SCIENCE NEWS: Enhanced Delta smelt monitoring program helps fill the void; Sierra snowpack bigger than last 4 years combined; Report recommends integrated and community-based approaches to data and modeling for the Delta; and more …

In science news this week: Wanted: More smelt data: Enhanced Delta smelt monitoring program helps fill the void; Sierra snowpack bigger than last 4 years combined; Report Recommends Integrated and Community-based Approaches to Data and Modeling for the Delta; Your comments requested on the draft 2017-2021 Delta Science Action Agenda; Tackling invasive iceplant; A decade of Delta research on juvenile salmon; A climatology of the California Current System from a network of underwater gliders; Study on impact of climate on snowpack loss in the Western US; and more …

Wanted: More smelt data: Enhanced Delta smelt monitoring program helps fill the void:  “Shortly after 6 a.m., boat crews with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service head out from their Lodi office to that day’s targeted locations around the Delta, capturing more information on the Delta smelt than has ever been available before.  The new Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring Program (EDSM) has only been operational since mid-December, but staff of both the Lodi and Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Offices met the challenges they faced in getting the new survey program up and running as the water-starved Bay-Delta region was being doused with record early season rains.  “It’s running very smoothly now,” said Julie Day, the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program manager in the Lodi office, who is implementing the program. … ”  Read more from the USFWS here:  Wanted: More smelt data: Enhanced Delta smelt monitoring program helps fill the void

Sierra snowpack bigger than last 4 years combined:  “New NASA data show that snowpack in the Tuolumne River Basin in California’s Sierra Nevada — a major source of water for San Francisco and California’s Central Valley — is currently larger than the four previous years of snowpack combined. NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) measured the Tuolumne Basin snowpack on April 1, a critical annual measurement of snow for states and their inhabitants, at 1.2 million acre-feet (1.5 cubic kilometers). That’s enough snow to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, nearly 1,600 times.  The Airborne Snow Observatory is the only program that measures snow depth, snow water equivalent (the water contained in snow), and how much sunlight snow reflects over an entire basin, using two scientific instruments (a scanning lidar and an imaging spectrometer) on a King Air aircraft. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Sierra snowpack bigger than last 4 years combined

Report Recommends Integrated and Community-based Approaches to Data and Modeling for the Delta:The Delta Interagency Implementation Committee (DPIIC) received a policy  paper on lessons learned for the Delta that grew out of a 2015 workshop on integrated modeling and a subsequent report to the National Science Foundation, which co-funded its development.  The workshop was jointly sponsored by the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis and the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Science Program. The recommendations identify key best practices for integrated ecosystem modeling in the Bay-Delta system.  The policy paper makes the case for moving toward new approaches for using and developing models and data. Specifically, it calls for developing the capacity to build, refine, maintain and upgrade models, compare and contrast different scientific approaches, quantify uncertainty in predictions, synthesize current data, and accelerate the discovery of knowledge to inform policy and management.”  To read the report, please click here.

Your comments requested on the draft 2017-2021 Delta Science Action Agenda:  “The Science Action Agenda is a four-year science agenda for the Delta that prioritizes and aligns science actions to inform management decisions, fill gaps in knowledge, promote collaborative science, build the science infrastructure, and achieve the objectives of the Delta Science Plan. This document, developed by the Delta Science Program working closely with the broad Delta science and management community, will be the first full SAA to be completed as called for in Action 2.2 of the Delta Science Plan.  The Delta Science Program is asking the public to provide input regarding the draft 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda. The Delta Science Plan encourages written comments to be submitted to science@deltacouncil.ca.gov. For public comment on the draft 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda to be considered for incorporation in the final 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda, comments must be received no later than Monday, May 5, 2017.  Please click here to read the Draft 2017-2021 Science Action Agenda.”

Independent Review Panel posts report for California Water Fix Aquatic Science Peer Review: An Independent Review Panel was convened by select staff of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program to provide the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , and California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the views of experts not involved in the Endangered Species Act consultation and 2081(b) permit on the use of best available scientific information in the California WaterFix Incidental Take Permit application. The panel has posted a report, which presents the findings of the 2016 California WaterFix Aquatic Science Peer Review, Phase 2B.  Click here to read the report.

