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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Groundwater quality and age of secondary bedrock aquifers in the glaciated portion of eastern Nebraska, 2016–18

Released August 04, 2021 08:23 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5055

Christopher M. Hobza, Amanda T. Flynn

The Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA) project was initiated in 2006 to assist water managers by developing a hydrogeologic framework and water budget for the glaciated portion of eastern Nebraska. Within the ENWRA area, the primary groundwater sources for municipal, domestic, and irrigation water needs are provided by withdrawals from alluvial, buried paleovalley, and the High Plains aquifer (where present). Generally, other bedrock aquifers are considered a secondary water source. However, in some areas, such as parts of Sarpy and Nemaha Counties, these secondary bedrock aquifers are the only source of water within glaciated upland areas. To improve the understanding of the quality, geochemistry, and age of groundwater from bedrock aquifers, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the ENWRA group, which includes the Lewis and Clark, Lower Elkhorn, Lower Platte North, Lower Platte South, Nemaha, and Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources Districts, designed a study to sample 31 wells completed in the secondary bedrock aquifers and analyze samples for major ions, physical properties, nutrients, stable isotopes, and selected age tracers. Of the 31 samples collected for this report, 22 samples were collected from the Dakota aquifer contained in the Dakota Sandstone, 3 from the Niobrara aquifer contained in the Niobrara Formation of Colorado Group, and 6 from Paleozoic aquifers contained in undifferentiated Paleozoic-age units.

The results of this study indicate that major ion data collected from the Dakota aquifer can be used for assessing the quality, recharge source, and age of groundwater. Calcium bicarbonate dominant samples were characterized as modern or mixed, indicating that, in these areas, groundwater is unconfined and is recharged by precipitation and (or) surface water. If groundwater extraction rates exceed recharge rates, total dissolved solid concentrations may increase as a result of upwelling of groundwater from deeper units or formations, which can adversely affect groundwater quality. Sampling results presented in this report indicate water quality is good, but that groundwater in the Dakota aquifer with calcium bicarbonate water type may be vulnerable to surface contamination. In contrast, groundwater sampled from the Dakota aquifer, having a dominant water type other than calcium bicarbonate, generally has low dissolved oxygen and nitrate concentrations, and higher concentrations of total dissolved solids and trace elements, including iron and strontium. The geochemical characteristics of noncalcium bicarbonate samples from the Dakota aquifer indicated confining conditions and limited groundwater recharge from local precipitation. Apparent groundwater ages estimated from radiocarbon (carbon-14) sampling of noncalcium bicarbonate samples from the Dakota aquifer indicated that the time of groundwater recharge to the Dakota aquifer occurred during Pleistocene time. Depleted stable isotopes results indicate recharge during a colder climate. Groundwater under confined conditions is not easily recharged from precipitation or surface water. Future groundwater-level monitoring in locations where the Dakota aquifer appears to be confined could provide information to evaluate whether groundwater supplies remain sufficient to meet future municipal, domestic, and irrigation needs.

For the Niobrara aquifer and Paleozoic aquifers, the dominant water type was not a diagnostic indicator of recharge source, age, and groundwater quality as with the Dakota aquifer. Most likely this is because the host formation was dominated by calcium-carbonate-rich rocks; however, few samples were collected from these aquifers to be able to confirm this interpretation. Samples collected from wells completed in the Niobrara aquifer and Paleozoic aquifers and characterized as calcium sulfate water type have statistically significantly higher concentrations of total dissolved solids compared to other samples from the Niobrara aquifer and Paleozoic aquifers characterized as calcium bicarbonate. Given that six of the nine of samples collected from the Niobrara and Paleozoic aquifers indicated modern recharge, these secondary bedrock aquifers are reliant on precipitation to sustain groundwater levels and may be vulnerable to a multiyear drought. Well yields of the Niobrara and Paleozoic aquifers are dependent on the presence of secondary porosity and these units offer little storage. Samples collected from wells completed in Paleozoic aquifers were the most isotopically enriched and similar to modern precipitation and had the highest concentrations of nitrate, indicating that groundwater is affected by agricultural activities. Future groundwater sampling would be beneficial to characterize groundwater-quality changes within the Niobrara and Paleozoic aquifers over time.

Vermont and Landsat

Released August 03, 2021 16:00 EST

2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3038

U.S. Geological Survey

The Green Mountain State of Vermont is known for its vast swaths of deciduous forest, patches of evergreen, and the Green Mountains that run through its center.

Valuable insight into the forests and landscape features of Vermont can be gleaned from the nearly 50-year historical record of Landsat satellite imagery. The archive is accessible at no cost to researchers, land managers, and the public thanks the open data policy of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Imaging Program.

Groundwater assessment for petroleum hydrocarbon compounds associated with Fuels Area C, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, 2014–18

Released August 02, 2021 12:17 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5060

David A. Bender, Joel M. Galloway, Colton J. Medler

In 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study in cooperation with the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Air Force to estimate groundwater-flow direction, install groundwater monitoring wells, and collect soil and groundwater samples for petroleum hydrocarbon compounds to identify the presence of hydrocarbon contamination at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, specifically around Fuels Area C. Several fuel spills of diesel fuel, jet fuel, and other petroleum products were documented on or near Fuels Area C and several studies have been done to determine the extent of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in the subsurface.

Two-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography surveys were completed at Fuels Area C in 2014 to characterize subsurface materials and determine the depth to bedrock along survey lines. The depth to the top of the Pierre Shale from land surface along the four electrical resistivity tomography survey lines in Fuels area C ranged from about 5.4 to 8.7 meters. Resistivity lines and lithologic logs in wells in the area indicated mostly clay material with minor occurrences of sand and gravel.

Discrete groundwater levels were collected between November 2014 and June 2018 at 14 monitoring wells for use in generating a potentiometric surface in the study area around Fuels Area C. The potentiometric contours indicated that groundwater flow was from the west to east or southwest to southeast around Fuels Area C.

Soil and groundwater samples were collected at selected locations from 2014 to 2018 to better understand the presence and movement of petroleum hydrocarbons in the study area around Fuels Area C. Soil samples were collected at eight wells during installation in 2014 and three wells during installation in 2016. Groundwater samples were collected from 14 wells and a recovery sump around Fuels Area C from 2014 to 2018.

Several petroleum hydrocarbon compounds were detected, but below action levels, in soil samples collected in 2014 and 2016. Benzene and toluene were not detected in any of the soil samples from the 11 monitoring well sites. Ethylbenzene and total xylenes were detected at sites 1 and 7. Naphthalene was detected in samples from five sites (sites 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9), but concentrations were less than the Tier 1 action level of 25 milligrams per kilogram.

Gasoline-range organic compounds were detected in all soil samples collected during the installation of 11 groundwater monitoring wells within or near Fuels Area C in 2014 and 2016. Diesel-range organic compounds were detected in 9 out of the 11 soil samples collected at the 11 monitoring wells. Gasoline-range organic compound concentrations exceeded the Tier 2 assessment level for total petroleum hydrocarbons in soil samples from site 1 (5,200 milligrams per kilogram), site 5 (580 milligrams per kilogram), and site 9 (1,800 milligrams per kilogram); the remaining sites had concentrations below the Tier 2 assessment level for total petroleum hydrocarbons. The highest concentrations of diesel-range organic compounds in soil samples were from site 1 (3,600 milligrams per kilogram), site 5 (440 milligrams per kilogram), and site 14 (330 milligrams per kilogram), and only the sample from site 1 exceeded the Tier 2 assessment level for total petroleum hydrocarbons.

Petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations were measured in samples collected from 14 groundwater monitoring wells and 1 recovery sump between 2014 and 2018 in the study area around Fuels Area C. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) compounds were detected in at least one sample collected from 10 of the 15 sites sampled in the study area from 2014 to 2018. Samples from monitoring well sites 2, 3, 6, 8, and 9 did not have any quantifiable concentrations of BTEX compounds. Multiple BTEX compounds were detected consistently in samples collected from sites 10 and 11. Few BTEX compounds were detected at sites outside of and downgradient from Fuels Area C (sites 12–14). Naphthalene was detected in 8 of the 15 sites sampled in the study area in 2014–18. Measurable concentrations of naphthalene generally were less than 5 micrograms per liter in wells sampled in the study area in 2014–18 except for samples collected at sites 5, 7, and 11.

The variability of the presence of BTEX compounds and naphthalene in wells sampled in the study area during 2014–18 likely is caused by the variability in the subsurface material, local groundwater flow, operational fueling activities, and historical spills and releases in the area. The spatial and temporal variability in the BTEX compounds and naphthalene concentrations from samples collected from 2014 to 2018 do not indicate a consistent pattern of subsurface flow or contaminate movement that would be expected if a contaminant plume migrated with the flow and movement of groundwater.

Gasoline-range organic and diesel-range organic compounds were detected in most of the groundwater samples collected in the study area around Fuels Area C in 2014–18; however, concentrations were often less than the laboratory reporting level. Median gasoline-range organic compound concentrations were greater than the laboratory reporting level at sites 1, 5, 9, 10, and 11. The highest concentrations of gasoline-range organic and diesel-range organic compounds generally were observed in samples collected from sites 10 and 11. Gasoline-range organic compound concentrations ranged from 1,500 to 9,700 micrograms per liter at site 10 and from less than 100 to 13,000 micrograms per liter at site 11. Diesel-range organic compound concentrations ranged from 9,600 to 55,000 micrograms per liter at site 10 and from 560 to 7,300 micrograms per liter at site 11.

Forest area to support landbird population goals for the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Released August 02, 2021 10:40 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2020-1097

Daniel J. Twedt, Anne Mini

Historically, the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) (Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Region #26) was predominantly bottomland hardwood forest, but natural vegetation has been cleared from about 80 percent of this ecoregion and converted primarily to agriculture. Because most bird species that are of conservation concern in this region are dependent on forested wetlands, bottomland hardwood forest is the habitat of greatest conservation concern in the MAV. Past conservation planning for forest-dwelling birds in this region has focused on habitat objectives with presumptions regarding bird population goals being met through habitat provision. To better define population objectives, we estimated current populations of silvicolous birds on the basis of detections during 10 years of North American Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS). For each species, we used their estimated population and historical (1966–2015) change in their relative abundance, as assessed from BBS data, to establish regional population goals. We used the variance associated with historical BBS trends to estimate the minimum forest area required to sustain greater than or equal to (≥) 25 breeding pairs, which we combined with predicted probability of occupancy to identify sustainable forested habitat. For 54 species, we used published empirical density estimates, as affected by forest management, to estimate the proportion of the population objective that could be provisioned within sustainable forest patches. The area of presumed population-sustaining habitat, under existing forest management, was sufficient to support the species’ population objective for 23 species. We estimated that the target populations of seven additional species (Black-and-white Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Cerulean Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting, Wood Thrush, and Yellow-breasted Chat) could be supported by current forest area through widespread changes in forest management. Target populations of seven other species (American Robin, Barred Owl, Boat-tailed Grackle, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Mississippi Kite, and Red-headed Woodpecker) were accommodated within the MAV when populations in both forest and nonforest habitats are considered. For the remaining 20 species, we estimated the population increase needed to achieve their population goals. For these species, we estimated the additional area of forest restoration required to achieve their population goal within sustainable forest patches or, alternatively, the additional area of occupied habitat required to support their population goal within both forest and nonforest habitat. An additional 700,000 hectares of sustainable forest habitat may be enough to attain the forest-dependent population goals for most bird species within the MAV.

Geologic and geophysical maps of the Santa Maria and part of the Point Conception 30'×60' quadrangles, California

Released August 02, 2021 09:30 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Map 3472

Donald S. Sweetkind, Victoria E. Langenheim, Kristin McDougall-Reid, Christopher C. Sorlien, Shiera C. Demas, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Samuel Y. Johnson

This report presents digital geologic, gravity, and aeromagnetic maps for the onshore parts of the Santa Maria and Point Conception 30'x60' quadrangles at a compilation scale of 1:100,000. The map depicts the distribution of bedrock units, surficial deposits, paleontological data, geophysical data and structural features in the Santa Maria basin and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the south, an area corresponding to 26 contiguous 7.5-minute quadrangles. The map also includes offshore faults from the Hosgri fault, a major structural feature, east to the shoreline. This new map revises and supersedes two earlier versions of the 30'x60' Santa Maria quadrangle that were produced as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s investigations of onshore oil and gas resources of the Santa Maria province (Keller, 1995). The first map was released as a scanned black-and-white image of hand-drawn compilation (Tennyson, 1992); the second map was a digital release that is no longer available (Tennyson and others, 1995). This new map also includes the geology of the onshore part of the adjacent Point Conception 30'x60' quadrangle that encompasses the Santa Ynez Mountains of the western Transverse Ranges. The digital database also contains magnetic and gravity data for the entire region, paleontological data, and interpretation of major offshore structural features that bear on the continuity and connection of the mapped onshore structures.

Coastal wetland shoreline change monitoring: A comparison of shorelines from high-resolution WorldView satellite imagery, aerial imagery, and field surveys

Released August 02, 2021 07:27 EST

2021, Remote Sensing (13)

Kathryn Smith, Joseph Terrano, Jonathan L Pitchford, Michael Archer

Shoreline change analysis is an important environmental monitoring tool for evaluating coastal exposure to erosion hazards, particularly for vulnerable habitats such as coastal wetlands where habitat loss is problematic world-wide. The increasing availability of high-resolution satellite imagery and emerging developments in analysis techniques support the implementation of these data into shoreline monitoring. Geospatial shoreline data created from a semi-automated methodology using WorldView (WV) satellite data between 2013 and 2020 were compared to contemporaneous field-surveyed Global Position System (GPS) data. WV-derived shorelines were found to have a mean difference of 2 ± 0.08 m of GPS data, but accuracy decreased at high-wave energy shorelines that were unvegetated, bordered by sandy beach or semi-submergent sand bars. Shoreline change rates calculated from WV imagery were comparable to those calculated from GPS surveys and geospatial data derived from aerial remote sensing but tended to overestimate shoreline erosion at highly erosive locations (greater than 2 m yr−1). High-resolution satellite imagery can increase the spatial scale-range of shoreline change monitoring, provide rapid response to estimate impacts of coastal erosion, and reduce cost of labor-intensive practices.

Colored shaded-relief bathymetry, acoustic backscatter, and selected perspective views of the northern part of the California Continental Borderland, southern California

Released July 30, 2021 10:12 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Map 3473

Peter Dartnell, Emily C. Roland, Nicole A. Raineault, Christopher M. Castillo, James E. Conrad, Renato Kane, Daniel S. Brothers, Jared Kluesner, Maureen A. L. Walton

The California Continental Borderland is the complex continental margin in southern California that extends from Point Conception southward into northern Baja California (Fisher and others, 2009). This colored shaded-relief bathymetry map of the northern continental borderland in southern California was generated primarily from multibeam-echosounder data collected by the University of Washington in 2016, the Ocean Exploration Trust-Nautilus Exploration Program in 2015–17, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2017. These datasets were processed in part by the U.S. Geological Survey. Additional smaller amounts of publicly available multibeam-bathymetry data collected by other federal and local agencies, academic institutions, and private firms were also incorporated into this map. Since the production of this map, other multibeam-bathymetry data have been collected in this region.

Why study geysers?

Released July 30, 2021 07:56 EST

2021, Eos, American Geophysical Union (102)

Shaul Hurwitz, Michael Manga, Kathleen Campbell, Carolina Munoz-Saez, Eva Eibl

Scientific research for more than two centuries has improved our understanding of Earth’s geysers. This knowledge provides insights into volcanic processes, the origin and environmental limits of life on Earth and potentially Mars, and on geysers on icy outer solar system satellites. Continued scientific research will help us understand and protect these natural wonders that attract millions of tourists annually.

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2020 research abstracts

Released July 29, 2021 17:00 EST

2021, Circular 1477

John D. Thompson, Patrick G.R. Jodice, Donald E. Dennerline, Dawn E. Childs, editor(s)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves as the research arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior and has established a series of strategic goals that focus its efforts on serving the American people. Within the USGS, the Ecosystems Mission Area is responsible for conducting and sponsoring research that addresses the following thematic objectives under the overarching strategic goal of “Science that Supports Our Resources in Wild and Urban Spaces, and the Landscapes In-Between”:

  • Science supporting a legacy of sustainable fish and wildlife,
  • Social science and human components in land, water, and wildlife conservation,
  • Trusted science supporting hard decisions on at-risk species,
  • Science to battle costly biological threats,
  • Providing science for managing risks and responding to extreme events,
  • Science for preservation and restoration of iconic landscapes, and
  • Science to support adaptation and address impacts of climate and land change.

This report provides abstracts of most of the ongoing and recently completed research investigations of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program. The report is organized by the following major science themes that contribute to the objectives of the USGS:

  • Advanced Technologies
  • Climate Science
  • Decision Science
  • Ecological Flows
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Energy
  • Fish and Wildlife Health and Disease
  • Human Dimensions
  • Invasive Species
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Species and Habitat Management
  • Species of Greatest Conservation Need
  • Threatened and Endangered Species

Past abrupt changes, tipping points and cascading impacts in the Earth system

Released July 29, 2021 08:30 EST

2021, Nature Geoscience

V. Brovkin, Edward J. Brook, J. Williams, S. Bathiany, T. Lenton, M. Barton, R. DeConto, J. Donges, A. Ganopolski, J. McManus, Summer K. Praetorius, A. de Vernal, A. Abe-Ouchi, H. Cheng, M Claussen, M. Crucifix, Virginia Iglesias, Darrell S. Kaufman, T. Kleinen, Fabrice Lambert, Sander van der Leeuw, Hannah Liddy, Marie-France Loutre, David McGee, Kira Rehfeld, Rachael H. Rhodes, Alistair W.R. Seddon, Lilian Vanderveken, Zicheng Yu

The geological record shows that abrupt changes in the Earth system can occur on timescales short enough to challenge the capacity of human societies to adapt to environmental pressures. In many cases, abrupt changes arise from slow changes in one component of the Earth system that eventually pass a critical threshold, or tipping point, after which impacts cascade through coupled climate–ecological–social systems. The chance of detecting abrupt changes and tipping points increases with the length of observations. The geological record provides the only long-term information we have on the conditions and processes that can drive physical, ecological and social systems into new states or organizational structures that may be irreversible within human time frames. Here, we use well-documented abrupt changes of the past 30 kyr to illustrate how their impacts cascade through the Earth system. We review useful indicators of upcoming abrupt changes, or early warning signals, and provide a perspective on the contributions of palaeoclimate science to the understanding of abrupt changes in the Earth system.

Stratigraphic cross sections of the Mowry Shale and associated strata in the Wind River Basin, Wyoming

Released July 28, 2021 14:00 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Map 3476

Thomas M. Finn

The Wind River Basin in Wyoming is one of many structural and sedimentary basins that formed in the Rocky Mountain foreland during the Laramide orogeny in the latest Cretaceous through the early Eocene. The basin (bounded by the Washakie, Owl Creek, and Bighorn uplifts on the north, the Casper arch on the east, the Granite Mountains uplift on the south, and Wind River uplift on the west) encompasses about 7,400 square miles in central Wyoming.

