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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Calculation of a suspended-sediment concentration-turbidity regression model and flood-ebb suspended-sediment concentration differentials from marshes near Stone Harbor and Thompsons Beach, New Jersey, 2018–19 and 2022–23

Released April 22, 2024 12:15 EST

2024, Data Report 1193

Olivia A. De Meo, Robert D. Bales, Neil K. Ganju, Eric D. Marsjanik, Steven E. Suttles

The U.S. Geological Survey collected water velocity and water quality data from salt marshes in Great Channel, southwest of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and near Thompsons Beach, New Jersey, to evaluate restoration effectiveness after Hurricane Sandy and monitor postrestoration marsh health. Time series data of turbidity and water velocity were collected from 2018 to 2019 and 2022 to 2023 at both sites. Water samples were collected and analyzed for suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), which was used to derive a regression model to estimate a time series of SSC data from turbidity data. The SSC time series data were then combined with the water velocity data to calculate the flood-ebb SSC differential. This report presents the data collection methods, the repeated median regression model used to estimate SSC from turbidity, and the flood-ebb SSC differential calculations.

ECCOE Landsat quarterly Calibration and Validation report—Quarter 4, 2023

Released April 22, 2024 09:28 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2024-1026

Md Obaidul Haque, Rajagopalan Rengarajan, Mark Lubke, Md Nahid Hasan, Ashish Shrestha, Jerad L. Shaw, Alex Denevan, Kathryn Ruslander, Esad Micijevic, Michael J. Choate, Cody Anderson, Kurt Thome, Julia Barsi, Ed Kaita, Raviv Levy, Jeff Miller, Leibo Ding

Executive Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val) Center of Excellence (ECCOE) focuses on improving the accuracy, precision, calibration, and product quality of remote-sensing data, leveraging years of multiscale optical system geometric and radiometric calibration and characterization experience. The ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team continually monitors the geometric and radiometric performance of active Landsat missions and makes calibration adjustments, as needed, to maintain data quality at the highest level.

This report provides observed geometric and radiometric analysis results for Landsats 7, 8, and 9 for quarter 4 (October–December) of 2023. All data used to compile the Cal/Val analysis results presented in this report are freely available from the U.S. Geological Survey EarthExplorer website: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov.

This is the second quarterly report to include analysis results for Landsat 9, which was launched in September 2021. The inclusion of Landsat 9 analysis results was dependent on two factors: a complete reprocessing of the Landsat 9 data archive and enough time elapsing to begin formulating lifetime trends. In April 2023, all Landsat 9 image data acquired since the satellite’s launch were reprocessed to take advantage of calibration updates identified by the ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team. Additional information about the Landsat 9 reprocessing effort is available at https://www.usgs.gov/landsat-missions/news/upcoming-reprocessing-all-landsat-9-data. Additional information about Landsat 9 prelaunch, commissioning, and early on-orbit imaging performance is available at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/special_issues/15B4V2K92K.

West Nile virus (avian) case definition for wildlife

Released April 22, 2024 07:19 EST

2024, Techniques and Methods 19-C1

Stéphane Lair, Valerie I. Shearn-Bochsler, Marnie Zimmer

Diagnostic laboratories receive carcasses and samples for diagnostic evaluation and pathogen/toxin detection. Case definitions bring clarity and consistency to the evaluation process. Their use within and between organizations allows more uniform reporting of diseases and etiologic agents. The intent of a case definition is to provide scientifically based criteria for determining (a) if an individual carcass has a specific disease and degree of confidence in that diagnosis and (b) if there is evidence of a pathogen or toxin in a carcass or sample (for example, swab, tissue sample, skin scraping, blood/serum sample, environmental sample, or other). This case definition is specific to West Nile virus and applies to all avian species.

Leveraging natural capital accounting to support businesses with nature-related risk assessments and disclosures

Released April 22, 2024 06:59 EST

2024, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (379)

Jane Carter Ingram, Emily McKenzie, Kenneth J. Bagstad, John Finisdore, Rayne van den Berg, Eli P. Fenichel, Michael Vardon, Stephen M. Posner, Marta Santamaria, Lisa Mandle, Richard J. Barker, James Spurgeon

Nature loss threatens businesses, the global economy and financial stability. Understanding and addressing these risks for business will require credible measurement approaches and data. This paper explores how natural capital accounting (NCA) can support business data and information needs related to nature, including disclosures aligned with the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures recommendations. As businesses seek to measure, manage and disclose their nature-related risks and opportunities, they will need well-organized, consistent and high-quality information regarding their dependencies and impacts on nature, which few businesses currently collect or track in-house. NCA may be useful for these purposes but has not been widely used or applied by businesses. National NCA guided by the U.N. System of Environmental-Economic Accounting may provide: (i) a useful framework for businesses in conceptualizing, organizing and managing nature-related data and statistics; and (ii) data and information that can directly support business disclosures, corporate NCA and other business applications. This paper explores these opportunities as well as synergies between national and corporate natural capital accounts. In addition, the paper discusses key barriers to advancing the wider use and benefits of NCA for business, including: awareness of NCA, data access, business capabilities related to NCA, spatial and temporal scales of data, audit and assurance considerations, potential risks, and costs and incentives.

Groundwater sustainability and land subsidence in California’s Central Valley

Released April 22, 2024 06:38 EST

2024, Water (16)

Claudia C. Faunt, Jonathan A. Traum, Scott E. Boyce, Whitney A. Seymour, Elizabeth Rae Jachens, Justin T. Brandt, Michelle Sneed, Sandra Bond, Marina Marcelli

The Central Valley of California is one of the most prolific agricultural regions in the world. Agriculture is reliant on the conjunctive use of surface-water and groundwater. The lack of available surface-water and land-use changes have led to pumping-induced groundwater-level and storage declines, land subsidence, changes to streamflow and the environment, and the degradation of water quality. As a result, in part, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was developed. An examination of the components of SGMA and contextualizing regional model applications within the SGMA framework was undertaken to better understand and quantify many of the components of SGMA. Specifically, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) updated the Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM) to assess hydrologic system responses to climatic variation, surface-water availability, land-use changes, and groundwater pumping. MODFLOW-OWHM has been enhanced to simulate the timing of land subsidence and attribute its inelastic and elastic portions. In addition to extending CVHM through 2019, the new version, CVHM2, includes several enhancements as follows: managed aquifer recharge (MAR), pumping with multi-aquifer wells, inflows from ungauged watersheds, and more detailed water-balance subregions, streamflow network, diversions, tile drains, land use, aquifer properties, and groundwater level and land subsidence observations. Combined with historical approximations, CVHM2 estimates approximately 158 km3 of storage loss in the Central Valley from pre-development to 2019. About 15% of the total storage loss is permanent loss of storage from subsidence that has caused damage to infrastructure. Climate extremes will likely complicate the efforts of water managers to store more water in the ground. CVHM2 can provide data in the form of aggregated input datasets, simulate climatic variations and changes, land-use changes or water management scenarios, and resulting changes in groundwater levels, storage, and land subsidence to assist decision-makers in the conjunctive management of water supplies.

Evaluation of streamflow predictions from LSTM models in water- and energy-limited regions in the United States

Released April 19, 2024 06:55 EST

2024, Machine Learning with Applications (16)

Kul Bikram Khand, Gabriel B. Senay

The application of Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) models for streamflow predictions has been an area of rapid development, supported by advancements in computing technology, increasing availability of spatiotemporal data, and availability of historical data that allows for training data-driven LSTM models. Several studies have focused on improving the performance of LSTM models; however, few studies have assessed the applicability of these LSTM models across different hydroclimate regions. This study investigated the single-basin trained local (one model for each basin), multi-basin trained regional (one model for one region), and grand (one model for several regions) models for predicting daily streamflow in water-limited Great Basin (18 basins) and energy-limited New England (27 basins) regions in the United States using the CAMELS (Catchment Attributes and Meteorology for Large-sample Studies) data set. The results show a general pattern of higher accuracy in daily streamflow predictions from the regional model when compared to local or grand models for most basins in the New England region. For the Great Basin region, local models provided smaller errors for most basins and substantially lower for those basins with relatively larger errors from the regional and grand models. The evaluation of one-layer and three-layer LSTM network architectures trained with 1-day lag information indicates that the addition of model complexity by increasing the number of layers may not necessarily increase the model skill for improving streamflow predictions. Findings from our study highlight the strengths and limitations of LSTM models across contrasting hydroclimate regions in the United States, which could be useful for local and regional scale decisions using standalone or potential integration of data-driven LSTM models with physics-based hydrological models.

Neonicotinoids made easy

Released April 18, 2024 14:36 EST

2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3014

Shipra Shukla, Elias Tejeda

 No abstract a

Evaluation of 2-D shear-wave velocity models and VS30at six strong-motion recording stations in southern California using multichannel analysis of surface waves and refraction tomography

Released April 18, 2024 13:09 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2024-1016

Joanne H. Chan, Rufus D. Catchings, Mark R. Goldman, Coyn J. Criley, Robert R. Sickler

To better understand the potential for amplified ground shaking at sites that house critical infrastructure, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) evaluated shear-wave velocities (VS) at six strong-motion recording stations in Southern California Edison facilities in southern California. We calculated VS30 (time-averaged shear-wave velocity in the upper 30 meters [m]), which is a parameter used in ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) to account for site amplification (Building Safety Seismic Council, 2003; Holtzer and others, 2005; Baltay and Boatwright, 2015). Previous site-characterization studies using multiple methods in Alameda, Napa, and Sonoma Counties, Calif., and in British Columbia (Catchings and others, 2017, 2019; Chan and others, 2018a, 2018b) show that some sites have significant lateral variability; thus, a single measurement of VS30 nearest to the strong-motion recording station may not accurately account for the actual subsurface velocity variations. In the summer of 2017, we recorded body and surface waves along linear profiles (118–174 m long) using active-source seismic methods (226-kilogram [kg] accelerated weight-drop and 3.5-kg sledgehammer impacts) near strong-motion recording stations. We used S-wave refraction tomography and a multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) method (using common midpoint cross-correlation; CMPCC) to evaluate two-dimensional (2-D) VS from body and surface waves, respectively. We evaluated VS from both Rayleigh- and Love-waves.

Network connectivity contributes to native small-bodied fish assemblages in the upper Mississippi River system

Released April 18, 2024 07:15 EST

2024, Journal of Freshwater Biology

Shaley A Valentine, Kristen L. Bouska, Gregory W. Whitledge

  1. Effective management and conservation of fishes requires understanding habitat use across multiple life stages while ensuring necessary habitats are both available and accessible. Tributary habitats may play an important role in recruitment and dispersal of fishes in anthropogenically modified rivers such as the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers of the Midwest U.S.A. Identifying source locations that contribute to recruitment of fish populations can determine the importance of connectivity within river networks and pinpoint critical habitats that sustain fish populations. In the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS), the environments that fish use in early life stages (i.e., natal origin) can be identified using otolith trace element analysis due to stability and distinctness in water chemistry (strontium: calcium [Sr:Ca]) among water bodies that is reflected in otoliths.
  2. Here, we used trace element analysis to determine natal origin of six small-bodied fishes including bullhead minnow (Pimephales vigilax), emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides), gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) across six reaches of the UMRS (Pools 4, 8, 13, 26, the Open River of the Middle Mississippi River, and the La Grange Pool of the Illinois River). Otolith core Sr:Ca for fishes was quantified using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Using the resulting Sr:Ca chemical signatures of otolith cores, natal origin (tributary, immigrant, or potential resident) was determined for individual fish based on family-specific relationships between otolith and water chemistries.
  3. We found that all species originated from tributaries and other reaches (i.e., were immigrants) to varying extents, which acted as evidence for network connectivity. Specifically, tributaries contributed up to 48% of individuals at a given reach. In certain reaches, Pool 26 and the Open River reach, up to 80% of individuals in a species immigrated from another mainstem river reach. Network connectivity was also important in both upstream and downstream directions. Contributions from network connectivity varied among species: bullhead minnow used less whereas orangespotted sunfish used more network connectivity than when all species were combined. Further, the use of network connectivity varied spatially where individuals captured in Pool 8 and the La Grange Pool less often and those from Pool 26 and the Open River more often originated from network connectivity compared to the whole assemblage across reaches.
  4. These results indicate that species' life history traits probably interacted with the physical environment, which differs spatially, to yield observed recruitment source patterns. Our results show that network connectivity contributes to established assemblages of native small-bodied fishes throughout the UMRS and underscore the role of interjurisdictional management in maintaining network connectivity to sustain fish populations.

Developing transmissible vaccines for animal infections

Released April 18, 2024 06:50 EST

2024, Science (384) 275-277

Daniel G. Streicker, Megan E. Griffiths, Rustom Antia, Laura M. Bergner, Peter Bowman, Maria Vitoria dos Santos de Moraes, Kevin Esvelt, Mike Famulare, Amy T. Gilbert, Biao He, Michael A. Jarvis, David A. Kennedy, Jennifer Kuzma, Carolyne Nasimiyu Wanyonyi, Christopher Remien, Kyle Rosenke, Tonie E. Rocke, Courtney Schreiner, Justin Sheen, David Simons, Ivet A. Yordanova, James J. Bull, Scott L. Nuismer

Many emerging and reemerging pathogens originate from wildlife, but nearly all wild species are unreachable using conventional vaccination, which requires capture of and vaccine administration to individual animals. By enabling immunization at scales sufficient to interrupt pathogen transmission, transmissible vaccines (TVs) that spread themselves through wildlife populations by infectious processes could potentially transform the management of otherwise intractable challenges to public health, wildlife conservation, and animal welfare. However, generating TVs likely requires modifying viruses that would be intended to spread in nature, which raises concerns ranging from technical feasibility, to safety and security risks, to regulatory uncertainties (1, 2). We propose a series of commitments and strategies for vaccine development—beginning with a priori decisions on vaccine design and continuing through to stakeholder codevelopment [see supplementary materials (SM)]—that we believe increase the likelihood that the potential risks of vaccine transmission are outweighed by benefits to conservation, animal welfare, and zoonosis prevention.

Acute toxicity of the lampricide 4-nitro-3-(trifluoromethyl)phenol to the Mussel (Obovaria subrotunda), its host (Percina maculata), and a surrogate mussel species (Obovaria olivaria)

Released April 18, 2024 06:47 EST

2024, Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

Teresa J. Newton, Nicholas A. Schloesser, Cheryl A. Kaye, Chad K. Andresen, Michael A. Boogaard, Christina M. Carter, Ryan Jay Ellingson, Courtney A Kirkeeng, Justin Schueller

The risk of lampricide applications (such as 4-nitro-3-[trifluoromethyl]phenol [TFM]) to nontarget fauna continues to be a concern within the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Sea Lamprey Control Program, especially among imperiled aquatic species—such as native freshwater mussels. The Grand River (Ohio, USA) is routinely treated for larval sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus), and this river contains populations of the federally threatened mussel Obovaria subrotunda. Given this spatial overlap, information on the sensitivity of O. subrotunda to TFM is needed. Our objectives were to assess the toxicity of TFM to (1) adult Obovaria olivaria (a surrogate for O. subrotunda), (2) glochidial larvae of O. olivaria and O. subrotunda, (3) juveniles of O. olivaria and O. subrotunda, and (4) adult Percina maculata (host for O. subrotunda glochidia). In acute toxicity tests, TFM was not toxic to glochidia and adult mussels at exposure concentrations that exceed typical treatment rates. Although significant dose–response relationships were observed in hosts and juveniles, survival was ≥95% (Percina maculata), ≥93% (O. olivaria), and ≥74% (O. subrotunda) at typical treatment rates. However, the steep slope of these dose–response relationships indicates that an approximately 20% difference in the treatment level can result in nearly an order of magnitude difference in survival. Collectively, these data indicate that routine sea lamprey control operations are unlikely to acutely affect these species or their host. However, given that many mussel species are long-lived (30–100 years), the risks posed by lampricide treatments in the Great Lakes would be further informed by research on the potential long-term effects of lampricides on imperiled species. Environ Toxicol Chem 2024;00:1–8. Published 2024. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Nutrient chemistry in the Elizabeth Lake subwatershed—Effects of onsite wastewater treatment systems on groundwater and lake water quality, Los Angeles County, California

Released April 16, 2024 14:26 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5012

Adelia M McGregor, Joseph L. Domagalski, Krishangi D. Groover, Angela M. Hansen, Anthony A. Brown

Nutrient (nitrogen [N] and phosphorus [P] chemistry) downgradient from onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) was evaluated with a groundwater study in the area surrounding Elizabeth Lake, the largest of three sag lakes within the Santa Clara River watershed of Los Angeles County, California.

Elizabeth Lake is listed on the “303 (d) Impaired Waters List” for excess nutrients and is downgradient from more than 600 OWTS. The primary objective of this study was to develop a conceptual hydrogeological model to determine if discharge from OWTS is transported into shallow groundwater within the Elizabeth Lake subwatershed and contributes nutrients to Elizabeth Lake in excess of the total maximum daily load limit. An analysis of historical data and data collected for this study provided estimates of aquifer properties, such as hydraulic gradients and other parameters necessary to estimate boundary conditions. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys were done to determine the best monitoring well locations and to estimate depth to groundwater. During 4 separate sampling events, 11 wells, 2 imported water tanks, 1 spring (sampled on March 17, 2019), and Elizabeth Lake were sampled, which occurred during February–September 2020.

ERT transects and borehole geophysical measurements indicated that there were low to high resistivity materials in the subsurface and potential perched fresh water. Most of the aquifer material was characterized as sandy silt, occasionally with mixed clays and medium gravels, and was estimated to have a hydraulic conductivity from 3.28x10−3 to 16.4 feet per day, a porosity from 0.34 to 0.42, and a hydraulic gradient from 0.01 to 0.03. Although bedrock was not obvious in ERT transects, all well depths were terminated at depths of an impassible confining layer observed to be a highly consolidated blue-gray clay. Depths to granitic bedrock, based on road outcrops and lithologic driller logs, varied throughout the study area. Depth to the bedrock was estimated to be shallow on the north side of Elizabeth Lake at approximately 30 feet below land surface (ft bls). Depth to bedrock is at 50 ft bls toward the east of the Elizabeth Lake subwatershed, which is at topographic ground surface to the north and south of the residential development. Groundwater levels ranged from approximately 0 to 12 ft bls during this study. Historical water levels ranged from 8 to 16 ft bls in the lower elevation of the study area and increased to depths of as much as 80 ft bls at higher elevations on the north and south boundaries of the Elizabeth Lake subwatershed.

Water-quality samples were analyzed for major ions, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, stable isotopes, and age-dating tracers. A principal component analysis was completed to determine organic matter sources. The proportion of recharge from imported waters, used for domestic consumption, was calculated using stable water isotopes, deuterium (δD) and oxygen (δ18O). Recharge from imported waters accounted for approximately 15–71 percent of the total recharge to groundwater within the study area. Total nitrogen concentrations ranged from 0.17 to 30.9 milligrams per liter (mg/L) as N, and phosphorus, measured in the soluble form as orthophosphate, ranged from 0.03 to 0.35 mg/L as P. Nitrate concentrations in groundwater samples ranged from less than the detection limit (0.01 mg/L as N) to approximately 24 mg/L as N. Nitrate was not detected in 3 of the 12 sites sampled during the study (2 wells and Elizabeth Lake). Dissolved organic carbon concentrations ranged from 0.4 to 27 mg/L in groundwater and from 9.9 to 100 mg/L in Elizabeth Lake. Ammonium and orthophosphate concentrations generally were low in groundwater. However, elevated concentrations of ammonium in Elizabeth Lake were assumed to be due to avian waste products or biological nitrogen fixation. Groundwater ages were mostly modern (recharged since 1952), with a median recharge temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.

