Science news and reports: Long term Biops review of SWP/CVP and the latest issue of SFEWS now available, carbon offset protocol being developed for the Delta, recap of groundwater seminar, water hycainth, desal impacts, and more!

U.N. Infographic on the balance of numerous competitive uses of water that must be overcome for cooperation to really take hold, courtesy of the HydroLogic blog.

It’s the last science news of the year!  Of course, Thursday is always science day here at the Notebook blog; however Science News and Reports will be taking a breather for the holidays and will return on Thursday, January 9th.

Long Term Operations Biological Opinions (LOBO) Annual Review of State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project operations report now available:  “This report represents findings and opinions of the Independent Review Panel (IRP) assembled by the Delta Science Program to inform the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as to the efficacy of water operations and certain regulatory actions prescribed by their respective Long-term Operations Biological Opinions’ (LOBO) Reasonable and Prudent Alternative Actions (RPAs) as applied from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013(Water Year 2013).  This year’s annual review focused primarily on: (1) implementation of NMFS’s RPAs for Shasta Operations in connection with the activities of the Sacramento River Temperature Task Group (RPA Actions I.2.1– I.2.4), (2) new approaches to loss estimation of Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon at the Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility and Tracy Fish Collection Facility (NMFS Opinion Term and Condition 2a), and (3) the USFWS RPAs related to Water Operations in connection with protection of delta smelt from December through June of the 2013 Water Year (RPA Action 1). … “  Read the report here: Report of the 2013 Independent Review Panel (IRP) on the Long-term Operations Biological Opinions (LOBO) Annual Review

Weekly Science News
Click here for more editions of Science News.

The latest issue of the San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science is now available.  In this issue:

The American Carbon Registry and partners are developing a new carbon offset protocol for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the restoration of wetlands in the Delta:  “Carbon finance could soon play a critical role in the restoration of California’s wetlands, with a coalition of stakeholders developing a methodology that would allow wetlands restoration projects in the state to generate credits for both the voluntary carbon market and California’s cap-and-trade program.  The new methodology would scientifically quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from the restoration of California deltaic and coastal wetlands. … The new methodology will integrate California data and restoration techniques.  The ACR approval process for the methodology is expected to be completed in December 2014. Once approved, the methodology will facilitate the sale of carbon offsets to corporations to meet their voluntary emissions reduction goals. … ”  Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace here:  Wetlands Carbon Credits Could Swim Into California Market

However, researchers say a 4 degree rise in temperature rise will end vegetation ‘carbon sink’:  ” … Carbon will spend increasingly less time in vegetation as the negative impacts of climate change take their toll through factors such as increased drought levels — with carbon rapidly released back into the atmosphere where it will continue to add to global warming. Researchers say that extensive modelling shows a four degree temperature rise will be the threshold beyond which CO2 will start to increase more rapidly, as natural carbon ‘sinks’ of global vegetation become “saturated” and unable to sequester any more CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Global Warming: Four Degree Rise Will End Vegetation ‘Carbon Sink’, Research Suggests

California’s Groundwater Future in the Balance: Integrating Quantity & Quality in a Changing Climate: The Groundwater Resources Association has produced a detailed summary of the 29th Biennial Groundwater Conference:  “GRA convened the 29th Biennial Groundwater Conference & GRA’s 22nd Annual Meeting, California’s Groundwater Future in the Balance: Integrating Quantity & Quality in a Changing Climate, on October 8-9, 2013 in Sacramento, California. The conference featured an opening Plenary Session with senior water leaders discussing the challenges identified in the conference theme, ten concurrent sessions, presentations by the Northern and Southern California David Keith Todd Lecturers, Dr. Jay Lund and Dr. David Huntley, presentations of GRA awards, a Legislative Update, and a panel discussion on Statewide Plans, ProposedActions and Water Bond Funding Framework: What’s the Future Hold for California’s Groundwater Reservoirs. … ”  Read more from the Groundwater Resources Association here:  California’s Groundwater Future in the Balance: Integrating Quantity & Quality in a Changing Climate

