SCIENCE NEWS: DISB weighs in on EcoRestore adaptive management program; Looks are deceiving for ‘scary looking’ lamprey; Acoustic fish tags document predation; Sea-level rise and the governance gap in the SF Bay Area; and more …

Jupiter’s bands of clouds (Photo by NASA)

In science news this week: Delta Independent Science Board’s final review of EcoRestore’s adaptive management program; Looks are deceiving for ‘scary looking’ lamprey; Acoustic fish tags document predation; Sea-level rise and the governance gap in the San Francisco Bay Area; Caspian push and pull; US FWS looking for volunteers to help save future generations of seabirds; and more …

Delta Independent Science Board’s final review of EcoRestore’s adaptive management program:  “The “EcoRestore Adaptive Management Program White Paper, v3/7/2017” (White Paper) improves the prospects for managing Delta restoration projects adaptively.  It  evidences deep understanding of adaptive management and anticipates many of the challenges ahead. It presents dozens of specific recommendations that, if implemented, could go a long way toward making adaptive management the default approach to a variety of environmental challenges in the Delta. … ”  Read the review here:  Delta Independent Science Board’s final review of EcoRestore’s adaptive management program

Looks are deceiving for ‘scary looking’ lamprey:  “A parasitic eel-like fish with a gaping mouth, the rarely seen Pacific lamprey is often vilified. In reality, they provide an important service in our local California waterways. This native creature cleans our rivers, delivers food to the water system with marine nutrients and provides sustenance to tribes.  “They can be scary-looking, slimy, and they are nocturnal, so you don’t know what’s going on; some people see them as ‘blood-sucking lampreys,’” said Damon Goodman, fish biologist with the Arcata U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office. “People think: ‘what if they grab ahold of me?'” The fact is Pacific lamprey only filter-feed in freshwater systems, eating microorganisms and helping to clean the water. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Looks are deceiving for ‘scary looking’ lamprey

Acoustic fish tags document predation:  “Not only can predatory fish take a bite out of salmon populations, they can also mess with studies of fish survival. Tagging and tracking fish with acoustic tags is an important method for understanding how young salmon move and survive. However, this depends on a critical assumption: that the acoustic tag only represents the movement of the tagged fish, and not a predator that has consumed it (Gibson et al. 2015).  This assumption has received little attention until recently, when multiple researchers started suspecting possible predation events in their field studies (Perry et al. 2010, Buchanan et al. 2013). Once a tagged fish is eaten, its tag may still transmit data on the movement of the predator fish, which can skew survival estimates and lead to false conclusions. This prompted researchers at HTI-Vemco USA, Inc. (HTI), to develop new acoustic tags that can track fish movement with a unique function – the ability to detect predation in the wild. Scientists at FISHBIO are partnering with HTI-VEMCO to test the latest version of these tags, termed the Predator Detection Acoustic Tag (PDAT) and the V5 Predation Tags, at our newly renovated fish lab facility (see the lab come together in our new video). ... ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Acoustic fish tags document predation

Sea-level rise and the governance gap in the San Francisco Bay Area:  “Most San Francisco Bay Area policymakers understand that sea-level rise is a serious threat to the region, agree that preparing for it should be a priority, and have a basic understanding of solutions that would help the region adapt to sea-level rise, such as wetlands, living shorelines, seawalls and levees.  However, they do not agree on who should lead a coordinated planning effort to address it. A visioning task force could help move the process forward, according to a report from the University of California, Davis, which analyzes this governance gap, the challenges to overcoming it and suggests steps forward. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  Sea-level rise and the governance gap in the San Francisco Bay Area

Caspian push and pull:  “It’s never easy (or cheap) to protect one species by manipulating the patterns of another. Nor is it always advisable. But there are times when it’s worth a shot, especially when multiple agencies and states are willing to get involved. To jump into this bird story that turns out to be a fish tale, we’ll start in the middle, when several years ago the US Army Corps of Engineers asked Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge to collaborate on a plan to improve nesting habitat at the Refuge for Caspian terns.  “It was a win-win for us,” says Don Edwards wildlife biologist Cheryl Strong, who explained that the islands built for water bird nesting habitat in two of the ponds during the South Bay Salt Pond Habitat Restoration Project (ponds SF2 and A16) had enticed very few birds. ... ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  Caspian push and pull

