In science news this week: Floodplain farm fields provide novel rearing habitat for juvenile salmon; Salmon survival in California: An ambitious strategy for resilience; Researchers probe explosion of pyrosomes off the Northwest Coast; New fact sheet from the USGS: Groundwater Quality in the Western San Joaquin Valley; Lost ecosystem found buried in the mud of Southern California coastal waters; Water management interventions push water scarcity downstream; Nuisance floods cost more than extreme events; Natural capital: Holistic management makes ecosystems healthier, people wealthier; and PFOA threat to drinking water addressed with novel material
Floodplain farm fields provide novel rearing habitat for juvenile salmon: “When inundated by floodwaters, river floodplains provide critical habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, but many river valleys have been extensively leveed and floodplain wetlands drained for flood control and agriculture. In the Central Valley of California, USA, where less than 5% of floodplain wetland habitats remain, a critical conservation question is how can farmland occupying the historical floodplains be better managed to improve benefits for native fish and wildlife. In this study fields on the Sacramento River floodplain were intentionally flooded after the autumn rice harvest to determine if they could provide shallow-water rearing habitat for Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Approximately 10,000 juvenile fish (ca. 48 mm, 1.1 g) were reared on two hectares for six weeks (Feb-March) between the fall harvest and spring planting. …” Read the journal article at PLOS One here: Floodplain farm fields provide novel rearing habitat for juvenile salmon
Salmon survival in California: An ambitious strategy for resilience: “California’s cold-water species like salmon and trout face an uncertain future in a warming world. A recent report by the University of California, Davis and California Trout called SOS II: Fish in Hot Water: Status, Threats and Solutions for California Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout, suggests that nearly half (47 percent) of the state’s 32 distinct salmonid populations will become extinct in the next 50 years. Even more troubling, up to 74 percent of these species are likely to become extinct in the next 100 years under present warming conditions (Moyle et al. 2017). In response to these grim predictions, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) recently released the Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy that outlines an ambitious plan to aid salmonid survival. Much like the CNRA’s Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy produced last year, this report lays out actions intended to address both near- and long-term issues facing several Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species, which include winter- and spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Central Valley steelhead (O. mykiss). ... ” Continue reading at the FishBio blog here: Salmon survival in California: An ambitious strategy for resilience
Researchers probe explosion of pyrosomes off the Northwest Coast: “Call it the invasion of the pyrosomes. Researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are collaborating with colleagues from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon to unravel the mystery of why the strange jelly-like organisms have exploded in number off the Northwest Coast in recent months. Generally found in more tropical waters around the globe, the tubular pyrosomes were rarely if ever seen off the Northwest until about two years ago. They have since multiplied and this spring appear to be everywhere off the Oregon Coast to the point they are clogging fishing gear by the thousands. ... ” Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here: Researchers probe explosion of pyrosomes off the Northwest Coast
New fact sheet from the USGS: Groundwater Quality in the Western San Joaquin Valley: “Groundwater provides more than 40 percent of California’s drinking water. To protect this vital resource, the State of California created the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The Priority Basin Project of the GAMA Program provides a comprehensive assessment of the State’s groundwater quality and increases public access to groundwater-quality information. The Western San Joaquin Valley is one of the study units being evaluated.” Click here to read the fact sheet.
Lost ecosystem found buried in the mud of Southern California coastal waters: “Paleontologists investigating the sea bed off the coast of southern California have discovered a lost ecosystem that for thousands of years had nurtured communities of scallops and shelled marine organisms called brachiopods. These brachiopods and scallops had thrived along a section of coast stretching approximately 250 miles from San Diego to Santa Barbara for at least 4,000 years. But they had died off by the early 20th century, replaced by the mud-dwellling burrowing clams that inhabit this seabed today. Paleontologists Adam Tomašových of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Susan Kidwell of the University of Chicago examine the lost ecosystem in a study published online June 7 in the Royal Society Proceedings B. ... ” Read more from Science Daily here: Lost ecosystem found buried in the mud of Southern California coastal waters
Water management interventions push water scarcity downstream: “Large-scale interventions to water resources, such as irrigation, dams and reservoirs, and water withdrawals, have been essential to human development. But interventions tend to solve water scarcity problems at a local level, while aggravating water scarcity downstream. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers have now assessed the impacts of human interventions on water scarcity at a global scale. “It's common sense that taking water out of a river will leave less for those people downstream. But it's not so straightforward,” says Ted Veldkamp, researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and guest researcher at IIASA, who led the study. Seasonal changes in precipitation and water storage make it difficult for modelers to estimate water availability and impacts of interventions, and the effects of climate change can be difficult to tease out from other impacts like human activities. … ” Read more Science Daily here: Water management interventions push water scarcity downstream
Nuisance floods cost more than extreme events: “Minor floods are obviously not as devastating as catastrophic storms driven by climate change, but recent research suggests the two could be comparable in terms of costs. “Over a couple of decades, the cost of nuisance flooding can equal or even exceed that of once-a-century events like Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy”, says Hamed Moftakhari, an environmental engineer at the University of California–Irvine and lead author of the study (Earth’s Future 2017; doi.org/10.1002/2016ef000494). Nuisance flooding inconveniences people along coasts by, for example, closing highways and overwhelming stormdrains. Over time, however, the salt water from these shallow floods also degrades infrastructure, damaging roads and building foundations. And as sea-level rises, a full moon at high tide can be all it takes to trigger nuisance floods. “This is clear-sky flooding”, Moftakhari explains. “Nothing happens: there’s no storm surge, just the tide.” … ” Read more from Robin Meadows here: Nuisance floods cost more than extreme events
Natural capital: Holistic management makes ecosystems healthier, people wealthier: “Economists agree that natural ecosystems store large quantities of wealth, but the challenge of measuring that wealth has prevented it from being included in typical accounting systems. A new Yale-led study tackles this challenge by recognizing the value of “natural capital” assets — such as groundwater or fish species — and connecting them with holistic ecosystem management to calculate asset values for the interacting parts of an ecosystem. … ” Read more from Science Daily here: Natural capital: Holistic management makes ecosystems healthier, people wealthier
PFOA threat to drinking water addressed with novel material: “A highly toxic water pollutant, known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), last year caused a number of U.S. communities to close their drinking water supplies. Because of its historical use in Teflon production and other industrial processes as well as its environmental persistence, PFOA contamination is a pervasive problem worldwide. A Northwestern University-led research team now reports an inexpensive and renewable material that rapidly removes PFOA from water. The novel treatment effectively eliminates the micropollutant to below 10 parts per trillion, far below Environmental Protection Agency and all state health advisory limits. ... ” Read more from Science Daily here: PFOA threat to drinking water addressed with novel material
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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