SCIENCE NEWS: Rebuilt wetlands can protect shorelines better than walls; NOAA seeks to improve fish passage through 2018 program review; How tribes are harnessing cutting-edge data to plan for climate change; and more …

In science news this week:

Rebuilt Wetlands Can Protect Shorelines Better Than Walls:  “On August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene crashed into North Carolina, eviscerating the Outer Banks. The storm dumped rain shin-high and hurled three-meter storm surges against the barrier island shores that faced the mainland, destroying roads and 1,100 homes.  After the storm, a young ecologist then at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named Rachel K. Gittman decided to survey the affected areas. Gittman had worked as an environmental consultant for the U.S. Navy on a shoreline-stabilization project and had been shocked to discover how little information existed on coastal resilience. ... ”  Read more from the Scientific American here:  Rebuilt Wetlands Can Protect Shorelines Better Than Walls

NOAA Seeks to Improve Fish Passage through 2018 Program Review:  “NOAA Fisheries has released the results of the 2018 review of NOAA’s fish passage activities within two key programs, the Office of Habitat Conservation’s Community-based Restoration Program and the Hydropower Program. The independent, external review panel evaluated the effectiveness of NOAA’s fish passage activities to protect and increase access to historic riverine rearing and spawning habitat for migrating fish species.  Fish passage is important for the protection and restoration of migrating fish and their habitats. NOAA Fisheries retores, opens, and maintains habitats for fish to migrate, or pass. Habitat restoration also helps recover threatened and endangered migratory fish and support the sustainability of economically important commercial and recreational fisheries. ... ”  Read more from NOAA here:  NOAA Seeks to Improve Fish Passage through 2018 Program Review

New Issue of CDFW’s Scientific Journal Dives Deep into Marine Studies: “The latest issue of California Fish and Game, Vol. 105, Issue 1 (PDF), focuses on marine species, bringing new insights and understanding of several fish species found off the California coast.  In A very long term tag recovery of a California scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata) (PDF), Roberts and Hanan report the remarkable recovery of a tagged scorpionfish that had been at liberty far longer than any previously recaptured scorpionfish. The recovery was made during a four-year mark-recapture study on nearshore groundfish off southern and central California. More than 32,000 fish were recaptured, with an average of 408.8 days at liberty. ... ”  Read more from Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  New Issue of CDFW’s Scientific Journal Dives Deep into Marine Studies

Wildfires May Pollute Water Supplies on a Warming Planet:  “As wildfires are burning hotter, larger, and more often thanks to our warming climate, they are becoming more destructive and leaving more contaminants, debris, and runoff in their path. Researchers and policymakers are working to identify threats from wildfires to drinking water supplies, and Colorado-based US Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Sheila Murphy spoke to EM about some of the effects wildfire has on drinking water, and how experts might evaluate the risks.  “The main changes that happen after you burn a forest is that you’re losing the vegetation; so you don’t have plants using the precipitation that’s falling as rain,” explains Murphy. “You also change the soil surface so that it becomes hydrophobic, or ‘water hating,’ so when it rains water runs quickly off the surface rather than slowly soaking in. ... ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Wildfires May Pollute Water Supplies on a Warming Planet

How Tribes Are Harnessing Cutting-Edge Data to Plan for Climate Change:  “The village of Taholah on the Quinault Indian Nation is just a stone’s throw from a pebbled stretch of beach pocked with the tiny holes of razor clams. The town is wedged between Washington state’s rocky Pacific coastline and a hillside of towering cedar and Douglas fir evergreens.  It’s been the home of the Quinault peoples for 12,000 years. And for the last 50-odd years, the home of tribal member Larry Ralston.  Back in 2008, when Ralston first learned climate change would cause sea levels to rise, he thought of those clams. … ”  Read more from Yes Magazine here:  How Tribes Are Harnessing Cutting-Edge Data to Plan for Climate Change

As climate change erodes US coastlines, an invasive plant could become an ally:  “Many invasive species are found along U.S. coasts, including fishes, crabs, mollusks and marsh grasses. Since the general opinion is that invasives are harmful, land managers and communities spend a lot of time and resources attempting to remove them. Often this happens before much is known about their actual effects, either good or bad.   The common reed Phragmites australis is a tall with long leaves that invades fresh and brackish wetlands. There it crowds out , reducing . Managers frequently kill it with herbicides and replace it in brackish marshes with native Spartina alterniflora, or cordgrass, during restoration projects.  ... ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  As climate change erodes US coastlines, an invasive plant could become an ally

Pollution to Solution: Can We Get Rid of Plastics in Our Oceans?:  “Walking along a beach brings to mind a certain image – a breezy, sunny day, the waves lapping at the sand and the salty air in your face. Seagulls swoop overhead, and shells cover the ground beneath your feet. This majestic image invokes the calming effect many feel when surrounded by nature. Now, imagine you are walking along that same beach but as you move closer to the shells you notice they are actually jagged pieces of plastic sticking out of the sand, and the gulls you thought you saw earlier were really plastic bags floating in the wind. This isn’t just a fantasy story – this is becoming more of the reality in many coastal areas across the globe. … ”  Read more from EnviroBites here:  Pollution to Solution: Can We Get Rid of Plastics in Our Oceans?

When fish eat birds:  “I heard the story countless times in my youth: a female duck and her ducklings swam along a lake’s edge, pecking at grasses and insects. One duckling strayed a bit far from mother, and suddenly the water erupted in an explosive splash. The duckling vanished, the dinner of a startlingly large fish.  Most of the people who told such stories were what you might charitably call unreliable narrators. The stories were also almost never firsthand accounts, but something witnessed by a cousin’s best friend’s barber. The stories were fishing tales, not science.  But thanks to YouTube, David Attenborough and actual research, we now know that sometimes fish do eat birds. ... ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here: When fish eat birds

Also on Maven’s Notebook …

SAN FRANCISCO ESTUARY & WATERSHED JOURNAL: Freshwater flows in the Delta, Importance of wetland habitats to waterbirds, Abundance of salmon on the Stanislaus, Largemouth bass diets, Fishing trawls

ESTUARY NEWS: Choppy waters for flow rules, High road or high water for wildlife, Putah Creek pipeline for salmon, and more …

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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