Redox conditions in groundwater indicated the likely occurrence of nitrate attenuation by denitrification downgradient from the wells to the south of Elizabeth Lake before groundwater discharges to the lake. Undetectable nitrate in Elizabeth Lake at the time of sampling was likely due to algal uptake. Most wells contained stable isotopes of nitrogen and oxygen in nitrate (δ15N-NO3 and δ18O-NO3) molecules with values consistent with denitrification. However, one monitoring well on the north of Elizabeth Lake (ELLA-8) had no evidence of denitrification, based on elevated concentrations of nitrate and a sufficient amount of dissolved oxygen such that the water was oxic and not favorable for the denitrification reaction. Consequently, this nitrate could be delivered to Elizabeth Lake through groundwater discharge if nitrate is not removed from the system by denitrifying bacteria downgradient from the well before the groundwater discharges into Elizabeth Lake. The principal component analysis demonstrated that dissolved organic matter optical properties track different sources of dissolved organic matter from decayed plants, animals, and animal-derived wastes. Two wells contained strong indicators of OWTS water presence, although geochemical evidence indicated other wells may also be affected by OWTS discharge.

Hydrologic study of green infrastructure in poorly drained urbanized soils at RecoveryPark, Detroit, Michigan, 2014–21

Released April 15, 2024 13:10 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5018

Ralph J. Haefner, Christopher J. Hoard, William Shuster

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff volume is a legacy stressor on sewer-system capacity that is further compromised by the effects of aging infrastructure. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) has been used in a variety of designs and configurations (for example, bioretention) with the goal of increasing evapotranspiration and infiltration in the local water cycle. In practice, GSIs have variable effectiveness in reducing runoff volume.

An urban residential site near Detroit, Michigan, called RecoveryPark was monitored for 8 years before and after GSI construction to evaluate how effectively the GSI reduced volumes of stormwater flowing to Detroit’s Water Resource Recovery Facility through combined sewer systems. In addition to the GSI, the study site included an urban farm where salad crops were grown in hoop houses. The monitoring approach was to characterize the urban water cycle through high-frequency measurements of inflows and outflows. Datasets included meteorological data, soils and sediment characteristics, groundwater levels, flows within the combined sewer system, and soils and water chemistry with specific focus on the disposition of road salt.

Although land cover within the RecoveryPark sewershed was high-density residential in the 1950s, the sewershed included only one residence within the 8.74-acre sewershed during this study. Measurements of annual precipitation at the site exceeded long-term annual averages by more than 10 inches during 3 of the 8 years of study. Potential evapotranspiration was often greater than the measured precipitation that averaged 28–34 inches per year. As compared to underlying clay-rich sediments, soils data indicated relatively permeable sediments near land surface with estimated hydraulic conductivity of 0.75 inches per hour; however, these values decreased with increasing depth. Groundwater-level data revealed increases in groundwater storage as indicated by increases in seasonal groundwater levels and development of a groundwater mound adjacent to the GSI. These increases in groundwater levels were directly adjacent to swales designed to infiltrate stormwater and only became evident after installing the GSI.

Flows within the combined sewer system included rainwater, septic effluent, groundwater infiltration, leakage from water-supply lines, and release of water stored in abandoned foundations. Dry-weather flows (no rain fell within the prior 3 days) averaged 7–10 gallons per minute, which were much greater than flows estimated by septic outflow alone. A set of estimated water budgets were compiled, and results showed large discrepancies in unaccounted flows. To further examine these discrepancies, dye-tracing within the combined sewer system helped examine the sources of water by relating flow volumes to drainage area. For one of the monitoring sites within the combined sewer system along the southeast side of the study area, flows estimated by dye concentrations were more than 10 percent greater than those measured by standard methods. Through peak-flow-regression analysis, a minimum of 2.4 million gallons of water per year were infiltrated or lost to evapotranspiration because of GSI construction. After site modifications were made by excavating gravel drains to improve drainage characteristics, estimated stormwater volumes within the combined sewer system returned to near preconstruction levels. The GSI was effectively bypassed to address slow infiltration rates and standing water; the bypass all but eliminated the potential benefits of volume reduction.

Late in the project, a water-quality study was added to examine the transport of road salt and associated chloride within the GSI and the combined sewer system. Continuous specific conductance was used as a surrogate for chloride concentrations to estimate that 2,790 pounds of dissolved chloride passed through the sewershed during the winter months of late 2020 through early 2021. These data were collected after GSI modification, therefore most, if not all, of the chloride was transported directly to Detroit’s Water Resource Recovery Facility via the combined sewer system. Mixing diagrams using chloride and bromide concentrations of road salt, potable water, rainwater, groundwater, and water from the combined sewer system confirmed that water within the combined sewer system is a mix of these sources. The poor condition of the combined sewer system pipes and resulting unaccounted inflows added to the challenge of accurately monitoring and identifying sources and sinks of water within the RecoveryPark sewershed.

Our research results suggest that—along with clear and quantifiable objectives—the catchment and site conditions should be well-characterized before determining the GSI design. In addition, the work presented in this report provides implications and lessons learned for effectiveness and future studies of GSI in urban settings. These efforts can be improved through increased communication between stakeholders, use of high-quality soils in GSI that have suitable hydraulic characteristics, redundant data-collection networks for critical data streams, and focusing meteorological-data collection within the GSI to obtain relevant evapotranspiration data.

Peak streamflow trends in Missouri and their relation to changes in climate, water years 1921–2020

Released April 15, 2024 12:33 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5064-F

Mackenzie K. Marti, David C. Heimann

This report characterizes changes in peak streamflow in Missouri and the relation of these changes to climatic variability, and provides a foundation for future studies that can address nonstationarity in peak-streamflow frequency analysis in Missouri. Records of annual peak and daily streamflow at streamgages and gridded monthly climatic data (observed and modeled) were examined across four trend periods (100 years, water years 1921–2020; 75 years, 1946–2020; 50 years, 1971–2020; and 30 years, 1991–2020) for trends, change points (abrupt changes in the streamflow time series), and other statistical properties indicative of changing conditions. Peak streamflow magnitudes generally exhibit upward trends across the State for the 100-, 75-, and 50-year trend periods and only in southern Missouri for the 30-year trend period. The medians of the trend magnitudes (normalized by median peak streamflow) range from a 10-percent increase during the 30-year trend period to a 40-percent increase during the 100-year trend period. Changes in the 90-percent quantile of peak streamflow, which correspond to the 10-percent exceedance probability often used for the design of drainage structures, are not as substantial or widespread, showing consistent increases mainly in the southern part of the State in the 50- and 30-year trend periods. Streamgages with trends in peak streamflow often also have change points, or abrupt changes, in streamflow magnitude. Change points in peak streamflows generally follow that of the peak streamflow trends, with upward change points throughout most of the State at the 100- and 75-year trend periods and in southern Missouri at the 30-year trend period. Temporally, clusters upward of change points are observed in the 1970s through 1980s for the 100-, 75-, and 50-year trend periods and around 2006 and 2007 for the 50- and 30-year trend periods.

A peaks-over-threshold analysis, which evaluates changes in the frequency of peak streamflows over a certain threshold, indicates that high flows have increased in frequency at 50 to 64 percent of streamgages in the 100- and 75-year trend periods. Most streamgages in the 50- and 30-year trend periods exhibit no change. Although the frequency of high flows has increased at some streamgages and trend periods in Missouri, these increases are not as widespread as the increases in the magnitude of peak streamflow.

Upward trends in observed temperature and observed annual precipitation dominate in all trend periods, with no downward trends in precipitation and only two somewhat likely downward trends in temperature for the 100-year trend period. Increases in annual precipitation mostly are limited to southern Missouri for the 30-year trend period. The proportion of precipitation falling as snow has largely decreased in the study basins across the State, which is expected in response to increasing temperature. Upward trends in modeled annual runoff, which in this study incorporates only the effects of climatic variation, are observed in the same geographic areas where there are increases in observed annual precipitation. When peak streamflow and climatic trends are considered together, widespread upward trends in peak streamflows for the 100-, 75-, and 50-year trend periods and for the 30-year trend period mainly in southern Missouri (encompassing both trends and abrupt change) appear to be driven largely by increases in precipitation based on spatial patterns and statistical relations.

The prevalence of nonstationarity in peak streamflow in Missouri has important implications for peak-flow frequency analysis. Winter and spring precipitation and the occurrence of extreme precipitation events are expected to increase across the State. If precipitation continues to increase as expected, peak-flow frequency estimates based on older records may no longer represent the hydrologic regime of today, and methods for nonstationary peak-flow frequency analysis may be needed.

Vegetation loss following vertical drowning of Mississippi River deltaic wetlands leads to faster microbial decomposition and decreases in soil carbon

Released April 15, 2024 10:37 EST

2024, JGR Biogeosciences (129)

Courtney Creamer, Mark Waldrop, Camille Stagg, Kristen L. Manies, Melissa Millman Baustian, Claudia Laurenzano, Tiong Gim Aw, Monica Haw, Sergio Merino, Donald R. Schoolmaster Jr., Sabrina N. Sevilgen, Rachel Katherine Villani, Eric Ward

Wetland ecosystems hold nearly a third of the global soil carbon pool, but as wetlands rapidly disappear the fate of this stored soil carbon is unclear. The aim of this study was to quantify and then link potential rates of microbial decomposition after vertical drowning of vegetated tidal marshes in coastal Louisiana to known drivers of anaerobic decomposition altered by vegetation loss. Profiles of potential CH4 and CO2 production (surface to 60 cm deep) were measured during anaerobic incubations, organic matter chemistry was assessed with infrared spectroscopy, and soil porewater nutrients and redox potentials were measured in the field along a chronosequence of wetland loss. After vertical drowning, pond soils had lower redox potentials, higher pH values, lower soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations, lower lignin: polysaccharide ratios, more NH4+ and PO43−, and higher rates of potential CO2 release than vegetated marsh soils. Potential CH4 production was similar in vegetated marshes and open water ponds, with depth-dependent decreases in CH4 production as soil carbon concentrations increased. In these anoxic soils, vegetation loss exerts a primary control on decomposition rates because flooding drives sustained increases in porewater nutrient availability (NH4+ and PO43, dissolved organic carbon) and decreases in redox potential (from −150 to −500 mV) that lead to higher potential CO2 fluxes within a few years. Without new carbon inputs following wetland loss, the sustained decomposition in open water ponds may lead to losses of stored soil carbon and could influence global carbon budgets.

Paleoenvironmental and paleoecological dynamics of the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain prior to and during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Released April 15, 2024 09:22 EST

2024, Journal of Foraminiferal Research (54) 143-171

Monika Doubrawa, Peter Stassen, Marci M. Robinson, Robert P. Speijer

We studied the rapid paleo-environmental changes and the corresponding biotic responses of benthic foraminifera of a shallow shelf site during the late Paleocene and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The PETM is globally characterized by a negative δ13C excursion in marine and terrestrial sediments. Isotope data from the Atlantic Coastal Plain from the South Dover Bridge core, Maryland, show an additional small δ13C excursion just below the base of the PETM: the “pre-onset excursion” (POE). The benthic foraminiferal and coupled grain-size record of the late Paleocene indicates a well-oxygenated, current-dominated environment with a stable, high food supply. During the POE, bottom currents become subdued and finer-grained sediment accumulation increased. These changes are partially reversed after the end of the POE. Before the PETM the river influence increases again, food supply becomes more pulsed and the benthic taxa, typically connected to the PETM, start to appear in those gradually warming conditions. During the PETM, the environment shifts to a river-dominated one, with strongly reduced currents. The low-diversity PETM fauna thrives under episodic low-oxygen conditions, caused by river-induced stratification, while the Paleocene assemblage nearly vanishes from the record. Gradually the environment begins to recover, the grain size shows an uptick in bottom currents and pre-PETM foraminifera become more abundant again, indicating increased oxygen levels and a more stable food supply. While the overall environmental shifts at South Dover Bridge fit within the observations across the shelf, the POE related insights are so far unique. Our bathymetric reconstructions show an outer neritic paleodepth (∼100 m) during the Paleocene, with a modest sea level rise in the core phase of the PETM, which is subsequently reversed during the recovery phase.

Benthic foraminiferal community changes across the Miocene climatic optimum Identified by SHEBI analysis (SHE analysis for biozone identification), Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA

Released April 15, 2024 09:03 EST

2024, Journal of Foraminiferal Research (54) 188-197

Seth R. Sutton, Stephen J. Culver, Lee-Ann Hayek, David J. Mallinson, Marci M. Robinson, Harry J. Dowsett, Martin A. Buzas

The Calvert Cliffs, MD, an iconic section of Middle Miocene strata, have been well studied both paleontologically and stratigraphically for over a century. However, few studies of the Calvert Cliffs have looked at the benthic foraminifera. This study uses SHEBI analysis (SHE analysis for biozone identification) of benthic foraminiferal assemblages to analyze community change in the Calvert and Choptank formations of the Calvert Cliffs deposited during the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO; 17–14.8 Ma) and the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (MMCT; 14.8–13.8 Ma). SHE analysis differs from traditional analytical methods by defining communities based on changes in diversity rather than the relative abundance of individual species. This study uses SHE analysis on a composite section of benthic foraminiferal assemblages from three vertical transects that span the MCO and MMCT. Two communities were identified from the studied strata. Community 1 was deposited during the MCO and includes incised valley fill (IVF), transgressive system tract (TST), and highstand system tract (HST) deposits. Community 2, deposited during the MMCT, is composed of samples from TST, HST, IVF, and another HST. The assemblages of community 1 are representative of an inner to middle shelf environment whereas those of community 2 are representative of an inner shelf environment. The two foraminiferal communities differentiated by SHE analysis indicate a high relative sea level in the Salisbury Embayment during the warm MCO followed by a decrease in sea level during the subsequent cooler MMCT.

Remotely mapping gullying and incision in Maryland Piedmont headwater streams using repeat airborne lidar

Released April 15, 2024 07:21 EST

2024, Geomorphology (455)

Marina Metes, Andrew J. Miller, Matthew E. Baker, Kristina G. Hopkins, Daniel Jones

Headwater streams can contribute significant amounts of fine sediment to downstream waterways, especially when severely eroded and incised. Potential upstream sediment source identification is crucial for effective management of water quality, aquatic habitat, and sediment loads in a watershed. This study explored topographic openness (TO) derived from 1-m lidar for its ability to predict incision in headwater streams and to remotely detect changes in incision over time. Field surveys were conducted in one forested and two recently urbanized headwater watersheds in the Maryland Piedmont physiographic province, USA to characterize the level of stream channel incision (none, moderate, or severe) in the main stem of each watershed. Predictions of the severity of stream channel incision derived from TO were compared against the field surveys. Channel incision was detected with an overall accuracy of 67 %, with best performance in reaches with either severe or no incision (79–86 % accuracy). The method was also applied to repeat lidar collected over the same area to model the extent of channel incision in 2002 before urban development began and in 2008 and 2013 during active construction in the urban watersheds. Results showed increasing incision over time in all three watersheds, with similar patterns in the forested and urban watersheds. This new method of remotely measuring channel incision can be used to identify potential sediment sources across a watershed, enhance water and habitat quality predictions, and detect changes over time where multiple years of overlapping lidar are available.

    Basin-scale responses of groundwater-resource quality to drought and recovery, San Joaquin Valley, California

    Released April 15, 2024 06:59 EST

    2024, Hydrological Processes (38)

    Zeno Levy, Bryant Jurgens, Kirsten Faulkner, Jennifer S. Harkness, Miranda S. Fram

    Groundwater-resource quality is assumed to be less responsive to drought compared to that of surface water due to relatively long transit times of recharge to drinking-supply wells. Here, we evidence dynamic perturbations in aquifer pressure dynamics during drought and subsequent recovery periods cause dramatic shifts in groundwater quality on a basin scale. We used a novel application of time-series clustering on annual nitrate anomalies at >450 public-supply wells (PSWs) across California's San Joaquin Valley during 2000–22 to group sub-populations of wells with similar water-quality responses to drought. Additionally, we statistically evaluated the direction and magnitude of multi-constituent water-quality changes across the San Joaquin Valley using a broader dataset of >3000 PSWs with data during two select hydrologic stress periods representing an extreme drought (2012–16) and subsequent recovery (2016–19). Results of time-series clustering and stress-period change analyses corroborate a predominant regional response to pumping stress characterized by increased concentrations of anthropogenic constituents (nitrate, total dissolved solids) and decreased concentrations of geogenic constituents (arsenic, fluoride), which largely reversed during recovery. Cluster analysis also identified a secondary, less commonly occurring group of PSWs where nitrate decreased during drought, but explanatory factor analysis was not able to discern hydrogeologic drivers for these two divergent response patterns. Long-term tracer data support the hypothesis that the predominant regional signal of nitrate increase during drought is caused by enhanced capture of modern-aged groundwater by PSWs during periods of pumping stress, which can drive rapid changes in water quality on seasonal and multiannual timescales. Pumping-induced migration of modern, oxic groundwater to depth during drought may affect geochemical conditions in deeper portions of regional aquifers controlling the mobility of geogenic contaminants over the long term.

    Late Triassic paleogeography of southern Laurentia and its fringing arcs: Insights from detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology and Hf isotope geochemistry, Auld Lang Syne basin (Nevada, USA)

    Released April 15, 2024 06:55 EST

    2024, GSA Bulletin

    Theresa Maude Schwartz, Sandra J. Wyld, Joseph Colgan, Douglas W. Prihar

    Fluvial strata of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation and Dockum Group, exposed across the Western Interior of North America, have long been interpreted to record a transcontinental river system that connected the ancestral Ouachita orogen of Texas and Oklahoma, USA, to the Auld Lang Syne basin of northwestern Nevada, USA, its inferred marine terminus. Fluvial strata are well-characterized by existing detrital zircon data, but the provenance of the Auld Lang Syne basin is poorly constrained. We present new detrital zircon U-Pb and Hf isotopic data that characterize the provenance of Norian siliciclastic strata that dominate the Auld Lang Syne basin. Mixture modeling of Auld Lang Syne basin data identifies the Alleghany−Ouachita−Marathon belt of eastern Laurentia as a dominant source of sediment, but the presence of Triassic detrital zircon grains in Auld Lang Syne basin strata indicates that at least one peri-Laurentian arc segment had to have also contributed sediment. A comparison of new Hf isotopic data with those characterizing various peri-Laurentian volcanic arcs demonstrates that although multiple arc segments may have simultaneously contributed zircons to the Auld Lang Syne basin, the west Pangean arc of northern Mexico stands out as a unique source of highly evolved Permian to Triassic detrital zircon grains in samples from the Auld Lang Syne basin. Altogether, our data and analyses demonstrate source-to-sink connectivity between the Late Triassic (Norian) Cordilleran margin and remnant late Paleozoic highlands of southern to eastern Laurentia, which ultimately framed a Mississippi River−scale, transcontinental watershed that traversed the topographically subdued Laurentian continental interior.

