Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

(500 records max)
System characterization report on the BlackSky Global multispectral sensor

Released June 06, 2023 15:21 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2021-1030-O

James C. Vrabel, Cody Anderson, Paul C. Bresnahan, Jon B. Christopherson, Jeffrey Clauson, Minsu Kim, Robert E. Ryan, Aparajithan Sampath

Executive Summary

This report addresses system characterization of the BlackSky Global 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.

The BlackSky Global satellites are three-band multispectral imagers (red, green, and blue multispectral bands plus a panchromatic band) with a 0.8- to 0.9-meter (m) pixel ground sample distance for the assessed satellites. BlackSky Global satellites 9 and 12–17 were launched in March and December 2021, respectively, into a Sun-synchronous orbit of 430–450 kilometers with an inclination of 42–53 degrees and a swath width of 6 kilometers at nadir. Each Global satellite has an expected lifetime of about 3 years. More information on the BlackSky Global satellites is available in the “Land Remote Sensing Satellites Online Compendium” ( and from BlackSky 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) and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that the assessed BlackSky Global satellites have an interior geometric performance in the range of −0.011 m (−0.012 pixel) to 0.007 m (0.008 pixel) in easting and −0.018 m (−0.020 pixel) to 0.012 m (0.013 pixel) in northing in band-to-band registration; an exterior geometric performance using ground control points of 8.0-m circular error (95-percent certainty) for orthorectified products and 10.7- to 17.4-m circular error (95-percent certainty) for nonorthorectified products, depending on the geolocation metadata used; and a spatial performance in the range of 1.70 to 2.43 pixels for full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.032 to 0.084.

The bee lab

Released June 06, 2023 14:43 EST

2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3023

Sam Droege, Elise Irwin, Jenn Malpass, Jonathan Mawdsley


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bee Lab is a collaborative interagency joint venture and international leader for bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) identification, survey design, quantification of bee and plant interrelations, and development and maintenance of occurrence databases. Each of these objectives supports native bee conservation by providing critical data and tools for the United States and other countries. The Bee Lab is part of the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC) and located in Laurel, Maryland, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Patuxent Research Refuge. The laboratory houses scientists from the EESC, USGS’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and the USFWS to develop identification tools and survey design support for State, Federal, Tribal, and nongovernment organization partners. In addition to the development of identification tools, important objectives include developing keys for native and nonnative bee species and making those tools accessible to partners and the public. Among the most visible and reused products produced during the development of the tools are the detailed photographs of the bees themselves. Accurate bee identification allows for better monitoring of bee species and examination of environmental factors that may influence their populations.

River water quality in the Delaware River Basin—Concentrations and trends through 2018

Released June 06, 2023 13:44 EST

2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3014

Megan E. Shoda, Emily G Gain, Jennifer C. Murphy


The Delaware River Basin provides drinking water to 13.3 million people and supports endangered species, provides recreational opportunities, and is an essential resource to regional industries. The efforts of Federal and State governments have substantially improved overall water quality in the basin, which had been severely degraded prior to the mid-20th century. Recent trend analyses of water-quality data reveal negative and positive changes: increasing rates of salinization and improvements in nutrient conditions.

Application of the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System to simulate the streamflows and water balance of the Red River Basin, 1980–2016

Released June 06, 2023 13:27 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5105

Victor L. Roland II

The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System was used to develop and calibrate a streamflow and water balance model for the Red River Basin as part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Census, a research effort focused on developing innovative water accounting tools and conducting assessments of water use and availability at regional and national spatial scales. The PRMS is a deterministic model that simulates the effects of climate, land cover, and water use on watershed hydrology on the basis of physical processes and spatial attributes of the watershed. The model was used to estimate streamflow at daily and monthly temporal scales for the 1980–2016 period and to evaluate the impacts of natural and anthropogenic influences on streamflow and water budget components.

Sixty-three percent of streamgages were calibrated successfully for the monthly time step and 43 percent of streamgages were successfully calibrated for the daily time step. Some of the challenges of calibrating streamgages included estimating low amounts of streamflow in dry areas of the basin and accurately representing watershed characteristics related to evapotranspiration in the basin, among other factors. The model estimated streamflow with some accuracy for 42 percent and 29 percent of the 73 streamgages used to evaluate the model at monthly and daily time steps, respectively. Relative to no-water-use conditions, water use increased streamflow volumes (that is, return flow from reservoir releases) the most on the main stem of the Red River, the North Fork of the Red River, and the Ouachita River. Water withdrawal decreased streamflow volumes most in the Red River near the outlet of the basin and in Caney Creek. Streamflow volumes on the North Fork of the Red River changed most as a result of water use. The Red River Basin PRMS model provided estimates of streamflow that were limited in their accuracy by (1) the availability of accurate water-use data; (2) the coarse resolution of spatial parameters (such as those for impervious area or plant canopy), which leads to the homogenization of physical features in small watersheds in the model domain; and (3) the accuracy of spatial patterns of precipitation distribution across the model domain. Improvements in the quality and quantity of available water-use data and finer resolution spatial parameter and climate data could lead to the development of better-informed models in the future that are capable of making more accurate estimates of streamflow, because they are more representative of physical and hydrologic conditions in the Red River Basin. 

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023—USGS disaster emergency recovery activities

Released June 06, 2023 06:05 EST

2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3025

Jo Ellen Hinck, Joseph Stachyra

Title VII of Division N in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Public Law 117–328), was enacted on December 29, 2022. The U.S. Geological Survey received $41.04 million in disaster emergency supplemental funding for repairing and replacing facilities and equipment, collecting high-resolution elevation data in affected areas, and completing scientific assessments to support direct recovery and rebuilding decisions in the wake of declared disasters related to hurricanes and typhoons in 2022.

Analysis of aquifer framework and properties, North Magee Street well field, Southampton, New York

Released June 05, 2023 16:25 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1028

Paul E. Misut

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Suffolk County Water Authority, evaluated the groundwater-flow characteristics and aquifer properties of the North Magee Street well field north of the village of Southampton, New York. Characteristics and properties included groundwater-flow direction, potential groundwater-contributing areas to the well field production wells, and aquifer transmissivity and storage. The groundwater flow and aquifer properties were also evaluated to allow Suffolk County Water Authority to better assess the potential source of dissolved halocarbons (refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons).

The well field production wells are screened in the upper glacial aquifer and an observation well is screened in the Magothy aquifer. Based on depth and available logs, groundwater from wells screened in the upper glacial aquifer was classified as under water-table (unconfined) conditions, and groundwater from wells screened in the Magothy aquifer was classified as being under semiconfined conditions.

Groundwater flows radially to the well field during production and in a northwesterly direction under the effect of the regional flow regime. A previously published particle tracking analysis identified the following recharge contributing areas nearby the well field: (1) contributing areas to surface-water bodies of the Peconic Estuary, (2) contributing areas to surface-water bodies of the South Shore Estuary Reserve, (3) a contributing area to the Atlantic Ocean, and (4) a contributing area to another Suffolk County Water Authority well field. Five other pumping well contributing areas were identified within the study area, including those of various wells pumped for golf-course irrigation.

Analysis of drawdown and recovery data collected during the multiple-well aquifer test, through the application of a Neuman analytical model, provided estimates of upper glacial aquifer characteristics and properties. Inclusion of lateral aquifer boundaries was not necessary for the analysis to result in satisfactory matches with the observed water-level responses. Aquifer transmissivity was estimated to be 170,000 feet squared per day. Storativity was estimated to be 0.02 (dimensionless), and specific yield was estimated to be 0.08 (dimensionless), consistent with the inferred degree of confinement and well field characteristics.

Capturing patterns of evolutionary relatedness with reflectance spectra to model and monitor biodiversity

Released June 05, 2023 16:04 EST

2023, Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (120)

Daniel Mark Griffith, Kristin B. Byrd, Lee Anderegg, Elijah Allen, Demetrios Gatziolis, Dar A. Roberts, Rosie Yacoub, Ramakrishna Nemani

Biogeographic history can set initial conditions for vegetation community assemblages that determine their climate responses at broad extents that land surface models attempt to forecast. Numerous studies have indicated that evolutionarily conserved biochemical, structural, and other functional attributes of plant species are captured in visible-to-short wavelength infrared, 400 to 2,500 nm, reflectance properties of vegetation. Here, we present a remotely sensed phylogenetic clustering and an evolutionary framework to accommodate spectra, distributions, and traits. Spectral properties evolutionarily conserved in plants provide the opportunity to spatially aggregate species into lineages (interpreted as “lineage functional types” or LFT) with improved classification accuracy. In this study, we use Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer data from the 2013 Hyperspectral Infrared Imager campaign over the southern Sierra Nevada, California flight box, to investigate the potential for incorporating evolutionary thinking into landcover classification. We link the airborne hyperspectral data with vegetation plot data from 1372 surveys and a phylogeny representing 1,572 species. Despite temporal and spatial differences in our training data, we classified plant lineages with moderate reliability (Kappa = 0.76) and overall classification accuracy of 80.9%. We present an assessment of classification error and detail study limitations to facilitate future LFT development. This work demonstrates that lineage-based methods may be a promising way to leverage the new-generation high-resolution and high return-interval hyperspectral data planned for the forthcoming satellite missions with sparsely sampled existing ground-based ecological data.

Distribution of chlorinated volatile organic compounds and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in groundwater and surface water at the former Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, New Jersey, 2018

Released June 05, 2023 12:00 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1022

Alex R. Fiore, Thomas E. Imbrigiotta, Timothy P. Wilson

Groundwater wells and surface-water storm sewers contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) at the former Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) site in West Trenton, New Jersey were sampled in 2018 as part of the Navy’s long-term monitoring program. Trichloroethene (TCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cisDCE), and vinyl chloride concentrations were plotted in map view and selected cross sections to elucidate the vertical and horizontal extent and distribution of contamination, along with a tabular comparison between 2018 and previous analytical results. The 2018 data showed that the areas of VOC contamination (>1 microgram per liter) decreased slightly on the north and east sides of the NAWC site from previous sampling dates; these decreases are attributed to the influence of the pump-and-treat system, natural attenuation processes, and various engineered bioaugmentation experiments that have occurred onsite. Off-site groundwater samples indicate the VOC contaminated groundwater is likely hydraulically constrained by the pump-and-treat system and appears to not be moving offsite to the south and west of NAWC. Only one offsite well, 50BR, located along the eastern margin of the site, was found to have detectable TCE and cisDCE concentrations, indicating that VOC contamination continues to migrate a short distance offsite to the east. Detectable VOC contamination was found in wells as deep as 200 and 221 feet on both the east and west sides of the NAWC site. Comparisons of present-day data to data from past sampling efforts indicate that TCE concentrations in most wells have decreased slowly over time.

Results from surface-water samples indicate that VOCs enter surface water predominantly through the West Ditch drainage system. Concentrations and fluxes of VOCs are higher when groundwater levels are higher, indicating contaminated groundwater discharges into the surface water system. Higher VOC concentrations at the Interceptor site relative to other sites in the West Ditch indicate the contamination in the West Ditch system is likely caused by contaminated groundwater discharging to the West Ditch storm sewer near manhole MH-140 when water table levels are high.

The pump-and-treat extraction wells at the former NAWC site were sampled for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in 2018. The suite of reported PFAS include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorobutane sulfonate. Concentrations were plotted in map view to determine the areal extent of the PFAS contamination at the site. Extraction well 48BR sampled on the eastern half of the site was found to have PFOS and PFOA concentrations greater than the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Drinking Water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), which is consistent with the distribution of highest PFAS concentrations in surface water in the OF-4 storm sewer system that drains that area, as well as previously collected PFAS concentrations in monitoring wells. On the western half of the site, the extraction well 08BR sample exceeded MCLs for PFOA and PFOS and the extraction well 22BR sample exceeded the MCL for PFOA, but samples from all other extraction wells were below the MCLs or other criteria for all PFAS analyzed. Concentrations of PFOA exceeded concentrations of PFOS on the west side of NAWC in both groundwater and surface water, which contrasts with the conditions on the east side of NAWC where PFOS concentrations exceeded PFOA concentrations. However, this observation was based on a limited number of samples on the west side of NAWC from 2018 and previous years, so more PFAS sampling is needed on the west side to assess this further.

Scanning electron microscope images of sand and silt from the early MIS4–MIS3 Roxana Silt, Phillips Bayou, Arkansas

Released June 05, 2023 11:55 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5062

Helaine W. Markewich, Douglas A. Wysocki, G. Norman White, Joe B. Dixon

The age and source of the late Pleistocene Roxana Silt in the Mississippi Valley have been studied since the middle 1800s. Published age and paleoenvironmental data for the Roxana Silt in the Mississippi Valley show that deposition occurred from late marine isotope stage 5 (MIS5) through late marine isotope stage 3 (MIS3) (80–30 kilo-annum [ka]), when the warm to hot interglacial climate of early to middle MIS5 (about 130 to about 80 ka) was transitioning to a considerably cooler and wetter climate. Scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDS) analysis of silt and sand grains from the Roxana Silt exposed in an abandoned borrow pit near Phillips Bayou, Arkansas, was performed as part of a 1990s study of late middle and late Pleistocene loess in the unglaciated lower Mississippi Valley. Results from that study were summarized in 1990s publications, but the data for sand and silt grain morphology and mineralogy were not published. Some of the SEM/EDS analyses of the Roxana Silt from that late 1990s study are presented in this report. Combined with previously published chronostratigraphic and pedostratigraphic data for the Roxana Silt at Phillips Bayou, the SEM/EDS data indicate some degree of syndepositional weathering and pedogenic alteration during and after gradual eolian deposition in late marine isotope stage 4 (MIS4) and MIS3 (about 60 to about 30 ka). Results from the SEM/EDS analyses support previously published paleoclimate interpretations indicating that at least as far south as northern Mississippi, the climate of the Mississippi Valley in MIS4 and MIS3 (about 70 to about 30 ka) was cool to cold and humid to wet.

Comparing domestic and public-supply groundwater quality in the northern San Joaquin Valley, 2019—California GAMA Priority Basin Project

Released June 05, 2023 10:01 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5049

George L. Bennett V, Emily A. Haugen, Zeno F. Levy

Groundwater quality in the Northern San Joaquin Valley region of California was studied as part of California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program-Priority Basin Project (GAMA-PBP). The GAMA-PBP made a spatially unbiased assessment of the aquifer system used for domestic drinking-water supply in the study region and compared the results to the aquifer system used for public drinking-water supply. These assessments characterized the quality of raw groundwater to evaluate ambient conditions in regional aquifers and not the quality of treated drinking water. The study included two components: (1) a status assessment presenting study results summarizing the status of groundwater quality used for domestic supply in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and (2) a comparative assessment of groundwater resources used for domestic and public drinking-water supply in the study region.

The status assessment was based on data collected by the GAMA-PBP from 45 sites in the Northern San Joaquin Valley domestic-supply aquifer assessment study unit during 2019. To contextualize water-quality results, concentrations of water-quality constituents in ambient groundwater were compared to regulatory and non-regulatory benchmarks used by the State of California and Federal agencies as health-based or aesthetic standards for public drinking water. A grid-based method to estimate aquifer-scale proportions of groundwater resources with concentrations approaching or exceeding benchmark thresholds was used in the status assessment. This method provides spatially unbiased results and allows inter-comparability with similar groundwater-quality assessments. A spatially weighted method was used to calculate aquifer-scale proportions for public-supply wells within the domestic assessment grid network using contemporaneous regulatory compliance monitoring data. Differences among aquifer-scale proportions for constituents exceeding regulatory and non-regulatory benchmarks in domestic- and public-supply aquifers were quantitatively evaluated. Factors influencing the vertical and lateral distribution of key contaminants of concern (nitrate, fumigants, and arsenic) across overlapping aquifer systems used for domestic and public drinking-water supply were also evaluated.

Status assessment results indicated inorganic and organic constituents with health-based benchmarks were present at high relative concentrations (RCs), meaning they exceeded a benchmark threshold, in 20 and 9 percent of the domestic-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, respectively. Inorganic constituents with health-based benchmarks present at high RCs included nitrate and arsenic. The only organic constituents with health-based benchmarks present at high RCs were the fumigants 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) and 1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP). Inorganic constituents with aesthetic-based benchmarks were present at high RCs in 13 percent of the domestic-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and included iron and manganese. Microbial indicators (total coliform bacteria and Enterococci) were present in 18 and 2 percent of the domestic-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, respectively.

Comparative assessment results indicated inorganic and organic constituents with health-based benchmarks were present at high RCs in 13 and 6 percent of the public-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, respectively. Inorganic constituents with aesthetic-based benchmarks were present at high RCs in 22 percent of the public-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. There were no significant differences among high RC proportions for individual water-quality constituents, except for nitrate, which was greater in the domestic- compared to public-supply aquifer system in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The most prevalent constituents with health-based benchmarks contributing to high RC proportions in the public-supply aquifer system were arsenic and fumigants, including DBCP and 1,2,3-TCP.

Analysis of construction data for wells included in the comparative assessment indicated that, although depth to top of perforations are comparable for domestic and public-supply wells in the Northern San Joaquin Valley (median depth about 60 meters [m]), public-supply wells have longer perforation intervals and extend to deeper parts of the aquifer system than domestic wells that typically draw exclusively from the shallower aquifer system in the upper 80 m of unconsolidated sediments. Analysis of the vertical and lateral distribution of constituents of interest (nitrate, fumigants, and arsenic) across domestic- and public-supply aquifers indicated that nitrate is prevalent in shallow aquifers throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley but is potentially diluted by mixing with deeper, older groundwater at long-screened public-supply wells. Fumigants were prevalent in areas of urban and agricultural land use in the western part of the Northern San Joaquin Valley, particularly in areas near Lodi, California, but 1,2,3-TCP was more widespread than DBCP and was detected in shallow and deeper parts of the aquifer system, potentially because of its recalcitrance in groundwater and ability to be detected at low concentrations. Arsenic was most prevalent in the western part of the Northern San Joaquin Valley with proximity to deltaic sediments and was detected at high RCs in wells tapping shallow and deep parts of the aquifer system.

Evidence for the importance of invasive Dreissena veligers as a novel prey item for larval fish in Lake Huron

Released June 04, 2023 06:35 EST

2023, Hydrobiologia

Ellary C Marano, David Bunnell, Patricia Armenio, Karen M. Alofs

The establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels Dreissena polymorpha and Dreissena rostriformis bugensis in the Laurentian Great Lakes has affected multiple aspects of the ecosystem. However, the effects of their larvae (veligers) on lower trophic levels are relatively unknown. Previous research has documented that some larval fishes consume veligers, but it is unclear if they select for veligers. To assess the role of veligers in larval fish diets in Lake Huron, we examined the diets of larval burbot Lota lota, rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax, and Coregonus spp., mainly bloater Coregonus hoyi, sampled in July of 2017. Preference for available zooplankton prey was evaluated using Vanderploeg and Scavia’s E*. Results indicated that veligers were on average avoided by large larval burbot, rainbow smelt, and coregonines but were sometimes preferred by small (< 7 mm) and medium-sized (7–10 mm) larval burbot. A mixed model analyzing factors contributing to veliger preference by larval burbot indicated that greater environmental zooplankton prey size is associated with more positive preference for veligers. Thus, veligers may be important for gape-limited larval fish. We also found that, on average, larval burbot and coregonines consumed larger veligers than those sampled in the environment. Overall, consideration of larval fishes’ ability to exploit veligers could help managers to understand the role of dreissenid mussels in Great Lakes food webs.

Groundwater availability, geochemistry, and flow pathways to public-supply wells in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and bedrock aquifers, Aiken County and part of Lexington County, South Carolina, 2015–2019

Released June 02, 2023 14:30 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5036

Bruce G. Campbell, James E. Landmeyer

Between 2015 and 2019, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studied concerns related to projected increases in demand for groundwater, in collaboration with municipal water providers and county managers within the study area, Aiken County and part of Lexington County, South Carolina. A three-dimensional (3D), numerical groundwater-flow model of the Atlantic Coastal Plain (ACP) aquifers, confining units, and the underlying bedrock aquifer in the study area was constructed using the USGS software program MODFLOW–NWT in conjunction with a groundwater-recharge model using the Soil-Water-Balance (SWB) model. Water budgets for dry (2012) and wet (2015) year conditions, future (2017–2065) groundwater-demand scenarios based on general circulation models (GCMs) of future climates, and future agricultural irrigation demands were simulated. Overall, the GCMs projected increased recharge rates. Simulation of projected increased demand on groundwater by agriculture irrigation indicated little drawdown in the study area.

Groundwater-quality samples were collected from representative public-supply wells (PSWs) and analyzed in the field and laboratory. In general, the groundwater in the ACP aquifers is acidic, dilute, and oxic. Conversely, groundwater in the bedrock aquifer was of neutral pH, mineralized, and anoxic. Total-radium concentrations across all PSWs ranged from 0.55 to 6.69 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Groundwater from some PSWs contained detectable but low concentrations of commonly and historically used volatile organic compounds, such as chloroform, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (cis-1,2-DCE), 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA), and 1,1-dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE). The stable isotopes of groundwater sampled from all wells indicate the possibility that groundwater from the bedrock aquifer may discharge into the ACP. Finally, groundwater age-dating results and MODPATH simulations indicate recharge between the 1950s and 1980s for PSWs in the ACP and recharge between the 1940s and 1950s for PSWs in bedrock. Maximum groundwater-flow pathways ranged from 270 to 7,470 feet, with the longest simulated-flow pathway for wells pumped at higher rates.

Calibration of the Trinity River Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) with extension to the Klamath River, California, 2006–17

Released June 02, 2023 06:56 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1023

John M. Plumb, Russell W. Perry, Nicholas A. Som, Damon H. Goodman, Aaron C. Martin, Justin S. Alvarez, Nicholas J. Hetrick

The Trinity River is managed in two sections: (1) the upper 64-kilometer (km) “restoration reach” downstream from Lewiston Dam and (2) the 120-km lower Trinity River downstream from the restoration reach. The Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) has been previously constructed and calibrated for the restoration reach. In this report, we extended and parameterized S3 for the 120-km section of the lower Trinity River to the confluence with the Klamath River and then to the Pacific Ocean in northern California.

S3 is a deterministic life-stage structured-population model that tracks daily growth, movement, and survival of juvenile salmon. A key theme of the model is that river discharge affects habitat availability and capacity, which in turn drives density-dependent population dynamics. To explicitly link population dynamics to habitat quality and quantity, the river environment is constructed as a one-dimensional series of linked habitat units, each of which has an associated daily timeseries of discharge, water temperature, and useable habitat area or carrying capacity. In turn, the physical characteristics of each habitat unit and the number of fish occupying each unit drive (1) survival and growth within each habitat unit and (2) movement of fish among habitat units.

The physical template of the Trinity River was formed by classifying the river into 910 meso-habitat units that were designated into runs, riffles, or pools. For each habitat unit, we developed a timeseries of daily discharge, water temperature, amount of available spawning habitat, and fry and parr carrying capacity. Capacity timeseries were constructed using state-of-the-art models of spatially explicit hydrodynamics and quantitative fish habitat relationships developed for the Trinity River. These variables were then used to drive population dynamics such as egg maturation and survival, and in turn, juvenile movement, growth, and survival.
We estimated key movement and survival parameters by calibrating the model to 12 years (2007–18) of weekly juvenile abundance estimates from two rotary screw traps: (1) the Pear Tree trap near the downstream end of the restoration reach and (2) the Willow Creek trap site is about 40.2 km upriver from the Trinity River’s confluence with the Klamath River. The calibration consisted of replicating historical conditions as closely as possible (for example: flow, temperature, spawner abundance, spawning location and timing, and hatchery releases), and then running the model to predict weekly abundance passing the trap location. We also evaluated four alternative model structures that included either no density-dependence, density-independent movement and survival, density-dependent survival, or density-dependent movement. Akaike information criterion model selection was used to evaluate the strength of evidence for alternative model structures to simulate the observed abundance estimates.

Model selection supported the conclusion that the fully density-dependent model and density-dependent survival model was better supported by the data than the no density-dependence or density-dependent movement model. Because density-dependent movement was favored in past evaluations, we focus on the results from the fully density-dependent model. Parameter estimates from this model indicated that fry were less likely than parr to move downstream and that fry moved slower. Fry had a lower daily survival probability than parr. In contrast, hatchery fish had the highest probability of movement and the lowest daily survival probability.

Fitting the model to both traps individually enabled us to independently compare the fit and performance of S3 at simulating fish abundance, timing, and growth of juvenile salmon in the upper restoration reach and lower Trinity River. We obtained a better fit to the data at the Willow Creek trap site than we obtained at the Pear Tree trap site, regardless of whether we fit the model to the abundances at the Pear Tree trap or Willow Creek trap. This better fit was surprising given that the S3 input data for the upper restoration reach required fewer assumptions than fitting to the Willow Creek trap site that is farther down river. Fitting S3 to weekly abundances at the Willow Creek trap site required making assumptions about (1) extrapolating capacity-flow relationships to unmeasured habitat units; (2) spatially allocating spawners within the lower Trinity River; and (3) approximating the abundance, timing, and size of juveniles entering from tributaries. The model provided better fit to the data at the Willow Creek trap site. In the weekly abundance estimates, in relation to the S3 simulated abundances, several migration years’ (2011, 2015–17) weekly abundance estimates appeared truncated and were near or at peak annual abundances in January, suggesting that a large fraction of juveniles was migrating as early as December at the Pear Tree trap site. Some early life dynamics may not be currently incorporated into S3. For example, the estimation of abundance at the Pear Tree trap may be biased because of size selectivity. Knowing about selectivity at the Pear Tree trap could greatly improve S3’s ability to predict weekly and peak abundances each year.

Groundwater residence times in glacial aquifers—A new general simulation-model approach compared to conventional inset models

Released June 01, 2023 13:55 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5142

J. Jeffrey Starn, Leon J. Kauffman, Daniel T. Feinstein

Groundwater is important as a drinking-water source and for maintaining base flow in rivers, streams, and lakes. Groundwater quality can be predicted, in part, by its residence time in the subsurface, but the residence-time distribution cannot be measured directly and must be inferred from models. This report compares residence-time distributions from four areas where groundwater flow and travel time were simulated with conventional simulation-inset models (IMs) and with a new automated model-construction method called general simulation models (GSMs). The comparison provides an opportunity to explore controls on travel time and improve the methods used in the creation of GSMs. These models can be useful for three main-use cases: (1) rapid testing of relationships that govern groundwater flow and age, (2) generation of consistent examples for training a machine-learning metamodel, and (3) serving as a starting point for more detailed models.

Comparison of the GSMs to IMs indicated a qualified pattern of agreement for residence-time distributions as indicated by the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency and Spearman’s correlation coefficient. The agreement was best for the median values of the simulated residence times in young fractions of groundwater (defined as the fractions of groundwater in samples less than 65 years old) at the scale of the eight-digit hydrologic-unit code. Generally, the median values of the young fractions in the IMs were correlated with the median values from the GSMs. The relative trends across the four areas also were similar for the other residence-time metrics. The medians of residence-time metrics at finer scales show a fair degree of scatter. The GSM results compared most poorly for median travel times in the older fraction of groundwater (older than 65 years).

The GSM approach is intended as a flexible framework for developing models that can be useful individually as screening tools or collectively to support projects in statistical learning. Although one set of GSM algorithms was presented here, the approach can accommodate many types of data and also different categories of prior information. Comparison of GSMs and IMs suggests ways in which the GSMs, while remaining easy to construct and calibrate, can be improved for estimating groundwater travel times. IMs do not yield exact travel times, and matching GSMs to IMs does not guarantee an improvement; however, IMs provide a convenient benchmark against which to explore relations between physical characteristics of watersheds and the distribution of travel times within them.

This effort was undertaken as part of the National Water Quality Program of the U.S. Geological Survey to assist in determining the susceptibility of groundwater in glacial aquifers to a variety of natural and anthropogenic contaminants.

Flood-inundation maps for an 8-mile reach of Papillion Creek near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, 2022

Released June 01, 2023 13:14 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5054

Kellan R. Strauch, Christopher M. Hobza

Digital flood-inundation maps for an 8-mile reach of Papillion Creek near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, were created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, Offutt Air Force Base. The flood-inundation maps, which can be accessed through the USGS Flood Inundation Mapping Program website at, depict estimates of the areal extent and depth of flooding corresponding to selected water levels (stages) at the USGS streamgages Papillion Creek at Fort Crook, Nebr. (station 06610795), and Papillion Creek at Harlan Lewis Road near La Platte, Nebr. (station 06610798). Near-real-time stages at these streamgages may be obtained from the USGS National Water Information System database at or from the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service at

Flood profiles were computed for the 8-mile stream reach by means of a one-dimensional step-backwater model. The model was calibrated by adjusting roughness coefficients to best represent the current (2022) stage-streamflow relation at the Papillion Creek at Fort Crook (station 06610795) streamgage.

The hydraulic model then was used to compute water-surface profiles for 157 scenarios using a combination of stage values in 1-foot (ft) stage intervals that ranged from 27 to 39 ft at the Papillion Creek at Fort Crook (station 06610795) streamgage and from 13.9 to 30.9 ft at the Papillion Creek at Harlan Lewis Road near La Platte (station 06610798) streamgage, as referenced to the local datums. The simulated water-surface profiles then were combined by a geographic information system with a digital elevation model, which had a 3.281-ft grid to delineate the area flooded and water depths at each stage. The availability of these flood-inundation maps, along with information regarding current stage from the USGS streamgages, can provide emergency management personnel and residents with information that is critical for flood response activities and postflood recovery efforts.

Establishing big sagebrush seedlings on the Colorado Plateau

Released June 01, 2023 09:09 EST

2023, Report

Kari E. Veblen, Eric Thacker, Mark Larese-Casanova, Kyle C. Nehring, Michael C. Duniway, Colby C. Brungard

Factors such as soil type and precipitation vary across rangeland landscapes, and these factors affect restoration outcomes and ultimately mean that “one size fits all” management strategies are not effective across large, complex landscapes. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a foundational rangeland species that is important to wildlife habitat across the western U.S. On the Colorado Plateau, sagebrush is important browse for ungulates, such as mule deer and pronghorn, which motivates a great deal of restoration effort. However, most scientific knowledge of big sagebrush comes from the Great Basin, and we know much less about how to restore sagebrush on the Colorado Plateau, where soils and precipitation patterns are different and conditions are warmer and drier. This fact sheet describes research about establishing and restoring sagebrush seedlings on the Colorado Plateau.

