SCIENCE NEWS: Study: The effects of Cal Water Fix North Delta Diversion on juvenile salmon entrainment; Hidden ‘rock moisture’ possible key to forest response to drought; Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast; and more …

Intestines. Photo by Bryan Jones.

In science news this week: Study: The effects of Cal Water Fix North Delta Diversion on juvenile salmon entrainment; Hidden ‘rock moisture’ possible key to forest response to drought; Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast; Petition Prompts ESA Review of Upper Klamath and Trinity River Chinook Salmon; CDFW and partners work to restore Ocean Ranch unit in Humboldt County; Confirmed in Stanislaus River for the first time, a green sturgeon highlights benefits of longtime research and restoration efforts; and more …

Study: Effects of the proposed California Water Fix North Delta Diversion on Flow Reversals and Entrainment of Juvenile Chinook Salmon into Georgiana Slough and the Delta Cross Channel:The California Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation propose new water intake facilities on the Sacramento River in northern California that would convey some of the water for export to areas south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (hereinafter referred to as the Delta) through tunnels rather than through the Delta. The collection of water intakes, tunnels, pumping facilities, associated structures, and proposed operations are collectively referred to as California WaterFix. The water intake facilities, hereinafter referred to as the North Delta Diversion (NDD), are proposed to be located on the Sacramento River downstream of the city of Sacramento and upstream of the first major river junction where Sutter Slough branches from the Sacramento River. The NDD can divert a maximum discharge of 9,000 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) from the Sacramento River, which reduces the amount of Sacramento River inflow into the Delta.  In this report, we conducted three analyses to investigate the effect of the NDD and its proposed operation on entrainment of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) into Georgiana Slough and the Delta Cross Channel (DCC). … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Study: Effects of the proposed California Water Fix North Delta Diversion on Flow Reversals and Entrainment of Juvenile Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) into Georgiana Slough and the Delta Cross Channel

Hidden ‘rock moisture’ possible key to forest response to drought: “A little-studied, underground layer of rock may provide a vital reservoir for trees, especially in times of drought, report scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with The University of Texas (UT) at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley.  The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), looked at the water stored inside the layer of weathered bedrock that lies under soils in mountain forest ecosystems. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Hidden ‘rock moisture’ possible key to forest response to drought

Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast:  “The largest and oldest Chinook salmon — fish also known as “kings” and prized for their exceptional size — have mostly disappeared along the West Coast.  That’s the main finding of a new University of Washington-led study published Feb. 27 in the journal Fish and Fisheries. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 years of data from hatchery and wild Chinook populations from California to Alaska, looking broadly at patterns that emerged over the course of four decades and across thousands of miles of coastline. In general, Chinook salmon populations from Alaska showed the biggest reductions in age and size, with Washington salmon a close second. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast

Petition Prompts ESA Review of Upper Klamath and Trinity River Chinook Salmon: “Over the next year NOAA Fisheries will weigh whether Chinook salmon in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers in Northern California need federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as sought in a petition from the Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council.  In November, the two organizations petitioned NOAA Fisheries to list Chinook salmon in these two rivers as either threatened or endangered, which would provide the fish with extra protections under Federal law. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  Petition Prompts ESA Review of Upper Klamath and Trinity River Chinook Salmon

CDFW and partners work to restore Ocean Ranch unit in Humboldt County:  “How does one best go about making an already bountiful and bucolic part of the Golden State even better? Sometimes, perhaps paradoxically, it pays to look to the past in order to be forward thinking in the present.  CDFW, Ducks Unlimited, and many partners have undertaken the Ocean Ranch Unit of the Eel River Wildlife Area Integrative Ecosystem Restoration Project Planning Process to enhance the estuarine and coastal dune ecosystem of the Ocean Ranch Unit in Humboldt County … ” Read more from CDFW here:  CDFW and partners work to restore Ocean Ranch unit in Humboldt County

Confirmed in Stanislaus River for the first time, a green sturgeon highlights benefits of longtime research and restoration efforts: “When a green sturgeon was detected, photographed and confirmed for the first time in the Stanislaus River in October 2017, longtime researchers in the San Joaquin Watershed did proverbial backflips over the news.  The green sturgeon discovery by Cramer Fish Sciences’ Kyle Horvath, in a section of the river near Knights Ferry, California, showed that multi-agency research and restoration efforts, spanning more than a decade, which were primarily focused on the more common white sturgeon in the San Joaquin, were having positive impacts on other species as well.  “There’s been increased awareness and collaboration in the San Joaquin Basin and South Delta because of our efforts studying white sturgeon,” said Donnie Ratcliff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional Central Valley supervisor for Fish and Aquatic Conservation. “I don’t know if 10 years ago anyone would have realized how significant this was. But with all the work and partnering we’ve done these past years, it was like a lightbulb going off.” … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Confirmed in Stanislaus River for the first time, a green sturgeon highlights benefits of longtime research and restoration efforts