The two stratigraphic cross sections presented in this report were constructed as part of a project carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey to characterize and evaluate the undiscovered continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources of the Mowry Shale in the Wind River Basin in central Wyoming. The purpose of the cross sections is to show the stratigraphic relationship of the Mowry Shale and associated Lower and lowermost Upper Cretaceous strata in the Wind River Basin. These two cross sections were constructed using borehole geophysical logs from 41 wells drilled for oil and gas exploration and production, and one research well that was cored and logged by the U.S. Geological Survey. Both lines originate at Sheldon Dome in the northwestern part of the basin and end near Bates Creek in the extreme southeastern part of the basin. The stratigraphic interval extends from the uppermost part of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation to the basal part of the Upper Cretaceous Frontier Formation. The datum is the top of the Clay Spur Bentonite Bed, a distinctive bed at the top of the Upper Cretaceous Mowry Shale. A gamma ray and (or) spontaneous potential log was used in combination with a resistivity log to identify and correlate units.

The Everglades vulnerability analysis—Integrating ecological models and addressing uncertainty

Released July 28, 2021 13:59 EST

2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3033

Laura E. D’Acunto, Stephanie S. Romañach, Saira M. Haider, Caitlin E. Hackett, Jennifer H. Nestler, Dilip Shinde, Leonard G. Pearlstine

The Everglades vulnerability analysis (EVA) is a project led by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Park Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accomplish one of the science goals of Restoration Coordination & Verification (RECOVER), a multiagency group responsible for providing scientific and technical evaluations and assessments for improving the ability of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan to restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for the region’s other water-related needs. In 2016, RECOVER acknowledged the need for a tool that could synthesize the decades of Everglades ecosystem science and identify areas vulnerable to changing conditions on the landscape. The EVA tool answers this need through a landscape-scale modeling framework that provides annual responses and relative vulnerability for a suite of indicators of Everglades ecosystem health.

Quality of groundwater used for domestic supply in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California

Released July 28, 2021 13:50 EST

2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3040

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

Groundwater provides more than 40 percent of California’s drinking water. To protect this vital resource, the State of California created the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The Priority Basin Project (PBP) of the GAMA Program provides a comprehensive assessment of the State’s groundwater quality and provides increased public access to groundwater-quality information. Private domestic and small-system drinking-water wells in the Northern San Joaquin Valley (NSJV) were the target for this assessment. These wells tend to pump water from shallower parts of alluvial aquifers compared to deeper, long-screened public-supply wells in the region.

Peak-flow variability, peak-flow informational needs, and consideration of regional regression analyses in managing the crest-stage gage network in Montana

Released July 28, 2021 11:59 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5063

Steven K. Sando

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), has operated a crest-stage gage (CSG) network in Montana to collect peak-flow data since 1955. The CSG network is vital to collecting peak-flow data on small drainage basins that typically are not addressed by continuous streamflow operations. Discussions between USGS and MDT identified a need for evaluating the CSG network to allow for better decision making in the management of the network. The purpose of this report is to (1) generally describe peak-flow variability in Montana, (2) assess peak-flow informational needs relevant to MDT activities, and (3) consider the characteristics of the active CSG network in relation to addressing the informational needs. The evaluation of the CSG network is intended to assist in prioritization for discontinuation of CSGs and other activities involving changes to the CSG network.

Peak-flow variability was investigated by analysis of selected peak-flow characteristics of 659 unregulated streamgages in or near Montana. A generalized peak-flow variability index (PFVI) was developed to provide large-scale representation of peak-flow variability in Montana. For unregulated Montana streamgages, PFVI generally monotonically decreases with increasing drainage area, although there is somewhat large (but generally consistent) variability about the locally weighted scatterplot smooth line. Presumably, highly variable small-scale hydroclimatic processes are integrated with increasing drainage area such that variability in many hydrologic characteristics is reduced. PFVI also decreases with increasing mean basin elevation and mean annual precipitation. Presumably, higher elevation and wetter hydroclimatic settings in Montana contribute to reduced variability in hydrologic characteristics. Intuitively, PFVI might be expected to generally decrease with increasing years of record because the standard deviation might typically be expected to decrease with increasing sample size. However, relations among PFVI and years of record are more complex and variable than drainage area, elevation, and precipitation. PFVI variably increases from 10 to about 40 years of record and then generally monotonically decreases from about 40 to about 105 years of record. Relations among PFVI and the years of record might be confounded by effects of drainage area because streamgages with long periods of record (greater than about 60 years) generally have large drainage areas (greater than about 100 square miles).

The relations between PFVI and drainage area, mean basin elevation, mean annual precipitation, and years of record substantially differ among the eight hydrologic regions in Montana. As such, the PFVI relations were further investigated within each hydrologic region.

A major use of peak-flow information by MDT is for design of road and highway infrastructure, including bridges, culverts, and roadside drainage ditches. As such, basin characteristics (including drainage area, mean basin elevation, and mean annual precipitation) of the Montana streamgage network (735 regulated and unregulated streamgages) were statistically investigated in relation to basin characteristics of 12,639 road and stream intersections in Montana. Both regulated and unregulated streamgages were investigated because the road and stream intersections are on both regulated and unregulated streams. Exploratory analyses indicated that the various relations substantially differ among the hydrologic regions. As such, the relations between the Montana streamgage network and the road and stream intersections were further investigated within each hydrologic region.

An important objective of the CSG network is to provide data for developing regional regression equations (RREs) for estimating frequencies at ungaged sites in Montana. Various characteristics of the RREs substantially differ among the eight hydrologic regions in Montana. As such, the RRE characteristics were further investigated within each hydrologic region.

For each of the eight hydrologic regions, various characteristics of peak-flow variability, peak-flow informational needs, and regional regression analyses were investigated in detail. Possible shortcomings of the streamgage network in each hydrologic region are identified and possible future improvements to the CSG network are presented.

Energetic and health effects of protein overconsumption constrain dietary adaptation in an apex predator

Released July 28, 2021 08:45 EST

2021, Scientific Reports (11)

Karyn D. Rode, Charles T. Robbins, Craig A. Stricker, Brian D. Taras, Troy N Tollefson

Studies of predator feeding ecology commonly focus on energy intake. However, captive predators have been documented to selectively feed to optimize macronutrient intake. As many apex predators experience environmental changes that affect prey availability, limitations on selective feeding can affect energetics and health. We estimated the protein:fat ratio of diets consumed by wild polar bears using a novel isotope-based approach, measured protein:fat ratios selected by zoo polar bears offered dietary choice and examined potential energetic and health consequences of overconsuming protein. Dietary protein levels selected by wild and zoo polar bears were low and similar to selection observed in omnivorous brown bears, which reduced energy intake requirements by 70% compared with lean meat diets. Higher-protein diets fed to zoo polar bears during normal care were concurrent with high rates of mortality from kidney disease and liver cancer. Our results suggest that polar bears have low protein requirements and that limitations on selective consumption of marine mammal blubber consequent to climate change could meaningfully increase their energetic costs. Although bear protein requirements appear lower than those of other carnivores, the energetic and health consequences of protein overconsumption identified in this study have the potential to affect a wide range of taxa.

Timing and hydrological conditions associated with bigheaded carp movement past navigation dams on the upper Mississippi river

Released July 28, 2021 08:40 EST

2021, Biological Invasions

Jon Vallazza, Kayle J. Mosel, David M. Reineke, Ann L. Runstrom, James H. Larson, Brent C. Knights

As the range of non-native bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.) continues to expand throughout river systems of the United States, managers are tasked with preventing or slowing the spread of these invasive species. Main stem navigation dams on the upper Mississippi River, long considered a deterrent to fish migration, may slow or prevent the spread of invasive fish species. As discharge increases, hydraulic head (i.e., difference between upstream elevation and downstream elevation) at these navigation dams decreases, which is believed to allow for easier fish passage. We used acoustic telemetry to investigate the occurrence, frequency, and timing of bigheaded carp passage of upper Mississippi River dams, along with factors related to successful dam passage. During 2013 through 2017, adult silver carp (H. molitrix), bighead carp (H. nobilis) and their hybrids (N = 358) were tracked throughout the upper Mississippi River. A total of 1078 dam passages by bigheaded carps (N = 158) were observed past 15 dams. Seventy-eight percent of dam passages occurred during April through July. Cox proportional hazards regression models indicated that both upstream and downstream dam passages by these species were strongly affected by hydraulic head height at the dam and water temperature, with dam passages increasing as hydraulic head decreased and water temperature increased. A few dams rarely experience low hydraulic head and passages of those dams by bigheaded carps were rare. This information can be used by managers to develop strategies (e.g., placement of deterrent technologies, targeted removal efforts) to slow the spread of these invasive species.

Informing wetland management with waterfowl movement and sanctuary use responses to human-induced disturbance

Released July 28, 2021 07:01 EST

2021, Journal of Environmental Management (297)

Fiona McDuie, Austen Lorenz, Robert C. Klinger, Cory T. Overton, Cliff L. Feldheim, Joshua T. Ackerman, Michael L. Casazza

Long-term environmental management to prevent waterfowl population declines is informed by ecology, movement behavior and habitat use patterns. Extrinsic factors, such as human-induced disturbance, can cause behavioral changes which may influence movement and resource needs, driving variation that affects management efficacy. To better understand the relationship between human-based disturbance and animal movement and habitat use, and their potential effects on management, we GPS tracked 15 dabbling ducks in California over ~4-weeks before, during and after the start of a recreational hunting season in October/November 2018. We recorded locations at 2-min intervals across three separate 24-h tracking phases: Phase 1) two weeks before the start of the hunting season (control (undisturbed) movement); Phase 2) the hunting season opening weekend; and Phase 3) a hunting weekend two weeks after opening weekend. We used GLMM models to analyze variation in movement and habitat use under hunting pressure compared with ‘normal’ observed patterns prior to commencement of hunting. We also compared responses to differing levels of disturbance related to the time of day (high - shooting/~daytime); moderate - non-lethal (~crepuscular); and low - night). During opening weekend flight (% time and distance) more than doubled during moderate and low disturbance and increased by ~50% during high disturbance compared with the pre-season weekend. Sanctuary use tripled during moderate and low disturbance and increased ~50% during high disturbance. Two weeks later flight decreased in all disturbance levels but was only less than the pre-season levels during high disturbance. In contrast, sanctuary use only decreased at night, although not to pre-season levels, while daytime doubled from ~45% to >80%. Birds adjust rapidly to disturbance and our results have implications for energetics models that estimate population food requirements. Management would benefit from reassessing the juxtaposition of essential sanctuary and feeding habitats to optimize wetland management for waterfowl.

Water priorities for the Nation—USGS Integrated Water Science basins

Released July 27, 2021 14:40 EST

2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3041

Mark P. Miller, Sandra M. Eberts, Lori A. Sprague

The United States faces growing challenges to its water supply, infrastructure, and aquatic ecosystems because of population growth, climate change, floods, and droughts. To help address these challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Mission Area is integrating recent advances in monitoring, research, and modeling to improve assessments of water availability throughout the United States. A key part of this effort is the intensive study of 10 Integrated Water Science (IWS) basins across the Nation between 2019 and 2028.

The goal is to study 10 IWS basins that are representative of large geographic regions across the United States and that encompass a variety of potential threats to the amount and quality of water across the Nation. Lessons learned from these smaller IWS basins (10,000–20,000 square miles in size) about the interactions among climate, human effects, surface water, groundwater, water quality, and water supply and demand will be used to help quantify and forecast water availability in the larger regions and ultimately the Nation.

Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds

Released July 27, 2021 09:02 EST

2021, Communications Earth & Environment (2)

Carlos Munoz-Royo, Thomas Peacock, Matthew Alford, Jerome Smith, Arnaud Le Boyer, Chinmay Kulkarni, Pierre Lermusiaux, Patrick Haley, C Mirabito, Dayang Wang, Eric Adams, Raphael Ouillon, Alexander Breugem, Boudewijn Decrop, Thijs Lanckreit, Rohit Supekar, Andrew Rzeznik, Amy Gartman, Se-Jong Ju

Deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining research activity has substantially increased in recent years, but the expected level of environmental impact is still being established. One environmental concern is the discharge of a sediment plume into the midwater column. We performed a dedicated field study using sediment from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. The plume was monitored and tracked using both established and novel instrumentation, including acoustic and turbulence measurements. Our field studies reveal that modeling can reliably predict the properties of a midwater plume in the vicinity of the discharge and that sediment aggregation effects are not significant. The plume model is used to drive a numerical simulation of a commercial-scale operation in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Key takeaways are that the scale of impact of the plume is notably influenced by the values of environmentally acceptable threshold levels, the quantity of discharged sediment, and the turbulent diffusivity in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone.

Repeating caldera collapse events constrain fault friction at the kilometer scale

Released July 27, 2021 07:21 EST

2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (118)

Paul Segall, Kyle R. Anderson

Fault friction is central to understanding earthquakes, yet laboratory rock mechanics experiments are restricted to, at most, meter scale. Questions thus remain as to the applicability of measured frictional properties to faulting in situ. In particular, the slip-weakening distance dcdc strongly influences precursory slip during earthquake nucleation, but scales with fault roughness and is challenging to extrapolate to nature. The 2018 eruption of K̄ılauea volcano, Hawaii, caused 62 repeatable collapse events in which the summit caldera dropped several meters, accompanied by MWMW 4.7 to 5.4 very long period (VLP) earthquakes. Collapses were exceptionally well recorded by global positioning system (GPS) and tilt instruments and represent unique natural kilometer-scale friction experiments. We model a piston collapsing into a magma reservoir. Pressure at the piston base and shear stress on its margin, governed by rate and state friction, balance its weight. Downward motion of the piston compresses the underlying magma, driving flow to the eruption. Monte Carlo estimation of unknowns validates laboratory friction parameters at the kilometer scale, including the magnitude of steady-state velocity weakening. The absence of accelerating precollapse deformation constrains dcdc to be 10≤10 mm, potentially much less. These results support the use of laboratory friction laws and parameters for modeling earthquakes. We identify initial conditions and material and magma-system parameters that lead to episodic caldera collapse, revealing that small differences in eruptive vent elevation can lead to major differences in eruption volume and duration. Most historical basaltic caldera collapses were, at least partly, episodic, implying that the conditions for stick–slip derived here are commonly met in nature.

Modeling morphodynamics of coastal response to extreme events: What shape are we in?

Released July 27, 2021 07:03 EST

2021, Annual Review of Marine Science

Christopher R. Sherwood, Ap van Dongeren, James Doyle, Christie Hegermiller, T.J. Hsu, Tarandeep S. Kalra, Maitane Olabarrieta, Allison Penko, Yashar Rafati, Dano Roelvink, Marlies van der Lugt, Jay Veeramony, John C. Warner

This review focuses on recent advances in process-based numerical models of the impact of extreme storms on sandy coasts. Driven by larger-scale models of meteorology and hydrodynamics, these models simulate morphodynamics across the Sallenger storm-impact scale, including swash, collision, overwash, and inundation. Models are becoming both wider (as more processes are added) and deeper (as detailed physics replaces earlier parameterizations). Algorithms for wave-induced flows and sediment transport under shoaling waves are among the recent developments. Community and open-source models have become the norm. Observations of initial conditions (topography, land cover, and sediment characteristics) have become more detailed, and improvements in tropical cyclone and wave models provide forcing (winds, waves, surge, and upland flow) that is better resolved and more accurate, yielding commensurate improvements in model skill. We foresee that future storm-impact models will increasingly resolve individual waves, apply data assimilation, and be used in ensemble modeling modes to predict uncertainties.

U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2018 annual report

Released July 26, 2021 18:00 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1067

Patrick J. Anderson, Cameron L. Aldridge, Jason S. Alexander, Timothy J. Assal, Steven Aulenbach, Zachary H. Bowen, Anna D. Chalfoun, Geneva W. Chong, Holly Copeland, David R. Edmunds, Steve Germaine, Tabitha Graves, Julie A. Heinrichs, Collin G. Homer, Christopher Huber, Aaron Johnston, Matthew J. Kauffman, Daniel J. Manier, Ryan R. McShane, Cheryl A. Eddy-Miller, Kirk A. Miller, Adrian P. Monroe, Michael S. O'Donnell, Anna Ortega, Annika W. Walters, Daniel J. Wieferich, Teal B. Wyckoff, Linda Zeigenfuss

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) was established in 2007 as a collaborative interagency partnership to develop and implement science-based conservation actions. During the past 11 years, partners from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), State and Federal land management agencies, universities, and the public have collaborated to implement a long-term (more than 10 years) science-based program that assesses and enhances the quality and quantity of wildlife habitats in the southwest Wyoming region while facilitating responsible development. The USGS WLCI Science Team completes scientific research and develops tools that inform and support WLCI partner planning, decision making, and on-the-ground management actions.

In fiscal year 2018, the USGS initiated 3 new projects and continued efforts on 21 ongoing science and web-development projects. The first new project was initiated to support Secretarial Order 3362 which calls on the USGS to assist Western States in mapping big-game migration corridors and developing new mapping tools. During 2018, the USGS hosted a workshop in Laramie, Wyoming, which included more than 70 State and Federal wildlife experts from Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming. Most of the mapping and migration tool curricula used in the workshop were derived from prior WLCI studies and mapping efforts of big-game migration movement in habitats undergoing large-scale energy development.

The second new project was in response for WLCI partners to better understand sedimentation and hydrogeomorphic processes in a cold-desert headwater and the third new project was designed to improve our approach for people to access, manage, and analyze WLCI data and WLCI resource information. The USGS published 18 products (including peer-reviewed journal articles, USGS series publications, and data releases) and provided more than a dozen professional oral and poster presentations at scientific meetings and numerous informal presentations to WLCI partners at meetings and workshops. This report summarizes the objectives and status of each project and highlights the USGS 2018 accomplishments and products.

Precipitation-driven flood-inundation mapping of the Little Blue River at Grandview, Missouri

Released July 26, 2021 16:15 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5068

David C. Heimann, Jonathon D. Voss, Paul H. Rydlund, Jr.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Grandview, Missouri, assessed flooding of the Little Blue River at Grandview resulting from varying precipitation magnitudes and durations and expected land-cover changes. The precipitation scenarios were used to develop a library of flood-inundation maps that included a 3.5-mile reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries within and adjacent to the city.

A hydrologic model of the upper Little Blue River Basin and a hydraulic model of a selected study reach of the Little Blue River and tributaries were constructed to assess streamflow magnitudes associated with simulated precipitation amounts and the resulting flood-inundation conditions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC–HMS; version 4.4.1) was used to simulate the amount of streamflow produced from a range of rain events. The Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System (HEC–RAS; version 5.0.7) was then used to construct a steady-state hydraulic model to map resulting areas of flood inundation.

