented by functional groups; filter-feeders (i.e., dreissenid mussels), surface deposit-feeders (e.g., native amphipod Diporeia spp.), and deposit-feeders (e.g., oligochaetes and other burrowers). The model was stable, represented ecological structure and function effectively, and reproduced observed effects of the mussel invasion. Two hypotheses for causes of Diporeia loss, competition or disease-like mortality, were tested. Simple competition for food did not explain observed declines in native surface deposit-feeders during the filter-feeder invasion. However, the elevated mortality scenario supports a disease-like cause for loss of the native amphipod, with population changes in various lake areas and altered benthic biomass transfers. Stabilization of mussel populations and possible recovery of the native, surface-deposit feeding amphipod were predicted. Although further research is required on forcing functions, model parameters, and natural conditions, the model provides a valuable tool to help managers understand the benthic system and plan for response to future disruptions.

Occurrence and in vitro bioactivity of estrogen, androgen, and glucocorticoid compounds in a nationwide screen of United States stream waters

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science & Technology

Justin M. Conley, Nicola Evans, Mary C. Cardon, Laura Rosenblum, Luke Iwanowicz, Phillip C. Hartig, Kathleen M. Schenck, Paul M. Bradley, Vickie S. Wilson

In vitro bioassays are sensitive, effect-based tools used to quantitatively screen for chemicals with nuclear receptor activity in environmental samples. We measured in vitro estrogen (ER), androgen (AR), and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activity, along with a broad suite of chemical analytes, in streamwater from 35 well-characterized sites (3 reference and 32 impacted) across 24 states and Puerto Rico. ER agonism was the most frequently detected with nearly all sites (34/35) displaying activity (range, 0.054–116 ng E2Eq L–1). There was a strong linear relationship (r2 = 0.917) between in vitro ER activity and concentrations of steroidal estrogens after correcting for the in vitro potency of each compound. AR agonism was detected in 5/35 samples (range, 1.6–4.8 ng DHTEq L–1) but concentrations of androgenic compounds were largely unable to account for the in vitro activity. Similarly, GR agonism was detected in 9/35 samples (range, 6.0–43 ng DexEq L–1); however, none of the recognized GR-active compounds on the target-chemical analyte list were detected. The utility of in vitro assays in water quality monitoring was evident from both the quantitative agreement between ER activity and estrogen concentrations, as well as the detection of AR and GR activity for which there were limited or no corresponding target-chemical detections to explain the bioactivity. Incorporation of in vitro bioassays as complements to chemical analyses in standard water quality monitoring efforts would allow for more complete assessment of the chemical mixtures present in many surface waters.

Expanded target-chemical analysis reveals extensive mixed-organic-contaminant exposure in USA streams

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science & Technology

Paul M. Bradley, Celeste Journey, Kristin Romanok, Larry B. Barber, Herbert T. Buxton, William Foreman, Edward T. Furlong, Susan T. Glassmeyer, Michelle Hladik, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Daniel K. Jones, Dana W. Kolpin, Kathryn M. Kuivila, Keith A. Loftin, Marc A. Mills, Michael T. Meyer, James L. Orlando, Timothy J. Reilly, Kelly L. Smalling, Daniel L. Villeneuve

Surface water from 38 streams nationwide was assessed using 14 target-organic methods (719 compounds). Designed-bioactive anthropogenic contaminants (biocides, pharmaceuticals) comprised 57% of 406 organics detected at least once. The 10 most-frequently detected anthropogenic-organics included eight pesticides (desulfinylfipronil, AMPA, chlorpyrifos, dieldrin, metolachlor, atrazine, CIAT, glyphosate) and two pharmaceuticals (caffeine, metformin) with detection frequencies ranging 66–84% of all sites. Detected contaminant concentrations varied from less than 1 ng L–1 to greater than 10 μg L–1, with 77 and 278 having median detected concentrations greater than 100 ng L–1 and 10 ng L–1, respectively. Cumulative detections and concentrations ranged 4–161 compounds (median 70) and 8.5–102 847 ng L–1, respectively, and correlated significantly with wastewater discharge, watershed development, and toxic release inventory metrics. Log10 concentrations of widely monitored HHCB, triclosan, and carbamazepine explained 71–82% of the variability in the total number of compounds detected (linear regression; p-values: < 0.001–0.012), providing a statistical inference tool for unmonitored contaminants. Due to multiple modes of action, high bioactivity, biorecalcitrance, and direct environment application (pesticides), designed-bioactive organics (median 41 per site at μg L–1 cumulative concentrations) in developed watersheds present aquatic health concerns, given their acknowledged potential for sublethal effects to sensitive species and lifecycle stages at low ng L–1.

Voluminous arc dacites as amphibole reaction-boundary liquids

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology (172) 1-37

Dawnika Blatter, Thomas W. Sisson, William B. Hankins

Dacites dominate the large-volume, explosive eruptions in magmatic arcs, and compositionally similar granodiorites and tonalites constitute the bulk of convergent margin batholiths. Shallow, pre-eruptive storage conditions are well known for many dacitic arc magmas through melt inclusions, Fe–Ti oxides, and experiments, but their potential origins deeper in the crust are not well determined. Accordingly, we report experimental results identifying the P–T–H2O conditions under which hydrous dacitic liquid may segregate from hornblende (hbl)-gabbroic sources either during crystallization–differentiation or partial melting. Two compositions were investigated: (1) MSH–Yn−1 dacite (SiO2: 65 wt%) from Mount St. Helens’ voluminous Yn tephra and (2) MSH–Yn−1 + 10% cpx to force saturation with cpx and map a portion of the cpx + melt = hbl peritectic reaction boundary. H2O-undersaturated (3, 6, and 9 wt% H2O) piston cylinder experiments were conducted at pressures, temperatures, and fO2 appropriate for the middle to lower arc crust (400, 700, and 900 MPa, 825–1100 °C, and the Re–ReO2 buffer ≈ Ni–NiO + 2). Results for MSH–Yn−1 indicate near-liquidus equilibrium with a cpx-free hbl-gabbro residue (hbl, plg, magnetite, ± opx, and ilmeno-hematite) with 6–7 wt% dissolved H2O, 925 °C, and 700–900 MPa. Opx disappears down-temperature consistent with the reaction opx + melt = hbl. Cpx-added phase relations are similar in that once ~10% cpx crystallizes, multiple saturation is attained with cpx, hbl, and plg, +/− opx, at 6–7 wt% dissolved H2O, 940 °C, and 700–900 MPa. Plg–hbl–cpx saturated liquids diverge from plg–hbl–opx saturated liquids, consistent with the MSH–Yn−1 dacite marking a liquid composition along a peritectic distributary reaction boundary where hbl appears down-temperature as opx + cpx are consumed. The abundance of saturating phases along this distributary peritectic (liquid + hbl + opx + cpx + plg + oxides) reduces the variance, so liquids are restricted to dacite–granodiorite–tonalite compositions. Higher-K dacites than the Yn would also saturate with biotite, further limiting their compositional diversity. Theoretical evaluation of the energetics of peritectic melting of pargasitic amphiboles indicates that melting and crystallization of amphibole occur abruptly, proximal to amphibole’s high-temperature stability limit, which causes the system to dwell thermally under the conditions that produce dacitic compositions. This process may account for the compositional homogeneity of dacites, granodiorites, and tonalites in arc settings, but their relative mobility compared to rhyolitic/granitic liquids likely accounts for their greater abundance.

Chapter 1: Assessing pollinator habitat services to optimize conservation programs

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report, The valuation of ecosystem services from farms and forests

Richard Iovanna, Amy W. Ando , Scott Swinton, Daniel Hellerstein, Jimmy Kagan, David M. Mushet, Clint R. Otto, Charles A. Rewa

Pollination services have received increased attention over the past several years, and protecting foraging area is beginning to be reflected in conservation policy. This case study considers the prospects for doing so in a more analytically rigorous manner, by quantifying the pollination services for sites being considered for ecological restoration. The specific policy context is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which offers financial and technical assistance to landowners seeking to convert sensitive cropland back to some semblance of the prairie (or, to a lesser extent, forest or wetland) ecosystem that preceded it. Depending on the mix of grasses and wildflowers that are established, CRP enrollments can provide pollinator habitat. Further, depending on their location, they will generate related services, such as biological control of crop pests, recreation, and aesthetics. While offers to enroll in CRP compete based on cost and some anticipated benefits, the eligibility and ranking criteria do not reflect these services to a meaningful degree. Therefore, we develop a conceptual value diagram to identify the sequence of steps and associated models and data necessary to quantify the full range of services, and find that critical data gaps, some of which are artifacts of policy, preclude the application of benefit-relevant indicators (BRIs) or monetization. However, we also find that there is considerable research activity underway to fill these gaps. In addition, a modeling framework has been developed that can estimate field-level effects on services as a function of landscape context. The approach is inherently scalable and not limited in geographic scope, which is essential for a program with a national footprint. The parameters in this framework are sufficiently straightforward that expert judgment could be applied as a stopgap approach until empirically derived estimates are available. While monetization of benefit-relevant indicators of yield changes (crop and honey) and of habitat benefits due to enhanced pollination and pest bio-control services would be relatively straightforward, the merits of proceeding when other services cannot be valued now should be carefully considered.

Pilot study for the characterization of sediment chemistry, sediment toxicity, and benthic invertebrate community structure for PCB-contaminated sediments from the Upper Hudson River, New York

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Christopher G. Ingersoll, Donald D. MacDonald, Jesse A. Sinclair, Heather Prencipe, Ann Jones, Mark Curry, Christopher Lewis, Nile E. Kemble, Jeff Steevens, Kelly Nolan, Allison Schein, James L. Kunz

Landsat Science Team: 2017 Winter Meeting Summary

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The Earth Observer (28) 45-50

Todd A. Schroeder, Thomas Loveland, Michael A. Wulder, James R. Irons

The summer meeting of the joint U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)-NASA Landsat Science Team (LST) was held July 26-28, 2016, at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, SD. LST co-chair Tom Loveland [USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS)] and Kevin Kephart [SDSU] welcomed more than 80 participants to the three-day meeting. That attendance at such meetings continues to increase—likely due to the development of new data products and sensor systems—further highlights the growing interest in the Landsat program. The main objectives of this meeting were to provide a status update on Landsat 7 and 8, review team member research activities, and to begin identifying priorities for future Landsat missions.

Pacific Island landbird monitoring report, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, 2015-2016: Tract groups 1 and 2

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Seth Judge, Rick Camp, Daniel Sedgwick, Carine Squibb, Patrick J. Hart

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) was surveyed for landbirds and landbird habitat from February through April 2015 and February through April 2016. This information provides the second datum in the time-series of Pacific Island Network (PACN) monitoring for long term trends in landbird distribution, density, and abundance. Initial PACN surveys were conducted in 2010 and are repeated every five years. The entire survey area was comprised of eight tracts in forest, woodland, and shrub habitat, totaling 26,364 ha. Each tract was surveyed using point-transect distance sampling to calculate estimates of bird abundance and density. In addition to the permanent PACN survey transects, randomly generated point-transects were also surveyed, allowing for a split panel sampling design. A total of 14,061 bird detections of twenty-eight species were recorded during point counts; 8 species were native to Hawaiʻi and 20 species were non-native. ʻApapane (Himatione sanguinea) and Hawaiʻi ‘Amakihi (Chlorodrepanis virens virens) were the most abundant and widely distributed native species detected. ‘Ōma’o (Myadestes obscurus), ‘I‘iwi (Drepanis coccinea), and Hawaiʻi Elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis) occurred at fewer than 30% of the 757 stations surveyed, and were absent from some tracts. Three species of native birds detected during surveys were endangered—ʻIo (Buteo solitarius), Hawaiʻi Creeper (Loxops mana), and Hawaiʻi ʻAkepa (Loxops coccineus). Two additional endangered species were detected incidentally on transects—Nēnē (Branta sandwicensis) and ʻAkiapolaʻau (Hemignathus wilsoni). Non-native Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), Japanese Bush Warbler (Horomis diphone), and Yellow-fronted Canary (Crithagra mozambica) were detected throughout most tracts and had the highest relative abundances among non-natives. The remaining species detected occurred at less than 10% of stations surveyed. Sufficient detections to allow density estimation were made for 11 species (5 native and 6 nonnative). Changes in species-specific densities by tract were assessed between the initial and current surveys using two-sample z-tests in an equivalence testing framework to determine long-term trends. Differences between densities were highly variable for native species; including increasing, decreasing and stable trends. There were notable increases of ‘I‘iwi and ‘Ōma’o densities in some tracts. However there were also declines of ‘Ōma’o in three tracts, including leeward Northwest Kahuku where birds were detected in 2010 for the first time in over 30 years, but not during this recent survey. ‘I‘iwi densities increased in the high elevation Pāpā tract; however, they declined in the Mauna Loa Strip tract where the species may be vulnerable to avian malaria. Trend results for Hawaiʻi ʻAkepa were inconclusive, but the species occurred at more survey stations than in 2010, and we estimate a density of 0.31 ±0.34 birds/ha in the 10,989 ha Kahuku tract. Hawaiʻi Creeper had in an increasing trend in the Kahuku tract with a density of 0.16 ± 0.07 birds/ha and an inconclusive trend in Honomalino, where there was only one detection in 2016. There was a large expansion in the distribution and abundance of the non-native Yellow-fronted Canary and Japanese Bush Warbler. The Lavender Waxbill (Estrilda caerulescens) was detected in HAVO for the first time. Trend results were variable for other non-native species, but generally maintained xi stable densities when compared to previous landbird surveys. Several habitat variables were sampled at monitoring stations in each tract. Canopy and understory species were predominantly native, especially in tracts where ungulates have been excluded.

Geotechnical aspects of the 2016 MW 6.2, MW 6.0, and MW 7.0 Kumamoto earthquakes

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Robert Kayen, Shideh Dashti, T. Kokusho, H. Hazarika, Kevin Franke, N. K. Oettle, Brad Wham, Jenny Ramirez Calderon, Dallin Briggs, Samantha Guillies, Katherine Cheng, Yutaka Tanoue, Katsuji Takematsu, Daisuke Matsumoto, Takayuki Morinaga, Hideo Furuichi, Yuuta Kitano, Masanori Tajiri, Babloo Chaudhary, Kengo Nishimura, Chu Chu

The 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes are a series of events that began with an earthquake of moment magnitude 6.2 on the Hinagu Fault on April 14, 2016, followed by another foreshock of moment magnitude 6.0 on the Hinagu Fault on April 15, 2016, and a larger moment magnitude 7.0 event on the Futagawa Fault on April 16, 2016 beneath Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyushu, Japan. These events are the strongest earthquakes recorded in Kyushu during the modern instrumental era. The earthquakes resulted in substantial damage to infrastructure, buildings, cultural heritage of Kumamoto Castle, roads and highways, slopes, and river embankments due to earthquake-induced landsliding and debris flows. Surface fault rupture produced offset and damage to roads, buildings, river levees, and an agricultural dam. Surprisingly, given the extremely intense earthquake motions, liquefaction occurred only in a few districts of Kumamoto City and in the port areas indicating that the volcanic soils were less susceptible to liquefying than expected given the intensity of earthquake shaking, a significant finding from this event.

Facilitating adaptation in montane plants to changing precipitation along an elevation gradient

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Technical Report HCSU-080

Steve Hess, Christina Leopold

Montane plant communities throughout the world have responded to changes in precipitation and temperature regimes by shifting ranges upward in elevation. Continued warmer, drier climate conditions have been documented and are projected to increase in high-elevation areas in Hawai‘i, consistent with climate change effects reported in other environments throughout the world. Organisms that cannot disperse or adapt biologically to projected climate scenarios in situ may decrease in distributional range and abundance over time. Restoration efforts will need to accommodate future climate change and account for the interactive effects of existing invasive species to ensure long-term persistence. As part of a larger, ongoing restoration effort, we hypothesized that plants from a lower-elevation forest ecotype would have higher rates of survival and growth compared to high-elevation forest conspecifics when grown in common plots along an elevation gradient. We monitored climate conditions at planting sites to identify whether temperature or rainfall influenced survival and growth after 20 weeks. We found that origin significantly affected survival in only one of three native montane species, Dodonaea viscosa. Contrary to our hypothesis, 75.2% of seedlings from high-elevation origin survived in comparison to 58.7% of seedlings from low elevation across the entire elevation gradient. Origin also influenced survival in linearized mixed models that controlled for temperature, precipitation, and elevation in D. viscosa and Chenopodium oahuense. Only C. oahuense seedlings had similar predictors of growth and survival. There were no common patterns of growth or survival between species, indicating that responses to changing precipitation and emperature regimes varied between montane plant species. Results also suggest that locally sourced seed is important to ensure highest survival at restoration sites. Further experimentation on larger spatial and temporal scales is necessary to determine the empirical responses of species and communities to changing climate in the full context of highly degraded Hawaiian ecosystems.

Final synthesis report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the palos verdes shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Robert P. Eganhouse, William H. Orem, Martin Reinhard

This project was organized into separate field and laboratory studies aimed at answering “18 questions” in the original Scope of Work (cf., section 2 of this report, Background, for explanation). Because of some early results, certain questions became irrelevant and were, therefore, not pursued. In other cases, there simply was not enough time to complete the originally planned studies. On the other hand, additional work, not identified in any of the original “18 questions”, was carried out for purposes of addressing specific issues of concern to the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Examples of the latter include: 1) the analysis of an expanded list of sediment cores for DDX (DDX refers to the ten DDT-related compounds of interest in this study; cf., Eganhouse et al., [1]) and selected PCB congeners to facilitate estimation of site-specific reductive dechlorination (RDC) and total loss rates, 2) analysis of gravity and box cores for trace elements to allow stratigraphic alignment, and 3) determination of the extent of mineralization of p,p’-DDE (1-chloro-2-[2,2-dichloro-1-(4- chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) in microcosm experiments. In this Executive Summary, we offer a brief recapitulation of what was learned about the factors controlling reductive dechlorination of p,p’-DDE in Palos Verdes Shelf (PVS) sediments using the “18 questions” as a structural guide. The summary is written in narrative form, but references to specific sections (corresponding to the “18 questions”) are identified parenthetically in the text so that the reader can explore the expanded answers that appear later in the report.

Final data report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

Released April 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Robert P. Eganhouse, James Pontolillo, William H. Orem, Daniel M. Webster, Paul C. Hackley, Brian D. Edwards, Kurt Rosenberger, Patrick Dickhudt, Christopher R. Sherwood, Martin Reinhard, Sujie Qin, Jennifer Dougherty, Gary Hopkins, Ian Marshall, Alfred Spormann

This data report provides a compilation of information developed over the last 6+ years by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research team. The overall goal of this work has been to identify the biological, chemical, and physical factors that control rates of reductive dechlorination of DDE and DDMU in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf (PVS). More specific questions and objectives are delineated in the Scope of Work (section 12.1., Appendix 1). The study was composed of two parts: 1) field characterization studies, and 2) laboratory microcosm experiments. The goal of the field characterization studies was to define the conditions under which reductive dechlorination of DDE (and DDMU) is occurring in PVS sediments. This involved two separate cruises (2009, 2010) during which sediment cores, bottom water and other real-time field measurements (e.g., conductivity, temperature, depth of the water column) were acquired. The sediment cores were distributed among research team members for detailed chemical (R. Eganhouse, B. Orem, M. Reinhard), microbiological (A. Spormann), and physical (B. Edwards) analysis as well as for laboratory microcosm experiments (M. Reinhard). A team of collaborating USGS scientists generously contributed valuable information pertaining to geochronology (P. Swarzenski), the character of sedimentary geosorbent phases (P. Hackley), mineralogy (D. Webster), and grain-size characteristics (C. Sherwood) of PVS sediment samples. Together, this information will serve as framework for a conceptual model of natural degradation processes in the DDT-contaminated sediments on the PVS. These findings will enable the USEPA to gain a better understanding of the controls on reductive dechlorination and how dechlorination rates vary spatially and temporally. This, in turn, should facilitate decision making concerning the progress of natural attenuation and when monitoring at the site can be terminated. Toward that end, a brief Synthesis Report, summarizing and interpreting the acquired data, is being prepared and will be released in the coming year.

Sediment lithology and radiochemistry from the back-barrier environments along the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana—March 2012

Released April 11, 2017 16:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1045

Marci E. Marot, Christopher G. Smith, C. Scott Adams, Kathryn A. Richwine

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center collected a set of 8 sediment cores from the back-barrier environments along the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in March 2012. The sampling efforts were part of a larger USGS study to evaluate effects on the geomorphology of the Chandeleur Islands following the construction of an artificial sand berm to reduce oil transport onto federally managed lands. The objective of this study was to evaluate the response of the back-barrier tidal and wetland environments to the berm. This report serves as an archive for sedimentological and radiochemical data derived from the sediment cores. The data described in this report are available for download on the data downloads page.

Status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2016

Released April 11, 2017 15:15 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5030

Michael C. Runge, Carol A. Sanders-Reed, Catherine A. Langtimm, Jeffrey A. Hostetler, Julien Martin, Charles J. Deutsch, Leslie I. Ward-Geiger, Gary L. Mahon

Trichechus manatus (West Indian manatee), especially T. m. latirostris, the Florida subspecies, has been the focus of conservation efforts and extensive research since its listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. To determine the status of, and severity of threats to, the Florida manatee, a comprehensive revision and update of the manatee Core Biological Model was completed and used to perform a population viability analysis for the Florida manatee. The probability of the Florida manatee population falling below 500 adults on either the Gulf or East coast within the next 100 years was estimated to be 0.42 percent. This risk of quasi-extinction is low because the estimated adult survival rates are high, the current population size is greater than 2,500 on each coast, and the estimated carrying capacity for manatees is much larger than the current abundance estimates in all four regions of Florida. Three threats contribute in roughly equal measures to the risk of quasi-extinction: watercraft-related mortality, red-tide mortality, and loss of warm-water habitat. Only an increase in watercraft-related mortality has the potential to substantially increase the risk of quasi-extinction at the statewide or coastal level. Expected losses of warm-water habitat are likely to cause a major change in the distribution of the population from the regions where manatees rely heavily on power plant effluents for warmth in winter (Southwest and Atlantic regions) to the regions where manatees primarily use natural springs in winter (Northwest and Upper St. Johns regions). The chances are nearly 50 percent that manatee populations in the Southwest and Atlantic regions will decrease from their 2011 levels by at least 30 percent over the next century.