    National shoreline change—Summary statistics for vector shorelines from the early 1900s to the 2010s for Puerto Rico

    Released April 12, 2024 14:30 EST

    2024, Data Report 1191

    Rachel E. Henderson, Julia L. Heslin, Emily A. Himmelstoss, Maritza Barreto-Orta

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a database of historical shoreline positions for the United States coasts derived from historical sources, such as aerial photographs or topographic surveys, and contemporary sources, such as modern orthophotography, light detection and ranging (lidar) point clouds, and digital elevation models. These shorelines are compiled within a geographic information system and analyzed in the USGS Digital Shoreline Analysis System (version 5.1) software to calculate rates of change. Keeping a record of historical shoreline positions is an effective method to monitor change over time, enabling scientists and resource managers to identify areas that are historically most susceptible to erosion or accretion.

    The effort in this report represents an expansion of the USGS national-scale shoreline database to include Puerto Rico and the islands of the territory, Vieques and Culebra. The USGS, in cooperation with the Coastal Research and Planning Institute of Puerto Rico (part of the Graduate School of Planning at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus) has derived and compiled a database of historical shoreline positions for Puerto Rico from the early 1900s through 2018, with the goal of providing beneficial insight for coastal managers and communities vulnerable to coastal change.

    Using ground crack and very low frequency measurements to map the location of the June 2007 Father’s Day dike, Kīlauea Volcano

    Released April 12, 2024 12:12 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5030

    Tim R. Orr, James P. Kauahikaua, Christina Heliker

    An intrusion into Kīlauea’s upper East Rift Zone during June 17–19, 2007, during the 1983–2018 Pu‘u‘ō‘ō eruption, led to widespread ground cracking and a small (approximately 1,525 cubic meters) eruption on the northeast flank of Kānenuiohamo, a cone about 6 kilometers upslope from Pu‘u‘ō‘ō. Transmitted and induced very low frequency (VLF) magnetic fields were measured with a handheld VLF receiver along transects spanning the dike trace, and zones of ground cracking related to the intrusion were mapped. The locations of crack zones and the VLF receiver measurements suggest that the Father’s Day dike splayed as it approached the surface, dividing into four segments—one between Pauahi Crater and Pu‘uhuluhulu and three en echelon segments near Kānenuiohamo. The dike did not extend appreciably northeastward beyond the eruption site.

    Seasonal and species-level water-use strategies and groundwater dependence in dryland riparian woodlands during extreme drought

    Released April 12, 2024 10:51 EST

    2024, Water Resources Research (60)

    Jared Williams, John C. Stella, Michael Bliss Singer, Adam M. Lambert, Steven L. Voelker, John E. Drake, J. M. Friedman, Lissa Pelletier, Li Kui, Dar A. Roberts

    Drought-induced groundwater decline and warming associated with climate change are primary threats to dryland riparian woodlands. We used the extreme 2012–2019 drought in southern California as a natural experiment to assess how differences in water-use strategies and groundwater dependence may influence the drought susceptibility of dryland riparian tree species with overlapping distributions. We analyzed tree-ring stable carbon and oxygen isotopes collected from two cottonwood species (Populus trichocarpa and Pfremontii) along the semi-arid Santa Clara River. We also modeled tree source water δ18O composition to compare with observed source water δ18O within the floodplain to infer patterns of groundwater reliance. Our results suggest that both species functioned as facultative phreatophytes that used shallow soil moisture when available but ultimately relied on groundwater to maintain physiological function during drought. We also observed apparent species differences in water-use strategies and groundwater dependence related to their regional distributions. Pfremontii was constrained to more arid river segments and ostensibly used a greater proportion of groundwater to satisfy higher evaporative demand. Pfremontii maintained ∆13C at pre-drought levels up until the peak of the drought, when trees experienced a precipitous decline in ∆13C. This response pattern suggests that trees prioritized maintaining photosynthetic processes over hydraulic safety, until a critical point. In contrast, Ptrichocarpa showed a more gradual and sustained reduction in ∆13C, indicating that drought conditions induced stomatal closure and higher water use efficiency. This strategy may confer drought avoidance for Ptrichocarpa while increasing its susceptibility to anticipated climate warming.

    Management implications of habitat selection by whooping cranes (Grus americana) on the Texas coast

    Released April 12, 2024 10:35 EST

    2024, Ecosphere (15)

    Sarah E. Lehnen, Steven E. Sesnie, Matthew J. Butler, Aaron T. Pearse, Kristine L. Metzger

    Effective habitat management for rare and endangered species requires a thorough understanding of their specific habitat requirements. Although machine learning models have been increasingly used in the analyses of habitat use by wildlife, the primary focus of these models has been on generating spatial predictions. In this study, we used machine learning models in combination with simulated management actions to guide planning and inform managers. We used data from 61 whooping cranes (Grus americana) tagged with GPS telemetry collars between 2009 and 2018 near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Texas. We included variables based on topography, land use classification, vegetation height, plant phenology, drought, storm surge events, and both wild and prescribed fires. We then built models at multiple scales: population level, home range level, and roosting and daytime within home range level. We simulated responses to the two primary management actions used to enhance whooping crane habitat on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: prescribed fire and removal of woody vegetation. At the population and home range scales, land use classification variables had the highest importance values, whereas the combined elevation and bathymetry layer was the most important predictor at both roosting and daytime within home range scales. Our findings revealed that the effects of fire, although generally modest, varied spatially. Areas dominated by estuarine wetlands exhibited higher predicted use within the first months after a fire, whereas those dominated by palustrine wetlands were more likely to be avoided in the immediate postfire years. Our simulation of vegetation removal identified the areas on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge where whooping cranes were predicted to benefit the most if vegetation were removed. These techniques can be used by other researchers wanting to examine and predict the effects of potential management actions on target species habitat.

    Modeling the impacts of Glen Canyon Dam operations on Colorado River resources

    Released April 12, 2024 06:43 EST

    2024, Report

    Charles Yackulic, Lucas Bair, Drew Elliot Eppehimer, Gerard Lewis Salter, Bridget Deemer, Bradley J. Butterfield, Alan Kasprak, Joshua Caster, Helen C. Fairley, Paul Grams, Bryce Anthony Mihalevich, Emily C. Palmquist, Joel B. Sankey

    Meredith A. Hartwell, editor(s)

    At the time of this report, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is writing two supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (sEIS ) and a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will analyze the effects of changing water flow out of Glen Canyon Dam (GCD) (U.S. Department of Interior, 2024). These actions have the potential to affect downstream resources, including threatened and endangered species, in the Grand Canyon. This report covers modeling support provided on the two sEIS by the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC; U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center). The first sEIS (Interim Guidelines sEIS) modifies Reclamation’s 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead (USBR, 2007) that determines annual water releases from GCD based on inflow to Lake Powell, the power generating requirements of GCD, and relative lake levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Drought conditions have lowered the level of Lake Powell and may require GCD to release less water than was analyzed in the Interim EIS (7-million-acre feet/year). The effect of less water released, as well as lower lake levels and associated water quality concerns, on downstream resources was not analyzed in the 2007 Interim Guidelines EIS. Reclamation requested GCMRC support to provide models predicting the effects to resources of water releases lower than 7M acre feet/year, including models predicting effects to threatened and endangered species for use in a Biological Assessment.

    Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) case definition for wildlife

    Released April 11, 2024 09:24 EST

    2024, Techniques and Methods 19-I1

    Aine C. Hawthorn, Michelle Dennis, Yasu Kiryu, Jan Landsberg, Ester Peters, Thierry M. Work

    Diagnostic laboratories receive carcasses and samples for diagnostic evaluation and pathogen/toxin detection. Case definitions bring clarity and consistency to the evaluation process. Their use within and between organizations allows more uniform reporting of diseases and etiologic agents. The intent of a case definition is to provide scientifically based criteria for determining (a) if an individual carcass has a specific disease and degree of confidence in that diagnosis and (b) if there is evidence of a pathogen or toxin in a carcass or sample (for example, swab, tissue sample, skin scraping, blood/serum sample, environmental sample, or other). This case definition is specific to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLC) and applies to several species of scleractinian corals across seven families: Faviidae, Meandrinidae, Merulinidae, Montastraeidae, Astrocoeniidae, Scleractinia, and Siderastreidae. Other species presumed to be susceptible are in Families Agaridiidae, Faviidae, and Pocilloporidae.

    Ungulate migrations of the Western United States, volume 4

    Released April 11, 2024 07:56 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5006

    Matthew Kauffman, Blake Lowrey, Chloe Beaupre, Scott Bergen, Stefanie Bergh, Kevin Blecha, Samantha Bundick, Hunter Burkett, James W. Cain III, Peyton Carl, David Casady, Corey Class, Alyson Courtemanch, Michelle Cowardin, Jennifer Diamond, Katie Dugger, Orrin Duvuvuei, Joanna R. Ennis, Michelle Flenner, Jessica Fort, Gary Fralick, Ian Freeman, Jeff Gagnon, David Garcelon, Kyle Garrison, Emily Gelzer, Evan Greenspan, Valerie Hinojoza-Rood, Pat Hnilicka, Andy Holland, Brian Hudgens, Bart Kroger, Art Lawson, Cody McKee, Jennifer L. McKee, Jerod Merkle, Tony W. Mong, Haley Nelson, Brendan Oates, Marie-Pier Poulin, Craig Reddell, Robert Ritson, Hall Sawyer, Cody Schroeder, Jessie Shapiro, Scott Sprague, Erik Steiner, Alethea Steingisser, Sam Stephens, Blair Stringham, Patrick Ryan Swazo-Hinds, Nicole Tatman, Cody F. Wallace, Don Whittaker, Benjamin Wise, Heiko U. Wittmer, Erin Wood

    Broadly distributed across the Western United States, ungulates (hooved mammals) play an important role in ecosystem function by affecting vegetation communities and forming the prey base for large carnivores. Additionally, ungulates provide economic benefits to regional communities through tourism and hunting and hold cultural significance for many Tribal communities. Many ungulates migrate seasonally between distinct summer and winter ranges to take advantage of spatially and temporally variable food sources and avoid threats such as predators and deep snow. Increasingly, these migrations are threatened by the growing human footprint and associated subdivisions, energy development, and increased traffic volume. Efforts to study ungulate populations and conserve their migrations received support in recent years from the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Order No. 3362, which provided Federal support for enhancing habitat quality for ungulates across the Western States. In response to Secretarial Order No. 3362, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) established the Corridor Mapping Team, a collaboration among USGS and participating State and Federal wildlife management agencies and numerous Tribal Nations. Together, the Corridor Mapping Team maps ungulate migrations throughout the Western United States in the USGS “Ungulate Migrations of the Western United States” report series. This report (volume 4) details migrations and seasonal ranges from 31 new herds throughout nine Western States. Additionally, this report includes updates to two herds published in previous reports. Including this report, the report series has provided the mapped migrations and seasonal ranges of 182 unique herds and has provided a map-based inventory of the documented ungulate migrations across the Western United States for biologists, managers, policy makers, and conservation practitioners. This report also discusses how the mapping efforts associated with the Corridor Mapping Team can be used to guide management and policy regarding renewable energy development and ungulate disease, specifically chronic wasting disease, in the Western United States.

    Global patterns of allochthony in stream–riparian meta-ecosystems

    Released April 11, 2024 07:15 EST

    2024, Ecology Letters (27)

    Daniel C. Allen, James H. Larson, Christina Amy Murphy, Erica A. Garcia, Kurt E. Anderson, Michelle H. Busch, Alba Argerich, Alice M. Belskis, Kierstyn T. Higgins, Brooke E Penaluna, Veronica Saenz, Jay E. Jones, Matt R. Whiles

    Ecosystems that are coupled by reciprocal flows of energy and nutrient subsidies can be viewed as a single “meta-ecosystem.” Despite these connections, the reciprocal flow of subsidies is greatly asymmetrical and seasonally pulsed. Here, we synthesize existing literature on stream–riparian meta-ecosystems to quantify global patterns of the amount of subsidy consumption by organisms, known as “allochthony.” These resource flows are important since they can comprise a large portion of consumer diets, but can be disrupted by human modification of streams and riparian zones. Despite asymmetrical subsidy flows, we found stream and riparian consumer allochthony to be equivalent. Although both fish and stream invertebrates rely on seasonally pulsed allochthonous resources, we find allochthony varies seasonally only for fish, being nearly three times greater during the summer and fall than during the winter and spring. We also find that consumer allochthony varies with feeding traits for aquatic invertebrates, fish, and terrestrial arthropods, but not for terrestrial vertebrates. Finally, we find that allochthony varies by climate for aquatic invertebrates, being nearly twice as great in arid climates than in tropical climates, but not for fish. These findings are critical to understanding the consequences of global change, as ecosystem connections are being increasingly disrupted.

    Integrating social-ecological outcomes into invasive species management: The Tamarix case

    Released April 11, 2024 07:04 EST

    2024, NeoBiota (92) 173-192

    Eduardo Gonzalez-Sargas, Patrick B. Shafroth, Francesc Baro

    Incorporating societal considerations into decisions related to invasive species management is desirable, but can be challenging because it requires a solid understanding of the ecological functions and socio-cultural and economic benefits and values of the invaded environment before and after invasion. The ecosystem service (ES) concept was designed to facilitate such decision-making by establishing direct connections between ecosystem properties and human well-being, but its application in invasive species management has not been systematic. In this Discussion paper, we propose the adoption of the ES cascade model as a framework for understanding the environmental effects, costs and benefits associated with controlling an invasive shrub (Tamarix spp.) in riparian systems of the western United States. The cascade model has the advantage of explicitly dissecting social-ecological systems into five components: ecosystem structure and processes, ecological functions, ecosystem services, benefits and the economic and socio-cultural valuation of these services and benefits. The first two have received significant attention in the evaluation of Tamarix control effectiveness. The last three have long been implicitly acknowledged over decades of Tamarix management in the region, but have not been formally accounted for, which we believe would increase the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of management efforts.

    Tracking magma pathways and surface faulting in the Southwest Rift Zone and the Koaʻe fault system (Kīlauea volcano, Hawai ‘i) using photogrammetry and structural observations

    Released April 11, 2024 06:50 EST

    2024, Bulletin of Volcanology (86)

    Stefano Mannini, Joël Ruch, Richard W. Hazlett, Drew T. Downs, Carolyn Parcheta, Steven P. Lundblad, James Anderson, Ryan L. Perroy, Nicolas Oestreicher

    Volcanic islands are often subject to flank instability, resulting from a combination of magmatic intrusions along rift zones and gravitational spreading causing extensional faulting at the surface. Here, we study the Koaʻe fault system (KFS), located south of the summit caldera of Kīlauea volcano in Hawaiʻi, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, prone to active faulting, episodic dike intrusions, and flank instability. Two rift zones and the KFS are major structures controlling volcanic flank instability and magma propagation. Although several magmatic intrusions occurred over the KFS, the link between these faults, two nearby rift zones and the flank instability, is still poorly studied. To better characterize the KFS and its structural linkage with the surrounding fault and rift zones, we performed a detailed structural analysis of the extensional fault system, coupled with a helicopter photogrammetric survey, covering part of the south flank of Kīlauea. We generated a high-resolution DEM (~ 8 cm) and orthomosaic (~ 4 cm) to map the fracture field in detail. We also collected ~ 1000 ground structural measurements of extensional fractures during our three field missions (2019, 2022, and 2023). We observed many small, interconnected grabens, monoclines, rollover structures, and en-echelon fractures that were in part previously undocumented. We estimate the cumulative displacement rate across the KFS during the last 600 ~ 700 years and found a decrease toward the west of the horizontal component from 2 to 6 cm per year, consistent with GNSS data. Integrating morphology observations, fault mapping, and kinematic measurements, we propose a new kinematic model of the upper part of the Kīlauea’s south flank, suggesting a clockwise rotation and a translation of a triangular wedge. This wedge is bordered by the extensional structures (ERZ, SWRZ, and the KFS), largely influenced by gravitational spreading. These findings illustrate a structural linkage between the two rift zones and the KFS, the latter being episodically affected by dike intrusions.

    Where east meets west: Phylogeography of the high Arctic North American brant goose

    Released April 10, 2024 06:57 EST

    2024, Ecology and Evolution (14)

    Robert Wilson, Sean Boyd, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, David H. Ward, Preben Clausen, Kathryn Dickson, Bartwolt Ebbinge, Gudmundur Gudmundsson, George Sage, Jolene Rearick, Dirk V. Derksen, Sandra Talbot

    Genetic variation in Arctic species is often influenced by vicariance during the Pleistocene, as ice sheets fragmented the landscape and displaced populations to low- and high-latitude refugia. The formation of secondary contact or suture zones during periods of ice sheet retraction has important consequences on genetic diversity by facilitating genetic connectivity between formerly isolated populations. Brant geese (Branta bernicla) are a maritime migratory waterfowl (Anseriformes) species that almost exclusively uses coastal habitats. Within North America, brant geese are characterized by two phenotypically distinct subspecies that utilize disjunct breeding and wintering areas in the northern Pacific and Atlantic. In the Western High Arctic of Canada, brant geese consist of individuals with an intermediate phenotype that are rarely observed nesting outside this region. We examined the genetic structure of brant geese populations from each subspecies and areas consisting of intermediate phenotypes using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequence data and microsatellite loci. We found a strong east–west partition in both marker types consistent with refugial populations. Within subspecies, structure was also observed at mtDNA while microsatellite data suggested the presence of only two distinct genetic clusters. The Western High Arctic (WHA) appears to be a secondary contact zone for both Atlantic and Pacific lineages as mtDNA and nuclear genotypes were assigned to both subspecies, and admixed individuals were observed in this region. The mtDNA sequence data outside WHA suggests no or very restricted intermixing between Atlantic and Pacific wintering populations which is consistent with published banding and telemetry data. Our study indicates that, although brant geese in the WHA are not a genetically distinct lineage, this region may act as a reservoir of genetic diversity and may be an area of high conservation value given the potential of low reproductive output in this species.

    Patterns of marsh surface accretion rates along salinity and hydroperiod gradients between active and inactive coastal deltaic floodplains

    Released April 10, 2024 06:43 EST

    2024, Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science (301)

    Andy F. Cassaway, Robert R. Twilley, Andre S. Rovai, G.A. Snedden

    High subsidence rates are inherent to coastal deltas worldwide, contributing to rapid rates of relative sea-level rise and compromising the sustainability of coastal wetlands. Different parts of river deltas, however, experience accretion or erosion, depending on the coupling between ecological and morphological processes. Wetland expansion occurs in active deltaic coastal basins that are connected to riverine sedimentation. In contrast, wetland degradation occurs in inactive deltaic coastal basins where river engineering strategies associated with flood control restrict river connectivity. Here, we investigated the relative role of inorganic and organic loading to marsh accretion rates spanning fresh to brackish to saline zones between active and inactive coastal deltaic floodplains of the Mississippi River Delta. Marsh surface accretion rates monitored over 36 months using the feldspar marker horizon technique ranged from 1.24 ± 0.35 cm yr−1 in the freshwater marsh to 2.94 ± 0.51 cm yr−1 in the saline marsh in the inactive coastal basin compared to an opposite trend in the active coastal basin with a low vertical accretion rate in the saline site at 1.12 ± 0.17 cm yr−1 and higher accretion values at the freshwater site (2.14 ± 0.49 cm yr−1). Our results suggest that saline marshes have high resilience identified by high vertical accretion rates exceeding those of river-dominated freshwater marshes in active deltaic floodplains. Overall, the marsh surface accretionary patterns detected in this study underscores the relative contribution of organic and inorganic sediments to elevation capital across salinity gradients between active and inactive basins in coastal Louisiana with particular interest to river management and restoration strategies. These findings, however, are applicable to coastal deltaic floodplains elsewhere given the repetition geomorphic forcings (e.g., relative contribution of riverine, tidal and wave power) and coastal typologies worldwide.


