Science news: Can wastewater save the Bay from sea level rise?; Build a wetland, save the frogs – if you can figure out where to build it; NASA helps monitor water quality on LA’s coastline; and more …

Materials TestingIn science news this week: Oro Loma: Can wastewater save the Bay from sea level rise?; Build a wetland, save the frogs … if you can figure out where to build it; Conservation of inland trout populations in California; Rebuilding plans pay off for West Coast groundfish fishery; NASA helps monitor LA coastline; Wrangling observations into models; Wrangling observations into models …

Oro Loma: Can wastewater save the Bay from sea level rise? “Everything we’re doing here is illegal, infeasible, and unfundable,” Jeremy Lowe tells me with a rakish grin, as we watch a couple dozen volunteers, including several small children in galoshes, planting grasses in the mud. They’re working on an experimental levee near the Bay’s edge in San Lorenzo, just west of Hayward, innocently enough, and Lowe soon confesses that he and his colleagues aren’t outlaws after all. But this prototype levee, situated a half-mile from the Bay, is so innovative that building it on the shoreline is prohibited, even though it could help mitigate a looming environmental crisis: the rising sea levels brought on by global climate change.  Most levees are basically just walls separating water and land. (Indeed, the word levee comes from the French verb lever, “to raise.”) In contrast, we’re standing on a relatively rare horizontal levee, very wide and almost flat, dropping just five feet in elevation as one walks its 150-foot width. ... ”  Continue reading at Bay Nature here:  Oro Loma: Can wastewater save the Bay from sea level rise?

Build a wetland, save the frogs … if you can figure out where to build it: There are three kinds of federally listed frogs in California, and they are simply endangered by modern life.  “Factors associated with declining populations of the frog,” says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s red-legged frog recovery plan, “include degradation and loss of its habitat through agriculture, urbanization, mining, overgrazing, recreation, timber harvesting, non-native plants, impoundments, water diversions, degraded water quality, use of pesticides, and introduced predators.”  Habitat destruction, spurred by a human need to dredge and dry out low-lying wetlands, is probably the biggest problem. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Build a wetland, save the frogs … if you can figure out where to build it

Conservation of inland trout populations in California:  “Native fish conservation and recovery is an onerous task.  While there are many threats, hybridization has played an integral role in the demise of numerous inland trout species throughout the western United States.  Nowhere is this more evident than California where introduced rainbow trout have threatened the genetic integrity of California golden trout, Little Kern golden trout, Kern River rainbow trout, Paiute cutthroat trout, and Lahontan cutthroat trout.  Species recovery, however, is challenging.  Managers must often balance short-term goals of reversing a trend towards extinction with long-term species persistence.  These objectives rarely align, in part because they operate at different time scales, but also because threats can shift through time as a result of management intervention. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Conservation of inland trout populations in California

NASA helps monitor water quality on LA’s coastline:  “When a Los Angeles water treatment plant had to discharge treated water closer to shore than usual in the fall of 2015 due to repair work, NASA satellite observations helped scientists from the City of Los Angeles and local research institutions monitor the Santa Monica Bay for any impacts. For the city, it was an opportunity to assess the use of satellites in guiding a substantial monitoring effort. For NASA, it was an opportunity to refine the use of satellite assets to study a coastal environment.  The Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa del Rey, California, is operated by the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation. The plant serves all of Los Angeles and several other cities, processing 258 million gallons (9.8 million liters) of sewage daily on average. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  NASA helps monitor LA coastline

Rebuilding plans pay off for West Coast groundfish fishery:  “Half of the 10 West Coast groundfish species that had been determined to be overfished since about 2000 are now rebuilt, and at least two more may be rebuilt in the next few years.  The successful rebuilding of commercially important species including petrale sole, canary rockfish, and widow rockfish are a testament to the support and sacrifice of West Coast ports and fishermen who recognized the difficult actions and fishing cutbacks necessary to restore the stocks. The Pacific Fishery Management Council was instrumental in taking the steps necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.  “Many people gave up a lot over many years to get us to this point, and deserve a lot of credit for supporting the difficult conservation actions that were necessary,” said Will Stelle, Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region. … ” Read more from NOAA here:  Rebuilding plans pay off for West Coast groundfish fishery

Too much algae and too many microbes threaten coral reefs: Coral reefs, the world’s most productive and diverse marine ecosystems, rely on a masterful recycling system to stay healthy.  Corals and algae release nutrients that support a complex and efficient reef food chain. But when the system gets out of whack, the cycle breaks down and endangers the reef’s health.  A new study explores how a process called microbialization destroys links in this delicate food chain. The scientists, including Forest Rohwer of San Diego State University (SDSU) and Craig Nelson of the University of Hawaii, published their findings this week in the journal Nature Microbiology. … ”  Read more from the National Science Foundation here:  Too much algae and too many microbes threaten coral reefs

Wrangling observations into models:If scientists could directly measure the properties of all the water throughout the world’s oceans, they wouldn’t need help from NCAR scientist Alicia Karspeck. But since large expanses of the oceans are beyond the reach of observing instruments, Karspeck’s work is critical for those who want estimates of temperature, salinity, and other properties of water around the globe.  Scientists need these estimates to better understand the world’s climate system and how it is changing. “It’s painstaking work, but my hope is it will lead to major advances in climate modeling and long-term prediction,” Karspeck said.  She is one of a dozen or so researchers at NCAR who spend their days on data assimilation, a field that is becoming increasingly important for the geosciences and other areas of research. … ”  Read more from NCAR here:  Wrangling observations into models

And lastly … If earth’s temperature were a roller coaster …

 

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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