Both models were calibrated to the May 28, 2020, high-flow event that produced a peak streamflow approximating a 10-percent annual exceedance probability (10-year flood-frequency recurrence interval) at the Little Blue River at Grandview streamgage (USGS station 06893750). The calibrated HEC–HMS model was used to simulate streamflows from design rainfall events of 1- to 8-hour durations and ranging from a 100- to 0.2-percent annual exceedance probability. Flood-inundation maps were produced for USGS streamflow stages of 17.0 feet (ft), or near bankfull, to 23.0 ft, or a stage exceeding the 0.2-percent annual exceedance interval flood, using the HEC–RAS model. The consequence of each precipitation duration-frequency value was represented by a 1-ft increment inundation map based on the generated peak streamflow from that rainfall event and the corresponding stage at the reference USGS streamgage.

Four scenarios were developed with the HEC–HMS hydrologic model: (1) current (2016) land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (2) current land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions; (3) future land cover, normal antecedent soil-moisture conditions; and (4) future land cover, wet antecedent soil-moisture conditions. The future land-cover condition was estimated based on anticipated development in the basin. All precipitation scenarios were input into each of the four land-cover antecedent moisture conditions and then assigned to a resulting flood-inundation map based on the generated peak flow and corresponding stage at the reference streamgage.

System characterization report on Planet’s Dove Classic

Released July 26, 2021 16:11 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1030-C

Minsu Kim, Seonkyung Park, Cody Anderson, Gregory L. Stensaas

Executive Summary

This report addresses system characterization of Planet’s Dove Classic satellites and is part of a series of system characterization reports produced and delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence. These reports present and detail the methodology and procedures for characterization; present technical and operational information about the specific sensing system being evaluated; and provide a summary of test measurements, data retention practices, data analysis results, and conclusions.

Since 2013, Planet has launched more than 360 Dove 3U CubeSats, where U stands for 10-centimeter (cm) x 10-cm x 10-cm stowed dimensions, each weighing about 5 kilograms. Since 2015, all Dove satellites have had four-band imagers with about a 4-meter (m) pixel ground sample distance. Since 2016, all Doves have been launched into Sun-synchronous orbits varying from 474 to 524 kilometers, with inclinations between 97 and 98 degrees. The Dove series satellites do not have orbit maintenance capabilities; thus, their orbits decay slowly over time, contributing to shorter lifetimes of about 3 years. More information on Planet satellites and sensors is available in the “2020 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium” and from the manufacturer at

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence system characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that Dove Classic has an interior geometric performance in the range of −0.218 (−0.073 pixel) to −0.037 m (−0.012 pixel) in easting and −0.167 (−0.056 pixel) to −0.111 m (−0.037 pixel) in northing in band-to-band registration, an exterior geometric error of −6.841 (−2.280 pixels) in easting and −6.235 m (−2.078 pixels) in northing offset in comparison to Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager, a radiometric performance in the range of −0.057 to −0.010 in offset and 0.963 to 1.298 in slope, and a spatial performance in the range of 2.77 to 3.35 pixels for full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.003 to 0.010.

Evaluation of factors affecting migration success of adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Yakima River, Washington, 2020

Released July 26, 2021 10:54 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1075

Tobias J. Kock, Amy C. Hansen, Scott D. Evans, Richard Visser, Brian Saluskin, Andrew Matala, Paul Hoffarth

A study was conducted during June–October 2020 to evaluate factors affecting the migration success of adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Yakima River, Washington. A total of 144 adult sockeye salmon were tagged and released during the study. Most fish (112 fish) were collected, tagged with passive integrated transponder (PIT), and released at the mouth of the Yakima River. The remaining fish were tagged with a radio transmitter and PIT tag: 13 fish were collected, tagged, and released at Prosser Dam; 13 fish were collected and tagged at Prosser Dam, transported downstream, and released at the mouth of the Yakima River; and 6 fish were collected, tagged, and released at the mouth of the Yakima River. Radio-tagged fish released at Prosser Dam initially moved upstream and spread out in the river reach between Prosser and Sunnyside Dams, but all fish stopped moving and several transmitters were recovered. Detection records and temperature data from recovered transmitters were the basis for inferring that avian predators consumed at least 6 of the 13 fish. Fifteen of the 19 radio-tagged sockeye salmon released at the mouth of the Yakima River moved upstream in the Columbia River and were detected at Johnson Island in the Hanford Reach, or at Priest Rapids Dam. Two of these fish, tagged on August 7, eventually moved back downstream and entered the Yakima River when water temperatures in the lower Yakima River were 16–18 degrees Celsius (°C). One fish moved upstream to Sunnyside Dam where its tag was later recovered. The other fish moved farther upstream and was detected at Prosser Dam, but eventually moved downstream and its tag was recovered near Benton City, Washington. None of the recovered tags were found near a carcass. More than one-half of the sockeye salmon that were collected, tagged, and released at the mouth of the Yakima River were subsequently detected, and the greatest proportion of fish from groups released during June, July, and August entered the Yakima River. This finding suggests that adult sockeye salmon are present at the mouth of the Yakima River throughout the summer. Detection records for tagged fish at monitoring sites located near cool water inputs in the lower Yakima River suggest that sockeye salmon do not spend a substantial amount of time at these locations. Fish count data at Prosser Dam fish ladders showed that sockeye salmon had a bi-modal pattern of upstream migration with peaks in late June/early July and September when water temperature in the lower Yakima River was 20 °C or less. Sixty-one percent of PIT-tagged sockeye salmon detected at Prosser Dam were eventually collected at the adult fish trapping facility at Roza Dam where fish are collected and transported upstream to Cle Elum Reservoir. These data, in conjunction with results from other studies, suggest that a substantial proportion of Yakima River sockeye salmon fail to arrive at Roza Dam. Additional research will be required to better understand factors affecting Yakima River sockeye salmon.

The spatial-temporal relationship of blue-winged teal to domestic poultry: Movement state modeling of a highly mobile avian influenza host

Released July 26, 2021 09:16 EST

2021, Journal of Applied Ecology

John M. Humphreys, David C. Douglas, Andrew M. Ramey, Jennifer M. Mullinax, Catherine Soos, Paul T. Link, Patrick Walther, Diann Prosser

 Migratory waterfowl facilitate long distance dispersal of zoonotic pathogens and are increasingly recognized as contributing to the geographic spread of avian influenza viruses (AIV). AIV are globally distributed and have the potential to produce highly contagious poultry disease, economically impact both large-scale and backyard poultry producers, and raise the specter of epidemics and pandemics in human populations.

2. Because migratory waterfowl behavior varies across multiple spatial and temporal scales, the timing and distribution of wild bird AIV introductions to poultry are also heterogeneous in time and space. To help reduce economic impacts to the poultry industry and enable poultry producers to better anticipate when and where poultry outbreaks may occur, it is critically important to consider the movement ecology of the waterfowl species transporting and transmitting AIV.

3. We used telemetry for a geographically widespread and common AIV host, blue-winged teal (Spatula discors; BWTE), to model reservoir host movement states with respect to backyard and commercial poultry facilities in the United States. Our modeling framework enabled us to estimate wild bird proximity to poultry facilities while concurrently assessing the influence of poultry facilities on BWTE movement state transition. Our primary objective was to estimate the likelihood of duck and poultry overlap by estimating when and where BWTE were geographically closest to poultry.

4. Synthesis and applications. Migratory waterfowl facilitate dispersal of the avian influenza viruses that cause highly contagious poultry disease. Movement analysis of blue-winged teal indicates that spatio-temporal overlap between wild birds and poultry facilities varies by season, the poultry type produced (e.g., turkey, chicken), and if the facility is a commercial or backyard operation. These findings are broadly applicable to disease ecology research and can be applied by poultry producers to improve bio-security, enhance poultry management, and prioritize disease surveillance efforts.

Taxonomic, temporal, and spatial variations in zooplankton fatty acid composition in Puget Sound, WA, USA

Released July 26, 2021 07:16 EST

2021, Estuaries and Coasts

Minna Hiltunen, Ursula Strandberg, Michael T. Brett, Amanda K. Winans, David Beauchamp, Miika Kotila, Julie E. Keister

Fatty acid (FA) content and composition of zooplankton in Puget Sound, Washington (USA) was studied to investigate the nutritional quality of diverse zooplankton prey for juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in terms of their essential fatty acid (EFA) content. The study focus was on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (ARA) as these are key FA needed to maintain growth and development of juvenile fish. The different zooplankton taxa varied in their FA composition. Much of the variation in FA composition was driven by 18:1ω9 (a biomarker of carnivory), ARA, DHA, and FA characteristic of diatoms, which are linked to zooplankton diet sources. Gammarid and hyperiid amphipods contained the highest amount of EFA, particularly the gammarid amphipod Cyphocaris challengeri, while shrimp and copepods had much lower EFA content. Crab larvae, which are important prey for juvenile salmon in Puget Sound, had intermediate EPA + DHA content and the lowest DHA/EPA ratio, and were rich in diatom biomarkers. Temporal and spatial trends in zooplankton lipids were less apparent than the taxonomic differences, although the EFA content increased from spring to summer in Cancridae zoeae and the amphipod C. challengeri. These results on taxon-specific EFA content provide baseline information on the nutritional quality of zooplankton that can be applied in food web models. Combining zooplankton fatty acid data (quality) with taxon-specific zooplankton biomass data (quantity) enables development of new, sensitive indicators of juvenile fish production to help assess recent declines in salmon production in the Pacific Northwest and predict future adult returns.

Hydrogeology of the Susquehanna River valley-fill aquifer system in the towns of Conklin and Kirkwood, Broome County, New York

Released July 23, 2021 10:10 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5026

John G. Van Hoesen, Paul M. Heisig, Shannon R. Fisher

The hydrogeology of the Susquehanna River valley-fill aquifer system and adjacent areas in south-central Broome County, New York, was investigated in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The study area encompasses roughly 55.5 square miles and includes the towns of Conklin and Kirkwood. Multiple small, perhaps discontinuous, valley-fill aquifers of unknown extent and hydraulic interconnection underlie the Susquehanna River valley from easternmost Binghamton south to Riverside, New York, near the Pennsylvania border. The hydrogeologic framework of these aquifers is described in this report on the basis of existing descriptions of surficial materials, especially those related to deglaciation, and subsurface data extracted from well and boring logs. A compilation of surficial geology, the descriptions of the spatial distribution of confined and unconfined aquifers, hydrogeologic sections, and well locations is provided as an oversized map plate and in a U.S. Geological Survey data release.

Residential households are one of the principal consumers of groundwater in the study area. Approximately half of these households are served by public water-supply systems that obtain water from wells, chiefly from highly productive but small and likely discontinuous surficial deposits of sand and gravel, while others obtain water from sand-and-gravel aquifers beneath till and (or) fine-grained lacustrine deposits, and a few from bedrock. Residents outside the public-supply service areas rely on private wells. In till-mantled upland areas, nearly all private wells tap bedrock. Water-resource potential is likely greatest north of Kirkwood Center, New York, where the valley is narrowest, and local aquifers are in thick stratified glacial deposits. Well yields are highest in this part of the valley, and the local aquifer system is likely replenished through induced infiltration from the Susquehanna River and numerous small tributaries. The area between Langdon and Kirkwood is filled with a mixture of stratified and unstratified glacial sediments and contains one high-yield well. This area likely has moderate water-resource potential, but limited well data make this difficult to verify. Well yields from suitable stratified glacial sediments generally decrease southward toward Riverside, New York.

Characterizing potential groundwater resources is also helpful for prioritizing source-water-protection efforts. Water resources throughout New York are at risk of contamination from commercial and industrial surface activities. As in many valley areas throughout the Susquehanna River watershed in south-central New York, valley wells with depths greater than roughly 100 to 150 feet are susceptible to contamination by naturally occurring saltwater and methane. New York currently has a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, but the study area is underlain by rocks suitable for unconventional methods of gas production that would likely be initiated if the moratorium were to be lifted.

Response to Gard et al.'s (2021) Comments on the Critical Review “Polychlorinated Biphenyl Tissue-Concentration Thresholds for Survival, Growth, and Reproduction in Fish”

Released July 22, 2021 09:07 EST

2021, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (8) 2098-2109

Jason P. Berninger, Donald E. Tillitt

This response is offered to the critique by Gard et al. (2021) of our meta-analysis of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-induced toxicity data in fish (Berninger and Tillitt 2019). Gard et al. (2021) offered numerous comments, the most substantive suggesting that 1) we should have added no-observable–adverse effect residue (NOAER) data from additional studies and all data points from selected studies, and 2) the uncertainty of aggregating data from different PCB mixtures, different species, and different life stages is too great based on a limited data set. The additional studies Gard et al. suggested either were not designed to produce toxicological data, had experimental design issues, were confounded by co-contaminants, or did not contain paired exposure–effects data and as such were not appropriate to add to the data set. Lowest-observable–adverse effect residue (LOAER) values were selected for our analysis because they represent population sensitivities from the central portions of a frequency distribution (the linear portion of dose–response curves). As a consequence, there is less uncertainty in these input data (LOAER values) and greater confidence that they accurately represent the response of fish populations tested. Modeling NOAER values is in the extrapolation portion of a dose–response relationship and subject to enhanced uncertainty. The Gard et al. (2021) critique ignores this fundamental principle of toxicology and adds/deletes data points from our data set without clear selection criteria, which artificially enhances the uncertainty of their models that ultimately are not useful. We reject the premise that it is better to use individual study data as opposed to aggregation of PCB-induced toxicity thresholds in fish.

Drivers of seedling establishment success in dryland restoration efforts

Released July 22, 2021 08:23 EST

2021, Nature Ecology and Evolution

Nancy Shackelford, Gustavo B. Paterno, Daniel E. Winkler, Todd E. Erickson, Elizabeth A. Leger, Lauren N. Svejcar, Martin F. Breed, Akasha M. Faist, Peter L. Harrison, Michael F. Curran, Qinfeng Guo, Anita Kirmer, Darin J. Law, Kevin Mganga, Seth M. Munson, Lauren M. Porensky, Raul Emiliano Quiroga, Péter Török, Claire E. Wainwright, Ali Abdullahi, Matt A. Bahm, Elizabeth A. Ballenger, Nichole Barger, Owen W. Baughman, Carina Becker, Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja, Chad S. Boyd, Carla M. Burton, Philip J. Burton, Eman Calleja, Peter J. Carrick, Alex Caruana, Charlie D. Clements, Kirk W. Davies, Balázs Deák, Jessica Drake, Sandra Dullau, Joshua Eldridge, Erin Espeland, Carol A. Finn, Stephen E. Fick, Magda Garbowski, Enrique G. de la Riva, Peter J. Golos, Penelope A. Grey, Barry Heydenrych, Patricia M. Holmes, Jeremy J. James, Jayne Jonas-Bratten, Réka Kiss, Andrea T. Kramer, Julie E. Larson, Juan Lorite, C. Ellery Mayence, Luis Merino-Martín, Tamás Miglécz, Suanne Jane Milton, Thomas A. Monaco, Arlee M. Montalvo, Jose A. Navarro-Cano, Mark W. Paschke, Pablo Luis Peri, Monica L. Pokorny, Matthew J. Rinella, Nelmarie Saayman, Merilynn C. Schantz, Tina Parkhurst, Eric W. Seabloom, Katharine L. Stuble, Shauna M. Uselman, Orsolya Valkó, Kari E. Veblen, Scott D. Wilson, Megan Wong, Zhiwei Xu, Katharine L. Suding

Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live in these areas. Bold global targets have been set for dryland restoration to restore millions of hectares of degraded land. These targets have been questioned as overly ambitious, but without a global evaluation of successes and failures it is impossible to gauge feasibility. Here we examine restoration seeding outcomes across 174 sites on six continents, encompassing 594,065 observations of 671 plant species. Our findings suggest reasons for optimism. Seeding had a positive impact on species presence: in almost a third of all treatments, 100% of species seeded were growing at first monitoring. However, dryland restoration is risky: 17% of projects failed, with no establishment of any seeded species, and consistent declines were found in seeded species as projects matured. Across projects, higher seeding rates and larger seed sizes resulted in a greater probability of recruitment, with further influences on species success including site aridity, taxonomic identity and species life form. Our findings suggest that investigations examining these predictive factors will yield more effective and informed restoration decision-making.

Evaluation of a two-season banding program to estimate and model migratory bird survival

Released July 22, 2021 07:11 EST

2021, Ecological Applications

Patrick K. Devers, Robert L. Emmet, G. Scott Boomer, Guthrie S. Zimmerman, J. Andrew Royle

The management of North American waterfowl is predicated on long-term, continental scale banding implemented prior to the hunting season (i.e., July–September) and subsequent reporting of bands recovered by hunters. However, single-season banding and encounter operations have a number of characteristics that limit their application to estimating demographic rates and evaluating hypothesized limiting factors throughout the annual cycle. We designed and implemented a 2-season banding program for American black ducks (Anas rubripes), mallards (Aplatyrhynchos), and hybrids in eastern North America to evaluate potential application to annual life cycle conservation and sport harvest management. We assessed model fit and compared estimates of annual survival among data types (i.e., pre-hunting season only [July–September], post-hunting season only [January–March], and 2-season [pre- and post-hunting season]) to evaluate model assumptions and potential application to population modeling and management. There was generally high agreement between estimates of annual survival derived using 2-season and pre-season only data for all age and sex cohorts. Estimates of annual survival derived from post-season banding data only were consistently higher for adult females and juveniles of both sexes. We found patterns of seasonal survival varied by species, age, and to a lesser extent, sex. Hunter recovered birds exhibited similar spatial distributions regardless of banding season suggesting banded samples were from the same population. In contrast, Goodness-Of-Fit tests suggest this assumption was statistically violated in some regions and years. We conclude that estimates of seasonal and annual survival for black ducks and mallards based on the 2-season banding program are valid and accurate based on model fit statistics, similarity in survival estimates across data and models, and similarities in the distribution of recoveries. The 2-season program provides greater precision and insight into the survival process and will improve the ability of researchers and managers to test competing hypotheses regarding population regulation resulting in more effective management.

Hazard analysis of landslides triggered by Typhoon Chata'an on July 2, 2002, in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia

Released July 21, 2021 12:00 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2004-1348

Edwin L. Harp, Mark E. Reid, John A. Michael

More than 250 landslides were triggered across the eastern volcanic islands of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia by torrential rainfall from tropical storm Chata’an on July 2, 2002. Landslides triggered during nearly 20 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours caused 43 fatalities and the destruction or damage of 231 structures, including homes, schools, community centers, and medical dispensaries. Landslides also buried roads, crops, and water supplies. The landslides ranged in volume from a few cubic meters to more than 1 million cubic meters. Most of the failures began as slumps and transformed into debris flows, some of which traveled several hundred meters across coastal flatlands into populated areas. A landslide-inventory map produced after the storm shows that the island of Tonoas had the largest area affected by landslides, although the islands of Weno, Fefan, Etten, Uman, Siis, Udot, Eot, and Fanapanges also had significant landslides. Based on observations since the storm, we estimate the continuing hazard from landslides triggered by Chata’an to be relatively low. However, tropical storms and typhoons similar to Chata’an frequently develop in Micronesia and are likely to affect the islands of Chuuk in the future.

