Science news: Rotary screw traps & juvenile salmon, monitoring anadromous fish populations, salmon habitat restoration, groundwater recharge, pharmaceuticals and fish, markets for enviro science, and more …

RotartyScrewTrapsIn science news this week: Using rotary screw traps to monitor juvenile salmon and identify more cost-effective restoration strategies; Red Bluff Fish & Wildlife Office plays a high profile role in monitoring anadromous fish populations; Yreka: A bridge to somewhere: Improved salmon habitat; All the water we can get: Managed groundwater recharge in California; Sediment size matters in high-elevation erosion rates; Restoring Surfer’s Point; Low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events; Breathing underwater; Understanding how pharmaceuticals in the environment affect fish; Today’s disposable society: Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern; Earth’s hidden groundwater mapped: Less than 6% renewable within a human lifetime; Using the markets for environmental science; November El Niño update: It’s a small world; What El Nino means for urban rivers; and more …

Using rotary screw traps to monitor juvenile salmon and identify more cost-effective restoration strategies:Monitoring programs provide essential information as resource management agencies work to recover endangered species, maintain fish and wildlife populations, and restore habitats that have been adversely affected by human activities. The value of monitoring information is especially important to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Bureau of Reclamation staff that work to restore fish species in California’s Central Valley.  Those agencies use that information to gain insight into the biological response to habitat restoration activities and track trends in the abundance of key species such as Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).  In 1992, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) was authorized with the goal of restoring anadromous fish populations in the Central Valley. As a byproduct of the passage of the CVPIA, the Comprehensive Assessment and Monitoring Program (CAMP) was established. To monitor the effects of habitat restoration activities designed to benefit Chinook salmon, the CAMP relies on data collected with rotary screw traps. … ”  Read more from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Field Notes here:  Using rotary screw traps to monitor juvenile salmon and identify more cost-effective restoration strategies

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Red Bluff Fish & Wildlife Office plays a high profile role in monitoring anadromous fish populations:  “Every day – rain, or shine, and even holidays – the Red Bluff Fish and Wildlife Office collects data on the Sacramento River that provides critical information on how well the state’s crucial anadromous, i.e. salmon, fishery is doing.  “OK, MAYBE on Christmas or Thanksgiving we don’t make people come in,” said Red Bluff FWO Project Leader Jim Smith, who has been in the Red Bluff office since 1983 and the office’s head since 1990. “But the crew is out there essentially 365 days a year. It’s incredibly important work that requires a dedicated crew to work in all kinds of challenging environmental conditions including air temperatures that range from below freezing to 110-plus degrees .” ... ”  Read more from the US FWS Field Notes here:  Red Bluff Fish & Wildlife Office plays a high profile role in monitoring anadromous fish populations

Yreka: A bridge to somewhere: Improved salmon habitat: Cold, crisp, and clean mountain water flows into the Klamath River via Fort Goff Creek. Like many small and lesser known tributaries of the Mid-Klamath River canyon, Fort Goff Creek plays an important role in helping the Klamath Basin produce its supply of Chinook salmon – the third most productive system along the West Coast of the United States.  Last fall, crews removed a major obstacle, and, in doing so, allowed fish better access to upstream habitat. No longer do fish need to swim through hoops to spawn in Fort Goff Creek – in this case one prolonged hoop: a rusty old culvert 15 feet in diameter and 60 feet in length. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  A bridge to somewhere: Improved salmon habitat

All the water we can get: Managed groundwater recharge in California: How best to capture and store water for many different uses is a big question in California. After years of drought and now the looming possibility of a wet, El Niño-driven winter, safe-keeping any precipitation that does fall is a big priority for water managers. From reservoirs to tunnels to canals, the state’s water infrastructure is vast and complicated. However, one approach with a lot of potential that has received little attention so far, at least in California, is managed aquifer recharge (also known as MAR) linked to collection of stormwater runoff.  Professor Andrew Fisher of UC Santa Cruz has been studying MAR for some time. He says it makes use of a variety of methods including infiltration ponds, wells, and in-channel modifications such as berms and inflatable dams to enhance groundwater supplies using water from many possible sources including hillslope and agricultural runoff and high flows in streams and wetlands. … ”  Read more from the The Confluence blog here:  All the water we can get: Managed groundwater recharge in California

