SCIENCE NEWS: Paiute cutthroat trout reintroduced to native habitat; Machine learning aims to improve water management; As temperatures change, what organisms move north to California?; Can AI keep L.A.’s water flowing post-earthquake?; and more …

Peacock Feathers; photo by Bernard Spragg.

In science news this week: Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat in High Sierra Wilderness; Machine learning aims to improve water management in dryland agricultural ecosystems; As Temperatures Change, What Organisms Move North to California?; Irrigation sources used by cannabis cultivators in Northern California; The next big effort in AI: keeping L.A.’s water flowing post-earthquake; New $100M Innovation Hub to Accelerate R&D for a Secure Water Future; Salty about coastal walls; and more …

Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat in High Sierra Wilderness:  “California’s native Paiute cutthroat trout, the rarest trout in North America, swims once again in its high Sierra home waters for the first time in more than 100 years.  California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham and representatives from the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Golden Gate Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Little Antelope Pack Station joined biologists to release 30 Paiute cutthroat trout of varying sizes into Silver King Creek in Alpine County, Calif., Sept. 18, 2019. ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Paiute Cutthroat Trout Reintroduced to Native Habitat in High Sierra Wilderness

Machine learning aims to improve water management in dryland agricultural ecosystems:  “Researchers from The University of Western Australia and the University of California have developed a new machine-learning tool that will improve the management, restoration and irrigation of rangeland areas used for grazing.  Associate Professor Sally Thompson from the UWA School of Engineering and UWA Institute of Agriculture said the tool was suited to environments where the amount of rainfall exceeded the absorption capacity of the soil, resulting in the excess water flowing over the land. … ”  Read more from the University of Western Australia here: Machine learning aims to improve water management in dryland agricultural ecosystems

As Temperatures Change, What Organisms Move North to California? Many of our worries about climate change have to do with the direct nonbiological consequences it may bring: sea level rise, drought, hurricanes, fires. These are obviously important questions when it comes to planning for the future. But there are also biological consequences to worry about, and some of these are already at the forefront of our attention. Fears of extinction, destabilized food webs, and mistimed migrations abound. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: As Temperatures Change, What Organisms Move North to California?

Watering the Emerald Triangle: Irrigation sources used by cannabis cultivators in Northern California:  “Water use by cannabis cultivators represents an emerging threat to surface flows in Northern California’s sensitive watersheds. To date, however, no data has been available to formally assess where cannabis sites source their water. This study analyzed data from annual reports, covering the year 2017, submitted by 901 cannabis cultivators enrolled in the Cannabis Waste Discharge Regulatory Program administered by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The analysis identified cannabis cultivators’ most common sources for water extraction, monthly patterns for each water source and differences between sites compliant and not compliant with the cannabis program. … ”  Read more from California Agriculture here: Watering the Emerald Triangle: Irrigation sources used by cannabis cultivators in Northern California

The next big effort in AI: keeping L.A.’s water flowing post-earthquake:  “Can artificial intelligence save the L.A. water supply from a big earthquake?  USC researchers have embarked on an innovative project to prove that it can. Using federal funds, experts at the USC Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society (CAIS) are working with Los Angeles city officials to find solutions for vulnerable plumbing. The goal is to make surgical improvements to strategic pipelines to keep water flowing after shaking stops.  “L.A.’s water pipes are highly susceptible to earthquakes,” said Bistra Dilkina, assistant professor of computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and associate director of the CAIS. “The infrastructure is aging, and when the shaking starts, pipes break and damage propagates throughout the system. It’s a problem we’re trying to solve.” … ”  Read more from USC News here:  The next big effort in AI: keeping L.A.’s water flowing post-earthquake

Slight dip in California sea otter numbers, according to 2019 survey results:  “Southern sea otter numbers have declined off the coast of California since their most recent high in 2016. According to data just released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the three-year average population index this year dropped to 2,962, which is 166 sea otters fewer than the 2018 survey.  Southern sea otters are a protected species under the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act and listed as a fully protected species under California law. Sea otters play a critical role in the nearshore marine ecosystem, serve as indicators of ocean health, and keep important elements of coastal ecosystems, like kelp forests and seagrass beds, in balance. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Slight dip in California sea otter numbers, according to 2019 survey results

New $100M Innovation Hub to Accelerate R&D for a Secure Water Future:  “The National Alliance for Water Innovation, which is led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has been awarded a five-year, $100-million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE (pending appropriations) to address water security issues in the United States. The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies and for treating nontraditional water sources for various end uses. … ”  Read more from Berkeley News here: New $100M Innovation Hub to Accelerate R&D for a Secure Water Future

The Peril of Ferals: Hybridizing Wild and Farmed Salmon:  “Although separated by a continent, Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus species) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) face many of the same pressures and challenges from human activity, including overfishing, dams, and climate change. However, one specific factor threatens Atlantic salmon but not their West-Coast cousins: interbreeding with farmed salmon. While Atlantic salmon have been farmed in net pens on the West Coast for about three decades (a practice that may soon come to an end), it is not possible for Pacific species like Chinook (O. tshawytsha) to interbreed with these interlopers (although escaped farmed fish can still spread disease or compete with native salmon). In contrast, wild Atlantic salmon on the East Coast face the additional risk of having the genes of farmed fish intermix in their populations. … ”  Read more from FishBio here: The Peril of Ferals: Hybridizing Wild and Farmed Salmon

Salty about coastal walls: “Many coastal communities are investing heavily in various types of hard infrastructure as the last line of defense against sea level rise and increased coastal storm damage. These investments are predominantly in the form of some type of wall either to prevent flood water from entering a community (levees) or to prevent erosion of land from wave action (sea walls, bulkheads, Fig. 1). Although these structures provide important temporary protection from rising sea levels for coastal communities, many of these structures are notoriously subject to catastrophic failure (see history of Mississippi River Levees). This is especially true in the present day reality of climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme events. ... ”  Read more from EnviroBites here: Salty about coastal walls

Birds Are Vanishing From North America:  “The skies are emptying out.  The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, scientists reported on Thursday. There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago.  The analysis, published in the journal Science, is the most exhaustive and ambitious attempt yet to learn what is happening to avian populations. The results have shocked researchers and conservation organizations. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Birds Are Vanishing From North America

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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