To assess the landslide hazard from future tropical storms, we produced a hazard map that identifies landslide-source areas of high, moderate, and low hazard. This map can be used to identify relatively safe areas for relocating structures or establishing areas where people could gather for shelter in relative safety during future typhoons or tropical storms similar to Chata’an.

Ignitions explain more than climate or weather in driving Santa Ana Wind fires

Released July 21, 2021 09:32 EST

2021, Science Advances (7)

Jon Keeley, Janin Guzman-Morales, Alexander Gershunov, Alexandra D. Syphard, Daniel Cayan, David W Pierce, Michael Flannigan, Tim J Brown

Autumn and winter Santa Ana wind (SAW)–driven wildfires play a substantial role in area burned and societal losses in southern California. Temperature during the event and antecedent precipitation in the week or month prior play a minor role in determining area burned. Burning is dependent on wind intensity and number of human-ignited fires. Over 75% of all SAW events generate no fires; rather, fires during a SAW event are dependent on a fire being ignited. Models explained 40 to 50% of area burned, with number of ignitions being the strongest variable. One hundred percent of SAW fires were human caused, and in the past decade, powerline failures have been the dominant cause. Future fire losses can be reduced by greater emphasis on maintenance of utility lines and attention to planning urban growth in ways that reduce the potential for powerline ignitions.

Water resources of Grant Parish, Louisiana

Released July 20, 2021 14:29 EST

2021, Fact Sheet 2020-3064

Chid J. Murphy, Vincent E. White

Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in Grant Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital resource. In 2014, about 5.43 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water were withdrawn in Grant Parish, including about 2.39 Mgal/d from groundwater sources and 3.03 Mgal/d from surface-water sources. Withdrawals for public-supply use accounted for 71 percent (3.84 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Withdrawals for agricultural use, composed of general irrigation and livestock uses, accounted for 24 percent (1.28 Mgal/d) of the total water withdrawn. Other categories of use included industrial and rural domestic. Water-use data collected at 5-year intervals from 1960 to 2010 and again in 2014 indicated that water withdrawals peaked in 1960.

Response of forage plants to alteration of temperature and spring thaw date: Implications for geese in a warming Arctic

Released July 20, 2021 08:48 EST

2021, Ecosphere (12)

Paul L. Flint, Brandt W. Meixell

Changes in summer temperatures in Arctic Alaska have led to longer and warmer growing seasons over the last three decades. Corresponding with these changes in climate, the abundance and distributions of geese have increased and expanded over the same period. We used an experimental approach to assess the response of goose forage plants to simulated environmental change. We subjected Carex subspathacea, a preferred goose forage growing on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, to manipulations of temperature and timing of spring thaw to measure potential effects in terms of plant nitrogen concentration, aboveground biomass, and total nitrogen availability. Carex subspathacea responded to warming in a dynamic fashion. Increases in temperature led to decreases in leaf nitrogen concentration but increases in aboveground biomass. The increase in biomass was stronger than the decline in nitrogen concentration such that total nitrogen availability was increased with temperature for the first 35–40 d of the season. Grazing removal accounted for only minimal offtake of biomass, and we found no indication that grazing maintained elevated levels of nitrogen concentration longer in the season as reported in other studies. Based on demonstrated relationships in the literature between forage nitrogen concentrations and gosling growth rates, we conclude that there is currently abundant high-quality forage available across the ACP. This finding fits with recent evidence of high gosling growth rates and increasing trends in goose abundance on the ACP. Our results suggest that with climate warming of a few degrees, nitrogen concentration of forage may decrease, but forage biomass and total nitrogen availability will increase. Our data suggest that nitrogen concentration will not fall below the minimum threshold required by geese in the near future. As such, we suggest that there is currently no bottom-up limitation to goose numbers on the ACP.

Herring Disease Program - Annual Project Report 2012011-E, February 1, 2010-January 31, 2021

Released July 20, 2021 07:18 EST

2021, Report

Paul Hershberger, Maureen K. Purcell

We will investigate fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound. Field samples will provide infection and disease prevalence data from Prince William Sound and Sitka Sound to inform the age structured assessment (ASA) model, serological data will indicate the prior exposure history and future susceptibility of herring to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), and diet information will provide insights into the unusually high prevalence of Ichthyophonus that occurs in juvenile herring from Cordova Harbor. Laboratory studies will validate the newly developed plaque neutralization assay as a quantifiable measure of herd immunity against VHS, provide further understanding of disease cofactors including salinity, and investigate possible routes of transmission for Ichthyophonus. Information from the field and laboratory studies will be integrated into the current ASA model and inform a novel ASA-type model that is based on the immune status of herring age cohorts.

Cyprosulfamide: Analysis of the herbicide safener and two of its degradates in surface water and groundwater from the Midwestern United States

Released July 20, 2021 06:45 EST

2021, ACS Agricultural Science and Technology

Monica E McFadden, Michelle Hladik

Herbicide safeners are commonly included in herbicide formulations to selectively protect crops from herbicide toxicity but are poorly understood in terms of their environmental occurrence and fate. This study established an analytical method for a newer safener, cyprosulfamide, and two of its degradates, cyprosulfamide desmethyl and N-cyclopropyl-4-sulfamoylbenzamide, in water via solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectroscopy. To evaluate the potential for off-field transport and transformation of cyprosulfamide, the method was used to analyze groundwater and surface water samples collected near cornfields in the midwestern United States where cyprosulfamide had been applied. All three compounds were detected in surface water samples (N = 34); N-cyclopropyl-4-sulfamoylbenzamide was most frequently detected (56%), followed by cyprosulfamide (25%) and cyprosulfamide desmethyl (19%). Maximum concentrations ranged from 22.0 to 5185.9 ng/L, with the highest concentrations and detection rates during the growing season. None of our target analytes were detected in groundwater.

Conservation implications of spatiotemporal variation in the terrestrial ecology of Western spadefoots

Released July 19, 2021 09:37 EST

2021, Journal of Wildlife Management

Brian J. Halstead, Katherine L. Baumberger, Adam R. Backlin, Patrick M. Kleeman, Monique Nicole Wong, Elizabeth Gallegos, Jonathan P. Rose, Robert N. Fisher

Conservation of species reliant on ephemeral resources can be especially challenging in the face of a changing climate. Western spadefoots (Spea hammondii) are small burrowing anurans that breed in ephemeral pools, but adults spend the majority of their lives underground in adjacent terrestrial habitat. Western spadefoots are of conservation concern throughout their range because of habitat loss, but little is known about the activity patterns and ecology of their terrestrial life stage. We conducted a radio-telemetry study of adult western spadefoots at 2 sites in southern California, USA, from December 2018 to November 2019 to characterize their survival, behavior, and movements from breeding through aestivation to refine conservation and management for the species. Western spadefoot survival varied seasonally, with risk of mortality higher in the active season than during aestivation. The probability of movement between successive observations was higher during the winter and spring and when atmospheric moisture was high and soil water content at 10-cm depth was low. The amount of rain between observations had the strongest effect on the probability of movement between observations; for every 20 mm of rainfall between observations, western spadefoots were 2.4 times more likely to move. When movements occurred, movement rates were highest when both relative humidity and soil water content at 10-cm depth were high. The conditions under which western spadefoots were likely active on the surface, likely to have moved, and moved at the highest rates are conditions that reduce the risk of desiccation of surface-active spadefoots. Western spadefoot home range areas varied between study sites and were mostly <1 ha, although 1 individual's home range area was >6 ha. Western spadefoots rapidly dispersed from the breeding pools, and asymptotic distances from the breeding pool were generally reached by June. The asymptotic distance from the breeding pool varied between sites, with the 95th percentile of the posterior predictive distribution reaching 486 m at 1 site and 187 m at the other. Western spadefoots did not select most habitat components disproportionately to their availability, but at Crystal Cove State Park, they avoided most evaluated vegetation types (graminoids, forbs, and shrubs). Spatial variation was evident in most evaluated western spadefoot behaviors; context-dependent behavior suggests that site-specific management is likely necessary for western spadefoots. Furthermore, comparison with an earlier study of western spadefoots at Crystal Cove State Park indicated substantial temporal variation in western spadefoot behavior. Therefore, basing management decisions on short-term studies might fail to meet conservation objectives. Better understanding the influences of spatial context and climatic variation on western spadefoot behavior will improve conservation efforts for this species.

Miocene neritic benthic foraminiferal community dynamics, Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA: Species pool, patterns and processes

Released July 19, 2021 09:37 EST

2021, Palaios (36) 247-259

Stephen J. Culver, Seth R Sutton, David J. Mallinson, Martin A Buzas, Marci M. Robinson, Harry J. Dowsett

The presence/absence and abundance of benthic foraminifera in successive discrete beds (Shattuck “zones”) of the Miocene Calvert and Choptank formations, exposed at the Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA, allows for investigation of community dynamics over space and time. The stratigraphic distribution of benthic foraminifera is documented and interpreted in the context of sea-level change, sequence stratigraphy, and the previously published distribution of mollusks. Neritic benthic foraminiferal communities of four sea-level cycles over ∼4 million years of the middle Miocene, encompassing the Miocene Climatic Optimum and the succeeding middle Miocene Climate Transition, are dominated by the same abundant species. They differ in the varying abundance of common species that occur throughout most of the studied section and in the different rare species that appear and disappear. Transgressive systems tracts (TSTs) have higher species diversity than highstand systems tracts (HSTs) but much lower density of specimens. In contrast to some previous research, all beds in the studied section are interpreted as being from the inner part of a broad, low gradient shelf and were deposited at water depths of less than ∼50 m. It is suggested that species are recruited from a regional species pool of propagules throughout the duration of TSTs. Recruitment is curtailed during highstands leading to lower diversity in the HSTs.

Model estimated baseflow for streams with endangered Atlantic Salmon in Maine, USA

Released July 18, 2021 09:08 EST

2021, River Research and Applications

Pamela J. Lombard, Robert Dudley, Matthias J. Collins, Rory Saunders, Ernie Atkinson

We present a regression model for estimating mean August baseflow per square kilometer of drainage area to help resource managers assess relative amounts of baseflow in Maine streams with Atlantic Salmon habitat. The model was derived from mean August baseflows computed at 31 USGS streamflow gages in Maine. We use an ordinary least squares regression model to estimate mean August baseflow per unit drainage area from two explanatory variables: percentage of the basin underlain by sand and gravel aquifers and mean July precipitation in the basin. This model provides the ability to estimate mean August baseflow in cubic meters per second per square kilometer of basin area on user-selected, ungaged sites throughout Maine south of 46° 21′55″ N latitude. The model has an adjusted R2 of 0.78 and a mean 95% prediction interval of plus or minus 0.002 cubic meters per second per square kilometer. A map of the Narraguagus watershed in eastern coastal Maine shows reaches color coded by relative amounts of baseflow predicted by the model as an example of how this method could be applied throughout Maine. The map can be used to identify reaches with relatively higher amounts of baseflow during summer low flows for habitat conservation and restoration work. These areas have the potential to be high-quality habitat for Atlantic salmon and other cold-water fish because baseflows are known to moderate stream temperatures in summer low-flow periods.

Experimental evaluation of spatial capture–recapture study design

Released July 18, 2021 07:24 EST

2021, Ecological Applications

Jillian Elizabeth Fleming, Evan H. Campbell Grant, Sean C Sterrett, Chris Sutherland

A principal challenge impeding strong inference in analyses of wild populations is the lack of robust and long-term data sets. Recent advancements in analytical tools used in wildlife science may increase our ability to integrate smaller data sets and enhance the statistical power of population estimates. One such advancement, the development of spatial capture–recapture (SCR) methods, explicitly accounts for differences in spatial study designs, making it possible to equate multiple study designs in one analysis. SCR has been shown to be robust to variation in design as long as minimal sampling guidance is adhered to. However, these expectations are based on simulation and have yet to be evaluated in wild populations. Here we conduct a rigorously designed field experiment by manipulating the arrangement of artificial cover objects (ACOs) used to collect data on red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to empirically evaluate the effects of design configuration on inference made using SCR. Our results suggest that, using SCR, estimates of space use and detectability are sensitive to study design configuration, namely the spacing and extent of the array, and that caution is warranted when assigning biological interpretation to these parameters. However, estimates of population density remain robust to design except when the configuration of detectors grossly violates existing recommendations.

Multicriteria decisions and portfolio analysis: Land acquisition for biological and social objectives

Released July 18, 2021 07:22 EST

2021, Ecological Applications

Anastasia Ihorvina Krainyk, James E. Lyons, Mindy B. Rice, Kenneth A. Fowler, Gregory J. Soulliere, Michael G. Brasher, Dale D. Humburg, John M. Coluccy

Resource allocation for land acquisition is a common multi-objective problem that involves complex trade-offs. The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently uses the Targeted Resource Acquisition Comparison Tool (TRACT) to allocate funds from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF; established through the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Act of 1934) for land acquisition based on cost-benefit analysis, regional priority rankings of candidate land parcels available for acquisition, and the overall biological contribution to duck population objectives. However, current policy encourages decision makers to consider societal and economic benefits of lands acquired, in addition to their biological benefits to waterfowl. These decisions about portfolio elements (i.e. individual land parcels) require an analysis of the difficult trade-offs among multiple objectives. In the last decade the application of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods has been instrumental in aiding decision makers with complex multi-objective decisions. In this study, we present an alternative approach to developing land acquisition portfolios using MCDA and Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). We describe the development of a portfolio decision analysis tool using constrained optimization for land acquisition decisions by the NWRS. We outline the decision framework, describe development of the prototype tool in Microsoft Excel, and test the results of the tool using land parcels submitted as candidates for MBCF funding in 2019. Our results indicate that the constrained optimization outperformed the traditional TRACT method and ad hoc portfolios developed using current NWRS criteria.

The Chesapeake Bay program modeling system: Overview and recommendations for future development

Released July 17, 2021 09:14 EST

2021, Ecological Modelling (456)

Raleigh Hood, Gary Wynee Shenk, Rachel L Dixon, Sean M. C. Smith, William P. Ball, Jesse Bash, R. Batiuk, Kathy Boomer, Damian C Brady, Carl Cerco, Peter R. Claggett, Kim de Mutsert, Zachary M. Easton, Andrew J Elmore, Marjorie A. M. Friedrichs, Lora A. Harris, Thomas F. Ihde, Iara Lacher, Li Li, Lewis Linker, Andrew Miller, Julia Moriarty, Gregory B. Noe, George Onyullo, Kenneth A Rose, Katherine Skalak, Richard Tian, Tamie L Veith, Lisa A. Wainger, Donald E. Weller, Yinglong J. Zhang

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest, most productive, and most biologically diverse estuary in the continental United States providing crucial habitat and natural resources for culturally and economically important species. Pressures from human population growth and associated development and agricultural intensification have led to excessive nutrient and sediment inputs entering the Bay, negatively affecting the health of the Bay ecosystem and the economic services it provides. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is a unique program formally created in 1983 as a multi-stakeholder partnership to guide and foster restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Since its inception, the CBP Partnership has been developing, updating, and applying a complex linked modeling system of watershed, airshed, and estuary models as a planning tool to inform strategic management decisions and Bay restoration efforts. This paper provides a description of the 2017 CBP Modeling System and the higher trophic level models developed by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, along with specific recommendations that emerged from a 2018 workshop designed to inform future model development. Recommendations highlight the need for simulation of watershed inputs, conditions, processes, and practices at higher resolution to provide improved information to guide local nutrient and sediment management plans. More explicit and extensive modeling of connectivity between watershed landforms and estuary sub-areas, estuarine hydrodynamics, watershed and estuarine water quality, the estuarine-watershed socioecological system, and living resources will be important to broaden and improve characterization of responses to targeted nutrient and sediment load reductions. Finally, the value and importance of maintaining effective collaborations among jurisdictional managers, scientists, modelers, support staff, and stakeholder communities is emphasized. An open collaborative and transparent process has been a key element of successes to date and is vitally important as the CBP Partnership moves forward with modeling system improvements that help stakeholders evolve new knowledge, improve management strategies, and better communicate outcomes.

Simulation of water-table response to sea-level rise and change in recharge, Sandy Hook unit, Gateway National Recreation Area, New Jersey

Released July 16, 2021 15:00 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5080

Glen B. Carleton, Emmanuel G. Charles, Alex R. Fiore, Richard B. Winston

The Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area (hereafter Sandy Hook) in New Jersey is a 10-kilometer-long spit visited by thousands of people each year who take advantage of the historical and natural resources and recreational opportunities. The historical and natural resources are threatened by global climate change, including sea-level rise (SLR), changes in precipitation and groundwater recharge, and changes in the frequency and severity of coastal storms. Fresh groundwater resources are important to the ecosystems of Sandy Hook. The Bayside Holly Forest, one of only two known old-growth American holly (Ilex opaca) maritime forests, is particularly vulnerable to global climate change because of the proximity of the water table to land surface in low-lying areas and the potential for saltwater intrusion and inundation.

The shallow groundwater-flow system on Sandy Hook is dominated by recharge from precipitation, fresh groundwater discharge to evapotranspiration (ET), discharge to surface seeps, and submarine groundwater discharge (groundwater discharging directly to the ocean). A three-dimensional groundwater-flow model that simulates the shallow groundwater-flow system and interaction with surrounding saltwater boundaries was constructed to simulate multi-density groundwater flow, treating the freshwater/saltwater transition zone as a sharp interface that represents the half-seawater surface.

Groundwater-flow simulations completed for this study include a Baseline scenario, three SLR scenarios (0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 meter [m]), two Recharge scenarios—a 10-percent Increased Recharge scenario and a 10-percent Decreased Recharge scenario—and a scenario with 0.6 m of SLR and 10-percent increase in recharge. The Recharge scenarios indicate the system is not sensitive to a 10-percent increase or decrease in recharge from the Baseline scenario. In the SLR scenarios, SLR causes the water table to rise, resulting in increased fresh groundwater discharge to ET and seeps, and reduced submarine discharge compared to the Baseline scenario. The increased discharge to ET and seeps causes the magnitude of water-table rise to be less than that of SLR, which in turn causes the thickness of the freshwater lens to thin, reducing the depth to the half-seawater surface. Water-table rise associated with SLR diminishes the thickness of the unsaturated zone; comparing the Baseline and the 0.6-m SLR scenarios, the area where the simulated water table is above land surface increases by 50.6 hectares, from about 0.9 to 7.4 percent of the land area of Sandy Hook. Areas where the simulated water table is above land surface are likely to be emergent wetlands and contain freshwater if they are tens of meters or more from the shoreline. The steady-state simulations indicate that the percentage of land where the half-seawater surface is less than 9 m below the water table increases from about 2.5 percent (20 hectares) to about 9 percent (74 hectares) with 0.6 m of SLR. In low-lying areas close to the Sandy Hook Bay shoreline, the half-seawater surface is simulated to be as much as 20 m closer to the water table with SLR of 0.6 m. Transient salinization, if any, of shallow groundwater from increased frequency or severity of storm-driven inundation is not included in the analysis.

