SCIENCE NEWS: Snorkel surveys provide valuable information for restoring Chinook salmon, steelhead in Central Valley; The value of a California salmon; Golden trout relocation; 10 really weird animals of the Anthropocene; and more …

In science news this week: Snorkel surveys provide valuable information for restoring Chinook salmon, steelhead in Central Valley; The value of a California salmon; Golden trout relocation; Collapse at salmon farm renews debate about fish farming; Climate may quickly drive forest-eating beetles north, says study: Pines in Canada and much of US at risk; Climate change could cause fish to shrink in size; And lastly … 10 really weird animals of the Anthropocene

‘A job that will kick your butt': Physically grueling yet critical: Snorkel surveys provide valuable information for restoring Chinook salmon, steelhead in Central Valley:Snorkeling for a living may sound like a lot of fun, but when it comes to Chinook salmon survey counts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Bluff office, the work is actually quite demanding yet very important for persistence of the species and restoration of their habitats.  “I definitely must stress that these surveys kick your butt, so I want to give props to the field crew,” said R.J. Bottaro, supervisory fish biologist for the Red Bluff Fish and Wildlife Office, who worked the snorkel survey counts on Clear Creek and Battle Creek for 10 years. “It’s every week so eventually you get bruises on your hips because you are hitting rocks. Your arms are all beaten up because you are swimming face first in the stream and you are coming up on rocks with sometimes poor visibility. You get moving pretty fast depending on how high the water is, and the variability of different flows can create a challenge.” … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  ‘A job that will kick your butt’

The value of a California salmon:  “While salmon have a high intrinsic value for ecological and cultural reasons, it is also possible to assign them a dollar amount – although not always easy. Each year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) releases estimates of the economic impacts from commercial and recreational fisheries of two years prior. As you might expect, every year we hone in on the report’s data from salmon fishing in California. We are generally surprised by the overall lack of information on the economics of California’s commercial and recreational salmon fisheries. To help address this gap, for the last few years we have used the NMFS report (which provides estimates of economic impact) along with data from the Pacific Fishery Management Council (which provides estimates of the number of fish harvested) to calculate the economic impact of an individual salmon in California. Crunching the numbers for 2015 reveals that while the economic impact of each individual salmon was much higher than in previous years, the total economic impact of the fishery was a fraction of previous years due to reduced fishing opportunities and a fish population hit by drought. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  The value of a California salmon

Golden trout relocation:  “This summer marked the end of an incredible journey for four dozen of California’s designated state freshwater fish, the golden trout, as they returned home after 10 months away. The fish traveled more than 500 miles in tanks and buckets, by hand and by mule, en route to their native waters 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada range.  The journey began last fall after CDFW scientists observed that ongoing drought conditions were severely impacting the rare trout’s mountainous habitat. A decision was made to rescue 52 fish – a representative population that could repopulate the stream and save the species if drought conditions worsened. ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  Golden trout relocation

Collapse at salmon farm renews debate about fish farming:  “A marine net pen holding 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed recently, releasing thousands of fish into Puget Sound and renewing concerns that a new proposed salmon farm could harm wild salmon stock and cause other environmental damage.  The release at Cooke Aquaculture's facility comes as the company is proposing new expanded commercial facility in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington state.  Canada-based Cooke, which operates five salmon farms in Washington that it acquired last year, would build 14 floating circular net pens about 1 ½ miles (1.61 kilometers) offshore. It would move current operations from Port Angeles Harbor and increase production by 20 percent. The project is in the permitting phase. ... ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Collapse at salmon farm renews debate about fish farming

Climate may quickly drive forest-eating beetles north, says study: Pines in Canada and much of US at risk:  “Over the next few decades, global warming-related rises in winter temperatures could significantly extend the range of the southern pine beetle — one of the world's most aggressive tree-killing insects — through much of the northern United States and southern Canada, says a new study. The beetle's range is sharply limited by annual extreme temperature lows, but these lows are rising much faster than average temperatures — a trend that will probably drive the beetles' spread, say the authors. The study was published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.  The study points to “huge vulnerability across a vast ecosystem,” said lead author Corey Lesk, a graduate student at Columbia University's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Climate may quickly drive forest-eating beetles north, says study: Pines in Canada and much of US at risk

Climate change could cause fish to shrink in size:  “In the coming decades, warming ocean temperatures could stunt the growth of fish by as much as 30 percent, according to a new study in the journal Global Change Biology.  The main driver behind this decline in size is that warmer water contains less oxygen. As Nexus Media explains, fish are cold-blooded animals and therefore cannot regulate their own body temperatures. So as oceans heat up, a fish’s metabolism accelerates to cope with the rising temperatures and they need more oxygen to sustain their body functions. But fish gills do not grow at the same pace as the rest of their body, resulting in a decline of oxygen supply and in growth. … ” Read more from Yale 360 here:  Climate change could cause fish to shrink in size

And lastly … 10 really weird animals of the Anthropocene:  “You don’t have to look to the future to find cloned wolves and hybrid bears. They’re already among us …  Many conservationists call our current epoch the Anthropocene, an age when humanity impacts everything on earth. Not surprisingly, the large human population and its attendant resource use has not been kind to wildlife. A recent report estimated that the world has lost 58 percent of its wildlife over the past 40 years.  Still, some wildlife species adapt and even thrive. Humans also look to technology and science to assist endangered or even extinct animals. This has led to a lot of speculation and even fantasy. Consider the ongoing obsession with cloning woolly mammoths and passenger pigeons. This in turn has spawned a lot of science fiction that paints a dystopian future inhabited with clones and mutant beasts. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  10 really weird animals of the Anthropocene

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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