Impacts and uncertainties of climate-induced changes in watershed inputs on estuarine hypoxia

Released June 01, 2023 07:57 EST

2023, Biogeosciences (20) 1937-1961

Kyle E. Hinson, Marjorie A. M. Friedrichs, Raymond G. Najjar, Maria Herrmann, Zihao Bian, Gopal Bhatt, Pierre St-Laurent, Hanqin Tian, Gary W. Shenk

Multiple climate-driven stressors, including warming and increased nutrient delivery, are exacerbating hypoxia in coastal marine environments. Within coastal watersheds, environmental managers are particularly interested in climate impacts on terrestrial processes, which may undermine the efficacy of management actions designed to reduce eutrophication and consequent low-oxygen conditions in receiving coastal waters. However, substantial uncertainty accompanies the application of Earth system model (ESM) projections to a regional modeling framework when quantifying future changes to estuarine hypoxia due to climate change. In this study, two downscaling methods are applied to multiple ESMs and used to force two independent watershed models for Chesapeake Bay, a large coastal-plain estuary of the eastern United States. The projected watershed changes are then used to force a coupled 3-D hydrodynamic–biogeochemical estuarine model to project climate impacts on hypoxia, with particular emphasis on projection uncertainties. Results indicate that all three factors (ESM, downscaling method, and watershed model) are found to contribute substantially to the uncertainty associated with future hypoxia, with the choice of ESM being the largest contributor. Overall, in the absence of management actions, there is a high likelihood that climate change impacts on the watershed will expand low-oxygen conditions by 2050 relative to a 1990s baseline period; however, the projected increase in hypoxia is quite small (4 %) because only climate-induced changes in watershed inputs are considered and not those on the estuary itself. Results also demonstrate that the attainment of established nutrient reduction targets will reduce annual hypoxia by about 50 % compared to the 1990s. Given these estimates, it is virtually certain that fully implemented management actions reducing excess nutrient loadings will outweigh hypoxia increases driven by climate-induced changes in terrestrial runoff.

Abiotic and biotic factors reduce the viability of a high-elevation salamander in its native range

Released June 01, 2023 07:35 EST

2023, Journal of Applied Ecology

Evan H. Campbell Grant, Graziella Vittoria DiRenzo, Adrianne Brand

  1. Amphibian populations are undergoing worldwide declines, and high-elevation, range-restricted amphibian species may be particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors. In particular, future climate change may have disproportional impacts to these ecosystems. Evaluating the combined effects of abiotic changes and biotic interactions simultaneously is important for forecasting the range of future outcomes. This information is necessary to aid conservation decision-making.
  2. We use field data to estimate population demographic parameters for an exemplary high-elevation amphibian species, the federally endangered Shenandoah salamander Plethodon shenandoah. These parameters were entered into a Markov projection model which we used to forecast the future population status of the Shenandoah salamander.
  3. We found that if the population maintains its current site colonization and persistence rates, it is at the risk of extinction that could be exacerbated by both climate and interspecific competition.
  4. Synthesis and applications. Managers have a fundamental objective directed by official policy of maintaining the species ‘for the foreseeable future’. Our evaluation of multiple hypotheses about population drivers reveals that extinction is projected for this species. Our analysis suggests that considering active management need not depend on resolving the uncertainty.

Growth, drought response, and climate-associated genomic structure in whitebark pine in the Sierra Nevada of California

Released June 01, 2023 07:27 EST

2023, Ecology and Evolution (13)

Phillip J. van Mantgem, Elizabeth R. Milano, Joan Dudney, Jonathan C.B. Nesmith, Amy G. Vandergast, Harold S.J. Zald

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) has experienced rapid population declines and is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the United States. Whitebark pine in the Sierra Nevada of California represents the southernmost end of the species' distribution and, like other portions of its range, faces threats from an introduced pathogen, native bark beetles, and a rapidly warming climate. Beyond these chronic stressors, there is also concern about how this species will respond to acute stressors, such as drought. We present patterns of stem growth from 766 large (average diameter at breast height >25 cm), disease-free whitebark pine across the Sierra Nevada before and during a recent period of drought. We contextualize growth patterns using population genomic diversity and structure from a subset of 327 trees. Sampled whitebark pine generally had positive to neutral stem growth trends from 1970 to 2011, which was positively correlated with minimum temperature and precipitation. Indices of stem growth during drought years (2012 to 2015) relative to a predrought interval were mostly positive to neutral at our sampled sites. Individual tree growth response phenotypes appeared to be linked to genotypic variation in climate-associated loci, suggesting that some genotypes can take better advantage of local climatic conditions than others. We speculate that reduced snowpack during the 2012 to 2015 drought years may have lengthened the growing season while retaining sufficient moisture to maintain growth at most study sites. Growth responses may differ under future warming, however, particularly if drought severity increases and modifies interactions with pests and pathogens.

A decision-support framework for dam removal planning and its application in northern California

Released June 01, 2023 07:22 EST

2023, Environmental Challenges (12)

Suman Jumani, Lucy Andrews, Theodore E. Grantham, S. Kyle McKay, Jeffrey J. Duda, Jeanette K. Howard

Dam removals are occurring more frequently with the rising cost of maintaining aging infrastructure, public safety concerns, and growing interest in river restoration. So far, most dam-removals have been unsystematic in their approach. Given the several thousand dam removals expected over the coming decades, a systematic approach to plan future dam removals holds potential for aligning and delivering multiple benefits. Despite multi-sector factors driving decision-making, most existing prioritization frameworks tend to operate within single or related disciplines. Here we present a hierarchical, multi-disciplinary decision-support framework to prioritize dam removals based on opportunistic factors (Tier 1), hydro-ecological variables (Tier 2), and socio-cultural considerations (Tier 3). This framework integrates multiple decision criteria under data availability constraints, incorporates value-driven weights, and can be applied to a portfolio of dams at various spatial scales. The final output facilitates the identification of dam removal projects that align opportunistic, environmental, and social benefits. We recommend the application of this framework as a critical first step to identifying high-priority candidates for removal, recognizing that removal decisions will ultimately require detailed feasibility studies and stakeholder engagement. To illustrate its utility, we apply this framework to California's North Coast region and identify a small number of “good” candidates to be considered for removal. We conclude with recommendations for filling critical knowledge gaps and advancing systematic dam removal planning in the United States and beyond.

Estimating streamflow permanence with the watershed erosion prediction project model: Implications for surface water presence modeling and data collection

Released June 01, 2023 07:01 EST

2023, Journal of Hydrology

Konrad Hafen, Kyle Blasch, Paul E. Gessler, Jason Dunham, Erin Brooks

Many data collection efforts and modeling studies have focused on providing accurate estimates of streamflow while fewer efforts have sought to identify when and where surface water is present and the duration of surface water presence in stream channels, hereafter referred to as streamflow permanence. While physically-based hydrological models are frequently used to explore how water quantity may be influenced by various climatic and basin characteristics at local, regional, national, and global extents they are less often used to explore streamflow permanence. Herein, the Watershed Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) hydrological model is applied to watersheds in the humid H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest (HJA) and watersheds of the arid Willow and Whitehorse creeks (WW), both in Oregon, to simulate daily (WW) and annual (HJA and WW) streamflow permanence. One thousand parameter combinations were tested to calibrate WEPP to observed streamflow in the HJA watersheds and one hundred parameter combinations were tested to calibrate WEPP to observed surface water presence time series data in WW watersheds. When calibrated to observed streamflow, WEPP correctly classified annual streamflow permanence for 83% of HJA stream reaches. In the WW, WEPP simulations correctly classified 63–93% of daily streamflow permanence observations and 59-87% of annual streamflow permanence classifications. Inclusion of a dry-day threshold (the maximum number of days a stream reach could be modeled ‘dry’ but still classified as permanent for the year) improved annual accuracy in three WW watersheds from 2-10%. Parameter sets that produced the best daily accuracies in WW resulted in poor annual accuracies. Results highlight the importance of evaluating physically-based streamflow permanence models on both permanent and nonpermanent streams at daily and annual time scales to ensure evaluation metrics are appropriate for interpretation purposes. Additionally, results suggest that strategic collection of surface water presence observations and streamflow observations may support robust calibration of physically based models to simulate streamflow permanence moving forward.

Pliocene–Pleistocene hydrology and pluvial lake during Marine Isotope Stages 5a and 4, Deep Springs Valley, western Great Basin, Inyo County, California

Released June 01, 2023 06:49 EST

2023, Quaternary Research

Jeffrey R. Knott, Shannon A. Mahan, Jordan E. Bright, Lindsey Langer, Adam Ramirez, Kyle McCarty, Anna L. Garcia

Deep Springs Valley (DSV) is a hydrologically isolated valley between the White and Inyo mountains that is commonly excluded from regional paleohydrology and paleoclimatology. Previous studies showed that uplift of Deep Springs ridge (informal name) by the Deep Springs fault defeated streams crossing DSV and hydrologically isolated the valley sometime after eruption of the Pleistocene Bishop Tuff (0.772 Ma). Here, we present tephrochronology and clast counts that reaffirms interruption of the Pliocene–Pleistocene hydrology and formation of DSV during the Pleistocene. Paleontology and infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) dates indicate a freshwater lake inundated Deep Springs Valley from ca. 83–61 ka or during Late Pleistocene Marine Isotope Stages 5a (MIS 5a; ca. 82 ka peak) and 4 (MIS 4; ca. 71–57 ka). The age of pluvial Deep Springs Lake coincides with pluvial lakes in Owens Valley and Columbus Salt Marsh and documents greater effective precipitation in southwestern North America during MIS 5a and MIS 4. In addition, we hypothesize that Deep Springs Lake was a balanced-fill lake that overflowed into Eureka Valley via the Soldier Pass wind gap during MIS 5a and MIS 4. DSV hydrology has implications for dispersal and endemism of the Deep Springs black toad (Anaxyrus exsul).

Characterizing lung particulates using quantitative microscopy in coal miners with severe pneumoconiosis

Released June 01, 2023 06:48 EST

2023, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Jeremy T. Hua, Carlyne D. Cool, Heather A. Lowers, Leonard H. T. Go, Lauren M. Zell-Baran, Emily A. Sarver, Kirsten S. Almberg, Kathy D. Pang, Susan M. Majka, Angela D. Franko, Naseema I. Vorajee, Robert A. Cohen, Cecil S. Rose


Current approaches for characterizing retained lung dust using pathologists' qualitative assessment or scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) have limitations.


To explore polarized light microscopy coupled with image-processing software, termed quantitative microscopy–particulate matter (QM-PM), as a tool to characterize in situ dust in lung tissue of US coal miners with progressive massive fibrosis.


We developed a standardized protocol using microscopy images to characterize the in situ burden of birefringent crystalline silica/silicate particles (mineral density) and carbonaceous particles (pigment fraction). Mineral density and pigment fraction were compared with pathologists' qualitative assessments and SEM/EDS analyses. Particle features were compared between historical (born before 1930) and contemporary coal miners, who likely had different exposures following changes in mining technology.


Lung tissue samples from 85 coal miners (62 historical and 23 contemporary) and 10 healthy controls were analyzed using QM-PM. Mineral density and pigment fraction measurements with QM-PM were comparable to consensus pathologists' scoring and SEM/EDS analyses. Contemporary miners had greater mineral density than historical miners (186 456 versus 63 727/mm3; P = .02) and controls (4542/mm3), consistent with higher amounts of silica/silicate dust. Contemporary and historical miners had similar particle sizes (median area, 1.00 versus 1.14 μm2; P = .46) and birefringence under polarized light (median grayscale brightness: 80.9 versus 87.6; P = .29).


QM-PM reliably characterizes in situ silica/silicate and carbonaceous particles in a reproducible, automated, accessible, and time/cost/labor-efficient manner, and shows promise as a tool for understanding occupational lung pathology and targeting exposure controls.

Evidence for density-dependent effects on body composition of a large omnivore in a changing Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Released June 01, 2023 06:38 EST

2023, Global Change Biology

Andrea Corradini, Mark A. Haroldson, Francesca Cagnacci, Cecily M. Costello, Daniel D. Bjornlie, Daniel Thompson, Jeremy M. Nicholson, Kerry A. Gunther, Katharine R. Wilmot, Frank T. van Manen

Understanding the density-dependent processes that drive population demography in a changing world is critical in ecology, yet measuring performance–density relationships in long-lived mammalian species demands long-term data, limiting scientists' ability to observe such mechanisms. We tested performance–density relationships for an opportunistic omnivore, grizzly bears (Ursus arctos, Linnaeus, 1758) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with estimates of body composition (lean body mass and percent body fat) serving as indicators of individual performance over two decades (2000–2020) during which time pronounced environmental changes have occurred. Several high-calorie foods for grizzly bears have mostly declined in recent decades (e.g., whitebark pine [Pinus albicaulis, Engelm, 1863]), while increasing human impacts from recreation, development, and long-term shifts in temperatures and precipitation are altering the ecosystem. We hypothesized that individual lean body mass declines as population density increases (H1), and that this effect would be more pronounced among growing individuals (H2). We also hypothesized that omnivory helps grizzly bears buffer energy intake from changing foods, with body fat levels being independent from population density and environmental changes (H3). Our analyses showed that individual lean body mass was negatively related to population density, particularly among growing-age females, supporting H1 and partially H2. In contrast, population density or sex had little effect on body fat levels and rate of accumulation, indicating that sufficient food resources were available on the landscape to accommodate successful use of shifting food sources, supporting H3. Our results offer important insights into ecological feedback mechanisms driving individual performances within a population undergoing demographic and ecosystem-level changes. However, synergistic effects of continued climate change and increased human impacts could lead to more extreme changes in food availability and affect observed population resilience mechanisms. Our findings underscore the importance of long-term studies in protected areas when investigating complex ecological relationships in an increasingly anthropogenic world.

HyWaves: Hybrid downscaling of multimodal wave spectra to nearshore areas

Released June 01, 2023 06:21 EST

2023, Ocean Modeling (184)

Alba Ricondo, Laura Cagigal, Ana Rueda, Ron Hoeke, Curt Storlazzi, Fernando Menendez

Long-term and accurate wave hindcast databases are often required in different coastal engineering projects. The assessment of the nearshore wave climate is often accomplished by using downscaling techniques to translate offshore waves to coastal areas. However, dynamical downscaling approaches may incur huge computational cost. Additionally, the common use of bulk parameterizations are often not accurate for multidimensional waves. To overcome these limitations, we present a hybrid downscaling approach that combines mathematical algorithms (statistical downscaling) and numerical modeling (dynamical downscaling) over the individual spectral partitions. Every wave partition is downscaled and aggregated afterward by using principles of wave linear theory. By assuming linearity in the propagation of the wave celerity, the application of the method is limited from offshore to intermediate water depths. In addition, the method proposed uses a technique to simplify the spectral boundary conditions in complex domains. The methodology has been applied and validated in the island states of Samoa, American Samoa, Majuro, and Kwajalein, showing good skill at reproducing the spectral hourly time series of significant wave height, peak period, and peak direction. Moreover, an accurate representation of the observed energy spectrum was achieved. This study provides insight into the numerical approximation of the combined sea-swell states while improving the quality of fast spectral forecasting and early warning systems.

Source contributions to suspended sediment and particulate selenium export from the Loutsenhizer Arroyo and Sunflower Drain watersheds in Colorado

Released May 31, 2023 17:25 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5056

Carleton R. Bern, Cory A. Williams, Christopher G. Smith

Selenium in aquatic ecosystems of the lower Gunnison River Basin in Colorado is affecting the recovery of populations of endangered, native fish species. Dietary exposure is the primary pathway for bioaccumulation of selenium in fish, and particulate selenium can be consumed directly by fish or by the invertebrates on which fish feed. Although selenium can be incorporated into particulate matter via biogeochemical processes, particulate selenium can also enter aquatic ecosystems of the lower Gunnison River Basin from sediments derived from the selenium-rich Mancos Shale. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, conducted this study during 2018–19 to identify sources of selenium-rich suspended sediments from two watersheds underlain by Mancos Shale: Loutsenhizer Arroyo and Sunflower Drain, which is a locally known agricultural drainage near the municipality of Delta, Colorado.

A multipronged approach (fieldwork, laboratory work, and computer modeling) referred to as “sediment fingerprinting” was used to evaluate sources of suspended sediments in the streams flowing out of the two studied watersheds. Four potential source types for suspended sediments were identified and sampled (using soil plugs) within the watersheds: rangelands, agricultural fields, arroyo walls, and streambanks. The sediment fingerprinting approach used elemental concentrations and naturally occurring fallout radionuclides as tracers to apportion percent contributions from the four source types of suspended sediments found in streamflow from both watersheds.

To determine the dominant sources of suspended sediment in streamflow from both watersheds, a mathematical “unmixing” model was used. Unmixing models apportion source percentages to samples of material in which those sources are mixed. These models used elemental and isotopic data in the suspended sediments to unmix them into proportional contributions from source types. The results indicated that arroyo walls and streambanks generally dominated as sources of the suspended sediment. Arroyo walls and streambanks were channel-adjacent sources, with sediments mobilized by water flowing within the stream channel. These sources accounted for greater than 50 percent of suspended sediment in all but one sample and accounted for 100 percent of suspended sediment in 5 of the 11 samples collected. Rangeland and agricultural field sources were located in uplands outside of stream channels and were detected more often during the non-irrigation season. Rangeland and agricultural field sources each were found in 5 of the 11 samples collected. Concentrations of selenium in sediment-source samples were comparatively greater in streambanks and lower in rangelands, with agricultural fields and arroyo walls being intermediate. As a result, source apportionments for particulate selenium skewed towards sources adjacent to stream channels more than for suspended sediments. Water imports for irrigation have changed the hydrology of the watersheds, and a notable fraction of imported water passes through the watersheds rapidly. The rapid flowthrough water during the irrigation season likely contributes heavily to sediment erosion and transport in Loutsenhizer Arroyo and Sunflower Drain, particularly from channel-adjacent sources of sediment. Decreases in irrigation season streamflow, at least in Loutsenhizer Arroyo, may have decreased sediment erosion and transport during the 2018–20 irrigation seasons compared to the 2015–17 seasons.

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) surveys at the city of Carlsbad Preserve, San Diego County, California—2022 data summary

Released May 31, 2023 11:00 EST

2023, Data Report 1172

Lisa D. Allen, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

We surveyed for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) at five survey areas within the City of Carlsbad Preserve, Carlsbad, California, in 2022. Three flycatcher surveys were completed between May 18 and June 29, 2022. Territorial or transient flycatchers were not observed at the City of Carlsbad Preserve in 2022.

Bathymetric contour maps, surface area and capacity tables, and bathymetric change maps for selected water-supply lakes in north-central and west-central Missouri, 2020

Released May 31, 2023 10:36 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5046

Richard J. Huizinga, Benjamin C. Rivers, Joseph M. Richards, Garett J. Waite

Bathymetric data were collected at 10 water-supply lakes in north-central and west-central Missouri by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and in collaboration with various local agencies, as part of a multiyear effort to establish or update the surface area and capacity tables for the surveyed lakes. The lakes were surveyed in June and July 2020. Seven of the lakes had been surveyed by the USGS between 2002 and 2007, and the recent surveys were compared to the earlier surveys to document changes in the bathymetric surface and capacity of the lake and produce a bathymetric change map.

Bathymetric data were collected using a high-resolution multibeam mapping system mounted on a boat. Supplemental depth data at two of the lakes were collected in shallow areas with an acoustic Doppler current profiler on a remote-controlled boat. Data points from the various sources were exported at a gridded data resolution appropriate to each lake, either 0.82 foot or 1.64 feet. Data outside the multibeam survey extent and greater than the surveyed water-surface elevation generally were obtained from data collected using aerial light detection and ranging (lidar) point cloud data, except at Holden City Lake. A linear enforcement technique was used to add points to the dataset in areas of sparse data (the upper ends of coves where the water was shallow or aquatic vegetation precluded data acquisition) based on surrounding multibeam and upland data values. The various point datasets were used to produce a three-dimensional triangulated irregular network surface of lake-bottom elevations for each lake. A surface area and capacity table was produced from the three-dimensional surface for each lake showing surface area and capacity at specified lake water-surface elevations. Various quality-assurance tests were conducted to ensure quality data were collected with the multibeam, including beam angle checks and patch tests. Additional quality-assurance tests were conducted on the gridded bathymetric data from the survey, the bathymetric surface created from the gridded data, and the contours created from the bathymetric survey.

If data from a previous bathymetric survey existed at a given lake, a bathymetric change map was generated from the elevation difference between the previous survey and the 2020 bathymetric survey data points. After reconciling any vertical datum disagreement between the previous survey and the 2020 survey, coincident points between the surveys were identified, and a bathymetric change map was generated using the coincident point data.

A decrease in capacity was observed at nearly all the lakes for which a previous survey existed, and the mean bathymetric change between the surveys was positive at all the lakes. The decrease in capacity at the primary spillway elevation ranged from –0.4 percent at Edwin A Pape Lake to 9.4 percent at upper Higginsville Reservoir. The mean bathymetric change ranged from 0.03 foot at Garden City New Lake to 1.75 feet at Harrisonville City Lake, which corresponds to a time-averaged mean bathymetric change ranging from 0.002 foot per year at Garden City New Lake to 0.132 foot per year at Harrisonville City Lake. The computed volumetric sedimentation rate generally ranged from 0.04 to 4.91 acre-feet per year at Garden City New Lake and Holden City Lake, respectively; however, Harrisonville City Lake had a substantially larger volumetric sedimentation rate of 42.7 acre-feet per year, corresponding to the substantial mean bathymetric change of 1.75 feet and combined with the relatively shorter interval between surveys. Harrisonville City Lake also had the second-largest decrease in capacity at the spillway elevation of 5.9 percent. As with the 2019 surveys, some changes observed in the bathymetric change maps likely result from the difference in data collection equipment and techniques between the surveys. Certain apparent erosional features around the perimeter of certain lakes may be the result of wave action or compaction of sediments exposed to air during low-water years, or may indicate an unidentified but systemic error in the older singlebeam echosounder survey data.

A science and management partnership to restore coregonine diversity to the Laurentian Great Lakes

Released May 31, 2023 06:33 EST

2023, Environmental Reviews

David Bunnell, Amanda Susanne Ackiss, Karen M Alofs, Cory Brant, Charles R. Bronte, Randall M. Claramunt, John M. Dettmers, Andrew Edgar Honsey, Nicholas E. Mandrak, Andrew M. Muir, Victor Santucci, David R. Smith, Russell M. Strach, John A. Sweka, Brian C. Weidel, William Mattes, Kurt R. Newman

Similar to many freshwater ecosystems, the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America have undergone numerous anthropogenic stressors resulting in considerable loss of biodiversity and habitat. Among Great Lakes fishes, the coregonine sub-family has endured the most extensive declines, including extinction of several species (Coregonus johannae, C. alpenae, and C. kiyi orientalis) and at least 10 instances of local extirpations of other species (C. nigripinnis, C. reighardi, C. zenithicus, C. hoyi, and C. artedi) across all 5 lakes, much of which occurred prior to the 1960s owing to overfishing, interactions with non-indigenous species, and habitat loss. Despite these declines, no federal-, provincial-, or state-mandated actions were ever implemented to conserve coregonine diversity, potentially because so much of the coregonine declines occurred prior to the enactment of federal conservation legislation. Possible explanations for inaction since enactment of that legislation include insufficient data on biological vulnerability or threats, unresolved taxonomy, and limited support from the fishery management agencies and their stakeholders prior to the 2000s. In recent decades, however, several fishery management agencies have undertaken efforts to re-introduce coregonine diversity. These efforts helped lead to development of a science-based framework to restore coregonines that was universally endorsed by fishery managers representing eight U.S. states, four U.S. tribal organizations, and the province of ON, Canada, in May 2018. The basin-wide framework is based on principles of conservation biology and adaptive management. We describe details of its key steps, including planning, restoring, and evaluating, while also describing recent implementation efforts to develop methods, improve available resources, and enhance coordination across the basin. Although our paper describes a regional effort to restore native coregonines, our adaptive-management approach could be used by other multi-agency stakeholders seeking to conserve or restore native fishes.

The EnMAP imaging spectroscopy mission towards operations

Released May 29, 2023 08:36 EST

2023, Remote Sensing of Environment (294)

Tobias Storch, Hans-Peter Honold, Sabine Chabrillat, Martin Habermeyer, Paul Tucker, Maximilian Brell, Andreas Ohndorf, Katrin Wirth, Matthias Betz, Michael Kuchler, Helmut Mühle, Emiliano Carmona, Simon Baur, Martin Mücke, Sebastian Löw, Daniel Schulze, Steffen Zimmermann, Christoph Lenzen, Sebastian Wiesner, Saika Aida, Ralph Kahle, Peter Willburger, Sebastian Hartung, Daniele Dietrich, Nicolae Plesia, Mirco Tegler, Katharina Schork, Kevin Alonso, David B. Marshall, Birgit Gerasch, Peter Schwind, Miguel Pato, Mathias Schneider, Raquel de los Reyes, Maximilian Langheinrich, Julian Wenzel, Martin Bachmann, Stefanie Holzwarth, Nicole Pinnel, Luis Guanter, Karl Segl, Daniel Scheffler, Saskia Foerster, Niklas Bohn, Astrid Bracher, Mariana Soppa, Ferran Gascon, Robert O. Green, Raymond F. Kokaly, Jose M. Moreno, Cindy Ong, Manuela Sornig, Ricarda Wernitz, Klaus Bagschik, Detlef Reintsema, Laura La Porta, Anke Schickling, Sebastian Fischer

EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program) is a high-resolution imaging spectroscopy remote sensing mission that was successfully launched on April 1st, 2022. Equipped with a prism-based dual-spectrometer, EnMAP performs observations in the spectral range between 418.2 nm and 2445.5 nm with 224 bands and a high radiometric and spectral accuracy and stability. EnMAP products, with a ground instantaneous field-of-view of 30 m x 30 m at a swath width of 30 km, allow for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of surface variables from frequently and consistently acquired observations on a global scale. This article presents the EnMAP mission and details the activities and results of the Launch and Early Orbit and Commissioning Phases until November 1st, 2022. The mission capabilities and expected performances for the operational Routine Phase are provided for existing and future EnMAP users.

Larval cisco and lake whitefish exhibit high distributional overlap within nursery areas

Released May 29, 2023 08:22 EST

2023, Ecology of Freshwater Fish

Taylor A. Brown, Lars G. Rudstam, Jeremy P. Holden, Brian C. Weidel, Amanda Susanne Ackiss, Ann J. Ropp, Marc Chalupnicki, James E. McKenna Jr., Suresh A. Sethi

Coregonine fishes, including lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and cisco (C. artedi), are socioecologically important in the Laurentian Great Lakes and of conservation concern, but the processes driving recruitment variability are unclear. In Lake Ontario, cisco and lake whitefish exhibit similar spawning behaviours and early life histories, but population trajectories are diverging. One hypothesis is that sympatric cisco and lake whitefish larvae occupy distinct habitats and experience dissimilar local environmental conditions, despite co-occurrence within nursery areas. We described the spatiotemporal distributions of larval cisco and lake whitefish among multiple Lake Ontario embayment nursery areas, characterised physical habitat features associated with their distributions, determined the degree of spatial habitat partitioning between species and evaluated how habitat niche divergence occurred along an ontogenetic progression. Both species were widely distributed across larval nursery areas, though lake whitefish were less abundant and more narrowly distributed than cisco. Within the yolk sac stage, lake whitefish occupied more nearshore, shallower and colder waters than cisco, indicating potential habitat niche partitioning between congeners. However, distributional differences were subtle and likely driven by differential hatch timing and staggered ontogenetic habitat shifts. Combined, our results illustrate similar habitat use between cisco and lake whitefish through the larval stage and demonstrate that ontogeny and species-specific phenology influence habitat use for these species. This study provides additional evidence that the early life histories of cisco and lake whitefish are highly similar and does not support the hypothesis that larval habitat use differences are a major driver of differential recruitment success for these species.

Water Resources Trend Assessments: State of the Science, Challenges, and Opportunities for Advancement

Released May 29, 2023 08:15 EST

2023, Journal of the American Water Resource Association (JAWRA)

Sarah M. Stackpoole, Gretchen P. Oelsner, Edward G. Stets, Jory Seth Hecht, Zachary Johnson, Anthony J. Tesoriero, Michelle A. Walvoord, Jeffrey G. Chanat, Krista A. Dunne, Phillip J. Goodling, Bruce D. Lindsey, Michael Meador, Sarah Spaulding

Water is vital to human life and healthy ecosystems. Here we outline the current state of national-scale water resources trend assessments, identify key gaps, and suggest advancements to better address critical issues related to changes in water resources that may threaten human development or the environment. Questions like, “Do we have less suitable drinking water now than we had 20 years ago?” or “Are flood events more common now than they were in the past?” prompted improvements in data, trend estimation methods, and modeling frameworks to track changes in, and better understand how land use and climate influence four water resources domains: surface and groundwater quantity and quality. However, continued advancement in trend assessments to better address issues related to changes in water availability is needed. Areas of need include more timely and efficient delivery of water resources trend results and improved capacity to estimate trends at unmonitored locations. Additional integration pieces include increased understanding of groundwater–surface water interactions, incorporation of both quantity and quality trends into water availability estimates, and the refinement of trend metrics to account for the competing needs of society and ecological integrity. Coupled with improved driver attribution studies, these components will better inform current and future water resources management.