Natural resources on Sandy Hook, particularly the Bayside Holly Forest, may be adversely affected by the rising water table associated with SLR. Freshwater emergent wetlands may increase in area at the expense of other ecosystem assemblages occurring in or on the edges of low-lying enclosed depressions. Cultural resources close to the water table, such as existing basements of structures, may be adversely affected.

Simulation of water-table and freshwater/saltwater interface response to climate-change-driven sea-level rise and changes in recharge at Fire Island National Seashore, New York

Released July 16, 2021 15:00 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5117

Paul E. Misut, Sarken Dressler

The fresh groundwater system at Fire Island National Seashore in New York is one of the natural resources that is most vulnerable to climate change; the various federally listed threatened or endangered species that live on Fire Island, including the piping plover, roseate tern shorebird, and seabeach amaranth may be affected by changes in the groundwater system. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service, developed a three-dimensional groundwater-flow model to simulate climate-change-related changes in depth to the water table and depth to freshwater/saltwater interfaces on Fire Island. An existing SEAWAT three-dimensional variable-density groundwater flow and transport model was converted to a MODFLOW–NWT three-dimensional finite-difference groundwater model with the Seawater Intrusion (SWI2) package and recalibrated using the UCODE_2005 automatic calibration software. The simulated groundwater divide was found to be skewed strongly toward the ocean shore in response to the modeled wave setup and tidal pumping overheight.

Effects of climate change include sea-level rise and changes in groundwater recharge rates. Sea-level rise scenarios included specified uniform steady states at 0.2-, 0.4-, and 0.6-meter increases above the 2015 level, applied to the existing topography. A high-recharge scenario was created by increasing 2015 recharge rates by 10 percent. Under all scenarios except the low-recharge scenario, the depth to the water table and the thickness of the unsaturated zone decreased. The thickness of the freshwater lens decreased under every scenario. Resulting maps were generated on a 25-meter grid and indicate changes in areas where natural resources may be vulnerable because of projected climate changes.

Simulated effects of sea-level rise on the shallow, fresh groundwater system of Assateague Island, Maryland and Virginia

Released July 16, 2021 15:00 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5104

Brandon J. Fleming, Jeff P. Raffensperger, Phillip J. Goodling, John P. Masterson

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service, developed a three-dimensional groundwater-flow model for Assateague Island in eastern Maryland and Virginia to assess the effects of sea-level rise on the groundwater system. Sea-level rise is expected to increase the altitude of the water table in barrier island aquifer systems, possibly leading to adverse effects to ecosystems on the barrier islands. The potential effects of sea-level rise were evaluated by simulating groundwater conditions under sea-level-rise scenarios of 20 centimeters (cm), 40 cm, and 60 cm. Results show that as sea level rises, low-lying areas of the island originally represented as receiving freshwater recharge in the baseline scenario are inundated by saltwater. This change from freshwater recharge to saltwater decreases the overall amount of freshwater recharging the system. As the water table rises in response to the higher sea levels, freshwater flow out of the system changes, with more freshwater leaving as submarine groundwater discharge and less freshwater leaving as seeps and evapotranspiration. At the current land-surface altitude, as much as 50 percent of the island may be inundated with a 60-cm rise in sea level, and the low-lying marshes may change from freshwater to saltwater.

Groundwater levels at 32 wells were monitored for as long as 12 months between October 2014 and September 2015 on Assateague Island. Results from objective classification analysis of 14 shallow monitoring wells show two dominant processes affecting groundwater levels in two different settings on the island. On the western side of the island, between the primary dune and the inland bays, water levels clearly respond to precipitation events. This side of the island is more protected from ocean tides and typically is more vegetated than the eastern side. On the eastern side of the island, between the Atlantic Ocean and the primary dune, water levels clearly respond to tidal events. Specific conductance was measured at four wells, two on the western part of the island and two on the eastern part of the island. Specific conductance values in the two wells west of the primary dune show episodic decreases, coinciding with precipitation events. Specific conductance values in the two wells on the eastern side of the primary dune show episodic increases, coinciding with high-tide events. These high frequency monitoring data are intended to aid in designing a monitoring network that can document both short-term and long-term hydrologic processes on Assateague Island National Seashore.

This study uses a modeling approach consistent with models developed for Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit (New Jersey) and Fire Island National Seashore (New York). Combined, these models are meant to improve the regional capabilities for predicting climate-change effects on barrier islands and provide resource managers with a common set of tools for adaptation and mitigation of potentially adverse effects of sea-level rise.

Climate change vulnerability assessment for the California coastal national monument—Trinidad and Point Arena-Stornetta units

Released July 16, 2021 09:09 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1050

Karen M. Thorne, Chase M. Freeman, Kevin J. Buffington, Susan E.W. De La Cruz

Executive Summary

  • The California Coastal National Monument protects islets, reefs, and rock outcropping habitats in six onshore units, including the Trinidad and Point Arena-Stornetta Units.
  • The California Coastal National Monument provides crucial habitat for resident and migratory species of seabirds, marine mammals, and invertebrates, which includes several federally listed threatened and endangered species. Also, the California Coastal National Monument encompasses important tribal, cultural, and historical sites along the coastline of California.
  • We used three approaches to assess the climate change vulnerability of the Trinidad and Point Arena-Stornetta Units: (1) a qualitative approach using peer-reviewed literature and previous work done in the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the North-central California Coast and Ocean (Hutto and others, 2015), (2) interactive workshops with local stakeholders to identify specific resources, and (3) spatial analysis to estimate sea-level rise vulnerability for the rocky shoreline and key resources within the units.
  • Information from stakeholder workshops held (in 2017) in the cities of Point Arena and Trinidad identified climate change impacts as an important management concern for the resilience, health, and ecosystem services of the California Coastal National Monument units. Impacts that were identified included sea-level rise, changes in precipitation and fog, warming oceans, and loss of species (birds, fisheries, marine mammals).
  • Boat surveys were done for each unit to estimate the number of rocky features and the biota using the rocks. At the Trinidad Unit, 138 rocks were surveyed and 17 different wildlife species were observed, whereas at the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit, 40 rocks were surveyed and 10 different wildlife species were observed.
  • Individual rocky features surveyed within the units were then ranked on sea-level rise exposure and vulnerability scales with 1 being the least vulnerable/exposed and 5 the most.
  • Forty-nine and fifty-eight percent of surveyed rocks had a sea-level rise exposure ranking of 4 or 5 (high) for the Trinidad Unit and Point Arena-Stornetta Units respectively.
  • Forty-eight percent of offshore rocks had a sea-level rise vulnerability score of 3 or greater (high) for the Trinidad Unit, and forty-three percent of rocks had a vulnerability score of 3 or greater for the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit.
  • When examining guild use of vulnerable rocks (vulnerability score greater than 3), at the Trinidad Unit alcid species (here defined as common murres and pigeon guillemots) were observed on only 28 percent of vulnerable rocks, shorebirds on 30 percent, sea lions on 40 percent, gulls on 43 percent, seabirds on 58 percent, and mammals on 75 percent, whereas at the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit alcid species were observed on 0 percent of vulnerable rocks, gulls on 33 percent, seabirds on 57 percent, and mammals on 50 percent.
  • Sea-level rise has the potential to submerge small low-relief offshore rocks and make them uninhabitable for birds and marine mammals but could provide more intertidal and subtidal rocky habitats. We found that nearly half of the offshore rocks at both sites are vulnerable and have the potential to realize this outcome; however, the larger and tall-relief rocks at these sites are less vulnerable to sea-level rise and are expected to continue to provide habitat for avian species.

A numerical model for the cooling of a lava sill with heat pipe effects

Released July 16, 2021 09:00 EST

2021, Techniques and Methods 13-B2

Kaj E. Williams, Colin M. Dundas, Laszlo P. Kestay

Understanding the cooling process of volcanic intrusions into wet sediments is a difficult but important problem, given the presence of extremely large temperature gradients and potentially complex water-magma interactions. This report presents a numerical model to study such interactions, including the effect of heat pipes on the cooling of volcanic intrusions. Udell (1985) has shown that heat pipes may develop in heated saturated granular media under laboratory conditions. In previous work, Baker and others (2015) calculated temperatures in the vicinity of a volcanic sill that intruded into wet sediment, showing an unexpected temperature profile in which peak temperatures remained near constant over a region extending a meter above and below the sill. This is challenging to explain with conduction or convection heating methods but is predicted if the heat transfer is performed primarily by a heat pipe. We have numerically modeled the cooling of a lava sill under similar circumstances, using the experimental findings of Udell (1985) to estimate the characteristics of the heat pipe. We have constructed a model using Microsoft C#.NET, complete with an intuitive graphical user interface. The model is available from the U.S. Geological Survey and is capable of being run on Microsoft Windows 7 and higher with modest hardware. We find that the resulting overall temperature profile has some key similarities to the profile inferred by Baker and others (2015). Future models including more detailed convective heat transfer physics will be necessary to fully reproduce the effects of boiling in sediments.

Using fission-track radiography coupled with scanning electron microscopy for efficient identification of solid-phase uranium mineralogy at a former uranium pilot mill (Grand Junction, Colorado)

Released July 16, 2021 08:03 EST

2021, Geosciences (11)

Raymond H. Johnson, Susan Hall, Aaron Tigar

At a former uranium pilot mill in Grand Junction, Colorado, mine tailings and some subpile sediments were excavated to various depths to meet surface radiological standards, but residual solid-phase uranium below these excavation depths still occurs at concentrations above background. The combination of fission-track radiography and scanning electron microscope energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) provides a uniquely efficient and quantitative way of determining mineralogic associations of uranium that can influence uranium mobility. After the creation of sample thin sections, a mica sheet is placed on those thin sections and irradiated in a nuclear research reactor. Decay of the irradiated uranium creates fission tracks that can be viewed with a microscope. The fission-track radiography images indicate thin section sample areas with elevated uranium that are focus areas for SEM-EDS work. EDS spectra provide quantitative elemental data that indicate the mineralogy of individual grains or grain coatings associated with the fission-track identification of elevated uranium. For the site in this study, the results indicated that uranium occurred (1) with coatings of aluminum–silicon (Al/Si) gel and gypsum, (2) dispersed in the unsaturated zone associated with evaporite-type salts, and (3) sorbed onto organic carbon. The Al/Si gel likely formed when low-pH waters were precipitated during calcite buffering, which in turn retained or precipitated trace amounts of Fe, As, U, V, Ca, and S. Understanding these mechanisms can help guide future laboratory and field-scale efforts in determining long-term uranium release rates to groundwater.

Timing of iceberg scours and massive ice-rafting events in the subtropical North Atlantic

Released July 16, 2021 07:01 EST

2021, Nature Communications (12)

Alan Condron, Jenna C. Hill

High resolution seafloor mapping shows extraordinary evidence that massive (>300 m thick) icebergs once drifted >5,000 km south along the eastern United States, with >700 iceberg scours now identified south of Cape Hatteras. Here we report on sediment cores collected from several buried scours that show multiple plow marks align with Heinrich Event 3 (H3), ~31,000 years ago. Numerical glacial iceberg simulations indicate that the transport of icebergs to these sites occurs during massive, but short-lived, periods of elevated meltwater discharge. Transport of icebergs to the subtropics, away from deep water formation sites, may explain why H3 was associated with only a modest increase in ice-rafting across the subpolar North Atlantic, and implies a complex relationship between freshwater forcing and climate change. Stratigraphy from subbottom data across the scour marks shows there are additional features that are both older and younger, and may align with other periods of elevated meltwater discharge.

Mapping of suspended sediment transport using acoustic methods in a Pantanal tributary

Released July 15, 2021 18:24 EST

2021, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (193)

Liege F.K. Wosiacki, Hugo Koji Suekame, Molly S. Wood, Fabio Verissimo Goncalves, Tobias Bleninger

Generally, fluvial systems are used for different objectives including energy production, water supply, recreation, and navigation. Thus, many impacts must be considered with their use. An understanding of sediment dynamics in fluvial systems is often of value for a variety of objectives, given that erosion and depositional processes can change the fluvial system morphology and can substantially alter the fluvial environment. In this sense, sediment monitoring is important because it helps to explain and quantify sediment dynamics in the environment. Hence, this study presents an innovative sediment monitoring technique: the use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler, commonly used to obtain discharge measurements, to obtain suspended sediment concentration (SSC). This paper aims to describe the application of additional corrections to the ADP-M9 signal to obtain SSC from measurement campaigns that used the ADP only for discharge measurements. The analyses were based on traditional sediment sampling methods and discharge measurements, with the ADP-M9, from 7 field campaigns at the Taquari River, a major tributary from the Alto Paraguay Basin, in the Pantanal Biome, known as the largest freshwater wetland system in the world. The correlation was assessed considering the following: (a) the equipment frequency operation mode (Smart Pulse or Fixed Frequency) and (b) by checking the influence of the sediment attenuation coefficient. Furthermore, extrapolation was conducted in filtered and unmeasured areas of the ADP to map the suspended sediment concentration over the entire cross section. Results indicate that ADP correlations can be an effective tool for estimating SSC in the Taquari River when samples cannot be collected. Correlations could be applied to past and future ADP measurements made at the location where the correlation was created, as long as similar environmental conditions are present as when the correlation was developed. The described technique can expand the amount of sediment data available at a monitoring site even with reduced traditional sampling and by leveraging instruments used for other monitoring purposes.

Influence of filter pore size on composition and relative abundance of bacterial communities and select host-specific MST markers in coastal waters of southern Lake Michigan

Released July 15, 2021 18:02 EST

2021, Frontiers in Microbiology (12)

Muruleedhara Byappanahalli, Meredith B. Nevers, Dawn Shively, Cindy H Nakatsu, Julie L. Kinzelman, Mantha S. Phanikumar

Water clarity is often the primary guiding factor in determining whether a prefiltration step is needed to increase volumes processed for a range of microbial endpoints. In this study, we evaluate the effect of filter pore size on the bacterial communities detected by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and incidence of two host-specific microbial source tracking (MST) markers in a range of coastal waters from southern Lake Michigan, using two independent data sets collected in 2015 (bacterial communities) and 2016–2017 (MST markers). Water samples were collected from river, shoreline, and offshore areas. For bacterial communities, each sample was filtered through a 5.0-μm filter, followed by filtration through a 0.22-μm filter, resulting in 70 and 143 filter pairs for bacterial communities and MST markers, respectively. Following DNA extraction, the bacterial communities were compared using 16S rRNA gene amplicons of the V3–V4 region sequenced on a MiSeq Illumina platform. Presence of human (Bacteroides HF183) and gull (Gull2, Catellicoccus marimammalium) host-specific MST markers were detected by qPCR. Actinobacteriota, Bacteroidota, and Proteobacteria, collectively represented 96.9% and 93.9% of the relative proportion of all phyla in the 0.22- and 5.0-μm pore size filters, respectively. There were more families detected in the 5.0-μm pore size filter (368) than the 0.22-μm (228). There were significant differences in the number of taxa between the two filter sizes at all levels of taxonomic classification according to linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect size (LEfSe) with as many as 986 taxa from both filter sizes at LDA effect sizes greater than 2.0. Overall, the Gull2 marker was found in higher abundance on the 5.0-μm filter than 0.22 μm with the reverse pattern for the HF183 marker. This discrepancy could lead to problems with identifying microbial sources of contamination. Collectively, these results highlight the importance of analyzing pre- and final filters for a wide range of microbial endpoints, including host-specific MST markers routinely used in water quality monitoring programs. Analysis of both filters may increase costs but provides more complete genomic data via increased sample volume for characterizing microbial communities in coastal waters.

Optimization of the Idaho National Laboratory water-quality aquifer monitoring network, southeastern Idaho

Released July 15, 2021 07:17 EST

2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5031

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

Long-term monitoring of water-quality data collected from wells at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has provided essential information for delineating the movement of radiochemical and chemical wastes in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer, southeastern Idaho. Since 1949, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, has maintained as many as 200 wells in the INL water-quality monitoring network. A network design tool, distributed as an R package, was developed to evaluate and optimize groundwater monitoring in the existing network based on water-quality data collected at 153 sampling sites since January 1, 1989. The objective of the optimization design tool is to reduce well monitoring redundancy while retaining sufficient data to reliably characterize water-quality conditions in the aquifer. A spatial optimization was used to identify a set of wells whose removal leads to the smallest increase in the deviation between interpolated concentration maps using the existing and reduced monitoring networks while preserving significant long-term trends and seasonal components in the data. Additionally, a temporal optimization was used to identify reductions in sampling frequencies by minimizing the redundancy in sampling events.

Spatial optimization uses an islands genetic algorithm to identify near-optimal network designs removing 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 wells from the existing monitoring network. With this method, choosing a greater number of wells to remove results in greater cost savings and decreased accuracy of the average relative difference between interpolated maps of the reduced-dataset and the full-dataset. The genetic search algorithm identified reduced networks that best capture the spatial patterns of the average concentration plume while preserving long-term temporal trends at individual wells. Concentration data for 10 analyte types are integrated in a single optimization so that all datasets may be evaluated simultaneously. A constituent was selected for inclusion in the spatial optimization problem when the observations were sufficient to (1) establish a two-range variability model, (2) classify at least one concentration time series as a continuous record block, and (3) make a prediction using the quantile-kriging interpolation method. The selected constituents include sodium, chloride, sulfate, nitrate, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1-dichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tritium, strontium-90, and plutonium-238.

In temporal optimization, an iterative-thinning method was used to find an optimal sampling frequency for each analyte-well pair. Optimal frequencies indicate that for many of the wells, samples may be collected less frequently and still be able to characterize the concentration over time. The optimization results indicated that the sample-collection interval may be increased by an of average of 273 days owing to temporal redundancy.

Groundwater and surface-water data from the C-aquifer monitoring program, Northeastern Arizona, 2012–2019

Released July 14, 2021 14:13 EST

2021, Open-File Report 2021-1051

Casey J. R. Jones, Michael J. Robinson

The Coconino aquifer (C aquifer) is a regionally extensive multiple-aquifer system supplying water for municipal, agricultural, and industrial use in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah. This report focuses on the C aquifer in the arid to semi-arid area between St. Johns, Ariz., and Flagstaff, Ariz., along the Interstate-40 corridor where an increase in groundwater withdrawals coupled with ongoing drought conditions increase the potential for substantial water-level decline within the aquifer.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) C-aquifer Monitoring Program began in 2005 to establish baseline groundwater and surface-water conditions and to quantify physical and water-chemistry responses to pumping stresses and climate. This report presents data previously reported in Brown and Macy (2012) that extend back as far as the 1950s, along with new data collected from the USGS C-aquifer Monitoring Program since that publication, from water years 2012 to 2019.

Water levels in 17 wells are measured quarterly as part of the C-aquifer Monitoring Program, and five of those are continuously monitored at 15-minute intervals. Water levels in an additional 18 wells in the study area are measured periodically by the USGS or other agencies. The largest historical change in water level in the study area was a decrease of 81.20 feet in Lake Mary 1 Well near Flagstaff between 1962 and 2018. Changes in water levels were greatest around major pumping centers and in the eastern extent of the study area.

