SCIENCE NEWS: Upcoming 38th Salmonid Restoration Federation meeting; Investigation of West Coast gray whale strandings continues; How desert rattlesnakes harvest rainwater; and more …

New dedicated science page on Maven’s Notebook:  I’ve added a “Science on the Notebook” page to the website which is accessible from the main menu bar.  The page is still a bit under construction, but it has a science calendar and soon will have links to Delta science websites.   Do you have Delta science events to add to the calendar?  Do you have a favorite Delta website?  Send me an email!

Coastal Conference: The upcoming 38th Salmonid Restoration Federation meeting in Santa Cruz:  “Tumbling their way through the redwoods, the streams of California’s Central Coast provide valuable habitat for those salmon and trout tenacious enough to contend with seasonal lagoons, the steep gradients of coastal mountains, and the effects of increasingly urbanized watersheds. The challenges facing fish that have persisted in these streams, such as steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and coho salmon (O. kisutch), will be highlighted at the upcoming 38th annual Salmonid Restoration Federation conference. To be held from March 31 to April 3 within sight of the San Lorenzo River in the heart of Santa Cruz, this conference will bring together researchers and managers from academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies to exchange ideas, discuss successes and failures, and to learn about the state of salmon recovery in California. ... ” Read more from FishBio here:  Coastal Conference: The upcoming 38th Salmonid Restoration Federation meeting in Santa Cruz

Investigation of West Coast gray whale strandings continues as whales head south for the winter:  “Gray whales have begun their annual southbound migration along the West Coast to Mexico. Science teams continue to investigate the cause of more than 200 strandings of dead and often thin gray whales during their northbound migration last spring.  In May 2019, NOAA Fisheries declared the elevated gray whale strandings an Unusual Mortality Event (UME), which supported the international scientific response and investigation into the cause. In 2019, a total of 123 gray whales stranded dead in the United States, including Alaska. Another 81 strandings were reported in Mexico and 11 in Canada. … ”  Read more from NOAA here: Investigation of West Coast gray whale strandings continues as whales head south for the winter

Sometimes nature needs a little TLC, the ‘kelp lady’ is here to help:  “Nancy Caruso inspired an army of ocean-lovers to jump in and get inspired to restore ocean ecosystems. She and her team of volunteer ocean advocates have rebuilt a decimated kelp forest in Orange county from the ground up, and they’re not stopping there. A shining example of one person who saw a problem, and cared enough to take it on, Caruso’s eyes light up as she describes her efforts. Caruso attributes her success to the volunteers that have supported, bolstered and brought life to, her vision. … ”  Read more from Forbes here: Sometimes nature needs a little TLC, the ‘kelp lady’ is here to help

Complex rupturing during 2019 Ridgecrest, California, sequence:  “The 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence, which startled nearby California residents over the 4 July holiday with magnitude 6.4 and magnitude 7.1 earthquakes, included 34,091 earthquakes overall, detailed in a high-resolution catalog created for the sequence.  The catalog, developed by David Shelly at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, was published in the Data Mine column in Seismological Research Letters. The paper is part of a larger Data Mine series aimed at rapidly sharing data from the Ridgecrest sequence among researchers. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Complex rupturing during 2019 Ridgecrest, California, sequence

Workshop Report: Technology transfer for water management in the Western U.S.:  “The Western States Water Council (WSWC) and the NASA Western Water Applications Office (WWAO) hosted a joint workshop on technology transfer for water management in the Western U.S. The goals of the workshop were to understand how different agencies approach the technology transfer and research to operations (R2O) process, identify best practices, and discuss existing barriers to successful technology infusion into operational water resource management systems at the state and federal level. The workshop took place August 7-9, 2019 in Irvine, CA. … ”  Read the report here: Workshop Report: Technology transfer for water management in the Western U.S.

