two people standing amongst tall trees.4 reasons meadow restoration is good for all of us

Meadows are often the subject of beautiful photographs and paintings, with colorful grasses swaying in the wind and creeks winding through the scene. But beyond their beauty, meadows provide important services to people and wildlife.  “Meadows are a great form of green infrastructure,” said Ian Vogel, a wildlife biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sacramento Field Office. “They clean our air, contribute to a reliable water supply and provide essential habitat for wildlife.”  Vogel is part of a network of federal and state agencies and environmental groups known as the Sierra Meadows Partnership. The partnership creates and implements strategies to restore meadows throughout the Sierra. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  4 reasons meadow restoration is good for all of us

PPIC Report: Making the most of water for the environment: a functional flows approach for California’s rivers

In California, water and land management activities have substantially altered river flows and degraded river channels and their floodplains. The result has been a precipitous decline in native fish populations, including the collapse of valued salmon fisheries, and widespread imperilment of freshwater biodiversity. Environmental flows—flows in rivers and streams necessary to sustain ecosystem health—are essential to reversing these trends. Yet many rivers in California lack environmental flows. And for those rivers with such protections, environmental flows are typically established at static minimum levels, which fail to preserve the natural seasonal and interannual variability of flow that sustains healthy ecosystems. A new approach to managing environmental water is needed.  Building on previous PPIC work in this area, we recommend a “functional flows” approach for managing water for the environment. … ”  Read more and download report at the PPIC here: Making the most of water for the environment: a functional flows approach for California’s rivers

Q&A: A faster track for ecosystem restoration

California’s rivers and aquatic species are in trouble, but restoration projects often get bogged down by lengthy permitting processes. Sustainable Conservation has been at the forefront of finding ways to speed up badly needed restoration projects with improved permitting. We talked to Erika Lovejoy—director of Sustainable Conservation’s Accelerating Restoration program—about efforts to simplify the regulatory process while upholding essential environmental protections.  PPIC: Why is it necessary to improve permitting for ecosystem restoration? … ”  Continue reading at the PPIC here:  Q&A: A faster track for ecosystem restoration

Research Tidbit: Where will snow survive in a warming world?

Climate change is transforming winters throughout the western U.S. Warmer temperatures and winter rainfall reduce the magnitude of snow accumulation and alter the timing of snowmelt. Snowcapped mountaintops, characteristic of the western U.S, melt earlier in the spring, sending water rushing downriver. Not only is snowmelt occurring earlier, but it is bringing less water with it – threatening snow-dependent ecosystems and communities.   Despite increasing winter temperatures, more intense precipitation – another consequence of climate change – may be able to sustain some snowpack. Even if mean annual snowfall decreases, an increase in the intensity of snowfall events could prevent snow ablation, or the loss of snow due to melting, sublimation or evaporation. … ”  Read more from AGU-H3S here: Research Tidbit: Where will snow survive in a warming world?

Ocean Forecast: Blobs on the Horizon

” … Marine heatwaves like the Blob have cropped up around the globe more and more often over the past few decades. Scientists expect climate change to make them even more common and long lasting, harming vulnerable aquatic species as well as human enterprises such as fishing that revolve around ocean ecosystems. But there’s no reliable way to know when one is about to hit, which means that fishers and wildlife managers are left scrambling to reduce harm in real time.  Now, oceanographers are trying to uncover what drives these events so that people can forecast them and so minimize the ecological and economic damage they cause. … ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here: Ocean Forecast: Blobs on the Horizon

Water availability has changed, and humans are to blame

Changes in the water cycle have important impacts on ecosystems and human activities. In the context of the current and expected temperature rise due to global warming, it is extremely important to understand the origin and extent of these changes.   A recent study published in the journal Nature Geosciences analyzes the changes in global average water availability on land—defined by the difference between precipitation and evapotranspiration—eliminating any remaining uncertainties about human responsibility for variations in the hydrological cycle observed during the dry-season throughout the last century. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here:  Water availability has changed, and humans are to blame

On the rocks? A bartender’s guide to scientific success

Growing up on Cape Cod was not quite the quaint beach town upbringing that most people envision. Many of the picturesque beachfront mansions were summer homes, while most of us year-round residents lived in ranch-style cottages and worked overtime through hectic summers to stay afloat during harsh winters. If you were lucky like me, you found a job at a year-round establishment and worked your way up from dishwasher to the coveted position of bartender.  While I now live in Washington, D.C., and have committed to a career in science, it was only six months ago that I packed up my favorite corkscrew and bottle opener to begin my adventure as a Knauss fellow. I keep my “14 years of service experience” on my resume and CV whenever possible.  Five of the lessons I learned through my bartending experiences stand out as those that I believe make me successful as a scientist. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  On the rocks? A bartender’s guide to scientific success

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …



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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