    2021 Volcanic activity in Alaska and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

    Released April 09, 2024 10:05 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5014

    Tim R. Orr, Hannah R. Dietterich, David Fee, Társilo Girona, Ronni Grapenthin, Matthew M. Haney, Matthew W. Loewen, John J. Lyons, John A. Power, Hans F. Schwaiger, David J. Schneider, Darren Tan, Liam Toney, Valerie K. Wasser, Christopher F. Waythomas

    In 2021, the Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, volcanic unrest or suspected unrest, increased seismicity, and other significant activity at 15 volcanic centers in Alaska and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Eruptive activity in Alaska consisted of repeated small, ash-producing, phreatomagmatic explosions from Mount Young on Semisopochnoi Island; an explosion at Great Sitkin Volcano followed by the eruption of a thick lava flow that filled and overflowed the summit crater; weak explosive activity and the eruption of small, channelized flows at Pavlof Volcano; and a short-lived eruption at Mount Veniaminof that produced ash emissions from an intracaldera cone, as well as lava flows confined to a melt pit in the ice mantling the cone’s flank. Mount Cleveland had a period of unrest, but no eruptive activity took place there. Anomalous seismicity was also detected at Atka volcanic complex, Mount Gareloi, and Davidof volcano. New warm springs opened and deposited mud at the summit and north base of Shrub mud volcano. Other activity of note in Alaska consisted of large ice and rock avalanches at Iliamna Volcano and Mount Spurr, ash resuspension events at Mount Katmai and Aniakchak Crater, and anomalous deformation at Mount Okmok that was consistent with a shallow intrusion of magma. In the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, a brief, ash-producing eruption occurred at Mount Pagan.

    2020 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

    Released April 09, 2024 10:04 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5004

    Tim R. Orr, Cheryl Cameron, Hannah R. Dietterich, Matthew W. Loewen, Taryn Lopez, John J. Lyons, Jenny Nakai, John A. Power, Cheryl Searcy, Gabrielle Tepp, Christopher F. Waythomas

    The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, volcanic unrest or suspected unrest, increased seismicity, and other significant activity at nine volcanic centers in Alaska in 2020. The most notable volcanic activity in 2020 was an eruption of Shishaldin Volcano, which produced lava flows, lahars, and ash. Mount Cleveland had one small ash-producing eruption in June but was quiet thereafter. Other activity documented in 2020 consisted of elevated seismicity at the volcanoes Mount Veniaminof, Pavlof Volcano, Makushin Volcano, Atka volcanic complex (Korovin Volcano), Great Sitkin Volcano, and Semisopochnoi Island. Finally, the resuspension of ash deposited during the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai eruption was documented on three occasions.

    Rainfall reduces the potential for competitive suppression of a globally endangered ungulate by livestock

    Released April 08, 2024 08:35 EST

    2024, Biological Conservation (292)

    Saeideh Esmaeili, Mahmoud-Reza Hemami, Petra Kaczensky, Kathryn A. Schoenecker, Sarah R.B. King, Bahareh Shahriari, Chris Walzer, Jake Goheen

    Protected areas often are too small to house populations of wide-ranging species. Viability of wildlife populations therefore depends on whether interactions with humans and their land uses are negative, neutral, or positive. In central Iran, we measured interactions between globally endangered onagers (Equus hemionus onager) and livestock by analyzing remotely-sensed vegetation metrics within livestock grazing areas, tracking 9 animals with GPS telemetry, and assessing onagers' diet quality through analysis of fecal samples. Resource selection by onagers depended both on season and the presence of livestock. During the dry season, livestock reduced forage (some combination of forage biomass and forage quality) compared to pre-grazing periods, demonstrating potential for competitive suppression of onagers by livestock when resources are scarce. Additionally, and during both seasons, selection for forage by onagers was accentuated at night when livestock were absent, indicating onager avoidance of livestock. During the wet season, onagers exposed to livestock exhibited higher-quality diets than those that did not co-occur with livestock, suggesting that livestock grazing may potentially enhance forage quality for onagers. Consequently, collaboration with pastoralists to regularly rotate the locations of dry and wet season leases could alleviate negative effects of livestock grazing on onagers. Similar to other cases in multi-use landscapes, temporal shifts in the strength of competition—driven by diel cycles and seasonal rainfall—may characterize wildlife-livestock interactions in Iran and elsewhere in Asian rangelands. Our study highlights the possibility that conservation of an endangered mammal could be compatible with livestock production, at least during wet seasons.

    A high-resolution, daily hindcast (1990-2021) of Alaskan river discharge and temperature from coupled and optimized physical models

    Released April 08, 2024 07:25 EST

    2024, Water Resources Research (60)

    Dylan Blaskey, Michael Gooseff, Yifan Cheng, Andrew Newman, Joshua C. Koch, Keith Musselman

    Water quality and freshwater ecosystems are affected by river discharge and temperature. Models are frequently used to estimate river temperature on large spatial and temporal scales due to limited observations of discharge and temperature. In this study, we use physically based river routing and temperature models to simulate daily discharge and river temperature for rivers in 138 basins in Alaska, including the entire Yukon River basin, from 1990–2021. The river temperature model was optimized for ice free months using a surrogate-based model optimization method, improving model performance at uncalibrated river gages. A common statistical model relating local air and water temperature was used as a benchmark. The physically based river temperature model exhibited superior performance compared to the benchmark statistical model after optimization, suggesting river temperature model optimization could become more routine. The river temperature model demonstrated high sensitivity to air temperature and model parameterization, and lower sensitivity to discharge. Validation of the models showed a Kling-Gupta Efficiency of 0.46 for daily river discharge and a root mean square error of 2.04°C for daily river temperature, improving on the non-optimized physical model and the benchmark statistical model, which had root mean square errors of 3.24 and 2.97°C, respectively. The simulation shows that rivers in northern Alaska have higher maximum summer temperatures and more variability than rivers in the Central and Southern regions. Furthermore, this framework can be readily adapted for use across models and regions.

    Opportunities and challenges for precipitation forcing data in post-wildfire hydrologic modeling applications

    Released April 08, 2024 06:51 EST

    2024, WIREs Water

    Trevor Fuess Partridge, Zachary Johnson, Rachel Sleeter, Sharon L. Qi, Michelle A. Walvoord, Sheila F. Murphy, Cara L. Peterman-Phipps, Brian A. Ebel

    The frequency and extent of wildfires have increased in recent decades with immediate and cascading effects on water availability in many regions of the world. Precipitation is used as primary input to hydrologic models and is a critical driver of post-wildfire hydrologic hazards including debris flows, flash floods, water-quality effects, and reservoir sedimentation. These models are valuable tools for understanding the hydrologic response to wildfire but require accurate precipitation data at suitable spatial and temporal resolutions. Wildfires often occur in data-sparse, headwater catchments in complex terrain, and post-wildfire hydrologic effects are particularly sensitive to high-intensity, short-duration precipitation events, which are highly variable and difficult to measure or estimate. Therefore, the assessment and prediction of wildfire-induced changes to watershed hydrology, including the associated effects on ecosystems and communities, are complicated by uncertainty in precipitation data. When direct measurements of precipitation are not available, datasets of indirect measurements or estimates are often used. Choosing the most appropriate precipitation dataset can be difficult as different datasets have unique trade-offs in terms of spatial and temporal accuracy, resolution, and completeness. Here, we outline the challenges and opportunities associated with different precipitation datasets as they apply to post-wildfire hydrologic models and modeling objectives. We highlight the need for expanded precipitation gage deployment in wildfire-prone areas and discuss potential opportunities for future research and the integration of precipitation data from disparate sources into a common hydrologic modeling framework.

    Predator disturbance contributed to Common Murre Uria aalge breeding failures in Cook Inlet, Alaska following the 2014–2016 Pacific marine heatwave

    Released April 07, 2024 07:07 EST

    2024, Marine Onithology (52) 129-139

    Caitlin Elizabeth Marsteller, Mayumi L. Arimitsu, Sarah K. Schoen, Samuel B Stark, John F. Piatt

    The 2014-2016 Pacific marine heatwave caused unprecedented die-offs and multi-year reproductive failures for Common Murres Uria aalge along the west coast of North America. Lingering impacts, such as declines in colony attendance and productivity, have persisted at some colonies following the heatwave and are attributed largely to changes in prey availability and quality. Here, we present evidence of an additional, top-down mechanism contributing to Common Murre breeding failures on Gull Island (Alaska): disturbance of nesting birds by aerial predators and associated egg depredation. We collected time-lapse images over five murre breeding seasons (2016-2020) on Gull Island to document the frequency, duration, and intensity of disturbances caused by aerial predators, as well as to quantify disturbance-associated egg depredation. To identify seasonal and inter-annual variability of disturbances, we calculated a daily disturbance index and compared years using generalized additive models. In all years, Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus were the primary cause of disturbance, which led to periods of prolonged colony abandonment by murres and facilitated high levels of murre egg depredation by Glaucous-winged Gulls Larus glaucescens and Herring Gulls L. argentatus. We found that the seasonality of disturbance was an important factor in determining egg depredation rates. In years when disturbance levels were high and persisted later in the season, the colony experienced complete breeding failures due to disturbance-associated egg depredation. Our study revealed that the response of nesting murres to a strong environmental perturbation, such as the Pacific marine heatwave, can be complex and involve multiple stressors from both bottom-up and top-down factors.

    Intercomparison of same-day remote sensing data for measuring winter cover crop biophysical traits

    Released April 06, 2024 11:45 EST

    2024, Sensors (24)

    Alison Thieme, Kusuma Prabhakara, Jyoti Jennewein, Brian T Lamb, Gregory T. McCarty, W. Dean Hively

    Winter cover crops are planted during the fall to reduce nitrogen losses and soil erosion and improve soil health. Accurate estimations of winter cover crop performance and biophysical traits including biomass and fractional vegetative groundcover support accurate assessment of environmental benefits. We examined the comparability of measurements between ground-based and spaceborne sensors as well as between processing levels (e.g., surface vs. top-of-atmosphere reflectance) in estimating cover crop biophysical traits. This research examined the relationships between SPOT 5, Landsat 7, and WorldView-2 same-day paired satellite imagery and handheld multispectral proximal sensors on two days during the 2012–2013 winter cover crop season. We compared two processing levels from three satellites with spatially aggregated proximal data for red and green spectral bands as well as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). We then compared NDVI estimated fractional green cover to in-situ photographs, and we derived cover crop biomass estimates from NDVI using existing calibration equations. We used slope and intercept contrasts to test whether estimates of biomass and fractional green cover differed statistically between sensors and processing levels. Compared to top-of-atmosphere imagery, surface reflectance imagery were more closely correlated with proximal sensors, with intercepts closer to zero, regression slopes nearer to the 1:1 line, and less variance between measured values. Additionally, surface reflectance NDVI derived from satellites showed strong agreement with passive handheld multispectral proximal sensor-sensor estimated fractional green cover and biomass (adj. R 2 = 0.96 and 0.95; RMSE = 4.76% and 259 kg ha−1, respectively). Although active handheld multispectral proximal sensor-sensor derived fractional green cover and biomass estimates showed high accuracies (R 2 = 0.96 and 0.96, respectively), they also demonstrated large intercept offsets (−25.5 and 4.51, respectively). Our results suggest that many passive multispectral remote sensing platforms may be used interchangeably to assess cover crop biophysical traits whereas SPOT 5 required an adjustment in NDVI intercept. Active sensors may require separate calibrations or intercept correction prior to combination with passive sensor data. Although surface reflectance products were highly correlated with proximal sensors, the standardized cloud mask failed to completely capture cloud shadows in Landsat 7, which dampened the signal of NIR and red bands in shadowed pixels.

    Versatile modeling of deformation (VMOD) inversion framework: Application to 20 years of observations at Westdahl Volcano and Fisher Caldera, Alaska, US

    Released April 06, 2024 09:01 EST

    2024, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (25)

    Mario Angarita, Ronni Grapenthin, Scott Henderson, Michael S Christoffersen, Kyle R. Anderson

    We developed an open source, extensible Python-based framework, that we call the Versatile Modeling of Deformation (VMOD), for forward and inverse modeling of crustal deformation sources. VMOD abstracts from specific source model implementations, data types and inversion methods. We implement the most common geodetic source models which can be combined to model and analyze multi-source deformation. VMOD supports Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), InSAR, electronic distance measurement, Leveling and tilt data. To infer source characteristics from observations, VMOD implements non-linear least squares and Markov Chain Monte-Carlo Bayesian inversions, including joint inversions using different sources of data. VMOD's structure allows for easy integration of new geodetic models, data types, and inversion strategies. We benchmark the forward models against other published results and the inversion approaches against other implementations. We apply VMOD to analyze deformation at Unimak Island, Alaska, observed with continuous and campaign GNSS, and ascending and descending InSAR time series generated from Sentinel-1 satellite radar acquisitions. These data show an inflation pattern at Westdahl volcano and subsidence at Fisher Caldera. We use VMOD to test a range of source models by jointly inverting the GNSS and InSAR data sets. Our final model simultaneously constrains the parameters of two sources. Our results reveal a depressurizing spheroid under Fisher Caldera ∼4–6 km deep, contracting at a rate of ∼2–3 Mm3/yr, and a pressurizing spherical source underneath Westdahl volcano ∼6–8 km deep, inflating at ∼5 Mm3/yr. This and past applications of VMOD to volcanic unrest benefit from an extensible framework which supports jointly inversions of data sets for parameters of easily composable multi-source models.

    Eutrophication saturates surface elevation change potential in tidal mangrove forests

    Released April 06, 2024 06:52 EST

    2024, Estuaries and Coasts

    Jeremy R. Conrad, Ken Krauss, Brian W. Benscoter, Ilka C. Feller, Nicole Cormier, Darren Johnson

    Coastal mangrove forests are at risk of being submerged due to sea-level rise (SLR). However, mangroves have persisted with changing sea levels due to a variety of biotic and physical feedback mechanisms that allow them to gain and maintain relative soil surface elevation. Therefore, mangrove’s resilience to SLR is dependent upon their ability to build soil elevation at a rate that tracks with SLR, or well-enough to migrate inland. Anthropogenic disturbances, such as altered hydrology and eutrophication, can degrade mangrove forest health and compromise this land building process, placing mangroves at greater risk. Much of Florida’s mangroves are adjacent to highly urbanized areas that produce nutrient-loaded runoff. This study assesses how experimental nutrient inputs in the eutrophic Caloosahatchee Estuary influence the soil surface elevation change (SEC) in two distinct mangrove zones. Annual rates of SEC were reduced by phosphorus additions and differed by mangrove zone, ranging from 0.67 ± 0.59 to 2.13 ± 0.61 and 4.21 ± 0.58 to 6.39 ± 0.59 mm year−1 in the fringe and basin zone, respectively. This suggests that eutrophication can reduce the maximum potential SEC response to SLR and that a mangrove forest’s vulnerability to SLR is not uniform throughout forest but can differ by mangrove zone.

    SSEBop evapotranspiration estimates using synthetically derived Landsat data from the continuous change detection and classification algorithm

    Released April 06, 2024 06:43 EST

    2024, Remote Sensing (16)

    Mikael Peter Hiestand, Heather J. Tollerud, W. Chris Funk, Gabriel B. Senay, Mackenzie Friedrichs, Kate Fickas

    The operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop) model has been utilized to generate gridded evapotranspiration data from Landsat images. These estimates are primarily driven by two sources of information: reference evapotranspiration and Landsat land surface temperature (LST) values. Hence, SSEBop is limited by the availability of Landsat data. Here, in this proof-of-concept paper, we utilize the Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC) algorithm to generate synthetic Landsat data, which are then used as input for SSEBop to generate evapotranspiration estimates for six target areas in the continental United States, representing forests, shrublands, and irrigated agriculture. These synthetic land cover data are then used to generate the LST data required for SSEBop evapotranspiration estimates. The synthetic LST, evaporative fractions, and evapotranspiration data from CCDC closely mirror the phenological cycles in the observed Landsat data. Across the six sites, the median correlation in seasonal LST was 0.79, and the median correlation in seasonal evapotranspiration was 0.8. The median root mean squared error (RMSE) values were 2.82 °C for LST and 0.50 mm/day for actual evapotranspiration. CCDC predictions typically underestimate the average evapotranspiration by less than 1 mm/day. The average performance of the CCDC evaporative fractions, and corresponding evapotranspiration estimates, were much better than the initial LST estimates and, therefore, promising. Future work could include bias correction to improve CCDC’s ability to accurately reproduce synthetic Landsat data during the summer, allowing for more accurate evapotranspiration estimates, and determining the ability of SSEBop to predict regional evapotranspiration at seasonal timescales based on projected land cover change from CCDC.

    Using structured decision making to assess management alternatives to inform the 2024 update of the Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan

    Released April 05, 2024 07:43 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1020

    Max Post van der Burg, Michael E. Colvin

    This report summarizes the results of a structured decision making process started by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop and evaluate various invasive carp management strategies to inform a 2024 update of the Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invited State, Federal, Tribal, and nongovernmental organization partners to participate in online and in-person workshops to elicit concerns and perform an expert-based assessment of potential invasive carp management strategies to address those concerns. The participatory group divided into two subgroups: the values team and the technical team. The values team specified 12 management objectives that captured the major interest group concerns. The technical and values teams developed 18 different invasive carp management strategies to compare. The technical team then scored each strategy in terms of how well it met each management objective. The values team weighted the management objectives to assess where tradeoffs might need to be made. The results of this process captured the wide range of partner concerns and technical opinions using a transparent, repeatable, and rigorous method. The analyses suggest that tradeoffs between management efficacy and cost are likely. Furthermore, considerable uncertainty exists among the technical experts regarding which strategy is likely to be most effective or cost-efficient. Followup analyses were done to assess how resolving uncertainty among experts could affect decision making and guide future monitoring efforts.

    Spatial, seasonal, and diel controls of nitrogen-carbon-oxygen cycling during lake-water infiltration to an aquifer

    Released April 05, 2024 07:09 EST

    2024, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences (129)

    Deborah A. Repert, Jennifer C. Underwood, John K. Böhlke, Denis R. LeBlanc, Robert B. Hull, Douglas B. Kent, Ariel Reed, Stanley J. Mroczkowski

    Many freshwater lakes are groundwater flow-through systems. Although lakes commonly are considered to be sinks for nitrogen inputs, relatively little is known about carbon and nitrogen export from lakes to groundwater. The current study focused on lake-bottom biogeochemical processes accompanying the transport of nitrogen, dissolved oxygen (O2), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during lake-water recharge from a groundwater flow-through lake. Lake-water and porewater (15–100 cm below lakebed) samples were collected along transects within the lake downwelling zone. Infiltrating porewater O2 and DOC concentrations decreased with depth while nitrate (NO3) concentrations increased, indicating nitrification of organic matter within the profiles. The depth of NO3 production and transport was seasonally dependent. In winter, NO3 and O2 were exported beyond 100-cm depth; whereas in summer, shallow nitrification zones were underlain by deeper NO3 reduction zones, and diel patterns of O2 and NO3 penetration depths were observed. Microbial community compositions and stable isotope profiles (δ15N[NO3], δ18O[NO3], δ18O[O2]) were consistent with apparent C–N–O reaction stoichiometries indicating O2 reduction and nitrification in shallower porewater, followed by varying NO3 reduction at depth. Maximum porewater NO3 concentrations (∼10–20 μM) were limited by infiltrating O2 concentrations and C/N ratios of reacting organic matter. Lake-water level variations caused changes in shoreline position and porewater velocities, while variations in lake-water temperature, DOC, and O2 contributed to changes in reaction rates and depth of O2 and NO3 penetration into the lakebed. The quality of groundwater recharged by lake water reflected temporally and spatially varying physical and biogeochemical processes in the sediment porewater.

