SCIENCE NEWS: Elkhorn Slough designated ‘Wetland of International Importance’; Navigating the complex intersections of the Bay Delta; Two Pacific Flyway States band together to manage geese; and more …

In science news this week:

Elkhorn Slough designated ‘Wetland of International Importance’: “Congressman Jimmy Panetta, California State Senator Bill Monning, State Assemblymember Mark Stone, and representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Elkhorn Slough Foundation gathered on October 5 at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Hester Marsh to celebrate the designation of Elkhorn Slough as a Wetland of International Importance by the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.  With this recognition, the Elkhorn Slough joins 38 other wetland sites in the United States — including the San Francisco Bay estuary — and more than 2,330 sites worldwide, in a network of globally important wetlands designated under the world’s oldest international environmental treaty. … ”  Read more from the NOAA here:  Elkhorn Slough designated ‘Wetland of International Importance’

Navigating the complex intersections of the Bay Delta:  “The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the estuary it flows into are well known for being a maze of intersecting channels, sloughs, and bays. However, the complicated geography of the system seems simple when compared to the labyrinth of culture, ecology, economics, and natural resource management surrounding the region. Understanding this complex system and connecting with its multitude of stakeholders is challenging for even the most experienced professionals, and fittingly, the theme of the recent 10th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento focused on navigating these intersections. Presentations at the three-day conference broadly focused on research and management efforts related to smelt, salmon, and habitat restoration. In addition, presentations highlighted the intersection of artistic expression and ecology, as well as the need to better connect the Delta and San Francisco Bay through research and management, reflecting novel approaches to ongoing discussions about the Delta. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Navigating the complex intersections of the Bay Delta

Building the workforce:  “For many, the word “construction” in the summer conjures up images of long lines of cars delaying arrivals at vacation destinations. But on national wildlife refuges in the Pacific Southwest Region, the dry weather in the spring and summer months are ideal for working on projects that help maintain critical wildlife habitat and infrastructure, as well as improve recreational access to public lands.  Each year, refuges throughout the region complete hundreds of construction projects that range in scope from fixing steps to roads. This year, the region completed three large projects using Maintenance Action Teams. While these teams bring together Service staff from multiple refuges with the goal of accomplishing a large refuge project, they’re also designed to provide career growth and training for those employees. ... ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Building the workforce

Banding Together: Two Pacific Flyway States Share Resources to Manage Geese:  “Every September, California Department of Fish and Wildlife waterfowl biologist Melanie Weaver sets off on an unusual business trip. She packs up a trailer with huge nets, wire, rockets, crates and a number of VHF collars. She makes the seven-hour drive to Summer Lake, in southern Oregon’s high desert country, and settles in for a waterfowl capture project of indeterminate length. Her quarry is Anser alibifrons elgasi — the Tule white-fronted goose. Her goal is to capture, collar and release these huge, cackling birds until she runs out of collars. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  Banding Together: Two Pacific Flyway States Share Resources to Manage Geese

‘Duck hospital’: Rehabbers to the rescue, saving sick birds in the Klamath Basin: “January Bill never has a dull moment when it comes to caring for sick wildlife. As co-founder of wildlife rescue group Bird Ally X, she has helped manage the daily treatment and recovery of birds suffering from avian botulism at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge ‘duck hospital.’  Bill moves quickly between tasks – performing intake exams on waterfowl and shorebirds, preparing bowls of food for recovering birds and providing orientation to new volunteers. While expertly inserting a tube in the throat of a sick duck, Bill explains that botulism is a neurotoxin that can paralyze birds and the primary treatment is to flush the toxins out with hydration fluids. ... ”  Read more from the US FWS here: ‘Duck hospital’: Rehabbers to the rescue, saving sick birds in the Klamath Basin

Dry 2018 comes to an end in California:  “October 1 is New Year’s Day for water in the U.S. west. This year, Californians were bidding farewell to a dry 2018 water year (October 2017-September 2018), which saw precipitation totals fall below the annual average for much of the state. The return to drier than average conditions was a let-down following an extremely wet water year in 2017 that had helped bring about drought relief. ... ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Dry 2018 comes to an end in California

Distribution of Landfalling Atmospheric Rivers on the U.S. West Coast During Water Year 2018: End of Water Year SummaryClick here to view charts and information from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Human-caused climate change severely exposes US National Parks:  “Human-caused climate change is disrupting ecosystems and people’s lives around the world. It is melting glaciers, increasing wildfires, and shifting vegetation across vast landscapes. These impacts have reached national parks around the world and in the United States. Until now, however, no analysis had examined climate change trends across all 417 U.S. national parks.  The United States established the first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park, in 1872. U.S. national parks today protect some of the most irreplaceable natural areas and cultural sites in the world. Colleagues and I aimed to uncover the magnitude of human-caused climate change on these special places. We conducted the first spatial analysis of historical and projected temperature and precipitation trends across all U.S. national parks and compared them with national trends. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Human-caused climate change severely exposes US National Parks

Clean Water Act dramatically cut pollution in US waterways:  “The 1972 Clean Water Act has driven significant improvements in U.S. water quality, according to the first comprehensive study of water pollution over the past several decades, by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Iowa State University.  The team analyzed data from 50 million water quality measurements collected at 240,000 monitoring sites throughout the U.S. between 1962 and 2001. Most of 25 water pollution measures showed improvement, including an increase in dissolved oxygen concentrations and a decrease in fecal coliform bacteria. The share of rivers safe for fishing increased by twelve percent between 1972 and 2001. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Clean Water Act dramatically cut pollution in US waterways

New Lab Unlocks Opportunities for Future Scientists: “Growing up in the low-income San Diego neighborhood of City Heights, Jorge Rivera could scarcely dream of a career in science. His family was barely making ends meet and had little access to quality science education.  Ocean Discovery Institute created a pathway that changed all that.  The San Diego–based organization works closely with NOAA to tackle poverty and inequality at a local level and address a nationwide gap in the diversity of our science and technical workforce by using science to empower young people from urban, underserved communities. Ocean Discovery unlocks the potential of these students throughout their academic careers by providing continuous tuition-free science opportunities, paired with access to mentors and role models as well as other tools to overcome the myriad challenges they face growing up in disadvantaged communities. ... ”  Read more from the NOAA here:  New Lab Unlocks Opportunities for Future Scientists

National Climate Assessment team updates key indicators of global climate change: “Certain aspects of our global system provide clear indications of how climate is changing. Surface temperatures, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, sea ice extent, glacier mass, and many other physical and biological aspects of our climate system are all types of “climate indicators.” The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) recently updated its collection of indicators with the latest data and graphics.  Maintaining the indicators is part of the program’s mission—mandated by Congress in 1990—to understand, predict, and respond to climate change and its impacts on the United States. Every four years, the program reviews and evaluates the “state of the science” on global climate, updates the indicators, and issues the National Climate Assessment, a report that explains what current and future climate change is likely to mean for the United States. The 2017 Climate Science Special Report came out last year, and the 4th National Climate Assessment is scheduled for release in late 2018. ... ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  National Climate Assessment team updates key indicators of global climate change

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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