A large number of scenarios were examined to explore the possible effects of potential emerging threats, and in most of them, the risk of quasi-extinction at the coastal scale within 100 years did not rise above 1 percent. The four exceptions are scenarios in which the rate of watercraft-related mortality increases, carrying capacity is only a fraction of the current estimates, a new chronic source of mortality emerges, or multiple threats emerge in concert. Even in these scenarios, however, the risk of falling below 500 adults on either the East coast or the Gulf coast within 100 years from 2011 is less than 10 percent. High adult survival provides the population with strong resilience to a variety of current and future threats. On the basis of these analyses, we conclude that if these threats continue to be managed effectively, manatees are likely to persist on both coasts of Florida and remain an integral part of the coastal Florida ecosystem through the 21st century. If vigilance in management is reduced, however, the scenarios in which manatees could face risk of decline become more likely.

Reversible reduction of estrone to 17β-estradiol by Rhizobium, Sphingopyxis, and Pseudomonas isolates from the Las Vegas Wash

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Environmental Quality (46) 281-287

Susanna Blunt, Mark Benotti, Michael R. Rosen, Brian Hedlund, Duane Moser

Environmental endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are a growing concern as studies reveal their persistence and detrimental effects on wildlife. Microorganisms are known to affect the transformation of steroid EDCs; however, the diversity of estrogen-degrading microorganisms and the range of transformations they mediate remain relatively little studied. In mesocosms, low concentrations of added estrone (E1) and 17β-estradiol (E2) were removed by indigenous microorganisms from Las Vegas Wash water within 2 wk. Three bacterial isolates, Rhizobium sp. strain LVW-9, Sphingopyxis sp. strain LVW-12, and Pseudomonas sp. strain LVW-PC, were enriched from Las Vegas Wash water on E1 and E2 and used for EDC transformation studies. In the presence of alternative carbon sources, LVW-9 and LVW-12 catalyzed near-stoichiometric reduction of E1 to E2 but subsequently reoxidized E2 back to E1; whereas LVW-PC minimally reduced E1 to E2 but effectively oxidized E2 to E1 after a 20-d lag. In the absence of alternative carbon sources, LVW-12 and LVW-PC oxidized E2 to E1. This report documents the rapid and sometimes reversible microbial transformation of E1 and E2 and the slow degradation of 17α-ethinylestradiol in urban stream water and extends the list of known estrogen-transforming bacteria to the genera Rhizobium and Sphingopyxis. These results suggest that discharge of steroid estrogens via wastewater could be reduced through tighter control of redox conditions and may assist in future risk assessments detailing the environmental fate of estrogens through evidence that microbial estrogen transformations may be affected by environmental conditions or growth status.

Contrasting nest survival patterns for ducks and songbirds in northern mixed-grass prairie

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Wildlife Management

Todd Grant, Terry L. Shaffer, Elizabeth M. Madden, Melvin P. Nenneman

Management actions intended to protect or improve habitat for ducks may benefit grassland-nesting passerines, but scant information is available to explore this assumption. During 1998–2003, we examined nest survival of ducks and songbirds to determine whether effects of prescribed fire and other habitat features (e.g., shrub cover and distance to habitat edges) were similar for ducks and passerines breeding in North Dakota. We used the logistic-exposure method to estimate survival of duck and songbird nests (n = 3,171). We used an information-theoretic approach to identify factors that most influenced nest survival. Patterns of nest survival were markedly different between taxonomic groups. For ducks, nest survival was greater during the first postfire nesting season (daily survival rate [DSR] = 0.957, 85% CI = 0.951–0.963), relative to later postfire nesting seasons (DSR = 0.946, 85% CI = 0.942–0.950). Furthermore duck nest survival and nest densities were inversely related. Duck nest survival also was greater as shrub cover decreased and as distance from cropland and wetland edges increased. Passerines had lower nest survival during the first postfire nesting season (DSR = 0.934, 85% CI = 0.924–0.944), when densities also were low compared to subsequent postfire nesting seasons (DSR = 0.947, 85% CI = 0.944–0.950). Parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) reduced passerine nest survival and this effect was more pronounced during the first postfire nesting season compared to subsequent nesting seasons. Passerine nest survival was greater as shrub cover decreased and perhaps for more concealed nests. Duck and songbird nest survival rates were not correlated during this study and for associated studies that examined additional variables using the same dataset, suggesting that different mechanisms influenced their survival. Based on our results, ducks should not be considered direct surrogates for passerines when predicting effects of prescribed fire, shrub cover, and habitat edges on nest survival.

Polygamy slows down population divergence in shorebirds

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Evolution

Josephine D'Urban Jackson, Natalie dos Remedios, Kathryn Maher, Sama Zefania, Susan M. Haig, Sara J. Oyler-McCance, Donald Blomqvist, Terry Burke, Michael W. Bruford, Tamás Székely, Clemens Küpper

Sexual selection may act as a promotor of speciation since divergent mate choice and competition for mates can rapidly lead to reproductive isolation. Alternatively, sexual selection may also retard speciation since polygamous individuals can access additional mates by increased breeding dispersal. High breeding dispersal should hence increase gene flow and reduce diversification in polygamous species. Here, we test how polygamy predicts diversification in shorebirds using genetic differentiation and subspecies richness as proxies for population divergence. Examining microsatellite data from 79 populations in 10 plover species (Genus: Charadrius) we found that polygamous species display significantly less genetic structure and weaker isolation-by-distance effects than monogamous species. Consistent with this result, a comparative analysis including 136 shorebird species showed significantly fewer subspecies for polygamous than for monogamous species. By contrast, migratory behavior neither predicted genetic differentiation nor subspecies richness. Taken together, our results suggest that dispersal associated with polygamy may facilitate gene flow and limit population divergence. Therefore, intense sexual selection, as occurs in polygamous species, may act as a brake rather than an engine of speciation in shorebirds. We discuss alternative explanations for these results and call for further studies to understand the relationships between sexual selection, dispersal, and diversification.

Is biotic resistance enhanced by natural variation in diversity?

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Oikos

James B. Grace, Susan P. Harrison, Howard Cornell

Theories linking diversity to ecosystem function have been challenged by the widespread observation of more exotic species in more diverse native communities. Few studies have addressed the underlying processes by dissecting how biotic resistance to new invaders may be shaped by the same environmental influences that determine diversity and other community properties.

In grasslands with heterogeneous soils, we added invaders and removed competitors to analyze the causes of invasion resistance. Abiotic resistance was measured using invader success in the absence of the resident community. Biotic resistance was measured as the reduction in invader success in the presence of the resident community.

Invaders were most successful where biotic resistance was lowest and abiotic resistance was highest, confirming the dominant role of biotic resistance. Contrary to theory, though, biotic resistance was highest where both species richness and functional diversity were lowest. In the multivariate framework of a structural equation model, biotic resistance was independent of community diversity, and was highest where fertile soils led to high community biomass.

Seed predation slightly augmented biotic resistance without qualitatively changing the results. Soil-related genotypic variation in the invader also did not affect the results.

We conclude that in natural systems, diversity may be correlated with invasibility and yet have little effect on biotic resistance to invasion. More generally, the environmental causes of variation in diversity should be considered when examining the potential functional consequences of diversity.

Characterizing the early life history of an imperiled freshwater mussel (Ptychobranchus jonesi) with host-fish determination and fecundity estimation

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Freshwater Science

John Mcleod, Howard Jelks, Sandra Pursifull, Nathan A. Johnson

Conservation of imperiled species is frequently challenged by insufficient knowledge of life history and environmental factors that affect various life stages. The larvae (glochidia) of most freshwater mussels in the family Unionidae are obligate ectoparasites of fishes. We described the early life history of the federally endangered Southern Kidneyshell Ptychobranchus jonesi and compared methods for estimating fecundity and conducting host trials on this conglutinate-producing mussel species. Glochidial inoculation baths and direct feeding of conglutinates to Percina nigrofasciata, Etheostoma edwini, and Etheostoma fusiforme resulted in successful metamorphosis to the juvenile life stage. Ptychobranchus jonesi glochidia did not metamorphose on 25 other species of fishes tested representing 11 families. Three juveniles were recovered from Gambusia holbrooki resulting in a metamorphosis rate <1%. We characterize P. jonesi as a host-fish specialist that fractionally releases conglutinates from late January to early June. Intact P. jonesi conglutinates resemble simuliid fly larvae attached to an egg-like structure, but most conglutinates were released as segments representing separate egg or larva mimics. Viability of glochidia encased within a conglutinate was >90% for ≥5 d. Feeding conglutinates directly to fishes allowed us to estimate seminatural infestation rates and calculate average numbers of juveniles produced per conglutinate, unlike the traditional approach of infesting fish hosts in an inoculation bath. Regressions based on the physical dimensions of each conglutinate or conglutinate segment were the most practical method used to estimate fecundity. Species distribution information, early life-history description, and methods developed for determining fecundity and conducting host trials may assist in the conservation of P. jonesi during recovery options that include captive propagation, augmentation, and reestablishment.

Groundwater flow model for the Little Plover River basin in Wisconsin’s Central Sands

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Bulletin 111

Ken Bradbury, Michael Fienen, Maribeth Kniffin, Jacob Krause, Stephen M. Westenbroek, Andrew T. Leaf, Paul M. Barlow

The Little Plover River is a groundwater-fed stream in the sand plains region of central Wisconsin. In this region, sandy sediment deposited during or soon after the last glaciation forms an important unconfined sand and gravel aquifer. This aquifer supplies water for numerous high-capacity irrigation, municipal, and industrial wells that support a thriving agricultural industry. In recent years the addition of many new wells, combined with observed diminished flows in the Little Plover and other nearby rivers, has raised concerns about the impacts of the wells on groundwater levels and on water levels and flows in nearby lakes, streams, and wetlands. Diverse stakeholder groups, including well operators, Growers, environmentalists, local land owners, and regulatory and government officials have sought a better understanding of the local groundwater-surface water system and have a shared desire to balance the water needs of the he liagricultural, industrial, and urban users with the maintenance and protection of groundwater-dependent natural resources. To help address these issues, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested that the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and U.S. Geological Survey cooperatively develop a groundwater flow model that could be used to demonstrate the relationships among groundwater, surface water, and well withdrawals and also be a tool for testing and evaluating alternative water management strategies for the central sands region. Because of an abundance of previous studies, data availability, local interest, and existing regulatory constraints the model focuses on the Little Plover River watershed, but the modeling methodology developed during this study can apply to much of the larger central sands of Wisconsin. The

Little Plover River groundwater flow model simulates three-dimensional groundwater movement in and around the Little Plover River basin under steady-state and transient conditions. This model explicitly includes all high-capacity wells in the model domain and simulates seasonal variations in recharge and well pumping. The model represents the Little Plover River, and other significant streams and drainage ditches in the model domain, as fully connected to the groundwater system, computes stream base flow resulting from groundwater discharge, and routes the flow along the stream channel. A separate soil-water-balance (SWB) model was used to develop groundwater recharge arrays as input for the groundwater flow model. The SWB model uses topography, soils, land use, and climatic data to estimate recharge as deep drainage from the soil zone. The SWB model explicitly includes recharge originating as irrigation water, and computes irrigation using techniques similar to those used by local irrigation operators.

The groundwater flow model uses the U.S. Geological Survey’s MODFLOW modeling code which is freely available, widely accepted, and commonly used by the groundwater community. The groundwater flow model and the SWB model use identical high-resolution numerical grids having model cells 100 feet on a side, with physical properties assigned to each grid cell. This grid allows accurate geographic placement of wells, streams, and other model features. The 3-dimensional grid has three layers; layers 1 and 2 represent the sand and gravel aquifer and layer 3 represents the underlying sandstone. The distribution of material properties in the model (hydraulic conductivity, aquifer thickness, etc.) comes from previous published geologic studies of the region, updated by calibration to recent streamflow and groundwater level data. The SWB model operates on a daily time step. The groundwater flow model was calibrated to monthly stress periods with time steps ranging from 1 to 16 days. More detailed time discretization is possible.

The groundwater model was calibrated to water-level and streamflow data collected during 2013 and 2014 by adjusting model parameters (primarily hydraulic conductivity, storage, and recharge) until the model produced a conditionally optimal fit between field observations and model output, subject to consistency with previously published geologic studies. Calibration was performed under both steady and transient conditions, and used a sophisticated parameter-estimation procedure (PEST) for the calibration process and to identify important model parameters. For the Little Plover River, the two most important parameters are the global recharge multiplier and the hydraulic conductivity of the stream bed. The calibrated model produces water-level and mass-balance results that are consistent with field observations and previous studies of the area.

The completed model is a powerful tool for testing and demonstrating alternative water-management scenarios. Example model applications described in this report include simulating how the cumulative impacts of pumping and land-use change have affected average baseflow in the Little Plover River. Depletion-potential mapping represents a method for predicting which wells and well locations have the greatest impact on nearby surface-water resources.

The completed model is publicly available, along with a companion user’s guide to assist with its operation, at http://wgnhs.org/littleplover- river-groundwater-model.

Chapter 6: Temperature

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Methods in stream ecology

Leslie A. Jones, Clint C. Muhlfeld, F. Richard Hauer

F. Richard Hauer, G.A. Lamberti, editor(s)

Stream temperature has direct and indirect effects on stream ecology and is critical in determining both abiotic and biotic system responses across a hierarchy of spatial and temporal scales. Temperature variation is primarily driven by solar radiation, while landscape topography, geology, and stream reach scale ecosystem processes contribute to local variability. Spatiotemporal heterogeneity in freshwater ecosystems influences habitat distributions, physiological functions, and phenology of all aquatic organisms. In this chapter we provide an overview of methods for monitoring stream temperature, characterization of thermal profiles, and modeling approaches to stream temperature prediction. Recent advances in temperature monitoring allow for more comprehensive studies of the underlying processes influencing annual variation of temperatures and how thermal variability may impact aquatic organisms at individual, population, and community based scales. Likewise, the development of spatially explicit predictive models provide a framework for simulating natural and anthropogenic effects on thermal regimes which is integral for sustainable management of freshwater systems.

Extent and persistence of secondary water quality impacts after enhanced reductive bioremediation

Released April 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Technical Report ER-2131

Robert C. Borden, Jason M. Tillotson, Gene-Hua Crystal. Ng, Barbara A. Bekins, Douglas B. Kent, Gary P. Curtis

Electron donor (ED) addition can be very effective in stimulating enhanced reductive bioremediation (ERB) of a wide variety of groundwater contaminants. However, ERB can result in Secondary Water Quality Impacts (SWQIs) including decreased levels of dissolved oxygen (O2), nitrate (NO3- ), and sulfate (SO42- ), and elevated levels of dissolved manganese (Mn2+), dissolved iron (Fe2+), methane (CH4), sulfide (S2- ), organic carbon, and naturally occurring hazardous compounds (e.g., arsenic). Fortunately, this ‘plume’ of impacted groundwater is usually confined within the original contaminant plume and is unlikely to adversely impact potable water supplies. This report summarizes available information on processes controlling the production and natural attenuation of SWQI parameters and can be used as a guide in understanding the magnitude, areal extent, and duration of SWQIs in ERB treatment zones and the natural attenuation of SWQI parameters as the dissolved solutes migrate downgradient with ambient groundwater flow. This information was compiled from a wide variety of sources including a survey and statistical analysis of SWQIs from 47 ERB sites, geochemical model simulations, field studies at sites where organic-rich materials have entered the subsurface (e.g., wastewater, landfill leachate, and hydrocarbon plumes), and basic information on physical, chemical, and biological processes in the subsurface. This information is then integrated to provide a general conceptual model of the major processes controlling SWQI production and attenuation.

USGS Spectral Library Version 7

Released April 10, 2017 13:15 EST

2017, Data Series 1035

Raymond F. Kokaly, Roger N. Clark, Gregg A. Swayze, K. Eric Livo, Todd M. Hoefen, Neil C. Pearson, Richard A. Wise, William M. Benzel, Heather A. Lowers, Rhonda L. Driscoll, Anna J. Klein

We have assembled a library of spectra measured with laboratory, field, and airborne spectrometers. The instruments used cover wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infrared (0.2 to 200 microns [μm]). Laboratory samples of specific minerals, plants, chemical compounds, and manmade materials were measured. In many cases, samples were purified, so that unique spectral features of a material can be related to its chemical structure. These spectro-chemical links are important for interpreting remotely sensed data collected in the field or from an aircraft or spacecraft. This library also contains physically constructed as well as mathematically computed mixtures. Four different spectrometer types were used to measure spectra in the library: (1) Beckman™ 5270 covering the spectral range 0.2 to 3 µm, (2) standard, high resolution (hi-res), and high-resolution Next Generation (hi-resNG) models of Analytical Spectral Devices (ASD) field portable spectrometers covering the range from 0.35 to 2.5 µm, (3) Nicolet™ Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) interferometer spectrometers covering the range from about 1.12 to 216 µm, and (4) the NASA Airborne Visible/Infra-Red Imaging Spectrometer AVIRIS, covering the range 0.37 to 2.5 µm. Measurements of rocks, soils, and natural mixtures of minerals were made in laboratory and field settings. Spectra of plant components and vegetation plots, comprising many plant types and species with varying backgrounds, are also in this library. Measurements by airborne spectrometers are included for forested vegetation plots, in which the trees are too tall for measurement by a field spectrometer. This report describes the instruments used, the organization of materials into chapters, metadata descriptions of spectra and samples, and possible artifacts in the spectral measurements. To facilitate greater application of the spectra, the library has also been convolved to selected spectrometer and imaging spectrometers sampling and bandpasses, and resampled to selected broadband multispectral sensors. The native file format of the library is the SPECtrum Processing Routines (SPECPR) data format. This report describes how to access freely available software to read the SPECPR format. To facilitate broader access to the library, we produced generic formats of the spectra and metadata in text files. The library is provided on digital media and online at https://speclab.cr.usgs.gov/spectral-lib.html. A long-term archive of these data are stored on the USGS ScienceBase data server (https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7RR1WDJ).

Movement patterns and spatial segregation of two populations of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Huron

Released April 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Thomas Binder, J. Ellen Marsden, Stephen Riley, James E. Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Ji He, Mark P. Ebener, Christopher Holbrook, Roger A. Bergstedt, Charles R. Bronte, Todd A. Hayden, Charles C. Krueger

Movement ecology is an important component of life history and population dynamics, and consequently its understanding can inform successful fishery management decision-making. While lake trout populations in Lake Huron have shown signs of recovery from near extinction in recent years, knowledge of their movement behavior remains incomplete. We used acoustic telemetry to describe and compare movement patterns of two Lake Huron lake trout populations: Drummond Island and Thunder Bay. Both populations showed high spawning site fidelity, with no evidence of co-mingling during non-spawning season. Detections between spawning periods were mainly limited to receivers within 100 km of spawning locations, and suggested that the two populations likely remained segregated throughout the year. Drummond Island fish, which spawn inside the Drummond Island Refuge, primarily dispersed east into Canadian waters of Lake Huron, with 79–92% of fish being detected annually on receivers outside the refuge. In contrast, Thunder Bay fish tended to disperse south towards Saginaw Bay. Large proportions (i.e., > 80%) of both populations were available to fisheries outside the management zone containing their spawning location. Thunder Bay fish moved relatively quickly to overwinter habitat after spawning, and tended to repeat the same post-spawning movement behavior each year. The consistent, predictable movement of both populations across management zones highlights the importance of understanding population dynamics to effective management of Lake Huron lake trout.

Twentieth century warming of the tropical Atlantic captured by Sr-U paleothermometry

Released April 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Paleoceanography (32) 146-160

Alice E. Alpert, Anne L. Cohen, Delia W. Oppo, Thomas M. DeCarlo, Glenn A. Gaetani, Edwin A. Hernandez-Delgado, Amos Winter, Meagan Gonneea

Coral skeletons are valuable archives of past ocean conditions. However, interpretation of coral paleotemperature records is confounded by uncertainties associated with single-element ratio thermometers, including Sr/Ca. A new approach, Sr-U, uses U/Ca to constrain the influence of Rayleigh fractionation on Sr/Ca. Here we build on the initial Pacific Porites Sr-U calibration to include multiple Atlantic and Pacific coral genera from multiple coral reef locations spanning a temperature range of 23.15–30.12°C. Accounting for the wintertime growth cessation of one Bermuda coral, we show that Sr-U is strongly correlated with the average water temperature at each location (r2 = 0.91, P < 0.001, n = 19). We applied the multispecies spatial calibration between Sr-U and temperature to reconstruct a 96 year long temperature record at Mona Island, Puerto Rico, using a coral not included in the calibration. Average Sr-U derived temperature for the period 1900–1996 is within 0.12°C of the average instrumental temperature at this site and captures the twentieth century warming trend of 0.06°C per decade. Sr-U also captures the timing of multiyear variability but with higher amplitude than implied by the instrumental data. Mean Sr-U temperatures and patterns of multiyear variability were replicated in a second coral in the same grid box. Conversely, Sr/Ca records from the same two corals were inconsistent with each other and failed to capture absolute sea temperatures, timing of multiyear variability, or the twentieth century warming trend. Our results suggest that coral Sr-U paleothermometry is a promising new tool for reconstruction of past ocean temperatures.

Effects of climate change and anthropogenic modification on a disturbance-dependent species in a large riverine system

Released April 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecosphere (8)

Sara Zeigler, Daniel H. Catlin, M. Bomberger Brown, J.D. Fraser, Lauren R. Dinan, Kelsi L. Hunt, Joel G. Jorgensen, Sarah M. Karpanty

Humans have altered nearly every natural disturbance regime on the planet through climate and land-use change, and in many instances, these processes may have interacting effects. For example, projected shifts in temperature and precipitation will likely influence disturbance regimes already affected by anthropogenic fire suppression or river impoundments. Understanding how disturbance-dependent species respond to complex and interacting environmental changes is important for conservation efforts. Using field-based demographic and movement rates, we conducted a metapopulation viability analysis for piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), a threatened disturbance-dependent species, along the Missouri and Platte rivers in the Great Plains of North America. Our aim was to better understand current and projected future metapopulation dynamics given that natural disturbances (flooding or high-flow events) have been greatly reduced by river impoundments and that climate change could further alter the disturbance regime. Although metapopulation abundance has been substantially reduced under the current suppressed disturbance regime (high-flow return interval ~ 20 yr), it could grow if the frequency of high-flow events increases as predicted under likely climate change scenarios. We found that a four-year return interval would maximize metapopulation abundance, and all subpopulations in the metapopulation would act as sources at a return interval of 15 yr or less. Regardless of disturbance frequency, the presence of even a small, stable source subpopulation buffered the metapopulation and sustained a low metapopulation extinction risk. Therefore, climate change could have positive effects in ecosystems where disturbances have been anthropogenically suppressed when climatic shifts move disturbance regimes toward more historical patterns. Furthermore, stable source populations, even if unintentionally maintained through anthropogenic activities, may be critical for the persistence of metapopulations of early-successional species under both suppressed disturbance regimes and disturbance regimes where climate change has further altered disturbance frequency or scope.