    Carbon dioxide toxicity to zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) is dependent on water chemistry

    Released April 05, 2024 07:01 EST

    2024, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

    Matthew Barbour, Matthew J Meulemans, Todd J. Severson, Jeremy K. Wise, Diane L. Waller

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is gaining interest as a tool to combat aquatic invasive species, including zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). However, the effects of water chemistry on CO2 efficacy are not well described. We conducted five trials in which we exposed adult zebra mussels to a range of CO2 in water with adjusted total hardness and specific conductance. We compared dose–responses and found differences in lethal concentration to 50% of organisms (LC50) estimates ranging from 108.3 to 179.3 mg/L CO2 and lethal concentration to 90% of organisms (LC90) estimates ranging from 163.7 to 216.6 mg/L CO2. We modeled LC50 and LC90 estimates with measured water chemistry variables from the trials. We found sodium (Na+) concentration to have the strongest correlation to changes in the LC50 and specific conductance to have the strongest correlation to changes in the LC90. Our results identify water chemistry as an important factor in considering efficacious CO2 concentrations for zebra mussel control. Additional research into the physiological responses of zebra mussels exposed to CO2 may be warranted to further explain mode of action and reported selectivity. Further study could likely develop a robust and relevant model to refine CO2 applications for a wider range of water chemistries. Environ Toxicol Chem 2024;00:1–8. Published 2024. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC.

    Groundwater and surface-water interactions in the He‘eia watershed, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i—Insights from analysis of historical data and numerical groundwater-model simulations

    Released April 04, 2024 11:29 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5020

    Scot K. Izuka, Heidi L. Kāne, Kolja Rotzoll

    He‘eia and ‘Ioleka‘a Streams in the He‘eia watershed on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, receive substantial discharge from dike-impounded groundwater. Previous studies indicated that groundwater withdrawals from the watershed affect streamflow. Resource managers and users seek information that can be used to balance the needs of competing uses of groundwater and streamflow in the watershed.

    In this study, analyses of historical streamflow and withdrawal data indicate that when groundwater withdrawals from Haiku Tunnel (a groundwater development tunnel built in the 1940s in the watershed) of 1.73–1.87 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) were introduced in the first few decades of the tunnel’s operation, base flow at a gage on He‘eia Stream decreased by 1.37–1.40 Mgal/d. Changes in rainfall during this period were not sufficient to account for the changes in base flow. The tunnel withdrawal also affected ‘Ioleka‘a Stream, but the effect was less. In the 1980s, average withdrawal from the tunnel decreased by 0.73–1.00 Mgal/d and base flow at the He‘eia streamgage increased by 0.15–0.21 Mgal/d; a concurrent rainfall increase may partly account for the base-flow increase. Withdrawal from another well (Haiku well) starting in the late 1980s had a much smaller effect than the tunnel did on flow at the He‘eia streamgage.

    Numerical groundwater-model simulations indicate that shutting down withdrawals from Haiku Tunnel and Haiku well would increase base flows in streams inside and outside of the He‘eia watershed. Simulated shutdown of 0.35 Mgal/d withdrawal from Haiku well caused base flow of streams in the He‘eia watershed to increase by 0.09 Mgal/d or 26 percent of the withdrawal reduction, and shutdown of 0.60 Mgal/d withdrawal from Haiku Tunnel caused base flow of streams within the watershed to increase by 0.12 Mgal/d or 20 percent of withdrawal reduction. Shutdown of a combined 0.95 Mgal/d withdrawal from the tunnel and well caused base flow of streams within the watershed to increase by 0.22 Mgal/d or 23 percent of the withdrawal reduction.

    The model simulations and analyses of streamflow data demonstrate that, climate changes notwithstanding, reducing or shutting down withdrawal from Haiku Tunnel has not in the past, and will not in the future, restore base flow to predevelopment rates. The nearly pristine condition that existed prior to the construction of the Haiku Tunnel no longer exists because other large-producing tunnels and wells near the He‘eia watershed have since begun withdrawing water from the same dike-impounded aquifer. Reduction or shutdown of withdrawals from the wells and tunnel in the He‘eia watershed cannot restore streamflow to predevelopment rates if withdrawals from all other wells and tunnels continue.

    Existing evidence on the effects of climate variability and climate change on ungulates in North America: A systematic map

    Released April 04, 2024 10:40 EST

    2024, Environmental Evidence (13)

    Kate Malpeli, Sarah C. Endyke, Sarah R. Weiskopf, Laura Thompson, Ciara G. Johnson, Katherine Anne Kurth, Maxfield A. Carlin

    Background

    Climate is an important driver of ungulate life-histories, population dynamics, and migratory behaviors. Climate conditions can directly impact ungulates via changes in the costs of thermoregulation and locomotion, or indirectly, via changes in habitat and forage availability, predation, and species interactions. Many studies have documented the effects of climate variability and climate change on North America’s ungulates, recording impacts to population demographics, physiology, foraging behavior, migratory patterns, and more. However, ungulate responses are not uniform and vary by species and geography. Here, we present a systematic map describing the abundance and distribution of evidence on the effects of climate variability and climate change on native ungulates in North America.

    Methods

    We searched for all evidence documenting or projecting how climate variability and climate change affect the 15 ungulate species native to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Greenland. We searched Web of Science, Scopus, and the websites of 62 wildlife management agencies to identify relevant academic and grey literature. We screened English-language documents for inclusion at both the title and abstract and full-text levels. Data from all articles that passed full-text review were extracted and coded in a database. We identified knowledge clusters and gaps related to the species, locations, climate variables, and outcome variables measured in the literature.

    Review findings

    We identified a total of 674 relevant articles published from 1947 until September 2020. Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), elk (Cervus canadensis), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were the most frequently studied species. Geographically, more research has been conducted in the western U.S. and western Canada, though a notable concentration of research is also located in the Great Lakes region. Nearly 75% more articles examined the effects of precipitation on ungulates compared to temperature, with variables related to snow being the most commonly measured climate variables. Most studies examined the effects of climate on ungulate population demographics, habitat and forage, and physiology and condition, with far fewer examining the effects on disturbances, migratory behavior, and seasonal range and corridor habitat.

    Conclusions

    The effects of climate change, and its interactions with stressors such as land-use change, predation, and disease, is of increasing concern to wildlife managers. With its broad scope, this systematic map can help ungulate managers identify relevant climate impacts and prepare for future changes to the populations they manage. Decisions regarding population control measures, supplemental feeding, translocation, and the application of habitat treatments are just some of the management decisions that can be informed by an improved understanding of climate impacts. This systematic map also identified several gaps in the literature that would benefit from additional research, including climate effects on ungulate migratory patterns, on species that are relatively understudied yet known to be sensitive to changes in climate, such as pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), and on ungulates in the eastern U.S. and Mexico.

    Evaluating the potential for efficient, UAS-based reach-scale mapping of river channel bathymetry from multispectral images

    Released April 04, 2024 10:14 EST

    2024, Frontiers in Remote Sensing (5)

    Carl J. Legleiter, Lee R. Harrison

    Introduction: Information on spatial patterns of water depth in river channels is valuable for numerous applications, but such data can be difficult to obtain via traditional field methods. Ongoing developments in remote sensing technology have enabled various image-based approaches for mapping river bathymetry; this study evaluated the potential to retrieve depth from multispectral images acquired by an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).

    Methods: More specifically, we produced depth maps for a 4 km reach of a clear-flowing, relatively shallow river using an established spectrally based algorithm, Optimal Band Ratio Analysis. To assess accuracy, we compared image-derived estimates to direct measurements of water depth. The field data were collected by wading and from a boat equipped with an echo sounder and used to survey cross sections and a longitudinal profile. We partitioned our study area along the Sacramento River, California, USA, into three distinct sub-reaches and acquired a separate image for each one. In addition to the typical, self-contained, per-image depth retrieval workflow, we also explored the possibility of exporting a relationship between depth and reflectance calibrated using data from one site to the other two sub-reaches. Moreover, we evaluated whether sampling configurations progressively more sparse than our full field survey could still provide sufficient calibration data for developing robust depth retrieval models.

    Results: Our results indicate that under favorable environmental conditions like those observed on the Sacramento River during low flow, accurate, precise depth maps can be derived from images acquired by UAS, not only within a sub-reach but also across multiple, adjacent sub-reaches of the same river.

    Discussion: Moreover, our findings imply that the level of effort invested in obtaining field data for calibration could be significantly reduced. In aggregate, this investigation suggests that UAS-based remote sensing could facilitate highly efficient, cost-effective, operational mapping of river bathymetry at the reach scale in clear-flowing streams.

    Apparent non-double-couple components as artifacts of moment tensor inversion

    Released April 04, 2024 10:05 EST

    2024, Seismica (3)

    Boris Rösler, Seth Stein, Adam T. Ringler, Jiří Vackár

    Compilations of earthquake moment tensors from global and regional catalogs find pervasive non-double-couple (NDC) components with a mean deviation from a double-couple (DC) source of around 20%. Their distributions vary only slightly with magnitude, faulting mechanism, or geologic environments. This consistency suggests that for most earthquakes, especially smaller ones whose rupture processes are expected to be simpler, the NDC components are largely artifacts of the moment tensor inversion procedure. This possibility is also supported by the fact that NDC components for individual earthquakes with Mw<6.5 are only weakly correlated between catalogs. We explore this possibility by generating synthetic seismograms for the double-couple components of earthquakes around the world using one Earth model and inverting them with a different Earth model. To match the waveforms with a different Earth model, the inversion changes the mechanisms to include a substantial NDC component while largely preserving the fault geometry (DC component). The resulting NDC components have a size and distribution similar to those reported for the earthquakes in the Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) catalog. The fact that numerical experiments replicate general features of the pervasive NDC components reported in moment tensor catalogs implies that these components are largely artifacts of the inversions not adequately accounting for the effects of laterally varying Earth structure.

    Preliminary implications of viscoelastic ray theory for anelastic seismic tomography models

    Released April 04, 2024 07:02 EST

    2024, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

    Roger D. Borcherdt

    The recent developments in general viscoelastic ray theory provide a rigorous mathematical framework for anelastic seismic tomography. They provide closed‐form solutions of forward ray‐tracing and simple inverse problems for anelastic horizontal and spherical layered media with material gradients. They provide ray‐tracing computation algorithms valid for all angles of incidence that account for changes in wave speed, attenuation, and trajectory of anelastic P and S body waves induced by anelastic boundaries. They account for theoretical predictions that seismic waves refract as inhomogeneous waves across anelastic boundaries for all angles of incidence, which in turn accounts for energy carried by plane waves along seismic boundaries at head wave critical angles and wide‐angle refracted (WAR) ray paths that are not predicted by elastic models. Exact viscoelastic ray‐tracing numerical results for various models provide examples that illustrate the effects of anelastic boundaries on the travel times and amplitudes of seismic waves. They show the effects are strongly dependent on angle of incidence. For near‐critical and wide angles of incidence the anelastic effects on travel times and amplitudes can be large and are not explained by elastic ray theory, but the effects on travel times can be relatively small and difficult to distinguish from those for elastic media for pre‐near‐critical angles of incidence. The results for some models indicate that reflected anelastic WAR waves may be observable at the surface and possibly account for some prominent seismic arrivals not explained by elasticity. These preliminary results suggest that the application of exact viscoelastic ray‐tracing computation algorithms to exploration and teleseismic data sets can reveal new insights regarding the properties and distribution of anelastic materials in the Earth.

    Groundwater hydrology, groundwater and surface-water interactions, aquifer testing, and groundwater-flow simulations for the Fountain Creek alluvial aquifer, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2018–20

    Released April 03, 2024 12:40 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5119

    Connor P. Newman, Cory A. Russell, Zachary D. Kisfalusi, Suzanne Paschke

    From 2018 through 2020, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Air Force Civil Engineering Center, conducted an integrated study of the Fountain Creek alluvial aquifer located near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The objective of the study was to characterize hydrologic conditions for the alluvial aquifer pertinent to the potential for transport of solutes. Specific goals of this report were to characterize the groundwater hydrology of the area, to quantify groundwater and surface-water interactions, to estimate hydraulic properties of the aquifer using aquifer testing, and to complete numerical simulations of groundwater flow.

    Synoptic groundwater-level elevation measurements completed throughout this study, and as part of other U.S. Geological Survey programs between 1994 and 2020, indicate groundwater-level elevations fluctuate on annual and interannual timeframes. Groundwater-level fluctuations likely were caused by temporally variable groundwater recharge and discharge components in the area, with many wells showing maximum groundwater-level elevations during the winter months (November through March). From an interannual perspective, groundwater-level fluctuations appear to have reached maximum values during 2000 to 2003, decreased during 2003 to 2006, and remained relatively constant since that time, with the exception of several wells which have displayed rising groundwater-level elevations since 2018. Spatial evaluation of groundwater-level elevations indicates groundwater flow is generally from northeast to southwest within the vicinity of several alluvial paleochannels occurring along the northeastern margin of the aquifer. Within the center of the aquifer along Fountain Creek, groundwater flow is generally from north to south, approximately paralleling surface-water flow. To quantitatively understand the potential effect of groundwater recharge and groundwater pumping on fluctuations in groundwater-level elevation, a statistical transfer-function-noise model was applied. Results of the statistical model indicate throughout most of the aquifer, fluctuations were primarily the result of recharge seasonality. In the main stem of the aquifer where groundwater pumping wells were more concentrated, however, groundwater-level elevation fluctuations were also attributable to groundwater pumping through time.

    Three-dimensional evaluation of the aquifer geometry near Fountain Creek was combined with synoptic streamflow measurement and accounting of stream gains and losses to evaluate groundwater and surface-water interactions in the study area. Streamflow gain or loss calculations indicate Fountain Creek both gains from and loses flow to the alluvial aquifer, and gaining or losing reaches of the stream may be partially controlled by the depth to bedrock near the stream. Reaches with streamflow gains tend to coincide with areas where the estimated depth to bedrock is decreasing, meaning the alluvial aquifer is likely thinning in these areas and groundwater-flow paths may be converging and discharging groundwater to the stream. Losing reaches tended to coincide with locally greater depth to bedrock where the alluvial aquifer is likely thicker and has greater storage potential for surface water lost from Fountain Creek.

    Results of aquifer testing indicate hydraulic conductivity, estimated from slug tests and single-well pumping tests, ranged from 0.32 to 1,410 feet per day (ft/d) and 4.13 to 664 ft/d, respectively. These results are similar to the range of values from previous aquifer tests in the study area. Hydraulic conductivities from aquifer testing for this study were generally greater than the estimates of previous slug tests and had a mean value less than the estimates from previous pumping tests. Spatial evaluation of aquifer testing results indicates hydraulic conductivity tends to be greater in the main stem of the alluvial aquifer and lower in paleochannels upgradient from the main stem of the aquifer. The spatial variation in hydraulic conductivity may be attributed to the geomorphologic processes that formed the alluvial aquifer. Compacted sediment in the paleochannels has not been potentially transported sufficient distance to cause grain-size sorting, resulting in a poorly sorted deposit and lower hydraulic conductivities. In the central portion of the alluvial aquifer, near Fountain Creek, the sediments have been transported farther from their source areas and are likely better sorted, removing finer grained sediments that would cause lower hydraulic conductivity.

    A numerical groundwater-flow model was calibrated for the Fountain Creek alluvial aquifer for 2000–19 to simulate water-budget components, groundwater-flow directions, and groundwater-flow paths. The model simulated precipitation recharge, groundwater and surface-water interactions, evapotranspiration, high-volume groundwater pumping by pumping wells, and external inflows and outflows occurring along the boundaries of the alluvial aquifer. Model calibration was completed using manual and automated approaches, the latter of which assisted in quantifying model results sensitivity to input parameters. The calibrated model corresponds well with groundwater-level elevation observations, with a mean residual (observed minus simulated groundwater-level elevation) equal to −0.60 feet. Simulated groundwater base flow to streams was typically within 10 percent of base flow estimated by independent methods. Groundwater and surface-water interactions represented the largest water-budget components of the aquifer, with the second largest groundwater discharge component coming from pumping wells. Groundwater and surface-water interactions represent both the largest gain and loss terms in the water budget, because these interactions differ spatially, meaning in some areas of the model domain groundwater is being recharged by streams, whereas in other areas, groundwater is discharged to streams. Estimates of advective groundwater-flow paths indicate pumping wells may capture groundwater recharged from losing streams and groundwater that flows into the main stem of the alluvial aquifer from paleochannels.


    Estimation and comparison of 1-percent annual exceedance probability flood flows at Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance study flow locations across Pennsylvania

    Released April 03, 2024 10:49 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5133

    Mitchell R. Weaver, Marla H. Stuckey, James E. Colgin, Mark A. Roland

    Flood-flow estimates were computed at over 5,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance study (FIS) flow locations across Pennsylvania for the 1-percent annual exceedance probability flood event (1-percent AEP). Depending on a point of interest’s proximity to a streamgage, weighting techniques may be applied to obtain flood-flow estimates for ungaged flow locations using observed peak-flow data from a nearby streamgage. Following the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) published guidance, stream segments were identified where the drainage-area ratio method could be leveraged. Using updated regional regression equations and recently published flood-flow estimates at USGS streamgage locations following USGS Bulletin 17C guidelines, weighted and transferred flood flows were computed, where appropriate. For locations not applicable for the drainage-area ratio method, regression equations were used to compute flood-flow estimates. These flood-flow estimates were then compared to FEMA FIS 1-percent AEP flood-flow estimates. Percentage-difference values were computed for 3,599 FIS flow locations determined to be suitable for analysis, finding that USGS-derived flood-flow estimates were consistently lower than FEMA FIS flood-flow estimates with a statewide median percentage difference of −10.1 percent. The dataset was normally distributed with a standard deviation of 45.7 percent. Allegheny County was found to have 74 FIS flow locations with percentage-difference values greater than or equal to 67 percent or less than or equal to −67 percent. The flood-flow region in which Allegheny County is contained, Region 2, had a median percentage-difference value of −39 percent. Although removed from the final analysis, flow locations with drainage-area values above the recommended threshold for regression-based estimation (about 1,000 square miles [mi2]) were observed to have consistently higher percentage-difference values; a reminder of the limitations of use for regression-based flood-flow estimates. This report, the comparisons within, and a companion data release are intended to serve as tools to FEMA in assisting with the ongoing assessment of FIS flow locations across Pennsylvania.