Sediment size matters in high-elevation erosion rates: When it comes to sediment in the High Sierra, size does matter, according to two University of Wyoming researchers.  For the past four summers, Cliff Riebe, a UW associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and Claire Lukens, a UW doctoral student majoring in geology, have studied sediment in Inyo Creek, in the High Sierra in California.  The two found that cold, steep, high-elevation slopes with less vegetation produce coarser and larger sediment than low-elevation, gentle slopes. This finding quantifies how sediment production varies with topography and suggests that variations in climate, topography and weathering rates may shape the evolution of mountain landscapes by influencing sediment size. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Sediment size matters in high-elevation erosion rates

Restoring Surfer’s Point:  “In 1992, the City of Ventura, California, saw the return of a familiar problem: the recently re-constructed bike path along the beach at Surfers’ Point was eroding away again. Coastal erosion eventually swallowed large portions of the bike path, as well as the parking lot at the adjacent fairgrounds. Hasty efforts to preserve the area ultimately led to further damage. By 1997, crumbling asphalt, concrete barricades, and rusty chain-link fences erected to keep people from danger made the area a hazardous eyesore.  In 1995, a working group that included city planners, the California Coastal Conservancy, the State Coastal Commission, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Surfrider Foundation, and other stakeholders began to consider and propose options for restoring the beach. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Restoring Surfer’s Point

Low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events: A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.  Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, are being published this week in the journal Nature.  Large-scale warming events about 14,700 and again 11,500 years ago occurred rapidly and triggered loss of oxygen in the North Pacific, raising concern that low-oxygen areas will expand again as the ocean warms in the future. Anomalous warmth occurring recently in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea — dubbed “The Blob” — is of a scale similar to the events documented in the geologic record, the researchers say. If such warming is sustained, oxygen loss becomes more likely. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events

Breathing underwater:Oxygen is the key to life. All vertebrate animals require oxygen to live, and most of us cannot survive beyond a few short minutes without a generous oxygen supply. As we wrote in a previous blog post, it is much harder to breathe in water than in air, but fishes overcome this challenge through their highly specialized gills (see An efficient exchange). Water holds much less oxygen than air, yet some fish species can survive even in water with extremely low oxygen levels. The Crucian carp of Norway has evolved a particularly extraordinary ability to survive in small lakes and ponds that freeze over, becoming completely devoid of oxygen for months during the frigid northern European winter. What makes the Crucian carp truly remarkable is its special way to generate energy by converting the sugar glycogen into ethanol for survival when there is no oxygen in the water (Nilsson and Renshaw 2004). ... ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Breathing underwater

Understanding how pharmaceuticals in the environment affect fish:  “Fish health may be affected by pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater released into streams and other water bodies, according to a recent laboratory and field study by the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory at St. Cloud State University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This research is published in a special edition of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry related to pharmaceuticals in the environment.  This study looked for effects from nine individual pharmaceuticals, as well as varying mixtures of these chemicals, on both juvenile and adult fathead minnows. The selected pharmaceuticals and corresponding exposure levels for the laboratory experiments were guided by previous USGS research. ... ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Understanding how pharmaceuticals in the environment affect fish

Today’s disposable society: Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern: “An increasing amount of drugs taken by humans and animals make it into our streams and waterways, and pharmaceutical pollution has had catastrophic ecosystem consequences despite low levels of concentration in the environment. The effect of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern on the environment will be addressed in a special issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C). Much progress has been made in the recent years on the topic and this special issue will illustrate the state of the science. Several preview articles are now available, and the complete issue will be online in spring 2016.  The first article, “Complex mixtures, complex responses: Assessing pharmaceutical mixtures using field and laboratory approaches,” reports on studies monitoring multiple the life stages of fathead minnows using both simple (groups of drugs with similar modes of action) and complex (groups with diverse modes of action) mixtures of pharmaceuticals commonly found in treated wastewater effluent … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Today’s disposable society: Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern

Earth’s hidden groundwater mapped: Less than 6% renewable within a human lifetime:Groundwater: it’s one of the planet’s most exploited, most precious natural resources. It ranges in age from months to millions of years old. Around the world, there’s increasing demand to know how much we have and how long before it’s tapped out.  For the first time since a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the global volume of groundwater was attempted in the 1970s, an international group of hydrologists has produced the first data-driven estimate of the Earth’s total supply of groundwater. The study, led by Dr. Tom Gleeson of the University of Victoria with co-authors at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Calgary and the University of Göttingen, was published today in Nature Geoscience. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Earth’s hidden groundwater mapped: Less than 6% renewable within a human lifetime

Using the markets for environmental science: The invisible hand of the market might seem a strange player for environmental science, but it’s an emerging force for regulators and land managers. It’s these markets that have inspired USGS scientists Emily Pindilli and Frank Casey to explore how earth science and economics can join forces to achieve meaningful impacts for decision-makers.  Their research falls under a concept known as environmental markets. These markets won’t be found in Wall Street, but rather out on the landscape, as the natural environment provides many amenities that aren’t included in traditional markets. For example, when bees pollinate farmers’ crops, they’re providing an ecosystem service that benefits the farmer and society with a higher crop yield. ... ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Using the markets for environmental science

November El Niño update: It’s a small world:The peak of our current El Niño is expected to occur in the next month or so… but what does that mean? We measure El Niño events by how much warmer the surface waters in a specific region of the equatorial Pacific are, compared to their long-term average. The difference from average is known as the “anomaly,” and we use the average anomaly in the Niño3.4 region as our primary index for El Niño. When the index in this region is at its highest, we have our peak El Niño.  However, El Niño-related impacts have been occurring around the globe for months already, and will continue for several months after the warmest temperatures occur in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  … ”  Read more from the ENSO blog here:  November El Niño update: It’s a small world

Nature’s extreme makeover: What El Nino means for urban rivers: You have seen the news. It is an El Niño year, and heat maps of the equatorial Pacific are red-hot with high ocean temperatures. For California, and especially for southern California, this means that there is a high likelihood of our receiving more than the average amount of precipitation this winter.  Since 1950, there have been 12 weak, 6 moderate, 3 strong, and 2 very strong El Niño years; 2015 is shaping up to be our third very strong El Niño year.  El Niño years are the stuff of legend in southern California: storms associated with the El Niño conditions flood streets and sweep cars off the road, necessitating valiant rescues by helicopter; they liquefy drought-stricken hillsides, triggering mudslides that crush homes and kill people; and they swell floodwaters until rivers jump their banks and tear out infrastructure and vegetation as former floodplains are scoured clean. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  Nature’s extreme makeover: What El Nino means for urban rivers

Seven case studies in carbon and climate:  “Every part of the mosaic of Earth’s surface — ocean and land, Arctic and tropics, forest and grassland — absorbs and releases carbon in a different way. Wild-card events such as massive wildfires and drought complicate the global picture even more. To better predict future climate, we need to understand how Earth’s ecosystems will change as the climate warms and how extreme events will shape and interact with the future environment. Here are seven pressing concerns. ... ”  Read more from NASA here:  Seven case studies in carbon and climate

CO2 passes into uncharted territory: This week, you can watch as Earth passes a threshold not seen for at least a million years. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the air will rise above 400 parts per million. And scientists predict neither you nor your children will ever see it go below 400 ppm again.  The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday that this year’s El Niño combined with global warming puts the world “in uncharted territory.”  “This naturally occurring El Niño event and human induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. … ”  Read more from KQED Science here:  CO2 passes into uncharted territory

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

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