Science news and reports: Adaptive management, CSAMP, Suisun Marsh, levee history, carbon storage in the Delta, wetlands, amphibians, and more …

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Two deltas, two views of adaptive management:  “Approaches to adaptive management are not all the same. Tjalling Vlieg, a visiting Dutch student who worked in the Council’s Science Program in 2011/2012 recently had an article published in a Dutch policy journal based on his research comparing adaptive management in the Rhine-Meuse Estuary in the Netherlands and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.  In his paper, “Reactive versus anticipative adaptive management of Deltas” coauthored by Mark Zandvort and published in the Journal of Water Governance he concludes that the Dutch approach is more “anticipative” of future conditions while the Bay-Delta exemplifies a more “reactive” adaptive management approach and that a blend of the two approaches would be best for the future. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council newsletter here:  Two Deltas, Two Views of Adaptive Management

Collaborative Adaptive Management Team Moves Forward Following Court Extension on Biological Opinions: “When the U.S. District Court recently issued another one-year extension—to February 2015—for the remanded salmon and Delta Smelt biological opinions, it was based on the promise of a strong adaptive management program with an assist from the Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program.  Judge O’Neill based his extension on the recent Joint Status Report submitted by the Collaborative Science and Adaptive Management Program (CSAMP), which identified progress made in the last year, including development of a work plan. CSAMP is a policy group made up of state and federal agency directors, regional directors, general managers of water agencies and executive directors of non-governmental organizations. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  Collaborative Adaptive Management Team Moves Forward Following Court Extension on Biological Opinions

Planning for the inevitable in the Suisun Marsh:  “In Suisun Marsh, it seems, you can go back in time. You get a haunting sense of the vast marshes that once dominated central California’s lowlands. Sloughs flush with tule perch and Sacramento splittail bend back on themselves. Flocks of red-winged blackbirds rise from thickets of cattails and rushes with whirring wings and musical trills.  Shorebirds dart across mudflats while tule elk graze nearby. Ducks arrive by the thousands in fall to paddle the still backwaters. Fog spilling over the Coast Range adds to the illusion of timelessness. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Planning for the inevitable at Suisun Marsh

Levee history: The Sacramento Valley as we know it today is actually an artificial creation, sustained by an intricate system of levees. The construction of levees has enabled engineers to restrain the flow and path of the Sacramento River, making a once flood-prone river both more manageable and predictable. This predictability, in turn, has paved the way for the permanent and widespread settlement and cultivation of the Sacramento Valley. Today, a large percentage of the valley’s most productive and populated areas owe their existence and livelihoods to levees.  The development of the Sacramento Valley truly is intertwined with the story of its levees.  … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here: Levee history

Learning How to Release the Smallest Amount of Greenhouse Gas While Storing the Most Carbon in the Delta:  “For Gavin McNicol, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley who is supported by the Sea Grant Delta Science Fellows Program, research means sloshing around in the Delta’s muddy waters, enduring some rather noxious fumes, and studying the formation of bubbles.  Actually, he’s doing research in some restored wetlands on Sherman Island (muddy waters) on the natural formation of methane and carbon dioxide (noxious fumes) and how methane releases itself when reaching very high concentrations (bubbles). … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council newsletter here:  Learning How to Release the Smallest Amount of Greenhouse Gas While Storing the Most Carbon in the Delta

Restoring Wetlands While Storing Carbon in the Delta:The protection, restoration, and enhancement of the Delta ecosystem, one of California’s coequal goals, is no easy task, especially with tight government funding. That’s why land managers are tasked with determining which projects will result in resilient ecosystems and ensure those dollars are spent wisely.  “There is a lot of time and money going into these restoration projects and we don’t want to say ‘Well, jeez, I wish that had worked out,’” said Dr. Judith Drexler, a wetland ecologist and research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center in Sacramento. “We want to go in with our eyes open and say ‘Here are our best ideas on what could work.’” … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  Restoring Wetlands While Storing Carbon in the Delta

Effects of environmental stress on water organisms:  “Biodiversity on Earth is in rapid decline, and flowing waters are particularly affected. A team of biologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), headed by Dr Florian Leese, analyses which environmental influences affect water organisms the most. They are the first ones to look into the combinations of different stress factors. Based on the results, the researchers put forward suggestions for the protection of biodiversity. According to project leader Florian Leese, it is high time to do something for the preservation of biodiversity. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: Effects of environmental stress on water organisms

Analytics tools offer insight into climate change: As the White House and private organizations attempt to better understand the growing impact of climate change and the effect of the California drought on businesses and the general public, they’re turning to more advanced analytics and data dashboards to connect the data dots. One organization, Circle of Blue—a not for profit, non-advocacy group that reports on water and resources globally—is attempting to become a leader in the use of analytics. … ”  Read more from Baseline Magazine here:  Analytics tools offer insight into climate change