    Deep learning workflow to support in-flight processing of digital aerial imagery for wildlife population surveys

    Released April 03, 2024 09:27 EST

    2024, PLoS ONE (19)

    Tsung-Wei Ke, Stella X Yu, Mark D. Koneff, David L. Fronczak, Luke J. Fara, Travis Harrison, Kyle Lawrence Landolt, Enrika Hlavacek, Brian R. Lubinski, Timothy White

    Deep learning shows promise for automating detection and classification of wildlife from digital aerial imagery to support cost-efficient remote sensing solutions for wildlife population monitoring. To support in-flight orthorectification and machine learning processing to detect and classify wildlife from imagery in near real-time, we evaluated deep learning methods that address hardware limitations and the need for processing efficiencies to support the envisioned in-flight workflow. We developed an annotated dataset for a suite of marine birds from high-resolution digital aerial imagery collected over open water environments to train the models. The proposed 3-stage workflow for automated, in-flight data processing includes: 1) image filtering based on the probability of any bird occurrence, 2) bird instance detection, and 3) bird instance classification. For image filtering, we compared the performance of a binary classifier with Mask Region-based Convolutional Neural Network (Mask R-CNN) as a means of sub-setting large volumes of imagery based on the probability of at least one bird occurrence in an image. On both the validation and test datasets, the binary classifier achieved higher performance than Mask R-CNN for predicting bird occurrence at the image-level. We recommend the binary classifier over Mask R-CNN for workflow first-stage filtering. For bird instance detection, we leveraged Mask R-CNN as our detection framework and proposed an iterative refinement method to bootstrap our predicted detections from loose ground-truth annotations. We also discuss future work to address the taxonomic classification phase of the envisioned workflow.

    Propensity score matching mitigates risk of faulty inferences in observational studies of effectiveness of restoration trials

    Released April 03, 2024 09:13 EST

    2024, Journal of Applied Ecology

    Chad Raymond Kluender, Matthew Germino, Christopher A Anthony

    1. Determining effectiveness of restoration treatments is an important requirement of adaptive management, but it can be non-trivial where only portions of large and heterogeneous landscapes of concern can be treated and sampled. Bias and non-randomness in the spatial deployment of treatment and thus sampling is nearly unavoidable in the data available for large-scale management trials, and the biophysical landscape characteristics underlying the bias are key but rare considerations in analyses of treatment effects.
    2. Treatment effects from large-scale management trials are typically estimated with multivariable regression (MVR) models. However, this method is unsuited to reliable estimations of treatment effects when treated and untreated areas differ in their underlying biophysical variability. An alternative to conventional regression is to use propensity score (PS) matching, which can limit the differences in confounding variables among treatment groups and assure the data collected or selected for analysis are more consistent with a randomized and unconfounded experiment. Thus, PS is expected to identify treatment effects more accurately.
    3. We used data from a large-scale monitoring effort of a megafire to evaluate the efficacy of PS matching in making inferences on treatment effects when treatments are applied non-randomly over a large heterogeneous area. We compared the resulting inference to both traditional MVR methods and to “naïve” methods that do not consider treatment allocation bias.
    4. Treatment effects varied between the different statistical methods for controlling selection bias and confounding biophysical factors. The PS-matched model revealed a weaker treatment effect of drill seeding and a greater effect of herbicide spraying on the cover of perennial bunchgrasses when compared to MVR or naïve modelled estimates. The inferences from the PS-matched model are considered more reliable because the treated and untreated plots are more similar in their underlying biophysical characteristics.
    5. Synthesis and applications. Failure to consider the non-random and selective deployment of restoration treatments by managers leads to faulty inference on their effectiveness. However, tools such as propensity-score matching can be used to remove the bias from analyses of the outcomes of management trials or to devise sampling plans that efficiently protect against the bias.

    Identifying an understudied interface: Preliminary evaluation of the use of retention ponds on commercial poultry farms by wild waterfowl

    Released April 03, 2024 07:20 EST

    2024, Transboundary and Emerging Diseases (2024)

    Jeffery D. Sullivan, Ayla McDonough, Lauren Lescure, Diann Prosser

    While the recent incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza into North America has resulted in notable losses to the commercial poultry industry, the mechanism by which virus enters commercial poultry houses is still not understood. One theorized mechanism is that waterfowl shed virus into the environment surrounding poultry farms, such as into retention ponds, and is then transmitted into poultry houses via bridge species. Little is known about if and when wild waterfowl use these retention ponds, leading to uncertainty regarding the potential significance of this interface. To quantify the use of retention ponds on commercial poultry farms by wild waterfowl, we surveyed 12 such ponds across Somerset and Dorchester counties, Maryland, USA. This region was chosen due to the high level of poultry production and its importance for migratory waterfowl. Surveys consisted of recording waterfowl visible on the retention ponds from public roadways at least once per week from 20 September 2022–31 March 2023. Throughout the course of this study, we observed a total of nine species of waterfowl using retention ponds on commercial poultry farms at nine of 12 sites. The number of waterfowl observed at retention ponds varied notably throughout the course of our survey period, with values generally following trends of fall migration within each species indicating that resident birds were not the only individuals to utilize these habitats. Additionally, waterfowl use was highest at sites with little vegetation immediately surrounding the pond, and lowest when ponds were surrounded by trees. Our data suggest that retention ponds on commercial poultry farms present a notable interface for waterfowl to introduce avian influenza viruses to farm sites. However, additional testing and surveys could provide further insight into whether it may be possible to reduce the use of these habitats by wild waterfowl through vegetative management as preliminarily reported here.

    Quantifying and evaluating strategies to decrease carbon dioxide emissions generated from tourism to Yellowstone National Park

    Released April 03, 2024 07:08 EST

    2024, PLOS Climate (4)

    Emily J. Wilkins, Dani T. Dagan, Jordan W. Smith

    The tourism industry needs strategies to reduce emissions and hasten the achievement of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction targets. Using a case study approach, we estimated CO2 emissions related to park tourism in Yellowstone National Park (USA) generated from transit to and from the park, transit within the park, accommodations, and park operations. Results indicate tourism to Yellowstone National Park produces an estimated 1.03 megaton (1.03 billion kg) of CO2-equivalent emissions annually, with an average of 479 kg CO2 per visitor. Almost 90% of these emissions were attributable to transit to and from the destination, while 5% were from transit within the park, 4% from overnight accommodations, and about 1% from other park operations (e.g., visitor centers, museums, shops, restaurants, etc.). Visitors who fly only made up about 35% of all visitors, but produced 72% of the emissions related to transit to and from the park. Future scenarios that alter transit to and from the park can reduce emissions the most; this includes a greater proportion of local or regional visitors, fewer visitors flying, and increased fuel efficiency of vehicles. The method developed in this work, and applied specifically to Yellowstone National Park, can be adopted elsewhere and used to help decision makers evaluate the effectiveness of potential emission reduction strategies.

    Effects and perceptions of weather, climate, and climate change on outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism in the United States: A systematic review

    Released April 03, 2024 06:56 EST

    2024, PLOS Climate (4)

    Emily J. Wilkins, Lydia Horne

    Weather, climate, and climate change all effect outdoor recreation and tourism, and will continue to cause a multitude of effects as the climate warms. We conduct a systematic literature review to better understand how weather, climate, and climate change affect outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism across the United States. We specifically explore how the effects differ by recreational activity, and how visitors and supply-side tourism operators perceive these effects and risks. The 82 papers reviewed show the complex ways in which weather, climate, and climate change may affect outdoor recreation, with common themes being an extended season to participate in warm-weather activities, a shorter season to participate in snow-dependent activities, and larger negative effects to activities that depend on somewhat consistent precipitation levels (e.g., snow-based recreation, water-based recreation, fishing). Nature-based tourists perceive a variety of climate change effects on tourism, and some recreationists have already changed their behavior as a result of climate change. Nature-based tourism suppliers are already noticing a wide variety of climate change effects, including shifts in seasonality of specific activities and visitation overall. Collectively, this review provides insights into our current understanding of climate change and outdoor recreation and opportunities for future research.

    Range-wide genetic analysis of an endangered bumble bee (Bombus affinis, Hymenoptera: Apidae) reveals population structure, isolation by distance, and low colony abundance

    Released April 03, 2024 06:33 EST

    2024, Journal of Insect Science (24)

    John Mola, Ian Pearse, Michelle Boone, Elaine Evans, Mark Hepner, Robert Jean, Jade Kochanski, Cade Nordmeyer, Eric Runquist, Tamara A. Smith, Jaime Strange, Jay Watson, Jonathan B Koch

    Declines in bumble bee species range and abundances are documented across multiple continents and have prompted the need for research to aid species recovery and conservation. The rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) is the first federally listed bumble bee species in North America. We conducted a range-wide population genetics study of B. affinis from across all extant conservation units to inform conservation efforts. To understand the species’ vulnerability and help establish recovery targets, we examined population structure, patterns of genetic diversity, and population differentiation. Additionally, we conducted a site-level analysis of colony abundance to inform prioritizing areas for conservation, translocation, and other recovery actions. We find substantial evidence of population structuring along an east-to-west gradient. Putative populations show evidence of isolation by distance, high inbreeding coefficients, and a range-wide male diploidy rate of ~15%. Our results suggest the Appalachians represent a genetically distinct cluster with high levels of private alleles and substantial differentiation from the rest of the extant range. Site-level analyses suggest low colony abundance estimates for B. affinis compared to similar datasets of stable, co-occurring species. These results lend genetic support to trends from observational studies, suggesting that B. affinis has undergone a recent decline and exhibit substantial spatial structure. The low colony abundances observed here suggest caution in overinterpreting the stability of populations even where B. affinis is reliably detected interannually. These results help delineate informed management units, provide context for the potential risks of translocation programs, and help set clear recovery targets for this and other threatened bumble bee species.

    Bathymetric and velocimetric surveys at highway bridges crossing the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, May 19–26, 2021

    Released April 02, 2024 13:47 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5021

    Richard J. Huizinga

    Bathymetric and velocimetric data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation, near nine bridges at eight highway crossings of the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, from May 19 to 26, 2021. A multibeam echosounder mapping system was used to obtain channel-bed elevations for river reaches about 1,640 to 1,840 feet (ft) longitudinally and generally extending laterally across the active channel from bank to bank during low to moderate flood-flow conditions. These surveys provided channel geometry and hydraulic conditions at the time of the surveys and provided characteristics of scour holes that may be useful in developing or verifying predictive guidelines or equations for computing potential scour depth. These data also may be useful to the Missouri Department of Transportation as a low to moderate flood-flow assessment of the bridges for stability and integrity issues with respect to bridge scour during floods.

    Bathymetric data were collected around every in-channel pier. Scour holes were present at most piers for which bathymetry could be obtained, except those on banks or surrounded by riprap. Occasionally, scour holes were minor and difficult to discern from nearby dunes and ripples. All the bridge sites in this study were previously surveyed and documented in previous studies. Comparisons between bathymetric surfaces from the previous surveys and those of the current (2021) study do not indicate any consistent correlation between channel-bed elevations and streamflow conditions. The average difference between the bathymetric surfaces varied from 1.59 ft higher to 0.95 ft lower in 2021 than 2017, which corresponds to a gain of 100,200 cubic yards and a loss of 55,800 cubic yards, respectively. The average difference between the bathymetric surfaces varied from 2.74 ft higher to 3.05 ft lower in 2021 than 2013, which corresponds to a gain of 111,500 cubic yards and a loss of 169,200 cubic yards, respectively. The average difference between the bathymetric surfaces varied from 4.52 ft higher to 1.38 ft lower in 2021 than 2011, which corresponds to a gain of 221,100 cubic yards and a loss of 90,300 cubic yards, respectively. The most substantial overall net gain was 221,100 cubic yards between 2011 and 2021 at structures L0550 and A4497 at Jefferson City (site 20). The large net gain likely results from a combination of the mitigation of the scour holes near pier 4 of both bridges and the substantially lower flow in 2021 than in 2011. Alternatively, the most substantial overall net loss was 169,200 cubic yards between 2013 and 2021 at structure A6288 at Hermann (site 21), despite comparable streamflows.

    Pier size, nose shape, and skew to approach flow had a substantial effect on the size of the scour hole observed at a given pier. Larger and deeper scour holes were present at piers with wide or blunt noses caused by exposed footings or caissons. When a pier was skewed to primary approach flow, the scour hole was generally deeper and larger than at a similar pier without skew; furthermore, the shape of the scour hole near skewed piers in this study generally was longer and deeper on the side with impinging flow. At structure A6288 at Hermann (site 21), the scour hole near pier 5 was difficult to discern from nearby dunes and ripples, whereas the upstream edge of the footing was visible at pier 4, which likely contributes to the larger scour hole near that pier; the top of the footing may blunt the horseshoe vortex at pier 5, but the exposed front of the footing may exacerbate the vortex at pier 4.

    Measuring and interpreting the surface and shallow subsurface process influences on coastal wetland elevation: A review

    Released April 02, 2024 09:59 EST

    2024, Estuaries and Coasts

    Donald Cahoon

    A century ago, measuring elevation in tidal wetlands proved difficult, as survey leveling of soft marsh soils relative to a fixed datum was error prone. For 60 years, vertical accretion measures from marker horizons were used as analogs of elevation change. But without a direct measure of elevation, it was not possible to measure the total influence of surface and subsurface processes on elevation. In the 1990s, the surface elevation table (SET) method, which measures the movement of the wetland surface relative to a fixed point beneath the surface (i.e., the SET benchmark base), was combined with the marker horizon method (SET-MH), providing direct, independent, and simultaneous measures of surface accretion and elevation and quantification of surface and shallow subsurface process influences on elevation. SET-MH measures have revealed several fundamental findings about tidal wetland dynamics. First, accretion [A] is often a poor analog for elevation change [E]. From 50–66% of wetlands experience shallow subsidence (A > E), 7–10% shallow expansion (A < E), 7% shrink-swell, and for 24–36% A is an analog for E (A = E). Second, biological processes within the root zone and physical processes within and below the root zone influence elevation change in addition to surface processes. Third, vegetation plays a key role in wetland vertical dynamics. Plants trap sediment and increase resistance to erosion and compaction. Soil organic matter accumulation can lead to shallow expansion, but reduced plant growth can lead to subsidence, and plant death to soil collapse. Fourth, elevation rates are a better indicator of wetland response to sea-level rise than accretion rates because they incorporate subsurface influences on elevation occurring beneath the marker horizon. Fifth, combining elevation trends with relative sea-level rise (RSLR) trends improves estimates of RSLR at the wetland surface (i.e., RSLRwet). Lastly, subsurface process influences are fundamental to a wetland’s response to RSLR and plant community dynamics related to wetland transgression, making the SET-MH method an invaluable tool for understanding coastal wetland elevation dynamics.

    Vegetation, fuels, and fire-behavior responses to linear fuel-break treatments in and around burned sagebrush steppe: Are we breaking the grass-fire cycle?

    Released April 02, 2024 09:56 EST

    2024, Fire Ecology (20)

    Matthew Germino, Samuel J. Price, Susan J Prichard

    Background

    Linear fuel breaks are being implemented to moderate fire behavior and improve wildfire containment in semiarid landscapes such as the sagebrush steppe of North America, where extensive losses in perennial vegetation and ecosystem functioning are resulting from invasion by exotic annual grasses (EAGs) that foster large and recurrent wildfires. However, fuel-break construction can also pose EAG invasion risks, which must be weighed against the intended fire-moderation benefits of the treatments. We investigated how shrub reductions (mowing, cutting), pre-emergent EAG-herbicides, and/or drill seedings of fire-resistant perennial bunchgrasses (PBGs) recently applied to create a large fuel-break system affected native and exotic plant abundances and their associated fuel loading and predicted fire behavior.

    Results

    In heavily EAG-invaded areas, herbicides reduced EAG and total herbaceous cover without affecting PBGs for 2–3 years and reduced predicted fire behavior for 1 year (from the Fuel Characteristic Classification System). However, surviving post-herbicide EAG cover was still > 30%, which was sufficient fuel to exceed the conventional 1.2-m-flame length (FL) threshold for attempting wildfire suppression with hand tools. In less invaded shrubland, shrub reduction treatments largely reduced shrub cover and height by ~ half without increasing EAGs, but then redistributed the wood to ground level and increased total herbaceous cover. Herbicides and/or drill seeding after shrub reductions did not affect EAG cover, although drill seedings increased PBG cover and exotic forbs (e.g., Russian thistle). Fire behavior was predicted to be moderated in only one of the many yearly observations of the various shrub-reduction treatment combinations. Over all treatments and years, FLs were predicted to exceed 1.2 m in 13% of simulations under average (11 km h−1) or high (47 km h−1) wind speed conditions and exceed the 3.4-m threshold for uncontrollable fire in 11% of simulations under high-wind speeds only.

    Conclusions

    Predicted fire-moderation benefits over the first 4 years of fuel break implementation were modest and variable, but, generally, increases in EAGs and their associated fire risks were not observed. Nonetheless, ancillary evidence from shrublands would suggest that treatment-induced shifts from shrub to herbaceous fuel dominance are expected to improve conditions for active fire suppression in ways not readily represented in available fire models.

    Comparing modern identification methods for wild bees: Metabarcoding and image-based morphological taxonomic assignment

    Released April 02, 2024 07:18 EST

    2024, PLoS ONE (19)

    Cassandra Smith, Robert S. Cornman, Jennifer A. Fike, Johanna M. Kraus, Sara J. Oyler-McCance, Carrie E Givens, Michelle Hladik, Mark W. Vandever, Dana W. Kolpin, Kelly Smalling

    With the decline of bee populations worldwide, studies determining current wild bee distributions and diversity are increasingly important. Wild bee identification is often completed by experienced taxonomists or by genetic analysis. The current study was designed to compare two methods of identification including: (1) morphological identification by experienced taxonomists using images of field-collected wild bees and (2) genetic analysis of composite bee legs (multiple taxa) using metabarcoding. Bees were collected from conservation grasslands in eastern Iowa in summer 2019 and identified to the lowest taxonomic unit using both methods. Sanger sequencing of individual wild bee legs was used as a positive control for metabarcoding. Morphological identification of bees using images resulted in 36 unique taxa among 22 genera, and >80% of Bombus specimens were identified to species. Metabarcoding was limited to genus-level assignments among 18 genera but resolved some morphologically similar genera. Metabarcoding did not consistently detect all genera in the composite samples, including kleptoparasitic bees. Sanger sequencing showed similar presence or absence detection results as metabarcoding but provided species-level identifications for cryptic species (i.e., Lasioglossum). Genus-specific detections were more frequent with morphological identification than metabarcoding, but certain genera such as Ceratina and Halictus were identified equally well with metabarcoding and morphology. Genera with proportionately less tissue in a composite sample were less likely to be detected using metabarcoding. Image-based methods were limited by image quality and visible morphological features, while genetic methods were limited by databases, primers, and amplification at target loci. This study shows how an image-based identification method compares with genetic techniques, and how in combination, the methods provide valuable genus- and species-level information for wild bees while preserving tissue for other analyses. These methods could be improved and transferred to a field setting to advance our understanding of wild bee distributions and to expedite conservation research.

    Nontarget effects of pre-emergent herbicides and a bioherbicide on soil resources, processes, and communities

    Released April 02, 2024 07:13 EST

    2024, Restoration Ecology

    Brynne E. Lazarus, Matthew Germino, Marie-Anne de Graaff

    Community-type conversions, such as replacement of perennials by exotic annual grasses in semiarid desert communities, are occurring due to plant invasions that often create positive plant–soil feedbacks, which favor invaders and make restoration of native perennials difficult. Exotic annual grass control measures, such as pre-emergent herbicides, can also alter soil ecosystems directly or indirectly (i.e. via the plant community), yet there are few studies on the topic in natural, non-cropped landscapes. We asked how spray treatments applied to soil post-fire with the intention of inhibiting invasive annual grasses (such as Bromus tectorum L.) and releasing existing native perennial grasses affected soil resources, a microbial process, and invertebrates in three climatically varied sagebrush steppe sites. Spray treatments included chemical herbicides (imazapic and rimsulfuron) that strongly affected plant communities and a bioherbicide (Pseudomonas fluorescens strain D7) that did not. Chemical herbicides increased soil mineral nitrogen in proportion to their negative effects on plant cover for 2 years after treatments in all sites and increased soil water and net N mineralization (measured at one site) but did not affect total carbon, nitrogen, or organic matter. Invertebrate responses to herbicides varied by site, and invertebrates increased with chemical herbicides at the highest, wettest site. We show that herbicide treatments can exacerbate pulses of mineral nutrients, which previous studies have shown can weaken ecosystem resistance to invasion. Thus, restoration strategies that increase the likelihood that desired plants can capture mineralized nutrients after herbicide application will likely be more successful.