Broadscale distribution, abundance and habitat associations of the invasive Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) in the lower Columbia River, USA

Released May 27, 2023 08:23 EST

2023, International Review of Hydrobiology

Salvador B. Robb-Chavez, Stephen M. Bollens, Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Timothy Counihan

The Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, is an invasive freshwater bivalve that has established populations across the globe and is known to have deleterious effects on natural and human systems. Yet, despite being present in the Columbia River (CR) for nearly a century, little is known about this invader's basic biology and ecology in this large river system. Thus, we undertook a field study to assess its i) broadscale distribution and abundance, and ii) associations with habitat characteristics in the lower CR. During 2019-20, C. fluminea were collected from 27 shore-based stations spanning 481 river kilometers of the lower CR, along with several habitat characteristics (bank slope, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, conductivity, chlorophyll-a concentration, and sediment composition and % organic matter). C. fluminea abundance ranged from 0-430 ind. m-2. Most sites with abundances >100 ind. m-2 were located downstream of Bonneville Dam, while most sites with abundances < 100 ind. m-2 were located upstream. Generalized linear models predicting the abundance of C. fluminea indicated significantly positive correlations with water temperature and % sand, and negative correlations with bank slope and sedimentary % organic matter. We also reviewed the global literature on abundance and habitat associations of C. fluminea and compared this with our own results. Our investigation represents the greatest spatial extent at which C. fluminea has been studied in the CR and our results provide a better understanding of the basic biology and ecology of this global invader, as well as provide natural resource managers with information on habitat conditions favorable for this invasive bivalve within temperate river ecosystems.

Climate change and coastal wetland salinization: Physiological and ecological consequences for Arctic waterfowl

Released May 27, 2023 07:04 EST

2023, Functional Ecology

Tuula E. Hollmen, Paul L. Flint, Sadie Ulman, H.M. Wilson, Courtney Amundson, Erik E, Osnas

  1. Coastal wetland salinization related to warming climate has the potential to impact ecological systems globally. In Alaska, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) supports large concentrations of breeding water birds and is an ecologically important area for conservation of migratory bird biodiversity. On the YKD, the majority of waterfowl nest in low elevation coastal tundra where storm surges drive saline water into terrestrial wetland habitats. Because newly hatched water birds lack functional salt glands to process saline water, salinization may negatively impact their growth and survival.
  2. We investigated potential demographic impacts of wetland salinization by conducting controlled physiological experiments to determine consequences of saline water exposure to spectacled Somateria fischeri and Steller's eider Polysticta stelleri ducklings, and analysed habitat suitability based on experimentally defined tolerance thresholds and sampled wetland salinity levels.
  3. We found physiological and behavioural pathologies in <1 week old ducklings at exposure levels of 6 parts per thousand (ppt), and found some evidence of reduced growth in ducklings first exposed after 1 week of age. We conclude that the acute toxicity threshold for ducklings <1 week of age is ≤6 ppt.
  4. We found that the area of coastal tundra where wetland salinity exceeded 6 ppt varied considerably among years, suggesting that some portion of the breeding range is unsuitable for rearing ducklings in some years. However, we also found that most eiders in most years nested in areas with salinity at or exceeding the tolerance threshold for ducklings, suggesting that nesting eiders do not appear to avoid saline habitats. We suggest that localized fresh water refugia currently may allow resilience to salinization during the critical period.
  5. Understanding how species and habitats respond to climate driven changes is essential for predicting future patterns of distribution and abundance, and is necessary for making informed decisions about conservation priorities. Our study provides insights into the extent of wetland salinization in Alaska, mechanism of impact and current ecological consequences on avian communities depending on these habitats. With ongoing climate change, the probability of species crossing physiological tolerance thresholds of wetland salinity may change in the future.

When are environmental DNA early detections of invasive species actionable?

Released May 27, 2023 06:41 EST

2023, Journal of Environmental Management (343)

Adam J. Sepulveda, Christine E. Dumoulin, Denise L. Blanchette, John Mcphedran, Colin Holme, Nathan Whalen, Margaret Hunter, Christopher M. Merkes, Catherine A. Richter, Matthew Neilson, Wesley Daniel, Devin Nicole Jones, David R. Smith

Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling provides sensitive early detection capabilities for recently introduced taxa. However, natural resource managers struggle with how to integrate eDNA results into an early detection rapid response program because positive eDNA detections are not always indicative of an eventual infestation. We used a structured decision making (SDM) framework to evaluate appropriate response actions to hypothetical eDNA early detections of an introduced aquatic plant in Sebago Lake (Maine, USA). The results were juxtaposed to a recent study that used a similar SDM approach to evaluate response actions to hypothetical eDNA early detections of introduced mussels in Jordanelle Reservoir (Utah, USA). We found that eDNA early detections were not actionable in Sebago Lake because the plant's invasion potential was spatially constrained and the current management activities provided acceptable levels of mitigation. In Jordanelle Reservoir, eDNA detections were actionable due to high invasion potential and analyses supported management actions to contain the invasion. The divergent outcomes of the two case studies are related to the unique attributes of the habitats and species, highlighting the utility of the SDM approach when considering an eDNA monitoring program. We use these two case studies to present a general SDM framework and a set of heuristics that can be efficiently applied to eDNA early detection rapid response scenarios and other instances associated with indeterminant eDNA detections, especially when there is an imperative to make decisions as quickly as possible.

Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources of the Barents Sea area, 2021

Released May 26, 2023 11:45 EST

2023, Fact Sheet 2023-3019

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

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean conventional resources of 7.3 billion barrels of oil and 463.7 trillion cubic feet of gas within the Barents Sea area.

Satellite precipitation bias estimation and correction using in situ observations and climatology isohyets for the MENA region

Released May 26, 2023 10:09 EST

2023, Journal of Arid Environments (215)

Stefanie Kagone, Naga Manohar Velpuri, Kul Bikram Khand, Gabriel B. Senay, Michael R. Van der Valk, Daniel J. Goode, Salam Abu Hantash, Thair M. Al-Momani, Nanor Momejian, Jack R. Eggleston

The availability of reliable gridded precipitation datasets is limited around the world, especially in arid regions. In this study, we utilized observations from satellite-based precipitation data and in situ rain gauge observations to determine a suitable precipitation dataset in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. First, we evaluated seven different precipitation products using rain gauge observations. The validation was conducted at the daily, monthly, and annual time scales. Results indicated a weaker correlation between in situ rain gauge observation and satellite precipitation data at the daily time step (r: 0.02 to 0.44), mainly due to the lack of range in precipitation distribution. However, the agreement between precipitation estimates and in situ gauge observations improved at monthly (r: 0.02 to 0.66) and annual time scales (r: −0.22 to 0.57), indicating greater reliability of satellite-based precipitation at monthly and annual time scales. Based on the results and dataset availability, the Multi-Source Weighted-Ensemble Precipitation (MSWEP) was deemed suitable to create a bias-corrected new precipitation dataset for the MENA region. This study highlights the benefits of an adjusted regional precipitation product for hydrologic applications in the MENA region, such as streamflow or runoff estimation, to improve the reliability of the model outputs.

Comparative toxicity of two neonicotinoid insecticides at environmentally relevant concentrations to telecoprid dung beetles

Released May 26, 2023 09:27 EST

2023, Scientific Reports (13)

Michael C. Cavallaro, Michelle Hladik, Samantha Hittson, Greg Middleton, W. Wyatt Hoback

Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) frequently traverse agricultural matrices in search of ephemeral dung resources and spend extended periods of time burrowing in soil. Neonicotinoids are among the most heavily applied and widely detected insecticides used in conventional agriculture with formulated products designed for row crop and livestock pest suppression. Here, we determined the comparative toxicity of two neonicotinoids (imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) on dung beetles, Canthon spp., under two exposure profiles: direct topical application (acute) and sustained contact with treated-soil (chronic). Imidacloprid was significantly more toxic than thiamethoxam under each exposure scenario. Topical application LD50 values (95% CI) for imidacloprid and thiamethoxam were 19.1 (14.5–25.3) and 378.9 (200.3–716.5) ng/beetle, respectively. After the 10-day soil exposure, the measured percent mortality in the 3 and 9 µg/kg nominal imidacloprid treatments was 35 ± 7% and 39 ± 6%, respectively. Observed mortality in the 9 µg/kg imidacloprid treatment was significantly greater than the control (p = 0.04); however, the 3 µg/kg imidacloprid dose response may be biologically relevant (p = 0.07). Thiamethoxam treatments had similar mortality as the controls (p > 0.8). Environmentally relevant concentrations of imidacloprid measured in airborne particulate matter and non-target soils pose a potential risk to coprophagous scarabs.

Tungsten resources of the northern Rocky Mountains, Montana and Idaho— A synthesis and quantitative assessment of skarn-hosted resources

Released May 26, 2023 06:42 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5012

Allen K. Andersen, Margaret A. Goldman, Mitchell M. Bennett, Connie L. Dicken, Philip J. Brown, Heather L. Parks

Mineral resource assessments performed by the U.S. Geological Survey provide a synthesis of available information about the location of known and suspected mineral deposits. This study focuses on skarn-hosted tungsten resources in the northern Rocky Mountain region of east-central Idaho and western Montana which have seen moderate tungsten trioxide production in the past from a variety of mineralization styles including skarn, vein and replacement, and wolframite-quartz veins. The area’s geology is dominated by large Cretaceous and Tertiary plutons that are emplaced into a belt of Mesoproterozoic to Permian sedimentary rock and affected by tectonism related to the Sevier and later Laramide orogenies. Known tungsten skarn mineral sites are associated with contacts between Cretaceous plutons and calcareous and argillaceous sedimentary or metasedimentary rocks, including two skarn deposits in Montana (Calvert and Browns Lake) that are consistent with an updated grade and tonnage model.

This study (1) delineates permissive tracts where undiscovered tungsten skarn deposits may occur within 1 kilometer of the surface; (2) presents a tungsten mineral site dataset from a variety of public sources; (3) evaluates currently available geochemical, geophysical, and radiometric age data in support of tract delineation; (4) provides probabilistic estimates of the amount of tungsten and tungsten-mineralized rock that could be contained in undiscovered deposits within one major tract; (5) estimates the value of total undiscovered deposits using economic filter analysis; and (6) provides a synthesis of metallogenic controls on regional tungsten skarn and granitoid-related mineral deposits.

Two permissive tracts were delineated: the Great Falls tectonic zone (GFTZ)-Cretaceous tract, for which a quantitative assessment was performed, and the Bitterroot tract, which was assessed in a qualitative manner. The quantitative three-part assessment, conducted in August 2019, indicates that undiscovered tungsten resources might exist in skarn-type deposits within the study area. Using a negative binomial function, a mean of 4 undiscovered deposits was calculated from panel estimates. Simulation results that combine an updated grade and tonnage model with estimates of undiscovered deposits include the amounts of ore and contained tungsten trioxide at different levels of uncertainty. A mean of 250,000 metric tons and median of 200,000 metric tons contained tungsten trioxide was calculated for the undiscovered deposits within the GFTZ-Cretaceous tract. The value of undiscovered deposits was estimated using a new economic filter that considers factors such as mine type, deposit depth, deposit geometry, metallurgical recovery rate, cutoff grade, and tract area.

A review of the regional Archean to Paleogene geology suggests that ore metal (copper, molybdenum, and tungsten) variations in intrusion-related deposits of Montana and Idaho may be controlled by a number of factors including the age and composition of underlying basement terranes, depth of emplacement, pluton chemistry and degree of fractionation, redox conditions, and aqueous fluid-melt partition coefficients.

High Voltage: The molecular properties of redox-active dissolved organic matter in northern high-latitude lakes

Released May 26, 2023 06:41 EST

2023, Environmental Science & Technology

Martin R. Kurek, Fenix Garcia-Tigreros, Natalie A. Nichols, Gregory K. Druschel, Kimberly Wickland, Mark M. Dornblaser, Robert G. Striegl, Sydney F. Niles, Amy M. McKenna, Pieter J.K Aukes, Ethan D. Kyzviat, Chao Wang, Laurence C. Smith, Sherry L. Schiff, David Butman, Robert G.M. Spencer

Redox-active functional groups in dissolved organic matter (DOM) are crucial for microbial electron transfer and methane emissions. However, the extent of aquatic DOM redox properties across northern high-latitude lakes and their relationships with DOM composition have not been thoroughly described. We quantified electron donating capacity (EDC) and electron accepting capacity (EAC) in lake DOM from Canada to Alaska and assessed their relationships with parameters from absorbance, fluorescence, and ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) analyses. EDC and EAC are strongly tied to aromaticity and negatively related to aliphaticity and protein-like content. Redox-active formulae spanned a range of aromaticity, including highly unsaturated phenolic formulae, and correlated negatively with many aliphatic N and S-containing formulae. This distribution illustrates the compositional diversity of redox-sensitive functional groups and their sensitivity to ecosystem properties such as local hydrology and residence time. Finally, we developed a reducing index (RI) to predict EDC in aquatic DOM from FT-ICR MS spectra and assessed its robustness using riverine DOM. As the hydrology of the northern high-latitudes continues to change, we expect differences in the quantity and partitioning of EDC and EAC within these lakes, which have implications for local water quality and methane emissions.

Susceptibility of Pallid Sturgeon to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus genotype IVb

Released May 26, 2023 06:34 EST

2023, Journal of Aquatic Animal Health

Lacey R. Hopper, Jolene A. Glenn, Elizabeth MacConnell, James Winton, Eveline J. Emmenegger


Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is an aquatic rhabdovirus causing severe disease in freshwater and saltwater fish species. The susceptibility of endangered Pallid Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus to VHSV genotype IVb (VHSV-IVb) infection was investigated.


An in vitro assessment using two Pallid Sturgeon cell lines derived from skin and spleen tissue and in vivo evaluation of juvenile Pallid Sturgeon after exposure to VHSV-IVb were performed.


Plaque assay and RT-PCR results confirmed VHSV-IVb replication in Pallid Sturgeon cell lines. Sturgeon were also susceptible to VHSV-IVb infection after immersion and injection exposures during laboratory experiments. However, after widespread mortality occurred in all treatment groups, including negative control fish, it was determined that the Pallid Sturgeon stock fish were infected with Missouri River sturgeon iridovirus (MRSIV) prior to experimental challenge. Nevertheless, mortalities were equal or higher among VHSV-exposed fish than among negative controls (MRSIV infected), and histopathological assessments indicated reduced hematopoietic cells in spleen and kidney tissues and hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal organs only in fish from the VHSV treatment.


These results indicate that Pallid Sturgeon is a susceptible host for VHSV-IVb, but the degree of pathogenicity was confounded by the underlying MRSIV infection. Research comparing susceptibility of specific pathogen-free and MRSIV-infected fish to VHSV-IVb is needed to accurately assess the vulnerability of Pallid Sturgeon to VHSV-IVb.

Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers near St. Louis, Missouri, August 3–10, 2020

Released May 25, 2023 14:04 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5050

Richard J. Huizinga

Bathymetric and velocimetric data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, near 15 bridges at 10 highway crossings of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers near Washington, Louisiana, and St. Louis, Missouri, on August 3–10, 2020. A multibeam echosounder mapping system was used to obtain channel-bed elevations for river reaches about 1,640 to 1,970 feet longitudinally and generally extending laterally across the active channel from bank to bank during moderate flood-flow conditions. These surveys provided channel geometry and hydraulic conditions at the time of the surveys and provided characteristics of scour holes that may be useful in developing predictive guidelines or equations for computing potential scour depth. These data also may be useful to the Missouri Department of Transportation as a low to moderate flood-flow assessment of the bridges for stability and integrity issues with respect to bridge scour during floods.

Bathymetric data were collected around every in-channel pier. Scour holes were present at most piers for which bathymetry could be obtained, except those on banks or surrounded by riprap. All the bridge sites in this study were previously surveyed and documented in previous studies, including the two new bridge structures at Louisiana and Washington (structures A8141 and A8504, sites 22 and 32, respectively). Comparisons between bathymetric surfaces from the previous surveys and those of the current (2020) study do not indicate any consistent correlation in channel-bed elevations with streamflow conditions. The comparisons of the 2020 surveys to two previous surveys at the new bridge structure A8141 at Washington (site 22) resulted in net erosion of the channel bed in both comparisons, despite the 2020 streamflow being less than either previous survey. Alternatively, there was a net gain of sediment at new bridge structure A8504 at Louisiana (site 32) between 2014 and 2020, which was the most substantial increase in the surveys detailed in this report; substantially less flow in 2020 than in 2014 or changes to the channel and spur dikes near the bridge may have contributed to the observed sediment gain.

Pier size, nose shape, and skew to approach flow had a substantial effect on the size of the scour hole observed at a given pier. Larger and deeper scour holes were present at piers with wide or blunt noses caused by exposed footings, seal courses, or caissons. When a pier was skewed to primary approach flow, the scour hole was generally deeper and larger than at a similar pier without skew; however, the shape of the scour hole near skewed piers in this study generally was longer and deeper on the leeward side, contrary to the general shape of scour holes for skewed piers. However, this phenomenon has been observed historically at these sites, and likely is exacerbated by debris rafts or other turbulence-inducing features near the atypical scour holes. A substantial scour hole was observed near pier 11 of structure A6500 (site 33), which was deeper than in the 2016 survey. The scour holes observed at pier 17 of structure L0561 (site 25) and piers 3 and 4 of structure A1500 (site 34) also were slightly deeper and wider in 2020 than in 2016. At new bridge structures A8141 at Washington (site 22) and A8504 at Louisiana (site 32), the smaller cross-sectional area and configuration of the piers of the new bridges resulted in substantially less scour than with the wider old piers.

Natural and anthropogenic hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), in groundwater near a mapped plume, Hinkley, California

Released May 25, 2023 13:21 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1043

John A. Izbicki, Krishangi D. Groover, Whitney A. Seymour, David M. Miller, John G. Warden, Laurence G. Miller

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Hinkley compressor station (fig. 1), in the Mojave Desert, 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California, is used to compress natural gas as it is transported through a pipeline from Texas to California. Between 1952 and 1964, cooling water was treated with a compound containing hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), to prevent corrosion of machinery within the compressor station. Cooling wastewater containing Cr(VI) was discharged to unlined ponds and released into groundwater. Since 1964, cooling-water management practices have been used that do not contribute chromium to groundwater.

Bedrock-surface elevation and overburden thickness maps of the five boroughs, New York City, New York

Released May 25, 2023 10:45 EST

2023, Data Report 1176

Laura M. DeMott, Frederick Stumm, Jason S. Finkelstein

Digital maps of bedrock elevation and overburden thickness (depth to bedrock) were constructed for the five boroughs of New York City by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Design and Construction, from a compilation of historical and newly acquired data. Raster surfaces were interpolated from a point database containing data from more than 14,000 locations collected from a variety of sources. These data were collected between 1905 and 2021. These maps were constructed to supplement existing tools for the evaluation of potential construction of geothermal heat pump technology for buildings in New York City.

The bedrock underlying the study area ranges from easily weathered to very resistant to weathering. This differential susceptibility to erosion, along with numerous north-northwest-trending faults, is believed to control the shape of the bedrock surface. Glacial scouring of the bedrock during the Pleistocene Epoch is the most recent control on the topography of bedrock surfaces. Overburden thickness is an important consideration for evaluation and construction of geothermal systems.

Bedrock-surface elevation ranges from about 360 feet above sea level (in central Staten Island and northern Bronx) to 1,200 feet below sea level (in southern Queens) (North American Vertical Datum of 1988). The overburden thickness ranges from 0 foot thick at surface outcrops on Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx, to 1,280 feet thick in southeastern Queens.

Geology and paleontology of Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments of the Cabin Branch, Cabin Creek (Cappy Avenue), and Tinkers Creek outcrops, Prince George’s County, Maryland

Released May 25, 2023 10:11 EST

2023, Book chapter, Field excursions to the northern Sierra Nevada of California, the mining districts of the Sierra Nevada, and Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments in Maryland, USA

Jean Self-Trail, David L. Govoni, Laurel M. Bybell, Kristina Frank Gardner

Harvey Kelsey, Susan Cashman, Patricia Cashman, Joan Florsheim, editor(s)

This field guide presents a one-day excursion in Prince George’s County, Maryland, USA, and documents the transition across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary by examining sediments from the upper Maastrichtian of the Severn Formation to the Paleocene sediments of the Brightseat and Aquia formations. Emphasis is placed on understanding how differences in depositional character and lithostratigraphy are related to changes in both microfossil and macrofossil assemblages. Particular attention is given to the difficulty in distinguishing Upper Cretaceous sediments from lower Paleocene sediments in the field, a problem that has traditionally led to misrepresentation of the distribution and thickness of these units and their correlation on a regional scale.

Regarding the Late Cretaceous geology, the guide presents information on the lithology and microfossil biostratigraphy of the Severn Formation, which consists predominantly of silty quartz sand, with less than 5% clay. These sediments are placed in calcareous nannofossil Zone CC25a, suggesting an early late Maastrichtian age. Low abundances of planktic foraminifera combined with sedimentological evidence suggest deposition most likely occurred in a middle neritic environment. Macrofossils in the outcrops along the field trip consist primarily of fragmented bivalve mollusk and cephalopod shell material. A hiatus of ~5 m.y. separates the Cretaceous sediments from the overlying Paleocene deposits.

As for the Paleocene geology, the guide presents information on the Brightseat and Aquia formations. The Brightseat represents early Danian age deposition and consists of clayey, silty sand at the base that grades upward into a silty sand. Glauconite is present at <5% throughout the formation in outcrop. Sediments of the Brightseat Formation are placed in calcareous nannofossil Zone NP3. Macrofossils are limited to small bivalve fragments that are scattered throughout. A hiatus representing ~3 m.y. separates the Brightseat from the overlying Aquia Formation, which is Selandian to Thanetian in age and consists of a glauconite-rich (~10%–20%), silty sand with common to abundant macrofossils, including both fragmented and complete gastropods and bivalves.

A retrospective assessment of fuel break effectiveness for containing rangeland wildfires in the sagebrush biome

Released May 25, 2023 09:44 EST

2023, Journal of Environmental Management (341)

Cali L. Weise, Brianne E. Brussee, Douglas J. Shinneman, Peter S. Coates, Michele R. Crist, Cameron L. Aldridge, Julie A. Heinrichs, Mark A. Ricca

Escalated wildfire activity within the western U.S. has widespread societal impacts and long-term consequences for the imperiled sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) biome. Shifts from historical fire regimes and the interplay between frequent disturbance and invasive annual grasses may initiate permanent state transitions as wildfire frequency outpaces sagebrush communities’ innate capacity to recover. Therefore, wildfire management is at the core of conservation plans for sagebrush ecosystems, especially critical habitat for species of conservation concern such as the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse). Fuel breaks help facilitate wildfire suppression by modifying behavior through fuels modification and allowing safe access points for containment by firefighters. The Bureau of Land Management has proposed to roughly double the existing fuel break network in the western U.S., centered on the Great Basin. To our knowledge, no broad-scale examination of fuel break effectiveness or the environmental conditions under which fuel breaks are expected to be most effective has been conducted. We performed a retrospective assessment of probability of fuel break contributing to wildfire containment on recorded wildfire and fuel break interactions from 1985 to 2018 within the western U.S. We characterized environmental, fuels, and weather conditions within 500 m of wildfire contact, and within 5 km of the approaching wildfire. We used a binomial mixed model within a Bayesian framework to identify relationships between these variables and fuel break success. Fuel breaks were least successful in areas classified as having low resilience to disturbance and low resistance to invasion, in areas composed of primarily woody fuels, and when operating in high temperature and low precipitation conditions. Fuel breaks were most effective in areas where fine fuels dominated and in areas that were readily accessible. Maintenance history and fuel break type also contributed to the probability of containment. Overall results indicate a complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship between landscape characteristics that promote wildfire spread and those that impact fuel break effectiveness. Finally, we developed predictive maps of fuel break effectiveness by fuel break type to further elucidate these complex relationships and to inform urgently needed fuel break placement and maintenance priorities across the sagebrush biome.

Elevated road segment (ERS) passage design may provide enhanced connectivity for amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals

Released May 25, 2023 09:06 EST

2023, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (11)

Cheryl S. Brehme, Stephanie Barnes, Brittany Ewing, Philip Robert Gould, Cassie Vaughan, Michael Hobbs, Charles Tornaci, Sarah Holm, Hanna Sheldon, Jon Fiutak, Robert N. Fisher

Introduction: Designs for safe and effective road crossing structures for small animals are typically under-road microtunnels and culverts which have varying levels of effectiveness reported in the scientific literature. Many species, particularly migratory amphibians, may have limited ability to find and use passages if they are too far apart, resulting in substantial barrier effects.

Methods: We designed a novel open elevated passage (elevated road segment: ERS), similar to a low terrestrial bridge, that could theoretically be built to any length based upon species needs and movement characteristics. A 30 m length prototype ERS was installed along a forest road with a history of amphibian road mortality in Sierra National Forest, Fresno County, CA, USA. From 2018 to 2021, we monitored small animal activity under the ERS in relation to surrounding roadside and forest habitats using active infrared cameras.

Results: We documented a total of 8,815 unique use events, using species specific independence criteria, across 22 species of amphibians (3), reptiles (4), and small mammals (15). Poisson regression modeling of taxonomic group activity under the ERS, roadside and forest, showed that amphibian activity was highest in the forest habitat, no differences were observed for reptiles, and small mammal activity was highest under the ERS. However, mean activity estimates under the ERS were equal to or greater than the open roadside habitat for all 22 species, suggesting that adding cover objects, such as downed logs and vegetation may further enhance passage use.

Discussion: Overall, results showed that the design of the ERS crossing has potential to provide high connectivity for a wide range of amphibian, reptile, and small mammal species while reducing road mortality. ERS systems can also be used in areas with challenging terrain and other hydrological and environmental constraints. Incorporating current road ecology science, we provide supplemental ERS concept designs for secondary roads, primary roads and highways to help increase the options available for road mitigation planning for small animals.

Moderate flood level scenarios—Synthetic storm-driven flood-inundation maps for coastal communities in 10 New Jersey counties

Released May 25, 2023 09:05 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5005

Thomas P. Suro, Michal J. Niemoczynski, Anna Boetsma, Lukasz M. Niemoczynski

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM), created digital flood-inundation maps for approximately 1,430 square miles of the New Jersey coast and tidewaters through 10 coastal counties stretching from Cumberland County through Bergen County, New Jersey. The maps depict extent and depth estimates of coastal flooding corresponding to selected tidal elevations recorded by 25 real-time USGS tide gages located within the study area. The flood-inundation maps can be accessed through the USGS Interagency Flood Risk Management (InFRM) Flood Decision Support Toolbox (FDST).

Previously published modeled data were utilized from the coupled ADvanced CIRCulation Model (ADCIRC) and Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) model. Simulated tropical storm events were selected based on parameters including landfall location or closest approach location, maximum wind speed, central pressure, and radii of winds. Two storm events were selected per tide gage providing two “scenarios” and accompanying inundation-map libraries for each gage. Flood-inundation maps reflect between 9 to 30 stages (elevations) at each tide gage that correspond to areal extents and depths for ADCIRC-SWAN storm time steps extracted from modeled hydrographs at the gage locations. Water-surface elevations from ADCIRC-SWAN node points extending through each tide gage station extent were used to interpolate a water surface. Combining these surfaces with a geographic information system (GIS) topobathymetric digital elevation model (TBDEM) delineated the area flooded by coastal waters at each tide gage elevation.

The availability of these maps to visualize potential inundation for selected water levels along with real-time water level data available online from USGS tide gages, coastal impact statements, and forecasted tide elevations from the National Weather Service (NWS) will provide emergency management personnel and residents with a link between numeric and text warning information and images of estimated inundation extents in their community. User selected display of inundation allows early response activities to NWS forecasted water level elevations or mitigation planning by selecting targeted water levels and planning critical pre-flood activities such as building elevations, early traffic pattern changes because of neighborhood building inundation levels, improved understanding about when major road access is affected, as well as for post-flood recovery efforts.

A subsequent analysis of several community metrics including total structures, structure density, percent of buildings inundated, and roads and bridges affected by flooding was used to evaluate moderate flooding impacts among the mapped station extents. Initial comparisons are presented to show the variability of these characteristics within each mapped station extent then extended to evaluate impacts from moderate flooding on these same areas. The analysis used simulated inundation layers at the moderate flood stage to investigate the magnitude of inundation on building structures and major roads among the mapped station extents. Experimental equations were developed to begin testing if a mathematical equation could help identify communities that were disproportionately impacted at moderate flood stage. The community analysis of impacts to moderate flooding based on these inundation scenario maps should provide community leaders and local and state planning officials with tools to better visualize and understand how flooding begins to disrupt and damage building structures and major roads as a surrogate for direct increased risk to human life and property.

A 37 K SNP array for the management and conservation of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)

Released May 25, 2023 08:36 EST

2023, Conservation Genetics (24) 391-404

Megan E. Judkins, Gary W. Roemer, Brian Millsap, Joseph G. Barnes, Bryan E. Bedrosian, Stephen L. Clarke, Robert Domenech, Garth Herring, Myles Lamont, Brian W. Smith, Dale W. Stahlecker, Matthew J. Stuber, Wesley C. Warren, Ronald A. Van Den Bussche

We describe the development of a custom 37 K Affymetrix Axiom myDesign single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array for a culturally and ecologically important apex predator, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Using this SNP array, we performed population genomic analysis on 154 individuals of known natal localities and detected three genetic clusters that we designated as Taiga/High Arctic, Great Basin, and Rocky Mountains/Great Plains. Each of these clusters appears to display clinal variation within these geographic regions. After determining genetic structure, we performed an assignment test of 32 individuals, five of which were siblings of individuals used in the assessment of genetic structure, three had associated telemetry data, and the remaining individuals were of unknown natal locations. Using this array, four siblings were correctly assigned to the same geographic region as their sibling and the genetic assignment of the radio telemetered birds agreed with the expected movement patterns displayed by these individuals. For the remaining individuals, we were able to assign all but five individuals to one of the three genetic clusters. Our genetic assignments illustrates the utility of this SNP array to accurately assign most individuals to predesignated geographical regions. While further compiling genetic and other data types, we can increase the power of this tool for identifying those breeding populations that may need assistance due to anthropogenic stressors that negatively impact their population viability. The use of this genetic resource will help substantiate decisions by multiple conservation groups that seek to preserve the natural population structure of the golden eagle.