An update of hydrologic conditions and distribution of selected constituents in water, eastern Snake River Plain aquifer and perched groundwater zones, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho, emphasis 2012-15

Released April 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5021

Roy C. Bartholomay, Neil V. Maimer, Gordon W. Rattray, Jason C. Fisher

Since 1952, wastewater discharged to in ltration ponds (also called percolation ponds) and disposal wells at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has affected water quality in the eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) aquifer and perched groundwater zones underlying the INL. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, maintains groundwater-monitoring networks at the INL to determine hydrologic trends and to delineate the movement of radiochemical and chemical wastes in the aquifer and in perched groundwater zones. This report presents an analysis of water-level and water-quality data collected from the ESRP aquifer, multilevel monitoring system (MLMS) wells in the ESRP aquifer, and perched groundwater wells in the USGS groundwater monitoring networks during 2012-15.

The growth of sport shooting participation: What does this trend mean for conservation revenue?

Released April 10, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The Wildlife Professional (11) 38-41

Mark D. Duda, Tom Beppler, John Organ

Enacted in 1937, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act – more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act – is one of the oldest and most reliable sources of funding for wildlife conservation in the United States. The result of organized support form sportsmen, fish and wildlife agencies, firearms manufacturers, conservation organizations, and even garden clubs, the PR Act created an excise tax on so-called “long guns” and ammunition used by hunters, thereby establishing the first sustainable source of revenue dedicated to conservation and land management efforts throughout the country. Later, legislators amended the PR Act to include an excise tax on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows, and other archery equipment.

Correction of elevation offsets in multiple co-located lidar datasets

Released April 07, 2017 14:15 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1031

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

Introduction

Topographic elevation data collected with airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) can be used to analyze short- and long-term changes to beach and dune systems. Analysis of multiple lidar datasets at Dauphin Island, Alabama, revealed systematic, island-wide elevation differences on the order of 10s of centimeters (cm) that were not attributable to real-world change and, therefore, were likely to represent systematic sampling offsets. These offsets vary between the datasets, but appear spatially consistent within a given survey. This report describes a method that was developed to identify and correct offsets between lidar datasets collected over the same site at different times so that true elevation changes over time, associated with sediment accumulation or erosion, can be analyzed.

Flowering phenology shifts in response to biodiversity loss

Released April 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (114) 3463-3468

Amelia A. Wolf, Erika S Zavaleta, Paul Selmants

Observational studies and experimental evidence agree that rising global temperatures have altered plant phenology—the timing of life events, such as flowering, germination, and leaf-out. Other large-scale global environmental changes, such as nitrogen deposition and altered precipitation regimes, have also been linked to changes in flowering times. Despite our increased understanding of how abiotic factors influence plant phenology, we know very little about how biotic interactions can affect flowering times, a significant knowledge gap given ongoing human-caused alteration of biodiversity and plant community structure at the global scale. We experimentally manipulated plant diversity in a California serpentine grassland and found that many plant species flowered earlier in response to reductions in diversity, with peak flowering date advancing an average of 0.6 days per species lost. These changes in phenology were mediated by the effects of plant diversity on soil surface temperature, available soil N, and soil moisture. Peak flowering dates were also more dispersed among species in high-diversity plots than expected based on monocultures. Our findings illustrate that shifts in plant species composition and diversity can alter the timing and distribution of flowering events, and that these changes to phenology are similar in magnitude to effects induced by climate change. Declining diversity could thus contribute to or exacerbate phenological changes attributed to rising global temperatures.

Diet of the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) in Belize, Central America

Released April 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Aarin Conrad Allen, Cathy A. Beck, Robert K. Bonde, James A. Powell, Nicole Auil Gomez

Belize contains important habitat for Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) and provides refuge for the highest known population density of this subspecies. As these animals face impending threats, knowledge of their dietary habits can be used to interpret resource utilization. The contents of 13 mouth, 6 digestive tract (stomach, duodenum and colon), and 124 fecal samples were microscopically examined using a modified point technique detection protocol to identify key plant species consumed by manatees at two important aggregation sites in Belize: Southern Lagoon and the Drowned Cayes. Overall, 15 different items were identified in samples from manatees in Belize. Five species of seagrasses (Halodule wrightii, Thalassia testudinum, Ruppia maritima, Syringodium filiforme, and Halophila sp.) made up the highest percentage of items. The red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), was also identified as an important food item. Algae (Ulva sp., Chara sp., Lyngbya sp.) and invertebrates (sponges and diatoms) were also consumed. Variation in the percentage of seagrasses, other vascular plants, and algae consumption was analyzed as a 4-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) with main effects and interactions for locality, sex, size classification, and season. While sex and season did not influence diet composition, differences for locality and size classification were observed. These results suggest that analysis of diet composition of Antillean manatees may help to determine critical habitat and use of associated food resources which, in turn can be used to aid conservation efforts in Belize.

Observations and 3D hydrodynamics-based modeling of decadal-scale shoreline change along the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Released April 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Coastal Engineering (120) 78-92

Ilgar Safak, Jeffrey List, John C. Warner, N. Kumar

Long-term decadal-scale shoreline change is an important parameter for quantifying the stability of coastal systems. The decadal-scale coastal change is controlled by processes that occur on short time scales (such as storms) and long-term processes (such as prevailing waves). The ability to predict decadal-scale shoreline change is not well established and the fundamental physical processes controlling this change are not well understood. Here we investigate the processes that create large-scale long-term shoreline change along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, an uninterrupted 60 km stretch of coastline, using both observations and a numerical modeling approach. Shoreline positions for a 24-yr period were derived from aerial photographs of the Outer Banks. Analysis of the shoreline position data showed that, although variable, the shoreline eroded an average of 1.5 m/yr throughout this period. The modeling approach uses a three-dimensional hydrodynamics-based numerical model coupled to a spectral wave model and simulates the full 24-yr time period on a spatial grid running on a short (second scale) time-step to compute the sediment transport patterns. The observations and the model results show similar magnitudes (O(105 m3/yr)) and patterns of alongshore sediment fluxes. Both the observed and the modeled alongshore sediment transport rates have more rapid changes at the north of our section due to continuously curving coastline, and possible effects of alongshore variations in shelf bathymetry. The southern section with a relatively uniform orientation, on the other hand, has less rapid transport rate changes. Alongshore gradients of the modeled sediment fluxes are translated into shoreline change rates that have agreement in some locations but vary in others. Differences between observations and model results are potentially influenced by geologic framework processes not included in the model. Both the observations and the model results show higher rates of erosion (∼−1 m/yr) averaged over the northern half of the section as compared to the southern half where the observed and modeled averaged net shoreline changes are smaller (<0.1 m/yr). The model indicates accretion in some shallow embayments, whereas observations indicate erosion in these locations. Further analysis identifies that the magnitude of net alongshore sediment transport is strongly dominated by events associated with high wave energy. However, both big- and small- wave events cause shoreline change of the same order of magnitude because it is the gradients in transport, not the magnitude, that are controlling shoreline change. Results also indicate that alongshore momentum is not a simple balance between wave breaking and bottom stress, but also includes processes of horizontal vortex force, horizontal advection and pressure gradient that contribute to long-term alongshore sediment transport. As a comparison to a more simple approach, an empirical formulation for alongshore sediment transport is used. The empirical estimates capture the effect of the breaking term in the hydrodynamics-based model, however, other processes that are accounted for in the hydrodynamics-based model improve the agreement with the observed alongshore sediment transport.

The interaction of climate change and methane hydrates

Released April 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Reviews of Geophysics (55) 126-168

Carolyn D. Ruppel, John D. Kessler

Gas hydrate, a frozen, naturally-occurring, and highly-concentrated form of methane, sequesters significant carbon in the global system and is stable only over a range of low-temperature and moderate-pressure conditions. Gas hydrate is widespread in the sediments of marine continental margins and permafrost areas, locations where ocean and atmospheric warming may perturb the hydrate stability field and lead to release of the sequestered methane into the overlying sediments and soils. Methane and methane-derived carbon that escape from sediments and soils and reach the atmosphere could exacerbate greenhouse warming. The synergy between warming climate and gas hydrate dissociation feeds a popular perception that global warming could drive catastrophic methane releases from the contemporary gas hydrate reservoir. Appropriate evaluation of the two sides of the climate-methane hydrate synergy requires assessing direct and indirect observational data related to gas hydrate dissociation phenomena and numerical models that track the interaction of gas hydrates/methane with the ocean and/or atmosphere. Methane hydrate is likely undergoing dissociation now on global upper continental slopes and on continental shelves that ring the Arctic Ocean. Many factors—the depth of the gas hydrates in sediments, strong sediment and water column sinks, and the inability of bubbles emitted at the seafloor to deliver methane to the sea-air interface in most cases—mitigate the impact of gas hydrate dissociation on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations though. There is no conclusive proof that hydrate-derived methane is reaching the atmosphere now, but more observational data and improved numerical models will better characterize the climate-hydrate synergy in the future.

Terrestrial subaqueous seafloor dunes: Possible analogs for Venus

Released April 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Aeolian Research

Lynn D.V. Neakrase, Martina Klose, Timothy N. Titus

Dunes on Venus, first discovered with Magellan Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in the early 1990s, have fueled discussions about the viability of Venusian dunes and aeolian grain transport. Confined to two locations on Venus, the existence of the interpreted dunes provides evidence that there could be transportable material being mobilized into aeolian bedforms at the surface. However, because of the high-pressure high-temperature surface conditions, laboratory analog studies are difficult to conduct and results are difficult to extrapolate to full-sized, aeolian bedforms. Field sites of desert dunes, which are well-studied on Earth and Mars, are not analogous to what is observed on Venus because of the differences in the fluid environments. One potentially underexplored possibility in planetary science for Venus-analog dune fields could be subaqueous, seafloor dune fields on Earth. Known to the marine geology communities since the early 1960s, seafloor dunes are rarely cited in planetary aeolian bedform literature, but could provide a necessary thick-atmosphere extension to the classically studied aeolian dune environment literature for thinner atmospheres. Through discussion of the similarity of the two environments, and examples of dunes and ripples cited in marine literature, we provide evidence that subaqueous seafloor dunes could serve as analogs for dunes on Venus. Furthermore, the evidence presented here demonstrates the usefulness of the marine literature for thick-atmosphere planetary environments and potentially for upcoming habitable worlds and oceanic environment research program opportunities. Such useful cross-disciplinary discussion of dune environments is applicable to many planetary environments (Earth, Mars, Venus, Titan, etc.) and potential future missions.

Nocturnal arboreality in snakes in the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and Big Thicket National Preserve of Southeast Texas

Released April 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of North American Herpetology (2017) 11-18

Brad M. Glorioso, Hardin Waddle

The southeastern United States is home to a diverse assemblage of snakes, but only one species, the Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus), is considered specialized for a predominantly arboreal lifestyle. Other species, such as Ratsnakes (genus Pantherophis) and Ribbonsnakes/Gartersnakes (genus Thamnophis), are widely known to climb into vegetation and trees. Some explanations given for snake climbing behavior are foraging, thermoregulation, predator avoidance, and response to flood. Reports of arboreality in snake species typically not associated with life in the trees (such as terrestrial, aquatic, and even fossorial species) usually come from single observations, with no knowledge of prevalence of the behavior. Here, we report on arboreality of snake species detected during 8 years of night surveys in the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and 5+ years of night surveys in Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas. We recorded a total of 1,088 detections of 19 snake species between the two study areas, with 348 detections above ground level (32%). The Rough Greensnake and Western Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus) accounted for nearly 75% of total arboreal detections among the two study areas. However, with one exception, all snake species detected more than once between both study areas had at least one arboreal detection. These observations demonstrate that snakes with widely varying natural histories may be found in the trees at night, and for some species, this behavior may be more common than previously believed.

Are coastal managers ready for climate change? A case study from estuaries along the Pacific coast of the United States

Released April 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ocean and Coastal Management

Karen M. Thorne, Deborah L. Elliott-Fisk, Chase Freeman, Thuy-Vy D. Bui, Katherine Powelson, Christopher Janousek, Kevin J. Buffington, John Y. Takekawa

A key challenge for coastal resource managers is to plan and implement climate change adaptation strategies inlight of uncertainties and competing management priorities. In 2014, we held six workshops across estuaries along the Pacific coast of North America with over 150 participants to evaluate resource managers' perceived level of understanding of climate change science, where they obtain information, how they use this knowledge, and their preparedness for incorporating climate change into their management decisions. We found that most resource managers understood the types of climate change impacts likely to occur in their estuaries, but often lacked the scientific information to make decisions and plan effectively. Managers stated that time, money, and staff resources were the largest obstacles in their efforts. Managers identified that they learned most of their information from peers, scientific journals, and the Internet and indicated that sea-level rise was their greatest concern. There was, however, variation in managers' levels of readiness and perceived knowledge within and among workshop locations. The workshops revealed that some regions don't have the information they need or the planning capacity to effectively integrate climate change into their management, with eight out of fifteen site comparisons showing a significant difference between their level of preparedness (F5,26 = 6.852; p = 0.0003), and their willingness to formally plan (F5,26 = 12.84; p = 0.000002). We found that Urban estuaries were significantly different from Mixed Use and Rural estuaries, in having access to information and feeling more prepared to conduct climate change planning and implementation (F2,29 = 17.34; p = 0.00001). To facilitate climate change preparedness more comprehensive integration of science into management decisions is essential.

Counterintuitive roles of experience and weather on migratory performance

Released April 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The Auk (134) 485-497

Adrian I. Rus, Adam E. Duerr, Tricia A. Miller, James R Belthoff, Todd E. Katzner

Migration allows animals to live in resource-rich but seasonally variable environments. Because of the costs of migration, there is selective pressure to capitalize on variation in weather to optimize migratory performance. To test the degree to which migratory performance (defined as speed of migration) of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) was determined by age- and season-specific responses to variation in weather, we analyzed 1,863 daily tracks (n = 83 migrant eagles) and 8,047 hourly tracks (n = 83) based on 15 min GPS telemetry data from Golden Eagles and 277 hourly tracks based on 30 s data (n = 37). Spring migrant eagles traveled 139.75 ± 82.19 km day−1 (mean ± SE; n = 57) and 25.59 ± 11.75 km hr−1 (n = 55). Autumn migrant eagles traveled 99.14 ± 59.98 km day−1 (n = 26) and 22.18 ± 9.18 km hr−1 (n = 28). Weather during migration varied by season and by age class. During spring, best-supported daily and hourly models of 15 min data suggested that migratory performance was influenced most strongly by downward solar radiation and that older birds benefited less from flow assistance (tailwinds). During autumn, best-supported daily and hourly models of 15 min data suggested that migratory performance was influenced most strongly by south–north winds and by flow assistance, again less strongly for older birds. In contrast, models for hourly performance based on data collected at 30 s intervals were not well described by a single model, likely reflecting eagles' rapid responses to the many weather conditions they experienced. Although daily speed of travel was similar for all age classes, younger birds traveled at faster hourly speeds than did adults. Our analyses uncovered strong, sometimes counterintuitive, relationships among weather, experience, and migratory flight, and they illustrate the significance of factors other than age in determining migratory performance.

Summary of hydrologic conditions in Kansas, water year 2016

Released April 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3020

Justin M. Louen

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies, maintains a long-term network of hydrologic monitoring sites in Kansas. Real-time data are collected at 216 streamgage sites and are verified throughout the year with regular measurements of streamflow made by USGS personnel. Annual assessments of hydrologic conditions are made by comparing statistical analyses of current and historical water year (WY) data for the period of record. A WY is the 12-month period from October 1 through September 30 and is designated by the calendar year in which the period ends. Long-term monitoring of hydrologic conditions in Kansas provides critical information for water-supply management, flood forecasting, reservoir operations, irrigation scheduling, bridge and culvert design, ecological monitoring, and many other uses.

Assessment of Permian tight oil and gas resources in the Junggar basin of China, 2016

Released April 05, 2017 19:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3021

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 764 million barrels of oil and 3.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in tight reservoirs in the Permian Lucaogou Formation in the Junggar basin of northwestern China.

Quantifying habitat benefits of channel reconfigurations on a highly regulated river system, Lower Missouri River, USA

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Engineering (103) 59-75

Susannah O. Erwin, Robert B. Jacobson, Caroline M. Elliott

We present a quantitative analysis of habitat availability in a highly regulated lowland river, comparing a restored reach with two reference reaches: an un-restored, channelized reach, and a least-altered reach. We evaluate the effects of channel modifications in terms of distributions of depth and velocity as well as distributions and availability of habitats thought to be supportive of an endangered fish, the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). It has been hypothesized that hydraulic conditions that support food production and foraging may limit growth and survival of juvenile pallid sturgeon. To evaluate conditions that support these habitats, we constructed two-dimensional hydrodynamic models for the three study reaches, two located in the Lower Missouri River (channelized and restored reaches) and one in the Yellowstone River (least-altered reach). Comparability among the reaches was improved by scaling by bankfull discharge and bankfull channel area. The analysis shows that construction of side-channel chutes and increased floodplain connectivity increase the availability of foraging habitat, resulting in a system that is more similar to the reference reach on the Yellowstone River. The availability of food-producing habitat is low in all reaches at flows less than bankfull, but the two reaches in the Lower Missouri River – channelized and restored – display a threshold-like response as flows overtop channel banks, reflecting the persistent effects of channelization on hydraulics in the main channel. These high lateral gradients result in punctuated ecological events corresponding to flows in excess of bankfull discharge. This threshold effect in the restored reach remains distinct from that of the least-altered reference reach, where hydraulic changes are less abrupt and overbank flows more gradually inundate the adjacent floodplain. The habitat curves observed in the reference reach on the Yellowstone River may not be attainable within the channelized system on the Missouri River, but the documented hydraulic patterns can be used to inform ongoing channel modifications. Although scaling to bankfull dimensions and discharges provides a basis for comparing the three reaches, implementation of the reference reach concept was complicated by differences in flow-frequency distributions among sites. In particular, habitat availability in the least-altered Yellowstone River reach is affected by increased frequency of low-flow events (less than 0.5 times bankfull flow) and moderately high-flow events (greater than 1.5 times bankfull flow) compared to downstream reaches on the Lower Missouri River.

Acoustic deterrence of bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) to a broadband sound stimulus

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research (43) 163-171

Brooke J. Vetter, Kelsie A. Murchy, Aaron R. Cupp, Jon J. Amberg, Mark P. Gaikowski, Allen F. Mensinger

Recent studies have shown the potential of acoustic deterrents against invasive silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). This study examined the phonotaxic response of the bighead carp (H. nobilis) to pure tones (500-2000 Hz) and playbacks of broadband sound from an underwater recording of a 100 hp outboard motor (0.06-10 kHz) in an outdoor concrete pond (10 × 5 × 1.2 m) at the U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center in La Crosse, WI. The number of consecutive times the fish reacted to sound from alternating locations at each end of the pond was assessed. Bighead carp were relatively indifferent to the pure tones with median consecutive responses ranging from 0 to 2 reactions away from the sound source. However, fish consistently exhibited significantly (P < 0.001) greater negative phonotaxis to the broadband sound (outboard motor recording) with an overall median response of 20 consecutive reactions during the 10 min trials. In over 50% of broadband sound tests, carp were still reacting to the stimulus at the end of the trial, implying that fish were not habituating to the sound. This study suggests that broadband sound may be an effective deterrent to bighead carp and provides a basis for conducting studies with wild fish.

Seismic displacement of gently-sloping coastal and marine sediment under multidirectional earthquake loading

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Engineering Geology

Robert Kayen

Gentle sediment-laden slopes are typical of the onshore coastal zone and offshore continental shelf and slope. Coastal sediment are commonly young weakly consolidated materials that are well stratified, have low strength, and can mobilize shear displacements at low levels of stress. Seismically-driven plastic displacements of these sediment pose a hazard to coastal cities, buried onshore utilities, and offshore infrastructure like harbor protection and outfalls. One-dimensional rigid downslope-directed Newmark sliding block analyses have been used to predict earthquake deformations generally on steeper slopes that are modeled as frictional materials. This study probes the effect of multidirectional earthquake motions on inertial displacements of gently sloping ground of the coastal and offshore condition where soft-compliant soil is expected. Toward that objective, this investigation seeks to understand the effect on Newmark-type displacements of [1] multidirectional earthquake shaking and [2] soil compliance. In order to model multidirectional effects, the earthquake motions are rotated into the local slope strike- and dip-components. On gently sloping ground, including the strike component of motion always results in a larger and more accurate shear stress vector. Strike motions are found to contribute to downslope deformations on any declivity. Compliant response of the soil mass also influences the plastic displacements. The magnitude of seismic displacements can be estimated with a simplified model using only the estimated soil yield-acceleration (ky) and the peak ground velocity (Vmax) of the earthquake motions. Compliance effects can be effectively mapped using the concept of Plastic Displacement Response Spectra (PDRS).

Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

Alfredo Aretxabaleta, Neil Kamal Ganju, Bradford Butman, Richard Signell

A system of barrier islands and back-barrier bays occurs along southern Long Island, New York, and in many coastal areas worldwide. Characterizing the bay physical response to water level fluctuations is needed to understand flooding during extreme events and evaluate their relation to geomorphological changes. Offshore sea level is one of the main drivers of water level fluctuations in semienclosed back-barrier bays. We analyzed observed water levels (October 2007 to November 2015) and developed analytical models to better understand bay water level along southern Long Island. An increase (∼0.02 m change in 0.17 m amplitude) in the dominant M2 tidal amplitude (containing the largest fraction of the variability) was observed in Great South Bay during mid-2014. The observed changes in both tidal amplitude and bay water level transfer from offshore were related to the dredging of nearby inlets and possibly the changing size of a breach across Fire Island caused by Hurricane Sandy (after December 2012). The bay response was independent of the magnitude of the fluctuations (e.g., storms) at a specific frequency. An analytical model that incorporates bay and inlet dimensions reproduced the observed transfer function in Great South Bay and surrounding areas. The model predicts the transfer function in Moriches and Shinnecock bays where long-term observations were not available. The model is a simplified tool to investigate changes in bay water level and enables the evaluation of future conditions and alternative geomorphological settings.