    Climate-driven increases in stream metal concentrations in mineralized watersheds throughout the Colorado Rocky Mountains, USA

    Released April 02, 2024 07:05 EST

    2024, Water Resources Research (60)

    Andrew H. Manning, Tanya N. Petach, Robert L. Runkel, Diane M. McKnight

    Increasing stream metal concentrations apparently caused by climate warming have been reported for a small number of mountain watersheds containing hydrothermally altered bedrock with abundant sulfide minerals (mineralized watersheds). Such increases are concerning and could negatively impact downstream ecosystem health, water resources, and mine-site remediation efforts. However, the pervasiveness and typical magnitude of these trends remain uncertain. We aggregated available streamwater chemistry data collected from late summer and fall over the past 40 years for 22 mineralized watersheds throughout the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Temporal trend analysis performed using the Regional Kendall Test indicates significant regional upward trends of ∼2% of the site median per year for sulfate, zinc, and copper concentrations in the 17 streams affected by acid rock drainage (ARD; median pH ≤ 5.5), equivalent to concentrations roughly doubling over the past 30 years. An examination of potential load trends utilizing streamflow data from eight “index gages” located near the sample sites provides strong support for regionally increasing sulfate and metal loads in ARD-affected streams, particularly at higher elevations. Declining streamflows are likely contributing to regionally increasing concentrations, but increasing loads appear to be on average an equal or greater contributor. Comparison of selected site characteristics with site concentration trend magnitudes shows the highest correlation for mean annual air temperature and mean elevation (R2 of 0.42 and 0.35, respectively, with all others being ≤0.14). Future research on climate-driven controlling mechanisms should therefore focus on processes such as melting of frozen ground directly linked to site mean temperature and elevation.

    Paleogene Earth perturbations in the US Atlantic Coastal Plain (PEP-US): Coring transects of hyperthermals to understand past carbon injections and ecosystem responses

    Released April 02, 2024 06:52 EST

    2024, Scientific Drilling (33) 47-65

    Marci M. Robinson, Kenneth Miller, Tali Babila, Tim J Bralower, Jim Browning, Marlow Cramwinckel, Monika Doubrawa, Gavin L Foster, Megan Fung, Sean D. Kinney, Maria Makarova, Pete McLaughlin, Paul Pearson, Ursula Rohl, Morgan Schaller, Jean Self-Trail, Appy Sluijs, Thomas Westerhold, James R. Wright, James Zachos

    The release of over 4500 Gt (gigatonnes) of carbon at the Paleocene–Eocene boundary provides the closest geological analog to modern anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The cause(s) of and responses to the resulting Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and attendant carbon isotopic excursion (CIE) remain enigmatic and intriguing despite over 30 years of intense study. CIE records from the deep sea are generally thin due to its short duration and slow sedimentation rates, and they are truncated due to corrosive bottom waters dissolving carbonate sediments. In contrast, PETM coastal plain sections along the US mid-Atlantic margin are thick, generally having an expanded record of the CIE. Drilling here presents an opportunity to study the PETM onset to a level of detail that could transform our understanding of this important event. Previous drilling in this region provided important insights, but existing cores are either depleted or contain stratigraphic gaps. New core material is needed for well-resolved marine climate records. To plan new drilling, members of the international scientific community attended a multi-staged, hybrid scientific drilling workshop in 2022 designed to maximize not only scientifically and demographically diverse participation but also to protect participants' health and safety during the global pandemic and to reduce our carbon footprint. The resulting plan identified 10 sites for drill holes that would penetrate the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary, targeting the pre-onset excursion (POE), the CIE onset, the rapidly deposited Marlboro Clay that records a very thick CIE body, and other Eocene hyperthermals. The workshop participants developed several primary scientific objectives related to investigating the nature and the cause(s) of the CIE onset as well as the biotic effects of the PETM on the paleoshelf. Additional objectives focus on the evidence for widespread wildfires and changes in the hydrological cycle, shelf morphology, and sea level during the PETM as well as the desire to study both underlying K–Pg sediments and overlying post-Eocene records of extreme hyperthermal climate events. All objectives address our overarching research question: what was the Earth system response to a rapid carbon cycle perturbation?

    Recent advances in characterizing the crustal stress field and future applications of stress data: Perspectives from North America

    Released April 02, 2024 06:49 EST

    2024, Geological Society, London, Special Publications (546)

    Jens-Erik Lundstern

    The stress field controls patterns of crustal deformation, including which faults are likeliest to cause earthquakes or transmit fluids. Since the 1950s, maps of maximum horizontal stress (SHmax) orientations have advanced dramatically, and the style of faulting (relative principal stress magnitudes) has recently been mapped in some regions as well. This perspectives paper summarizes developments in characterizing stress orientations and (relative) magnitudes, including new seismic and borehole methods, as well as progress in identifying the causes of stress variations. Despite these advances, adding far more spatiotemporal detail would allow geoscientists to address many of today's key challenges regarding natural hazards, energy development, and geodynamics. In particular, it is critically important to characterize stress heterogeneity at multiple scales while also recognizing the coherent variability of the stress field. The second part of the paper considers how more detailed stress datasets could prove essential to addressing some of the grand questions in geoscience, including deciphering the poorly understood feedbacks between crustal dynamics and surface processes, improving earthquake and eruption forecasts, and determining the origins and shared properties of plate boundaries.

    Current and projected flood exposure for Alaska coastal communities

    Released April 02, 2024 06:45 EST

    2024, Scientific Reports (14)

    Richard Michael Buzard, Christopher V. Maio, Li H. Erikson, Jacquelyn R. Overbeck, Nicole E. M. Kinsman, Benjamin M. Jones

    Globally, coastal communities experience flood hazards that are projected to worsen from climate change and sea level rise. The 100-year floodplain or record flood are commonly used to identify risk areas for planning purposes. Remote communities often lack measured flood elevations and require innovative approaches to estimate flood elevations. This study employs observation-based methods to estimate the record flood elevation in Alaska communities and compares results to elevation models, infrastructure locations, and sea level rise projections. In 46 analyzed communities, 22% of structures are located within the record floodplain. With sea level rise projections, this estimate increases to 30–37% of structures by 2100 if structures remain in the same location. Flood exposure is highest in western Alaska. Sea level rise projections suggest northern Alaska will see similar flood exposure levels by 2100 as currently experienced in western Alaska. This evaluation of record flood height, category, and history can be incorporated into hazard planning documents, providing more context for coastal flood exposure than previously existed for Alaska. This basic flood exposure method is transferable to other areas with similar mapping challenges. Identifying current and projected hazardous zones is essential to avoid unintentional development in floodplains and improve long-term safety.

    Land-use and land-cover change in the Lower Rio Grande Ecoregions, Texas, 2001–2011

    Released April 01, 2024 11:45 EST

    2024, Data Report 1185

    Mark A. Drummond, Michael P. Stier, Jamie L. McBeth

    Urban growth and other land-use changes were examined in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Alluvial Floodplain ecoregions in Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border. The analysis focused on understanding the types and causes of land change as well as the recovery of natural land-cover types between years 2001 and 2011. The purpose was to develop improved capabilities for understanding land change dynamics in urbanizing ecoregions and to provide data for further analyses. The spatial data, including metadata, allows further exploration and characterization of changes affecting this dynamic region.

    Assessing spatial variability of nutrients, phytoplankton, and related water-quality constituents in the California Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta at the landscape scale—2018 high resolution mapping surveys

    Released April 01, 2024 11:21 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5060

    Brian A. Bergamaschi, Tamara E. C. Kraus, Bryan D. Downing, Elizabeth B. Stumpner, Katy O'Donnell, Jeffrey A. Hansen, Jeniffer Soto Perez, Emily T. Richardson, Angela M. Hansen, Alan Gelber

    Executive Summary

    This study examined the abundance and distribution of nutrients and phytoplankton in the tidal aquatic environments of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and Suisun Bay, comprising three spatial surveys conducted in May, July, and October of 2018 that used continuous underway high frequency sampling and measurements onboard a high-speed boat to characterize spatial variation across the extent of the Delta. The method used involves simultaneously collecting information about the concentration and spatial distribution of all major nutrient forms with analogous information about the major classes of phytoplankton and associated water-quality conditions. The results showed substantial variation across space and time, providing an unprecedented snapshot of the dynamic environmental processes that shape the ways nutrients interact with and affect aquatic habitats in the Delta.

    The purposes of this study were to improve our understanding of how hydrodynamics, landscape features, and aquatic primary productivity interact to drive nutrient cycling and transport in the Delta and to provide insights into the underlying processes most directly responsible for the conditions at the time of this study, and thus into the range of conditions that may be expected following the wide array of prospective future changes to the Delta. One major anticipated change at the time of this study was the planned upgrade to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, but the study also informs our understanding of potential effects from other changes to the Delta, such as those caused by other nutrient-management actions, flow actions, large-scale wetland restoration, drought, flood, levee failure, and changes to water management.

    Nutrient loading is the primary driver of nutrient concentrations in the Delta, but several other major drivers interact to shape their distribution and effects: geomorphology, hydrodynamics, landscape features, and aquatic productivity. Hydrodynamics affect timescales of transport and dilution of nutrient loads in the Delta. During transit through the system, channel geometry, tidal mixing, and water exports affect hydrodynamics in diverse ways that influence water-residence and transport times, thereby markedly affecting the range of times during which natural internal cycling can alter nutrient concentrations and forms. Channel geometry and location shape tidal energy and river currents into these observed dynamics. Interactions with Delta aquatic landscapes such as herbaceous tidal marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation, and large expanses of intertidal or subtidal sediments (all highly productive landscapes) exert demand on available nutrient supplies but can also simultaneously transform and generate nutrients. Finally, while phytoplankton require nutrients to sustain production and thus are a potential nutrient sink, the amount and form of nutrients also can influence the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) that adversely affect aquatic organisms as well as affect the occurrence of beneficial algal blooms that result in production of algae that are favorable for imperiled Delta pelagic aquatic food webs.

    The surveys revealed a complex mosaic of spatial variation, with nutrient concentrations varying from near zero to well above concentrations considered eutrophic; nutrient concentrations were more often related to the extent of hydrologic transport and mixing than to specific geographic locations or to specific landscape features. Similarly, the surveys identified phytoplankton abundance ranging from near detection to the level of large phytoplankton blooms, with large variation in phytoplankton community composition. Although the study occurred during a period of low bloom activity, phytoplankton productivity appeared to be the strongest potential sink for inorganic nutrients in the Delta, indicating that it is a larger control on nutrient concentrations and distribution than previously understood. Cycling and transformation within the water column only appeared to substantially lower total nutrient concentrations at the longest estimated transport timescales. Contrary to expectations, we did not observe substantial nutrient depletion near landscape-scale features such as open-water habitats, submerged aquatic vegetation beds, extensive wetlands, or exposed sediments, indicating that these habitat types did not act as major sinks for nutrients in the Delta during these surveys. These results indicated that nutrient reduction efforts may have the greatest effect on pelagic phytoplankton productivity in the more productive reaches of the Delta and estuary, but these effects are unlikely to be magnified by changes to nutrient loss within the Delta over conceivable changes in flow conditions, Delta water management actions, or large-scale wetland restoration activities. Nevertheless, local processes were shown to cause substantial loss, and thus integrating of nutrient effects with other indicators of aquatic habitat conditions will help inform planning future actions at specific sites.

    Finally, we note that the primary contribution of this study was intended to be the survey data themselves. Aside from the results highlighted in this report, the surveys are a benchmark against which future environmental change may be evaluated, including changes to nutrient management or water exports, drought, large-scale wetland restoration, and climate change. Further, although we highlight some of the main findings from the surveys in this report, the necessarily limited scope precludes examination of many topics for which these surveys may be highly informative. To facilitate the utility of these data to stakeholders, managers, and researchers, we have released the data online (Bergamaschi and others, 2020) and created an online data exploration portal (https:​//ca.water​.usgs.gov/​bay-​delta/​2018-​delta-​wide-​mapping-​surveys.html) where users may query the surveys in a variety of ways to test hypotheses, examine relationships, assess spatial trends, and download data. The data exploration portal is intended to be an immersive experience that allows users to gain greater understanding of the complex interactions that shape Delta aquatic environments. This report is intended as a companion to the portal, allowing the reader to challenge and further explore the highlighted findings.

    This study was a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Delta Regional Monitoring Program, with additional funding provided from U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Matching Funds Program.

    Fishes move to transient local refuges, not persistent landscape refuges during river drying experiment

    Released April 01, 2024 10:43 EST

    2024, Freshwater Biology

    Thomas P Archdeacon, Eric J. Gonzales, Charles Yackulic

    1. Anthropogenically driven flow intermittency is increasing in freshwater streams, with important implications for the management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. Because most freshwater fishes are mobile, they are expected to emigrate from intermittent reaches, but this may not be true in streams transitioning from perennial to intermittent. Here, we attempt to determine if riverine fishes vacate drying reaches before intermittency or remain in local refuges.
    2. We implemented a controlled, in situ experimental flow reduction resulting in intermittency, reducing flows from ~1.0 to 0 m3/s over a 3-week period. We monitored fish and fish-habitat changes over a 5-week period before, during and after flow reductions.
    3. During flow reductions, total wetted habitat was ultimately reduced by 91%. Habitat loss over time was not equal among habitat types: pool habitat increased slightly as run habit was lost, and backwater and isolated pool habitats were not strongly related to discharge. Likewise, water depth in run habitats decreased faster than other habitats.
    4. Only the river carpsucker Carpiodes carpio appeared to move upstream during flow recession; seven other species remained within drying sites. Habitat loss negatively affected fish populations, but at a lower rate than that at which habitat was lost, until sites dried completely. Overall, two species, red shiner Cyprinella lutrensis and western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis, had increased population growth during the study, whereas the remaining species had population declines.
    5. Fishes were able to find transient local refuges during flow reductions but did not vacate sites before intermittent conditions. Accounting for lack of emigration from anthropogenic flow-intermittent reaches will be important for designing conservation actions for fishes threatened by increasing flow intermittency. Creation of refuge habitats may not be effective for widely dispersed species that do not actively seek refuge habitats, unless those habitats support enough individuals to maintain resilience following the intermittent conditions.

    A Robot Operating System (ROS) package for mapping flow fields in rivers via Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)

    Released April 01, 2024 08:45 EST

    2024, Software X (26)

    Carl J. Legleiter, Michael Dille

    Non-contact, remote sensing approaches to measuring flow velocities in river channels are widely used, but typical workflows involve acquiring images in the field and then processing data later in the office. To reduce latency between acquisition and output, with the ultimate goal of enabling real-time image velocimetry, we developed a Robot Operating System (ROS) package for Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) that can be deployed on an embedded computer aboard an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS). The ROSPIV package consists of a series of nodes that can be run in parallel and comprise an end-to-end PIV workflow. Software development involved converting MATLAB code to C++, organizing files within a catkin workspace, and building nodes using catkin_make. The codebase is available via a repository that includes a user’s guide and demo script. This paper describes the nodes in the ROSPIV package as well as functions for preparing inputs, facilitating code generation, and visualizing PIV output. To illustrate the application of the software, we present two examples, one based on a simulated image sequence and the other based on data acquired from a UAS. For the simulated data, the velocity field derived via the ROSPIV package closely matched the known flow field used to generate the image sequence. Using real data as input demonstrated the ability of the ROSPIV package to ingest and pre-process raw images. Our initial results suggest that the ROSPIV package could become a viable approach for mapping river surface velocities in real time.

    Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project, North Carolina—Overview of hydrologic and water-quality monitoring activities and data quality assurance

    Released April 01, 2024 07:52 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1003

    J.C. Diaz, R.M. Fanelli

    Surface-water supplies are important sources of drinking water for residents in the Triangle area of North Carolina, which is located within the upper Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins. Since 1988, the U.S. Geological Survey and a consortium of local governments have participated in a cooperative effort, known as the Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project, to track water-quality and quantity conditions in several of the area’s water-supply reservoirs and streams. This report summarizes the hydrologic and water-quality monitoring activities through this cooperative effort, including an overview of previous and current data collection and quality-assurance and quality-control activities.

    Phytoplankton, taste-and-odor compounds, and cyanotoxin occurrence in four water-supply reservoirs in the Triangle area of North Carolina, April–October 2014

    Released April 01, 2024 07:50 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5001

    Celeste A. Journey, Anna M. McKee, Jessica C. Diaz

    Prior to 2014, local utilities and State agencies monitored for cyanotoxins and taste-and-odor (T&O) compounds and reported occasional detections in three water-supply reservoirs in Wake County, North Carolina. Comparable data for cyanotoxins and T&O compounds were lacking for other water-supply reservoirs in the Triangle area of North Carolina. This report assesses whether cyanotoxins and T&O compounds occurred in four previously unmonitored North Carolina Triangle area water-supply reservoirs at levels that exceed existing North Carolina and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recreational and drinking water health advisory, guidance, and criterion levels based on data collected during the peak phytoplankton growth period in 2014. Samples were collected from five sites across the study reservoirs (Cane Creek Reservoir, West Fork Eno River Reservoir, B. Everett Jordan Lake, and University Lake) between April and October 2014 and analyzed for physical characteristics, chemical constituents, phytoplankton communities, cyanotoxins, and T&O compounds.

    Lake stratification during the sampling period in 2014 could indicate that the deep zones of the water column, during stratified anoxic conditions, may serve as possible sources of nutrients and metals for algal growth and other biogeochemical processes. Differences in phytoplankton communities were attributed to variability in environmental conditions across the sites and sampling events. Differences generally were greater among sites than among sampling events for phytoplankton communities and environmental conditions.

    Phytoplankton community assemblages, within reservoirs, often were dominated by cyanobacteria that contained genera capable of producing T&O compounds and cyanotoxins during summer and fall months. The occurrence and associated biovolumes of potential producers of cyanotoxins and T&O compounds varied across the sites and sampling events. Of 20 samples collected during the study, the T&O compound geosmin and the cyanotoxin microcystin were present in 19 and 18 samples, respectively. While not harmful, the aesthetically displeasing geosmin concentrations periodically exceeded the human detection threshold of 15 nanograms per liter at most sites. The T&O compound 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) was detected in 11 of 20 samples, with concentrations below the human detection threshold of 15 nanograms per liter in all but one sample. The cyanotoxin anatoxin-a was detected in two of the samples. No other cyanotoxins were detected during the study.

    In general, results did not indicate the biovolume of any given phytoplankton genera in the study was correlated with increased concentrations of MIB, geosmin, or microcystin. Results from this study indicated that microcystin concentrations in the water-supply reservoirs in the Triangle area were below EPA-recommended recreational level of 8 micrograms per liter, but periodically exceeded the EPA finished-water 10-day health advisory level of 0.3 microgram per liter for bottle-fed infants and preschool-age children. This suggests longer term data collection may be necessary to better understand the magnitude and frequency of cyanotoxin concentrations in these four water-supply reservoirs, particularly those with an elevated risk of exceeding the EPA 10-day health advisory levels in the finished drinking water or those with a higher frequency of T&O compound occurrence.