Ferruginous Hawk movements respond predictably to intra-annual variation but unexpectedly to anthropogenic habitats

Released May 25, 2023 08:24 EST

2023, Ibis

Georgia H. Isted, Robert J. Thomas, Kevin S. Warner, Matthew J. Stuber, Ethan A. Ellsworth, Todd E. Katzner

Birds exhibit flexible movement responses to environmental variation across the annual cycle, and those responses can provide insight into potential impacts that environmental changes may have on these species. To understand year-round variation in space use by Ferruginous Hawks Buteo regalis, we tracked 12 birds breeding in southwestern Idaho, USA, using GPS telemetry collected over 207 bird-months. Home-range sizes of territorial adult hawks showed strong intra-annual variation, being smallest from April to June and largest from July to October. In contrast, juvenile birds (< 2 years old) did not appear to hold territories and showed no detectable intra-annual variation in ranging behaviour. Association with land-cover types by territorial birds varied between breeding and non-breeding months and was linked to home-range size. Home-range sizes of non-territorial birds were larger than those of territorial birds, and that size did not vary across the year. Association with anthropogenic habitats (irrigated cropland habitats that can provide high rodent densities and increased foraging opportunities) was negatively associated with home-range size in months of the non-breeding season. Unexpectedly, the opposite was true in the months of the breeding season, such that use of croplands resulted in larger home-ranges. Patterns in home-range size were probably linked to intrinsic factors such as the timing of breeding and migratory behaviour, and to extrinsic factors such as prey availability associated with specific land-cover types. These results have implications for our understanding of the response of Ferruginous Hawks and other similar species to predicted changes in land cover, and they suggest unexpected relationships between human activity and wildlife behaviour. Furthermore, because the birds we tracked used a large portion of western North America, they are probably relevant far beyond the small area where these individuals were trapped.

Establishing an in vitro model to assess the toxicity of 6PPD-quinone and other tire wear transformation products

Released May 25, 2023 08:08 EST

2023, Environmental Science and Technology Letters

Justin Blaine Greer, Ellie Maureen Dalsky, Rachael F. Lane, John Hansen

The tire wear transformation product 6PPD-quinone (6PPDQ) has been implicated as the causative factor for broad scale mortality events for coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Highly variable sensitivity to 6PPDQ in closely related salmonids complicates efforts to evaluate the broader toxicological impacts to aquatic ecosystems. Our goals were to (1) validate the large range of in vivo species sensitivities reported for coho, Chinook, and sockeye salmon and (2) develop an in vitro platform for assessing 6PPDQ toxicity. In vivo studies confirmed the acute sensitivity of juvenile coho (12 h LC50 = 80.4 ng/L) and demonstrated that sockeye salmon were not vulnerable to mortality. Chinook salmon were sensitive to 6PPDQ mortality at initial concentrations >25 μg/L, ∼10-fold greater than reported environmental measurements. In vitro, the coho salmon cell line CSE-119 was acutely sensitive to 6PPDQ (metabolic EC50 = 7.9 μg/L, cytotoxicity EC50 = 6.1 μg/L). Analogous Chinook (CHSE-214) and sockeye salmon (SSE-5) cell lines were nonresponsive in both assays, and rainbow trout RTG-2 cells began showing metabolic effects at 68 μg/L (EC5). Recreation of species-specific 6PPDQ sensitivity in vitro implicates conserved modes of action in CSE-119 that could be utilized for mechanistic studies of 6PPDQ toxicity and screening of other PPD transformation products.

Tree symbioses sustain nitrogen fixation despite excess nitrogen supply

Released May 25, 2023 07:35 EST

2023, Ecological Monographs (93)

Duncan N.L. Menge, Amelia A. Wolf, Jennifer L. Funk, Steven Perakis, Palani R. Akana, Rachel Arkebauer, Thomas A. Bytnerowicz, K. A. Carreras Pereira, Alexandra M. Huddell, Sian Kou-Giesbrecht, Sarah K. Ortiz

Symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) is a key ecological process whose impact depends on the strategy of SNF regulation—the degree to which rates of SNF change in response to limitation by N versus other resources. SNF that is obligate or exhibits incomplete downregulation can result in excess N fixation, whereas a facultative SNF strategy does not. We hypothesized that tree-based SNF strategies differed by latitude (tropical vs. temperate) and symbiotic type (actinorhizal vs. rhizobial). Specifically, we expected tropical rhizobial symbioses to display strongly facultative SNF as an explanation of their success in low-latitude forests. In this study we used 15N isotope dilution field experiments in New York, Oregon, and Hawaii to determine SNF strategies in six N-fixing tree symbioses. Nitrogen fertilization with +10 and +15 g N m−2 year−1 for 4–5 years alleviated N limitation in all taxa, paving the way to determine SNF strategies. Contrary to our hypothesis, all six of the symbioses we studied sustained SNF even at high N. Robinia pseudoacacia (temperate rhizobial) fixed 91% of its N (%Ndfa) in controls, compared to 64% and 59% in the +10 and +15 g N m−2 year−1 treatments. For Alnus rubra (temperate actinorhizal), %Ndfa was 95%, 70%, and 60%. For the tropical species, %Ndfa was 86%, 80%, and 82% for Gliricidia sepium (rhizobial); 79%, 69%, and 67% for Casuarina equisetifolia (actinorhizal); 91%, 42%, and 67% for Acacia koa (rhizobial); and 60%, 51%, and 19% for Morella faya (actinorhizal). Fertilization with phosphorus did not stimulate tree growth or SNF. These results suggest that the latitudinal abundance distribution of N-fixing trees is not caused by a shift in SNF strategy. They also help explain the excess N in many forests where N fixers are common.

Is now the time? Review of genetic rescue as a conservation tool for brook trout

Released May 25, 2023 07:25 EST

2023, Ecology and Evolution (13)

Shannon Lynn White, Jacob M Rash, David C. Kazyak

Brook trout populations have been declining throughout their native range in the east coast of the United States. Many populations are now distributed in small, isolated habitat patches where low genetic diversity and high rates of inbreeding reduce contemporary viability and long-term adaptive potential. Although human-assisted gene flow could theoretically improve conservation outcomes through genetic rescue, there is widespread hesitancy to use this tool to support brook trout conservation. Here, we review the major uncertainties that have limited genetic rescue from being considered as a viable conservation tool for isolated brook trout populations and compare the risks of genetic rescue with other management alternatives. Drawing on theoretical and empirical studies, we discuss methods for implementing genetic rescue in brook trout that could yield long-term evolutionary benefits while avoiding negative fitness effects associated with outbreeding depression and the spread of maladapted alleles. We also highlight the potential for future collaborative efforts to accelerate our understanding of genetic rescue as a viable tool for conservation. Ultimately, while we acknowledge that genetic rescue is not without risk, we emphasize the merits that this tool offers for protecting and propagating adaptive potential and improving species' resilience to rapid environmental change.

The truth is in the stream: Use of tracer techniques and synoptic sampling to evaluate metal loading and remedial options in a hydrologically complex setting

Released May 25, 2023 07:06 EST

2023, Science of the Total Environment (876)

Robert L. Runkel, Philip Verplanck, Katherine Walton-Day, R. Blaine McCleskey, Patrick Byrne

Two synoptic sampling campaigns were conducted to quantify metal loading to Illinois Gulch, a small stream affected by historical mining activities. The first campaign was designed to determine the degree to which Illinois Gulch loses water to the underlying mine workings, and to determine the effect of these losses on observed metal loads. The second campaign was designed to evaluate metal loading within Iron Springs, a subwatershed that was responsible for the majority of the metal loading observed during the first campaign. A continuous, constant-rate injection of a conservative tracer was initiated prior to both sampling campaigns and maintained throughout the duration of each study. Tracer concentrations were subsequently used to determine streamflow in gaining stream reaches using the tracer-dilution method, and as an indicator of hydrologic connections between Illinois Gulch and subsurface mine workings. Streamflow losses to the mine workings were quantified during the first campaign using a series of slug additions in which specific conductivity readings were used as a surrogate for tracer concentration. Data from the continuous injections and slug additions were combined to develop spatial streamflow profiles along each study reach. Streamflow estimates were multiplied by observed metal concentrations to yield spatial profiles of metal load that were in turn used to quantify and rank metal sources. Study results indicate that Illinois Gulch loses water to subsurface mine workings and suggest that remedial measures that reduce flow loss (e.g. channel lining) could lessen metal loading from the Iron Springs area. The primary sources of metals to Illinois Gulch include diffuse springs and groundwater, and a draining mine adit. Diffuse sources were determined to have a much larger effect on water quality than other sources that had been the subject of previous investigations due to their visual appearance, supporting the idea that “the truth is in the stream”. The overall approach of combining spatially intensive sampling with a rigorous hydrological characterization is applicable to non-mining constituents such as nutrients and pesticides.

Application of habitat association models across regions: Useful explanatory power retained in wetland bird case study

Released May 25, 2023 06:46 EST

2023, Ecosphere (14)

Lisa H. Elliott, Annie M. Bracey, Gerald J. Niemi, Douglas H. Johnson, Thomas M. Gehring, Erin E. Gnass Giese, Giuseppe E. Fiorino, Robert W. Howe, Gregory J. Lawrence, Christopher J. Norment, Douglas C. Tozer, Lawrence Igl

Species often exhibit regionally specific habitat associations, so habitat association models developed in one region might not be accurate or even appropriate for other regions. Three programs to survey wetland-breeding birds covering (respectively) Great Lakes coastal wetlands, inland Great Lakes wetlands, and the Prairie Pothole Region offer an opportunity to test whether regionally specific models of habitat use by wetland-obligate breeding birds are transferrable across regions. We first developed independent, regional population density models for four species of wetland-obligate birds: Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola), Sora (Porzana carolina), and American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus). We then used adjusted pseudo-R2 values to compare the amount of variation explained by each model when applied to data collected in each of the three regions. Although certain habitat characteristics, such as emergent vegetation and wetland area, were consistently important across regions, models for each species differed by region—both in variables selected for inclusion and often in the directionality of relationships for common variables—indicating that habitat associations for these species are regionally specific. When we applied a model developed in one region to data collected in another region, we found that explanatory power was reduced in most (71%) models. Therefore, we suggest that ecological analyses should emphasize regionally specific habitat association models whenever possible. Nonetheless, models created from inland Great Lakes wetland data had higher median explanatory power when applied to other regions, and the amount of explanatory power lost by other transferred models was relatively small. Thus, while regionally specific habitat association models are preferable, in the absence of reliable regional data, habitat association models developed in one region may be applied to another region, but the results need to be cautiously interpreted. Additionally, we found that median explanatory power was higher when local-scale habitat characteristics were included in the models, indicating that regionally specific models should ideally be based on a combination of local- and landscape-scale habitat characteristics. Conservation practitioners can leverage such regionally specific models and associated monitoring data to help prioritize areas for management activities that contribute to regional conservation efforts.

Introduction to the digitization of seismic data: A user’s guide

Released May 25, 2023 06:46 EST

2023, Seismological Research Letters

Adam T. Ringler, Robert E. Anthony, Patrick Bastien, Adam Pascale, Bion J. Merchant

Modern seismic data are collected, distributed, and analyzed using digital formats, and this has become a standard for the field. Although most modern seismometers still make use of analog electronic circuits, their data are converted from an analog voltage output to time‐tagged counts by way of digitization. Although much of the digitization process is not complicated to conceptualize, there is a fair bit of jargon in digitizer specifications, and a few pitfalls that can arise in the processes of recording and analyzing ground‐motion data. In this article, we review some of the fundamental physical properties of data acquisition systems and the basic steps in digitizing data from an analog instrument (specifically a seismometer). We then briefly discuss the digitization process and some of the key properties needed to make these data useful for seismological applications. Finally, we discuss some of the filtering processes that naturally arise from digitization and how it can affect the processing workflow. The end goal is to provide a user guide that will enable seismologists to have a working knowledge of the digitization process. We focus on aspects central to seismological applications and have tried to avoid getting bogged down in signal processing formalism.

Gene expression and wildlife health: Varied interpretations based on perspective

Released May 25, 2023 06:33 EST

2023, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (11)

Lizabeth Bowen, Julie L. Yee, James L. Bodkin, Shannon C. Waters, Michael J. Murray, Heather Coletti, Brenda E. Ballachey, Daniel Monson, A. Keith Miles

We evaluated wildlife population health from the perspective of statistical means vs. variances. We outlined the choices necessary to provide the framework for our study. These consisted of spatial and temporal boundaries (e.g., choice of sentinel species, populations, time frame), measurement techniques (molecular to population level), and appropriate statistical analyses. We chose to assess the health of 19 sea otter populations, located in the north Pacific from the Aleutian Islands, AK, to Santa Barbara, CA, and varying in population growth rates and length of occupancy. Our focal metric was gene expression (i.e., mRNA transcripts) data that we had previously generated across sea otter populations as a measure of population health. We used statistical methods with different approaches (i.e., means vs. variances) and examined the subsequent interpretive outcomes and how these influence our assessment of “health.” Interpretations based on analyses using variances versus means overlapped to some degree. In general, sea otter populations with low variation in gene expression were limited by food resources and at or near carrying capacity. In populations where the variation in gene expression was moderate or high, four out of five populations were increasing in abundance, or had been recently increasing. Where we had additional information on sources of stressors at the level of the population, we were able to draw inferences from those stressors to specific gene expression results. For example, gene expression patterns of sea otters from Western Prince William Sound were consistent with long term exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons, whereas in Kachemak Bay, patterns were consistent with exposure to algal toxins. Ultimately, determination of population or ecosystem health will be most informative when multiple metrics are examined across disciplines in the context of specific scenarios and goals.

Recognizing political influences in participatory social-ecological systems modeling

Released May 24, 2023 14:05 EST

2023, Socio-Environmental Systems Modelling (5)

Theodore C. Lim, Pierre D. Glynn, Gary W. Shenk, Patrick Bitterman, Joseph H. A. Guillaume, John Little, D. G. Webster

Stakeholder participation in social-ecological systems (SES) modeling is increasingly considered a desirable way to elicit diverse sources of knowledge about SES behavior and to promote inclusive decision-making in SES. Understanding how participatory modeling processes function in the context of long-term adaptive management of SES may allow for better design of participatory processes to achieve the intended outcomes of inclusionary knowledge, representativeness, and social learning, while avoiding unintended outcomes. Long-term adaptive management contexts often include political influences -- attempts to shift or preserve power structures and authority, and efforts to represent the political and economic interests of stakeholders -- in the computer models that are used to shape policy making and implementation. In this research, we examine a period that included a major transition in the watershed model used for management of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. The Chesapeake Bay watershed model has been in development since the 1980s, and is considered by many to be an exemplary case of participatory modeling. We use documentary analysis and interviews with participants involved in the model application and development transition to reveal a variety of ways in which participatory modeling may be subject to different kinds of political influences, some of which resulted in unintended outcomes, including: perceptions of difficulty updating the model in substantive ways, “gaming” of the model/participatory process by stakeholders, and increasing resistance against considering uncertainty in the system not captured by the model. This research suggests unintended or negative outcomes may be associated with both participatory decision-making and stakeholder learning even though they are so often touted as the benefits of participatory modeling. We end with a hypothesis that further development of a theory of computer model governance to bridge model impact and broader theories of environmental governance at the science-policy interface may result in improved SES modeling outcomes.

Sensitivity of the Penman-Monteith reference evapotranspiration equation to meteorological variables for Puerto Rico

Released May 24, 2023 13:55 EST

2023, Hydrology (10)

Michelle M. Irizarry-Ortiz, Eric Harmsen

Spatiotemporal variations in reference evapotranspiration (ETo) are sensitive to the meteorological data used in its estimation. The sensitivity of the ASCE standardized ETo equation to meteorological variables from GOES-PRWEB dataset was evaluated for the island of Puerto Rico. Island wide, ETo is most sensitive to daily mean relative humidity (RHmean), followed by solar radiation, daily maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) air temperatures, and wind speed with average absolute relative sensitivity coefficients (SCs) of 0.98, 0.57, 0.50, 0.27, and 0.12, respectively. The derived SCs guided the prioritization of bias correction of meteorological data for ETo estimation from two downscaled climate models (CNRM and CESM). The SCs were applied to evaluate how meteorological variables contribute to model errors and projected future changes in ETo from 1985–2005 to 2040–2060 at irrigated farms in the south. Both models project a 5.6% average increase in annual ETo due to projected increases in Tmax and Tmin and a decrease in RHmean. Despite ETo being most sensitive to relative changes in RHmean, the contributions from RHmeanTmax, and Tmin to future changes in ETo are similar. CESM projects increases in ETo in March, November, and December, increasing the potential for crop water stress. Study limitations are discussed.

Assessing individual movement, habitat use, and behavior of non-breeding marine birds in relation to prey availability in the US Atlantic

Released May 24, 2023 13:24 EST

2023, Marine Ecology Progress Series (711) 77-99

Julia Gulka, Alicia Berlin, Kevin Friedland, Andrew Gilbert, Chandra Goetsch, William Montevecchi, Matthew Perry, Iain Stenhouse, Kate A. Williams, Evan A. Adams

Resource availability is a key factor driving marine bird movements and distributions, but direct information on prey availability is difficult to obtain at relevant scales. We present novel methods for describing multi-scale trophic associations, combining movement analyses of marine birds with estimates of forage fish surface aggregations from digital aerial survey data and species occupancy from bottom trawl survey data. We analyzed satellite telemetry data from northern gannets Morus bassanus, red-throated loons Gavia stellata, and long-tailed ducks Clangula hyemalis in the US Atlantic during the non-breeding period. Using discrete-time hidden Markov models to distinguish area-restricted (i.e. putative foraging) from transit movements, we examined how environmental factors influence movement, and how forage fish species distributions and surface aggregations influence habitat use by gannets and loons that have greater dietary reliance. Our results suggest that chlorophyll a concentration significantly affected movement behavior across species, highlighting the importance of higher-productivity areas around estuaries during colder months when regional productivity is low. Though variable across species and seasons, spatial cross-correlation analysis revealed that herring species (Family Clupeidae), including Atlantic menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus, may be important resources; it also showed positive spatial correlations with forage fish aggregations. This suggests that prey patch dynamics and factors driving aggregation formation may be as important as species composition. However, spatial patterns were generally low (<0.3), suggesting a mismatch in spatiotemporal resolution, exemplifying the challenges in quantifying trophic relationships in marine systems. Disentangling predator-prey relationships is critical to understanding the mechanisms driving marine bird behavior in rapidly changing marine systems.

ECCOE Landsat quarterly Calibration and Validation report—Quarter 4, 2022

Released May 24, 2023 11:48 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1044

Md Obaidul Haque, Rajagopalan Rengarajan, Mark Lubke, Md Nahid Hasan, Ashish Shrestha, Fatima Tuz Zafrin Tuli, Jerad L. Shaw, Alex Denevan, Shannon Franks, Esad Micijevic, Michael J. Choate, Cody Anderson, Kurt Thome, Ed Kaita, Julia Barsi, Raviv Levy, Jeff Miller

Executive Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val) Center of Excellence (ECCOE) focuses on improving the accuracy, precision, calibration, and product quality of remote-sensing data, leveraging years of multiscale optical system geometric and radiometric calibration and characterization experience. The ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team continually monitors the geometric and radiometric performance of active Landsat missions and makes calibration adjustments, as needed, to maintain data quality at the highest level.

This report provides observed geometric and radiometric analysis results for Landsats 7–8 for quarter 4 (October–December) of 2022. All data used to compile the Cal/Val analysis results presented in this report are freely available from the U.S. Geological Survey EarthExplorer website:

One specific activity that the ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team closely monitored was the lowering of the Landsat 7 orbit. On April 6, 2022, the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor was placed into standby mode, and a series of spacecraft burns was completed through the month of April to lower the satellite’s orbit by 8 kilometers. Imaging resumed at a lower orbit of 697 kilometers on May 5, 2022, extending the science mission. Additional information about the Landsat 7 orbit lowering is here:'s%20primary%20science%20mission%20has%20ended&text=On%20April%206%2C%202022%2C%20the,satellite's%20orbit%20by%208%20kilometers.

Estimating northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) pair detection probabilities based on call-back surveys associated with long-term mark-recapture studies, 1993–2018

Released May 24, 2023 11:30 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2023-1012

Katie M. Dugger, Alan B. Franklin, Damon B. Lesmeister, Raymond J. Davis, J. David Wiens, Gary C. White, James D. Nichols, James E. Hines, Charles B. Yackulic, Carl J. Schwarz, Steven H. Ackers, L. Steven Andrews, Larissa L. Bailey, Robin Bown, Jesse Burgher, Kenneth P. Burnham, Peter C. Carlson, Tara Chestnut, Mary M Conner, Krista E. Dilione, Eric D. Forsman, Scott A. Gremel, Keith A. Hamm, Dale R. Herter, J. Mark Higley, Rob B. Horn, Julianna M Jenkins, William L. Kendall, David W Lamphear, Christopher McCafferty, Trent L. McDonald, Janice A Reid, Jeremy T. Rockweit, David C. Simon, Stan G Sovern, James K. Swingle, Heather Wise

The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina; hereinafter NSO) was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 and population declines have continued since that listing. Given the species’ protected status, any proposed activities on Federal lands that might impact NSO require consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and part of that consultation often includes surveys to determine presence and occupancy status of the species in the proposed activity area. The objective of this report is to present study-area specific estimates of the probability of detection for NSO pairs from twelve 2-week seasonal survey periods using data from a recent range-wide meta-analysis. These estimates were a by-product of pair occupancy modeling but might provide insight into potential changes in the effect of the invasive barred owl on NSO detection rates. We used two-species multi-season occupancy models to estimate the probability of detection for NSOs on each of 11 study areas for each 2-week survey period and relative to the range-wide effect of barred owl presence or absence. Detection probabilities within the season generally increased from the earliest surveys in March through mid-season, decreasing again in the late season on five study areas. For three other study areas, detection rates were highest during the earliest survey periods in late March or early April. Estimates of cumulative seasonal detection of NSO (across a maximum of six within-season surveys) were less than 0.90 when barred owls (BO) were present on all but one study area, regardless of when surveys were conducted within a season. However, despite low detection rates, the probability that a territory was occupied when an NSO pair was not detected over six within-season surveys was also very low. When BO are not present on a territory, a six-survey protocol had a high probability of detecting an NSO pair at least once during the season on all study areas, except for the very lowest per-survey estimates. Conducting most surveys earlier in the season, when the probability of detecting pairs is highest (through May on most areas) could improve seasonal detection rates. However, alternative methods of population monitoring—such as the use of passive acoustic recorders—may be needed to continue monitoring NSO for research and management.

Paleohydrologic history of pluvial lake San Agustin, New Mexico: Tracking changing effective moisture in southwest North America through the last glacial transition

Released May 24, 2023 09:29 EST

2023, Quaternary Science Reviews (310)

Adam M. Hudson, Jay Quade, Vance T. Holliday, Brendan Fenerty, Jordon Bright, Harrison J. Gray, Shannon A. Mahan

Paleoclimate records across the Intermountain West region of North America show significant regional variation in timing and magnitude of wet conditions that accompanied the last glacial-interglacial transition. To understand the climate controls on paleohydrologic change, well-dated records are needed across the region. The Plains of San Agustin (New Mexico, USA) is a closed-basin watershed of the American Southwest influenced by both winter westerly and summer North American Monsoon precipitation. The flat valley floors of the Plains contain lake and groundwater discharge deposits that record multiple periods of past wet climate. We present a record of hydroclimate for the past 26,000 years based on radiocarbon, U–Th series, and OSL dating of these deposits and stratigraphic correlation across the three sub-basins of the lake system. We find that two major lake oscillations occurred, coincident with the global Last Glacial Maximum (∼23–18 ka) and with Heinrich Stadial 1 (∼17–14 ka). The LGM lake cycle created a deep lake in the lowermost sub-basin, fed by marsh/lake overflow in the upper sub-basins. The Heinrich Stadial 1 wet interval attained the highest recorded lake level between ∼17.0 and 15.3 ka, merging the lower two sub-basins into one lake. Both lake cycles agree well in timing and magnitude with other lake-based records from the southwestern U.S., supporting previous interpretations that a south-shifted cool season storm track brought a dipole-like pattern of enhanced moisture to the southwest at the expense of drier conditions in the northwest during the LGM and deglaciation. A transition from lake to groundwater discharge conditions followed during the Bølling-Allerød (14.7–12.9 ka) across the study area. Wet meadows prevailed in the lower sub-basin during the Younger Dryas (12.9–11.7 ka), with marsh and open lake conditions in the upper and middle sub-basins, respectively. During the early Holocene, discrete wet intervals are recorded by ages for wet meadow deposits in all sub-basins with centennial-millennial frequency at 9.9, 8.8, 8.2 ka. These events agree well with other Intermountain West records showing wetter-than-present conditions prior to 8 ka. Two additional wet periods, centered at 6.8 and 5.4 ka, occurred during the driest known interval of the middle Holocene, and likely were partly supported in the Plains of San Agustin by summer moisture associated with the peak strength of the North American Monsoon. Our record highlights that both winter and summer moisture support water resources in New Mexico watersheds.

Methods and lessons for business resilience and recovery surveys

Released May 24, 2023 09:17 EST

2023, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (93)

Maria Watson, Charlotte Brown, John Handmer, Cynthia Kroll, Anne Wein, Jennifer Helgeson, Adam Rose, Noah Dormady, Juri Kim

Surveys are important tools in business resilience and recovery research because of their ability to capture disaggregated economic information; however, they can be difficult and costly due to business operational dynamics and the larger challenges of disaster research. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a recent example where demand for business data was high across both research and practice. Yet, the methods and modes for collecting data were limited due to safety, health, and ethical concerns. This research seeks to address the lack of tailored guidance for conducting business resilience and recovery surveys by collecting and synthesizing instruments and best practices from previous survey efforts. These previous surveys were undertaken by a diverse group of organizations with varied research questions, objectives, and hazard events of interest. This paper discusses six broad lessons: clearly define purpose, objectives, and concepts; recognize that response rates will be low, consider disaster dynamics in the research design, address bias that can be exacerbated by disasters, take care to acknowledge the unique ethical considerations of disaster resilience surveys in the business and economic context, and verify and validate data at all stages of the survey process. These lessons, in addition to the published instruments themselves, support researchers or practitioners who wish to conduct their own business resilience and recovery surveys in the future.

Successful detection of Delta and Omicron Variants of SARS-CoV-2 by veterinary diagnostic laboratory participants in an interlaboratory comparison exercise

Released May 24, 2023 06:58 EST

2023, Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine

Kaiping Deng, Sarah M. Nemser, Kirstin Frost, Laura B. Goodman, Hon S. Ip, Mary Lea Killian, Jodie Ulaszek, Shannon Kiener, Matthew Kmet, Steffen Uhlig, Karina Hettwer, Bertrand Colson, Kapil Nichani, Anja Schlierf, Andriy Tkachenko, Megan R. Miller, Ravinder Reddy, Gregory H. Tyson


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary diagnostic laboratories have tested diagnostic samples for SARS-CoV-2 both in animals and over 6 million human samples. An evaluation of the performance of those laboratories is needed using blinded test samples to ensure that laboratories report reliable data to the public. This interlaboratory comparison exercise (ILC3) builds on 2 prior exercises to assess whether veterinary diagnostic laboratories can detect Delta and Omicron variants spiked in canine nasal matrix or viral transport medium.


The ILC organizer was an independent laboratory that prepared inactivated Delta variant at levels of 25 to 1000 copies per 50 µL of nasal matrix for blinded analysis. Omicron variant at 1000 copies per 50 µL of transport medium was also included. Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) RNA was used as a confounder for specificity assessment. Fourteen test samples were prepared for each participant. Participants used their routine diagnostic procedures for RNA extraction and real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR. Results were analyzed according to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 16140–2:2016.


Overall, laboratories demonstrated 93% detection for Delta and 97% for Omicron at 1000 copies per 50 µL. Specificity was 97% for blank samples and 100% for blank samples with FIPV. No differences in Cycle Threshold (Ct) values were significant for samples with the same virus levels between N1 and N2 markers, nor between the 2 variants.


The results indicated that all ILC3 participants were able to detect both Delta and Omicron variants. The canine nasal matrix did not significantly affect SARS-CoV-2 detection.

The extent of buildings in wildland vegetation of the conterminous U.S. and the potential for conservation in and near National Forest private inholdings

Released May 24, 2023 06:50 EST

2023, Landscape and Urban Planning (237)

Amanda R. Carlson, Volker C. Radeloff, Dave P. Helmers, Miranda H. Mockrin, Todd Hawbaker, Anna M. Pidgeon

Development in natural areas is a leading threat to biodiversity. Global conservationists have called for the expansion of protected areas to preserve wildlands that are free from buildings, and in the U.S., the ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative aims to protect 30% of land and water areas by 2030 (known as the ‘30x30’ target). Here, we determined opportunities and limitations for conservation in the conterminous U.S. by assessing the extent of buildings in wildland vegetation. We focused specifically on National Forest lands, as these contain numerous private inholdings where development may occur. Using a newly available building footprint dataset, we determined 1) whether buildings were present and 2) numbers of buildings within three distances of wildland vegetation (100, 250, and 500 m), representing varying magnitudes of ecological impact. Our findings revealed that 29% of wildland vegetation nationwide was within 500 m of a building, 15% was within 250 m, and 5% was within 100 m. National Forest lands were less affected by building disturbance, but a substantial proportion (12%) of wildland vegetation area was within 500 m of a building. Of National Forest lands that were within 500 m of an inholding, 76% was not yet in proximity to a building; consequently, ∼10% of National Forest lands (143,474 km2) are susceptible to impacts from future development on inholdings. We conclude that National Forest inholdings are therefore important opportunity areas for 30x30 conservation goals. Our assessments can inform where conservation efforts can limit impacts from present and future development on biodiversity.