Occurrence of neonicotinoid insecticides in finished drinking water and fate during drinking water treatment

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science and Technology Letters

Kathryn L. Klarich, Nicholas C. Pflug, Eden M. DeWald, Michelle Hladik, Dana W. Kolpin, David M. Cwiertny, Gergory H. LeFevre

Neonicotinoid insecticides are widespread in surface waters across the agriculturally-intensive Midwestern US. We report for the first time the presence of three neonicotinoids in finished drinking water and demonstrate their general persistence during conventional water treatment. Periodic tap water grab samples were collected at the University of Iowa over seven weeks in 2016 (May-July) after maize/soy planting. Clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam were ubiquitously detected in finished water samples and ranged from 0.24-57.3 ng/L. Samples collected along the University of Iowa treatment train indicate no apparent removal of clothianidin and imidacloprid, with modest thiamethoxam removal (~50%). In contrast, the concentrations of all neonicotinoids were substantially lower in the Iowa City treatment facility finished water using granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration. Batch experiments investigated potential losses. Thiamethoxam losses are due to base-catalyzed hydrolysis at high pH conditions during lime softening. GAC rapidly and nearly completely removed all three neonicotinoids. Clothianidin is susceptible to reaction with free chlorine and may undergo at least partial transformation during chlorination. Our work provides new insights into the persistence of neonicotinoids and their potential for transformation during water treatment and distribution, while also identifying GAC as an effective management tool to lower neonicotinoid concentrations in finished drinking water.

Legacy introductions and climatic variation explain spatiotemporal patterns of invasive hybridization in a native trout

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Global Change Biology

Clint C. Muhlfeld, Ryan P. Kovach, Robert K. Al-Chokhachy, Stephen J. Amish, Jeffrey L. Kershner, Robb F. Leary, Winsor H. Lowe, Gordon Luikart, Phil Matson, David A. Schmetterling, Bradley B. Shepard, Peter A. H. Westley, Diane Whited, Andrew R. Whiteley, Fred W. Allendorf

Hybridization between invasive and native species, a significant threat to worldwide biodiversity, is predicted to increase due to climate-induced expansions of invasive species. Long-term research and monitoring are crucial for understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that modulate the effects of invasive species. Using a large, multi-decade genetics dataset (N = 582 sites, 12,878 individuals) with high-resolution climate predictions and extensive stocking records, we evaluate the spatiotemporal dynamics of hybridization between native cutthroat trout and invasive rainbow trout, the world’s most widely introduced invasive fish, across the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. Historical effects of stocking and contemporary patterns of climatic variation were strongly related to the spread of hybridization across space and time. The probability of occurrence, extent of, and temporal changes in hybridization increased at sites in close proximity to historical stocking locations with greater rainbow trout propagule pressure, warmer water temperatures, and lower spring precipitation. Although locations with warmer water temperatures were more prone to hybridization, cold sites were not protected from invasion; 58% of hybridized sites had cold mean summer water temperatures (<11oC). Despite cessation of stocking over 40 years ago, hybridization increased over time at half (50%) of the locations with long-term data, the vast majority of which (74%) were initially non-hybridized, emphasizing the chronic, negative impacts of human-mediated hybridization. These results show that effects of climate change on biodiversity must be analyzed in the context of historical human impacts that set ecological and evolutionary trajectories.

Acute sensitivity of the vernal pool fairy shrimp, Branchinecta lynchi (Anostraca; Branchinectidae), and surrogate species to 10 chemicals

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (36) 797-806

Chris D. Ivey, John M. Besser, Christopher G. Ingersoll, Ning Wang, Christopher Rogers, Sandy Raimondo, Candice R. Bauer, Edward J. Hammer

Vernal pool fairy shrimp, Branchinecta lynchi, (Branchiopoda; Anostraca) and other fairy shrimp species have been listed as threatened or endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. Because few data exist about the sensitivity of Branchinecta spp. to toxic effects of contaminants, it is difficult to determine whether they are adequately protected by water quality criteria. A series of acute (24-h) lethality/immobilization tests was conducted with 3 species of fairy shrimp (B. lynchi, Branchinecta lindahli, and Thamnocephalus platyurus) and 10 chemicals with varying modes of toxic action: ammonia, potassium, chloride, sulfate, chromium(VI), copper, nickel, zinc, alachlor, and metolachlor. The same chemicals were tested in 48-h tests with other branchiopods (the cladocerans Daphnia magna and Ceriodaphnia dubia) and an amphipod (Hyalella azteca), and in 96-h tests with snails (Physa gyrina and Lymnaea stagnalis). Median effect concentrations (EC50s) for B. lynchi were strongly correlated (r2 = 0.975) with EC50s for the commercially available fairy shrimp species T. platyurus for most chemicals tested. Comparison of EC50s for fairy shrimp and EC50s for invertebrate taxa tested concurrently and with other published toxicity data indicated that fairy shrimp were relatively sensitive to potassium and several trace metals compared with other invertebrate taxa, although cladocerans, amphipods, and mussels had similar broad toxicant sensitivity. Interspecies correlation estimation models for predicting toxicity to fairy shrimp from surrogate species indicated that models with cladocerans and freshwater mussels as surrogates produced the best predictions of the sensitivity of fairy shrimp to contaminants. The results of these studies indicate that fairy shrimp are relatively sensitive to a range of toxicants, but Endangered Species Act-listed fairy shrimp of the genus Branchinecta were not consistently more sensitive than other fairy shrimp taxa. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:797–806. Published 2016 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Brackish groundwater in the United States

Released April 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1833

Jennifer S. Stanton, David W. Anning, Craig J. Brown, Richard B. Moore, Virginia L. McGuire, Sharon L. Qi, Alta C. Harris, Kevin F. Dennehy, Peter B. McMahon, James R. Degnan, John Karl Böhlke

For some parts of the Nation, large-scale development of groundwater has caused decreases in the amount of groundwater that is present in aquifer storage and that discharges to surface-water bodies. Water supply in some areas, particularly in arid and semiarid regions, is not adequate to meet demand, and severe drought is affecting large parts of the United States. Future water demand is projected to heighten the current stress on groundwater resources. This combination of factors has led to concerns about the availability of freshwater to meet domestic, agricultural, industrial, mining, and environmental needs. To ensure the water security of the Nation, currently [2016] untapped water sources may need to be developed.

Brackish groundwater is an unconventional water source that may offer a partial solution to current and future water demands. In support of the national census of water resources, the U.S. Geological Survey completed the national brackish groundwater assessment to better understand the occurrence and characteristics of brackish groundwater in the United States as a potential water resource. Analyses completed as part of this assessment relied on previously collected data from multiple sources; no new data were collected. Compiled data included readily available information about groundwater chemistry, horizontal and vertical extents and hydrogeologic characteristics of principal aquifers (regionally extensive aquifers or aquifer systems that have the potential to be used as a source of potable water), and groundwater use. Although these data were obtained from a wide variety of sources, the compiled data are biased toward shallow and fresh groundwater resources; data representing groundwater that is at great depths and is saline were not as readily available.

One of the most important contributions of this assessment is the creation of a database containing chemical characteristics and aquifer information for the known areas with brackish groundwater in the United States. Previously published digital data relating to brackish groundwater resources were limited to a small number of State- and regional-level studies. Data sources for this assessment ranged from single publications to large datasets and from local studies to national assessments. Geochemical data included concentrations of dissolved solids, major ions, trace elements, nutrients, and radionuclides as well as physical properties of the water (pH, temperature, and specific conductance). Additionally, the database provides selected well information (location, yield, depth, and contributing aquifer) necessary for evaluating the water resource.

The assessment was divided into national-, regional-, and aquifer-scale analyses. National-scale analyses included evaluation of the three-dimensional distribution of observed dissolved-solids concentrations in groundwater, the three-dimensional probability of brackish groundwater occurrence, and the geochemical characteristics of saline (greater than or equal to 1,000 mg/L of dissolved solids) groundwater resources. Regional-scale analyses included a summary of the percentage of observed grid cell volume in the region that was occupied by brackish groundwater within the mixture of air, water, and rock for multiple depth intervals. Aquifer-scale analyses focused primarily on four regions that contained the largest amounts of observed brackish groundwater and included a generalized description of hydrogeologic characteristics from previously published work; the distribution of dissolved-solids concentrations; considerations for developing brackish groundwater resources, including a summary of other chemical characteristics that may limit the use of brackish groundwater and the ability of sampled wells producing brackish groundwater to yield useful amounts of water; and the amount of saline groundwater being used in 2010.

Test of a non-physical barrier consisting of light, sound, and bubble screen to block upstream movement of sea lamprey in an experimental raceway

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Scott M. Miehls, Nicholas S. Johnson, Pete J. Hrodey

Control of the invasive Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is critical for management of commercial and recreational fisheries in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Blocking Sea Lamprey from spawning habitat with physical barriers is a major component of the control program. However, the resulting interruption of natural stream flow and blockage of nontarget species present substantial challenges. Development of an effective nonphysical barrier would aid the control of Sea Lamprey by eliminating access to Sea Lamprey spawning locations while maintaining natural stream flow. We tested the effect of a nonphysical barrier consisting of strobe lights, low-frequency sound, and a bubble screen on the movement of Sea Lamprey in an experimental raceway designed as a two-choice maze with a single main channel fed by two identical inflow channels (one control and one blocked). Sea Lamprey were more likely to move upstream during trials when the strobe light and low-frequency sound were active compared with control trials and trials with the bubble screen alone. For those Sea Lamprey that did move upstream to the confluence of inflow channels, no combination of stimuli or any individual stimulus significantly influenced the likelihood of Sea Lamprey entering the blocked inflow channel, the control channel, or returning downstream.

Ecosystem services in the Great Lakes

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Alan D. Steinman, Bradley J Cardinale, Wayne R Munns Jr, Mary E. Ogdahl, David J Allan, Ted Angadi, Sarah Bartlett, Kate Brauman, Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Matt Doss, Diane Dupont, Annie Johns, Donna Kashian, Frank Lupi, Peter B. McIntyre, Todd Miller, Michael P. Moore, Rebecca Logsdon Muenich, Rajendra Poudel, James Price, Bill Provencher, Anne Rea, Jennifer Read, Steven Renzetti, Brent Sohngen, Erica Washburn

A comprehensive inventory of ecosystem services across the entire Great Lakes basin is currently lacking and is needed to make informed management decisions. A greater appreciation and understanding of ecosystem services, including both use and non-use services, may have avoided misguided resource management decisions in the past that resulted in negative legacies inherited by future generations. Given the interest in ecosystem services and lack of a coherent approach to addressing this topic in the Great Lakes, a summit was convened involving 28 experts working on various aspects of ecosystem services in the Great Lakes. The invited attendees spanned a variety of social and natural sciences. Given the unique status of the Great Lakes as the world's largest collective repository of surface freshwater, and the numerous stressors threatening this valuable resource, timing was propitious to examine ecosystem services. Several themes and recommendations emerged from the summit. There was general consensus that: 1) a comprehensive inventory of ecosystem services throughout the Great Lakes is a desirable goal but would require considerable resources; 2) more spatially and temporally intensive data are needed to overcome our data gaps, but the arrangement of data networks and observatories must be well-coordinated; 3) trade-offs must be considered as part of ecosystem services analyses; and 4) formation of a Great Lakes Institute for Ecosystem Services, to provide a hub for research, meetings, and training is desirable. Several challenges also emerged during the summit, which are discussed.

Coastal river plumes: Collisions and coalescence

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Progress in Oceanography (151) 245-260

Jonathan Warrick, Katherine L Farnsworth

Plumes of buoyant river water spread in the ocean from river mouths, and these plumes influence water quality, sediment dispersal, primary productivity, and circulation along the world’s coasts. Most investigations of river plumes have focused on large rivers in a coastal region, for which the physical spreading of the plume is assumed to be independent from the influence of other buoyant plumes. Here we provide new understanding of the spreading patterns of multiple plumes interacting along simplified coastal settings by investigating: (i) the relative likelihood of plume-to-plume interactions at different settings using geophysical scaling, (ii) the diversity of plume frontal collision types and the effects of these collisions on spreading patterns of plume waters using a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model, and (iii) the fundamental differences in plume spreading patterns between coasts with single and multiple rivers using a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. Geophysical scaling suggests that coastal margins with numerous small rivers (watershed areas < 10,000 km2), such as found along most active geologic coastal margins, were much more likely to have river plumes that collide and interact than coastal settings with large rivers (watershed areas > 100,000 km2). When two plume fronts meet, several types of collision attributes were found, including refection, subduction and occlusion. We found that the relative differences in pre-collision plume densities and thicknesses strongly influenced the resulting collision types. The three-dimensional spreading of buoyant plumes was found to be influenced by the presence of additional rivers for all modeled scenarios, including those with and without Coriolis and wind. Combined, these results suggest that plume-to-plume interactions are common phenomena for coastal regions offshore of the world’s smaller rivers and for coastal settings with multiple river mouths in close proximity, and that the spreading and fate of river waters in these settings will be strongly influenced by these interactions. We conclude that new investigations are needed to characterize how plumes interact offshore of river mouths to better understand the transport and fate of terrestrial sources of pollution, nutrients and other materials in the ocean.

Fungal and bacterial contributions to nitrogen cycling in cheatgrass-invaded and uninvaded native sagebrush soils of the western USA

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Plant and Soil

Nicole DeCrappeo, Elizabeth J. DeLorenze, Andrew T Giguere, David A. Pyke, Peter J. Bottomley

Aim

There is interest in determining how cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) modifies N cycling in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) soils of the western USA.

Methods

To gain insight into the roles of fungi and bacteria in N cycling of cheatgrass-invaded and uninvaded sagebrush soils, the fungal protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide (CHX), and the bacteriocidal compound, bronopol (BRO) were combined with a 15NH4+ isotope pool dilution approach.

Results

CHX reduced gross N mineralization to the same rate in both sagebrush and cheatgrass soils indicating a role for fungi in N mineralization in both soil types. In cheatgrass soils BRO completely inhibited gross N mineralization, whereas, in sagebrush soils a BRO-resistant gross N mineralization rate was detected that was slower than CHX sensitive gross N mineralization, suggesting that the microbial drivers of gross N mineralization were different in sagebrush and cheatgrass soils. Net N mineralization was stimulated to a higher rate in sagebrush than in cheatgrass soils by CHX, implying that a CHX inhibited N sink was larger in the former than the latter soils. Initial gross NH4+ consumption rates were reduced significantly by both CHX and BRO in both soil types, yet, consumption rates recovered significantly between 24 and 48 h in CHX-treated sagebrush soils. The recovery of NH4+ consumption in sagebrush soils corresponded with an increase in the rate of net nitrification.

Conclusions

These results suggest that cheatgrass invasion of sagebrush soils of the northern Great Basin reduces the capacity of the fungal N consumption sink, enhances the capacity of a CHX resistant N sink and alters the contributions of bacteria and fungi to gross N mineralization.

Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters

Martin Briggs, John Lane, Craig D. Snyder, Eric A. White, Zachary Johnson, David L. Nelms, Nathaniel P. Hitt

Groundwater/surface-water exchanges in streams are inexorably linked to adjacent aquifer dynamics. As surface-water temperatures continue to increase with climate warming, refugia created by groundwater connectivity is expected to enable cold water fish species to survive. The shallow alluvial aquifers that source groundwater seepage to headwater streams, however, may also be sensitive to seasonal and long-term air temperature dynamics. Depth to bedrock can directly influence shallow aquifer flow and thermal sensitivity, but is typically ill-defined along the stream corridor in steep mountain catchments. We employ rapid, cost-effective passive seismic measurements to evaluate the variable thickness of the shallow colluvial and alluvial aquifer sediments along a headwater stream supporting cold water-dependent brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA. Using a mean depth to bedrock of 2.6 m, numerical models predicted strong sensitivity of shallow aquifer temperature to the downward propagation of surface heat. The annual temperature dynamics (annual signal amplitude attenuation and phase shift) of potential seepage sourced from the shallow modeled aquifer were compared to several years of paired observed stream and air temperature records. Annual stream water temperature patterns were found to lag local air temperature by ∼8–19 d along the stream corridor, indicating that thermal exchange between the stream and shallow groundwater is spatially variable. Locations with greater annual signal phase lag were also associated with locally increased amplitude attenuation, further suggestion of year-round buffering of channel water temperature by groundwater seepage. Numerical models of shallow groundwater temperature that incorporate regional expected climate warming trends indicate that the summer cooling capacity of this groundwater seepage will be reduced over time, and lower-elevation stream sections may no longer serve as larger-scale climate refugia for cold water fish species, even with strong groundwater discharge.

Growth of black brant and lesser snow goose goslings in northern Alaska

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Wildlife Management

Jerry W. Hupp, David H. Ward, Kyle R. Hogrefe, James S. Sedinger, Philip D. Martin, Alice A Stickney, Tim Obritschkewitsch

Gosling body mass can affect first year survival, recruitment, adult body size, and future fecundity of geese, and can serve as an indicator of forage availability and quality on brood-rearing areas. From 2012–2014 we measured body mass of 76 black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) and 268 lesser snow goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) goslings of known age on the Colville River Delta (CRD) of northern Alaska to determine if there was evidence of density-dependent declines in gosling growth following recent population increases of those species and sympatric greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis). We contrasted contemporary body mass of brant goslings and forage biomass in brood-rearing habitats that were shared by all species, with measures obtained on, and near the CRD in the 1990s, prior to the establishment of snow goose nesting colonies in the area. Body mass of brant goslings recaptured between 25 and 32 days of age had not changed over the past 2 decades, despite an influx of snow geese, and increases in populations of brant and white-fronted geese. At 30 days of age, body mass of brant goslings on the CRD was 100–400 g heavier than for brant goslings of the same age on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD), Alaska. Contemporary biomass of grazed Carex subspathacea on CRD brood-rearing areas was comparable to the 1990s and was 2–4 times greater than for the same plant community on the YKD. Historical data on growth of snow goose goslings were not available for the CRD. However, average body mass of 34-day-old snow goose goslings was >230 g heavier than for conspecifics of the same age in the Hudson Bay region. We conclude that the establishment of nesting snow geese on the CRD has not negatively affected brant gosling growth, and that recent population increases of all species have likely not been constrained by forage availability on brood-rearing areas. Barring demographic changes elsewhere in their annual cycles, we predict that goose populations will continue to increase in northern Alaska. However, snow geese are increasing more rapidly than brant in the region. Because the black brant population has periodically been below conservation objectives, the effects of the increasing number of snow geese on forage biomass and growth of brant goslings in northern Alaska should be monitored.

Genetic structure among greater white-fronted goose populations of the Pacific Flyway

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecology and Evolution

Craig R. Ely, Robert E. Wilson, Sandra Talbot

An understanding of the genetic structure of populations in the wild is essential for long-term conservation and stewardship in the face of environmental change. Knowledge of the present-day distribution of genetic lineages (phylogeography) of a species is especially important for organisms that are exploited or utilize habitats that may be jeopardized by human intervention, including climate change. Here, we describe mitochondrial (mtDNA) and nuclear genetic (microsatellite) diversity among three populations of a migratory bird, the greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), which breeds discontinuously in western and southwestern Alaska and winters in the Pacific Flyway of North America. Significant genetic structure was evident at both marker types. All three populations were differentiated for mtDNA, whereas microsatellite analysis only differentiated geese from the Cook Inlet Basin. In sexual reproducing species, nonrandom mate selection, when occurring in concert with fine-scale resource partitioning, can lead to phenotypic and genetic divergence as we observed in our study. If mate selection does not occur at the time of reproduction, which is not uncommon in long-lived organisms, then mechanisms influencing the true availability of potential mates may be obscured, and the degree of genetic and phenotypic diversity may appear incongruous with presumed patterns of gene flow. Previous investigations revealed population-specific behavioral, temporal, and spatial mechanisms that likely influence the amount of gene flow measured among greater white-fronted goose populations. The degree of observed genetic structuring aligns well with our current understanding of population differences pertaining to seasonal movements, social structure, pairing behavior, and resource partitioning.

Arctic museum collections - Special issue: The Beringian coevolution project: Holistic collections of mammals and associated parasites reveal novel perspectives on evolutionary and environmental change in the North

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Arctic Science

Joseph A. Cook, Kurt E. Galbreath, Mariel Campbell, Susanne Carrière, Jocelyn P. Colella, Natalie G. Dawson, Jonathan L. Dunnum, Ralph P. Eckerlin, Stephen E. Greiman, Vadim Fedorov, Genevieve M. S. Haas, Voitto Haukisalmi, Heikki Henttonen, Andrew G. Hope, Donavan Jackson, Tom Jung, Anson V. Koehler, John M. Kinsella, Dianna Krejsa, Susan J. Kutz, Schuyler Liphardt, Stephen O. MacDonald, Jason L. Malaney, Arseny Makarikov, Jon Martin, Bryan S. McLean, Robert Mulders, Batsaikhan Nyamsuren, Sandra Talbot, Vasyl Tkach, Albina Tsvetkova, Heather M Toman, Eric C. Waltari, Jackson S. Whitman, Eric P. Hoberg

The Beringian Coevolution Project (BCP), a field program underway in the high northern latitudes since 1999, has focused on building key scientific infrastructure for integrated specimen-based studies on mammals and their associated parasites. BCP has contributed new insights across temporal and spatial scales into how ancient climate and environmental change have shaped faunas, emphasizing processes of assembly, persistence, and diversification across the vast Beringian region. BCP collections also represent baseline records of biotic diversity from across the northern high latitudes at a time of accelerated environmental change. These specimens and associated data form an unmatched resource for identifying hidden diversity, interpreting past responses to climate oscillations, documenting contemporary conditions, and anticipating outcomes for complex biological systems in a regime of ecological perturbation. Because of its dual focus on hosts and parasites, the BCP record also provides a foundation for comparative analyses that can document the effects of dynamic change on the geographic distribution, transmission dynamics, and emergence of pathogens. By using specific examples from carnivores, shrews, lagomorphs, rodents and their associated parasites, we demonstrate how broad, integrated field collections provide permanent infrastructure that informs policy decisions regarding human impact and the effect of climate change on natural populations.

Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers and streams, 1972–2012—Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results

Released April 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5006

Gretchen P. Oelsner, Lori A. Sprague, Jennifer C. Murphy, Robert E. Zuellig, Henry M. Johnson, Karen R. Ryberg, James A. Falcone, Edward G. Stets, Aldo V. Vecchia, Melissa L. Riskin, Laura A. De Cicco, Taylor J. Mills, William H. Farmer

Since passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, Federal, State, and local governments have invested billions of dollars to reduce pollution entering rivers and streams. To understand the return on these investments and to effectively manage and protect the Nation’s water resources in the future, we need to know how and why water quality has been changing over time. As part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Project, of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Program, data from the U.S. Geological Survey, along with multiple other Federal, State, Tribal, regional, and local agencies, have been used to support the most comprehensive assessment conducted to date of surface-water-quality trends in the United States. This report documents the methods used to determine trends in water quality and ecology because these methods are vital to ensuring the quality of the results. Specific objectives are to document (1) the data compilation and processing steps used to identify river and stream sites throughout the Nation suitable for water-quality, pesticide, and ecology trend analysis, (2) the statistical methods used to determine trends in target parameters, (3) considerations for water-quality, pesticide, and ecology data and streamflow data when modeling trends, (4) sensitivity analyses for selecting data and interpreting trend results with the Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season method, and (5) the final trend results at each site. The scope of this study includes trends in water-quality concentrations and loads (nutrient, sediment, major ion, salinity, and carbon), pesticide concentrations and loads, and metrics for aquatic ecology (fish, invertebrates, and algae) for four time periods: (1) 1972–2012, (2) 1982–2012, (3) 1992–2012, and (4) 2002–12. In total, nearly 12,000 trends in concentration, load, and ecology metrics were evaluated in this study; there were 11,893 combinations of sites, parameters, and trend periods. The final trend results are presented with examples of how to interpret the results from each trend model. Interpretation of the trend results, such as causal analysis, is not included.

Baseline coastal oblique aerial photographs collected from Dauphin Island, Alabama, to Breton Island, Louisiana, June 9, 2011

Released April 03, 2017 17:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1044

Karen L. M. Morgan

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of the National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards project, conducts baseline and storm-response photography missions to document and understand the changes in vulnerability of the Nation's coasts to extreme storms. On June 9, 2011, the USGS conducted an oblique aerial photographic survey from Dauphin Island, Alabama, to Breton Island, Louisiana, aboard a Beechcraft BE90 King Air (aircraft) at an altitude of 500 feet (ft) (152 meters (m)) and approximately 1,200 ft (366 m) offshore. This mission was conducted to collect baseline data for assessing incremental changes in the beach and nearshore area and can be used to assess future coastal change.

The photographs in this report are Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) images. These photographs document the state of the barrier islands and other coastal features at the time of the survey.

Post-Hurricane Katrina coastal oblique aerial photographs collected from Panama City, Florida, to Lakeshore, Mississippi, and the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, August 31, 2005

Released April 03, 2017 16:45 EST

2017, Data Series 1033

Karen L. M. Morgan, Nancy T. DeWitt

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of the National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards project, conducts baseline and storm-response photography missions to document and understand the changes in vulnerability of the Nation's coasts to extreme storms. On August 31, 2005, the USGS conducted an oblique aerial photographic survey from Panama City, Florida, to Lakeshore, Mississippi, and the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, aboard a Piper Navajo Chieftain aircraft at an altitude of 500 feet and approximately 1,000 feet offshore. This mission was flown to collect post-Hurricane Katrina data, which can be used to assess incremental changes in the beach and nearshore area and can be used to assess future coastal change.

The photographs in this report are Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) images. These photographs document the state of the barrier islands and other coastal features at the time of the survey.

Nearshore sediment thickness, Fire Island, New York

Released April 03, 2017 14:30 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1024

Stanley D. Locker, Jennifer L. Miselis, Noreen A. Buster, Cheryl J. Hapke, Heidi M. Wadman, Jesse E. McNinch, Arnell S. Forde, Chelsea A. Stalk

Investigations of coastal change at Fire Island, New York (N.Y.), sought to characterize sediment budgets and determine geologic framework controls on coastal processes. Nearshore sediment thickness is critical for assessing coastal system sediment availability, but it is largely unquantified due to the difficulty of conducting geological or geophysical surveys across the nearshore. This study used an amphibious vessel to acquire chirp subbottom profiles. These profiles were used to characterize nearshore geology and provide an assessment of nearshore sediment volume. Two resulting sediment-thickness maps are provided: total Holocene sediment thickness and the thickness of the active shoreface. The Holocene sediment section represents deposition above the maximum flooding surface that is related to the most recent marine transgression. The active shoreface section is the uppermost Holocene sediment, which is interpreted to represent the portion of the shoreface thought to contribute to present and future coastal behavior. The sediment distribution patterns correspond to previously defined zones of erosion, accretion, and stability along the island, demonstrating the importance of sediment availability in the coastal response to storms and seasonal variability. The eastern zone has a thin nearshore sediment thickness, except for an ebb-tidal deposit at the wilderness breach caused by Hurricane Sandy. Thicker sediment is found along a central zone that includes shoreface-attached sand ridges, which is consistent with a stable or accretional coastline in this area. The thickest overall Holocene section is found in the western zone of the study, where a thicker lower section of Holocene sediment appears related to the westward migration of Fire Island Inlet over several hundred years.

Geographic and temporal patterns of variation in total mercury concentrations in blood of harlequin ducks and blue mussels from Alaska

Released April 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Marine Pollution Bulletin (117) 178-183

Lucas Savoy, Paul L. Flint, Denny Zwiefelhofer, Heather Brant, Christopher R. Perkins, Robert J. Taylor, Oksana P. Lane, Jefferson S. Hall, David C. Evers, Jason Schamber

We compared total mercury (Hg) concentrations in whole blood of harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) sampled within and among two geographically distinct locations and across three years in southwest Alaska. Blue mussels were collected to assess correlation between Hg concentrations in locally available forage and birds. Mercury concentrations in harlequin duck blood were significantly higher at Unalaska Island (0.31 ± 0.19 mean ± SD, μg/g blood) than Kodiak Island (0.04 ± 0.02 mean ± SD, μg/g blood). We found no evidence for annual variation in blood Hg concentration between years at Unalaska Island. However, blood Hg concentration did vary among specific sampling locations (i.e., bays) at Unalaska Island. Findings from this study demonstrate harlequin ducks are exposed to environmental sources of Hg, and whole blood Hg concentrations are associated with their local food source.

Density-dependent vulnerability of forest ecosystems to drought

Released April 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Applied Ecology

Alessandra Bottero, Anthony W. D'Amato, Brian J. Palik, John B. Bradford, Shawn Fraver, Mike A. Battaglia, Lance A. Asherin

1. Climate models predict increasing drought intensity and frequency for many regions, which may have negative consequences for tree recruitment, growth and mortality, as well as forest ecosystem services. Furthermore, practical strategies for minimizing vulnerability to drought are limited. Tree population density, a metric of tree abundance in a given area, is a primary driver of competitive intensity among trees, which influences tree growth and mortality. Manipulating tree population density may be a mechanism for moderating drought-induced stress and growth reductions, although the relationship between tree population density and tree drought vulnerability remains poorly quantified, especially across climatic gradients.

2. In this study, we examined three long-term forest ecosystem experiments in two widely distributed North American pine species, ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa (Lawson & C. Lawson) and red pine Pinus resinosa (Aiton), to better elucidate the relationship between tree population density, growth and drought. These experiments span a broad latitude and aridity range and include tree population density treatments that have been purposefully maintained for several decades. We investigated how tree population density influenced resistance (growth during drought) and resilience (growth after drought compared to pre-drought growth) of stand-level growth during and after documented drought events.

3. Our results show that relative tree population density was negatively related to drought resistance and resilience, indicating that trees growing at lower densities were less vulnerable to drought. This result was apparent in all three forest ecosystems, and was consistent across species, stand age and drought intensity.

4. Synthesis and applications. Our results highlighted that managing pine forest ecosystems at low tree population density represents a promising adaptive strategy for reducing the adverse impacts of drought on forest growth in coming decades. Nonetheless, the broader applicability of our findings to other types of forest ecosystems merits additional investigation.

Implementation of the first adaptive management plan for a European migratory waterbird population: The case of the Svalbard pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus

Released April 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ambio (46) 275-289

Jesper Madsen, James Henty Williams, Fred A. Johnson, Ingunn M. Tombre, Sergey Dereliev, Eckhart Kuijken

An International Species Management Plan for the Svalbard population of the pink-footed goose was adopted under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds in 2012, the first case of adaptive management of a migratory waterbird population in Europe. An international working group (including statutory agencies, NGO representatives and experts) agreed on objectives and actions to maintain the population in favourable conservation status, while accounting for biodiversity, economic and recreational interests. Agreements include setting a population target to reduce agricultural conflicts and avoid tundra degradation, and using hunting in some range states to maintain stable population size. As part of the adaptive management procedures, adjustment to harvest is made annually subject to population status. This has required streamlining of monitoring and assessment activities. Three years after implementation, indicators suggest the attainment of management results. Dialogue, consensus-building and engagement among stakeholders represent the major process achievements.

Terrestrial–aquatic linkages in spring-fed and snowmelt-dominated streams

Released April 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Freshwater Ecology (32) 288-299

Adam Sepulveda

The importance of trophic linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is predicted to vary as a function of subsidy quantity and quality relative to in situ resources. To test this prediction, I used multi-year diet data from Bonneville cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki Utah in spring-fed and snowmelt-driven streams in the high desert of western North America. I documented that trout in spring-fed streams consumed more (number and weight) aquatic than terrestrial invertebrates, while trout in snowmelt-driven streams consumed a similar number of both prey types but consumed more terrestrial than aquatic invertebrates by weight. Trout in spring-fed streams consumed more aquatic invertebrates than trout in snowmelt streams and trout consumed more terrestrial invertebrates in snowmelt than in spring-fed streams. Up to 93% of trout production in spring-fed streams and 60% in snowmelt streams was fueled by aquatic invertebrates, while the remainder of trout production in each stream type was from terrestrial production. I found that the biomass and occurrence of consumed terrestrial invertebrates were not related to our measures of in situ resource quality or quantity in either stream type. These empirical data highlight the importance of autotrophic-derived production to trout in xeric regions.

Global nonfuel mineral exploration trends 2001-2015

Released April 03, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Mining Engineering (69) 30-30

Nick Karl, David R. Wilburn

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Minerals Information Center (NMIC) is to collect, analyze and disseminate information on the domestic and international supply of and demand for minerals and mineral materials essential to the U.S. economy and national security. Understanding mineral exploration activities and trends assists government policy makers, minerals industry decision makers and research entities in identifying where future sources of mineral supply are likely to be discovered, the amount and type of these resources and factors that may affect exploration and development.

Using diets of Canis breeding pairs to assess resource partitioning between sympatric red wolves and coyotes

Released April 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Mammalogy (98) 475-488

Joseph W. Hinton, Annaliese K. Ashley, Justin A. Dellinger, John L. Gittleman, Frank T. van Manen, Michael J. Chamberlain

Foraging behaviors of red wolves (Canis rufus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) are complex and their ability to form congeneric breeding pairs and hybridize further complicates our understanding of factors influencing their diets. Through scat analysis, we assessed prey selection of red wolf, coyote, and congeneric breeding pairs formed by red wolves and coyotes, and found that all 3 had similar diets. However, red wolf and congeneric pairs consumed more white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) than coyote pairs. Coyotes forming breeding pairs with red wolves had 12% more white-tailed deer in their diet than conspecifics paired with coyotes. Contrary to many studies on coyotes in the southeastern United States, we found coyotes in eastern North Carolina to be primarily carnivorous with increased consumption of deer during winter. Although prey selection was generally similar among the 3 groups, differences in diet among different breeding pairs were strongly associated with body mass. Larger breeding pairs consumed more white-tailed deer, and fewer rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) and other small mammals. Partitioning of food resources by sympatric red wolves and coyotes is likely via differences in the proportions of similar prey consumed, rather than differences in types of prey exploited. Consequently, our results suggest coexistence of red wolves and coyotes in the southeastern United States may not be possible because there are limited opportunities for niche partitioning to reduce competitive interactions.

2010-2015 Juvenile fish ecology in the Nisqually River Delta and Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve

Released April 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Salmon Recovery Program Technical Report 2016-1

Sayre Hodgson, Christopher S. Ellings, Steve P. Rubin, Michael C. Hayes, Walker Duval, Eric E. Grossman

The return of tidal inundation to over 750 acres of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NNWR) in fall of 2009 was the crowning moment in the effort to protect and restore the Nisqually Delta. The Nisqually NWR project complemented three earlier restoration projects completed by the Nisqually Indian Tribe (Tribe) on tribal property to restore over 900 acres of the estuary, representing the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most significant advances to date towards the recovery of Puget Sound (USFWS 2005).

In 2011 the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WADNR established the over 14000 acre Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve (Reserve), complementing the protection and restoration successes in the Nisqually Delta. The Reserve includes all state-owned aquatic lands around Anderson, Ketron and Eagle islands and part of McNeil Island (Figure 1, WDNR 2011). The Reserve also includes a diverse assemblage of nearshore and offshore habitats important to resident and migratory fish including federal endangered species act listed fish like Chinook salmon (Oncorynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss). Studies in the Nisqually Estuary (Ellings and Hodgson 2007, David et al. 2014, Ellings et al. 2016) and South Puget Sound (Duffy 2003) have summarized fish use of the area. However, the fish ecology of the reserve had not been systematically surveyed.

The Tribe, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NNWR, Nisqually River Foundation (NRF), and others are currently conducting a multi-year, interdisciplinary, hypothesis-based research and monitoring study investigating the impact of delta restoration on estuarine processes, habitat structures, and functions. Our interdisciplinary monitoring framework enables us to link key estuarine processes with habitat development and biological response at multiple scales across the restored footprint, reference marshes, and throughout the Nisqually Reach. Key research components include hydrology and sediment regime, channel and marsh topography and development, vegetation colonization, and invertebrate, bird, and fish abundance, habitat use, and foraging ecology. After the Reserve was established, the WDNR and the research partnership led by the Tribe expanded the existing delta fish ecology assessment to include sampling stations throughout the Reserve. The results of the Reserve fish ecology assessment provide a unique regional analysis of fish ecology from the Nisqually River to McNeil Island.

Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy

Released April 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Continental Shelf Research (138) 1-18

John C. Warner, William C. Schwab, Jeffrey List, Ilgar Safak, Maria Liste, Wayne E. Baldwin

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history, making landfall on the New Jersey coast on Oct 30, 2012. Storm impacts included several barrier island breaches, massive coastal erosion, and flooding. While changes to the subaerial landscape are relatively easily observed, storm-induced changes to the adjacent shoreface and inner continental shelf are more difficult to evaluate. These regions provide a framework for the coastal zone, are important for navigation, aggregate resources, marine ecosystems, and coastal evolution. Here we provide unprecedented perspective regarding regional inner continental shelf sediment dynamics based on both observations and numerical modeling over time scales associated with these types of large storm events. Oceanographic conditions and seafloor morphologic changes are evaluated using both a coupled atmospheric-ocean-wave-sediment numerical modeling system and observation analysis from a series of geologic surveys and oceanographic instrument deployments focused on a region offshore of Fire Island, NY. The geologic investigations conducted in 2011 and 2014 revealed lateral movement of sedimentary structures of distances up to 450 m and in water depths up to 30 m, and vertical changes in sediment thickness greater than 1 m in some locations. The modeling investigations utilize a system with grid refinement designed to simulate oceanographic conditions with progressively increasing resolutions for the entire US East Coast (5-km grid), the New York Bight (700-m grid), and offshore of Fire Island, NY (100-m grid), allowing larger scale dynamics to drive smaller scale coastal changes. Model results in the New York Bight identify maximum storm surge of up to 3 m, surface currents on the order of 2 ms-1 along the New Jersey coast, waves up to 8 m in height, and bottom stresses exceeding 10 Pa. Flow down the Hudson Shelf Valley is shown to result in convergent sediment transport and deposition along its axis. Modeled sediment redistribution along Fire Island showed erosion across the crests of inner shelf sand ridges and sedimentation in adjacent troughs, consistent with the geologic observations.

Twenty years of water-quality studies in the Cheney Reservoir Watershed, Kansas, 1996-2016

Released March 31, 2017 11:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3019

Jennifer L. Graham, Guy M. Foster, Ariele R. Kramer

Since 1996, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Wichita, has done studies in the Cheney Reservoir watershed to understand environmental effects on water-quality conditions. Early studies (1996–2001) determined subwatershed sources of contaminants, nutrient and sediment loading to Cheney Reservoir, changes in reservoir sediment quality over time, and watershed sources of phosphorus. Later studies (2001–present) focused on nutrient and sediment concentrations and mass transport from the watershed; the presence of cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, and taste-and-odor compounds in the reservoir; and development of regression models for real-time computations of water-quality constituents of interest that may affect drinking-water treatment. This fact sheet summarizes key results from studies done by the USGS during 1996–2016 in the Cheney Reservoir watershed and Cheney Reservoir.

Occurrence of cyanobacteria, microcystin, and taste-and-odor compounds in Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, 2001-16

Released March 31, 2017 11:15 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5016

Jennifer L. Graham, Guy M. Foster, Thomas J. Williams, Ariele R. Kramer, Theodore D. Harris

Cheney Reservoir, located in south-central Kansas, is one of the primary drinking-water supplies for the city of Wichita and an important recreational resource. Since 1990, cyanobacterial blooms have been present occasionally in Cheney Reservoir, resulting in increased treatment costs and decreased recreational use. Cyanobacteria, the cyanotoxin microcystin, and the taste-and-odor compounds geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol have been measured in Cheney Reservoir by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the city of Wichita, for about 16 years. The purpose of this report is to describe the occurrence of cyanobacteria, microcystin, and taste-and-odor compounds in Cheney Reservoir during May 2001 through June 2016 and to update previously published logistic regression models that used continuous water-quality data to estimate the probability of microcystin and geosmin occurrence above relevant thresholds.

Cyanobacteria, microcystin, and geosmin were detected in about 84, 52, and 31 percent of samples collected in Cheney Reservoir during May 2001 through June 2016, respectively. 2-methylisoborneol was less common, detected in only 3 percent of samples. Microcystin and geosmin concentrations exceeded advisory values of concern more frequently than cyanobacterial abundance; therefore, cyanobacteria are not a good indicator of the presence of these taste-and-odor compounds in Cheney Reservoir. Broad seasonal patterns in cyanobacteria and microcystin were evident, though abundance and concentration varied by orders of magnitude across years. Cyanobacterial abundances generally peaked in late summer or early fall (August through October), and smaller peaks were observed in winter (January through February). In a typical year, microcystin was first detected in June or July, increased to its seasonal maxima in the summer (July through September), and then decreased. Seasonal patterns in geosmin were less consistent than cyanobacteria and microcystin, but geosmin typically had a small peak during winter (January through March) during most years and a large peak during summer (July through September) during some years. Though the relation between cyanobacterial abundance and microcystin and geosmin concentrations was positive, overall correlations were weak, likely because production is strain-specific and cyanobacterial strain composition may vary substantially over time. Microcystin often was present without taste-and-odor compounds. By comparison, where taste-and-odor compounds were present, microcystin frequently was detected. Taste-and-odor compounds, therefore, may be used as indicators that microcystin may be present; however, microcystin was present without taste-and-odor compounds, so taste or odor alone does not provide sufficient warning to ensure human-health protection.

Logistic regression models that estimate the probability of microcystin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 0.1 micrograms per liter and geosmin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 5 nanograms per liter were developed. Models were developed using the complete dataset (January 2003 through June 2016 for microcystin [14-year dataset]; May 2001 through June 2016 for geosmin [16-year dataset]) and an abbreviated 4-year dataset (January 2013 through June 2016 for microcystin and geosmin). Performance of the newly developed models was compared with previously published models that were developed using data collected during May 2001 through December 2009. A seasonal component and chlorophyll fluorescence (a surrogate for algal biomass) were the explanatory variables for microcystin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 0.1 micrograms per liter in all models. All models were relatively robust, though the previously published and 14-year models performed better over time; however, as a tool to estimate microcystin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 0.1 micrograms per liter in a real-time notification system near the Cheney Dam, the 4-year model is most representative of recent (2013 through 2016) conditions. All models for geosmin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 5 nanograms per liter had different explanatory variables and model forms. The previously published and 16-year models were not robust over time, likely because of changing environmental conditions and seasonal patterns in geosmin occurrence. By comparison, the abbreviated 4-year model may be a useful tool to estimate geosmin occurrence at concentrations greater than or equal to 5 nanograms per liter in a real-time notification system near the Cheney Dam. The better performance of the abbreviated 4-year geosmin model during 2013 through 2016 relative to the previously published and 16-year models demonstrates the need for continuous reevaluation of models estimating the probability of occurrence.


Semiautomatic approaches to account for 3-D distortion of the electric field from local, near-surface structures in 3-D resistivity inversions of 3-D regional magnetotelluric data

Released March 31, 2017 10:15 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1007

Brian D. Rodriguez

This report summarizes the results of three-dimensional (3-D) resistivity inversion simulations that were performed to account for local 3-D distortion of the electric field in the presence of 3-D regional structure, without any a priori information on the actual 3-D distribution of the known subsurface geology. The methodology used a 3-D geologic model to create a 3-D resistivity forward (“known”) model that depicted the subsurface resistivity structure expected for the input geologic configuration. The calculated magnetotelluric response of the modeled resistivity structure was assumed to represent observed magnetotelluric data and was subsequently used as input into a 3-D resistivity inverse model that used an iterative 3-D algorithm to estimate 3-D distortions without any a priori geologic information. A publicly available inversion code, WSINV3DMT, was used for all of the simulated inversions, initially using the default parameters, and subsequently using adjusted inversion parameters. A semiautomatic approach of accounting for the static shift using various selections of the highest frequencies and initial models was also tested. The resulting 3-D resistivity inversion simulation was compared to the “known” model and the results evaluated. The inversion approach that produced the lowest misfit to the various local 3-D distortions was an inversion that employed an initial model volume resistivity that was nearest to the maximum resistivities in the near-surface layer.

