Science news & reports: Counting fish, restoring tributaries, draft Delta science plan, climate change adaptation webinars and online tools, regional flood atlases, and more!

Rivers and streams in California, from the Cal Water Atlas blog Click on the image to visit the website for more visualizations.

Rivers and streams in California, from the Cal Water Atlas blog
Click on the image for more visualizations.

New technology for fish counting showcased:  The Fishbio blog has details on the latest technology for monitoring fish:  ” … The Riverwatcher can remotely monitor fish ladders, weirs, and fishways using infrared scanning technology and high-resolution cameras. Fish swimming between the Riverwatcher’s scanner plates break the infrared beams and create a silhouette image. A digital camera also records video or still images that can be used to identify the species and sex of each passing fish. … ”  Read more here from Fishbio:  Engineering fish passage solutions

First draft of the Delta Science Plan available for review and comment:  It’s your chance to give your input to the Delta Science Program as they develop a plan to organize science in the Delta and to define the pathway for the effective integration of science into policy and management decisions.  A second draft is planned for August with a final plan expected in September.  Comments will be accepted throughout the development process, but must be received by July 18th to be incorporated into the next draft.  For more information, click here for my post.  To read the draft Delta Science Plan, click here.

Mark your calendars for these Delta science events:  On July 10th, Scott J. Brandenberg and Jonathan P. Stewart from UCLA – the scientists who did the levee experiments with the shaking machine in the Delta – will be giving a seminar on the results of that experiment, as well a similar project in Japan.  More information here: Seismic Performance of Levees Founded on Non-organic and Organic Soils in California and Japan  And on July 22nd and 23rd, DFW will be holding a workshop on predation in the Delta.  More information here:  State of the Science Workshop on Fish Predation on Central Valley Salmonids in the Bay-Delta Watershed

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Call for posters for the State of the San Francisco Estuary conference:  Managers, scientists, students, and the public are encouraged to submit their abstracts.  Applications due by July 17th.  More information here:  Call for Posters

Big benefits for restoring tributaries:  Conserving wildlife on large rivers is challenging and expensive, says the Fishbio blog:  ”  … Reducing the impacts of human developments on large rivers is difficult because of our dependence on them for power production, transportation, and water supply. However, a recent paper in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment makes the case that tributaries to mainstem rivers can serve as a worthy, if unappreciated, focus in efforts to protect biodiversity. Tributaries can support a fish community similar to their associated mainstems, and may not have the same extent of physical alteration. But not all rivers or tributaries are equal when it comes to conservation value — so where do we focus efforts for the biggest effect? … ”  Read more from the Fishbio blog here:  Tributary priorities

Sacramento splittail hiding in the thickets:  Sometimes fish habitat doesn’t resemble a river at all, as is the case with the Sacramento splittail, which depends upon seasonally-flooded off-channel habitat – something that is not easy to find, especially in dry years:  ” … This fish uses seasonally inundated, shallow-water areas with dense vegetation for spawning and rearing. Found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, this true California native has proven remarkably resilient in a number of ways. Although listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999, the splittail’s listing was remanded four years later after record numbers of juvenile fish were documented – a first for an extant fish. … ”  Read more from the Fishbio blog here:  In the thick of it

Not much meat in Obama’s Climate Action Plan, says the Legal Planet blog:  ” … The plan says nothing about the substance of the rules and it says nothing about when the rules should or will be issued. Perhaps the Presidential Memorandum does; I haven’t seen it yet.  But assuming the Memo says what is indicated above  – that EPA should “work expeditiously” with virtually no additional guidance — the President’s announcement appears to say, “work expeditiously to finish rules that you should have issued years ago and that you’re legally obligated to issue anyway.” … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Lots of Rhetoric, Not Much New in Obama’s Climate Plan

Jay Famiglietti weighs in on Obama’s Climate Plan: ” … Much of the President’s talk focused on energy sources, energy policy, and greenhouse gas emissions. While these critical choices will affect our waters through the climate and associated hydrological changes that the President highlighted, they are also intimately linked to water supply.  It takes huge amounts of water to produce energy.  Roughly 40% of all freshwater withdrawals in the U. S. are used in energy production.  Meanwhile, the heating, treatment and transport of water accounts for over 12% of energy use in the United States. That number approaches 20% in California.  But it was the President’s statements on the Alberta oil sands and the Keystone Pipeline, or really what he did not say, that warrant our close attention. … ” Read more here: Water Issues Ripple Through Obama Climate Change Speech

New report looks at how Urban Water Management Plans are accounting for climate change: Prepared by the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, the report looks at how water suppliers incorporated climate change factors into their 2010 UWMPs.  You can find the report here:  Preparing for New Risks:  Addressing Climate Change in California’s Urban Water Management Plans

Climate change, adaptation and irrigation:  What is the world going to look like in 50 years?  The Cool Green Science blog ponders the possibilities:  ” … it’s not just about how the temperature will change and how nature will react; it’s how people will react (or won’t) to those changes. Take farmers: How will they respond to hotter and drier growing conditions, as predicted by climate change?  My colleague Evan Girvetz and I just finished an in-depth look at how the use of irrigation in the United Change might change in response to climate change. … ”  And what did they find?  Find out from the Cool Green Science blog here:  Farming, Adapting to Climate Change & the Limits of Imagination

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium Webinars now available online: From North Carolina State University and the EPA, this series of twelve webinars brought together tribal, state and local stakeholders, EPA representatives, and experts from a variety of sectors to consider the impact of EPA’s new Climate Change Adaptation Plan on the implementation of federal environmental programs, and to present case studies, tools and solutions to some of the most pressing climate change adaptation challenges.  Click here for more information and for links to the webinars.

New online tool for evaluating climate resilience:  EPA has developed the free tool, the Climate Resiliance Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT), to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities.   Click here for more information.

Many species at risk from climate change are currently not conservation priorities:  A study from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one of the largest of its kind, assessed all of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals and found:  ” … Up to 83% of birds, 66% of amphibians and 70% of corals that were identified as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are not currently considered threatened with extinction on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are therefore unlikely to be receiving focused conservation attention, according to the study. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Surprise Species at Risk from Climate Change

New regional flood atlases released:  DWR’s Regional Flood Management Planning has posted six new flood atlases:  ” …Maps in these regional flood atlases show the flood risk characteristics and hazards in each region. Each atlas was compiled from existing data to share understanding and to facilitate discussions about the current state of flood risks. The atlases are not intended to serve as a comprehensive environmental setting section under CEQA or NEPA. During the course of the regional flood planning effort, local agencies will update the atlases to more fully identify their regional flood risk. When complete, the regional atlases will be appended to both the draft and final regional plans. … ”  You’ll find them here.

So cool it’s worth a second plug:  In case you missed it from Tuesday’s blog round-up, check out these nifty interactive data visualizations, such as this interactive chart on how California cities use their water and this interactive Thirsty Cities tool that shows per capita use by city.  Seriously fun stuff from the Cal Water Atlas blog!  More here:  Cal Water Atlas Blog 

Say what … ?  Study shows plants do math for survival:  New research shows that plants do accurate calculations to use up their starch reserves so that they run out precisely at dawn:  ” … In research to be published in the open access journal eLife, scientists at the John Innes Centre show that plants make precise adjustments to their rate of starch consumption. These adjustments ensure that the starch store lasts until dawn even if the night comes unexpectedly early or the size of the starch store varies.  The John Innes Centre scientists show that to adjust their starch consumption so precisely they must be performing a mathematical calculation — arithmetic division.  “The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity,” said metabolic biologist Professor Alison Smith.  … ”  Read more here:  Plants Do Sums to Get Through the Night

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