Toward a national eDNA strategy for the United States

Released May 24, 2023 06:39 EST

2023, Environmental DNA

Ryan Kelly, David M. Lodge, Kai Lee, Susanna Theroux, Adam J. Sepulveda, Chris Scholin, Joseph M. Craine, Elizabeth Allan, Krista M. Nichols, Kim M. Parsons, Kelly D Goodwin, Zachary Gold, Francisco P. Chavez, Rachel T. Noble, Cathryn Abbott, Melinda R. Baerwald, Amanda Naaum, Peter Thielen, Ariel Simons, Christopher L. Jerde, Jeffrey J. Duda, Margaret Hunter, John Hagan, Rachel Meyer, Joshua Steele, Mark Stoeckle, Holly Bik, Christopher Meyer, Eric D. Stein, Karen James, Austen Thomas, Elif Demir-Hilton, Molly Timmers, John Griffith, Michael J Weise, Steve Weisberg

Environmental DNA (eDNA) data make it possible to measure and monitor biodiversity at unprecedented resolution and scale. As use-cases multiply and scientific consensus grows regarding the value of eDNA analysis, public agencies have an opportunity to decide how and where eDNA data fit into their mandates. Within the United States, many federal and state agencies are individually using eDNA data in various applications and developing relevant scientific expertise. A national strategy for eDNA implementation would capitalize on recent scientific developments, providing a common set of next-generation tools for natural resource management and public health protection. Such a strategy would avoid patchwork and possibly inconsistent guidelines in different agencies, smoothing the way for efficient uptake of eDNA data in management. Because eDNA analysis is already in widespread use in both ocean and freshwater settings, we focus here on applications in these environments. However, we foresee the broad adoption of eDNA analysis to meet many resource management issues across the nation because the same tools have immediate terrestrial and aerial applications.

The Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Scenario Retrospective 2006–21

Released May 23, 2023 11:25 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5011

Nora Lynn Smithhisler, Nina Burkardt

The U.S. Geological Survey Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Project has created four major hazard scenarios—ShakeOut, ARkStorm, Tsunami Scenario, and HayWired—with multidisciplinary teams of scientists, academics, and practitioners. By presenting a clear and highly detailed narrative of potential damage from earthquakes, tsunamis, and winter storms, the scenarios are intended to foster science-based preparedness strategies and disaster risk reduction innovations.

This evaluation explores the presence of these scenarios in cultures of preparedness and their role in disaster risk reduction, and reports barriers and enablers to creating and using these scenarios. To do this, the evaluation team developed a mixed-methods study that includes background research for each scenario, qualitative interviews, data collection of media and academic engagement, and examples of SAFRR scenario use in hazard planning. The data collection led to the development of a hazard scenario evaluation tool that combines theories from multiple disciplines to create a best practice set of categories that aid in scenario use and efficacy. The evaluation tool categories—actionable, longitudinal, educational, relevant, and thorough—are organized as a series of checklists that are used to determine how the scenario planners prioritized different aspects of the scenarios to achieve their goals. The tool could also be used to aid scenario planning for other regional disaster risk reduction scenarios of a similar scope.

Findings from this evaluation include detailed narratives of scenario use over time, demonstrating that the scenarios have continued to be useful in hazard planning and preparedness across the globe. Examples of use include using the scenarios to advocate for resilient building and development policy, to promote hazard response exercises, and as source data for the development of new hazard models and science. The scenarios themselves are innovative, both in the hazard science created for scenario development and in their branding and public engagement as U.S. Geological Survey products. This SAFFR retrospective is a descriptive evaluation and does not formally address the effects of the scenarios. Nevertheless, this report does include evidence of scenario affects as discovered through qualitative interviews and research, which is presented to explore how the SAFRR scenarios have been received by cultures of preparedness.

The rainfall intensity-duration control of debris flows after wildfire

Released May 23, 2023 10:57 EST

2023, Geophysical Research Letters (50)

Matthew A. Thomas, Donald N. Lindsay, David B. Cavagnaro, Jason W. Kean, Scott W. McCoy, Andrew Paul Graber

Increased wildfire activity in the western United States has exposed regional gaps in our understanding of postfire debris-flow generation. To address this problem, we characterized flows in an unstudied area to test the rainfall intensity-duration control of the hazard. Our rainfall measurements and field observations from the northern Sierra Nevada (California, USA) show that debris flows resulted from a short burst rainfall during a low-accumulation storm. In contrast, a much higher accumulation storm (∼10 times more rainfall) with lower short-duration rainfall rates only produced low-hazard flooding. We conclude that total storm rainfall is not an ideal metric for identifying the rainfall conditions that initiate runoff-generated debris flows in the first year after wildfire. Rather, a focus on short-duration (<1 hr), high-intensity rainfall that can occur during localized thunderstorms, or bands of intense rainfall during prolonged rainstorms, is more beneficial for the purposes of hazard assessment and warning.

Influence of increased freshwater inflow on nitrogen and phosphorus budgets in a dynamic subtropical estuary, Barataria Basin, Louisiana

Released May 23, 2023 08:48 EST

2023, Water (15)

Hoonshin Jung, William K. Nuttle, Melissa Millman Baustian, Tim J. B. Carruthers

Coastal Louisiana is currently experiencing high rates of wetland loss and large-scale ecosystem restoration is being implemented. One of the largest and most novel restoration projects is a controlled sediment diversion, proposed to rebuild and sustain wetlands by diverting sediment- and nutrient-rich water from the Mississippi River. However, the impact of this proposed sediment diversion on the nutrient budget of the receiving basin is largely unknown. A water quality model was developed to investigate the impact of the planned Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion on the nutrient budget of the Barataria Basin (herein referred to as ‘the Basin’). The model results indicate that the planned diversion will increase TN and TP pools by about 38% and 17%, respectively, even with TN and TP loadings that increase by >300%. Water quality model results suggest that the increase of nutrients in the basin will be mitigated by increased advection transport (i.e., decreased residence time from ~170 days to ~40 days, leading to greater flushing) and increased removal via assimilation, denitrification, and settling within the Basin. Advection transport resulted in higher TN removal in the Basin than other processes, such as uptake or denitrification. Approximately 25% of the additional TN loading and 30% of the additional TP loading were processed within the Basin through the assimilation of phytoplankton and wetland vegetation, denitrification, and burial in the sediment/soils. These nutrient budgets help to better understand how the planned large-scale sediment diversion project may change the future ecological conditions within the estuaries of coastal Louisiana and near-shore northern Gulf of Mexico.

Coral restoration for coastal resilience: Integrating ecology, hydrodynamics, and engineering at multiple scales

Released May 23, 2023 08:47 EST

2023, Ecosphere (14)

T. Shay Viehman, Borja Reguero, Hunter Lenihan, Johanna H. Rosman, Curt Storlazzi, Elizabeth Goergen, Miguel F. Canals Silander, Sarah H. Groves, Daniel Holstein, Andrew Bruckner, Jane Carrick, Brian Haus, Julia Royster, Melissa Duvall, Walter Torres, Jim Hench

The loss of functional and accreting coral reefs reduces coastal protection and resilience for tropical coastlines. Coral restoration has potential for recovering healthy reefs that can mitigate risks from coastal hazards and increase sustainability. However, scaling up restoration to the large extent needed for coastal protection requires integrated application of principles from coastal engineering, hydrodynamics, and ecology across multiple spatial scales, as well as filling missing knowledge gaps across disciplines. This synthesis aims to identify how scientific understanding of multidisciplinary processes at interconnected scales can advance coral reef restoration. The work is placed within the context of a decision support framework to evaluate the design and effectiveness of coral restoration for coastal resilience. Successfully linking multidisciplinary science with restoration practice will ensure that future large-scale coral reef restorations maximize protection for at-risk coastal communities.

Spatiotemporal patterns and environmental drivers of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) abundance along the Missouri River, USA

Released May 23, 2023 08:14 EST

2023, Landscape Ecology

Nadeesha D. Illeperuma, Mark D. Dixon, Caroline M. Elliott, Kimberly I. Magnuson, Miyuraj H H. Withanage, James E. Vogelmann

Context: Changes in disturbance regimes, including reductions in flooding and geomorphic dynamism from dam construction and flow regulation, have facilitated invasion by eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.), an upland tree species, in the understory of floodplain forests along the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR).

Objectives: Our aim was to determine the spatiotemporal patterns and environmental drivers of redcedar invasion along the MNRR.

Methods: We used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) calculated from winter Landsat imagery to construct a time series of maps showing spatial changes in redcedar abundance and distribution from 1982 to 2017 in both riparian and upland habitats along the MNRR. We determined how environmental factors (e.g., soil drainage ability, flood recurrence interval, 1980s LULC, lateral distance to the river, and channel incision) have influenced current (2017) redcedar occurrence and abundance in riparian habitats using random forest models (RFM).

Results: Time-series maps indicated that detectable redcedar cover occurred over less than 5% of the study area before 1985, increased steadily from 1985 to 2000, and more than tripled from 2000 to 2010. After 2010, redcedar abundance continued to increase in upland areas but declined following the 2011 Missouri River flood in the floodplain. RFMs indicated that river incision, distance to the river, soil drainage, 1984 LULC, and flood recurrence interval were important features influencing redcedar occurrence and abundance in the floodplain.

Conclusion: Unless preventive measures are implemented, lack of floods and ongoing flow regulation will enable the continued spread of redcedar along the MNRR and other regulated rivers in the eastern Great Plains.

Laboratory simulation of earthquake-induced damage in lava dome rocks

Released May 23, 2023 07:51 EST

2023, Tektonika (1) 112-126

Lauren N. Schaefer, Jackie E. Kendrick, Yan Lavallée, Jenny Schauroth, Oliver D. Lamb, Anthony Lamur, Takahiro Miwa, Ben M. Kennedy

Earthquakes can impart varying degrees of damage and permanent, inelastic strain on materials, potentially resulting in ruptures that may promote hazards such as landslides and other collapse events. However, the accumulation of damage in rocks under the frequency and amplitude of shaking experienced during earthquake events is rarely systematically measured due to technical limitations. Here, we characterize damage evolution during laboratory experiments on a suite of dacitic rocks from Unzen volcano, Japan, to help resolve accumulated damage and landslide susceptibility of lava domes during regional earthquake events. Damage was imparted during slow (time-dependent creep) and fast (stress-oscillation earthquake simulations) uniaxial loading in compression and tension. Damage evolution is approximated from strain during experiments; all samples accumulate strain during earthquake events, but microfracture-dominated samples tend to be more susceptible to damage than vesicle-dominated samples. The orientation of existing fabrics with respect to loading direction dictates the magnitude of strain accumulation under load oscillations. During each “earthquake” experiment of multiple dynamic stress-oscillations, samples accumulate inelastic strain. The strain imparted during each successive event is initially high and then reduces after 5-7 events, except when stressing results in failure. The strain rate during phases of intermittent stressing tends to be higher than prior to them. Understanding the accumulation of damage and the potential for brittle failure of rocks subjected to earthquakes can help define the origin and timing of certain landslides, rockfalls, lava dome collapses, and other failure events.

Flood-inundation maps for the Muddy River, near Moapa, Nevada

Released May 23, 2023 07:43 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5033

Christopher M. Morris, Hampton K. Childres

The Muddy River provides habitat for several wildlife and endemic aquatic species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Near Moapa, Nevada, in the Bureau of Land Management’s Muddy River Floodplain Restoration Project Area, a previously constructed levee on the east side of the river alters the natural hydrology and decreases connectivity between the river and its floodplain. The Bureau of Land Management is interested in restoring the project area to a more natural state and proposed removing the existing levee (at the time of this study in 2019) on the east bank of the river and replacing it with a new levee farther away from the river. The 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, and 1-percent annual exceedance probability flood streamflows were estimated based on a flood-frequency analysis of a streamgage in the study area. River cross-sections were surveyed and combined with a digital elevation model of the floodplains to create a coupled one- and two-dimensional hydraulic model of the study area. The estimated flood streamflows were used as inputs in the hydraulic model to simulate how flood-inundation extents would change with the proposed restoration. Simulated inundation extents expand with increasing flood magnitudes, with nearly the entire valley inundated by the 2-percent flood streamflow. Within the project area, inundation extents with restoration increased on the east floodplain and decreased on the west floodplain for the 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, and 1-percent flood streamflows. Outside the Muddy River Floodplain Restoration Project Area, inundation extents decreased with restoration east of the project area for the 20- and 10-percent flood streamflows, but changes in extent for larger streamflows were minor because most of the streamflow leaves the main river channel upstream of the restoration area.

Landslides triggered by the 2016–2017 storm season, eastern San Francisco Bay region, California

Released May 23, 2023 07:42 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Map 3503

Skye C. Corbett, Brian D. Collins


The winter rainy season of 2016–2017 brought abundant rainfall to the State of California and to the San Francisco Bay region. In January and February of 2017, intense rainfall from strong winter storms saturated soils in the region and triggered thousands of shallow landslides. The highest concentration of these landslides was in the eastern part of the bay region, where landslides in the hills east of the Cities of Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont (see main map for locations) damaged homes, displaced a major electrical transmission-line tower, and blocked several heavily traveled roadways.

This map shows 8,928 landslides manually mapped from rectified high-resolution (0.25-meter [m]) satellite imagery (March 11, 2017, from Google Earth) in a three-dimensional geographic information system (GIS) framework. The map area encompasses approximately 1,050 square kilometers (km2), bounded by the Carquinez Strait and San Francisco Bay to the north and west, respectively, and extending to the Interstate Highway 680 corridor to the south and east. Individual landslides were mapped as polygons, but for ease of display, they are shown here as points denoting the highest elevation of each landslide headscarp. The greatest calculated landslide concentration (measured as the total number of landslides per unit area) exceeded 80 landslides per 0.25 km2 in the hills east of the City of Berkeley. This zone is illustrated on the map in red, a color which denotes areas of greater than or equal to 30 landslides per 0.25 km2. The source area and deposit polygon datasets are available as a data release (Corbett and Collins, 2023). Complementary field investigations at more than 150 landslides of those displayed here indicate that most mapped landslides are shallow (less than 1 m deep) debris slides and debris flows. Although most landslides occurred in undeveloped areas (for example, parks and open space), about 1,400 landslides, or 16 percent of the total number, affected structures or infrastructure (including paved and dirt roads) in some way. The inset figures (figs. 1–5) show photographs taken in January and February 2017 that depict some areas of damage that occurred during and after the storms; the locations of where these photographs were taken are shown on the map.

In the San Francisco Bay region, landslides usually take place each year during the winter rainy season, but widespread, intense rainfall events such as those whose effects are depicted here typically occur as a result of considerably above-average precipitation conditions. Although the landslides of early 2017 are not the most damaging to affect the region historically, they are still a potent reminder of the potential for landslide hazards present in the San Francisco Bay region.

No evidence for cottonwood forest decline along a flow-augmented western U.S. river

Released May 23, 2023 07:30 EST

2023, River Research and Applications

Cetan Christensen, Gabrielle L. Katz, J. M. Friedman, Miranda D. Redmond, Andrew S. Norton

In contrast to many other arid region rivers, streamflow in the South Platte River is heavily augmented by trans-basin water imports and irrigation return flows. Hydrological changes began in the 1880s, resulting in channel narrowing and the development of a continuous Populus-Salix forest by the mid-twentieth century. We assessed the composition, structure and regeneration status of the riparian forest and identified environmental variables affecting annual Populus deltoides tree growth. We sampled forest structure at four sites in 2015, and conducted dendroecological analysis at seven additional sites in 2019. The riparian forest was dominated by P. deltoides, which occurred at all sites, comprising 79% of total tree basal area and 62% of total tree density. Age structure data indicated ongoing though episodic recruitment of P. deltoides, at least over the past ~130 years. We tested 14 linear mixed effects models to describe the effect of climate and streamflow on individual tree growth (modeled as the log of BAI, n = 237 trees). The most parsimonious model selected with AICc explained 28.6% of BAI variability, and included hydrology and climate factors during the growing season (i.e., June–August streamflow, June–July PDSI), some aspects of off-season (i.e., previous November and March) streamflow, along with tree age and study site effects. The riparian forest developed in response to, and has been maintained by, current climate conditions and water management regimes. It may be negatively affected by future climate change and increased urban water demand in the basin.

Operational forecasts of wave-driven water levels and coastal hazards for US Gulf and Atlantic coasts

Released May 23, 2023 07:07 EST

2023, Communications Earth & Environment (4)

Hilary F Stockdon, Joseph W. Long, Margaret Louise Palmsten, Andre Van der Westhuysen, Kara S. Doran, Richard J. Snell

Predictions of total water levels, the elevation of combined tides, surge, and wave runup at the shoreline, are necessary to provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding. Despite the importance of early warning systems for these hazards, existing real-time meteorological and oceanographic forecast systems at regional and national scales, until now, have lacked estimates of runup necessary to predict wave-driven overwash and erosion. To address this need, we present an approach that includes wave runup in an operational, national-scale modeling system. Using this system, we quantify the contribution of waves to potential dune erosion events along 4,700 km of U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico sandy coastlines for a one-year period. Dune erosion events were predicted to occur at over 80% of coastal locations, where waves dominated shoreline total water levels, representing 73% of the signal. This shows that models that neglect the wave component underestimate the hazard. This new, national-scale operational modeling system provides communities with timely, local-scale (0.5 km resolution) coastal hazard warnings for all wave conditions, allowing for rapid decision-making related to safety and emergency management. The modeling system also enables continued research into wave-driven processes at a broad range of coastal areas.

Remotely sensed short-crested breaking waves in a laboratory directional wave basin

Released May 23, 2023 06:53 EST

2023, Coastal Engineering (183)

Christine Baker, Melissa Moulton, Margaret Louise Palmsten, Katherine Brodie, Emma Nuss, C. Christopher Chickadel

Short-crested breaking waves that result from directionally spread wave conditions dissipate energy and generate turbulence within the surf zone, altering sediment transport processes, wave runup, and forces on structures. Additionally, vertical vorticity generated near crest ends during breaking, which depends on the gradient in wave height along a crest, may enhance nearshore dispersion of pollutants, nutrients, and larvae. Although directionally spread irregular wave fields are ubiquitous on ocean and large lake coastlines, the dependence of short-crested breaking wave characteristics (including the along-crest length and number of crest ends) on offshore wave conditions is not well established. To assess this relationship, laboratory experiments with alongshore-uniform barred bathymetry were performed in a large-scale directional wave basin. A three-dimensional scanning lidar, trinocular camera stereo processing methods, and in situ measurements were used to study short-crested wave field breaking characteristics in the laboratory, yielding a dataset with dense spatio-temporal coverage relative to prior laboratory or field measurements. Wave height estimates are similar for remotely sensed and in situ observations, except in the outer surf zone where plunging breaking occurred. Directional wave properties estimated with an array of in situ or remotely sensed sea-surface elevation estimates are similar and yield smaller directional spreads than single-point colocated pressure and velocity based in situ estimates when waves are less directionally spread. Using a breaking crest identification procedure combining visible imagery and stereo sea-surface elevation, we find that the average along-crest length of breaking waves decreases and the average number of crest ends increases with increasing directional spread. Relative to observations, a parameterized relationship between directional spread and crest characteristics based on theory for non-breaking, refracting waves generally over-estimates breaking crest lengths and is similar to or underestimates the total number of crest ends observed in the surf zone. The wave-field-dependent breaking-wave characteristics examined in the laboratory with remote sensing techniques can inform future investigations of depth-limited short-crested wave breaking and resulting surfzone eddy processes.

Comparison of nonergodic ground-motion components from CyberShake and NGA-West2 datasets in California

Released May 22, 2023 08:29 EST

2023, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (113) 1152-1175

Xiaofeng Meng, Christine Goulet, Kevin R. Milner, Robert Graves, Scott Callaghan

In this study, we compare the Southern California Earthquake Center CyberShake platform against the Next Generation Attenuation‐West2 empirical datasets. Because the CyberShake and empirical datasets cover very different magnitude ranges and site conditions, we develop ground‐motion models (GMMs) for CyberShake datasets to compare trends with empirical GMMs and decompose the residuals for further analysis. We apply mixed effects regression to four CyberShake datasets in southern, central, and northern California at 2, 3, 5, and 10 s periods, and compare the results with the empirical datasets using the same approach. CyberShake captures the total variability of ground motions in the empirical datasets but tends to predict larger median ground motions relative to the empirical GMMs. We then calculate and compare the repeatable source‐specific location, site, and path effects between CyberShake and empirical datasets. We find that the correlations of site effects between the CyberShake and empirical datasets are generally satisfactory, but the variability of site effects is slightly smaller for CyberShake datasets. There is no apparent correlation of source‐specific location effects between the CyberShake and empirical datasets. Comparison of path effects shows a wide range of correlation coefficients. Finally, we investigate the source of observed differences between the CyberShake and empirical datasets. We attribute the larger median ground‐motion levels in CyberShake to a combination of the homogeneous slip patterns of the earthquake ruptures, the low resolution of near‐surface materials in the velocity models, and strong reflections at high‐contrast boundaries in the velocity models. These factors also impact the correlations of site and path effects between the CyberShake and empirical datasets. Moreover, the leakage from location effects into site and path terms further weakens the correlations. In summary, we find that CyberShake could be improved, but it is still very useful to supplement empirical datasets for ground‐motion studies, especially to inform their nonergodic components.

Generating a reference flow network with improved connectivity to support durable data integration and reproducibility in the coterminous US

Released May 22, 2023 07:57 EST

2023, Environmental Modelling and Software (165)

David L. Blodgett, J. Michael Johnson, Andrew R. Bock

This report presents a reference flow network for the conterminous United States that is built from the best available information from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The work is intended to support durable data integration and reproducibility. Originating from the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) V2.1, the reference flow network incorporates network connectivity enhancements from federal agency efforts. After incorporating these network improvements, many original NHDPlus attributes were regenerated to enable network navigation and related operations. After introducing the motivation and background for this work, this report describes the attribute generation workflow and data quality checks that were performed in preparation of the dataset. The reference flow network follows the NHDPlus data model and is described using terms defined in the Mainstem and Drainage Basin logical model and WaterML2 Part3: Surface Hydrology Features conceptual model.

User engagement testing with a pilot decision support tool aimed to support species managers

Released May 22, 2023 07:46 EST

2023, Weather, Climate, and Society (15) 327-338

Haven J. Cashwell, Karen S. McNeal, Kathie Dello, Ryan Boyles, Corey Davis

Species status assessments (SSAs) are required for endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and focus on the resiliency, redundancy, and representation of endangered species. SSAs must include climate information, because climate is a factor that will impact species in the future. To aid in the inclusion of climate information, a decision support system (DSS) entitled Climate Analysis and Visualization for the Assessment of Species Status (CAnVAS) was developed by the State Climate Office of North Carolina using a coproduction approach. In this study, users viewed a mock-up version of the CAnVAS interface displaying a sample layout of future projections for three key climate variables (average precipitation, average maximum temperature, and occurrence of maximum temperature) at a location of interest. This assessment of the pilot version of the CAnVAS DSS was the first step in refining CAnVAS for species-manager use. This research analyzed the differences in usability between two pilot versions of the CAnVAS DSS through eye tracking and subsequent interviews with novice users. The two pilot versions of CAnVAS differed in the way data were displayed on graphs and the color ramps used on regional maps. We found that graphically displaying temporal climate information through box-and-whisker plots and spatially through a sequential color ramp from white to purple were more effective than alternative displays at communicating climate information on endangered species. The results of this research will be used to further develop the CAnVAS DSS tool for future implementation.

People need freshwater biodiversity

Released May 22, 2023 06:59 EST

2023, WIREs Water (10)

Abigail Lynch, Steven J. Cooke, Angela H. Arthington, Claudio Baigun, Lisa Bossenbroek, Chris Dickens, Ian Harrison, Ismael Kimirei, Simone D. Langhans, Karen J. Murchie, Julian Olden, Steve J. Ormerod, Margaret Owuor, Rajeev Raghavan, Michael J. Samways, Rafaela Schinegger, Subodh Sharma, Ram-Devi Tachamo-Shah, David Tickner, Denis Tweddle, Nathan Young, Sonja C. Jähnig

Freshwater biodiversity, from fish to frogs and microbes to macrophytes, provides a vast array of services to people. Mounting concerns focus on the accelerating pace of biodiversity loss and declining ecological function within freshwater ecosystems that continue to threaten these natural benefits. Here, we catalog nine fundamental ecosystem services that the biotic components of indigenous freshwater biodiversity provide to people, organized into three categories: material (food; health and genetic resources; material goods), non-material (culture; education and science; recreation), and regulating (catchment integrity; climate regulation; water purification and nutrient cycling). If freshwater biodiversity is protected, conserved, and restored in an integrated manner, as well as more broadly appreciated by humanity, it will continue to contribute to human well-being and our sustainable future via this wide range of services and associated nature-based solutions to our sustainable future.

Salinity and total dissolved solids measurements for natural waters: An overview and a new salinity method based on specific conductance and water type

Released May 20, 2023 10:50 EST

2023, Applied Geochemistry (154)

R. Blaine McCleskey, Charles A. Cravotta III, Matthew P. Miller, Fred D. Tillman, Paul Stackelberg, Katherine J. Knierim, Daniel Wise

The total concentration of dissolved constituents in water is routinely quantified by measurements of salinity or total dissolved solids (TDS). However, salinity and TDS are operationally defined by their analytical methods and are not equivalent for most waters. Furthermore, multiple methods are available to determine salinity and TDS, and these methods have inherent differences. TDS is defined as the mass of anhydrous residue remaining in a sample vessel after evaporation and subsequent oven drying at a defined temperature. Salinity is a measure of the mass of dissolved salts in a given mass of solution. In addition, there are approaches that quantify the total solute (TS) concentration, including gases. The purpose of this study is to develop a proxy method using specific conductance and major-ion water type to reliably predict salinity, TDS, and/or TS. Thus, we compared several methods to calculate salinity, TDS, and TS for 6391 surface water samples and conclude the following: TDS measurements are best suited for studies of anhydrous residue (e.g., evaporites); salinity determined by summing the speciated ion concentrations, termed S∑spec, is the most comprehensive method to represent the concentration of dissolved constituents in natural waters; and TS determinations are useful if dissolved CO2 and other gases are of interest. Thus, we utilized S∑spec to compare differences between the various salinity, TDS, and TS methods, and to develop a new proxy method to predict salinity based on specific conductance (SC) and major ion water type, termed SSC_WT. For the surface waters used in this study, the median difference between TDS and S∑Spec was between −19% and −24%, depending on the method. The median difference between SSC_WT and S∑Spec was −2.4% for the samples in this study. The SSC_WT approach is cost effective, rapid, and capable of providing reliable real-time salinity determinations at surface water sites where SC data are available and water type is known.

Potential effects of climate change on Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding’s turtle)

Released May 19, 2023 13:15 EST

2023, Open-File Report 2021-1104-D

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

Emydoidea blandingii (Holbrook, 1838; Blanding’s turtles) are a species of medium-sized, long-lived, semiaquatic, freshwater turtles with a wide distribution across the northern and eastern United States and southern Canada. They have an annual activity cycle consisting of late autumn and winter overwintering and spring emergence, spring movement and foraging, spring and summer nesting, and summer and autumn foraging and nonnesting movement. In response to changes in average and extreme temperatures, Blanding’s turtles are likely to experience increased physiological stress and reduced reproductive success. Variability in precipitation may affect the availability of freshwater habitats for overwintering, shelter, and feeding; however, projected changes in precipitation vary widely. This analysis presents anticipated climate conditions and effects on the species; the complex life history and expansive geographic range of this species require additional analysis at local scales.

Nest attendance, incubation constancy, and onset of incubation in dabbling ducks

Released May 19, 2023 08:52 EST

2023, PLoS ONE (18)

C. Alex Hartman, Josh T. Ackerman, Sarah H. Peterson, Brady Lynn Fettig, Michael L. Casazza, Mark P. Herzog

In birds, parents must provide their eggs with a safe thermal environment suitable for embryonic development. Species with uniparental incubation must balance time spent incubating eggs with time spent away from the nest to satisfy self-maintenance needs. Patterns of nest attendance, therefore, influence embryonic development and the time it takes for eggs to hatch. We studied nest attendance (time on the nest), incubation constancy (time nests were at incubation temperatures), and variation in nest temperature of 1,414 dabbling duck nests of three species in northern California. Daily nest attendance increased from only 1–3% on the day the first egg was laid to 51–57% on the day of clutch completion, and 80–83% after clutch completion through hatch. Variation in nest temperature also decreased gradually during egg-laying, and then dropped sharply (33–38%) between the day of and the day after clutch completion because increased nest attendance, particularly at night, resulted in more consistent nest temperatures. During the egg-laying stage, nocturnal nest attendance was low (13–25%), whereas after clutch completion, nest attendance was greater at night (≥87%) than during the day (70–77%) because most incubation recesses occurred during the day. Moreover, during egg-laying, nest attendance and incubation constancy increased more slowly among nests with larger final clutch sizes, suggesting that the number of eggs remaining to be laid is a major driver of incubation effort during egg-laying. Although overall nest attendance after clutch completion was similar among species, the average length of individual incubation bouts was greatest among gadwall (Mareca strepera; 779 minutes), followed by mallard (Anas platyrhynchos; 636 minutes) and then cinnamon teal (Spatula cyanoptera; 347 minutes). These results demonstrate that dabbling ducks moderate their incubation behavior according to nest stage, nest age, time of day, and clutch size and this moderation likely has important implications for egg development and overall nest success.

Use of environmental DNA to assess American Eel distribution, abundance, and barriers in a river-canal system

Released May 19, 2023 07:29 EST

2023, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (152) 310-326

Scott D. George, Barry P. Baldigo, Christopher B. Rees, Meredith L. Bartron, John J. Wiley Jr., Daniel S. Stich, Scott M. Wells, Dylan R. Winterhalter

Objective: The American Eel Anguilla rostrata historically was one of the most common fish species in Atlantic coast watersheds, but extensive dam construction and other factors caused a widespread population decline. One of the watersheds where American Eels have declined considerably is the Mohawk River in eastern and central New York. Recent attempts to characterize the distribution and abundance of American Eels in this watershed have been ineffective, and the extent to which a series of locks and dams on the Hudson River and lower Mohawk River limits use of the watershed is unclear.

Methods: We developed a model between environmental DNA (eDNA) quantity and American Eel abundance in the Hudson River watershed in which the DNA concentration in water samples explained up to 65% of the variability in eel density and 56% of the variability in eel biomass. We then used this relationship to interpret eDNA data collected twice from 36 sites across the Mohawk River watershed in 2021 and make inferences about the distribution and abundance of American Eels.