Long-term spatial heterogeneity in mallard distribution in the Prairie pothole region

Released March 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wildlife Society Bulletin (41) 116-124

Adam K. Janke, Michael J. Anteau, Joshua D. Stafford

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of north-central United States and south-central Canada supports greater than half of all breeding mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) annually counted in North America and is the focus of widespread conservation and research efforts. Allocation of conservation resources for this socioeconomically important population would benefit from an understanding of the nature of spatiotemporal variation in distribution of breeding mallards throughout the 850,000 km2 landscape. We used mallard counts from the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey to test for spatial heterogeneity and identify high- and low-abundance regions of breeding mallards over a 50-year time series. We found strong annual spatial heterogeneity in all years: 90% of mallards counted annually were on an average of only 15% of surveyed segments. Using a local indicator of spatial autocorrelation, we found a relatively static distribution of low-count clusters in northern Montana, USA, and southern Alberta, Canada, and a dynamic distribution of high-count clusters throughout the study period. Distribution of high-count clusters shifted southeast from northwestern portions of the PPR in Alberta and western Saskatchewan, Canada, to North and South Dakota, USA, during the latter half of the study period. This spatial redistribution of core mallard breeding populations was likely driven by interactions between environmental variation that created favorable hydrological conditions for wetlands in the eastern PPR and dynamic land-use patterns related to upland cropping practices and government land-retirement programs. Our results highlight an opportunity for prioritizing relatively small regions within the PPR for allocation of wetland and grassland conservation for mallard populations. However, the extensive spatial heterogeneity in core distributions over our study period suggests such spatial prioritization will have to overcome challenges presented by dynamic land-use and climate patterns in the region, and thus merits additional monitoring and empirical research to anticipate future population distribution. Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

A model integrating longshore and cross-shore processes for predicting long-term shoreline response to climate change

Released March 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface

Sean Vitousek, Patrick Barnard, Patrick W Limber, Li Erikson, Blake Cole

We present a shoreline change model for coastal hazard assessment and management planning. The model, CoSMoS-COAST (Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool), is a transect-based, one-line model that predicts short-term and long-term shoreline response to climate change in the 21st century. The proposed model represents a novel, modular synthesis of process-based models of coastline evolution due to longshore and cross-shore transport by waves and sea-level rise. Additionally, the model uses an extended Kalman filter for data assimilation of historical shoreline positions to improve estimates of model parameters and thereby improve confidence in long-term predictions. We apply CoSMoS-COAST to simulate sandy shoreline evolution along 500 km of coastline in Southern California, which hosts complex mixtures of beach settings variably backed by dunes, bluffs, cliffs, estuaries, river mouths, and urban infrastructure, providing applicability of the model to virtually any coastal setting. Aided by data assimilation, the model is able to reproduce the observed signal of seasonal shoreline change for the hindcast period of 1995-2010, showing excellent agreement between modeled and observed beach states. The skill of the model during the hindcast period improves confidence in the model's predictive capability when applied to the forecast period (2010-2100) driven by GCM-projected wave and sea-level conditions. Predictions of shoreline change with limited human intervention indicate that 31% to 67% of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded by 2100 under sea-level rise scenarios of 0.93 to 2.0 m.

U.S. Geological Survey distribution of European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 data

Released March 31, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3026

Renee L. Pieschke

A partnership established between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) allows for USGS storage and redistribution of images acquired by the MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) on the European Union's Sentinel-2 satellite mission. The MSI data are acquired from a pair of satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, which are part of a larger set of ESA missions focusing on different aspects of Earth observation. The primary purpose of the Sentinel-2 series is to collect multispectral imagery over the Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters. Sentinel-2A was launched in 2015 and Sentinel-2B launched in 2017.

The collaborative effort between ESA and USGS provides for public access and redistribution of global acquisitions of Sentinel-2 data at no cost, which allows users to download the MSI imagery from USGS access systems such as Earth- Explorer, in addition to the ESA Sentinels Scientific Data Hub. The MSI sensor acquires 13 spectral bands that are highly complementary to data acquired by the USGS Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+). The product options from USGS include a Full-Resolution Browse (FRB) image product generated by USGS, along with a 100-kilometer (km) by 100-km tile-based Level-1C top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance product that is very similar (but not identical) to the currently (2017) distributed ESA Level 1C product.

Species composition, timing, and weather correlates of autumn open-water crossings by raptors migrating along the East-Asian Oceanic Flyway

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Raptor Research (51) 25-37

Camille B. Concepcion, Patricia T. Dumandan, Medel R. Silvosa, Keith L. Bildstein, Todd E. Katzner

Raptor migration rarely involves long-distance movements across open oceans. One exception occurs along the East-Asian Oceanic Flyway. We collected migration data at two terrestrial hawkwatch sites along this flyway to better understand open-ocean movements along this largely overwater corridor. At the northern end of the Philippines, at Basco on the island of Batan, we recorded 7587 migratory raptors in autumn 2014. Near the southern end of the Philippines, at Cape San Agustin on the island of Mindanao, we recorded 27,399 raptors migrating in autumn 2012. Chinese Sparrowhawks (Accipiter soloensis) were the most common raptors observed, making up approximately 89% and 92% of total records for Basco and Cape San Agustin, respectively. The Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) was the second most common raptor migrant, accounting for 8% of the total counts at both watch sites. The migration period was about 1–2 wk earlier at Basco, the more northerly site, than at Cape San Agustin. Overwater flights at Basco peaked in both the morning and late afternoon, whereas at Cape San Agustin there was only a morning peak. In general, the rate of migration passage at both sites was highest with clear skies when winds were blowing from the northwest. However, we observed interspecific differences in migration behavior at both sites, with Accipiters more likely to be observed with tailwinds and eastward winds, and Grey-faced Buzzards more likely observed with headwinds. These results help to characterize poorly known aspects of raptor biology and to identify potential migratory bottlenecks or key sites for raptor conservation in little-studied Philippine tropical ecosystems.

Veligers of the invasive Asian clam Corbicula fluminea in the Columbia River Basin: Broadscale distribution, abundance, and ecological associations

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Lake and Reservoir Management

Whitney Hassett, Stephen M. Bollens, Timothy D. Counihan, Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Julie Zimmerman, Joshua E. Emerson

The invasive Asian clam Corbicula fluminea was introduced to North America in the 1930s and now inhabits most regions of the conterminous United States; however, the distribution and ecology of C. fluminea in the Columbia River Basin is poorly understood. During 2013 and 2014, 5 Columbia-Snake River reservoirs were sampled monthly from May through September, along with 23 additional lakes and reservoirs sampled once each summer. Associations among C. fluminea veligers, other components of the plankton, and environmental variables were analyzed using non-metric multidimensional scaling and canonical correspondence analysis. Corbicula fluminea veligers were found in high abundances in all mainstem Columbia-Snake River reservoirs, with an annual mean abundance of 71.2 individuals per cubic meter (inds./m3). Only 3 of 23 lakes and (non-mainstem) reservoirs contained C. fluminea, with abundances considerably lower (maximum = 21.2 inds./m3) than in the mainstem reservoirs. A diatom-dominated community preceded the spawning of C. fluminea in early summer at all sites. Corbicula fluminea veligers characterized the plankton community in late summer and were associated with cyanobacteria and high water temperatures. A third community, characterized by cyanobacteria, was apparent in non-mainstem sites in July and August. Our analyses describe the relationship of C. fluminea to the plankton community and environment, which contributes to our understanding of the possible effects of C. fluminea infestations and which waterbodies in the Columbia River Basin are at risk for infestation. Understanding the effects and environmental determinants of invasive mollusks will be increasingly important in the future with the possible arrival of zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) or quagga (D. bugensis) mussels to the region.

Spatial and temporal dynamics of suspended particle characteristics and composition in Navigation Pool 19 of the Upper Mississippi River

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, River Research and Applications

Amanda S. Milde, William B. Richardson, Eric A. Strauss, James H. Larson, Jon Vallazza, Brent C. Knights

Suspended particles are an essential component of large rivers influencing channel geomorphology, biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, and food web resources. The Upper Mississippi River is a large floodplain river that exhibits pronounced spatiotemporal variation in environmental conditions and biota, providing an ideal environment for investigating dynamics of suspended particles in large river ecosystems. Here we investigated two questions: (i) How do suspended particle characteristics (e.g. size and morphology) vary temporally and spatially? and (ii) What environmental variables have the strongest association with particle characteristics? Water sampling was conducted in June, August, and September of 2013 and 2014 in Navigation Pool 19 of the Upper Mississippi River. A FlowCAM® (Flow Cytometer and Microscope) particle imaging system was used to enumerate and measure particles 53–300 μm in diameter for size and shape characteristics (e.g. volume, elongation, and symmetry). Suspended particle characteristics varied considerably over space and time and were strongly associated with discharge and concentrations of nitrate + nitrite (NO3) and soluble reactive phosphorus. Particle characteristics in backwaters were distinct from those in other habitats for most of the study period, likely due to reduced hydrologic connectivity and higher biotic production in backwaters. During low discharge, phytoplankton and zooplankton made up relatively greater proportions of the observed particles. Concurrently during low discharge, concentrations of chlorophyll, volatile suspended solids, and total phosphorus were higher. Our results suggest that there are complex interactions among space, time, discharge, and other environmental variables (e.g. water nutrients), which drive suspended particle dynamics in large rivers.

Simulating ungulate herbivory across forest landscapes: A browsing extension for LANDIS-II

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Modelling (350) 11-29

Nathan R. DeJager, Patrick J. Drohan, Brian M. Miranda, Brian R. Sturtevant, Susan L. Stout, Alejandro Royo, Eric J. Gustafson, Mark C. Romanski

Browsing ungulates alter forest productivity and vegetation succession through selective foraging on species that often dominate early succession. However, the long-term and large-scale effects of browsing on forest succession are not possible to project without the use of simulation models. To explore the effects of ungulates on succession in a spatially explicit manner, we developed a Browse Extension that simulates the effects of browsing ungulates on the growth and survival of plant species cohorts within the LANDIS-II spatially dynamic forest landscape simulation model framework. We demonstrate the capabilities of the new extension and explore the spatial effects of ungulates on forest composition and dynamics using two case studies. The first case study examined the long-term effects of persistently high white-tailed deer browsing rates in the northern hardwood forests of the Allegheny National Forest, USA. In the second case study, we incorporated a dynamic ungulate population model to simulate interactions between the moose population and boreal forest landscape of Isle Royale National Park, USA. In both model applications, browsing reduced total aboveground live biomass and caused shifts in forest composition. Simulations that included effects of browsing resulted in successional patterns that were more similar to those observed in the study regions compared to simulations that did not incorporate browsing effects. Further, model estimates of moose population density and available forage biomass were similar to previously published field estimates at Isle Royale and in other moose-boreal forest systems. Our simulations suggest that neglecting effects of browsing when modeling forest succession in ecosystems known to be influenced by ungulates may result in flawed predictions of aboveground biomass and tree species composition.

Live transport of Yellow Perch and Nile Tilapia in AQUI-S 20E (10% Eugenol) at high loading densities

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, North American Journal of Aquaculture (79) 176-182

Aaron R. Cupp, Theresa M. Schreier, Sue M. Schleis

Fish transport costs are a substantial portion of the operational expenses for aquaculture facilities in the USA. Safely transporting higher loading densities of fish would benefit haulers by increasing efficiency and reducing costs, but research evaluating transport for individual species is generally lacking. In this study, Yellow Perch Perca flavescens and Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus were transported for 6 h immersed in water containing AQUI-S 20E (10% eugenol) at fish loading densities of 240 g/L (2 lb/gal) for perch and 480 g/L (4 lb/gal) for tilapia. Survival was quantified for fish transported in AQUI-S 20E concentrations of (1) control or 0 mg/L of water, (2) 100 mg/L, or (3) 200 mg/L. Yellow Perch had 98–100% survival, and Nile Tilapia had 100% survival up to through 14 d after transport across all AQUI-S 20E levels, including the control. Eugenol concentrations decreased rapidly in transport tank water, and fish showed no signs of sedation by the end of transport. We conclude that live transport of Yellow Perch and Nile Tilapia at higher loading densities resulted in high survival regardless of the AQUI-S 20E concentrations we tested.

Full annual cycle climate change vulnerability assessment for migratory birds

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Applications (8)

Leah A. Culp, Emily B. Cohen, Amy L. Scarpignato, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Peter P. Marra

Climate change is a serious challenge faced by all plant and animal species. Climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) are one method to assess risk and are increasingly used as a tool to inform management plans. Migratory animals move across regions and continents during their annual cycles where they are exposed to diverse climatic conditions. Climate change during any period and in any region of the annual cycle could influence survival, reproduction, or the cues used to optimize timing of migration. Therefore, CCVAs for migratory animals best estimate risk when they include climate exposure during the entire annual cycle. We developed a CCVA incorporating the full annual cycle and applied this method to 46 species of migratory birds breeding in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes (UMGL) region of the United States. Our methodology included background risk, climate change exposure × climate sensitivity, adaptive capacity to climate change, and indirect effects of climate change. We compiled information about migratory connectivity between breeding and stationary non-breeding areas using literature searches and U.S. Geological Survey banding and re-encounter data. Climate change exposure (temperature and moisture) was assessed using UMGL breeding season climate and winter climate from non-breeding regions for each species. Where possible, we focused on non-breeding regions known to be linked through migratory connectivity. We ranked 10 species as highly vulnerable to climate change and two as having low vulnerability. The remaining 34 species were ranked as moderately vulnerable. In general, including non-breeding data provided more robust results that were highly individualistic by species. Two species were found to be highly vulnerable throughout their annual cycle. Projected drying will have the greatest effect during the non-breeding season for species overwintering in Mexico and the Caribbean. Projected temperature increases will have the greatest effect during the breeding season in UMGL as well as during the non-breeding season for species overwintering in South America. We provide a model for adaptive management of migratory animals in the face of projected climate change, including identification of priority species, research needs, and regions within non-breeding ranges for potential conservation partnerships.

Lethal and sub-lethal responses of native freshwater mussels exposed to granular Bayluscide®, a sea lamprey larvicide

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research (43) 370-378

Teresa Newton, Michael A. Boogaard, Brian R. Gray, Terrance D. Hubert, Nicholas Schloesser

The invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) poses a substantial threat to fish communities in the Great Lakes. Efforts to control sea lamprey populations typically involve treating tributary streams with lampricides on a recurring cycle. The presence of a substantial population of larval sea lampreys in the aquatic corridor between Lakes Huron and Erie prompted managers to propose a treatment using the granular formulation of Bayluscide® that targets larval sea lampreys that reside in sediments. However, these treatments could cause adverse effects on native freshwater mussels—imperiled animals that also reside in sediments. We estimated the risk of mortality and sub-lethal effects among eight species of adult and sub-adult mussels exposed to Bayluscide® for durations up to 8 h to mimic field applications. Mortality was appreciable in some species, especially in sub-adults (range, 23–51%). The lethal and sub-lethal effects were positively associated with the duration of exposure in most species and life stage combinations. Estimates of the median time of exposure that resulted in lethal and sub-lethal effects suggest that sub-adults were often affected by Bayluscide® earlier than adults. Siphoning activity and burrowing position of mussels during exposure may have moderated the uptake of Bayluscide® and may have influenced lethal and sub-lethal responses. Given that the various species and life stages were differentially affected, it will be difficult to predict the effects of Bayluscide® treatments on mussels.

Spatial and temporal relationships between the invasive snail Bithynia tentaculata and submersed aquatic vegetation in Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, River Research and Applications

Alicia M. Weeks, Nathan R. DeJager, Roger J. Haro, Greg J. Sandland

Bithynia tentaculata is an invasive snail that was first reported in Lake Michigan in 1871 and has since spread throughout a number of freshwater systems of the USA. This invasion has been extremely problematic in the Upper Mississippi River as the snails serve as intermediate hosts for several trematode parasites that have been associated with waterfowl mortality in the region. This study was designed to assess the abundance and distribution of B. tentaculata relative to submersed aquatic vegetation as macrophytes provide important nesting and food resources for migrating waterfowl. Temporal changes in both vegetation and snail densities were compared between 2007 and 2015. Between these years, B. tentaculata densities have nearly quadrupled despite minor changes in vegetation abundance, distribution and composition. Understanding the spatial distribution of B. tentaculata in relation to other habitat features, including submersed vegetation, and quantifying any further changes in the abundance and distribution of B. tentaculata over time will be important for better identifying areas of risk for disease transmission to waterfowl.

Effects of the biopesticide Zequanox® on reproduction and early development of the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Management of Biological Invasions (8) 125-135

Diane L. Waller, James A. Luoma

The biopesticide, Zequanox®, is registered for dreissenid mussel control in open water systems in the United States. Previous toxicity trials with nontarget organisms, including several young-of-the-year fish species and invertebrates, demonstrated selectivity of Zequanox for dreissenid mussels, but data are lacking on the treatment-related effects on reproduction and early life stage development of fish. The present study evaluated the effects of Zequanox on spawning and early life stages of the fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas, after exposure to the maximum approved concentration [100 mg active ingredient (AI)/L] and exposure duration (8h) for open water application. The results showed no significant treatment-related effect of Zequanox on survival, condition, or cumulative egg production (21 d) in adult fathead minnow. Eggs (≤24 h old) exposed to Zequanox developed to the eyed-stage at a similar rate to that of untreated eggs. Additionally, Zequanox did not have a significant effect on survival and growth (90 d) of newly hatched larvae (≤24-h old). Zequanox may be an option for control of dreissenid mussels in localized open water habitats where concerns exist regarding reproduction and recruitment of cyprinids and related species.

Effects of food resources on the fatty acid composition, growth and survival of freshwater mussels

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (12)

Michelle Bartsch, Lynn Bartsch, William B. Richardson, Jon Vallazza, Brenda Moraska Lafrancois

Increased nutrient and sediment loading in rivers have caused observable changes in algal community composition, and thereby, altered the quality and quantity of food resources available to native freshwater mussels. Our objective was to characterize the relationship between nutrient conditions and mussel food quality and examine the effects on fatty acid composition, growth and survival of juvenile mussels. Juvenile Lampsilis cardium and L. siliquoidea were deployed in cages for 28 d at four riverine and four lacustrine sites in the lower St. Croix River, Minnesota/Wisconsin, USA. Mussel foot tissue and food resources (four seston fractions and surficial sediment) were analyzed for quantitative fatty acid (FA) composition. Green algae were abundant in riverine sites, whereas cyanobacteria were most abundant in the lacustrine sites. Mussel survival was high (95%) for both species. Lampsilis cardium exhibited lower growth relative to L. siliquoidea (p <0.0001), but growth of L. cardium was not significantly different across sites (p = 0.13). In contrast, growth of L. siliquoidea was significantly greater at the most upstream riverine site compared to the lower three lacustrine sites (p = 0.002). In situ growth of Lampsilis siliquoidea was positively related to volatile solids (10 – 32 μm fraction), total phosphorus (<10 and 10 – 32 μm fractions), and select FA in the seston (docosapentaeonic acid, DPA, 22:5n3; 4,7,10,13,16-docosapentaenoic, 22:5n6; arachidonic acid, ARA, 20:4n6; and 24:0 in the <10 and 10 – 32 μm fractions). Our laboratory feeding experiment also indicated high accumulation ratios for 22:5n3, 22:5n6, and 20:4n6 in mussel tissue relative to supplied algal diet. In contrast, growth of L. siliquiodea was negatively related to nearly all FAs in the largest size fraction (i.e., >63 μm) of seston, including the bacterial FAs, and several of the FAs associated with sediments. Reduced mussel growth was observed in L. siliquoidea when the abundance of cyanobacteria exceeded 9% of the total phytoplankton biovolume. Areas dominated by cyanobacteria may not provide sufficient food quality to promote or sustain mussel growth.

Mercury and water level fluctuations in lakes of northern Minnesota

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, bioRxiv

James H. Larson, Ryan P Maki, Victoria G. Christensen, Mark B. Sandheinrich, Jaime F. LeDuc, Claire Kissane, Brent C. Knights

Large lake ecosystems support a variety of ecosystem services in surrounding communities, including recreational and commercial fishing. However, many northern temperate fisheries are contaminated by mercury. Annual variation in mercury accumulation in fish has previously been linked to water level (WL) fluctuations, opening the possibility of regulating water levels in a manner that minimizes or reduces mercury contamination in fisheries. Here, we compiled a long-term dataset (1997-2015) of mercury content in young-of-year Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) from six lakes on the border between the U.S. and Canada and examined whether mercury content appeared to be related to several metrics of WL fluctuation (e.g., spring WL rise, annual maximum WL, and year-to-year change in maximum WL). Using simple correlation analysis, several WL metrics appear to be strongly correlated to Yellow Perch mercury content, although the strength of these correlations varies by lake. We also used many WL metrics, water quality measurements, temperature and annual deposition data to build predictive models using partial least squared regression (PLSR) analysis for each lake. These PLSR models showed some variation among lakes, but also supported strong associations between WL fluctuations and annual variation in Yellow Perch mercury content. The study lakes underwent a modest change in WL management in 2000, when winter WL minimums were increased by about 1 m in five of the six study lakes. Using the PLSR models, we estimated how this change in WL management would have affected Yellow Perch mercury content. For four of the study lakes, the change in WL management that occurred in 2000 likely reduced Yellow Perch mercury content, relative to the previous WL management regime.

Field study suggests that sex determination in sea lamprey is directly influenced by larval growth rate

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (284)

Nicholas Johnson, William D. Swink, Travis O. Brenden

Sex determination mechanisms in fishes lie along a genetic-environmental continuum and thereby offer opportunities to understand how physiology and environment interact to determine sex. Mechanisms and ecological consequences of sex determination in fishes are primarily garnered from teleosts, with little investigation into basal fishes. We tagged and released larval sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) into unproductive lake and productive stream environments. Sex ratios produced from these environments were quantified by recapturing tagged individuals as adults. Sex ratios from unproductive and productive environments were initially similar. However, sex ratios soon diverged, with unproductive environments becoming increasingly male-skewed and productive environments becoming less male-skewed with time. We hypothesize that slower growth in unproductive environments contributed to the sex ratio differences by directly influencing sex determination. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study suggesting that growth rate in a fish species directly influences sex determination; other studies have suggested that the environmental variables to which sex determination is sensitive (e.g. density, temperature) act as cues for favourable or unfavourable growth conditions. Understanding mechanisms of sex determination in lampreys may provide unique insight into the underlying principles of sex determination in other vertebrates and provide innovative approaches for their management where valued and invasive.

Regional water table (2014) in the Mojave River and Morongo Groundwater Basins, southwestern Mojave Desert, California

Released March 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Open-File Report 2016-1105

Nick F. Teague, Christina L. Stamos, Sally F. House, Dennis A. Clark

 No abstract available.

Landsat and agriculture—Case studies on the uses and benefits of Landsat imagery in agricultural monitoring and production

Released March 29, 2017 17:45 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1034

Colin R. Leslie, Larisa O. Serbina, Holly M. Miller

Executive Summary

The use of Landsat satellite imagery for global agricultural monitoring began almost immediately after the launch of Landsat 1 in 1972, making agricultural monitoring one of the longest-standing operational applications for the Landsat program. More recently, Landsat imagery has been used in domestic agricultural applications as an input for field-level production management. The enactment of the U.S. Geological Survey’s free and open data policy in 2008 and the launch of Landsat 8 in 2013 have both influenced agricultural applications. This report presents two primary sets of case studies on the applications and benefits of Landsat imagery use in agriculture. The first set examines several operational applications within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the second focuses on private sector applications for agronomic management.  