Water hyacinth:  It may be pretty, but it’s everywhere … and causing problems, not just in the Delta, says the FishBio blog:  “The rich green foliage and delicate flowers of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) may appear ornate and decorative in backyard ponds, but the vigorous growth of this South American native plant has caused severe economic and recreational impacts, and also threatens local biodiversity, on all continents except Antarctica. Water hyacinth clogs waterways and irrigation canals, reduces oxygen levels in surface waters, and crowds out native species. Its dense mats reduce light penetration, which lowers photosynthesis and productivity at the base of the food chain and subsequently reduces food sources for native fish species. Immensely expensive to control (hyacinth management in China alone was estimated to cost more than $1 billion annually), the species has earned the dubious honor of inclusion among the world’s worst invasive alien species, as compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and designation as a “weed of national significance” (applied by the Australian government to 20 noxious species of extreme invasiveness based on their potential for spread and economic and environmental impacts). … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Green tunnels of invasive weeds

Pacific Institute Report examines the marine impacts of desalination:  ” … A new report from the Pacific Institute examines effects on the marine environment associated with the construction and long-term operation of seawater desalination plants, including withdrawing water from the ocean and discharging the highly concentrated brine.  “If and when we build plants in California, we must ensure that the plants are built to the highest standards given what we know now,” said Cooley. “Additionally, monitoring of existing and proposed desalination plants is crucial to improving our understanding of the sensitivity of the marine environment and helping promote more effective operation and design to minimize ecological and biological impacts in the future.” … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  New Desalination Study Shows Strategies to Help Mitigate Marine Impacts

NASA’s GRACE Satellites show that the biggest losses in Colorado River Basin are due to groundwater:  Water managers may be watching the levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell, but the problem is bigger than that: ” … Surface water losses from the reservoirs are just a small part of the Basin’s overall water loss since 2005, said Jay Famiglietti, professor and director of UCI’s Center for Hydrologic Modeling.  “There’s that saying, ‘The fox is in the hen house’,” Famiglietti told Circle of Blue. “While no one is looking, groundwater is disappearing.”  Stephanie Castle, a graduate student who works with Famiglietti, presented UCI’s most recent findings on Wednesday, December 11, in San Francisco at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest Earth sciences conference. Like earlier studies of California’s Central Valley and the Tigris-Euphrates Basin in the Middle East, the UCI research team assessed fluctuations in water storage using data from NASA’s GRACE mission, a pair of satellites that translate changes in gravity into changes in water volume. ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue Water News here:  NASA’s GRACE Satellites Show Colorado River Basin’s Biggest Water Losses Are Groundwater (2005-2013)

GAO Report examines federal efforts under way to assess water infrastructure vulnerabilities and address adaptation challenges:GAO was asked to review agency actions to address climate change impacts on water infrastructure.  This report examines (1) actions taken by the Corps and Reclamation since 2009 to assess and respond to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure and (2) challenges, if any, faced by the Corps and Reclamation in assessing and responding to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure, and the steps the agencies are taking to address them. GAO analyzed the agencies’ climate change adaptation users, environmental groups, and researchers. GAO is not making any recommendations.”  Read the report here:  Climate change:Federal Efforts Under Way to Assess Water Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Address Adaptation Challenges

Loss of freshwater may magnify climate change effects on agriculture:  “A warmer world is expected to have severe consequences for global agriculture and food supply, reducing yields of major crops even as population and demand increases. Now, a new analysis combining climate, agricultural, and hydrological models finds that shortages of freshwater used for irrigation could double the detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Lost Freshwater May Double Climate Change Effects On Agriculture

First Antarctic Atmospheric River discovered:  “A wild weather phenomenon that causes massive winter flooding in California also dumps snow in East Antarctica, wetting one of the driest places on Earth, researchers said here Thursday (Dec. 12) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union This is the first time scientists have spotted an atmospheric river snaking from the Indian Ocean south to Antarctica. … ”  More from Live Science here:  The Cassava Express: 1st Antarctica Atmospheric River Found

And lastly … Still looking for that special something for your science geek?  How about a Stein of Science to keep their beer ever cold?  A petri dish scarf for the scientist/fashionista?  A 3-D print of their head turned into a beer mug?  Wired Science has all of these plus a few more here:  Awesome Gifts for Science Geeks

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email