Result: American Eel DNA was detected almost exclusively in the downstream-most 4 km of the Mohawk River within a series of barriers. The concentration of DNA was reduced by approximately 80% across each successive upstream barrier before becoming too low to detect consistently. Our data suggest that eel population density was high in the Hudson River estuary and declined rapidly in the lower Mohawk River, and the species was nearly absent or undetectable in the Mohawk River and its tributaries upstream of the Crescent Dam and the Waterford Flight of Locks.

Conclusion: Barriers appear to be largely restricting American Eels from using over 99% of the Mohawk River watershed. Therefore, improvements in fish passage at dams and hydroelectric facilities in the region could help the American Eel to regain access to this part of its native range.

Watershed carbon yield derived from gauge observations and river network connectivity in the United States

Released May 19, 2023 07:04 EST

2023, Scientific Data (10)

Han Qiu, Xuesong Zhang, Anni Yang, Kimberly Wickland, Edward G. Stets, Min Chen

River networks play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. Although global/continental scale riverine carbon cycle studies demonstrate the significance of rivers and streams for linking land and coastal regions, the lack of spatially distributed riverine carbon load data represents a gap for quantifying riverine carbon net gain or net loss in different regions, understanding mechanisms and factors that influence the riverine carbon cycle, and testing simulations of aquatic carbon cycle models at fine scales. Here, we (1) derive the riverine load of particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) for over 1,000 hydrologic stations across the Conterminous United States (CONUS) and (2) use the river network connectivity information for over 80,000 catchment units within the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus) to estimate riverine POC and DOC net gain or net loss for watersheds controlled between upstream-downstream hydrologic stations. The new riverine carbon load and watershed net gain/loss represent a unique contribution to support future studies for better understanding and quantification of riverine carbon cycles.

Survival, healing, and swim performance of juvenile migratory sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) implanted with a new acoustic microtransmitter designed for small eel-like fishes

Released May 19, 2023 06:51 EST

2023, Animal Biotelemetry (11)

Taylor F. Haas, Theodore R. Castro-Santos, Scott M. Miehls, Zhiqun D. Deng, Tyler Michael Bruning, C. Michael Wagner


Little is known about the transformer stage of the parasitic lampreys, a brief but critical period that encompasses juvenile out-migration from rivers to lakes or oceans to begin parasitic feeding. Information about this life stage could have significant conservation implications for both imperiled and invasive lampreys. We investigated tag retention, survival, wound healing, and swim performance of newly transformed sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) implanted with a new micro-acoustic transmitter, the eel–lamprey acoustic transmitter (ELAT), in a controlled laboratory environment.


The 61-day survival of our tagged subjects was 71%, within the range reported in similar studies of juvenile lampreys. However, survival was significantly lower in the tagged animals (vs control), with no effect statistically attributable to measures of animal length, mass, condition, or population of origin (Great Lakes vs. Atlantic drainage). Mortality in tagged fish was concentrated in the first four days post-surgery, suggesting injury from the surgical process. An unusually long recovery time from anesthesia may have contributed to the increased mortality. In a simple burst swim assay, tagged animals swam significantly slower (− 22.5%) than untagged animals, but were not significantly different in endurance swim tests. A composite wound healing score at day four was a significant predictor of maximum burst swim speed at day 20, and wound condition was related to animal mass, but not length, at the time of tagging.


Impairments to survival and swim performance of juvenile sea lamprey implanted with the ELAT transmitter were within currently reported ranges for telemetry studies with small, difficult to observe fishes. Our results could be improved with more refined anesthesia and surgical techniques. The ability to track migratory movements of imperiled and pest populations of parasitic lampreys will improve our ability to estimate vital rates that underlie recruitment to the adult population (growth, survival) and to investigate the environmental factors that regulate the timing and rates of movement, in wild populations.

External quality-assurance project report for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network and Mercury Deposition Network, 2019–20

Released May 18, 2023 12:30 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5045

Gregory A. Wetherbee, RoseAnn Martin, Alexander Liethen

The U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation Chemistry Quality Assurance project (PCQA) operated four distinct programs to provide external quality-assurance monitoring for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s (NADP) National Trends Network (NTN) and Mercury Deposition Network (MDN) during 2019–20. The NTN programs included (1) a field audit program to evaluate sample contamination and stability, and (2) an interlaboratory comparison program to evaluate analytical laboratory performance. The MDN programs included the (3) system blank program to evaluate sample contamination and stability, and (4) an interlaboratory comparison program. The results indicated increased levels of sample contamination compared to previous years for NTN samples and decreased contamination in MDN samples. Strong analytical laboratory performance with low overall variability and bias in concentration data were indicated for the NTN’s Central Analytical Laboratory. A positive bias in the hydrogen ion concentrations in NTN samples during 2019 was eliminated by correction of a pH calibration protocol during 2020. The MDN’s Mercury Analytical Laboratory performance declined in 2020 compared to 2019 as indicated by increased variability in analytical results and a negative bias of approximately -1 nanogram per liter in the concentrations of total mercury. Slight perturbations in contamination levels in NTN samples and in analytical performance for MDN are considered small. The PCQA results indicate that NADP data continue to be of sufficient quality for applications in independent research and NADP data products, including spatial interpolations and time trends for chemical constituents in wet deposition. Small shifts in data quality indicated by the 2019–20 PCQA results are intended to be used for interpretation of the NADP data products.

Evaluating drivers of hydrology, water quality, and benthic macroinvertebrates in streams of Fairfax County, Virginia, 2007–18

Released May 18, 2023 10:56 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5027

James S. Webber, Jeffrey G. Chanat, Aaron J. Porter, John D. Jastram

In 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey partnered with Fairfax County, Virginia, to establish a long-term water-resources monitoring program to evaluate the hydrology, water quality, and ecology of Fairfax County streams and the watershed-scale effects of management practices. Fairfax County uses a variety of management practices, policies, and programs to protect and restore its water resources, but the effects of such strategies are not well understood. This report used streamflow, water-quality, and ecological monitoring data collected from 20 Fairfax County watersheds from 2007 through 2018 to assess the effects of management practices, landscape factors, and climatic conditions on observed nutrient, sediment, salinity, and benthic-macroinvertebrate community responses.

Urbanization, climatic variability, and an increase in management practices occurred within Fairfax County during the study period. Impervious cover, housing units, wastewater infrastructure, and (or) stormwater infrastructure increased in most study watersheds. Climatic conditions varied among study years; countywide estimates of average-annual air temperature differed by about 3 degrees Celsius, and total precipitation ranged from about 34 to 63 inches per year. The effects of the management practices, implemented to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and (or) sediment loads, are considered in this study. These management practices primarily consist of stormwater retrofits and stream restorations; however, stream restorations account for most of the financial investment and expected load reductions. Management practices were implemented in half of the study watersheds, and most practices were installed and reductions credited late in the study period.

Changes in hydrologic response during storm events were evaluated over the study period because many management practices that were implemented were designed to achieve nutrient and sediment reductions by slowing or intercepting runoff. The average number and length of storm events was mostly unchanged throughout the monitoring network. Four watersheds with 10 years of streamflow data showed a mixture of trends in stormflow peak, volume, and rate-of-change. Event-mean nutrient and sediment concentrations from these watersheds were evaluated during storm events and generally showed increases in total phosphorus (TP) and suspended sediment and reductions or no changes in total nitrogen (TN).

Landscape inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus and the percentage of inputs delivered to streams were estimated for the study watersheds. Estimated phosphorus from fertilizer and nitrogen from atmospheric deposition represented large nutrient inputs in most watersheds; amounts of other nonpoint sources varied based on land use. Estimated nitrogen inputs declined throughout Fairfax County and in most study watersheds from 2008 through 2018; in comparison, phosphorus input changes were relatively small. Most nonpoint-nutrient inputs were retained on the landscape and did not reach streams, with slightly more nitrogen retention than phosphorus, on average. Retention rates were lower for years with more precipitation and streamflow. After adjusting for streamflow, TN and TP loads were generally higher for years with more nutrient inputs. Calculated as a function of flow-adjusted loads, TP retention declined at most stations from 2009 through 2018, in comparison, TN retention was relatively unchanged.

Landscape and climatic conditions affected spatial differences and changes in Fairfax County stream conditions from 2009 through 2018. TN concentrations were higher and increases over time were larger in watersheds with elevated septic-system density. TP concentrations were higher in watersheds with more turfgrass; concentrations were lower, but had larger increases over time, in watersheds with deeper soils. Suspended-sediment concentrations were higher in watersheds with greater stream densities. Specific conductance was higher in watersheds with more developed land use and shallower soils. Benthic-macroinvertebrate index of biotic integrity (IBI) scores were lower in watersheds with high road density and had larger increases over time in bigger, more developed watersheds. Annual variability in TN and TP concentrations and benthic-macroinvertebrate IBI scores was affected by precipitation; annual variability in suspended sediment concentrations and specific conductance was affected by air temperature.

After accounting for influences from landscape and climatic conditions, expected management-practice effects were not consistently observed in monitored stream responses. These effects were assessed by comparing expected management-practice load reductions with the timing, direction, and magnitude of changes in storm-event hydrology, nutrient and sediment loads, median-annual water-quality conditions, and benthic-macroinvertebrate IBI scores. An important consideration for future investigations of management-practice effects is how to control for water-quality and ecological variability caused by geologic properties, the urban environment, precipitation, and (or) air temperature. The interpretation of management-practice effects in this report was likely influenced by a combination of factors, including (1) the amount, timing, and location of management-practice implementation; (2) unmeasured landscape and climatic factors; (3) uncertain management-practice expectations; (4) hydrologic variability; and (5) analytical assumptions. Through continued data-collection efforts, particularly after management practices have been completed, many of these factors may become less influential in the future.

Simulation of flow and eutrophication in the central Salem River, New Jersey

Released May 18, 2023 10:55 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2022-5047

Frederick J. Spitz, Vincent T. DePaul

The central Salem River in New Jersey is subject to periods of water-quality impairment, marked by elevated concentrations of phosphorus and chlorophyll-a, and low concentrations of and large diurnal swings in concentrations of dissolved oxygen. These seasonal eutrophic conditions are controlling factors for water quality in lower reaches, where the river is more lacustrine than in upper reaches, as a result of downstream damming. This biological productivity is supported by nutrient wash-off from agricultural areas in the surrounding watershed. To investigate this impairment, flow measurement and water-quality sampling were conducted during 2007–08 in support of development of a one-dimensional surface-water-quality model that simulates nutrient cycling and transformation processes.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, used the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) to develop a receiving-water-quality model of the central Salem River between Woodstown and Deepwater, New Jersey, from April 2007 to October 2008. The main-stem river and largest tributary were simulated. In the flow model, kinematic wave flow is used to simulate flow in upper reaches and ponded weir flow is used to simulate flow in lower reaches. The water-quality model makes use of a mass-balance equation to simulate the fate and transport of nutrients, phytoplankton chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen, and oxygen demands (an indicator rather than a substance) in the river. Model input included channel characteristics, boundary conditions for flow and water quality, environmental parameters, vertical dispersion coefficients, settling rates, and kinetic constants. Inputs were estimated where field data were lacking, notably for tributary flows and nutrient loads.

The model was calibrated to observed flow variables and concentrations of dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, and nutrients at sampling locations, with emphasis on growing-season conditions. Calibration was achieved through graphical and statistical comparison of simulated results to observed data. Sensitivity analyses were performed, and model limitations and applicability were evaluated. Simulated results closely matched observed data in most cases, although some were overpredicted slightly. The most important causes of overprediction were estimated tributary flows for the flow model and estimated tributary watershed loads for the water-quality model. Calibration of dissolved-oxygen concentrations was closer, and predicted diurnal variations were consistent with high algal photosynthesis/respiration, although lack of continuous dissolved-oxygen data precluded verifying these predictions. A similar caveat applies to predicted diurnal variations in chlorophyll-a. Simulated limitations on algal growth were consistent with those based on observed data and indicated phosphorus was the main limiting nutrient, except during certain periods when nitrogen was limiting.

Two water-quality management scenarios were simulated with the model to assess the effect of point- and nonpoint-source nutrient reductions on water-quality conditions in the river. Scenarios involved (1) a return of watershed land use to predevelopment natural conditions and (2) an extreme reduction in nutrient input. Although the extreme-nutrient-reduction scenario yielded improvements in water quality, the natural-conditions scenario yielded the largest improvements as indicated by minimal violations of surface-water-quality standards or thresholds. However, years may be needed to attain the full benefit of these management scenarios as a result of accumulation of phosphorus and organic carbon in riverbed sediments in lacustrine reaches. The results of this study indicate that the quality of water in the central Salem River will improve if management policies that mitigate the effects of nutrient-loading practices in the watershed, particularly those related to agriculture, are implemented.

Study design and methods of the Wells and Enteric disease Transmission (WET) Trial, a randomised controlled trial

Released May 18, 2023 09:05 EST

2023, BMJ Open (13)

Debbie Lee, Donna Denno, Phil Tarr, Jingwei Wu, Joel P. Stokdyk, Mark A. Borchardt, Heather Murphy

Introduction: The burden of disease attributed to drinking water from private wells is not well characterised. The Wells and Enteric disease Transmission trial is the first randomised controlled trial to estimate the burden of disease that can be attributed to the consumption of untreated private well water. To estimate the attributable incidence of gastrointestinal illness (GI) associated with private well water, we will test if the household treatment of well water by ultraviolet light (active UV device) versus sham (inactive UV device) decreases the incidence of GI in children under 5 years of age.

Methods and analysis: The trial will enrol (on a rolling basis) 908 families in Pennsylvania, USA, that rely on private wells and have a child 3 years old or younger. Participating families are randomised to either an active whole-house UV device or a sham device. During follow-up, families will respond to weekly text messages to report the presence of signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal or respiratory illness and will be directed to an illness questionnaire when signs/symptoms are present. These data will be used to compare the incidence of waterborne illness between the two study groups. A randomly selected subcohort submits untreated well water samples and biological specimens (stool and saliva) from the participating child in both the presence and absence of signs/symptoms. Samples are analysed for the presence of common waterborne pathogens (stool and water) or immunoconversion to these pathogens (saliva).

Ethics: Approval has been obtained from Temple University’s Institutional Review Board (Protocol 25665). The results of the trial will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

Trial registration number: NCT04826991.

A bacteriological comparison of the hemolymph from healthy and moribund unionid mussel populations in the upper Midwestern U.S.A. prompts the development of diagnostic assays to detect Yokenella regensburgei

Released May 18, 2023 08:13 EST

2023, Microorganisms (11)

Eric Leis, Sara Dziki, Isaac Standish, Diane L. Waller, Jordan Richard, Jesse Weinzinger, Cleyo Harris, Susan Knowles, Tony Goldberg

Recent bacteriological investigations of freshwater mussel mortality events in the southeastern United States have identified a variety of bacteria and differences in bacterial communities between sick and healthy mussels. In particular, Yokenella regensburgei and Aeromonas spp. have been shown to be associated with moribund mussels, although it remains unclear whether these bacteria are causes or consequences of disease. To further understand the role of bacteria in mussel epizootics, we investigated mortality events that occurred in the upper Midwest in the Embarrass River (Wisconsin) and the Huron River (Michigan). For comparison, we also studied mussels from an unaffected population in the St. Croix River (Wisconsin). Diverse bacterial genera were identified from these sites, including Y. regensburgei from moribund mussels in the Embarrass River (Wisconsin). This bacterium has also been consistently isolated during ongoing mortality events in the Clinch River (Virginia). Subsequently, we developed and validated molecular assays for the detection of Yokenella to use in future investigations of mussel mortality events and to identify environmental reservoirs of this bacterium.

Mapping landslide susceptibility over large regions with limited data

Released May 18, 2023 08:04 EST

2023, Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (128)

Jacob Bryson Woodard, Benjamin B. Mirus, Matthew Crawford, Dani Or, Ben Leshchinsky, Kate E. Allstadt, Nathan J. Wood

Landslide susceptibility maps indicate the spatial distribution of landslide likelihood. Modeling susceptibility over large or diverse terrains remains a challenge due to the sparsity of landslide data (mapped extent of known landslides) and the variability in triggering conditions. Several different data sampling strategies of landslide locations used to train a susceptibility model are used to mitigate this challenge. However, to our knowledge, no study has systematically evaluated how different sampling strategies alter a model's predictor effects (i.e., how a predictor value influences the susceptibility output) critical to explaining differences in model outputs. Here, we introduce a statistical framework that examines the variation in predictor effects and the model accuracy (measured using receiver operator characteristics) to highlight why certain sampling strategies are more effective than others. Specifically, we apply our framework to an array of logistic regression models trained on landslide inventories collected at sub-regional scales over four terrains across the United States. Results show significant variations in predictor effects depending on the inventory used to train the models. The inconsistent predictor effects cause low accuracies when testing models on inventories outside the domain of the training data. Grouping test and training sets according to physiographic and ecological characteristics, which are thought to share similar triggering mechanisms, does not improve model accuracy. We also show that using limited landslide data distributed uniformly over the entire modeling domain is better than using dense but spatially isolated data to train a model for applications over large regions.

Intra-specific variation in responses to habitat restoration: Could artificial reefs increase spatiotemporal segregation between migratory phenotypes of lake sturgeon?

Released May 18, 2023 07:59 EST

2023, Ecological Indicators (148)

Tyler J. Buchinger, Darryl W. Hondorp, Charles C. Krueger

Habitat restoration is an important tool used to conserve biodiversity and restore species, but its effects are notoriously difficult to predict. Although outcomes of restoration projects are usually assessed using indices of species abundance and diversity, phenotypic differences among individuals within species are likely associated with differing responses to restored habitats. Here, we use lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) as a case study to illustrate how responses to habitat restoration can differ between phenotypes and potentially lead to unanticipated effects on populations. North America’s St. Clair River supports one of the largest remaining populations of lake sturgeon but has lost much spawning habitat due to its role as a major industrial corridor between the Laurentian Great Lakes Erie and Huron. Two artificial reefs were recently built in the lower and middle segments of the river to increase the available sturgeon spawning habitat. Interestingly, lake sturgeon in the St. Clair River express different migratory phenotypes that may be associated with different likelihoods of colonizing artificial reefs. Acoustic telemetry revealed that artificial reefs were more likely to be used by sturgeon that migrated downstream to overwinter in Lake St. Clair than those that migrated upstream to overwinter in Lake Huron. Furthermore, increasing time spent at the artificial reefs by Lake St. Clair migrants was associated with later arrival to and shorter occupancy of the river’s only natural spawning site, the primary location where the two phenotypes have opportunity to interbreed. Additional research is necessary to determine the ultimate impacts of the artificial reefs on lake sturgeon populations; nevertheless, our study showed phenotype-specific opportunity to colonize restored habitat and a mechanism through which this could lead to changes in gene flow. Our results illustrate the importance of considering intra-specific diversity when planning restoration projects and assessing the effects on populations.

Barrier island reconfiguration leads to rapid erosion and relocation of a rural Alaska community

Released May 18, 2023 07:47 EST

2023, Journal of Coastal Research

Richard M. Buzard, Nicole E.M. Kinsman, Christopher V. Maio, Li H. Erikson, Benjamin M. Jones, Scott K. Anderson, Roberta Glenn, Jacquelyn R. Overbeck

Coastal erosion is one of the foremost hazards that circumpolar communities face. Climate change and warming temperatures are anticipated to accelerate coastal change, increasing risk to coastal communities. Most erosion hazard studies for Alaska communities only consider linear erosion and do not anticipate coastal morphologic changes. This study showcases the possibility and consequence of accelerated erosion by examining a shift from stability to rapid erosion that forced the rural Alaska Native village of Meshik (now Port Heiden) to abandon the original town site and relocate inland. A combination of remote sensing, coastal surveys, and community-based monitoring are used to map coastal morphologic changes and identify erosion drivers. The community’s shoreline was stable until a protective barrier island eroded away. The exposure to open ocean waves, coupled with unconsolidated, low-density sediments, led to rapid erosion rates averaging of 5.8 ± 0.6 m/y from the 1970s to 2020s. The sudden and rapid erosion put great stress on Meshik and resulted in the loss of homes, erosion of a safe boat harbor, and pollution of the beach and bay. Erosion of the barrier island coincided with a period of greater storm activity and sea ice decline, but the exact cause for its erosion could not be determined. Many polar communities are built on or behind barriers and are on easily erodible soils such as sands and thawing permafrost. This study highlights the need to study, monitor, and predict morphologic change and regime shifts that can bring catastrophic impacts to coastal communities.

Heavy: Software for forward-modeling gravity change from MODFLOW output

Released May 18, 2023 07:43 EST

2023, Environmental Modelling and Software (165)

Jeffrey Kennedy, Joshua Larsen

Fortran software, named Heavy, was developed to simulate gravity change due to water-storage change in MODFLOW groundwater models. Heavy is compatible with MODFLOW-2005 and MODFLOW-NWT models using the layer-property flow or upstream weighting packages. All of the necessary information for the gravity calculation—the geometry of the model cells, the storage coefficient, and head change—is present within the existing MODFLOW model files and no additional information is necessary. Gravity change is calculated at each time step, for each layer, at user specified locations or at a grid of hypothetical positions across the model. The software has been validated using analytical gravity solutions and three example MODFLOW models are included for demonstration. Heavy leverages the input/output routines from MODFLOW and is orders of magnitude faster than previous efforts using interpreted languages such as Python or MATLAB. The objective of the software is to facilitate repeat microgravity field measurements for groundwater-flow model calibration.

Conspecific density and habitat quality affect breeding habitat selection: Support for the social attraction hypothesis

Released May 18, 2023 07:37 EST

2023, Ecosphere (14)

Rose J. Swift, Michael J. Anteau, Kristen S. Ellis, Megan Ring, Mark H. Sherfy, Dustin L. Toy

Breeding habitat selection is a critical component of the annual cycle because of its effect on fitness. Multiple theories of habitat selection can be differentiated by their responses to the quantity of habitat, conspecific density, and habitat quality. Here, we use network analysis to understand the characteristics of fine-scale breeding habitat selected by both immigrant and returning adult piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) to test five hypotheses of habitat selection. Between 2014 and 2019, we recorded 2034 uniquely marked adults breeding at 326 breeding locations with 1240 successive breeding events. Among adults, immigration events (i.e., individuals that moved to a new breeding location) were detected as often as fidelity to the same breeding location. We found support for the social attraction hypothesis for both immigrants and returners, indicating that adult plovers use social cues for settlement decisions. Adult plovers selected habitats with intermediate levels of conspecific density and high habitat quality, as assessed by con- and heterospecific nest survival, with no effect from the amount of available habitat. We also simulated the loss of breeding habitat and identified highly connected breeding locations, which occurred mostly on the riverine habitat type, which have important implications for habitat conservation for this listed species. Our results highlight the role of conspecifics at identifying high-quality breeding habitat regardless of whether individuals return to the same breeding site or immigrate to new areas.

Biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as putative vectors of zoonotic Onchocerca lupi (Nematoda: Onchocercidae) in northern Arizona and New Mexico, southwestern United States

Released May 18, 2023 07:17 EST

2023, Frontiers in Veterinary Science (10)

Chandler C. Roe, Olivia Holiday, Kelly Upshaw-Bia, Gaven Benally, Charles H.D. Williamson, Jennifer Urbanz, Guilherme G. Verocai, Chase Ridenour, Roxanne Nottingham, Morgan Ford, Derek Lake, Theodore Kennedy, Crystal Hepp, Jason W. Sahl

Onchocerca lupi (Rodonaja, 1967) is an understudied, vector-borne, filarioid nematode that causes ocular onchocercosis in dogs, cats, coyotes, wolves, and is also capable of infecting humans. Onchocercosis in dogs has been reported with increasing incidence worldwide. However, despite the growing number of reports describing canine O. lupi cases as well as zoonotic infections globally, the disease prevalence in endemic areas and vector species of this parasite remains largely unknown. Here, our study aimed to identify the occurrence of O. lupi infected dogs in northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, United States and identify the vector of this nematode. A total of 532 skin samples from randomly selected companion animals with known geographic locations within the Navajo Reservation were collected and molecularly surveyed by PCR for the presence of O. lupi DNA (September 2019–June 2022) using previously published nematode primers (COI) and DNA sequencing. O. lupi DNA was detected in 50 (9.4%) sampled animals throughout the reservation. Using positive animal samples to target geographic locations, pointed hematophagous insect trapping was performed to identify potential O. lupi vectors. Out of 1,922 insects screened, 38 individual insects and 19 insect pools tested positive for the presence of O. lupi, all of which belong to the Diptera family. This increased surveillance of definitive host and biological vector/intermediate host is the first large scale prevalence study of O. lupi in companion animals in an endemic area of the United States, and identified an overall prevalence of 9.4% in companion animals as well as multiple likely biological vector and putative vector species in the southwestern United States. Furthermore, the identification of these putative vectors in close proximity to human populations coupled with multiple, local zoonotic cases highlight the One Health importance of O. lupi.

Range-wide population trend analysis for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)—Updated 1960–2022

Released May 17, 2023 10:15 EST

2023, Data Report 1175

Peter S. Coates, Brian G. Prochazka, Cameron L. Aldridge, Michael S. O'Donnell, David R. Edmunds, Adrian P. Monroe, Steve E. Hanser, Lief A. Wiechman, Michael P. Chenaille

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are at the center of state and national land-use policies largely because of their unique life-history traits as an ecological indicator for health of sagebrush ecosystems. This updated population trend analysis provides state and federal land and wildlife managers with best-available science to help guide current management and conservation plans aimed at benefitting sage-grouse populations. This analysis relied on previously published population trend modeling methodology from Coates and others (2021, 2022a) and incorporated population lek count data through 2022. Bayesian state-space models estimated 2.9 percent average annual decline in sage-grouse populations across their geographical range, which varied among subpopulations at the largest scale of analysis, termed climate clusters (2.2–4.7). Cumulative declines were 40.9, 65.0, and 79.6 percent range-wide across short (19 years), medium (35 years), and long (55 years) temporal periods, respectively. These results indicate that the most recent nadir for range-wide populations occurred during 2021. However, growth during 2022 was modest, making 2021 a tentative final nadir at this point.

Bioaccumulation kinetics of model pharmaceuticals in the freshwater unionid pondmussel, Sagittunio subrostratus

Released May 17, 2023 08:49 EST

2023, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

S. Rebekah Burket, Jaylen L. Sims, Rebecca A. Dorman, Nile E. Kemble, Eric Brunson, Jeffery Steevens, Bryan W. Brooks

Eric Brunson, editor(s)

Bioaccumulation of ionizable pharmaceuticals has been increasingly studied, with most reported aquatic tissue concentrations in field or laboratory experiments being from fish. However, higher levels of antidepressants have been observed in bivalves compared with fish from effluent-dominated and dependent surface waters. Such observations may be important for biodiversity because approximately 70% of freshwater bivalves in North America are considered to be vulnerable to extinction. Because experimental bioaccumulation information for freshwater bivalves is lacking, we examined accumulation dynamics in the freshwater pondmussel, Sagittunio subrostratus, following exposure to a model weak acid, acetaminophen (mean (±SD) = 4.9 ± 1 µg L–1), and a model weak base, sertraline (mean (±SD) = 1.1 ± 1.1 µg L–1) during 14-day uptake and 7-day depuration experiments. Pharmaceutical concentrations were analyzed in water and tissue using isotope dilution liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Mussels accumulated two orders of magnitude higher concentrations of sertraline (31.7 ± 9.4 µg g–1) compared to acetaminophen (0.3 ± 0.1 µg g–1). Ratio and kinetic-based bioaccumulation factors of 28,836.4 (L kg–1) and 34.9 (L kg–1) were calculated for sertraline and for acetaminophen at 65.3 (L kg–1) and 0.13 (L kg–1), respectively. However, after 14 days sertraline did not reach steady-state concentrations, although it was readily eliminated by S. subrostratus. Acetaminophen rapidly reached steady-state conditions but was not depurated over a 7-day period. Future bioaccumulation studies of ionizable pharmaceuticals in freshwater bivalves appear warranted. Environ Toxicol Chem 2023;00:1–7. © 2023 SETAC. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

Measuring basin-scale aquifer storage change and mapping specific yield in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, with repeat microgravity data

Released May 17, 2023 08:37 EST

2023, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies (47)

Jeffrey Kennedy, Meghan T. Bell

Study Region

The groundwater basin underlying the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Study Focus

The study focuses on changes in groundwater storage and how those changes relate to groundwater-level changes. Groundwater storage change was measured using repeat microgravity at 35 stations from 2016 to 2021. Usually, storage is monitored by converting groundwater-level changes to storage changes using the aquifer storage coefficient, a difficult property to measure. With gravity, storage change can be measured directly. The storage coefficient, or specific yield in an unconfined aquifer, was estimated using the gravity method at individual sites, and a map created showing how this property varies over the region.

New Hydrological Insights for the Region

For the first time, a map of specific yield was produced based on interpolated maps of gravity-derived storage change and groundwater-level change, allowing inference of this property over a broad region even without collocated monitoring wells and gravity stations. Gravity data indicate aquifer drawdown and recovery mainly occurs in the central part of the basin where pumping is greatest. This spatial distribution is not captured by the more widely spaced monitoring well network. Because the aquifer is recovering from historically greater-magnitude pumping, net-neutral storage change (inflow=outflow) occurs when pumping from the central part of the well field is about 1.54 × 107 cubic meters (12,500 acre-feet) per year.