US FWS looking for volunteers to help save future generations of seabirds:  “Would you like to make a difference in a seabird’s life?  You can. Just ask members of the newly formed North Coast Chapter of the Seabird Protection Network. They are looking for volunteers this spring and summer in Trinidad, California, to assist with Citizen Science. The organization needs volunteers to collect scientific data that identifies current or potential disturbances to nesting seabirds, including cormorants, petrels and murrelets.  Using U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding secured from the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process from two oil spills in Humboldt Bay in 1997 and 1999, the chapter was established in 2016 and for the first time this breeding season (April-August) will monitor human disturbances such as recreation in areas around habitat. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Join us: Help save future generations of seabirds

Flood plan boosts floodplain:  “When the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopts the 2017 Update to its Flood Protection Plan later this summer it be another twist in the serpentine evolution of California’s approach to flood management. While the primary goal of the plan is to improve flood risk management, it emphasizes the integration of ecosystem functions and native habitats into the flood management system, as well as promoting multi-benefit projects.  “It’s an exciting time to be in flood control,” says Diana Jacobs of the Sacramento River Trust, who has worked in the field since Governor Jerry Brown’s first administration. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  Flood plan boosts floodplain

Where Trump budget cuts could affect Bay Area conservation:  “President Trump and his approach to environmental protection, conservation, and science—it’s about as antediluvian as anyone could have imagined. While there’s some comfort in knowing California will continue to blaze its own trail on environmental issues, Washington, D.C.’s financial tentacles into our state, though not always obvious, are important. Federal agencies and the funding they bring to the San Francisco Bay Area are critical to our local environment in myriad and veiled ways. More than 150,000 acres of land in our region falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, while our national marine sanctuaries help protect one of the most biologically productive shorelines in the world.  … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Where Trump budget cuts could affect Bay Area conservation

Steelhead trout population declines linked with poor survival of young fish in the ocean:  “Steelhead trout are entrenched in the economy, ecology, and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Declining numbers of steelhead in the rivers flowing through British Columbia, Washington state, and Oregon are troubling fishers and fisheries managers alike. A new study published today in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS) shows that survival of young steelhead trout in ocean environments has also been precipitously declining.  Survival of juvenile steelhead in the ocean has recently been considered a possible factor in the decline of these fish but to date long-term survival and abundance trends among Pacific Northwest populations were largely unknown. Now, using multiple decades of data for 48 populations of wild and hatchery , scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have shown that declining survival of juvenile steelhead in the ocean is strongly coupled with significant declines in the abundance of adults. ... ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Steelhead trout population declines linked with poor survival of young fish in the ocean

LA drainage goes native:  “Citydwellers are accustomed to rain water being whisked down a drain and out of sight. While those who live on the edges of concrete flood control channels may have marveled at an occasional torrent in winter, or dreamed of skateboarding down these dry riverine chutes in summer, the general idea of getting the water away from the people prevails. Esther Feldman thinks otherwise.  “We’re so rich in water-moving infrastructure in our cities and so poor at tapping it where it could do the most good,” says Feldman, director of a nonprofit called Community Conservation Solutions.  This summer, Feldman’s organization is piloting a new analytical tool that not only taps an untapped local water supply –the 969 miles of metropolitan storm drains in Los Angeles — but also has the metrics to earn carbon credits for doing so. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  LA drainage goes native

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?  “In 2011, Claudio Aspesi, a senior investment analyst at Bernstein Research in London, made a bet that the dominant firm in one of the most lucrative industries in the world was headed for a crash. Reed-Elsevier, a multinational publishing giant with annual revenues exceeding £6bn, was an investor’s darling. It was one of the few publishers that had successfully managed the transition to the internet, and a recent company report was predicting yet another year of growth. Aspesi, though, had reason to believe that that prediction – along with those of every other major financial analyst – was wrong.  The core of Elsevier’s operation is in scientific journals, the weekly or monthly publications in which scientists share their results. Despite the narrow audience, scientific publishing is a remarkably big business. ... ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

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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