Surface-water water-quality parameters (pH, water temperature, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen) and streamflow discharge measurements were collected and analyzed along perennial, groundwater-fed reaches of Clear Creek, Chevelon Creek, and the Little Colorado River during nine baseflow investigations of varying extent between 2005 and 2019. Both Clear Creek and Chevelon Creek gain in flow from the beginning of their perennial reaches to their outflow into the Little Colorado River. The Little Colorado River has relatively steady streamflow in the reach between where the two tributaries enter the river. Chevelon Creek showed an increase in median specific conductance during all baseflow investigations of nearly 4,000 microsiemens per centimeter (μS/cm) from near the headwaters to the confluence with the Little Colorado River; Clear Creek also showed an increase in median specific conductance of almost 5,000 μS/cm from headwaters to confluence. Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH do not show substantial trends along the reaches of Clear Creek, Chevelon Creek, or the Little Colorado River.

Estimation of selected seasonal streamflow statistics representative of 1930–2002 in West Virginia

Released July 14, 2021 13:15 EST

2010, Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5185

Jeffrey B. Wiley, John T. Atkins

Regional equations and procedures were developed for estimating seasonal 1-day 10-year, 7-day 10-year, and 30-day 5-year hydrologically based low-flow frequency values for unregulated streams in West Virginia. Regional equations and procedures also were developed for estimating the seasonal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency harmonic-mean flows and the 50-percent flow-duration values. The seasons were defined as winter (January 1-March 31), spring (April 1-June 30), summer (July 1-September 30), and fall (October 1-December 31). Regional equations were developed using ordinary least squares regression using statistics from 117 U.S. Geological Survey continuous streamgage stations as dependent variables and basin characteristics as independent variables. Equations for three regions in West Virginia-North, South-Central, and Eastern Panhandle Regions-were determined. Drainage area, average annual precipitation, and longitude of the basin centroid are significant independent variables in one or more of the equations. The average standard error of estimates for the equations ranged from 12.6 to 299 percent. Procedures developed to estimate the selected seasonal streamflow statistics in this study are applicable only to rural, unregulated streams within the boundaries of West Virginia that have independent variables within the limits of the stations used to develop the regional equations: drainage area from 16.3 to 1,516 square miles in the North Region, from 2.78 to 1,619 square miles in the South-Central Region, and from 8.83 to 3,041 square miles in the Eastern Panhandle Region; average annual precipitation from 42.3 to 61.4 inches in the South-Central Region and from 39.8 to 52.9 inches in the Eastern Panhandle Region; and longitude of the basin centroid from 79.618 to 82.023 decimal degrees in the North Region. All estimates of seasonal streamflow statistics are representative of the period from the 1930 to the 2002 climatic year.

Estimating selected streamflow statistics representative of 1930–2002 in West Virginia

Released July 14, 2021 13:05 EST

2008, Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5105

Jeffrey B. Wiley

Regional equations and procedures were developed for estimating 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, and 30-day 2-year; 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, and 30-day 5-year; and 1-, 3-, 7-, 14-, and 30-day 10-year hydrologically based low-flow frequency values for unregulated streams in West Virginia. Regional equations and procedures also were developed for estimating the 1-day, 3-year and 4-day, 3-year biologically based low-flow frequency values; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency harmonic-mean flows; and the 10-, 25-, 50-, 75-, and 90-percent flow-duration values. Regional equations were developed using ordinary least-squares regression using statistics from 117 U.S. Geological Survey continuous streamflow-gaging stations as dependent variables and basin characteristics as independent variables. Equations for three regions in West Virginia - North, South-Central, and Eastern Panhandle - were determined. Drainage area, precipitation, and longitude of the basin centroid are significant independent variables in one or more of the equations. Estimating procedures are presented for determining statistics at a gaging station, a partial-record station, and an ungaged location. Examples of some estimating procedures are presented.

Basin characteristics for selected streamflow-gaging stations in and near West Virginia

Released July 14, 2021 12:30 EST

2008, Open-File Report 2008-1087

Katherine S. Paybins

Basin characteristics have long been used to develop equations describing streamflow. In the past, flow equations used in West Virginia were based on a few hand-calculated basin characteristics. More recently, the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) to generate basin characteristics from existing datasets has refined the process for developing equations to describe flow values in the Mountain State. These basin characteristics are described in this document for streamflow-gaging stations in and near West Virginia. The GIS program developed in ArcGIS Workstation by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI?) used data that included National Elevation Dataset (NED) at 1:24,000 scale, climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), streamlines from the National Hydrologic Dataset (NHD), and LandSat-based land-cover data (NLCD) for the period 1999-2003. Full automation of data generation was not achieved due to some inaccuracies in the elevation dataset, as well as inaccuracies in the streamflow-gage locations retrieved from the National Water Information System (NWIS). A Pearson?s correlation examination of the data indicates that several of the basin characteristics are correlated with drainage area. However, the GIS-generated data provide a consistent and documented set of basin characteristics for resource managers and researchers to use.

Long-term year-round observations of magmatic CO2 emissions on Mammoth Mountain, California, USA

Released July 14, 2021 08:37 EST

2021, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (418)

Jennifer L. Lewicki

Diffuse emission of magmatic CO2 is one of the main indicators of volcanic unrest at Mammoth Mountain, but the presence of deep seasonal snowpack at the site has hindered year-round CO2 flux observations. A permanent eddy covariance station was established at the largest area of diffuse CO2 degassing on Mammoth Mountain (Horseshoe Lake tree kill) that measured CO2 fluxes (Fc) and meteorological parameters on a half-hourly basis. From July 22, 2014 to May 24, 2020, Fc ranged from −35 to 10,546 g m−2 d−1. Fc decreased on average by 53% over the study period, tracking the long-term decline in CO2 emissions following the last major increase that occurred at the Horseshoe Lake tree kill area from 2009 to 2011. Statistical and spectral analyses were applied to the Fc and ancillary meteorological parameter time series to understand (1) relationships between these parameters, (2) their dominant periodicities, and (3) changes in Fc that may be unexplained by meteorological forcing. Variations in detrended Fc (Fcdt) were most strongly correlated with wind direction and atmospheric temperature, followed by atmospheric pressure on diurnal to annual time scales, but wind direction likely exerted the most direct control on Fcdt. Comparison of the smoothed (180-d span) Fcdt time series to the time series of average-daily snow water equivalent measured ~1 km away suggested that snowpack may have suppressed CO2 emissions. No evidence of a change in CO2 emissions related to the last major seismic swarm beneath Mammoth Mountain on February 2–18, 2014 was observed.

    Urbanization impacts on evapotranspiration across various spatio-temporal scales

    Released July 14, 2021 07:55 EST

    2021, Earth's Future (9)

    Amirhossein Mazrooei, Meredith Reitz, Dingbao Wang, A. Sankarasubramanian

    Urbanization has been shown to locally increase the nighttime temperatures creating urban heat islands, which partly arise due to evapotranspiration (ET) reduction. It is unclear how the direction and magnitude of the change in local ET due to urbanization varies globally across different climatic regimes. This knowledge gap is critical, both for the key role of ET in the energy and water balance accounting for the majority of local precipitation, and for reducing the urban heat island effect. We explore and assess the impacts of urbanization on monthly and mean annual ET across a range of landscapes from local to global spatial scales. Remotely sensed land cover and ET available at 1 km resolution are used to quantify the differences in ET between urban and surrounding non-urban areas across the globe. The observed patterns show that the statistically significant difference between urban and non-urban ET can be estimated to first order as a function of local hydroclimate, with arid regions seeing increased ET, and humid regions showing decreased ET. Cities under cold climates also evaporate more than their non-urban surroundings during the winter, as the urban micro-climate has increased energy availability resulting from human activities. Increased ET in arid cities arises from municipal water withdrawals and increased irrigation during drought conditions. These results can help inform planners to improve the integration of environmental conditions into the design and management of urban landscapes.

    Influence of invasive submerged aquatic vegetation (E. densa) on currents and sediment transport in a freshwater tidal system

    Released July 14, 2021 06:57 EST

    2021, Water Resources Research

    Jessica R. Lacy, Madeline R. Foster-Martinez, Rachel M. Allen, Judith Z. Drexler

    We present a field study combining measurements of vegetation density, vegetative drag, and reduction of suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) within patches of the invasive submerged aquatic plant Egeria densa. Our study was motivated by concern that sediment trapping by E. densa, which has proliferated in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, is impacting marsh accretion and reducing turbidity. In the freshwater tidal Delta, E. densa occupies shallow regions, frequently along channel margins. We investigated two sites: Lindsey Slough, a muddy low-energy backwater, and the lower Mokelumne River, with stronger currents and sandy bed sediments. At the two sites biomass density, frontal area, and areal density of the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) were similar. Current attenuation within E. densa exceeded 90% and the vegetative drag coefficient followed urn:x-wiley:00431397:media:wrcr25436:wrcr25436-math-0001, where urn:x-wiley:00431397:media:wrcr25436:wrcr25436-math-0002 is stem Reynolds number. The SAV reduced SSC by an average of 18% in Lindsey Slough. At Mokelumne River the reduction ranged 0–40%, with greatest trapping when discharge and SSC were elevated. This depletion of SSC decreases the transport of sediment to marshes by the same percentage, as the rising tide must pass through fringing SAV before reaching marshes. Sediment trapping in E. densa in the Delta is limited by low flux through the canopy and low settling velocity of suspended sediment (mostly flocculated mud). Sediment trapping by SAV has the potential to reduce channel SSC, but the magnitude and sign of the effect can vary with local factors including vegetative coverage and the depositional or erosional nature of the setting.

    Optimization of salt marsh management at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, New York, through use of structured decision making

    Released July 13, 2021 15:50 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1070

    Hilary A. Neckles, James E. Lyons, Jessica L. Nagel, Susan C. Adamowicz, Toni Mikula, Monica R. Williams

    Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total benefit achieved and balances tradeoffs among objectives. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing tidal marsh management decisions at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex in New York. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of five marsh management units within the refuge complex and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that could be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per marsh management unit, that could maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge-complex scale. Results indicated that, for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits may increase consistently up to about $24,000, but that further expenditures may yield diminishing return on investment. Potential management actions in optimal portfolios at total costs less than $24,000 consistently included approaches for increasing drainage from the marsh surface within the marsh management units. The potential management benefits were derived from expected improvements in surface-water drainage and capacity for marsh elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise, and presumed increases in numbers of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health) and tidal marsh obligate birds. The prototype presented here does not resolve management decisions; rather, it provides a framework for decision making at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex that can be updated as new data and information become available. Insights from this process may also be useful to inform future habitat management planning at the refuges.

    Spatial and temporal distribution of radio-tagged Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers in Clear Lake Reservoir and associated spawning tributaries, Northern California, 2015–17

    Released July 13, 2021 13:15 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1061

    Nathan Banet, David A. Hewitt, Amari Dolan-Caret, Alta C. Harris

    Executive Summary

    Data from a multi-year radio telemetry study were used to assess seasonal distribution patterns for two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids across substantially different water conditions in Clear Lake Reservoir, northern California. Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers, two species endemic to the Klamath Basin, were implanted with radio transmitters in each of 3 years in an effort to expand our understanding of seasonal sucker movements within the reservoir and their migrations in spawning tributaries. Clear Lake Reservoir and its tributaries are part of a critical management unit within the Lost River Basin Recovery Unit for populations of Lost River and shortnose suckers. We documented residency and migratory behaviors and how behaviors were affected by lake surface elevations and water management practices.

    Adult suckers were captured during autumn trammel net sampling in the west lobe of the reservoir and implanted with internal radio transmitters. A total of 163 suckers were radio-tagged (75 in 2014, 64 in 2015, and 24 in 2016); 27 more shortnose suckers were tagged than Lost River suckers to reflect the larger population of shortnose suckers in the reservoir. Sex ratios were approximately equal for each species. Aerial telemetry surveys were used to monitor radio-tagged fish from January 20 to December 2 each year and to document the upstream extent of spawning migrations in the tributaries. Surveys were scheduled more frequently during the spawning season (February–June) when suckers are known to move out of the reservoir and into spawning tributaries.

    Arizona and Landsat

    Released July 13, 2021 11:47 EST

    2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3039

    U.S. Geological Survey

    Arizona is a land of massive grandeur, deep gorges, lofty mountains, immense plains, and elevated mesas—and, without question, its crown jewel is the Grand Canyon. The spectacular canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, was created when the Colorado River carved a channel through northern Arizona, revealing nearly two billion years of the Earth's history (National Park Service, 2019).

    Yet, for all its ancient beauty, Arizona and its landscapes are experiencing a transformation.

    Arizonans face more extreme temperatures and drought because of climate change. Amid a drought in the western United States, Lake Mead, one of Arizona's main water resources, dropped to a record low level in June 2021. Climate change is making extreme weather events such as dust storms and heat waves more common, posing higher risks to human health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    An efficient method to calculate depth-integrated, phase-averaged momentum balances in non-hydrostatic models

    Released July 13, 2021 09:05 EST

    2021, Ocean Modelling (165)

    Renan F. da Silva, Dirk P. Rijnsdorp, Jeff E. Hansen, Ryan J. Lowe, Mark L. Buckley, Marcel Zijlema

    Analysis of the mean (wave-averaged) momentum balance is a common approach used to explain the physical forcing driving wave set-up and mean currents in the nearshore zone. Traditionally this approach has been applied to phase-averaged models but has more recently been applied to phase-resolving models using post-processing, whereby model output is used to calculate each of the momentum terms. While phase-resolving models have the advantage of capturing the nonlinear properties of waves propagating in the nearshore (making them advantageous to enhance understanding of nearshore processes), the post-processing calculation of the momentum terms does not guarantee that the momentum balance closes. We show that this is largely due to the difficulty (or impossibility) of being consistent with the numerical approach. If the residual is of a similar magnitude as any of the relevant momentum terms (which is common with post-processing methods as we show), the analysis is largely compromised. Here we present a new method to internally calculate and extract the depth-integrated, mean momentum terms in the phase-resolving non-hydrostatic wave-flow model SWASH in a manner that is consistent with the numerical implementation. Further, we demonstrate the utility of the new method with two existing physical model studies. By being consistent with the numerical framework, the internal method calculates the momentum terms with a much lower residual at computer precision, combined with greatly reduced calculation time and output storage requirements compared to post-processing techniques. The method developed here allows the accurate evaluation of the depth-integrated, mean momentum terms of wave-driven flows while taking advantage of the more complete representation of the wave dynamics offered by phase-resolving models. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for advances in the understanding of nearshore processes particularly at more complex sites where wave nonlinearity and energy transfers are important.

    Optimizing preservation for multiple types of historic structures under climate change

    Released July 12, 2021 06:41 EST

    2021, Landscape and Urban Planning (214)

    Xiao Xiao, Erin Seekamp, Junyu Lu, Mitchell Eaton, Max Post van der Burg

    Cultural resources in coastal parks and recreation areas are vulnerable to climate change. The US National Park Service (NPS) is facing the challenge of insufficient budget allocations for both maintenance and climate adaptation of historic structures. Research on adaptation planning for cultural resources has predominately focused on vulnerability assessments of heritage sites; however, few studies integrate multiple factors (e.g., vulnerability, cultural significance, use potential, and costs) that managers should consider when making tradeoff decisions about which cultural resources to prioritize for adaptation. Moreover, heritage sites typically include multiple types of cultural resources, and researchers have yet to examine such complex tradeoffs. This study applies the Optimal Preservation (OptiPres) Model as a decision support framework to evaluate the tradeoffs of adaptation actions among multiple types of historic structures—wooden buildings, masonry and concrete buildings, forts, and batteries—under varying budget scenarios. Results suggest that the resource values of different types of historic structures vary greatly under a range of budget scenarios, and tradeoffs have to be made among different types of historical structures to achieve optimal planning objectives. Moreover, periodic, incremental funding and partial maintenance are identified as optimal funding strategies for preservation needs of cost-intensive historic structures. Also, adaptative use of historical buildings (e.g., building occupancy) can improve the resource values when budgets are constrained. The OptiPres Model provides managers with a unique framework to inform adaptation planning efforts for a broad range of historic structures, which is transferable across coastal parks to enhance historic preservation planning under climate change.

    Leveraging existing technology: Developing a trusted digital repository for the U.S. Geological Survey

    Released July 11, 2021 13:48 EST

    2021, International Journal of Digital Curation (16)

    Vivian B. Hutchison, Tamar Norkin, Madison Langseth, Drew Ignizio, Lisa Zolly, Ricardo McClees-Funinan, Amanda N. Liford

    As Federal Government agencies in the United States pivot to increase access to scientific data (Sheehan, 2016), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has made substantial progress (Kriesberg et al., 2017). USGS authors are required to make federally funded data publicly available in an approved data repository (USGS, 2016b). This type of public data product, known as a USGS data release, serves as a method for publishing reviewed and approved data. In this paper, we present major milestones in the approach the USGS took to transition an existing technology platform to a Trusted Digital Repository. We describe both the technical and the non-technical actions that contributed to a successful outcome.We highlight how initial workflows revealed patterns that were later automated, and the ways in which assessments and user feedback influenced design and implementation. The paper concludes with lessons learned, such as the importance of a community of practice, application programming interface (API)-driven technologies, iterative development, and user-centered design. This paper is intended to offer a potential roadmap for organizations pursuing similar goals.

    The Miocene stratigraphy of the Laberinto area (Río Ica Valley) and its bearing on the geological history of the East Pisco Basin (south-central Peru)

    Released July 10, 2021 06:52 EST

    2021, South American Journal of Earth Sciences

    Thomas J. Devries, John A. Barron, Mario Urbina-Schmitt, Diana Ochoa, Raúl Esperante, Lawrence W Snee

    Global sea-level changes and substantial vertical displacement along the Monte Grande Fault (MGF) in the lower Río Ica Valley of south-central Peru influenced the accumulation of bioclast-bearing and diatom-bearing Miocene siliciclastic sediments in an area of the East Pisco forearc basin (EPB) colloquially known as Laberinto. Two depositional hiatuses in the Laberinto area (∼17–14 Ma, ∼12.5–10 Ma) manifest as sediment-filled erosional depressions a few kilometers in breadth. Erosion of the older depression was preceded by an ∼18-Ma massive debris flow, possibly triggered by motion on the MGF causing lower Miocene lithoclastic olistoliths of up to two hundred meters length to spill off the footwall block. Sediment shed from the same footwall block may have formed previously recognized early Miocene deltas. From 14–13 Ma, the older depression filled with sediments herein assigned to the provisionally named Laberinto, Pampa, and Naranja members of the Pisco Formation, the latter member being characterized by marine delta foreset beds. The three members are at least partly correlative with the Pisco-0 sequence of the Pisco Formation. The younger depression was overrun at 10 Ma by debris flows of lithoclastic and granitic cobbles and boulders, then filled with diatomaceous silty sand with five-meter-sized lithoclastic olistoliths. The two lithologies constitute the provisionally named Mature Formation. Radiometric and newly revised biochronological data from throughout the EPB coupled with new diatom data from the Laberinto area have provided new insights into the correlation of sequences within the Chilcatay and Pisco formations and the interaction of local and basin-wide tectonism and global eustatic sea-level events across the basin.

