Science news and reports: Building resilient landscapes, habitat restoration, chinook salmon, Bay-Delta Science Conference preview, tsunami debris and invasive species and more …

Sediment plumes around Greenland

In science news this week, Futures past, Council Field Trip of the Antioch Dunes and Dutch Slough, Council Endorses Issue Paper on Habitat Restoration, Deer Creek: One of many, one of a kind, Former science fellow continues chinook salmon studies,  New Delta Nutrient Research Plan website, Bay Delta Science Conference Preview, Designing rivers: Environmental flows for ecosystem services in rivers natural and novel, Tsunami debris and potential for the introduction of aquatic invasive species, Rivers recover natural conditions quickly after dam removal, and more …
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Futures past: Robin Grossinger, Erin Beller, and Ruth Askevold write:  “Heading home from a successful duck hunting trip near the Sacramento River one rainy winter evening around 1850, William Wright got hopelessly lost in a muddy maze of ice-covered tules. Navigating in the pitch dark only by the direction of the wind and sleet, he trudged through a series of cold, waist-deep lakes, falling into beaver holes full of icy water. Disoriented, soaked, cold, and hungry—and lugging dozens of duck and goose carcasses—he and his companion gave up for the evening. They set up camp, making a dinner of raw goose meat and a bed of tules and goose wings—”the worst camp I ever made in my life,” Wright wrote.  At the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Center for Resilient Landscapes, we use accounts like Wright’s to discover California as it was before the rapid and often profound transformations of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. ... ”  Read more from Boom here:  Futures past

Council Field Trip of the Antioch Dunes and Dutch Slough: “Habitat restoration is one of the critical elements of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan. And in August, the Council members had the opportunity to see for themselves some of the projects and programs already underway.  “Too often policymakers read about things, but don’t experience them,” said Council Chair Randy Fiorini. “It’s very important for us to get out into the field and see the things that we read about and hear about. It will lead to better decisions.” … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here: Council Field Trip of the Antioch Dunes and Dutch Slough

Council Endorses Issue Paper on Habitat Restoration: At their August 28, 2014 meeting Council members endorsed an issue paper entitled Restoring Habitat with Science and Society in Mind. The paper will be used by the Council to focus its own work and encourage other agencies to focus their work to spark progress toward implementing habitat restoration portions of the Delta Plan over the next two years.  According to Jessica Davenport, the Council’s program manager for ecosystem restoration and land use, the paper was prompted by a July 2013 scientific review of habitat restoration by the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB). … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council newsletter here: Council Endorses Issue Paper on Habitat Restoration

Deer Creek: One of many, one of a kind: Northern California’s Deer Creek may have a common name, but as a habitat for fish it is far from ordinary. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, more than 500 identically named creeks are found throughout the United States, but this tributary to the Sacramento River is a special place for native spring-run Chinook salmon: Deer Creek supports the Central Valley’s second-largest naturally reproducing population of spring-run (after Butte Creek ), which can range from several hundred to more than 2,000 individuals. Deer Creek originates at over 7,000 feet in elevation near Lake Almanor in Plumas County, and flows for nearly 70 miles to meet the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  One of many, one of a kind

Former science fellow continues chinook salmon studies:  “Based on large ocean harvests, some recent media reports suggest the California Chinook salmon population is robust; others paint a picture of a species in crisis and point out that hatchery contributions to the population mask the true state of affairs. Data from a recent multi-year research project offer some insights.  Dr. Jason Hassrick, now a fish biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Bay-Delta Office in Sacramento, focused on the most endangered race of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, the winter-run, in his research begun as a 2011 Delta Science Fellow. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  Former science fellow continues chinook salmon studies

New Delta Nutrient Research Plan website:  The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) has a new Delta Nutrient Research Plan website. The site contains a brief summary of the project and links to the Delta Strategic Workplan and draft Nutrient Strategy. There are pages on the website that provide information about stakeholder meetings, governance documents, and meeting materials, and a page for the Science Work Groups link with information on Science Work Groups meeting schedules, technical documents, and team members.  Click here to visit the website.

Bay Delta Science Conference Preview: The latest scientific information, analyses, and syntheses – aimed at the broad community of scientists, engineers, resource managers, stakeholders, and policy and decision-makers involved in the Delta and the San Francisco Estuary – will be shared at the 8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference, Making Connections, to be held on October 28-30, 2014. More than 1,000 scientists, managers, and policymakers will attend and present the latest results of their research and management decisions. ... ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here: 8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference – Oct. 28-30, 2014

Designing rivers: Environmental flows for ecosystem services in rivers natural and novel: Summary: “Authors discuss different approaches to achieving ‘environmental flows’ of water to sustain river ecosystems, from controlled releases designed with specific objectives for ecology and ecosystem services in mind, like the recent experiment on the Colorado River, to hands-off policies that minimize or reverse alterations to the natural flow of the river, like the recent demolition of dams on the Elwha River in Washington State.”  Read more from Science Daily here: Designing rivers: Environmental flows for ecosystem services in rivers natural and novel

Tsunami Debris and Potential for the Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species: “On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu, Japan, creating a devastating tsunami that reached heights of up to 130 feet and inundated 217 square miles. It has been estimated that approximately 5 million tons of debris was washed into the ocean following the tsunami and at least 1.5 million tons of this debris could still be floating. It is anticipated that a portion of this tsunami debris will reach U.S. and Canadian shores over the next several years. … ”  Read more from the FWS Field Notes here:  Tsunami Debris and Potential for the Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species

Rivers recover natural conditions quickly after dam removal:  “A study of the removal of two dams in Oregon suggests that rivers can return surprisingly fast to a condition close to their natural state, both physically and biologically, and that the biological recovery might outpace the physical recovery. In the end, the large pulse of sediment from dam removal simply isn’t that big a problem. … ”  Continue reading from Science Daily here:Rivers recover natural conditions quickly following dam removal

Atlantic salmon can take the heat: As global temperatures continue to rise, and the Pacific Coast endures its third consecutive year of record drought, discussions of how warming temperatures and low water levels will affect fish are constant topics of debate (see: Winners And Losers In Warm, Dry Times). Like most “cold-blooded” animals, fish generally have little ability to regulate their internal temperature, so their body temperature is usually very close to that of the surrounding environment. Changes in environmental temperatures can therefore have large effects on fish. From survival and reproduction, to digestion and respiration, nearly all physiological processes are only possible within a small range of temperatures. ... ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Atlantic salmon can take the heat

Previously unseen details of seafloor exposed in new map: Accessing two previously untapped streams of satellite data, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and their colleagues have created a new map of the world’s seafloor, creating a much more vivid picture of the structures that make up the deepest, least-explored parts of the ocean. Thousands of previously uncharted mountains rising from the seafloor and new clues about the formation of the continents have emerged through the new map, which is twice as accurate as the previous version produced nearly 20 years ago. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Previously unseen details of seafloor exposed in new map

Why Scientists are Seen as Competent but Untrustworthy (and Why it Matters):  What do you call 5,000 scientists at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.  No, people aren’t yet replacing scientists for lawyers in these sorts of jokes. But if a new study out in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Fiske and Dupree turns out to be true, they may soon be.  In an online survey, people lumped scientists in with CEOs and lawyers in that all three are seen as highly competent but cold. All of these professions earn respect but not trust. … ”  Read more from KQED Science here:  Why Scientists are Seen as Competent but Untrustworthy (and Why it Matters)

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week:

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