Relative contributions of water-level components to extreme water levels along the US Southeast Atlantic Coast from a regional-scale water-level hindcast

Released May 17, 2023 08:23 EST

2023, Natural Hazards

Kai Alexander Parker, Li H. Erikson, Jennifer Anne Thomas, Kees Nederhoff, Patrick L. Barnard, Sanne Muis

A 38-year hindcast water level product is developed for the U.S. Southeast Atlantic coastline from the entrance of Chesapeake Bay to the southeast tip of Florida. The water level modelling framework utilized in this study combines a global-scale hydrodynamic model (Global Tide and Surge Model, GTSM-ERA5), a novel ensemble-based tide model, a parameterized wave setup model, and statistical corrections applied to improve modelled water level components. Corrected water level data are found to be skillful, with an RMSE of 13 cm, when compared to observed water level measurement at tide gauge locations. The largest errors in the hindcast are location-based and typically found in the tidal component of the model. Extreme water levels across the region are driven by compound events, in this case referring to combined surge, tide, and wave forcing. However, the relative importance of water level components varies spatially, such that tides are found to be more important in the center of the study region, non-tidal residual water levels to the north, and wave setup in the north and south. Hurricanes drive the most extreme water level events within the study area, but non-hurricane events define the low to mid-level recurrence interval water level events. This study presents a robust analysis of the complex oceanographic factors that drive coastal flood events. This dataset will support a variety of critical coastal research goals including research related to coastal hazards, landscape change, and community risk assessments.

Logs and data from the Starthistle trench across a scarp within the Wallula Fault Zone, southeastern Washington

Released May 16, 2023 09:17 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Map 3495

Stephen J. Angster, Brian L. Sherrod, John Lasher


The Wallula Fault Zone is composed of a series of northwest-trending faults and folds that coincide with a prominent magnetic anomaly that extends uninterrupted for approximately 120 kilometers within the Cascadia back arc of southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. It is part of the geologic structures associated with the topographic lineament known as the Olympic-Wallowa lineament and represents a relatively narrow zone of active faulting and seismicity that trend along the northern flank of the Horse Heaven Hills. Prior paleoseismic study of the Wallula Fault at an exposure at Finley Quarry indicates multiple Quaternary ruptures, including a Holocene liquefaction event, demonstrating that this fault zone poses a seismic hazard to the Tri-Cities region (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) in southeastern Washington.

Recent airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) data coverage east of the Columbia River reveals an approximately 0.5-meter-high south-facing scarp east of the Columbia River that extends, almost continuously, for about 25 km to the east along the base of the Horse Heaven Hills. As part of an effort to assess and characterize the seismic hazard posed by the Wallula Fault Zone, we excavated and studied a trench exposure across the scarp to understand its origin and the potential history of rupture along the fault zone. We present preliminary mapping and trench site information from a paleoseismic investigation. These field and laboratory data may support development of a history of the latest Pleistocene and Holocene surface rupture within the Wallula Fault Zone.

Rapid modeling of compound flooding across broad coastal regions and the necessity to include rainfall driven processes: A case study of Hurricane Florence (2018)

Released May 16, 2023 08:37 EST

2023, Conference Paper, Coastal Sediments 2023: Proceedings of the Coastal Sediments 2023

Tim Leijnse, Kees Nederhoff, Jennifer Anne Thomas, Kai Alexander Parker, Maarten van Ormondt, Li H. Erikson, Robert T. McCall, Ap van Dongeren, Andrea C. O'Neill, Patrick L. Barnard

Ping Wang, Elizabeth Royer, Julie D. Rosati, editor(s)

In this work, we show that large-scale compound flood models developed for North and South Carolina, USA, can skillfully simulate multiple drivers of coastal flooding as confirmed by measurements collected during Hurricane Florence (2018). Besides the accuracy of representing observed water levels, the importance of individual processes was investigated. We demonstrate that across the area of interest, it is necessary to include marine, pluvial, and fluvial forcing and the processes of wind stress and infiltration to correctly model water levels along the coast and further inland. This work highlights the need to include these processes in modeling coastal compound flooding. By using high-resolution topo-bathymetry that is incorporated via subgrid derived tables in the Super-Fast INundation of CoastS (SFINCS) model, we improved the skill of the model at efficiently simulating flooding across large-scale domains with locally relevant results.

Shoreface sediment availability offshore of a rapidly migrating, mixed-energy barrier island

Released May 16, 2023 08:01 EST

2023, Conference Paper, Coastal Sediments 2023: Proceedings of the Coastal Sediments 2023

Emily A. Wei, Jennifer L. Miselis

Ping Wang, Elizabeth Royer, Julie D. Rosati, editor(s)

Less is known about sediment exchanges between shorefaces and mixed-energy barrier islands (MEBI) than between shorefaces and wave-dominated barrier islands. We used seismic stratigraphy from Cedar Island, Virginia, USA to understand the interplay between shoreface deposits and MEBI morphodynamics. Interpretations reveal that the shelf and shoreface are extensively dissected by breach and inlet channels. Shoreface morphology varies due to underlying lithology and variable rates of barrier retreat. Underlying lithology adjacent to breach channels affected their migration rates, thereby exerting controls on alongshore extent of shoreface erosion. Shoreface deposits reworked by a migrating breach have lower slopes than those reworked by a more stationary one. Elevated rates of barrier retreat in southern Cedar Island may cause flattening of the shoreface because rapid barrier island migration required increased onshore sediment fluxes. In summary, barrier breach pervasiveness at MEBI may play an outsized role on shoreface ravinement and morphology. Ultimately, analyses of shoreface architecture and morphology provide insight on the relative influences of inlets, geology, and sea-level rise on barrier island sediment fluxes, which could help inform coastal planners, improve parameterization of shoreface sediment flux, and further future studies of morphologic change at MEBI.

Incorporating wave climate complexity into modeling lower shoreface morphology and transport

Released May 16, 2023 07:36 EST

2023, Conference Paper, Coastal Sediments 2023, proceedings of the 10th international conference

Megan Gillen, Andrew D. Ashton, Jennifer L. Miselis, Daniel J. Ciarletta, Emily A. Wei, Christopher R. Sherwood

Ping Wang, Elizabeth Royer, Julie D. Rosati, editor(s)

The lower shoreface, a transitional subaqueous region extending from the seaward limit of the surf zone to beyond the closure depth, serves as a sediment reservoir and pathway in sandy beach environments over annual to millennial time scales. Despite the important role this region plays in shoreline dynamics, the morphodynamics of the lower shoreface remain poorly quantified and understood. To better understand controls on shoreface morphology, here we combine energetics-based suspended sediment transport formulae (Ortiz & Aston 2016) with empirical wave climate data to incorporate temporal complexity in modeled equilibrium profiles and sediment flux rates. The equilibrium shoreface shape computed using a full wave climate is steeper in shallower water and less steep in the deeper reaches compared to profiles computed using single wave characteristics. Using a full wave climate to simulate steady-state morphology will yield steeper profiles in shallow water. Suspended sediment transport rates also vary in direction and magnitude at different equilibrium profile depths and can potentially inform the location of morphodynamic boundaries in the shoreface. Our results reveal how infrequent storm waves affect shoreface slopes, with large events tending to drive sediment onshore in the deeper portions of the profile. This work explores a few ways to add complexity to simple energetics-based frameworks to reproduce empirical bathymetric data more accurately and provides insight toward refining coastal source-to-sink models.

Assessing environmental oil spill based on fluorescence images of water samples and deep learning

Released May 16, 2023 07:17 EST

2023, Journal of Environmental Informatics

D. P. Liu, Ming Liu, Guangyu Sun, Zhiqian Zhou, Duolin Wang, Fei He, Jiaxin Li, Ryan Gettler, Eric Brunson, Jeffery Steevens, Dong Xu

Measuring oil concentration in the aquatic environment is essential for determining the potential exposure, risk, or injury for oil spill response and natural resource damage assessment. Conventional analytical chemistry methods require samples to be collected in the field, shipped, and processed in the laboratory, which is also rather time-consuming, laborious, and costly. For rapid field response immediately after a spill, there is a need to estimate oil concentration in near real time. To make the oil analysis more portable, fast, and cost effective, we developed a plug-and-play device and a deep learning model to assess oil levels in water using fluorescent images of water samples. We constructed a 3D-printed device to collect fluorescent images of solvent-extracted water samples using an iPhone. We prepared approximately 1,300 samples of oil at different concentrations to train and test the deep learning model. The model comprises a convolutional neural network and a novel module of histogram bottleneck block with an attention mechanism to exploit the spectral features found in low-contrast images. This model predicts the oil concentration in weight per volume based on fluorescence image. We devised a confidence interval estimator by combining gradient boosting and polymodal regressor to provide a confidence assessment of our results. Our model achieved sufficient accuracy to predict oil levels for most environmental applications. We plan to improve the device and iPhone application as a near-real-time tool for oil spill responders to measure oil in water.

New capabilities in MT3D-USGS for simulating unsaturated-zone heat transport

Released May 16, 2023 07:10 EST

2023, Groundwater (61) 330-345

Eric D. Morway, Daniel T. Feinstein, Randall J. Hunt, Richard W. Healy

Changes in climate and land use will alter groundwater heat transport dynamics in the future. These changes will in turn affect watershed processes (e.g., nutrient cycling) as well as watershed characteristics (e.g., distribution and persistence of cold-water habitat). Thus, groundwater flow and heat transport models at watershed scales that can characterize and quantify thermal impacts of surface temperature change on groundwater system temperatures are needed to forecast changes to groundwater-linked ecosystems in riparian zones, streams, and lakes. Including unsaturated zone processes has previously been shown to be important for properly determining the timing and magnitude of groundwater recharge (Hunt et al. 2008). Similarly, heat transport dynamics in the saturated-zone, as well as connected surface-water systems, can be appreciably influenced by unsaturated-zone processes; in this way the unsaturated zone forms an inextricable link between land surface where change occurs and the groundwater system that transmit that change. This paper presents new capabilities for the existing MT3D-USGS transport simulator by adding functionality for simulating heat transport through the unsaturated zone. New simulation capabilities are verified through comparison of simulation results with those of the variably-saturated heat transport simulator VS2DH under steady and transient conditions for both water and heat flow. The new capabilities are assessed using a number of conceptualizations and include evaluations of convective and conductive heat flow. These additional capabilities increase the utility for applied watershed-scale simulations, which in turn should facilitate more realistic characterizations of temperature change on thermally sensitive ecosystems, such as stream habitat.

Assessing potential effects of changes in water use in the middle Carson River Basin with a numerical groundwater-flow model, Eagle, Dayton, and Churchill Valleys, west-central Nevada

Released May 15, 2023 13:56 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5008

Eric D. Morway, Susan G. Buto, Richard G. Niswonger, Justin L. Huntington

During the economic boom of the mid part of the first decade of the 2000s in northwestern Nevada, municipal and housing growth increased use of the water resources of this semi-arid region. In 2008, when the economy slowed, new housing development stopped, and immediate pressure on groundwater resources abated. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, began a hydrogeologic study of the middle Carson River Basin. The first half of the study reviewed and synthesized previous geologic studies and contributed new datasets that served as a foundation for a three-dimensional, transient numerical model of groundwater and surface-water flow for the middle Carson River Basin extending from Eagle Valley to Churchill Valley. The model can be used to evaluate the effects of proposed alternative management strategies on groundwater sustainability, flows in the Carson River, and routine operation of Lahontan Reservoir and can also provide a basis for basin-wide investigations seeking to quantitatively evaluate the effects of climate change or yet-to-be-determined alternative management strategies.

The middle Carson model was constructed using the U.S. Geological Survey groundwater modeling software MODFLOW-NWT. MODFLOW is widely used groundwater modeling software and is well-suited for evaluating groundwater and surface-water interactions. The model uses 550-feet square grid cells that align with the previously published model for Carson Valley (adjacent upstream valley). Six grid layers with more finely resolved vertical resolution near the perimeter of the active model domain and near surface-water features, compared to other areas of the active model domain, hone the simulated groundwater and surface-water exchanges. In addition to simulating groundwater and surface-water interaction, crop and phreatophyte evapotranspiration, lake evaporation, mountain-front recharge, recharge from irrigation return flows, and groundwater pumping are also simulated. Surface-water flow entering the model domain, including the Carson River, tributary inflow from perennial streams in Eagle Valley, and trans-basin imports through the Truckee Canal (surface water diverted from the Truckee River) are specified according to U.S. Geological Survey streamgage records. Groundwater pumpage and surface-water diversions to 10 agricultural ditches and the managed release from Lahontan Reservoir, at the end of the middle Carson River Basin, are specified according to water-manager records.

The model simulation period extended from 2000 through 2010 (January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2010) using 574 weekly stress periods, with a single steady-state stress period at the beginning of the simulation that establishes initial conditions by approximating average conditions during the transient simulation period. All available observations for this period were used during the model calibration process, performed using automated parameter-estimation software. Calibration targets included observations of groundwater elevations in wells, streamflow, differences in observed streamflow between successive streamgages and actual evapotranspiration from irrigated lands. Among all 5,296 simulated and observed groundwater level pairs, the mean error was 1.42 feet; the mean absolute error, 7.71 feet; and the percent bias was −0.1 percent.

Three alternative management scenarios, run using the entire period of analysis (2000–10), were simulated to improve understanding of the potential effects of (1) loss of irrigated agricultural lands following conversion of water-rights to municipal groundwater rights; (2) reclaiming treated wastewater with induction wells; and (3) exercising permitted but under-utilized groundwater rights. Scenarios 2 and 3 were further explored using two and four subscenarios, respectively. Simulated scenario results ranged from having little effect on the groundwater system relative to a baseline simulation to having spatially extensive and large groundwater-level declines (10 to 20 feet) compared to the baseline simulation. None of the simulated scenarios increased delivery of river flows to Lahontan Reservoir. On the contrary, one of the subscenarios under alternative management scenario 3 led to surface-water delivery shortfalls of more than 10,000 acre-feet per year.

Future model improvements may include an extension of the model simulation period backward and forward in time and directly linking it to the upstream Carson Valley groundwater model. Furthermore, converting this MODFLOW model to a GSFLOW model, which fully integrates groundwater and surface-water flows including precipitation runoff and infiltration, may provide an improved tool for comprehensive management of water-resources in the middle Carson River Basin.

Flushing time variability in a short, low-inflow estuary

Released May 15, 2023 09:56 EST

2023, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (284)

Mohsen Taherkhani, Sean Vitousek, Ryan K. Walter, Jennifer O’Leary, Amid P. Khodadoust

Flushing time, the time scale for exchange and mixing between embayed and oceanic waters in an estuary, plays an integral role in determining water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. Here, we investigated the spatiotemporal variability of flushing times throughout Morro Bay, a short, low-inflow estuary (LIE) on the California coast, using a calibrated and validated hydrodynamic model (Delft3D). Morro Bay has historically supported an extensive eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat, which declined substantially from 139 to 5.4 ha during 2007–2017. Eelgrass decline motivated the current research into the role of changing bed roughness and oceanic drivers (i.e., tide and sea-level rise) on estuarine hydrodynamics and flushing times. We found that tidal variability exerts the strongest control on flushing times compared to other effects, i.e., bed roughness or sea-level rise. Additionally, we found that increasing sea level and decreasing bed roughness (associated with declining seagrass coverage) yielded higher rates of mixing (lower flushing times). We detected a strong correspondence between areas having shorter flushing times (e.g., near the estuary mouth) and areas occupied by resilient eelgrass populations in Morro Bay. Our findings further indicated that flushing times in short LIEs are particularly sensitive to several factors (e.g., bed roughness, sea level) that are susceptible to anthropogenic disturbance and future climate change.

Deep root activity overprints weathering of petrogenic organic carbon in shale

Released May 15, 2023 09:28 EST

2023, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (607)

Alison K. Tune, Jennifer L. Druhan, Corey Lawrence, Daniella M. Rempe

The oxidation of organic carbon in sedimentary bedrock (petrogenic OC, OCpetro) is increasingly recognized as a potential source of CO2 to the atmosphere. Recent studies provide evidence for the mobilization and oxidation of OCpetro in sedimentary bedrock during rock weathering. However, the mechanisms and rates remain uncertain, particularly where overlying soils and vegetation drive contemporaneous oxidation of recently fixed organic carbon. Here, we quantify OCpetro weathering across a 16 m shale depth profile in a steep, rapidly eroding forested hillslope in the Northern California Coast Ranges. We report solid and gas phase radiocarbon and stable isotope analyses of samples extracted from specialized in-situ samplers, and a supporting laboratory incubation experiment of the shale regolith. OCpetro is removed from the weathered bedrock at a rate of approximately 0.12 gC/m3yr, which is orders of magnitude lower than the rate of OCpetro oxidation we achieved in the laboratory with crushed samples (557.1 gC/m3/yr). This disparity occurs despite high O2(g) content across the depth profile, indicating that physical accessibility of OCpetro can regulate oxidative weathering. There is no direct radiocarbon evidence of OCpetro oxidation in CO2(g) across the upper 13 m of the weathering profile during both wet and dry seasons. Instead, vadose zone CO2(g) production at the site is dominated by respiration of recently fixed carbon associated with deep rooting. OCpetro is clearly mobilized across the vadose zone during weathering in this rapidly eroding, oxygen-rich, biologically dynamic hillslope, but at rates far below what can be measured given the contribution of root-derived CO2(g).

Rapidly changing range limits in a warming world: Critical data limitations and knowledge gaps for advancing understanding of mangrove range dynamics in the southeastern USA

Released May 15, 2023 09:03 EST

2023, Estuaries and Coasts (46) 1123-1140

Rémi Bardou, Michael Osland, Steven B. Scyphers, Christine C. Shepard, Karen E. Aerni, Jahson B. Alemu, Robert Crimian, Richard Day, Nicholas Enwright, Laura Feher, Sarah L. Gibbs, Kiera O'Donnell, Savannah H. Swinea, Kalaina Thorne, Sarit Truskey, Anna R. Armitage, Ronald J. Baker, Joshua L. Breithaupt, Kyle C. Cavanaugh, Just Cebrian, Karen Cummins, Donna J. Devlin, Jacob Doty, William L. Ellis, Ilka C. Feller, Christopher A. Gabler, Yiyang Kang, David A. Kaplan, John Paul Kennedy, Ken Krauss, Margaret Lamont, Kam-biu Liu, Melinda Martinez, Ashley M. Matheny, Giovanna M. McClenachan, Karen L. McKee, Irving A. Mendelssohn, Thomas C. Michot, Christopher J. Miller, Jena A. Moon, Ryan P. Moyer, James A. Nelson, Richard O'Connor, James W. Pahl, Jonathan L. Pitchford, C. Edward Proffitt, Tracy Quirk, Kara R. Radabaugh, Whitney A. Scheffel, Delbert L. Smee, Caitlin M. Snyder, Eric Sparks, Kathleen M. Swanson, William C. Vervaeke, Carolyn A. Weaver, Jonathan A Willis, Erik S. Yando, Qiang Yao, A. Randall Hughes

Climate change is altering species’ range limits and transforming ecosystems. For example, warming temperatures are leading to the range expansion of tropical, cold-sensitive species at the expense of their cold-tolerant counterparts. In some temperate and subtropical coastal wetlands, warming winters are enabling mangrove forest encroachment into salt marsh, which is a major regime shift that has significant ecological and societal ramifications. Here, we synthesized existing data and expert knowledge to assess the distribution of mangroves near rapidly changing range limits in the southeastern USA. We used expert elicitation to identify data limitations and highlight knowledge gaps for advancing understanding of past, current, and future range dynamics. Mangroves near poleward range limits are often shorter, wider, and more shrublike compared to their tropical counterparts that grow as tall forests in freeze-free, resource-rich environments. The northern range limits of mangroves in the southeastern USA are particularly dynamic and climate sensitive due to abundance of suitable coastal wetland habitat and the exposure of mangroves to winter temperature extremes that are much colder than comparable range limits on other continents. Thus, there is need for methodological refinements and improved spatiotemporal data regarding changes in mangrove structure and abundance near northern range limits in the southeastern USA. Advancing understanding of rapidly changing range limits is critical for foundation plant species such as mangroves, as it provides a basis for anticipating and preparing for the cascading effects of climate-induced species redistribution on ecosystems and the human communities that depend on their ecosystem services.

A numerical investigation of the mechanisms controlling salt intrusion in the Delaware Bay Estuary

Released May 15, 2023 08:43 EST

2023, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (283)

Salme Ellen Cook, John C. Warner, Kendra L. Russell

Salinity intrusion in coastal systems is mainly controlled by freshwater inflows. However, extreme events like drought, low-pressure storms, and longer-term sea level rise can exacerbate the landward salt migration and threaten economic infrastructure and ecological health. Along the eastern seaboard of the United States, approximately 13 million people rely on the water resources of the Delaware River basin. Salinity intrusion is actively managed through river discharge targets to suppress the propagation of the salt front (∼0.52 daily averaged psu line). The purpose of this study is to examine the mechanisms controlling the location of the salt front in the Delaware Bay estuary using a calibrated three-dimensional hydrodynamic model, the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave and Sediment Transport modeling system. This study explored how river discharge, tidal motions, interactions with bathymetric and topographic features, and meteorological events affected the location of the salt front. The model was forced with tides, subtidal water levels, bulk atmospheric conditions, and waves. Compared with the observationally derived location of the salt front line, the model captured the major dynamics throughout the year and performed particularly well during times of low discharge, when salinity intruded up estuary at a constant rate of 0.4 km/day. The daily average salt front moved almost 16 km (10 mi) within a neap-spring tidal cycle, and low-pressure storm systems were found to move the daily averaged salt front by 13–16 km in one event.

The composition of Io

Released May 14, 2023 07:21 EST

2023, Book chapter, Astrophysics and Space Science Library

Laszlo P. Kestay, Terry-Ann Suer

Io is unlike any other body in the Solar System making questions about its chemical composition especially interesting and challenging. This chapter examines the many different, but frustratingly indirect, constraints we have on the bulk composition of this restless moon. A detailed consideration of Io’s lavas is used to illustrate how decades of research have bounded, but not pinned down, the chemistry of Io. A self-consistent model for the core, mantle and crust is constructed based on a conventional chondritic composition but exotic alternatives cannot be ruled out. The study of Io’s composition should provide a fertile and exciting realm for future scientists.

USGS Colorado Water Science Center bookmark

Released May 12, 2023 16:25 EST

2023, General Information Product 223

Jeannette Oden

The U.S. Geological Survey Colorado Water Science Center conducts water resource activities in Colorado in cooperation with different entities throughout the State. These activities include extensive data-collection efforts and interpretive studies to address many different issues of concern to Colorado water resource planners, managers, and others. Results are documented in report products and as information served on the internet.

2019 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

Released May 12, 2023 12:37 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5039

Tim R. Orr, Cheryl E. Cameron, Hannah R. Dietterich, James P. Dixon, Max L. Enders, Ronni Grapenthin, Alexandra M. Iezzi, Matthew W. Loewen, John A. Power, Cheryl Searcy, Gabrielle Tepp, Liam Toney, Christopher F. Waythomas, Aaron G. Wech

The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, volcanic unrest or suspected unrest, increased seismicity, and other significant activity at 17 volcanic centers in Alaska in 2019. The most notable volcanic activity was an eruption of Shishaldin Volcano, featuring eruptive activity that produced lava flows, lahars, and ash. Weak explosive activity also took place at Great Sitkin Volcano and Semisopochnoi Island. Mount Cleveland had one small ash-producing eruption followed by dome growth in early January but was quiet thereafter, and flank activity at Shrub mud volcano produced new mud deposits. Other activity documented in 2019 consists of declining unrest at Mount Veniaminof after its 2018 eruption; large ice and rock avalanches at Iliamna Volcano and Mount Spurr; anomalous seismicity and an increase in degassing at Pavlof Volcano; long-term inflation at Westdahl volcano, Akutan Volcano, and Mount Okmok; steam plumes and anomalous seismicity at Makushin Volcano; elevated seismicity at Mount Martin; and resuspended ash from the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai eruption deposits.

Archaeological sites in Grand Canyon National Park along the Colorado River are eroding owing to six decades of Glen Canyon Dam operations

Released May 12, 2023 10:46 EST

2023, Journal of Environmental Management (342)

Joel B. Sankey, Amy E. East, Helen C. Fairley, Joshua Caster, Jennifer Dierker, Ellen Brennan, Lonnie Pilkington, Nathaniel Dylan Bransky, Alan Kasprak

The archaeological record documenting human history in deserts is commonly concentrated along rivers in terraces or other landforms built by river sediment deposits. Today that record is at risk in many river valleys owing to human resource and infrastructure development activities, including the construction and operation of dams. We assessed the effects of the operations of Glen Canyon Dam – which, since its closure in 1963, has imposed drastic changes to flow, sediment supply and distribution, and riparian vegetation – on a population of 362 archaeological sites in the Colorado River corridor through Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA. We leverage 50 years of evidence from aerial photographs and more than 30 years of field observations and measurements of archaeological-site topography and wind patterns to evaluate changes in the physical integrity of archaeological sites using two geomorphology-based site classification systems. We find that most archaeological sites are eroding; moreover, most are at increased risk of continuing to erode, due to six decades of operations of Glen Canyon Dam. Results show that the wind-driven (aeolian) supply of river-sourced sand, essential for covering archaeological sites and protecting them from erosion, has decreased for most sites since 1973 owing to effects of long-term dam operations on river sediment supply and riparian vegetation expansion on sandbars. Results show that the proportion of sites affected by erosion from gullies controlled by the local base-level of the Colorado River has increased since 2000. These changes to landscape processes affecting archaeological site integrity limit the ability of the National Park Service and Grand Canyon-affiliated Native American Tribes to achieve environmental management goals to maintain or improve site integrity in situ. We identify three environmental management opportunities that could be used to a greater extent to decrease the risk of erosion and increase the potential for in-situ preservation of archaeological sites. Environmental management opportunities are: 1) sediment-rich controlled river floods to increase the aeolian supply of river-sourced sand, 2) extended periods of low river flow to increase the aeolian supply of river-sourced sand, 3) the removal of riparian vegetation barriers to the aeolian transport of river-sourced sand.

Trends and population estimate of the threatened Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis wintering in coastal grasslands of southern Brazil

Released May 12, 2023 07:30 EST

2023, Bird Conservation International (33)

Fernando A. Faria, Rafael A. Dias, Glayson A. Bencke, Leandro Bugoni, Nathan R. Senner, Juliana B. Almeida, Guilherme Tavares Nunes, Maycon S. S. Gonçalves, James E. Lyons

Information about population sizes, trends, and habitat use is key for species conservation and management. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis (BBSA) is a long-distance migratory shorebird that breeds in the Arctic and migrates to south-eastern South America, wintering in the grasslands of southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Most studies of Nearctic migratory species occur in the Northern Hemisphere, but monitoring these species at non-breeding areas is crucial for conservation during this phase of the annual cycle. Our first objective was to estimate trends of BBSA at four key areas in southern Brazil during the non-breeding season. We surveyed for BBSA and measured vegetation height in most years from 2008/09 to 2019/20. We used hierarchical distance sampling models in which BBSA abundance and density were modelled as a function of vegetation height and corrected for detectability. Next, we used on-the-ground surveys combined with satellite imagery and habitat classification models to estimate BBSA population size in 2019/20 at two major non-breeding areas. We found that abundance and density were negatively affected by increasing vegetation height. Abundance fluctuated five- to eight-fold over the study period, with peaks in the middle of the study (2014/15). We estimated the BBSA wintering population size as 1,201 (95% credible interval [CI]: 637–1,946) birds in Torotama Island and 2,232 (95% CI: 1,199–3,584) in Lagoa do Peixe National Park during the 2019/20 austral summer. Although no pronounced trend was detected, BBSA abundance fluctuated greatly from year to year. Our results demonstrate that only two of the four key areas hold high densities of BBSA and highlight the positive effect of short grass on BBSA numbers. Short-grass coastal habitats used by BBSA are strongly influenced by livestock grazing and climate, and are expected to shrink in size with future development and climatic changes.

Monitoring status and trends in genetic diversity for the Convention on Biological Diversity: An ongoing assessment of genetic indicators in nine countries

Released May 12, 2023 07:21 EST

2023, Conservation Letters

Sean M. Hoban, Jessica M. da Silva, Alicia Mastretta-Yanes, Catherine E. Grueber, Myriam Heuertz, Margaret Hunter, Joachim Mergeay, Ivan Paz-Vinas, Keiichi Fukaya, Fumiko Ishihama, Rebecca Jordan, Viktoria Köppä, María Camila Latorre-Cárdenas, Anna J. MacDonald, Victor Rincon-Parra, Per Sjögren-Gulve, Naoki Tani, Henrik Thurfjell, Linda Laikre

Recent scientific evidence shows that genetic diversity must be maintained, managed, and monitored to protect biodiversity and nature's contributions to people. Three genetic diversity indicators, two of which do not require DNA-based assessment, have been proposed for reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other conservation and policy initiatives. These indicators allow an approximation of the status and trends of genetic diversity to inform policy, using existing demographic and geographic information. Application of these indicators has been initiated and here we describe ongoing efforts in calculating these indicators with examples. We specifically describe a project underway to apply these indicators in nine countries, provide example calculations, address concerns of policy makers and implementation challenges, and describe a roadmap for further development and deployment, incorporating feedback from the broader community. We also present guidance documents and data collection tools for calculating indicators. We demonstrate that Parties can successfully and cost-effectively report these genetic diversity indicators with existing biodiversity observation data, and, in doing so, better conserve the Earth's biodiversity.

Survival of Common Loon chicks appears unaffected by Bald Eagle recovery in northern Minnesota

Released May 12, 2023 06:47 EST

2023, Avian Conservation and Ecology (18)

Jennyffer Cruz, Steve K. Windels, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Shawn M. Crimmins, Benjamin Zuckerberg

Recovering species are not returning to the same environments or communities from which they disappeared. Conservation researchers and practitioners are thus faced with additional challenges in ensuring species resilience in these rapidly changing ecosystems. Assessing the resilience of species in these novel systems can still be guided by species’ ecology, including knowledge of their population size, life history traits, and behavioral adaptations, as well as the type, strength, and number of ways that they interact with other species in the community. We summarized broad trends of Common Loons (Gavia immer) breeding at Voyageurs National Park from 1973 to 2009, and evaluated the effects of increased risk from recovering Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on chick survival from 2004 to 2006. Adult Common Loons appear to have increased over time. Using Bayesian survival models that accounted for imperfect detection of unmarked individuals, we determined that chick survival of Common Loons was high from year to year and was unrelated to predation risk from Bald Eagles because chicks in territories closer to active nests did not experience greater mortality than those farther away. We suggest that Common Loon chicks were unaffected by the recovery of this top predator during the three years of sampling. Previous research indicates that Bald Eagles and other predators are an important source of egg losses, but Common Loons can compensate by re-nesting. Despite current uncertainties from anthropogenic threats, knowledge of a species’ ecology remains instrumental in determining its resilience during recovery.