    Genetic structure and diversity of the mustard hill coral Porites astreoides along the Florida Keys reef tract

    Released July 09, 2021 12:10 EST

    2021, Marine Biodiversity Records (51)

    Dominique N. Gallery, Michelle L. Green, Ilsa B. Kuffner, Elizabeth A. Lenz, Lauren T. Toth

    Increases in local and global stressors have led to major declines in coral populations throughout the western Atlantic. While abundances of other species have declined, however, the relative abundance of the mustard hill coral, Porites astreoides, has increased. Porites astreoides is relatively resilient to some stressors, and because of its mixed reproductive strategies, its populations often recover quickly following disturbances. The ability for P. astreoides to continue as a potential “winner” in western Atlantic reefs relies on maintaining sufficient genetic variation within populations to support acclimatization and adaptation to current and future environmental change. Without high genetic diversity and gene flow within the population, it would have limited capacity for adaptation and the species’ competitive advantages could be short-lived. In this study, we determined the genetic relatedness of 37 P. astreoides colonies at four shallow reefs along the offshore Florida Keys Reef Tract (FKRT), a region particularly hard-hit by recent disturbances. Using previously designed microsatellite markers, we determined the genetic diversity and connectivity of individuals among and between sites. Our results suggest that the FKRT likely contains a single, well-mixed genetic population of P. astreoides, with high levels of gene flow and evidence for larval migration throughout the region. This suggests that regional populations of P. astreoides likely have a higher chance of maintaining resilience than many other western Atlantic species as they face current and future disturbances.

    Instruments, methods, rationale, and derived data used to quantify and compare the trapping efficiencies of four types of pressure-difference bedload samplers

    Released July 09, 2021 11:55 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1064

    John R. Gray, Gregory E. Schwarz, David J. Dean, Jonathan A. Czuba, Joel T. Groten

    Bedload and ancillary data were collected to calculate and compare the bedload trapping efficiencies of four types of pressure-difference bedload samplers as part of episodic, sediment-recirculating flume experiments at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in January–March 2006. The bedload-sampler experiments, which were conceived, organized, and led by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Office of Surface Water, were part of a broader suite of experiments performed in the rectangular, concrete-lined, sediment-recirculating Main Channel Facility (“main channel flume”). Collectively referred to as “StreamLab06,” the experiments were conducted under the auspices of the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota.

    Four pressure-difference-type bedload samplers—a standard Helley-Smith, US BLH-84, Elwha, and Toutle River-2—were deployed by using hand-held rods in the main flume in a series of trials during steady flows as part of the first two of seven phases of the StreamLab06 experiments. The Phase I flows were released over a sand bed. Gravel composed the bed during the Phase II flows. Bedload samples were collected during flows ranging from 2.0 cubic meters per second (near the incipient motion of bed material) to 5.5 cubic meters per second. A total of 2,030 bedload samples were collected—1,000 as part of 19 sand-bed trials, and 1,030 as part of 27 gravel-bed trials.

    Bedload was captured in five contiguous weigh drums inside a slot spanning the full width of the main flume channel 8.5 meters downstream from the cross-section in which the bedload samplers were deployed. The contents of each drum were automatically weighed and recorded as a time series about every 1.1 seconds. Each drum automatically, independently, and episodically dumped its contents into the bottom of the slot upon the accumulation of a pre-determined mass of entrapped sediment, after which the drum continued to capture and weigh bedload. An auger at the bottom of the slot evacuated the accumulating sediment to a side-channel pump that piped the captured sediments upstream and discharged them back to the flume.

    Bedload-transport rates were calculated from measurements of the masses of material trapped by the bedload samplers and from the data produced by the automated bedload capture-and-weigh system of the main channel flume. These data were used to compute at-a-point and mean bedload-transport rates for subsequent use in developing bedload-trapping efficiency (calibration) coefficients for each bedload sampler and for comparing the relative trapping efficiencies of the manually deployed bedload samplers. The data were collected to enable the use of several computational methods for deriving bedload-trapping coefficients.

    Continuous ancillary data including stage, water discharge, and water temperature were automatically collected and stored. Flow depths were manually measured and recorded concurrent with each at-a-point bedload-sampler deployment. Other information obtained during parts of the experiments included longitudinal water-surface slope, bedload particle-size distributions, and suspended-sediment concentrations and percent sand analyzed from samples collected by depth integration with a US DH-48 isokinetic suspended-sediment sampler.

    This report describes the types and availability of the bedload and ancillary data derived through the StreamLab06 experiments. The data are available from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey through a data release. Also included are selected descriptive and historical information as well as the background, experimental design, experimental caveats, and other factors relevant to the production of the bedload-transport and ancillary data produced through Phases I and II of the StreamLab06 experiments.

    Occurrence and distribution of mercury in streams and reservoirs in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, July 2007–June 2009

    Released July 09, 2021 08:49 EST

    2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5027

    Anna M. McKee, Sharon Fitzgerald, Mary J. Giorgino

    During the time period 2001–2006, the U.S. Geological Survey reported mercury-concentration measurements that exceeded the North Carolina water-quality criterion (NCWQC) of 0.012 microgram per liter for total recoverable mercury in streams and reservoirs across the Triangle Area of North Carolina. Mercury data were sparse, however, generally consisting of only one or two water samples per year. Additional monitoring and data analysis were needed to better determine the occurrence and distribution of mercury in the Triangle Area for all seasons and waterbody types as well as associations between mercury concentrations and water-quality and land-use parameters. Water at fifteen reservoir and 14 stream sites across the Triangle Area was sampled at various times between August 2007 and June 2009, with water samples collected from both the surfaces and bottoms of the water columns in reservoirs and from the surfaces of streams. A bed sediment sample was also collected at all reservoir sites and at all but one stream site. A total of 301 water samples was collected at reservoir sites. Filtered and total recoverable mercury were detected in at least one water sample collected from each reservoir site. A total of 77 water samples was collected from stream sites with filtered mercury detected in samples from one-half of these sites, and total recoverable mercury detected in at least one water sample from all but two sites. Total recoverable and filtered mercury concentrations exceeded the NCWQC for mercury more frequently in reservoir than in stream samples. Differences in sampling frequencies among seasons and between streams and reservoirs, however, may have negatively biased overall estimates of mercury concentrations in streams relative to reservoirs. Filtered mercury concentrations in surface-water samples from reservoirs and total recoverable mercury concentrations in bottom samples from reservoirs were highest in the fall, whereas no seasonal trends in filtered or total recoverable mercury were detected from stream samples. Total mercury concentrations were calculated for the bulk sample on the basis of the percentage of the grains in the bulk sample whose diameters that were smaller than 0.0625 millimeters. Total mercury concentrations in bed sediment were generally higher for samples from reservoir sites compared to streams sites, although the highest total mercury concentration in bed sediment was from a stream site. Concentrations of total recoverable mercury in water samples from stream sites all fell within the general range for streams and lakes without on-site significant anthropogenic sources (for example, mercury mines or industrial pollution), whereas samples collected from eight reservoir sites had total mercury concentrations in a range characteristic of sites affected by mercury mines or industrial pollution. Results suggested that litterfall may be a source of mercury in streams, whereas atmospheric deposition is likely a dominant source for reservoirs; however, high concentrations of filtered and total recoverable mercury concentrations in the fall season in some reservoir-water samples may warrant further analysis of potential hydrologic factors. Mercury concentrations in all water and bed sediment samples were below levels expected to cause adverse effects to humans and aquatic biota, indicating that mercury levels at the study sites in the Triangle Area were unlikely to cause an immediate health risk to humans or aquatic organisms. The high variability among several sample replicates for total recoverable mercury, however, indicated that inferences from total recoverable mercury concentrations can be tenuous.

    Hydraulic modeling at selected dam-removal and culvert-retrofit sites in the northeastern United States

    Released July 08, 2021 16:19 EST

    2021, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5056

    Scott A. Olson, Caelan E. Simeone

    Aquatic connectivity projects, such as removing dams and modifying culverts, have substantial benefits. The restoration of natural flow conditions improves water quality, sediment transport, aquatic and riparian habitat, and fish passage. These projects can also decrease hazards faced by communities by lowering water-surface elevations of flood waters and by removing the risk of dam breaches associated with aging or inadequate infrastructure.

    This report documents and provides results of one- and two-dimensional hydraulic models developed for selected rivers and streams in the northeastern United States where a dam was removed or a culvert was retrofitted. The models were developed for conditions before and after the dam removal or culvert modification. The discharges applied in the models included monthly discharges and flood discharges for the annual exceedance probabilities of 50, 20, 10, 4, 2, 1, 0.5, and 0.2 percent.

    This study, by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, demonstrates the benefits resulting from dam removal and retrofitting undersized culverts in terms of decreased water-surface elevations during flooding and improved fish passage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System was used to model the sites in one- and two-dimensional hydraulics, and decreases in the 1-percent annual exceedance probability discharge water-surface elevation were found at all sites studied. The decreases in water-surface elevation at sites in which the impoundment was removed ranged from 1.3 to 10.4 feet. One site, Bradford Dam in Westerly, Rhode Island, had only a 0.2-foot decrease, but at that site the dam was replaced by a series of weirs to retain the upstream impoundment and allow fish passage.

    Minimal differences were found between the water-surface elevations computed by the one- and two-dimensional models. The two-dimensional models, however, provide the additional benefit of detailed velocity and depth data throughout the channel at a resolution not possible with a one-dimensional model. These velocity and depth data allowed for assessment of the suitability for fish passage at the sites. Fish passage was improved at all the sites by removing the dams and retrofitting the culvert. Prolonged swim velocity criteria for selected fish species were maintained throughout three of the nine study sites, and burst swim velocity criteria were met at all study sites.

    Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean area, 2020

    Released July 08, 2021 12:30 EST

    2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3032

    Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Thomas M. Finn, Cheryl A. Woodall, Kristen R. Marra, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, 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 879 million barrels of conventional oil and 286.2 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas in the eastern Mediterranean area.

    Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Released July 08, 2021 11:50 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1071

    Katherine R. Barnhart, Ryan P. Jones, David L. George, Jeffrey A. Coe, Dennis M. Staley

    We simulated the concurrent rapid motion of landslides on an unstable slope at Barry Arm, Alaska. Movement of landslides into the adjacent fjord displaced fjord water and generated a tsunami, which propagated out of Barry Arm. Rather than assuming an initial sea surface height, velocity, and location for the tsunami, we generated the tsunami directly using a model capable of simulating the dynamics of both water and landslide material. The fjord below most of the landslide source area was occupied by the Barry Glacier until about 2012; therefore, our direct simulation of tsunami generation by landslide motion required new topographic and bathymetric data, which was collected in 2020. The topographic data also constrained landslide geometries and volumes. We considered four scenarios based on two landslide volumes and two landslide mobilities—a more mobile, contractive landslide and a less mobile, noncontractive landslide. The larger of the two volumes is 689 × 106 cubic meters (m3)—larger than the volume estimate in a previous study—and reflects the largest plausible volume given current observational data. The considered scenario that generated the largest wave heights resulted in forecast wave heights of over 200 meters (m) in the northern part of Barry Arm, adjacent to the landslide source area and runup on the opposite fjord wall in excess of 500 m. Simulated wave heights in excess of 5 m in southern Barry Arm and in Harriman Fjord occurred within 10–15 minutes (min) of landslide motion. The simulated tsunami reached Whittier, Alaska, approximately 20 min after initial rapid landslide motion, with peak heights of just over 2 m in Passage Fjord, 500 m offshore Whittier, occurring 26 min after initial rapid motion. Time of peak wave heights was consistent with previous modeling. Although results are preliminary and can be refined with additional observations and analyses, they provide a refined assessment of the upper bound of the hazard presented by the Barry Arm landslides. The results herein support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Tsunami Warning Center mission to detect, forecast, and warn for tsunamis in Alaska.

    Investigation of scale-dependent groundwater/surface-water exchange in rivers by gradient self-potential logging: Numerical modeling and field experiments

    Released July 08, 2021 07:06 EST

    2021, Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (26)

    Scott Ikard, Martin Briggs, John W. Lane

    Exchanges of groundwater and surface-water are fundamental to a wide range of water-supply and water-quality management issues but challenging to map beyond the reach scale. Waterborne gradient self-potential (SP) measurements are directly sensitive to water flow through riverbed sediments and can be used to infer exchange locations, direction (gain versus loss), scale, and relative changes, but to date applications to river corridor hydrology are limited. Numerical modeling and field experiments were therefore performed herein, each emphasizing waterborne gradient SP logging for identifying and locating focused vertical groundwater discharge (surface-water gain) and recharge (surface-water loss) in a river. Two and three-dimensional numerical models were constructed to simulate the polarities, appearances, and peak amplitudes of streaming-potential and electric-field anomalies on a riverbed and in the surface-water that were attributable to steady-state vertical fluxes of groundwater through high-permeability conduits in the riverbed. Effects of varied hydraulic length-scale of exchange and surface-water depth were tested through numerical modeling. Modeling results aided in data acquisition and interpretation for three repeated field experiments performed along a 1.5–2.0 km reach of the Quashnet River in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where focused, meter-scale groundwater discharges occur at discrete locations within otherwise ubiquitous and more diffuse groundwater upwelling conditions. Strong gradient SP anomalies were repeatedly measured in the Quashnet River at previously confirmed locations of focused groundwater discharge, showing the efficacy of waterborne gradient SP logging in identifying and characterizing groundwater/surface water exchange dynamics at multiple river network scales.

    A bayesian nonparametric approach to unmixing detrital geochronologic data

    Released July 08, 2021 06:58 EST

    2021, Mathematical Geosciences

    John R. Tipton, Glenn R. Sharman, Samuel A. Johnstone

    Sedimentary deposits constitute the primary record of changing environmental conditions that have acted on Earth’s surface over geologic time. Clastic material is eroded from source locations (parents) in sediment routing systems and deposited at sink locations (children). Both parents and children have characteristics that vary across many different dimensions, including grain size, chemical composition, and the geochronologic age of constituent detrital minerals. During transport, sediment from different parents is mixed together to form a child, which in turn may serve as the parent for other sediment farther down-system or later in time when buried sediment is exhumed. The distribution of detrital mineral ages observed in parent and child sediments allows for investigation of the proportion of each parent in the child sediment, which reflects the properties of the sediment routing system. To model the proportion of dates in a child sample that comes from each of the parent distributions, we use a Bayesian mixture of Dirichlet processes. This model enables us to estimate the mixing proportions with associated uncertainty while making minimal assumptions. We also present an extension to the model whereby we reconstruct unobserved parent distributions from multiple observed child distributions using mixtures of Dirichlet processes. The model accounts for uncertainty in both the number of mineral formation events that constitute each parent distribution and the mixing proportions of each parent distribution that constitutes a child distribution. To demonstrate the model, we perform analyses using simulated data where the true age distribution is known as well as using a real-world case study from the coast of central California, USA.

    Distributed memory parallel groundwater modeling for the Netherlands Hydrological Instrument

    Released July 08, 2021 06:56 EST

    2021, Environmental Software & Modelling (143)

    Jarno Verkaik, Joseph D. Hughes, P.E.V van Walsum, G.H.P. Oude Essink, H.X. Lin, M.F.P. Bierkens

    Worldwide, billions of people rely on fresh groundwater reserves for their domestic, agricultural and industrial water use. Extreme droughts and excessive groundwater pumping put pressure on water authorities in maintaining sustainable water usage. High-resolution integrated models are valuable assets in supporting them. The Netherlands Hydrological Instrument (NHI) provides the Dutch water authorities with open source modeling software and data. However, NHI integrated groundwater models often require long run times and large memory usage, therefore strongly limiting their application. As a solution, we present a distributed memory parallelization, focusing on the National Hydrological Model. Depending on the level of integration, we show that significant speedups can be obtained up to two orders of magnitude. As far as we know, this is the first reported integrated groundwater parallelization of an operational hydrological model used for national-scale integrated water management and policy making. The parallel model code and data are freely available.

    Fluid flow, solution collapse, and massive dissolution at detachment faults, Mormon Mountains, Nevada

    Released July 07, 2021 13:35 EST

    2010, Book chapter, Miocene tectonics of the Lake Mead Region, central basin and range

    Sharon F. Diehl, R. Ernest Anderson, J. D. Humphrey

    Paul J. Umhoefer, L. Sue Beard, Melissa Lamb, editor(s)

    Dissolution has removed large volumes of rock at low-angle normal faults, i.e., detachment faults, in the Mormon Mountains and the Tule Springs Hills in the eastern Basin and Range Province, southeastern Nevada. Evidence for major dissolution includes widespread solution-collapse breccias, meter-scale stylolite structures, and high-angle accommodation faults that terminate at or merge with dissolution seams. Chemically reactive fluids moving along the fault zones led to a strong depletion of 18O in the detachment fault breccias (e.g., a δ18O decrease of 8‰ relative to the unaltered rocks). These strong chemical shifts, demonstrated by (1) negative oxygen isotope values and (2) steep compositional gradients marked by metal enrichment in elements such as Au, Ag, Ti, Pb, Zn, and Cu, are generally restricted to the narrow (<1 m to 8 m) microbreccia zones.

    Extensional faulting and fracturing, accompanying regional uplift, opened conduits for the influx of meteoric waters from above and hydrothermal fluids from below. As the largest, most permeable structures that formed during uplift, detachment faults focused the fluid flow. In this deformation and hydrogeologic model, dissolution-caused stratal thinning is a major complement to detachment faulting and is an important process that resolves void space issues in the reconstruction of cross section.

    Effect of backwatering a streamgage weir on the passage performance of adult American Shad (Alosa sapidissima)

    Released July 07, 2021 10:44 EST

    2021, Journal of Ecohydraulics

    Kevin Mulligan, Alexander Haro, John Noreika

    Streamgage designs often include a full-width artificial hydraulic control (e.g., concrete weir) to aid in the computation of streamflow. While important to water resource managers, these weirs also tend to act as full or partial barriers to fish migration, effectively hindering the health and survival of these populations. In this study, we conducted experiments to quantify the effect of head drop and submergence of a common streamgage weir on the passage performance of an important migratory fish species, the American Shad. Three treatment conditions were selected based on the tailwater surface elevation (ElTW): unsubmerged (ElTW = 1.05 m; head drop = 0.46 m), equal to the weir crest (ElTW = 1.20 m; head drop = 0.31 m), and submerged (ElTW = 1.36 m; head drop = 0.15 m). Fish movements were recorded via passive integrated transponder telemetry techniques. Results revealed that the backwatered Columbus-type weir was not a complete barrier at any of the three treatments, but passage was shown to be significantly impaired when the weir was unsubmerged. Passage efficiency for the unsubmerged, equal, and submerged treatments was 20.2 ± 6.2, 49.2 ± 7.2, and 64.2 ± 7.4%. Backwatering a weir, rather than removal or other major alterations that would affect weir calibration, may be an acceptable retrofit to increase fish passage.