From salamanders to shorebirds: Environmental monitoring adventures at the Elkhorn Slough NERR:  “While many National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) monitor for shorebird, fish and crab populations, Susanne Fork, research biologist at Elkhorn Slough NERR in California, delights in the small and the slippery – amphibians, insects, clams, and worms “Salamanders are an important part of our work, with some rare species making their homes here. There is also a threatened frog species we monitor for here too. If you’ve ever heard of the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, in the Mark Twain story, that species of frog is at Elkhorn Slough. It’s called the California Red-legged Frog, and it’s actually becoming rarer over the years.” ... ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  From salamanders to shorebirds: Environmental monitoring adventures at the Elkhorn Slough NERR

Taking the temperature of streamflow forecasts:  “Adding temperature predictions into seasonal streamflow forecasts in the U.S. Southwest could increase the accuracy of those forecasts, according to a new study that analyzed historical conditions in the headwaters of the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers.  Many rivers in the western United States are fed by melting snow in the spring and summer. Regional water managers depend on seasonal water supply forecasts that estimate the amount of runoff the snowpack will yield to determine how much water to allocate to farmers and ranchers, city residents, and other users. … ”  Read more from Atmos News here:  Taking the temperature of streamflow forecasts

The most interesting fish in the world:  “We recently embarked on a quest to find the most interesting fish in the world. Clearly, what constitutes “interesting” is highly subjective: we asked 20 FISHBIO staff to pick the most interesting fish and got 20 different answers. So we decided to try a more quantitative approach by defining “interesting” as the amount of attention a species receives in the scientific literature. To figure out about which fish the scientific community focuses on most, we scoured the web using a popular academic search engine, and tallied the number of publications listed for each fish species. With a staggering 33,104 fish species currently recognized on FishBase, a few lines of computer code were necessary to automate this process – but after some brooding, tinkering, and data mining, the results are in! … ”  Read more from FishBio here: The most interesting fish in the world

Extinct lakes of the American desert west:  “The vestiges of lakes long extinct dot the landscape of the American desert west. These fossilized landforms provide clues of how dynamic climate has been over the past few million years.  Identification of ancient lake shoreline features began with early explorers of the continent. The first detailed studies were conducted by pioneering American geologists such as G.K. Gilbert and I.C. Russell in the late 1800s, who studied Lake Bonneville, now the remnant Great Salt Lake in Utah, and Lake Lahonton, located in northwestern Nevada. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Extinct lakes of the American desert west

USGS and NASA Team Up to Help Scientists Study the “Social Networks” of Wildlife:  “Whereas we might carry cell phones or tablets, each sea otter has a small, solar-powered tag clipped carefully to one of its flippers. When the sea otters gather to nap at the ocean’s surface, their tags boot up, and check in with one another. Who else did the sea otter interact with today, where, and when?  For Joseph Tomoleoni of the U.S. Geological Survey and Zachary Randell of Oregon State University, this future would refine our understanding of sea otters’ community structure, movements, distributions, survival rates, and even disease transmission among individuals. Currently, USGS biologists like Tomoleoni and Brian Hatfield use radio transmitters, binoculars, and high-powered spotting scopes to track sea otters from shore. For hours at a time, they painstakingly record the otters’ location and behaviors off the California coast. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  USGS and NASA Team Up to Help Scientists Study the “Social Networks” of Wildlife

New study shows flood risks across the U.S. are underestimated (in a big way): “A new paper publishing today in Environmental Research Letters has some sobering news for people living in the Lower 48 states: you may be at risk from river flooding and not even know it until the waters start to rise.  In fact, the study, “Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States,” found that 41 million U.S. residents – about 13 percent of the entire population of the study area – are at risk from flooding along rivers. That’s about three times more than current estimates based on the regulatory flood maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which primarily map the areas at risk for 1-in-100-year floods in populous river basins. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  New study shows flood risks across the U.S. are underestimated (in a big way)

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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