Exposures and potential health implications of contaminant mixtures in linked source water, finished drinking water, and tapwater from public-supply drinking water systems in Minneapolis/St. Paul area, USA

Released May 11, 2023 09:10 EST

2023, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology

Kelly Smalling, Paul Bradley, Kristin Romanok, Sarah M. Elliott, Jane de Lambert, Michael J. Focazio, Stephanie Gordon, James L. Gray, Leslie K. Kanagy, Michelle Hladik, Keith Loftin, R. Blaine McCleskey, Elizabeth Medlock-Kakaley, Mary C. Cardon, Nicola Evans, Christopher P. Weis

Continued improvements in drinking-water quality characterization and treatment/distribution infrastructure are required to address the expanding number of documented environmental contaminants. To better understand the variability in contaminant exposures from the drinking water resource (surface and groundwater), through the distribution process, to the point-of-use (tapwater), in 2019 a synoptic assessment of broad chemical exposures was conducted in system-specific source waters, finished drinking water and service-area tapwater from 10 drinking water treatment facilities in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota, United States. Source water, finished water (collected pre-distribution in the treatment facility), and tapwater samples were analyzed for 465 unique organic compounds, 34 inorganic constituents, and 3 field parameters as well as in vitro estrogen, androgen, and glucocorticoid bioactivities. Mixtures of organic and inorganic contaminants were prevalent in source water, finished water, and tapwater samples, indicating the continued need for broad assessments of mixed contaminant exposures to characterize potential drinking-water human health outcomes. Contaminant concentrations were similar among drinking water sources and no exceedances of Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level(s) (MCL) were observed in any treated sample (finished water or tapwater) in this study. No treated sample contained estrogenic, androgenic, or glucocorticoid activity at concentrations that may cause adverse human health effects. However, there were multiple exceedances of non-enforceable MCL goal(s) (MCLG), and other health advisories combined with frequent exceedances of benchmark-based hazard indices in both finished water and tapwater samples. These results indicate that exposure to contaminant mixtures is a potential public health concern underscoring our continued efforts to assess contaminant mixture exposures at the drinking-water point of consumption using a broad analytical scope.

Obtaining and applying public data for training students in technical statistical writing: Case studies with data from U.S. Geological Survey and general ecological literature

Released May 11, 2023 09:00 EST

2023, Journal of Statistics and Data Science Education

Barb Bennie, Richard A. Erickson

Effective undergraduate statistical education requires training using real-world data. Textbook datasets seldom match the complexities and messiness of real-world data and finding these datasets can be challenging for educators. Consulting and industrial datasets often have nondisclosure agreements. Academic datasets often require subject area expertise beyond those of a general education or lack connections to real-world applications. Many governments, including the United States, now require the release of data from projects they directly complete or fund though grants and contracts. We show how statistical educators may find datasets and incorporate them into courses. Specifically, we use two examples from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and one example from the ecology literature. We demonstrate the use of these datasets in an upper-level analysis of variance (ANOVA) class. In addition to describing how we found the datasets, we describe how to include them into course work and the course’s student assessments. We have used these datasets over multiple semesters and included student feedback from these courses. Although our examples focus on an ANOVA class, the general methods for finding data shared here could be used for statistical classes ranging from high school to graduate education. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.

Distribution and demography of coastal Cactus Wrens (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) in San Diego County, California—2022 data summary

Released May 11, 2023 08:53 EST

2023, Data Report 1174

Suellen Lynn, Barbara E. Kus

We surveyed for coastal Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) in 507 established plots in San Diego County in 2022, encompassing 4 genetic clusters (Otay, Lake Jennings, Sweetwater/Encanto, and San Pasqual). Two surveys were completed at each plot between March 1 and July 31. Cactus Wrens were detected in 214 plots (42 percent of plots). Cactus Wrens were detected in 31 percent of plots that have been consistently surveyed since 2020, indicating less plot occupancy than in 2021 (34 percent) and 2020 (35 percent). There were 202 Cactus Wren territories detected across all survey plots in 2022. In plots that have been consistently surveyed since 2020, we documented 94 territories, which is a decrease from 113 territories in 2021 and 109 in 2020. The number of territories declined from 2021 to 2022 in the Lake Jennings and Otay genetic clusters but remained virtually the same in the Sweetwater/Encanto genetic cluster. At least 78 percent of Cactus Wren territories were occupied by pairs, and 134 fledglings were observed in 2022.

We observed 24 banded Cactus Wrens in 2022, 20 of which we could identify individually by band combination. Adults of known age ranged from 3 to at least 7 years old. All individually identifiable adult Cactus Wrens remained on the same territory in 2022 that they occupied in 2021, and we detected no movement of banded Cactus Wrens between genetic clusters.

Vegetation at Cactus Wren survey plots was dominated by coastal sage scrub shrubs, such as California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifolia), jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), and San Diego sunflower (Bahiopsis laciniata). No definitive signs of fungal pathogens were observed on cactus within and around survey plots. Blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea) was detected at 39 percent of plots, and Cactus Wrens occupied proportionally more plots with elderberry than plots without elderberry. Very little dead or unhealthy cactus was observed within all survey plots, and the plots that were occupied by Cactus Wrens were likely to contain fewer dead cactus than plots that were not occupied by Cactus Wrens. Almost 80 percent of plots had more than 5 percent of cactus crowded or overtopped by vines and shrubs. Similar to 2020, Cactus Wrens occupied proportionally more plots with 5 percent or less of cactus crowded or overtopped by vines and shrubs, although this pattern was not observed in 2021. Non-native annual cover was less prevalent in survey plots in 2022 than in 2021, and Cactus Wrens did not preferentially occupy survey plots with 5 percent or less non-native annual cover than plots with more non-native cover.

Achieving water quality goals in the Chesapeake Bay: A comprehensive evaluation of system response

Released May 11, 2023 07:37 EST

2023, Report

Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee

Kurt Stephenson, Denice Wardrop, editor(s)

A Comprehensive Evaluation of System Response

Achieving Water Quality Goals in the Chesapeake Bay: A Comprehensive Evaluation of System Response (CESR) includes an evaluation of why progress toward meeting the TMDL and water quality standards has been slower than expected and offers options for how progress can be accelerated. This report is a summation of a three year investigation into the 40 year effort to reduce nutrient loads to Chesapeake Bay.


The effort began as a STAC independent initiative in March 2019, after Kurt Stephenson, Zach Easton, and Brian Benham proposed the idea of a report that would identify gaps and uncertainties in system response—physical, chemical, biological, and socioeconomic—that impact efforts designed to attain water quality standards in Chesapeake Bay. As STAC Chair at the time, Benham facilitated the development of a collaborative process that would engage the entire committee. As a first step in approaching the long causal chain that links management actions to their eventual impact on water quality and living resources, workgroups were formed around the subsystems of this chain: nutrient and sediment reductions (watershed), water quality response to nutrient and sediment reductions (estuary) and living resource response to water quality (living resources). Each of these workgroups generated an independent document with a self-determined scope (i.e., workgroups were afforded flexibility to address issues beyond the original objectives). Because the content of each document was both unique and substantial, STAC chose to publish them as stand-alone documents with authorship attribution.

In the second step, a steering committee developed a series of framing questions to guide the preparation of this report that would meet the objective of identifying gaps and uncertainties in achieving the Bay TMDL and water quality standards. Coeditors Stephenson and Wardrop, supported to great extent by a subgroup of the Steering Committee (Leonard Shabman, Zach Easton, Jeremy Testa, William Dennison, Kenny Rose, and Mark Monaco) were tasked with assembling ideas and contributions to write a single draft text, drawing material from the aforementioned resource documents, STAC and Chesapeake Bay Program reports, the scientific literature, and a limited amount of additional analyses performed in collaboration with Bay Program scientists. The resulting report was then submitted for several reviews by both steering committee members and the membership at-large to produce a consensus report.

Colorado River Basin

Released May 11, 2023 07:30 EST

2023, Book chapter, Rivers of North America

Anya Metcalfe, Jeffrey Muehlbauer, Morgan Ford, Theodore Kennedy

Michael D. Delong, Timothy D. Jardine, Arthur C. Benke, Colbert E. Cushing, editor(s)

The Colorado River is often referred to as “the lifeblood of the west.” The basin supplies municipal water to nearly 40 million people and irrigates approximately 22,000 km2 of agricultural lands. Twenty-two major rivers converge with the Colorado after it begins its descent from the Rocky Mountains and winds through the plateaus of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, onto the deserts of southwestern Arizona, and finally into the Gulf of California, where inflows from the Río Hardy and Río Sonoyta in Mexico complete the drainage. The mainstem Colorado, Green, Yampa, Little Colorado, and Yampa Rivers are described in further detail in the 2005 edition (Blinn and Poff, 2005) of this book. In this edition, we discuss seven other major tributaries in the Colorado River basin: the Gunnison, San Juan, Virgin, Bill Williams, Verde, Black, and Salt Rivers. The water quality and quantity, flora and fauna, and sediment and organic loads of each of these tributaries uniquely alter the mainstem Colorado River and the habitat it provides. Thus, understanding the hydrology, ecology, and human use of these tributaries is critical toward understanding both the complex history and present-day management of the Colorado River Basin as a whole.

The use of historical data and global climate models to assess historical and future surface water and groundwater availability in the Trinity River Basin in Texas

Released May 11, 2023 06:53 EST

2023, Texas Water Journal (14) 34-61

Molly J. Milmo, Jeremy McDowell, Monica Veale Yesildirek, Glenn R. Harwell

This paper describes the results of a study that was done by the USGS to assess recent (2017) water availability, forecast long-term trends in water availability, assess changes in water availability, and forecast future water availability in the Trinity River Basin in Texas. The Trinity River Basin surface water model and Trinity River alluvium aquifer (TRAA) groundwater model were created to evaluate future conditions under different global climate models (GCM). The results of this study show minimal overall changes in water availability for both surface water and groundwater. Trend analyses using historical data (1900–2017) indicated an increase of annual precipitation on the watersheds that drain into the reservoirs in Regional Water Planning Group C. However, the Trinity River Basin surface water model GCM ensemble mean annual precipitation indicates a downward trend, resulting in a downward trend in surface runoff. Additionally, the GCM ensemble mean for the Trinity River Basin surface water model and the TRAA groundwater model both indicate a downward trend in recharge while the TRAA model GCM ensemble mean indicates an upward trend in the amount of groundwater leaving the aquifer to rivers and streams resulting in an upward trend of cumulative storage change.

Spatiotemporal segregation by migratory phenotype indicates potential for assortative mating in lake sturgeon

Released May 11, 2023 06:40 EST

2023, Oecologia (201) 953-964

Tyler J. Buchinger, Darryl W. Hondorp, Charles C. Krueger

Migratory diversity can promote population differentiation if sympatric phenotypes become temporally, spatially, or behaviorally segregated during breeding. In this study, the potential for spatiotemporal segregation was tested among three migratory phenotypes of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) that spawn in the St. Clair River of North America’s Laurentian Great Lakes but differ in how often they migrate into the river and in which direction they move after spawning. Acoustic telemetry over 9 years monitored use of two major spawning sites by lake sturgeon that moved north to overwinter in Lake Huron or south to overwinter in Lake St. Clair. Lake St. Clair migrants were further distinguished by whether they migrated into the St. Clair River each year (annual migrants) or intermittently (intermittent migrants). Social network analyses indicated lake sturgeon generally co-occurred with individuals of the same migratory phenotype more often than with different migratory phenotypes. A direct test for differences in space use revealed one site was almost exclusively visited by Lake St. Clair migrants whereas the other site was visited by Lake Huron migrants, intermittent Lake St. Clair migrants, and, to a lesser extent, annual Lake St. Clair migrants. Analysis of arrival and departure dates indicated opportunity for co-occurrence at the site visited by all phenotypes but showed Lake Huron migrants arrived approximately 2 weeks before Lake St. Clair migrants. Taken together, our results indicated partial spatiotemporal segregation of migratory phenotypes that may generate assortative mating and promote population differentiation.

Assembling the right pieces: Developing an interdisciplinary team to study disease, decline, and recovery of a world-class Smallmouth Bass fishery

Released May 10, 2023 11:17 EST

2023, Fisheries Magazine

Megan K. Schall, Geoffrey Smith, Vicki S. Blazer, Heather L. Walsh, Timothy Wertz, Dustin R. Shull, Tyler Wagner

Managing and understanding fisheries dynamics are becoming more complex as new and seemingly more complicated environmental factors are identified. Often management requires resources beyond that of any one entity and calls for collaboration among partners with differing priorities and backgrounds to account for the complexity of factors influencing fisheries. We present a collaborative case study from the Susquehanna River basin, Pennsylvania, where Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu have faced population declines, mortality events, and notable signs of disease in recent years. Collaboration was required to study many facets of the fishery and the environment simultaneously to better understand risk factors and underlying relationships influencing Smallmouth Bass health. The outcomes from this interdisciplinary collaboration allowed for identification of contributing risk factors, led to the development of products and analytical techniques that were mutually beneficial to all partners involved, and provided knowledge that was integrated into fish health and fisheries management.

Plant migration due to winter climate change: Range expansion of tropical invasive plants in response to warming winters

Released May 10, 2023 09:46 EST

2023, Biological Invasions

Michael Osland, Bogdan Chivoiu, Laura Feher, Leah Dale, Deah Lieurance, Wesley Daniel, Jessica E. Spencer

Warming winters due to climate change can facilitate the range expansion of invasive non-native species. In the southeastern United States, the frequency and intensity of extreme winter temperatures determines the northern range limits of many tropical organisms including many species of invasive non-native plants. However, the effects of winter climate change on invasive species’ range limits have been understudied. Here, we used temperature and species occurrence data to examine the sensitivity of invasive tropical plant species to freezing temperatures. We also examined the potential for northward range expansion of these species due to winter climate change. From an initial group of 81 invasive plant species selected due to their ability to transform native plant communities, our analyses identify and quantify species-specific temperature thresholds for 40 tropical, cold sensitive species. Future winter warming scenarios indicate that these tropical invasive plant species have the potential for northward range expansion across the southeastern United States in response to small changes in the severity of winter cold temperature extremes. The potential for range expansion is greatest in coastal areas, which typically have warmer temperatures than inland counterparts. Thus, coastal regions are likely to serve as biological invasion hotspots from which invasive species expand into inland areas. The state of Florida has become a global hotspot for biological invasions, with tens of millions of dollars (US) spent annually to control the ecological and societal impacts of invasive plants on publicly held conservation lands. Collectively, our results underscore the need to better anticipate and prepare for the northward range expansion of invasive plants from Florida into the southeastern United States in response to winter climate change.

Exploring the influence of input feature space on CNN-based geomorphic feature extraction from digital terrain data

Released May 10, 2023 08:48 EST

2023, Earth and Space Science (10)

Aaron E. Maxwell, William Elijah Odom, Charles M. Shobe, Daniel H. Doctor, Michelle S. Bester, Tobi Ore

Many studies of Earth surface processes and landscape evolution rely on having accurate and extensive data sets of surficial geologic units and landforms. Automated extraction of geomorphic features using deep learning provides an objective way to consistently map landforms over large spatial extents. However, there is no consensus on the optimal input feature space for such analyses. We explore the impact of input feature space for extracting geomorphic features from land surface parameters (LSPs) derived from digital terrain models (DTMs) using convolutional neural network (CNN)-based semantic segmentation deep learning. We compare four input feature space configurations: (a) a three-layer composite consisting of a topographic position index (TPI) calculated using a 50 m radius circular window, square root of topographic slope, and TPI calculated using an annulus with a 2 m inner radius and 10 m outer radius, (b) a single illuminating position hillshade, (c) a multidirectional hillshade, and (d) a slopeshade. We test each feature space input using three deep learning algorithms and four use cases: two with natural features and two with anthropogenic features. The three-layer composite generally provided lower overall losses for the training samples, a higher F1-score for the withheld validation data, and better performance for generalizing to withheld testing data from a new geographic extent. Results suggest that CNN-based deep learning for mapping geomorphic features or landforms from LSPs is sensitive to input feature space. Given the large number of LSPs that can be derived from DTM data and the variety of geomorphic mapping tasks that can be undertaken using CNN-based methods, we argue that additional research focused on feature space considerations is needed and suggest future research directions. We also suggest that the three-layer composite implemented here can offer better performance in comparison to using hillshades or other common terrain visualization surfaces and is, thus, worth considering for different mapping and feature extraction tasks.

Evaluation of Copernicus DEM and eomparison to the DEM used for Landsat collection-2 processing

Released May 10, 2023 07:04 EST

2023, Remote Sensing (15)

Shannon Franks, Rajagopalan Rengarajan

Having highly accurate and reliable Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the Earth’s surface is critical to orthorectify Landsat imagery. Without such accuracy, pixel locations reported in the data are difficult to assure as accurate, especially in more mountainous landscapes, where the orthorectification process is the most challenging. To this end, the Landsat Calibration and Validation Team (Cal/Val) compared the Copernicus DEM (CopDEM) to the DEM that is currently used in Collection-2 processing (called “Collection-2 DEM”). NGS ground-surveyed and lidar-based ICESat-2 points were used, and the CopDEM shows improvement to be less than 1 m globally, except in Asia where the accuracy and resolution of the DEM were greater for the CopDEM compared to the Collection-2 DEM. Along with slightly improved accuracy, the CopDEM showed more consistent results globally due to its virtually seamless source and consistent creation methods throughout the dataset. While CopDEM is virtually seamless, having greater than 99% of their data coming from a single source (Tandem-X), there are significantly more voids in the higher elevations which were mostly filled with SRTM derivatives. The accuracy of the CopDEM fill imagery was also compared to the Collection-2 DEM and the results were very similar, showing that the choice of fill imagery used by CopDEM was appropriate. A qualitative assessment using terrain-corrected products processed with different DEMs and viewing them as anaglyphs to evaluate the DEMs proved useful for assessing orbital path co-registration. While the superiority of the CopDEM was not shown to be definitive by the qualitative method for many of the regions assessed, the CopDEM showed a clear advantage in Northern Russia, where the Collection-2 DEM uses some of the oldest and least accurate datasets in the compilation of the Collection-2 DEM. This paper presents results from the comparison study, along with the justification for proceeding with using the Copernicus DEM in future Landsat processing. As of this writing, the Copernicus DEM is planned to be used in Collection-3 processing, which is anticipated to be released no earlier than 2025.

Assessment of lunar resource exploration in 2022

Released May 09, 2023 14:49 EST

2023, Circular 1507

Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Joshua A. Coyan, Kristen A. Bennett, Lillian R. Ostrach, Lisa R. Gaddis, Travis S.J. Gabriel, Justin Hagerty

The idea of mining the Moon, once purely science-fiction, is now on the verge of becoming reality. Taking advantage of the resources on the Moon is part of the plans of many nations and some enterprising commercial entities; demonstrating in-situ (in place) resource utilization near the lunar south pole is an explicit goal of the United States’ Artemis program. Economic extraction and sustainable management of these resources require understanding the nature, quantity, and quality of each resource. This publication aims to provide a relatively simple, but technically rigorous, assessment of the status of lunar resource exploration in 2022.

Building on the experience of the U.S. Geological Survey in conducting resource assessments for Earth, we propose a general methodology for quantitative lunar resources assessments. Lunar resources can be categorized as energy, mineral, and water and classified with respect to their certainty and their recoverability. The portion of the technically recoverable resource that can be converted to a commodity within budgetary and other mission constraints can be classified as a “reserve.”

For energy resources, solar energy is known to be especially abundant along some high ridges near the lunar poles and the technology to exploit it is mature. Mineral resources, largely in the form of loose rock powder that covers the surface of the Moon, are also widely accessible in large quantities. Many different technologies to convert this material into useful commodities (such as landing pads and oxygen) are currently being developed and are likely to be available for industrial-scale application within 30 years. Water ice almost certainly exists in the polar regions of the Moon but there are fundamental unanswered questions about when and how the ice formed—leaving us without knowledge of the form, quantity, quality, and distribution of lunar ice. Until rover missions bring new ground truth data, lunar ice will remain a highly speculative resource that may be both limited and non-renewable.

Phenotypic trait differences between Iris pseudacorus in native and introduced ranges support greater capacity of invasive populations to withstand sea level rise

Released May 09, 2023 08:49 EST

2023, Diversity and Distributions

Brenda J. Grewell, Blanca Gallego-Tévar, Gael Bárcenas-Moreno, Christine R. Whitcraft, Karen M. Thorne, Kevin J. Buffington, Jesus M. Castillo


Tidal wetlands are greatly impacted by climate change, and by the invasion of alien plant species that are being exposed to salinity changes and longer inundation periods resulting from sea level rise. To explore the capacity for the invasion of Iris pseudacorus to persist with sea level rise, we initiated an intercontinental study along estuarine gradients in the invaded North American range and the native European range.


San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary; California, USA and Guadalquivir River Estuary; Andalusia, Spain.


We compared 15 morphological, biochemical, and reproductive plant traits within populations in both ranges to determine if specific functional traits can predict invasion success and if environmental factors explain observed phenotypic differences.


Alien I. pseudacorus plants in the introduced range had more robust growth than plants in the native range. The vigour of the alien plants was reflected by expression of higher leaf water content, fewer senescent leaves per leaf fan, and more carbohydrate storage reserves in rhizomes than plants in the native range. Moreover, alien plants tended to show higher specific leaf area and seed production than native plants. I. pseudacorus plants in the introduced range were less affected by increasing salinity and were exposed to deeper inundation water along the estuarine gradient than those in the native range.

Main Conclusions

Functional trait differences suggest mature populations of I. pseudacorus in the introduced range have greater adapted capacity to adjust to environmental stresses induced by rising sea level than those in the native range. Knowledge of these trait responses can be applied to improve risk assessments in invaded estuaries and to achieve climate-adapted conservation goals for conservation of the species in its native range.

Seasonal shifts in diel vertical migrations by lake-dwelling coastal cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii, reflect thermal regimes and prey distributions

Released May 09, 2023 06:59 EST

2023, Ecology of Freshwater Fish

Zachary R. Thomas, David Beauchamp, Casey P. Clark, Thomas P. Quinn

Lakes provide important habitat for salmonids that may use them as a primary feeding area between periods of reproduction. The seasonal changes in vertical thermal structure in lakes can affect the distribution of salmonids on seasonal and diel time scales as they search for, consume, and digest prey that also exploits the water column's distribution of food, temperature and light. Our goal was to analyse the vertical distribution of wild, native coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) in Lake Washington on daily and seasonal time scales. This lake is stratified in the summer and isothermal in winter, allowing us to compare vertical movements between periods with and without thermal structure in water 50 m deep. We predicted that trout would be deeper in the water column during stratified months and shallower during isothermal months, and shallower at night than in the day. Overall, the trout showed these patterns in the depths and temperatures they occupied, tending to be within or below the thermocline in the summer but not in the coolest water available, and closer to the surface when the lake was isothermal. The trout were also closer to the surface at night and deeper during the day. The vertical range of these diel movements shifted with the seasons–deepest in October, as the thermocline deepened and weakened, and shallowest in January when the lake was isothermal. These seasonal and diel vertical distribution patterns by the trout optimise metabolism for growth, and facilitate feeding on planktivorous fishes that also show seasonal and diel vertical distribution changes.

Volcanic earthquake catalog enhancement using integrated detection, matched-filtering, and relocation tools

Released May 09, 2023 06:46 EST

2023, Frontiers in Earth Science (11)

Darren Tan, David Fee, Alicia J. Hotovec-Ellis, J. Pesicek, Matthew M. Haney, John A. Power, T. Girona

Volcanic earthquake catalogs are an essential data product used to interpret subsurface volcanic activity and forecast eruptions. Advances in detection techniques (e.g., matched-filtering, machine learning) and relative relocation tools have improved catalog completeness and refined event locations. However, most volcano observatories have yet to incorporate these techniques into their catalog-building workflows. This is due in part to complexities in operationalizing, automating, and calibrating these techniques in a satisfactory way for disparate volcano networks and their varied seismicity. In an effort to streamline the integration of catalog-enhancing tools at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), we have integrated four popular open-source tools: REDPy, EQcorrscan, HypoDD, and GrowClust. The combination of these tools offers the capability of adding seismic event detections and relocating events in a single workflow. The workflow relies on a combination of standard triggering and cross-correlation clustering (REDPy) to consolidate representative templates used in matched-filtering (EQcorrscan). The templates and their detections are then relocated using the differential time methods provided by HypoDD and/or GrowClust. Our workflow also provides codes to incorporate campaign data at appropriate junctures, and calculate magnitude and frequency index for valid events. We apply this workflow to three datasets: the 2012–2013 seismic swarm sequence at Mammoth Mountain (California), the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano (Alaska), and the 2006 eruption of Augustine Volcano (Alaska); and compare our results with previous studies at each volcano. In general, our workflow provides a significant increase in the number of events and improved locations, and we relate the event clusters and temporal progressions to relevant volcanic activity. We also discuss workflow implementation best practices, particularly in applying these tools to sparse volcano seismic networks. We envision that our workflow and the datasets presented here will be useful for detailed volcano analyses in monitoring and research efforts.

Development of an integrated hydrologic flow model of the Rio San Jose Basin and surrounding areas, New Mexico

Released May 08, 2023 11:03 EST

2023, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5028

Andre B. Ritchie, Shaleene B. Chavarria, Amy E. Galanter, Allison K. Flickinger, Andrew J. Robertson, Donald S. Sweetkind

The Rio San Jose Integrated Hydrologic Model (RSJIHM) was developed to provide a tool for analyzing the hydrologic system response to historical water use and potential changes in water supplies and demands in the Rio San Jose Basin. The study area encompasses about 6,300 square miles in west-central New Mexico and includes the communities of Grants, Bluewater, and San Rafael and three Native American Tribal lands: the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos and the Navajo Nation. Perennial surface water features are sparse in the study area and most water resources consist of groundwater pumped from sedimentary and basalt aquifers.

Calibration of the RSJIHM was performed using PEST++ (version 4.3.20) and BeoPEST (version 13.6). Model parameter values were adjusted during calibration to fit model simulated values to the measured or estimated values for several observation groups: (1) solar radiation, (2) potential evapotranspiration, (3) actual evapotranspiration, (4) precipitation and minimum and maximum air temperature, (5) snow water equivalent, (6) snow-covered area, (7) streamflow, (8) hydraulic head, (9) springflow at Ojo del Gallo, (10) springflow at Horace Springs, (11) surface-water releases from Bluewater Lake, and (12) surface-water diversions for irrigation within the Bluewater-Toltec Irrigation District.

The simulated average annual hydrologic budget from 1950 through 2018 indicated that the majority (greater than 98 percent) of precipitation within the basin was consumed by evapotranspiration, leaving 1.2 percent to recharge the groundwater system, 0.47 percent to direct runoff to streams, and 0.20 percent to infiltrate the soil zone and interflow to streams. The average annual recharge to the groundwater system and runoff to streams simulated by the RSJIHM was about 28,000 and 11,000 acre-feet, respectively. The RSJIHM simulated about 590,000 acre-feet of cumulative aquifer storage depletion from 1950 through 2018.

Additional work that could improve the simulation capability of the RSJIHM includes (1) further data collection (streamflow, head, springflow) in the southwestern subbasin that includes the El Malpais National Monument, (2) incorporating temporally variable vegetation parameters, (3) spatial downscaling of the hydrometeorological input datasets, (4) incorporating additional spatial variability to hydraulic property parameters on the basis of new data collection, and (5) using environmental tracers to verify and calibrate model parameters.

Body size predicts the rate of contemporary morphological change in birds

Released May 08, 2023 06:58 EST

2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (120)

Marketa Zimova, Brian Weeks, David E. Willard, Sean T Giery, Vitek Jirinec, Ryan C. Burner, Benjamin M Winger

Across the globe, bird morphology is changing rapidly. Although trajectories of change are frequently consistent across studies, rates of change among species vary in magnitude—a phenomenon that remains unexplained. By analyzing two independently collected datasets demonstrating consistent changes in morphology in 129 species, we show that rates of phenotypic change are negatively correlated with body size—that is, smaller birds are changing faster. Why smaller-bodied species are changing faster is unknown, but we found little support for the hypothesis that generation length explains variation in the rates of change. Rather, body size appears to be a primary mediator of species’ phenotypic responses to contemporary climatic change and should be considered when testing hypotheses about the drivers of change.

The weight of New York City: Possible contributions to subsidence from anthropogenic sources

Released May 08, 2023 06:48 EST

2023, Earth's Future (11)

Thomas E. Parsons, Pei-Chin Wu, Meng (Matt) Wei, Steven D’Hondt

New York City faces accelerating inundation risk from sea level rise, subsidence, and increasing storm intensity from natural and anthropogenic causes. Here we calculate a previously unquantified contribution to subsidence from the cumulative mass and downward pressure exerted by the built environment of the city. We enforce that load distribution in a multiphysics finite element model to calculate expected subsidence. Complex surface geology requires multiple rheological soil models to be applied; clay rich soils and artificial fill are calculated to have the highest post-construction subsidence as compared with more elastic soils. Minimum and maximum calculated building subsidence ranges from 0 to 600 mm depending on soil/rock physical parameters and foundation modes. We compare modeled subsidence and surface geology to observed subsidence rates from satellite data (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar and Global Positioning System). The comparison is complicated because the urban load has accumulated across a much longer period than measured subsidence rates, and there are multiple causes of subsidence. Geodetic measurements show a mean subsidence rate of 1–2 mm/year across the city that is consistent with regional post-glacial deformation, though we find some areas of significantly greater subsidence rates. Some of this deformation is consistent with internal consolidation of artificial fill and other soft sediment that may be exacerbated by recent building loads, though there are many possible causes. New York is emblematic of growing coastal cities all over the world that are observed to be subsiding (Wu et al., 2022,, meaning there is a shared global challenge of mitigation against a growing inundation hazard.