Tackling invasive iceplant:  “River clean-ups and restoration are a regular activity for our staff in Oakdale and Chico, so our Santa Cruz office was excited for the chance to take part in a River Health Day event with the Coastal Watershed Council. Our mission: tackling stands of invasive iceplant along the San Lorenzo River, which runs through downtown Santa Cruz. The fleshy green blades of iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) are now a familiar sight from front yards to freeways across California, but it is actually native to the coasts of South Africa. Some might admire blooming ice plant’s pink and yellow flowers, but this non-native invader can quickly take over and dominate the landscape as an inhospitable monoculture that edges out native species. … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Tackling invasive iceplant

A decade of Delta research on juvenile salmon: California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is unique among large West Coast estuaries in that it supports four distinct runs of Chinook salmon (Onchorhynchus tshawytscha) as well as Central Valley steelhead (O. mykiss).  However, survival estimates of specific Chinook salmon runs can be 15 to 20 times lower in the Delta as compared to other large estuaries, such as the Columbia and Fraser Rivers. Protecting the genetic diversity represented by these unique runs is critical to ensuring the longevity and resiliency of Chinook salmon population, just as a prudent stock investor diversifies his portfolio to gain stable returns even with fluctuating markets. Managing to maintain Chinook salmon diversity in California requires understanding the many different pathways young salmon can take to migrate, grow, and survive in the Delta. ... ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here: A Decade of Delta Research on Juvenile Salmon

A climatology of the California Current System from a network of underwater gliders:  “A paper by Rudnick et al. published in Progress in Oceanography includes a climatology  of the California Current System, a current moving south along the U.S. West Coast. The authors used data from Spray underwater gliders from the California Underwater Glider Network. The California Current ecosystem is a highly productive eastern boundary current that supports a diverse array of highly economically important marine wildlife and fisheries. CPO-supported underwater ocean gliders develop—along with other moorings—long records of the variability of ocean processes and changes in the physical, biogeochemical, and ecosystem conditions in the southern California Current. ... ”  Read more from the Climate Program Office here:  A climatology of the California Current System from a network of underwater gliders

Study on impact of climate on snowpack loss in the Western US:  “An international team of scientists, including one from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has found that up to 20 percent loss in the annual maximum amount of water contained in the Western United States’ mountain snowpack in the last three decades is due to human influences.  Peak runoff in streams and rivers of the Western U.S. is strongly influenced by melting of accumulated mountain snowpack. A significant decline in this resource has a direct connection to streamflow, with substantial economic and societal impacts. … ”  Read mroe from Science Daily here:  Study on impact of climate on snowpack loss in the Western US

New era of Western wildfire demand new ways of protecting people, ecosystems:  “Current wildfire policy can’t adequately protect people, homes and ecosystems from the longer, hotter fire seasons climate change is causing, according to a new paper led by the University of Colorado Boulder.  Efforts to extinguish every blaze and reduce the buildup of dead wood and forest undergrowth are becoming increasingly inadequate on their own. Instead, the authors — a team of wildfire experts — urge policymakers and communities to embrace policy reform that will promote adaptation to increasing wildfire and warming. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  New era of Western wildfire demand new ways of protecting people, ecosystems

Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear:  “The massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in northern Canada has retreated about a mile up its valley over the past century.  Last spring, its retreat triggered a geologic event at relatively breakneck speed. The toe of ice that was sending meltwater toward the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea retreated so far that the water changed course, joining the Kaskawulsh River and flowing south toward the Gulf of Alaska.  This capture of one river’s flow by another, documented in a study led by the University of Washington Tacoma and published April 17 in Nature Geoscience, is the first known case of “river piracy” in modern times. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear

7 science innovations that are changing conservation:  “In our still relatively brief existence, humans have evolved our way to an era many are now calling the Anthropocene – a new geological epoch defined by human impact on Earth. But our unparalleled creativity is a double-edge sword. We are undeniably contributing to many of the global challenges now facing our species, and all species who share this planet. … Science makes new paths possible. It underpins the lives of each and every one of us—from the medicines we give our children to the vast networks of information at our fingertips. And at The Nature Conservancy, science has guided everything we do for more than 65 years. Today, more than 600 Conservancy scientists are working all over the world to discover and apply solutions to the biggest challenges facing people and the planet. From new bio-energy solutions to the increasing mapping precision of drones, here are some of our favorite recent scientific innovations. ... ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  7 science innovations that are changing conservation

Next 10 years critical for achieving climate goals:  “Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be reduce in two ways — by cutting our emissions, or by removing it from the atmosphere, for example through plants, the ocean, and soil.  The historic Paris Agreement set a target of limiting future global average temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to even further limit the average increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Yet the timing and details of these efforts were left to individual countries.  In a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) used a global model of the carbon system that accounts for carbon release and uptake through both natural and anthropogenic activities. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Next 10 years critical for achieving climate goals

April ENSO Update: Conflicting signals from the Pacific Ocean:  “The tropical Pacific Ocean has been giving mixed signals recently, making a forecaster’s job even more difficult! In short, many of the computer models we use are predicting the development of El Niño over the next several months, but current conditions in the tropical Pacific aren’t showing many of the elements we’d expect ahead of a developing El Niño.  We’ve had neutral ENSO conditions since January, and forecasters predict that continued neutral is the most likely scenario through at least June. By September, chances of El Niño rise to about 50%, a slight edge over neutral (~40% chance) or La Niña (~10% chance).  What are forecasters seeing now? ... ”  Read more from the ENSO blog here:  April ENSO Update: Conflicting signals from the Pacific Ocean

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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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