SCIENCE NEWS: Sustainable water management strategies for specialty crop expansion in the Sacramento Valley; Fish-friendly flood control; CA water managers vary in use of climate science; Does rain follow the plow?

Columbia glacier in false color; Photo by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

In science news this week:

Sustainable water management strategies for specialty crop expansion in the Sacramento Valley:  “Sacramento Area Council of Government (SACOG)’s Sustainable Water Management Strategies for Specialty Crop Expansion in the Sacramento Valley examined scenarios to consider optimal locations for strategic flooding of cropland to maximize groundwater infiltration and improve water supply reliability for continued specialty crop production and related economic activities.  The work completed has identified attributes in our region’s open space land that facilitate infiltration and those that limit groundwater recharge potential. The project also examined ways these flooding scenarios may provide habitat benefits. The project included a contractual study component to complement RUCS staff work and build upon in-kind services from industry stakeholders, including specialty crop stakeholders, and water resource managers. The contractual work provided technical support and subject-area expertise in groundwater recharge science. This included the collection of environmental data to underpin scenario analysis and enhance the RUCS toolkit; including regional water balances and other factors that impact recharge (e.g. soil type permeability). … ”  More from the NorCal Water Association here:  Sustainable water management strategies for specialty crop expansion in the Sacramento Valley

Fish-friendly flood control: Improving salmon habitat at Sacramento levees:  “It’s no secret that most of California’s waterways have been extensively modified to safeguard valuable agricultural lands, public infrastructure, and private property. In the Sacramento Valley, the transformation from frequently flooded grasslands and marshes into farmlands and cities fortified by levees began in earnest about 100 years ago with the passage of the Flood Control Act. Now, about 1,000 miles of largely monotonous, riprapped levees shield the fertile valley floor from destructive flood waters, and constrain most of the large rivers to a relatively narrow riparian corridor. The majority of these levees were constructed with little or no consideration of their resulting impacts on fish populations. ... ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Fish-friendly flood control: Improving salmon habitat at Sacramento levees:

California water managers vary in use of climate science, UC Davis study finds: “Historically, water managers throughout the thirsty state of California have relied on hydrology and water engineering — both technical necessities — as well as existing drought and flood patterns to plan for future water needs.  Now, climate change is projected to shift water supplies as winters become warmer, spring snowmelt arrives earlier, and extreme weather-related events increase. Some water utilities have started to consider these risks in their management, but many do not. Lack of climate change adaptation among water utilities can put water supplies and the people dependent on them at risk, especially in marginalized communities, a new University of California, Davis, paper suggests. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  California water managers vary in Use of Climate Science, UC Davis Study Finds

Tuning into Klamath Basin suckers:  “Chris Derrickson tilts his head slightly, listening to the faint bird-like ‘chirping’ sound through his earphones while standing in a slowly moving boat. He concentrates on a digital scanner as the chirp grows stronger, closing in on his target. But rather than look to the sky for a bird, Derrickson leans over, peering into the murky waters of Upper Klamath Lake.  His target is a fish, more precisely a juvenile endangered sucker fish with an implanted radio transmitter.  Derrickson and Jordan Ortega, both interns at Oregon State University, are spending the summer tracking two-year-old Lost River and shortnose suckers. As part of a pilot project, their mission is to determine where the young fish hang out, and more importantly, if they are surviving. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Tuning into Klamath Basin suckers

Does rain follow the plow?  “What makes it rain? Many people joke it only takes washing the car or forgetting an umbrella to make rain fall, though in reality, those things are two of many rain-making myths that have been perpetuated throughout the years.  In the 19th century, the “rain follows the plow” myth was used to justify settlement of the Great Plains. The cultivation of semi-arid to arid land was said to increase rainfall by moistening the soil and humidifying the atmosphere. Subsequent research debunked the myth, though large discrepancies still existed between model representations and actual observations. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Does rain follow the plow?

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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