In science news this week, Algal blooms: Trouble in the tide pools; Pritchard Lake fish screen and intake facility to improve fish passage on the Sacramento River; Leave it to beavers to help salmon? ; Global water-pricing practices suggest approaches to managing California water scarcity; California’s earthquake worries don’t end with the San Andreas; Rebuilding sandbars in the Grand Canyon; The ‘Use and Abuse of Science in Water Resource Management and Policy’, Improve ecosystem models with experimental data
Algal blooms: Trouble in the tide pools: “In August 2011, scientists at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory walked into their labs to a strange, disturbing sight: Thousands of purple sea urchins and other marine invertebrates were dead in their tanks, which are fed directly by seawater. Outside, the tea-colored ocean washed up carcasses of red abalone, large sea stars, and football-sized, snail-like chitons. Less conspicuous–but even more heavily impacted as a population–were the millions of purple sea urchins and tiny sea stars that died along a 62-mile stretch of coast in Northern California, according to a UC Davis-led study published in the journal PLOS ONE that documents the die-off. ... ” Read more from Science Daily here: Algal blooms: Trouble in the tide pools
Pritchard Lake fish screen and intake facility to improve fish passage on the Sacramento River: “Natomas Mutual Water Company (Natomas Mutual) and its partners, including the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation, held a dedication ceremony on the Sacramento River to celebrate the completion of the Pritchard Lake Fish Screen and Intake Facility, on May 29. Located approximately 12 miles north of downtown Sacramento, the new fish screen will allow water flow to irrigation pumps while keeping fish out and allowing them to safely pass by the water diversion. At a total cost of just over $9.2 million, the facility will improve passage conditions for migratory fish species in the lower portion of the Sacramento River. ... ” Read more from the US Fish and Wildlife Service here: Pritchard Lake fish screen and intake facility to improve fish passage on the Sacramento River
Leave it to beavers to help salmon? “Although seen by some as a nuisance, the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) may prove to be a misunderstood ally in the field of riparian habitat restoration. Recent research has shown a linkage between regional declines of both salmonid and beaver populations. Dr. Michael Pollack of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has studied the relationship between beavers and juvenile salmon for over a decade, with his first paper on the subject dating back to 2004 (Pollack et al. 2004) His research suggests that beaver ponds, like those found in the Stillaguamish River Basin in Washington, can benefit the river ecosystem as a whole. … ” Read more from the FishBio blog here: Leave it to beavers to help salmon?
Global water-pricing practices suggest approaches to managing California water scarcity: “As water scarcity and quality issues grow in California and around the world, a new book co-edited by UC Riverside water economist Ariel Dinar and water experts in Spain and Argentina examines the experience of 15 countries where conservation has been achieved through water-pricing incentive systems. “Water Pricing Experiences and Innovations” (Springer, 2015) presents practices and implementation experiences from many countries that face water scarcity conditions similar to those faced by California and elsewhere, and introduces a wide set of water-pricing methods that California agencies might consider as they address the state’s historic drought. Dinar, professor of environmental economics and policy in the UCR School of Public Policy, edited the book with José Albiac Murillo of the Agrifood Research and Technology Centre in Zaragoza, Spain, and Victor Pochat, a consultant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. … ” Read more from Science Daily here: Global water-pricing practices suggest approaches to managing california water scarcity
California’s earthquake worries don’t end with the San Andreas: “If anyone knows what’s going on at the bottom of the ocean, it’s the Navy. Understanding the contours of the seafloor is critical to the United States’ defense strategy—hiding submarines in huge crevices, screwing with enemies’ sonar. Too bad our deep-submersible defenders can’t share any of their classified data with geologists, because the information could be crucial to understanding the risk of serious earthquakes on the country’s coastlines. A study released Friday examines a set of underwater data researchers cobbled over decades, specifically focusing on the faults off the Southern California coast. ... ” Read more from Wired here: California’s earthquake worries don’t end with the San Andreas
Rebuilding sandbars in the Grand Canyon: “The Grand Canyon is a bit closer to how it was before one of the country’s largest dams was installed upstream. Three years of releasing water from Glen Canyon Dam to generate controlled floods has resulted in rebuilding sandbars in the Grand Canyon, according to a new USGS article published in Eos, the daily Earth and space science website published by the American Geophysical Union. These simulated floods redistribute sand and mud, which helps develop this critical feature. Sandbars are an important part of the Colorado River ecosystem. They provide habitat for native and endangered fish, sand that supports vegetation and helps protect archeological sites, and the flat ground provides great camping spots under the stars. … ” Read more from the USGS here: Rebuilding sandbars in the Grand Canyon
Robert T. Lackey Presentation: ‘Use and Abuse of Science in Water Resource Management and Policy’: Michael Campana writes, “Friend and colleague Dr. Robert T. ‘Bob’ Lackey, one of the sharpest knives in the drawer when it comes to salmon, restoration, science, policy, and a whole host of other things, gave this presentation, ‘Use and Abuse of Science in Water Resource Policy and Management’, in my 26 May 2015 Honors class, GEO 335H Introduction to Water Science and Policy. He has given me his permission to post it here. This is one of Bob’s best presentations. It’s provocative and might raise the ire of some, but it will make you think hard about one of the important issues of our time. … ” More from the Water Wired blog here: Robert T. Lackey Presentation: ‘Use and Abuse of Science in Water Resource Management and Policy’
Improve ecosystem models with experimental data: “Predicting how forests will respond to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide involves understanding the interplay among carbon dioxide, nutrients, water, plant and soil processes. This multitude of variables challenges scientists who are trying to gauge how future ecosystems will react in a changing climate. Oak Ridge National Laboratory ecologist Rich Norby has spent his career pondering these fundamental questions, including more than a decade studying the effects of elevated carbon dioxide in a Tennessee sweetgum forest as part of the Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) project at ORNL. “When you work with forests, the questions are many decades long,” Norby said. ... ” Continue reading from Science Daily here: Improve ecosystem models with experimental data
Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …
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About Science News and Reports: This weekly feature, posted every Thursday, is a collection of the latest scientific research and reports with a focus on relevant issues to the Delta and to California water, although other issues such as climate change are sometimes included. Do you have an item to be included here? Submissions of relevant research and other materials is welcome. Email Maven.