    Detrital zircon record of magmatism and sediment dispersal across the North American Cordilleran arc system (28-48°N)

    Released July 07, 2021 09:48 EST

    2021, Earth-Science Reviews (220)

    Theresa Maude Schwartz, Kathleen D. Surpless, Joseph P. Colgan, Samuel A. Johnstone, Christopher S. Holm-Denoma

    As zircon U-Pb geochronology has become a leading method in sediment provenance studies and basin analysis over the past 20 years, the volume of detrital zircon data made available in published literature has enabled researchers to go beyond source-to-sink provenance studies to explore increasingly complex geologic problems. In this review, we utilize the growing body of detrital zircon data acquired from Jurassic-Paleocene forearc and foreland basin strata of the North American Cordillera to investigate the Mesozoic to earliest Cenozoic evolution of the arc and its associated basins between 28°N and 48°N. Our compilation includes 830 detrital zircon samples (101,898 individual ages) from 70 studies published between 2000 and 2020. For comparative purposes, we also compile 1307 igneous zircon U-Pb ages that characterize the magmatic history of the arc. We place primary emphasis on detrital zircon ages between 251 and 56 Ma that we infer to be uniquely derived from magmatic sources in the arc. Informed by existing knowledge of magmatic, structural, and sedimentological processes that acted on the orogen, we investigate spatial and temporal trends in these “arc-derived zircon” to establish a detrital record of arc magmatism, investigate source-to-sink relationships between the arc and adjacent basins, and discuss controls on sediment dispersal across the orogen.

    Our review shows that compilations of detrital zircon data from the Cordilleran forearc and foreland basin systems are excellent proxies for arc magmatism because the basins are enriched in arc-derived zircon and compilations provide space- and time-integrated records of crystallization ages. The compiled detrital zircon data support a history of continuous arc magmatism throughout Mesozoic and earliest Cenozoic time, characterized by low-volume magmatism from Triassic-Early Jurassic time (~251–174 Ma) and episodic higher-volume magmatism from Middle Jurassic-Late Cretaceous time (~174–66 Ma). These trends elucidate the initiation and timing of magmatic events at the orogen-scale and corroborate our understanding of cyclic arc behavior.

    Detrital zircon distributions are spatially and temporally variable both within and across basins, which we discuss relative to topographic development of the orogen and attendant responses of sediment dispersal systems. Detrital zircon distributions in the forearc signal rapid transfer of sediment from the arc to basins dominantly via fluvial processes. In contrast, detrital zircon distributions across the foreland reflect the presence of topographic barriers in the hinterland region of the arc that effectively isolated parts of the foreland. The presence of hinterland topography in turn highlights the important role of ash-fall events in delivering arc-derived zircon to the foreland, underscoring the need to consider ash-fall processes in paleodrainage reconstructions. These broad regional trends, and in general the close linkage between orogenic process and sediment dispersal, emerge from our compilation because it averages out much of the local variability observed in studies of more limited geographic or temporal extent.

    Twenty-first-century projections of shoreline change along inlet-interrupted coastlines

    Released July 07, 2021 06:55 EST

    2021, Nature--Scientific Reports (11)

    Janaka Bamunawala, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Ali Dastgheib, Robert .J. Nichols, A. Brad Murray, Patrick L. Barnard, T. A. J. G. Sirisena, Trang Minh Duong, Suzanne J. M. H. Hulscher, Ad van der Spek

    Sandy coastlines adjacent to tidal inlets are highly dynamic and widespread landforms, where large changes are expected due to climatic and anthropogenic influences. To adequately assess these important changes, both oceanic (e.g., sea-level rise) and terrestrial (e.g., fluvial sediment supply) processes that govern the local sediment budget must be considered. Here, we present novel projections of shoreline change adjacent to 41 tidal inlets around the world, using a probabilistic, reduced complexity, system-based model that considers catchment-estuary-coastal systems in a holistic way. Under the RCP 8.5 scenario, retreat dominates (90% of cases) over the twenty-first century, with projections exceeding 100 m of retreat in two-thirds of cases. However, the remaining systems are projected to accrete under the same scenario, reflecting fluvial influence. This diverse range of response compared to earlier methods implies that erosion hazards at inlet-interrupted coasts have been inadequately characterised to date. The methods used here need to be applied widely to support evidence-based coastal adaptation.

    Effects of season, location, species, and sex on hematologic and plasma biochemical values and body mass in free-ranging Grebes (Aechmophorus species)

    Released July 07, 2021 06:37 EST

    2021, Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery (35) 135-154

    Nancy L Anderson, Susan E. W. De La Cruz, Joseph K Gaydos, Michael H. Ziccardi, Danielle J Harvey

    The effects of season, location, species, and sex on body weight and a comprehensive array of blood chemistry and hematology analytes were compared for free-ranging western (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark's (Aechmophorus clarkii) grebes. Birds (n = 56) were collected from Puget Sound, WA, and Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay, CA, from February 2007 to March 2011. The data supported generalization of observed ranges for most analytes across Aechmophorus grebe metapopulations wintering on the Pacific coast. Notable seasonal and location effects were observed for packed cell volume (winter 6% greater than fall; winter California [CA] 5% greater than Washington [WA]), total white blood cell count (CA 3.57 × 103 cells/µL greater than WA), heterophils (WA 10% greater than CA), lymphocytes (winter 19% greater than fall), heterophil to lymphocyte ratio (fall 5.7 greater than winter), basophils (CA greater than WA), plasma protein (WA about 10 g/L [1.0 g/dL] greater than CA), plasma protein to fibrinogen ratio (winter about 15 greater than fall), potassium (CA 2 mmol/L greater than WA), and liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase: WA greater than CA). Within California, season had a greater effect on body mass than sex (mean winter weights about 200 g greater than fall), whereas within a season, males weighed only about 80 g more than females, on average. These data give biologists and veterinarians quantitative reference values to better assess health at the individual and metapopulation level.

    Temperature variation and host immunity regulate viral persistence in a salmonid host

    Released July 07, 2021 06:33 EST

    2021, Pathogens (10)

    David J. Páez, Rachel L. Powers, Peng Jia, Natalia Ballesteros, Gael Kurath, Kerry A. Naish, Maureen K. Purcell

    Environmental variation has important effects on host–pathogen interactions, affecting large-scale ecological processes such as the severity and frequency of epidemics. However, less is known about how the environment interacts with host immunity to modulate virus fitness within hosts. Here, we studied the interaction between host immune responses and water temperature on the long-term persistence of a model vertebrate virus, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). We first used cell culture methods to factor out strong host immune responses, allowing us to test the effect of temperature on viral replication. We found that 15 C water temperature accelerated IHNV replication compared to the colder 10 and 8 C temperatures. We then conducted in vivo experiments to quantify the effect of 6, 10, and 15 C water temperatures on IHNV persistence over 8 months. Fish held at 15 and 10 C were found to have higher prevalence of neutralizing antibodies compared to fish held at 6 C. We found that IHNV persisted for a shorter time at warmer temperatures and resulted in an overall lower fish mortality compared to colder temperatures. These results support the hypothesis that temperature and host immune responses interact to modulate virus persistence within hosts. When immune responses were minimized (i.e., in vitro) virus replication was higher at warmer temperatures. However, with a full potential for host immune responses (i.e., in vivo experiments) longer virus persistence and higher long-term virulence was favored in colder temperatures. We also found that the viral RNA that persisted at later time points (179 and 270 days post-exposure) was mostly localized in the kidney and spleen tissues. These tissues are composed of hematopoietic cells that are favored targets of the virus. By partitioning the effect of temperature on host and pathogen responses, our results help to better understand environmental drivers of host–pathogen interactions within hosts, providing insights into potential host–pathogen responses to climate change.

    USGS Chesapeake Science Strategy 2021-2025

    Released July 06, 2021 17:25 EST

    2021, Fact Sheet 2021-3037

    Kenneth E. Hyer, Scott W. Phillips

    The Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is a national treasure that provides almost $100 billion annually of goods and services. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP), is one of the largest federal-state restoration partnerships in the United States and is underpinned by rigorous science. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a pivotal role as a science provider for assessing ecosystem condition and response in the Chesapeake watershed. Despite significant CBP accomplishments, the pressures of climate change and competing demands on land use and change require an acceleration of progress towards the 10 goals in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. USGS Chesapeake studies are increasing efforts to provide integrated science and are engaging stakeholders to inform the multi-faceted restoration and conservation decisions to improve habitat for fish and waterfowl, and socio-economic benefits to the 18 million people living in the watershed.

    Optimization of salt marsh management at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey, through use of structured decision making

    Released July 06, 2021 14:20 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1037

    Hilary A. Neckles, James E. Lyons, Jessica L. Nagel, Susan C. Adamowicz, Toni Mikula, Paul M. Castelli, Virginia Rettig

    Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total benefit achieved and balances tradeoffs among objectives. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing tidal marsh management decisions at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of 23 marsh management units within the refuge and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that could be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per marsh management unit, that could maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge scale. Results indicated that, for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits may increase consistently up to about \$980,000, but that further expenditures may yield diminishing return on investment. Potential management actions in optimal portfolios at total costs less than \$980,000 included applying sediment to the marsh surface to increase elevation in five marsh management units, digging runnels on the marsh surface to improve drainage in five marsh management units, and breaching roads and berms to improve tidal flow in five marsh management units. The potential management benefits were derived from expected reduction in the duration of surface flooding, improved capacity for marsh elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise and increases in numbers of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health), tidal marsh obligate birds, and wintering American black ducks. The prototype presented here does not resolve management decisions; rather, it provides a framework for decision making at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge that can be updated as new data and information become available. Insights from this process may also be useful to inform future habitat management planning at the refuges.

    Rapid assessment indicates context-dependent mitigation for amphibian disease risk

    Released July 06, 2021 12:41 EST

    2021, Wildlife Society Bulletin

    Riley F Bernard, Evan H. Campbell Grant

    Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a fungal pathogen that can cause the emerging infectious disease Bsal chytridiomycosis in some amphibians and is currently causing dramatic declines in European urodeles. To date, Bsal has not been detected in North America but has the potential to cause severe declines in naïve hosts if introduced. Therefore, it is critical that wildlife managers are prepared with effective management actions to combat the fungus. Research has been initiated to identify strategies; however, managers need guidance to prepare for an outbreak until results are available. We conducted a workshop at the Joint Meeting of The Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society on 30 September 2019 with participants of a Bsal symposium. Our goals were to describe the expected effects of 11 management actions that could be implemented for Bsal in salamander communities in the northwestern, northeastern, and southeastern United States. Participants expected a variety of proposed management actions to decrease pathogen transmission and increase host survival, but also that the selection of a management action may depend on the specific membership of the amphibian community. Collectively, our assessment will help refine research and modeling priorities in an effort to mitigate the risk of Bsal to native U.S. amphibians. © 2021 The Wildlife Society. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

    Coastal Tree-Ring Records for Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Applications in North America

    Released July 06, 2021 12:00 EST

    2021, Quaternary Science Reviews (265)

    Clay Tucker, Jessie Kathleen Pearl

    For more than a century, tree-ring research has identified relationships between climatic and ecological conditions and tree growth to describe past environments and constrain future ecosystem vulnerabilities. Tree-ring records are frequently used as environmental proxies that extend knowledge of past climate and ecology on millennial scales. Many of the most pressing global change questions facing North America concern the rate of climate change and vulnerability of ecosystems and society along the coast. The opportunities and applications in dendrochronology continue to grow with advancing methodologies, faster computational ability, and the cost-reduction of many chemical and anatomical analyses. Here, we propose that many pressing global change questions that affect coastal communities can be addressed using dendrochronological techniques. We review coastal tree-ring studies that demonstrate the utility and potential for future tree-ring studies in the northeastern, southeastern, northwestern, and southwestern North American coasts. Additionally, we show that tree-ring chronologies along the coast give insight into local and regional climate phenomena that are distinct from nearby, inland tree-ring chronologies of the same species. Lastly, we identify opportunities for coastal dendrochronology and encourage the collection of more tree-ring records that are directly impacted by coastal phenomena.

    Least Bell's Vireos and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers at the San Luis Rey flood risk management project area in San Diego County, California—Breeding activities and habitat use—2020 annual report

    Released July 06, 2021 09:36 EST

    2021, Open-File Report 2021-1053

    Alexandra Houston, Lisa D. Allen, Ryan E. Pottinger, Barbara E. Kus

    Executive Summary

    Surveys and monitoring for the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) were done at the San Luis Rey Flood Risk Management Project Area (Project Area) in the city of Oceanside, San Diego County, California, between March 31 and July 20, 2020. We completed four protocol surveys during the breeding season, supplemented by weekly territory monitoring visits. We identified a total of 161 territorial male vireos; 145 were confirmed as paired and 4 were confirmed as single males. For the remaining 12 territories, we were unable to confirm pair status. Three transient vireos were detected in 2020. The vireo population in the Project Area increased by 26 percent from 2019 to 2020. Vireo populations increased across San Diego County, with a 39-percent increase documented at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCBCP); a 58-percent increase at Marine Corps Air Station; a 78-percent increase on the Otay River; and a 7-percent increase in the population on the middle San Luis Rey River.

    We used an index of treatment (Treatment Index) to evaluate the impact of on-going vegetation clearing on the Project Area vireo population. The Treatment Index measures the cumulative effect of vegetation treatment within a territory (since 2005) by using the percent area treated weighted by the number of years since treatment. We found that the Treatment Index for unoccupied habitat was more than five times that of occupied habitat, indicating that vireos selected less disturbed habitat in which to settle.

    We monitored vireo nests at three general site types: (1) within the flood channel where exotic and native vegetation removal has occurred regularly (Channel), (2) three sites next to the flood channel where limited exotic and native vegetation removal has occurred (Off-channel), and (3) three sites that have been actively restored by planting native vegetation (Restoration). Nesting activity was monitored in 100 territories, 4 of which were occupied by single males. Hatching success was higher in the Channel relative to the Off-channel. We found no other differences between Channel, Off-channel, and Restoration nests in terms of clutch size or fledging success. There also was no difference in measures of productivity per pair between Channel, Off-channel, Restoration, and Mixed territories (territories that were classified as one site type but nesting occurred in another site type, or where multiple site types were used for nesting). Overall, breeding success and productivity were lower in 2020 than in 2019, with 69 percent of pairs fledgling at least one young and pairs fledging an average of 2.1±1.7 young.

    To investigate whether the cumulative years of treatment had an impact on vireo reproductive effort, we looked at the effects of the Treatment Index on reproductive parameters. Results from generalized linear models indicated that treatment did not have an effect on vireo nesting effort or the number of vireo fledglings per pair produced in 2020.

    Similarly, our analysis of nest survival for 2020 revealed no effect of Treatment Index on daily survival rate. Analysis of vegetation data collected at vireo nests from 2006 to 2020 revealed that vegetation at 1–2 meters (m) from the ground was the most important predictor of daily survival rate.

    There were differences in nest-placement characteristics among site types and successful/unsuccessful nests. Channel nests were placed higher in the vegetation than Off-channel or Restoration nests. Host plant height, distance to edge of host plant, and distance to edge of vegetation clump were greater at Channel sites compared with Off-channel sites, but were not different from Restoration sites. Within sites, we found only one difference between successful and unsuccessful nests. At Off-channel sites, successful nests were placed higher in the vegetation than unsuccessful nests.

    Red/arroyo willow (Salix laevigata or Salix lasiolepis) and mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia) were the species most commonly selected for nesting by vireos in all 3 site types. Vireos used a wider variety of species for nesting in Channel and Off-channel sites (7 and 10 species, respectively) compared to Restoration sites (3 species).

    Ninety-three vireos banded before the 2020 breeding season were resighted and identified at the Project Area in 2020, all of which were originally banded at the Project Area. Adult birds of known age ranged from 1 to 9 years old. A total of 171 vireos were newly banded in 2020.

    Twenty-eight adult vireos were banded with a unique color combination, and 143 nestlings were banded with a single dark blue numbered federal band on the left leg. Between 2006 and 2020, survivorship of males (67±10 percent) was consistently higher than females (59±11 percent). First-year birds from 2006 to 2020 had an average over-winter survivorship of 17±5 percent. First-year dispersal in 2020 averaged 2.9±2.9 kilometers (km), with the longest dispersal (13.5 km) by a female that was recaptured at Las Flores Creek, MCBCP. From 2007 to 2012, most returning first-year vireos returned to the Project Area, whereas from 2013 to 2017, the majority of returning birds dispersed to areas outside of the Project Area. In 2018, the trend shifted, and most first-year vireos returned to the Project area. This trend continued in 2020 with most first-year vireos returning to the Project Area; 77 percent of all re-encountered first-year birds returned to the Project Area and 23 percent dispersed to areas outside of the Project Area (upstream to the middle San Luis Rey River and to drainages on MCBCP).

    Most of the returning adult male vireos showed strong between-year site fidelity to their previous territories. Eighty percent of males (45/56) occupied a territory in 2020 that they had defended in 2019 (within 100 m). Thirty-three percent of females (2/6) detected in 2020 returned to a territory that they occupied in 2019. The average between-year movement for returning adult vireos was 0.1±0.5 km.

    We completed four protocol surveys for the endangered Southwestern Willow Fycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) at the Project Area between May 20 and July 20, 2020. No Willow Flycatchers were detected in the Project Area in 2020.

    A total of 46 vegetation transects (526 points) were sampled at the San Luis Rey Flood Risk Management Project Area in 2020. Seventy-one percent (376/526) of points were in the Channel and 22 percent (115/526) were at Upper Pond. The remaining 7 percent (35/526) were at the Whelan Restoration site. Foliage cover below 1 m was higher at the Channel points compared to Upper Pond and Whelan Restoration. Higher foliage cover in the Channel was attributed to the higher herbaceous component. However, foliage cover from 1 to 3 m was higher at the Whelan Restoration site compared to both Upper Pond and the Channel. Average canopy height was similar at all three site types and was 4.4 m or less. From 2006 to 2020, total foliage cover declined above 1 m in the Channel, from 4 to 5 m at Upper Pond, and above 8 m at Whelan Restoration. Within the Channel, the steepest declines occurred between 2009 and 2013 and between 2014 and 2016. Since 2016, we observed an increase in percent foliage between 0 and 2 m within the Channel, but for other height classes, percent cover remained below levels detected before 2009. Changes in cover at Upper Pond and Whelan Restoration appeared to be driven by the loss of tall tree cover. The vegetation mowing and treatment activities, in combination with lack of precipitation (especially between 2012 and 2016), may have contributed to the decline in foliage cover observed from 2006 to 2020.

    We sampled vegetation at 49 vireo nests and 49 random plots (“territory” plots) within territories in the Channel and Upper Pond following the 2020 breeding season. Vireos in the Channel selected territories with significantly more foliage cover above 2 m but less cover below 1 m relative to the available habitat. In contrast, Channel vireos selected nest sites within their territories with lower foliage cover above 3 m and were non-selective with regard to cover below 2 m. Vireos at Upper Pond generally were less selective with regard to territory and nest sites but tended to select territories with more foliage cover from 1 to 2 m and above 8 m, and they selected nest sites within their territories with greater foliage cover from 0 to 1 m.