SCIENCE NEWS: Estimating Net Delta Outflow: Peer review panel report; Beaver in California: Creating a culture of stewardship; Summer survey season for Oregon silverspot butterfly; New technologies helps pinpoint sources of contamination; and more …

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Dissolved organic matter from the forests and wetlands stained the water dark brown near Rupert Bay, Northern Quebec.

In science news this week: Estimating Net Delta Outflow: Peer review report; Beaver in California: Creating a culture of stewardship; Summer survey season for Oregon silverspot butterfly; Endangered Ridgway rails released into San Diego Bay marshland; New technologies helps pinpoint sources of contamination; ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ worse than expected; Carbon dioxide levels race past troubling milestone; Let’s put the water back on top of Antarctica; New NASA site offers decades of research
Estimating Net Delta Outflow: Peer review report: The peer review panel has read and discussed the report, On Estimating Net Delta Outflow (NDO): Approaches to Estimating NDO in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, produced by the Department of Water Resources at the request of the State Water Resources Control Board. The review included discussion of the Report, other reference material supplied with the Report and the personal knowledge and other available references the Panel felt suitable.  Although simple in concept, measurement of NDO continues to be one of the most complex and difficult metrics to quantify as is described in the Report and discussed in this review. … ”  Click here to read the reportClick here for background information and all review materials.

Beaver in California: Creating a culture of stewardship:  “Extensive research has recently heightened recognition of the important role beaver (Castor canadensis) can play in watershed health and climate change resiliency. The species’ ecological services include enhanced water storage, erosion control, habitat restoration and creation, listed species recovery, the maintenance of stream flows during the dry summer period, and other beneficial adaptations to our changing climate conditions. While other western states are taking a pro-active stance towards beaver restoration, agencies and landowners in California are focused on managing beaver as a nuisance rather than stewarding them for their benefits. ... ”  Continue reading from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center here:  Beaver in California: Creating a culture of stewardship

Taking flight: Summer survey season for Oregon silverspot butterfly: The only known population of Oregon silverspot butterflies (Speyeria zerene hippolyta, or silverspot butterfly) in California occurs along salt-spray meadow habitats adjacent to a coastal dune complex near Lake Earl, the largest coastal lagoon in the state, situated in Del Norte County. Each summer from early July until mid-September, one just might stumble upon the weekly field survey—or more accurately, the field surveyors—who take part in rangewide population monitoring efforts for this threatened butterfly. Surveys coincide with the time of adult emergence, or flight period, and are meant to inform general population trends on an annual basis. Data collected at the Del Norte Habitat Conservation Area, one of six  habitat conservation areas identified in the 2001 Revised Recovery Plan for the Oregon Silverspot Butterfly (Service 2001), contribute to a larger population monitoring program implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), led by the Newport Field Office of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office.  … ”  Read more from the Fish and Wildlife Field Notes here:  Taking flight: Summer survey season for Oregon silverspot butterfly

Learning secrets of the bay: Endangered Ridgway rails released into San Diego Bay marshland:  “A team of biologists and volunteers released six endangered light-footed Ridgway’s rails on San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge last week. The hen-sized birds were bred in captivity at the SeaWorld rail breeding facility  and are about two months old. On Tuesday under a sunny sky, when the team’s lead biologist Dick Zembal gave the command to open the carriers, the birds burst out, heading straight for the marsh as wildlife biologists, including those with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others who helped raise them, cheered them on.  In a flash, the birds quickly disappeared into the salt marsh. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Learning secrets of the bay: Endangered Ridgway’s rails released into San Diego Bay marshland

New technologies helps pinpoint sources of contamination:  “When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.  Using the award-winning PhyloChip, a credit card-sized device that can detect the presence of more than 60,000 species of bacteria and archaea, the new method was found to be more sensitive than conventional methods at assessing health risks. In tests at the Russian River watershed in Northern California, the Berkeley Lab researchers found instances where their method identified potential human health risks that conventional fecal indicator tests had failed to detect. Conversely, they also found instances where the conventional tests flagged bacteria that weren’t likely risks to human health. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  New technologies helps pinpoint sources of contamination

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ worse than expected:  “The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, today presented the initial findings of its Aerial Expedition — a series of low-speed, low-altitude flights across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the plastic accumulation zone between Hawaii and California. Using a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft, expert spotters, and an experimental array of plastic scanning equipment, the expedition aims to accurately measure the biggest and most harmful debris in the ocean. This is an essential milestone in preparation for the cleanup of the patch, scheduled to begin before the end of the decade. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ worse than expected

Carbon dioxide levels race past troubling milestone:  “Every year, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) rises during winter and then falls slightly during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, as plants take up the greenhouse gas during photosynthesis.  But this year, for the first time since before the Ice Age, CO2 will not fall below 400 ppm.   “It’s unlikely we’ll ever see CO2 below 400 ppm during our lifetime and probably much longer,” says Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.   Measurements taken at NOAA’s atmospheric observatories on Mauna Loa and at the South Pole both indicate that CO2 has passed 400 ppm for good … ”  Read more from the NOAA here:  Carbon dioxide levels race past troubling milestone

Let’s put the water back on top of Antarctica: Rhett Allain writes, “The best part of my department’s weekly seminar is meeting people. Last week,  Dr. Les Butler from the chemistry department at Louisiana State University discussed using X-ray interferometry to get even more detail of an object using X-rays. Mostly, I loved it because there wasn’t too much chemistry involved (remember, I teach in the Chemistry and Physics Department). Outside of the talk, he shared this awesome question that he uses to help people solve problems: ‘Suppose the ice cap on Antarctica melted and raised the sea level by 1 meter. How much energy would it take to put all this water back on top of the ice cap?’  Like I said, it’s a great question. … ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here:  Let’s put the water back on top of Antarctica

New NASA site offers decades of research: NASA is already renowned for animations and breathtaking imagery from its various space missions and satellites.  But if you’re up for a deeper dive into the science behind all that, there is now PubSpace, an online repository providing free access to results from NASA-funded research. Now, it is even easier to explore the Earth, solar system, and the universe beyond — provided that you have the stamina to read through reports written by scientists for other scientists.  NASA created PubSpace in response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s direction to make NASA-funded research more accessible to the public. Research results will be made available within a year, with some exceptions, including research involving national security, patents, and proprietary restrictions (that “national security” part could eliminate a lot of rocket science). ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  New NASA site offers decades of research

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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