Amphibians in a vice: Climate change robs frogs, salamanders of refuge: “By hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing. A warming climate, however, will dry up some of the places where amphibians and their young have found refuge. Researchers in the May 1 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment write about this challenge and a novel combination of tools that could help land managers, biologists, fishing enthusiasts and other citizens weigh where amphibians are in the most need of help and guide plans for possible fish removals from selected lakes. “Amphibians in the West’s high-mountain areas find themselves in a vice, caught between climate-induced habitat loss and predation from introduced fish,” said Maureen Ryan, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher in environmental and forest sciences, a Simon Fraser University research associate and lead author of the paper. … ”  Read more here from PhysOrg: Amphibians in a vice: Climate change robs frogs, salamanders of refuge

Examining the variability of climactic extremes:  Cameron Bracken, Hydrologic Civil Engineer, Bureau of Reclamation:

By hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-amphibians-vice-climate-frogs-salamanders.html#jCpBy hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing.

By hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-amphibians-vice-climate-frogs-salamanders.html#jCp

By hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-amphibians-vice-climate-frogs-salamanders.html#jCp

Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in Western U.S.:  “Scientists extended Utah’s climate record back to 1429 using tree rings. They found Utah’s climate has seen extreme droughts, including one that lasted 16 years. If history is repeated in the rapidly growing Western states, the water supply would run out based on current consumption.”  Read more from Science Daily here: Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in Western U.S.

Missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers discovered: A study published today in Science by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory may dramatically shift our understanding of the complex dance of microbes and minerals that takes place in aquifers deep underground. This dance affects groundwater quality, the fate of contaminants in the ground and the emerging science of carbon sequestration.  Deep underground, microbes don’t have much access to oxygen. So they have evolved ways to breathe other elements, including solid minerals like iron and sulfur.  The part that interests scientists is that when the microbes breathe solid iron and sulfur, they transform them into highly reactive dissolved ions that are then much more likely to interact with other minerals and dissolved materials in the aquifer. This process can slowly but steadily make dramatic changes to the makeup of the rock, soil and water. … ” Read more from Science Daily here: Missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers discovered

SWOT smallNASA-CNES proceed on surface water and ocean mission: NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) have agreed to jointly build, launch and operate a spacecraft to conduct the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water and to map ocean surface height with unprecedented detail.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall signed an agreement Friday at NASA Headquarters in Washington to move from feasibility studies to implementation of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. The two agencies began initial joint studies on the mission in 2009 and plan to complete preliminary design activities in 2016, with launch planned in 2020.  “With this mission, NASA builds on a legacy of Earth science research and our strong relationship with CNES to develop new ways to observe and understand our changing climate and water resources,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “The knowledge we’ll gain from SWOT will help decision makers better analyze, anticipate and act to influence events that will affect us and future generations.” … ”  Read more from NASA here: NASA-CNES proceed on surface water and ocean mission

Greenhouse gases continued rising in 2013; 34 percent increase since 1990: NOAA’s latest Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), released today, Friday, May 2, 2014, shows that the warming influence from human-emitted gases continues to increase. This trend that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s has accelerated in recent decades.  Driven in large part by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the AGGI increased 1.5 percent between 2012 and 2013.  This means the combined heating effect of human-emitted, long-lived greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere has increased by 1.5 percent in one year, and 34 percent since 1990. … ”  Read more from NOAA here: Greenhouse gases continued rising in 2013; 34 percent increase since 1990

Climate at the Core: how scientists study ice cores to reveal Earth’s climate history:Like a prehistoric fly trapped in amber during dinosaurs’ days, airborne relics of Earth’s earlier climate—including dust, air bubbles, sea salts, volcanic ash, and soot from forest fires—can end up trapped in glacial ice for eons. To climate scientists, those relics tell a story about how our planet’s climate and atmosphere have changed over thousands of years.  What they find out could have an impact on worldwide civilization within a few generations—especially in coastal regions. Ice cores may reveal whether Antarctica’s western ice sheet melted fully the last time Earth’s climate warmed to the temperatures the planet is predicted to reach in the next two centuries. If it did, it’s likely to again, which would raise sea levels significantly enough to threaten many seaside cities.  “We have some evidence that may have happened, but we aren’t sure,” says Erich Osterberg, who studies ice cores as an assistant professor in the Department of Earth Science at Dartmouth College. ... ”  Read more here: Climate at the Core: how scientists study ice cores to reveal Earth’s climate history

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week:

“Presented in partnership with Qualcomm, Craigslist, Whirlpool, Hostess, LifeStyles, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Manufactured on equipment which also processes peanuts. Price includes 2-year Knicks contract. Phone may extinguish nearby birthday candles. If phone ships with Siri, return immediately; do not speak to her and ignore any instructions she gives. Do not remove lead casing. Phone may attract/trap insects; this is normal. Volume adjustable (requires root). If you experience sudden tingling, nausea, or vomiting, perform a factory reset immediately. Do not submerge in water; phone will drown. Exterior may be frictionless. Prolonged use can cause mood swings, short-term memory loss, and seizures. Avert eyes while replacing battery. Under certain circumstances, wireless transmitter may control God.”

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