Information on the USDA applications is provided in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Uses of Landsat Imagery for Global and Domestic Agricultural Monitoring section of the report in the following subsections:

Private sector applications using Landsat imagery for agricultural management are discussed in the Landsat Imagery Use and Benefits in Field-Level Agricultural Production Management section of the report in the following subsections:

Manatee grazing impacts on a mixed species seagrass bed

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Marine Ecology Progress Series (564) 29-45

Lynn W. Lefebvre, Jane A. Provancha, Daniel H. Slone, W. Judson Kenworthy

The endangered manatee Trichechus manatus is one of few large grazers in seagrass systems. To assess the long-term impacts of repeated grazing on seagrasses, we selected a study site within Kennedy Space Center in the northern Banana River, Brevard County, Florida, that was typically grazed by large numbers of manatees in spring. Two 13x13 m manatee exclosures and 2 paired open plots of equal size were established at the study site in October 1990. Shoot counts, biomass, and species composition of the co-dominant seagrass species, Syringodium filiforme and Halodule wrightii, were sampled 3 times per year in all 4 plots between October 1990 and October 1994. We used a Bayesian modelling approach, accounting for the influence of depth, to detect treatment (exclosed vs. open) effects. S. filiforme shoot counts, total biomass, and frequency of occurrence significantly increased in the exclosures. By July 1993, mean biomass values in the exclosures (167 g dry wt m-2) greatly exceeded those in the open plots (28 g dry wt m-2). H. wrightii decreased in the exclosures by 1994. Initially, both S. filiforme and H. wrightii responded positively to release from manatee grazing pressure. As S. filiforme continued to become denser in the exclosures, it gradually replaced H. wrightii. Our findings may be helpful to biologists and managers interested in predicting seagrass recovery and manatee carrying capacity of repeatedly grazed seagrass beds in areas of special significance to manatees and seagrass conservation.

Thematic accuracy assessment of the 2011 National Land Cover Database (NLCD)

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Remote Sensing of Environment (191) 328-341

James Wickham, Stephen V. Stehman, Leila Gass, Jon Dewitz, Daniel G. Sorenson, Brian J. Granneman, Richard V. Poss, Lori Anne Baer

Accuracy assessment is a standard protocol of National Land Cover Database (NLCD) mapping. Here we report agreement statistics between map and reference labels for NLCD 2011, which includes land cover for ca. 2001, ca. 2006, and ca. 2011. The two main objectives were assessment of agreement between map and reference labels for the three, single-date NLCD land cover products at Level II and Level I of the classification hierarchy, and agreement for 17 land cover change reporting themes based on Level I classes (e.g., forest loss; forest gain; forest, no change) for three change periods (2001–2006, 2006–2011, and 2001–2011). The single-date overall accuracies were 82%, 83%, and 83% at Level II and 88%, 89%, and 89% at Level I for 2011, 2006, and 2001, respectively. Many class-specific user's accuracies met or exceeded a previously established nominal accuracy benchmark of 85%. Overall accuracies for 2006 and 2001 land cover components of NLCD 2011 were approximately 4% higher (at Level II and Level I) than the overall accuracies for the same components of NLCD 2006. The high Level I overall, user's, and producer's accuracies for the single-date eras in NLCD 2011 did not translate into high class-specific user's and producer's accuracies for many of the 17 change reporting themes. User's accuracies were high for the no change reporting themes, commonly exceeding 85%, but were typically much lower for the reporting themes that represented change. Only forest loss, forest gain, and urban gain had user's accuracies that exceeded 70%. Lower user's accuracies for the other change reporting themes may be attributable to the difficulty in determining the context of grass (e.g., open urban, grassland, agriculture) and between the components of the forest-shrubland-grassland gradient at either the mapping phase, reference label assignment phase, or both. NLCD 2011 user's accuracies for forest loss, forest gain, and urban gain compare favorably with results from other land cover change accuracy assessments.

Clarifying atomic weights: A 2016 four-figure table of standard and conventional atomic weights

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Chemical Education (94) 311-319

Tyler B. Coplen, Fabienne Meyers, Norman E. Holden

To indicate that atomic weights of many elements are not constants of nature, in 2009 and 2011 the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (CIAAW) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) replaced single-value standard atomic weight values with atomic weight intervals for 12 elements (hydrogen, lithium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, chlorine, bromine, and thallium); for example, the standard atomic weight of nitrogen became the interval [14.00643, 14.00728]. CIAAW recognized that some users of atomic weight data only need representative values for these 12 elements, such as for trade and commerce. For this purpose, CIAAW provided conventional atomic weight values, such as 14.007 for nitrogen, and these values can serve in education when a single representative value is needed, such as for molecular weight calculations. Because atomic weight values abridged to four figures are preferred by many educational users and are no longer provided by CIAAW as of 2015, we provide a table containing both standard atomic weight values and conventional atomic weight values abridged to four figures for the chemical elements. A retrospective review of changes in four-digit atomic weights since 1961 indicates that changes in these values are due to more accurate measurements over time or to the recognition of the impact of natural isotopic fractionation in normal terrestrial materials upon atomic weight values of many elements. Use of the unit “u” (unified atomic mass unit on the carbon mass scale) with atomic weight is incorrect because the quantity atomic weight is dimensionless, and the unit “amu” (atomic mass unit on the oxygen scale) is an obsolete term: Both should be avoided.

Ecosystem variability along the estuarine salinity gradient: Examples from long-term study of San Francisco Bay

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Limnology and Oceanography

James E. Cloern, Alan D. Jassby, Tara Schraga, Erica S. Kress, Charles A. Martin

The salinity gradient of estuaries plays a unique and fundamental role in structuring spatial patterns of physical properties, biota, and biogeochemical processes. We use variability along the salinity gradient of San Francisco Bay to illustrate some lessons about the diversity of spatial structures in estuaries and their variability over time. Spatial patterns of dissolved constituents (e.g., silicate) can be linear or nonlinear, depending on the relative importance of river-ocean mixing and internal sinks (diatom uptake). Particles have different spatial patterns because they accumulate in estuarine turbidity maxima formed by the combination of sinking and estuarine circulation. Some constituents have weak or no mean spatial structure along the salinity gradient, reflecting spatially distributed sources along the estuary (nitrate) or atmospheric exchanges that buffer spatial variability of ecosystem metabolism (dissolved oxygen). The density difference between freshwater and seawater establishes stratification in estuaries stronger than the thermal stratification of lakes and oceans. Stratification is strongest around the center of the salinity gradient and when river discharge is high. Spatial distributions of motile organisms are shaped by species-specific adaptations to different salinity ranges (shrimp) and by behavioral responses to environmental variability (northern anchovy). Estuarine spatial patterns change over time scales of events (intrusions of upwelled ocean water), seasons (river inflow), years (annual weather anomalies), and between eras separated by ecosystem disturbances (a species introduction). Each of these lessons is a piece in the puzzle of how estuarine ecosystems are structured and how they differ from the river and ocean ecosystems they bridge.

Weather radar data correlate to hail-induced mortality in grassland birds

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

Amber Carver, Jeremy D. Ross, David J. Augustine, Susan K. Skagen, Angela M. Dwyer, Diana F. Tomback, Michael B. Wunder

Small-bodied terrestrial animals such as songbirds (Order Passeriformes) are especially vulnerable to hail-induced mortality; yet, hail events are challenging to predict, and they often occur in locations where populations are not being studied. Focusing on nesting grassland songbirds, we demonstrate a novel approach to estimate hail-induced mortality. We quantify the relationship between the probability of nests destroyed by hail and measured Level-III Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) data, including atmospheric base reflectivity, maximum estimated size of hail and maximum estimated azimuthal wind shear. On 22 June 2014, a hailstorm in northern Colorado destroyed 102 out of 203 known nests within our research site. Lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) nests comprised most of the sample (= 186). Destroyed nests were more likely to be found in areas of higher storm intensity, and distributions of NEXRAD variables differed between failed and surviving nests. For 133 ground nests where nest-site vegetation was measured, we examined the ameliorative influence of woody vegetation, nest cover and vegetation density by comparing results for 13 different logistic regression models incorporating the independent and additive effects of weather and vegetation variables. The most parsimonious model used only the interactive effect of hail size and wind shear to predict the probability of nest survival, and the data provided no support for any of the models without this predictor. We conclude that vegetation structure may not mitigate mortality from severe hailstorms and that weather radar products can be used remotely to estimate potential for hail mortality of nesting grassland birds. These insights will improve the efficacy of grassland bird population models under predicted climate change scenarios.

Ecology of the macrophyte Podostemum ceratophyllum Michx. (Hornleaf riverweed), a widespread foundation species of eastern North American rivers

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Aquatic Botany (139) 65-74

James Wood, Mary C. Freeman

Podostemum ceratophyllum, commonly called Hornleaf Riverweed, occurs in mid-order montane and piedmont rivers of eastern North America, where the plant grows submerged and attached to rocks and stable substrates in swift, aerated water. Multiple studies, mostly conducted in the southern portions of the plant’s range, have shown that Podostemum can variously influence benthic communities in flowing waters. However, a synthetic review of the biology and ecology of the plant is needed to inform conservation, particularly because P. ceratophyllum is reported to be in decline in much of its range, for mostly unknown reasons. We have thus summarized the literature showing that Podostemum provides substantial habitat for invertebrates and fish, may be consumed by invertebrates, turtles, and other vertebrates, removes and sequesters dissolved elements (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, etc.) from the water column, and contributes organic matter to the detrital pool. Podostemum may be tolerant to some forms of pollution but appears vulnerable to sedimentation, epiphytic over-growth, and hydrologic changes that result in desiccation, and possibly increased herbivory pressure. Much remains unknown about Podostemum, including aspects of morphological variation, seed dispersal, and tolerance to changes in temperature and water chemistry. Nonetheless, Podostemum may be considered a foundation species, whose loss from eastern North American rivers is likely to affect higher trophic levels and ecosystem processes.

Conservation genetics of American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, populations in Pacific Costa Rica

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Nature Conservation (17) 1-17

Laurie A. Mauger, Elizabeth Velez, Michael S. Cherkiss, Matthew L. Brien, Frank J. Mazzotti, James R. Spotila

Maintaining genetic diversity is crucial for the survival and management of threatened and endangered species. In this study, we analyzed genetic diversity and population genetic structure at neutral loci in American crocodiles, Crocodylus acutus, from several areas (Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, Parque Nacional Palo Verde, Rio Tarcoles, and Osa Conservation Area) in Pacific Costa Rica. We genotyped 184 individuals at nine microsatellite loci to describe the genetic diversity and conservation genetics between and among populations. No population was at Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (HWE) over all loci tested and a small to moderate amount of inbreeding was present. Populations along the Pacific coast had an average heterozygosity of 0.572 across all loci. All populations were significantly differentiated from each other with both FST and RST measures of population differentiation with a greater degree of molecular variance (81%) found within populations. Our results suggest C. acutus populations in Pacific Costa Rica were not panmictic with moderate levels of genetic diversity. An effective management plan that maintains the connectivity between clusters is critical to the success of C. acutus in Pacific Costa Rica.

Demersal fish assemblages on seamounts and other rugged features in the northeastern Caribbean

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers

Andrea M. Quattrini, Amanda W. J. Demopoulos, Randal Singer, Adela Roa-Varon, Jason D. Chaytor

Recent investigations of demersal fish communities in deep (>50 m) rugged habitats have considerably increased our knowledge of the factors that influence the assemblage structure of fishes across mesophotic to deep-sea depths. Although habitat types influence deepwater fish distribution, whether different rugged seafloor features provide functionally equivalent habitat for fishes is poorly understood. In the northeastern Caribbean, numerous rugged seafloor features (e.g., seamounts, banks, canyons) punctuate insular margins, and thus create a remarkable setting in which to examine demersal fish communities across various seafloor features. Also in this region, several water masses are vertically layered in the water column, creating strong stratification layers corresponding to specific abiotic conditions. In this study, we examined differences among fish assemblages across seafloor features (e.g., seamount, canyon, bank/ridge) and water masses at depths ranging from 98 to 4060 m in the northeastern Caribbean. We conducted 26 ROV dives across 18 sites, yielding 156 species; 42% of which had not been previously recorded from particular depths or localities in the region. While fewer species were observed at seamounts than at other habitats in the NE Caribbean, assemblage structure was similar among habitat features. Thus, similar to seamount studies in other regions, seamounts in the Anegada Passage do not harbor distinct communities from other rugged, topographic features. Species assemblages, however, differed among depths, with zonation generally corresponding to water mass boundaries in the region. High species turnover occurred at depths <1200 m, and is driven by changes in water mass characteristics including temperature (4.8-24.4 ºC) and dissolved oxygen (2.2-9.5 mg per l). Our study demonstrates the importance of water masses in shaping community structure of benthic fauna, while considerably adding to the knowledge of mesophotic and deep-sea fish biogeography.

Neonicotinoid insecticide removal by prairie strips in row-cropped watersheds with historical seed coating use

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment (241) 160-167

Michelle Hladik, Steven Bradbury, Lisa A. Schulte, Matthew Helmers, Christopher Witte, Dana W. Kolpin, Jessica D. Garrett, Mary Harris

Neonicotinoids are a widely used class of insecticides that are commonly applied as seed coatings for agricultural crops. Such neonicotinoid use may pose a risk to non-target insects, including pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests, and ecosystems. This study assessed neonicotinoid residues in groundwater, surface runoff water, soil, and native plants adjacent to corn and soybean crop fields with a history of being planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds from 2008-2013. Data from six sites with the same crop management history, three with and three without in-field prairie strips, were collected in 2015-2016, 2-3 years after neonicotinoid (clothianidin and imidacloprid) seed treatments were last used. Three of the six neonicotinoids analyzed were detected in at least one environmental matrix: the two applied as seed coatings on the fields (clothianidin and imidacloprid) and another widely used neonicotinoid (thiamethoxam). Sites with prairie strips generally had lower concentrations of neonicotinoids: groundwater and footslope soil neonicotinoid concentrations were significantly lower in the sites with prairie strips than those without; mean concentrations for groundwater were 11 and 20 ng/L (p = 0.048) and <1 and 6 ng/g (p = 0.0004) for soil, respectively. Surface runoff water concentrations were not significantly (p = 0.38) different for control sites (44 ng/L) or sites with prairie strips (140 ng/L). Consistent with the decreased inputs of neonicotinoids, concentrations tended to decrease over the sampling timeframe. Two sites recorded concentration increases, however, potentially due to disturbance of previous applications or influence from nearby fields where use of seed treatments continued. There were no detections (limit of detection: 1 ng/g) of neonicotinoids in the foliage or roots of plants comprising prairie strips, indicating a low likelihood of exposure to pollinators and other insects visiting these plants following the cessation of seed coating use. Offsite transport of neonicotinoids to aquatic systems through the groundwater and surface water were furthermore reduced with prairie strips. This study demonstrates the potential for prairie strips comprising 10% of an agricultural catchment to mitigate the non-target impacts of neonicotinoids.

Numerical modeling of the effects of Hurricane Sandy and potential future hurricanes on spatial patterns of salt marsh morphology in Jamaica Bay, New York City

Released March 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1016

Hongqing Wang, Qin Chen, Kelin Hu, Gregg A. Snedden, Ellen K. Hartig, Brady R. Couvillion, Cody L. Johnson, Philip M. Orton

The salt marshes of Jamaica Bay, managed by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Gateway National Recreation Area of the National Park Service, serve as a recreational outlet for New York City residents, mitigate flooding, and provide habitat for critical wildlife species. Hurricanes and extra-tropical storms have been recognized as one of the critical drivers of coastal wetland morphology due to their effects on hydrodynamics and sediment transport, deposition, and erosion processes. However, the magnitude and mechanisms of hurricane effects on sediment dynamics and associated coastal wetland morphology in the northeastern United States are poorly understood. In this study, the depth-averaged version of the Delft3D modeling suite, integrated with field measurements, was utilized to examine the effects of Hurricane Sandy and future potential hurricanes on salt marsh morphology in Jamaica Bay, New York City. Hurricane Sandy-induced wind, waves, storm surge, water circulation, sediment transport, deposition, and erosion were simulated by using the modeling system in which vegetation effects on flow resistance, surge reduction, wave attenuation, and sedimentation were also incorporated. Observed marsh elevation change and accretion from a rod surface elevation table and feldspar marker horizons and cesium-137- and lead-210-derived long-term accretion rates were used to calibrate and validate the wind-waves-surge-sediment transport-morphology coupled model.

The model results (storm surge, waves, and marsh deposition and erosion) agreed well with field measurements. The validated modeling system was then used to detect salt marsh morphological change due to Hurricane Sandy across the entire Jamaica Bay over the short-term (for example, 4 days and 1 year) and long-term (for example, 5 and 10 years). Because Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Irene (2011) were two large and destructive tropical cyclones which hit the northeast coast, the validated coupled model was run to predict the effects of Sandy-like and Irene-like hurricanes with different storm tracks and wind intensities on wetland morphology in Jamaica Bay. Model results indicate that, in Jamaica Bay salt marshes, the morphological changes (greater than 5 millimeters [mm] determined by the long-term marsh accretion rate) caused by Hurricane Sandy were complex and spatially heterogeneous. Most of the erosion (5–40 mm) and deposition (5–30 mm) were mainly characterized by fine sand for channels and bay bottoms and by mud for marsh areas. Hurricane Sandy-generated deposition and erosion were generated locally. The storm-induced net sediment input through Rockaway Inlet was only about 1 percent of the total amount of the sediment reworked by the hurricane. Salt marshes inside the western part of the bay showed erosion overall while marshes inside the eastern part showed deposition from Hurricane Sandy. Model results indicated that most of the marshes could recover from Hurricane Sandy-induced erosion after 1 year and demonstrated continued marsh accretion after the hurricane over the course of long simulation periods although the effect (accretion) was diminished. Local waves and currents generated by Hurricane Sandy appeared to play a critical role in sediment transport and associated wetland morphological change in Jamaica Bay. Hypothetical hurricanes, depending on their track and intensity, cause variable responses in spatial patterns of sediment deposition and erosion compared to simulations without the hurricane. In general, hurricanes passing west of the Jamaica Bay estuary appear to be more destructive to the salt marshes than those passing the east. Consequently, marshes inside the western part of the bay were likely to be more vulnerable to hurricanes than marshes inside the eastern part of the bay.

 

Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS)

Released March 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry (31) 475-484

Matthias Gehre, Julian Renpenning, Heike Geilmann, Haiping Qi, Tyler B. Coplen, Steffen Kümmel, Natalija Ivdra, Willi A. Brand, Arndt Schimmelmann

Rationale: Accurate hydrogen isotopic analysis of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organics has not been possible with traditional high-temperature conversion (HTC) because the formation of hydrogen-bearing reaction products other than molecular hydrogen (H2) is responsible for non-quantitative H2 yields and possible hydrogen isotopic fractionation. Our previously introduced, new chromium-based EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS (Elemental Analyzer–Chromium/High-Temperature Conversion Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry) technique focused primarily on nitrogen-bearing compounds. Several technical and analytical issues concerning halogen- and sulfur-bearing samples, however, remained unresolved and required further refinement of the reactor systems. Methods: The EA-Cr/HTC reactor was substantially modified for the conversion of halogen- and sulfur-bearing samples. The performance of the novel conversion setup for solid and liquid samples was monitored and optimized using a simultaneously operating dual-detection system of IRMS and ion trap MS. The method with several variants in the reactor, including the addition of manganese metal chips, was evaluated in three laboratories using EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS (on-line method) and compared with traditional uranium-reduction-based conversion combined with manual dual-inlet IRMS analysis (off-line method) in one laboratory. Results: The modified EA-Cr/HTC reactor setup showed an overall H2-recovery of more than 96% for all halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds. All results were successfully normalized via two-point calibration with VSMOW-SLAP reference waters. Precise and accurate hydrogen isotopic analysis was achieved for a variety of organics containing F-, Cl-, Br-, I-, and S-bearing heteroelements. The robust nature of the on-line EA-Cr/HTC technique was demonstrated by a series of 196 consecutive measurements with a single reactor filling. Conclusions: The optimized EA-Cr/HTC reactor design can be implemented in existing analytical equipment using commercially available material and is universally applicable for both heteroelement-bearing and heteroelement-free organic-compound classes. The sensitivity and simplicity of the on-line EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS technique provide a much needed tool for routine hydrogen-isotope source tracing of organic contaminants in the environment. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Hydrology and numerical simulation of groundwater flow and streamflow depletion by well withdrawals in the Malad-Lower Bear River Area, Box Elder County, Utah

Released March 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5011

Bernard J. Stolp, Lynette E. Brooks, John Solder

The Malad-Lower Bear River study area in Box Elder County, Utah, consists of a valley bounded by mountain ranges and is mostly agricultural or undeveloped. The Bear and Malad Rivers enter the study area with a combined average flow of about 1,100,000 acre-feet per year (acre-ft/yr), and this surface water dominates the hydrology. Groundwater occurs in consolidated rock and basin fill. Groundwater recharge occurs from precipitation in the mountains and moves through consolidated rock to the basin fill. Recharge occurs in the valley from irrigation. Groundwater discharge occurs to rivers, springs and diffuse seepage areas, evapotranspiration, field drains, and wells. Groundwater, including springs, is a source for municipal and domestic water supply. Although withdrawal from wells is a small component of the groundwater budget, there is concern that additional groundwater development will reduce the amount of flow in the Malad River. Historical records of surface-water diversions, land use, and groundwater levels indicate relatively stable hydrologic conditions from the 1960s to the 2010s, and that current groundwater development has had little effect on the groundwater system. Average annual recharge to and discharge from the groundwater flow system are estimated to be 164,000 and 228,000 acre-ft/yr, respectively. The imbalance between recharge and discharge represents uncertainties resulting from system complexities, and the possibility of groundwater inflow from surrounding basins.

This study reassesses the hydrologic system, refines the groundwater budget, and creates a numerical groundwater flow model that is used to analyze the effects of groundwater withdrawals on surface water. The model uses the detailed catalog of locations and amounts of groundwater recharge and discharge defined during this study. Calibrating the model to adequately simulate recharge, discharge, and groundwater levels results in simulated aquifer properties that can be used to understand the relation between pumping and the reduction in discharge to rivers, springs, natural vegetation, and field drains. Simulations run by the calibrated model were used to calculate the reduction of groundwater discharge to the Malad River (stream depletion) in response to a well withdrawal of 360 acre-ft/yr at any location within the study area. Modeling results show that streamflow depletion in the Malad River depends on both depth and location of groundwater withdrawal, and varies from less than 1 percent to 96 percent of the well withdrawal. The relation between simulated withdrawal and reductions in Malad River streamflow, Bear River streamflow, and spring discharge are shown on capture maps.