Global river deltas increasingly shaped by humans, study says:  “A new study of nearly every delta on the planet shows how river delta shapes and sizes around the world are changing due to human activity—both for the good and bad.  The study, carried out by a Dutch/American team that includes present and former Tulane University researchers, demonstrates how the interaction of river flow, waves and tides can transform the shape of river mouths and their associated deltas, including land gain and loss. The study reveals that many deltas globally are still building land today, but that this trend is unlikely to continue due to the acceleration of sea-level rise and other human-induced impacts. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: Global river deltas increasingly shaped by humans, study says

How desert rattlesnakes harvest rainwater:  “Water is scarce for many creatures in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, so when it does rain (or snow or sleet), some resident rattlesnakes seize the moment. They slither out of their dens, flatten themselves in a coil shape, and suck the water that collects on their backs into their mouths.  Now a team of engineers and biologists has discovered special properties of the reptiles’ scales that help the snakes become living rain buckets. They found that a water droplet hitting the back of a western diamondback rattlesnake breaks into smaller droplets that often stay pinned to the snake’s skin. In contrast, most water hitting the scales of two desert-dwelling snakes that haven’t been observed harvesting rainwater — the desert kingsnake and the Sonoran gopher snake — simply slides off. ... ”  Read more from Live Science here: How desert rattlesnakes harvest rainwater

The watershed-based approach to address non-point source nutrients:  “Major U.S. river ecosystems such as the Mississippi are both suffering from and contributing to aquatic dead zones caused by algae blooms in connection with fertilizer runoffs from agriculture. Although the U.S. EPA has not imposed numerical standards that would create enormous financial burdens on local governments and industry, the agency has followed the issue closely and the potential for tougher standards exists.  While many municipalities, industrial water users, farmers and water districts are already tackling the nutrient problem, stricter EPA regulations would force every owner to join them at some financial pain. … ”  Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here: The watershed-based approach to address non-point source nutrients

To conserve marine species, make protected areas mobile:  “Take a good look at the oceans today—there’s a strong chance they won’t look the same in a few decades, scientists say.  As water temperatures rise around the world, some marine animals are already migrating to other areas in response. Habitats are shifting and evolving. Some species are disappearing, and others are moving in to take their place.  The ecological consequences of all these changes—and how they may alter food webs and habitats and entire communities of organisms—remain to be seen. In the meantime, scientists have identified another concern. These kinds of shifts may make it harder to protect marine animals in the future. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  To conserve marine species, make protected areas mobile

Local water availability is permanently reduced after planting forests:  “River flow is reduced in areas where forests have been planted and does not recover over time, a new study has shown. Rivers in some regions can completely disappear within a decade. This highlights the need to consider the impact on regional water availability, as well as the wider climate benefit, of tree-planting plans.  “Reforestation is an important part of tackling climate change, but we need to carefully consider the best places for it. In some places, changes to water availability will completely change the local cost-benefits of tree-planting programmes,” said Laura Bentley, a plant scientist in the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, and first author of the report. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Local water availability is permanently reduced after planting forests

What is an endangered species?  “Lions and leopards are endangered species. Robins and raccoons clearly are not. The distinction seems simple until one ponders a question such as: How many lions would there have to be and how many of their former haunts would they have to inhabit before we’d agree they are no longer endangered?  To put a fine point on it, what is an endangered species? The quick answer: An endangered species is at risk of extinction. Fine, except questions about risk always come in shades and degrees, more risk and less risk. … ” Read more from Science Daily here:  What is an endangered species?

U.S. water data, refreshed daily:  “Where is the water?  A new mapping tool from the federal government’s top Earth sciences agency aims, with greater frequency and detail, to answer that basic question about the nation’s water resources.  Updated daily, the map displays a nearly complete picture of water storage in the Lower 48 states. It shows water currently held in snowpack, soils, and shallow groundwater compared to the long-term average. It also incorporates moisture trapped in the tree canopy and wetlands, but it does not include rivers, reservoirs, and deep groundwater. ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: U.S. Water Data, Refreshed Daily

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

Featured image credit: The graph depicts similarity between different hours of calendar year 2017 representing energy generation in the mid-Western region, where the similarity is computed based on the binding constraints imposed due to congestion in the power transmission network.  Image courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Labs.



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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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