Geophysical logging and thermal imaging near the Hemphill Road TCE National Priorities List Superfund site near Gastonia, North Carolina

Released March 27, 2017 16:30 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1017

Dominick J. Antolino, Melinda J. Chapman

Borehole geophysical logs and thermal imaging data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey near the Hemphill Road TCE (trichloroethylene) National Priorities List Superfund site near Gastonia, North Carolina, during August 2014 through February 2015. In an effort to assist the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the development of a conceptual groundwater model for the assessment of current contaminant distribution and future migration of contaminants, surface geological mapping and borehole geophysical log and thermal imaging data collection, which included the delineation of more than 600 subsurface features (primarily fracture orientations), was completed in five open borehole wells and two private supply bedrock wells. In addition, areas of possible groundwater discharge within a nearby creek downgradient of the study site were determined based on temperature differences between the stream and bank seepage using thermal imagery.

Assessment of conventional oil resources of the East African Rift Province, East Africa, 2016

Released March 27, 2017 14:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3006

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean conventional resources of 13.4 billion barrels of oil and 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas in the East African Rift Province of east Africa.

Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources of the Maracaibo Basin Province of Venezuela and Colombia, 2016

Released March 27, 2017 14:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3011

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean continuous resources of 656 million barrels of oil and 5.7 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Maracaibo Basin Province, Venezuela and Colombia.

Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources of Solimões, Amazonas, and Parnaíba Basin Provinces, Brazil, 2016

Released March 27, 2017 14:15 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3009

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean continuous resources of 5 billion barrels of oil and 47 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Paleozoic Solimões, Amazonas, and Parnaíba Basin Provinces, Brazil.

 

Acute sensitivity of a broad range of freshwater mussels to chemicals with different modes of toxic action

Released March 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (36) 786-796

Ning Wang, Chris D. Ivey, Christopher G. Ingersoll, William G. Brumbaugh, David Alvarez, Edward J. Hammer, Candice R. Bauer, Tom Augspurger, Sandy Raimondo, M.Christopher Barnhart

Freshwater mussels, one of the most imperiled groups of animals in the world, are generally underrepresented in toxicity databases used for the development of ambient water quality criteria and other environmental guidance values. Acute 96-h toxicity tests were conducted to evaluate the sensitivity of 5 species of juvenile mussels from 2 families and 4 tribes to 10 chemicals (ammonia, metals, major ions, and organic compounds) and to screen 10 additional chemicals (mainly organic compounds) with a commonly tested mussel species, fatmucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea). In the multi-species study, median effect concentrations (EC50s) among the 5 species differed by a factor of ≤2 for chloride, potassium, sulfate, and zinc; a factor of ≤5 for ammonia, chromium, copper, and nickel; and factors of 6 and 12 for metolachlor and alachlor, respectively, indicating that mussels representing different families or tribes had similar sensitivity to most of the tested chemicals, regardless of modes of action. There was a strong linear relationship between EC50s for fatmucket and the other 4 mussel species across the 10 chemicals (r2 = 0.97, slope close to 1.0), indicating that fatmucket was similar to other mussel species; thus, this commonly tested species can be a good surrogate for protecting other mussels in acute exposures. The sensitivity of juvenile fatmucket among different populations or cultured from larvae of wild adults and captive-cultured adults was also similar in acute exposures to copper or chloride, indicating captive-cultured adult mussels can reliably be used to reproduce juveniles for toxicity testing. In compiled databases for all freshwater species, 1 or more mussel species were among the 4 most sensitive species for alachlor, ammonia, chloride, potassium, sulfate, copper, nickel, and zinc; therefore, the development of water quality criteria and other environmental guidance values for these chemicals should reflect the sensitivity of mussels. In contrast, the EC50s of fatmucket tested in the single-species study were in the high percentiles (>75th) of species sensitivity distributions for 6 of 7 organic chemicals, indicating mussels might be relatively insensitive to organic chemicals in acute exposures.

The effect of lithology on valley width, terrace distribution, and coarse sediment provenance in a tectonically stable catchment with flat-lying stratigraphy

Released March 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Amanda Keen-Zebert, Mark R. Hudson, Stephanie L. Shepherd, Evan A. Thaler

How rock resistance or erodibility affects fluvial landforms and processes is an outstanding question in geomorphology that has recently garnered attention owing to the recognition that the erosion rates of bedrock channels largely set the pace of landscape evolution. In this work, we evaluate valley width, terrace distribution, and sediment provenance in terms of reach scale variation in lithology in the study reach and discuss the implications for landscape evolution in a catchment with relatively flat2 lying stratigraphy and very little uplift. A reach of the 21 Buffalo National River in Arkansas was partitioned into lithologic reaches and the mechanical and chemical resistance of the main lithologies making up the catchment was measured. Valley width and the spatial distribution of terraces were compared among the different lithologic reaches. The surface grain size and provenance of coarse (2-90 mm) sediment of both modern gravel bars and older terrace deposits were measured and defined. The results demonstrate a strong impact of lithology upon valley width, terrace distribution, and coarse sediment provenance and therefore, upon landscape evolution processes. Channel down-cutting through different lithologies creates variable patterns of resistance across catchments and continents. Particularly in post-tectonic and nontectonic landscapes, the variation in resistance that arises from the exhumation of different rocks in channel longitudinal profiles can impact local base levels, initiating responses that can be propagated through channel networks. The rate at which that response is transmitted through channels is potentially amplified and/or mitigated by differences between the resistance of channel beds and sediment loads. In the study 36 reach, variation in lithologic resistance influences the prevalence of lateral and vertical 37 processes, thus producing a spatial pattern of terraces that reflects rock type rather than 38 climate, regional base level change, or hydrologic variability.

Integrating puffing and explosions in a general scheme for Strombolian-style activity

Released March 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth (122) 1860-1875

Damien Gaudin, Jacopo Taddeucci, Piergiorgio Scarlato, Elisabetta del Bello, Tullio Ricci, Tim Orr, Bruce Houghton, Andrew J. L. Harris, Sandro Rao, Augusto Bucci

Strombolian eruptions are among the most common subaerial styles of explosive volcanism worldwide. Distinctive features of each volcano lead to a correspondingly wide range of variations of magnitude and erupted products, but most papers focus on a single type of event at a single volcano. Here, in order to emphasize the common features underlying this diversity of styles, we scrutinize a database from 35 different erupting vents, including 21 thermal infrared videos from Stromboli (Italy), Etna (Italy), Yasur (Vanuatu), and Batu Tara (Indonesia), from puffing, through rapid explosions to normal explosions, with variable ejection parameters and relative abundance of gas, ash, and bombs. Using field observations and high-speed thermal infrared videos processed by a new algorithm, we identify the distinguishing characteristics of each type of activity and how they may relate and interact. In particular, we record that ash-poor normal explosions may be preceded and followed by the onset or the increase of the puffing activity, while ash-rich explosions are emergent, i.e., with inflation of the free surface followed directly by emission of increasingly large gas pockets. Overall, we see that all Strombolian activities form a continuum arising from a common mechanism and are modulated by the combination of two well-established controls: (1) the length of the bursting gas pocket with respect to the vent diameter and (2) the presence and thickness of a high-viscosity layer in the uppermost part of the volcanic conduit.

Kansas Water Science Center bookmark

Released March 27, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, General Information Product 173

U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey Kansas Water Science Center has collected and interpreted hydrologic information in Kansas since 1895. Data collected include streamflow and gage height, reservoir content, water quality and water quantity, suspended sediment, and groundwater levels. Interpretative hydrologic studies are completed on national, regional, statewide, and local levels and cooperatively funded through more than 40 partnerships with these agencies. The U.S. Geological Survey provides impartial scientific information to describe and understand the health of our ecosystems and environment; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. These collected data are in the National Water Information System https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ks/nwis/rt, and all results are documented in reports that also are online at https://ks.water.usgs.gov/. Follow the USGS Kansas Water Science Center on Twitter for the most recent updates and other information: https://twitter.com/USGS_KS.

Bathymetry data collected in October 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach, shoreface, and bay

Released March 24, 2017 17:30 EST

2017, Data Series 1034

Timothy R. Nelson, Jennifer L. Miselis, Cheryl J. Hapke, Owen T. Brenner, Rachel E. Henderson, Billy J. Reynolds, Kathleen E. Wilson

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, conducted a bathymetric survey of Fire Island, New York, from October 5 to 10, 2014. The U.S. Geological Survey is involved in a post-Hurricane Sandy effort to map and monitor the morphologic evolution of the wilderness breach, which formed in October 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, as part of the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Project GS2-2B. During this study, bathymetry data were collected, using single-beam echo sounders and global positioning systems mounted to personal watercraft, along the Fire Island shoreface and within the wilderness breach, Fire Island Inlet, Narrow Bay, and Great South Bay east of Nicoll Bay. Additional bathymetry and elevation data were collected using backpack and wheel-mounted global positioning systems along the subaerial beach (foreshore and backshore), flood shoals, and shallow channels within the wilderness breach and adjacent shoreface.

Modeling nonbreeding distributions of shorebirds and waterfowl in response to climate change

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecology and Evolution (7) 1497-1513

Gordon Reese, Susan Skagen

To identify areas on the landscape that may contribute to a robust network of conservation areas, we modeled the probabilities of occurrence of several en route migratory shorebirds and wintering waterfowl in the southern Great Plains of North America, including responses to changing climate. We predominantly used data from the eBird citizen-science project to model probabilities of occurrence relative to land-use patterns, spatial distribution of wetlands, and climate. We projected models to potential future climate conditions using five representative general circulation models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5). We used Random Forests to model probabilities of occurrence and compared the time periods 1981–2010 (hindcast) and 2041–2070 (forecast) in “model space.” Projected changes in shorebird probabilities of occurrence varied with species-specific general distribution pattern, migration distance, and spatial extent. Species using the western and northern portion of the study area exhibited the greatest likelihoods of decline, whereas species with more easterly occurrences, mostly long-distance migrants, had the greatest projected increases in probability of occurrence. At an ecoregional extent, differences in probabilities of shorebird occurrence ranged from −0.015 to 0.045 when averaged across climate models, with the largest increases occurring early in migration. Spatial shifts are predicted for several shorebird species. Probabilities of occurrence of wintering Mallards and Northern Pintail are predicted to increase by 0.046 and 0.061, respectively, with northward shifts projected for both species. When incorporated into partner land management decision tools, results at ecoregional extents can be used to identify wetland complexes with the greatest potential to support birds in the nonbreeding season under a wide range of future climate scenarios.

Assessment of a strain 19 brucellosis vaccination program in elk

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wildlife Society Bulletin (41) 70-79

Eric J. Maichak, Brandon M. Scurlock, Paul C. Cross, Jared D. Rogerson, William H. Edwards, Benjamin Wise, Scott G. Smith, Terry J. Kreeger

Zoonotic diseases in wildlife present substantial challenges and risks to host populations, susceptible domestic livestock populations, and affected stakeholders. Brucellosis, a disease caused by the bacterium Brucella abortus, is endemic among elk (Cervus canadensis) attending winter feedgrounds and adjacent areas of western Wyoming, USA. To minimize transmission of brucellosis from elk to elk and elk to livestock, managers initiated a B. abortus strain 19 ballistic vaccination program in 1985. We used brucellosis prevalence (1971–2015) and reproductive outcome (2006–2015) data collected from female elk attending feedgrounds to assess efficacy of the strain 19 program while controlling for potentially confounding factors such as site and age. From our generalized linear models, we found that seroprevalence of brucellosis was 1) not lower following inception of vaccination; 2) not inversely associated with proportion of juveniles vaccinated over time; 3) not inversely associated with additional yearlings and adults vaccinated over time; and 4) associated more with feeding end-date than proportion of juveniles vaccinated. Using vaginal implant transmitters in adult females that were seropositive for brucellosis, we found little effect of vaccination coverage at reducing reproductive failures (i.e., abortion or stillbirth). Because we found limited support for efficacy of the strain 19 program, we support research to develop an oral vaccine and suggest that continuing other spatio-temporal management actions will be most effective to minimize transmission of brucellosis and reduce dependency of elk on supplemental winter feeding.

Range expansion by Passer montanus in North America

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Invasions (19) 5-9

J.L. Burnett, C.P. Roberts, Craig R. Allen, M.B. Brown, M.P. Moulton

Passer montanus became established in a small area of central North America following its introduction in 1870. P. montanus underwent minimal range expansion in the first 100 years following introduction. However, the North American population of P. montanus is now growing in size and expanding in geographic distribution, having expanded approximately 125 km to the north by 1970. We quantify the distance of spread by P. montanus from its introduction site in the greater St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois, USA area, using distributional (presence) data from the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count surveys for the period of 1951 to 2014. Linear regressions of the average annual range center of P. montanus confirmed significant shifts to the north at a rate of 3.3 km/year (P < 0.001) km/year. Linear regressions of the linear and angular distance of range center indicates significant northern movement (change in angle of mean range center; P < 0.001) since 1951. Our results quantify the extent of a northward range expansion, and suggesting a probable spread of this species northward.

Flood effects provide evidence of an alternate stable state from dam management on the Upper Missouri River

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, River Research and Applications

Katherine Skalak, Adam J. Benthem, Cliff R. Hupp, Edward R. Schenk, Joel M. Galloway, Rochelle A. Nustad

We examine how historic flooding in 2011 affected the geomorphic adjustments created by dam regulation along the approximately 120 km free flowing reach of the Upper Missouri River bounded upstream by the Garrison Dam (1953) and downstream by Lake Oahe Reservoir (1959) near the City of Bismarck, ND, USA. The largest flood since dam regulation occurred in 2011. Flood releases from the Garrison Dam began in May 2011 and lasted until October, peaking with a flow of more than 4200 m3 s−1. Channel cross-section data and aerial imagery before and after the flood were compared with historic rates of channel change to assess the relative impact of the flood on the river morphology. Results indicate that the 2011 flood maintained trends in island area with the loss of islands in the reach just below the dam and an increase in island area downstream. Channel capacity changes varied along the Garrison Segment as a result of the flood. The thalweg, which has been stable since the mid-1970s, did not migrate. And channel morphology, as defined by a newly developed shoaling metric, which quantifies the degree of channel braiding, indicates significant longitudinal variability in response to the flood. These results show that the 2011 flood exacerbates some geomorphic trends caused by the dam while reversing others. We conclude that the presence of dams has created an alternate geomorphic and related ecological stable state, which does not revert towards pre-dam conditions in response to the flood of record. This suggests that management of sediment transport dynamics as well as flow modification is necessary to restore the Garrison Segment of the Upper Missouri River towards pre-dam conditions and help create or maintain habitat for endangered species. Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Effects of impervious area and BMP implementation and design on storm runoff and water quality in eight small watersheds

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of the American Water Resources Association (53) 382-399

Brent T. Aulenbach, Mark N. Landers, Jonathan W. Musser, Jaime A. Painter

The effects of increases in effective impervious area (EIA) and the implementation of water quality protection designed detention pond best management practices (BMPs) on storm runoff and stormwater quality were assessed in Gwinnett County, Georgia, for the period 2001-2008. Trends among eight small watersheds were compared, using a time trend study design. Significant trends were detected in three storm hydrologic metrics and in five water quality constituents that were adjusted for variability in storm characteristics and climate. Trends in EIA ranged from 0.10 to 1.35, and changes in EIA treated by BMPs ranged from 0.19 to 1.32; both expressed in units of percentage of drainage area per year. Trend relations indicated that for every 1% increase in watershed EIA, about 2.6, 1.1, and 1.5% increases in EIA treated by BMPs would be required to counteract the effects of EIA added to the watersheds on peak streamflow, stormwater yield, and storm streamflow runoff, respectively. Relations between trends in EIA, BMP implementation, and water quality were counterintuitive. This may be the result of (1) changes in constituent inputs in the watersheds, especially downstream of areas treated by BMPs; (2) BMPs may have increased the duration of stormflow that results in downstream channel erosion; and/or (3) spurious relationships between increases in EIA, BMP implementation, and constituent inputs with development rates.

County-level estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus from animal manure for the conterminous United States, 2007 and 2012

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1021

JoAnn M. Gronberg, Terri L. Arnold

County-level estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from animal manure for the conterminous United States were calculated from animal population inventories in the 2007 and 2012 Census of Agriculture, using previously published methods. These estimates of non-point nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from animal manure were compiled in support of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Project of the National WaterQuality Program and are needed to support national-scale investigations of stream and groundwater water quality. The estimates published in this report are comparable with older estimates which can be compared to show changes in nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from manure over time.

Use of multiple age tracers to estimate groundwater residence times and long-term recharge rates in arid southern Oman

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Applied Geochemistry (74) 67-83

Th. Müller, K. Osenbrück, G. Strauch, S. Pavetich, K.-S. Al-Mashaikhi, C. Herb, S. Merchel, G. Rugel, W. Aeschbach, Ward E. Sanford

Multiple age tracers were measured to estimate groundwater residence times in the regional aquifer system underlying southwestern Oman. This area, known as the Najd, is one of the most arid areas in the world and is planned to be the main agricultural center of the Sultanate of Oman in the near future. The three isotopic age tracers 4He, 14C and 36Cl were measured in waters collected from wells along a line that extended roughly from the Dhofar Mountains near the Arabian Sea northward 400 km into the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula. The wells sampled were mostly open to the Umm Er Radhuma confined aquifer, although, some were completed in the mostly unconfined Rus aquifer. The combined results from the three tracers indicate the age of the confined groundwater is < 40 ka in the recharge area in the Dhofar Mountains, > 100 ka in the central section north of the mountains, and up to and > one Ma in the Empty Quarter. The 14C data were used to help calibrate the 4He and 36Cl data. Mixing models suggest that long open boreholes north of the mountains compromise 14C-only interpretations there, in contrast to 4He and 36Cl calculations that are less sensitive to borehole mixing. Thus, only the latter two tracers from these more distant wells were considered reliable. In addition to the age tracers, δ2H and δ18O data suggest that seasonal monsoon and infrequent tropical cyclones are both substantial contributors to the recharge. The study highlights the advantages of using multiple chemical and isotopic data when estimating groundwater travel times and recharge rates, and differentiating recharge mechanisms.

Downstream passage and impact of turbine shutdowns on survival of silver American Eels at five hydroelectric dams on the Shenandoah River

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (145) 964-976

Sheila Eyler, Stuart Welsh, David Smith, Mary Rockey

Hydroelectric dams impact the downstream migrations of silver American Eels Anguilla rostrata via migratory delays and turbine mortality. A radiotelemetry study of American Eels was conducted to determine the impacts of five run-of-the-river hydroelectric dams located over a 195-km stretch of the Shenandoah River, Virginia–West Virginia, during fall 2007–summer 2010. Overall, 96 radio-tagged individuals (mean TL = 85.4 cm) migrated downstream past at least one dam during the study. Most American Eels passed dams relatively quickly; over half (57.9%) of the dam passage events occurred within 1 h of reaching a dam, and most (81.3%) occurred within 24 h of reaching the dam. Two-thirds of the dam passage events occurred via spill, and the remaining passage events were through turbines. Migratory delays at dams were shorter and American Eels were more likely to pass via spill over the dam during periods of high river discharge than during low river discharge. The extent of delay in migration did not differ between the passage routes (spill versus turbine). Twenty-eight American Eels suffered turbine-related mortality, which occurred at all five dams. Mortality rates for eels passing through turbines ranged from 15.8% to 40.7% at individual dams. Overall project-specific mortality rates (with all passage routes combined) ranged from 3.0% to 14.3%. To protect downstream-migrating American Eels, nighttime turbine shutdowns (1800–0600 hours) were implemented during September 15–December 15. Fifty percent of all downstream passage events in the study occurred during the turbine shutdown period. Implementation of the seasonal turbine shutdown period reduced cumulative mortality from 63.3% to 37.3% for American Eels passing all five dams. Modifying the turbine shutdown period to encompass more dates in the spring and linking the shutdowns to environmental conditions could provide greater protection to downstream-migrating American Eels.

A comparison of observed and predicted ground motions from the 2015 MW7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake

Released March 24, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Natural Hazards (84) 1661-1684

Susan E. Hough, Stacey S. Martin, V. Gahalaut, A. Joshi, M. Landes, R. Bossu

We use 21 strong motion recordings from Nepal and India for the 25 April 2015 moment magnitude (MW) 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake together with the extensive macroseismic intensity data set presented by Martin et al. (Seism Res Lett 87:957–962, 2015) to analyse the distribution of ground motions at near-field and regional distances. We show that the data are consistent with the instrumental peak ground acceleration (PGA) versus macroseismic intensity relationship developed by Worden et al. (Bull Seism Soc Am 102:204–221, 2012), and use this relationship to estimate peak ground acceleration from intensities (PGAEMS). For nearest-fault distances (RRUP < 200 km), PGAEMS is consistent with the Atkinson and Boore (Bull Seism Soc Am 93:1703–1729, 2003) subduction zone ground motion prediction equation (GMPE). At greater distances (RRUP > 200 km), instrumental PGA values are consistent with this GMPE, while PGAEMS is systematically higher. We suggest the latter reflects a duration effect whereby effects of weak shaking are enhanced by long-duration and/or long-period ground motions from a large event at regional distances. We use PGAEMS values within 200 km to investigate the variability of high-frequency ground motions using the Atkinson and Boore (Bull Seism Soc Am 93:1703–1729, 2003) GMPE as a baseline. Across the near-field region, PGAEMS is higher by a factor of 2.0–2.5 towards the northern, down-dip edge of the rupture compared to the near-field region nearer to the southern, up-dip edge of the rupture. Inferred deamplification in the deepest part of the Kathmandu valley supports the conclusion that former lake-bed sediments experienced a pervasive nonlinear response during the mainshock (Dixit et al. in Seismol Res Lett 86(6):1533–1539, 2015; Rajaure et al. in Tectonophysics, 2016. Ground motions were significantly amplified in the southern Gangetic basin, but were relatively low in the northern basin. The overall distribution of ground motions and damage during the Gorkha earthquake thus reflects a combination of complex source, path, and site effects. We also present a macroseismic intensity data set and analysis of ground motions for the MW7.3 Dolakha aftershock on 12 May 2015, which we compare to the Gorkha mainshock and conclude was likely a high stress-drop event.