    Cross-scale analysis reveals interacting predictors of annual and perennial cover in Northern Great Basin rangelands

    Released April 01, 2024 06:58 EST

    2024, Ecological Applications (0)

    Madelon Florence Case, Kirk W. Davies, Chad S. Boyd, Lina Aoyama, Joanna Merson, Calvin Penkauskas, Lauren M. Hallett

    Exotic annual grass invasion is a widespread threat to the integrity of sagebrush ecosystems in Western North America. Although many predictors of annual grass prevalence and native perennial vegetation have been identified, there remains substantial uncertainty about how regional-scale and local-scale predictors interact to determine vegetation heterogeneity, and how associations between vegetation and cattle grazing vary with environmental context. Here, we conducted a regionally extensive, one-season field survey across burned and unburned, grazed, public lands in Oregon and Idaho, with plots stratified by aspect and distance to water within pastures to capture variation in environmental context and grazing intensity. We analyzed regional-scale and local-scale patterns of annual grass, perennial grass, and shrub cover, and examined to what extent plot-level variation was contingent on pasture-level predictions of site favorability. Annual grasses were widespread at burned and unburned sites alike, contrary to assumptions of annual grasses depending on fire, and more common at lower elevations and higher temperatures regionally, as well as on warmer slopes locally. Pasture-level grazing pressure interacted with temperature such that annual grass cover was associated positively with grazing pressure at higher temperatures but associated negatively with grazing pressure at lower temperatures. This suggests that pasture-level temperature and grazing relationships with annual grass abundance are complex and context dependent, although the causality of this relationship deserves further examination. At the plot-level within pastures, annual grass cover did not vary with grazing metrics, but perennial cover did; perennial grasses, for example, had lower cover closer to water sources, but higher cover at higher dung counts within a pasture, suggesting contrasting interpretations of these two grazing proxies. Importantly for predictions of ecosystem response to temperature change, we found that pasture-level and plot-level favorability interacted: perennial grasses had a higher plot-level cover on cooler slopes, and this difference across topography was starkest in pastures that were less favorable for perennial grasses regionally. Understanding the mechanisms behind cross-scale interactions and contingent responses of vegetation to grazing in these increasingly invaded ecosystems will be critical to land management in a changing world.

    Design and calibration of a nitrate decision support tool for groundwater wells in Wisconsin, USA

    Released April 01, 2024 06:55 EST

    2024, Environmental Modeling and Software, (176)

    Paul F. Juckem, Nicholas Corson-Dosch, Laura A. Schachter, Christopher Green, Kelsie M. Ferin, Eric G. Booth, Christopher J. Kucharik, Brian P. Austin, Leon J. Kauffman

    This paper describes development of a nitrate decision support tool for groundwater wells (GW-NDST) that combines nitrate leaching and groundwater lag-times to compute well concentrations. The GW-NDST uses output from support models that simulate leached nitrate, groundwater age distributions, and nitrate reduction rates. The support models are linked through convolution to simulate nitrate transport to wells. Spatially distributed parameters were adjusted through calibration to 34,255 nitrate sample targets. Prediction uncertainty is illustrated via Monte Carlo realizations informed during calibration. Over 78% of target concentrations were within the simulated range of results from 450 realizations. An example forecasting scenario illustrates that a range of feasible outcomes exist and should be considered when interpreting forecasts for decision making. Uncertainty in forecasting is unavoidable; the intent of characterizing uncertainty in the GW-NDST is to facilitate decision making by increasing insight into the response of nitrate contamination to physical and chemical processes.

      Simulating past and future fire impacts on Mediterranean ecosystems

      Released March 31, 2024 07:17 EST

      2024, Journal of Ecology

      Christoph Schwörer, César Morales-Molino, Erika Gobet, Paul D. Henne, Salvatore Pasta, Tiziana Pedrotta, Jacqueline F. N. van Leeuwen, Boris Vannière, Willy Tinner

      1. Worldwide, large wildfires are becoming increasingly common, leading to economic damages and threatening ecosystems and human health. Under future climate change, more frequent fire disturbance may push ecosystems into non-forested alternative stable states. Fire-prone ecosystems such as those in the Mediterranean Basin are expected to be particularly vulnerable, but the position of tipping points is unclear.
      2. We compare long-term palaeoecological data from Sardinia with output from a process-based dynamic vegetation model to investigate the mechanisms controlling the complex interactions between fire, climate, and vegetation in the past and the future.
      3. Our results show that past vegetation changes from Erica-shrublands to mixed evergreen-broadleaved Quercus ilex-dominated forests were driven by a climate-induced fire regime shift. By simulating vegetation dynamics under varying fire regimes, we could reproduce Holocene vegetation trajectories and mechanistically identify tipping points.
      4. Without an immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, we simulate future expansion of fire-prone Mediterranean maquis and increasing fire occurrence. Similarly, high anthropogenic ignition frequencies and plantations of non-native, highly flammable trees could induce a shift to fire-adapted Erica shrublands. However, our simulations indicate that if global warming can be kept below 2°C, Quercus ilex forests will be able to persist and effectively reduce fire occurrences and impacts, making them a valuable restoration target in Mediterranean ecosystems.
      5. Synthesis. By combining long-term records of ecosystem change with a dynamic vegetation model, we show that past climate-driven fire regime shifts were the main driver of vegetation change, creating alternative stable states that persisted over centuries. Projected future climate change exceeding Holocene variability leads to pronounced vegetation changes and increased fire risks in our simulations, requiring new fire management strategies to maintain current ecosystem services.

      The roles of diet and habitat use in pesticide bioaccumulation by juvenile Chinook Salmon: Insights from stable isotopes and fatty acid biomarkers

      Released March 31, 2024 06:48 EST

      2024, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (86) 234-248

      Sara E. Anzalone, Neil W. Fuller, Kara E. Huff Hartz, Gregory W. Whitledge, Jason Tyler Magnuson, Daniel Schlenk, Shawn Acuña, Matt R. Whiles, Michael J. Lydy

      Stable isotopes (SI) and fatty acid (FA) biomarkers can provide insights regarding trophic pathways and habitats associated with contaminant bioaccumulation. We assessed relationships between SI and FA biomarkers and published data on concentrations of two pesticides [dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and degradation products (DDX) and bifenthrin] in juvenile Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) from the Sacramento River and Yolo Bypass floodplain in Northern California near Sacramento. We also conducted SI and FA analyses of zooplankton and macroinvertebrates to determine whether particular trophic pathways and habitats were associated with elevated pesticide concentrations in fish. Relationships between DDX and both sulfur (δ34S) and carbon (δ13C) SI ratios in salmon indicated that diet is a major exposure route for DDX, particularly for individuals with a benthic detrital energy base. Greater use of a benthic detrital energy base likely accounted for the higher frequency of salmon with DDX concentrations > 60 ng/g dw in the Yolo Bypass compared to the Sacramento River. Chironomid larvae and zooplankton were implicated as prey items likely responsible for trophic transfer of DDX to salmon. Sulfur SI ratios enabled identification of hatchery-origin fish that had likely spent insufficient time in the wild to substantially bioaccumulate DDX. Bifenthrin concentration was unrelated to SI or FA biomarkers in salmon, potentially due to aqueous uptake, biotransformation and elimination of the pesticide, or indistinct biomarker compositions among invertebrates with low and high bifenthrin concentrations. One FA [docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and DDX were negatively correlated in salmon, potentially due to a greater uptake of DDX from invertebrates with low DHA or effects of DDX on FA metabolism. Trophic biomarkers may be useful indicators of DDX accumulation and effects in juvenile Chinook Salmon in the Sacramento River Delta.

      Clumped isotopes record a glacial-interglacial shift in seasonality of soil carbonate accumulation in the San Luis Valley, southern Rocky Mountains, USA

      Released March 30, 2024 09:22 EST

      2024, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (25)

      Adam M. Hudson, Julia R. Kelson, James B. Paces, Chester A. Ruleman, Katharine W. Huntington, Andrew J. Schauer

      Clumped isotope paleothermometry using pedogenic carbonates is a powerful tool for investigating past climate changes. However, location-specific seasonal patterns of precipitation and soil moisture cause systematic biases in the temperatures they record, hampering comparison of data across large areas or differing climate states. To account for biases, more systematic studies of carbonate forming processes are needed. We measured modern soil temperatures within the San Luis Valley of the Rocky Mountains and compared them to paleotemperatures determined using clumped isotopes. For Holocene-age samples, clumped isotope results indicate carbonate accumulated at a range of temperatures with site averages similar to the annual mean. Paleotemperatures for late Pleistocene-age samples (ranging 19–72 ka in age) yielded site averages only 2°C lower, despite evidence that annual temperatures during glacial periods were 5–9°C colder than modern. We use a 1D numerical model of soil physics to support the idea that differences in hydrologic conditions in interglacial versus glacial periods promote differences in the seasonal distribution of soil carbonate accumulation. Model simulations of modern (Holocene) conditions suggest that soil drying under low soil pCO2 favors year-round carbonate accumulation in this region but peaking during post-monsoon soil drying. During a “glacial” simulation with lowered temperatures and added snowpack, more carbonate accumulation shifted to the summer season. These experiments show that changing hydrologic regimes could change the seasonality of carbonate accumulation, which in this study blunts the use of clumped isotopes to quantify glacial-interglacial temperature changes. This highlights the importance of understanding seasonal biases of climate proxies for accurate paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

      Potential impacts of an autumn oil spill on polar bears summering on land in northern Alaska

      Released March 30, 2024 07:03 EST

      2024, Biological Conservation (292)

      Ryan H. Wilson, Deborah French-Mckay, Craig J Perham, Susannah P Woodruff, Todd C. Atwood, George M. Durner

      Demand for oil and natural gas continues to increase, leading to the development of remote regions where it is riskier to operate. Many of these regions have had limited development, so understanding potential impacts to wildlife could inform management decisions. In 2017, the United States passed legislation allowing oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. This area has received limited industrial development and is an important region for polar bears that use the coastline as a travel corridor in autumn. We sought to understand how an autumn near-shore oil spill in the Refuge could affect polar bears. We simulated oil spills from shallow sub-sea pipelines at 3 locations along the coastline of the Refuge and allowed spills to discharge 4800 barrels of oil per day for 6 days, and tracked oil for 50 days. We interacted the trajectories with simulated polar bear movements to estimate how many bears might be exposed. Oil spread quickly along the coastline and during some weeks exposed an average of 10 bears (95 % CI: 0–37) to lethal levels of oil, and 60 (95 % CI: 9–120) to sub-lethal levels. Our results suggest a significant number of polar bears could become oiled from a spill in the region and require decontamination. Therefore, future mitigation strategies could include careful siting of future development and additional capacity to capture and decontaminate bears in the event of an oil spill.

        Timing and source of recharge to the Columbia River Basalt groundwater system in northeastern Oregon

        Released March 30, 2024 06:44 EST

        2024, Groundwater

        Henry M. Johnson, Kate E. Ely, Anna-Turi Maher

        Recharge to and flow within the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) groundwater flow system of northeastern Oregon were characterized using isotopic, gas, and age-tracer samples from wells completed in basalt, springs, and stream base flow. Most groundwater samples were late-Pleistocene to early-Holocene; median age of well samples was 11,100 years. The relation between mean groundwater age and completed well depth across the eastern portion of the study area was similar despite differences in precipitation, topographic position, incision, thickness of the sedimentary overburden, and CRBG geologic unit. However, the lateral continuity in groundwater age was disrupted across large regional fault zones indicating these structures are substantial impediments to groundwater flow from the high-precipitation uplands to adjacent lower-precipitation and lower-elevation portions of the study area. Recharge rates calculated from the age-depth relations were <3 mm/yr and independent of the modern precipitation gradient across the study area. The age-constrained recharge rates to the CRBG groundwater system are considerably smaller than previously published estimates and highlight the uncertainty of prevailing models used to estimate recharge to the CRBG groundwater system across the Columbia Plateau in Oregon and Washington. Age tracer and isotopic evidence indicate recharge to the CRBG groundwater system is an exceedingly slow and localized process.

        Evaluation of the characteristics, discharge, and water quality of selected springs at Fort Irwin National Training Center, San Bernardino County, California

        Released March 29, 2024 12:07 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5142

        Jill N. Densmore, Drew C. Thayer, Meghan C. Dick, Peter W. Swarzenski, Lyndsay B. Ball, Celia Z. Rosecrans, Cordell Johnson

        Eight springs and seeps at Fort Irwin National Training Center were described and categorized by their general characteristics, discharge, geophysical properties, and water quality between 2015 and 2017. The data collected establish a modern (2017) baseline of hydrologic conditions at the springs. Two types of springs were identified: (1) precipitation-fed upland springs (Cave, Desert King, Devouge, No Name, and Panther Springs) and (2) groundwater discharge-fed basin springs (Garlic, Bitter, and Jack Springs). Comparison of electrical resistivity tomography data collected at groundwater basin springs from 2015 to 2017 indicated that spring discharge and connection to the underlying groundwater system is highly focused, although the springs themselves appear diffuse and are spread out over a large area.

        Spring discharge was consistently less than reported by Thompson (1929), except at Garlic Spring where discharges and vegetation have increased in recent years. Multiple discrete flume and seepage meter measurements taken between October 2015 and April 2016 indicated that discharge changed predictably on diurnal and seasonal timescales in response to evapotranspiration. These preliminary results and the lush vegetation noted at some of the springs, particularly at Bitter, Garlic, and Jack Springs, indicated plant evapotranspiration accounts for a substantial part of the discharge from these springs.

        The quality of water ranges from fresh in precipitation-fed upland springs (Cave, Desert King, Devouge, and Panther Springs) to slightly saline (Garlic and Jack Springs) and moderately saline (Bitter Spring) in groundwater-fed discharge springs. Nitrate concentrations from water at most of the springs were less than 3 milligrams per liter, except for samples from Devouge and Desert King Springs and one sample from Jack Spring. An analysis of delta nitrogen-15 in nitrate (δ15N-NO3) and delta oxygen-18 in nitrate (δ18O-NO3) indicates high nitrate concentrations in excess of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level at Jack Spring and Desert King Spring resulting from the dissolution of nitrate-bearing caliche deposits; nitrate concentrations at Devouge Spring are a result of algal growth within the spring, and the source of nitrate concentrations in Garlic Spring are consistent with a treated wastewater origin from Langford Valley-Irwin subbasin upgradient. The source of water in upland springs, indicated by values of delta oxygen-18 (δ18O) and delta deuterium (δD) are consistent with recharge from winter precipitation. In groundwater basin springs, values of δ18O and δD are consistent with groundwater sampled from nearby wells. Summer monsoonal precipitation appears to contribute little water to spring flow. Most springs contain low levels of tritium and appear to be primarily older (pre-1950s) groundwater. Groundwater basin springs with detectable tritium may result from occasional streamflow in nearby washes. These springs could be susceptible to decreases in flow during extended dry periods when the localized recharge may be reduced due to the loss of focused recharge through nearby washes.

        Groundwater samples from Garlic and Bitter Springs contained arsenic concentrations above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level. Groundwater samples from all springs, except Cave, Desert King, and Devouge Springs, exceeded the State of California maximum contaminant level for fluoride. Garlic Spring was the only sampled spring that contained vanadium concentrations that exceeded the State of California notification level. Only a single water sample from Jack Spring contained uranium at a concentration that exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level.

        Many other constituents of concern were analyzed, including those from anthropogenic sources that may be a result of military activities. Most of these constituents were not detected above their respective reporting levels in spring water; only 15 were detected in spring waters. Diesel and gasoline degradants, many of which also occur naturally, were the most commonly detected compounds. Several other organic compounds, primarily solvents or their degradants, were detected in groundwater basin springs. These constituents, in order of decreasing detection frequency, were carbon disulfide; perchlorate; mercury; acetone; methylnaphthalene; toluene; methyl ethyl ketone; cyanide; and styrene; 4-iso-propyl-toluene; isopropylbenzene; methyl salicylate; and phenol. Except for Garlic Spring, which is affected by discharges of treated wastewater, the quality of water from most springs appears to be relatively unaffected by activities at the Fort Irwin National Training Center.

        Genetic Connectivity in the Arizona toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus): implications for conservation of a stream dwelling amphibian in the arid Southwestern U.S.

        Released March 29, 2024 11:29 EST

        2024, Conservation Genetics

        Sara J. Oyler-McCance, Mason J. Ryan, Brian K. Sullivan, Jennifer A. Fike, Robert S. Cornman, J. T. Giermakowski, Shawna J Zimmerman, R. L. Harrow, S.J. Hedwell, Blake R. Hossack, I. M. Latella, R. E. Lovish, S. Siefken, Brent H. Sigafus, Erin L. Muths

        The Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) is restricted to riverine corridors and adjacent uplands in the arid southwestern United States. As with numerous amphibians worldwide, populations are declining and face various known or suspected threats, from disease to habitat modification resulting from climate change. The Arizona Toad has been petitioned to be listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and was considered “warranted but precluded” citing the need for additional information – particularly regarding natural history (e.g., connectivity and dispersal ability). The objectives of this study were to characterize population structure and genetic diversity across the species’ range. We used reduced-representation genomic sequencing to genotype 3,601 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 99 Arizona Toads from ten drainages across its range. Multiple analytical methods revealed two distinct genetic groups bisected by the Colorado River; one in the northwestern portion of the range in southwestern Utah and eastern Nevada and the other in the southeastern portion of the range in central and eastern Arizona and New Mexico. We also found subtle substructure within both groups, particularly in central Arizona where toads at lower elevations were less connected than those at higher elevations. The northern and southern parts of the Arizona Toad range are not well connected genetically and could be managed as separate units. Further, these data could be used to identify source populations for assisted migration or translocations to support small or potentially declining populations.

        Post-wildfire debris flows

        Released March 29, 2024 10:00 EST

        2024, Book chapter, Advances in Debris-flow Science and Practice

        Joseph Gartner, Jason W. Kean, Francis K. Rengers, Scott W. McCoy, Nina S. Oakley, Gary J. Sheridan

        Post-wildfire debris flows pose severe hazards to communities and infrastructure near and within recently burned mountainous terrain. Intense heat of wildfires changes the runoff characteristics of a watershed by combusting the vegetative canopy, litter, and duff, introducing ash into the soil and creating water repellant soils. Following wildfire, rainfall on bare ground is less able to infiltrate into the fire-altered soils and overland flow is less impeded by vegetation. Rainfall runoff in recently burned areas can erode hillslopes owing to the removal of soil binding organic matter near the soil surface by fire. In channels, loose, dry-ravel deposits composed of sand and gravel are readily entrained by concentrated runoff in channels. Entrainment of soil on hillslopes and in channels bulks up the sediment concentration of the rainfall runoff to generate debris flows capable of transporting boulders and large woody debris. Post-wildfire debris flows can be triggered by rainfall conditions that would typically produce little runoff during unburned conditions. The primary rainfall trigger for post-wildfire debris flows is high intensity rainfall during short duration convective rainstorms or periods of high rainfall intensity embedded within a long-duration frontal storm. Numerous observations of debris flows triggered by storms lasting less than an hour following periods of little to no rainfall indicate that antecedent rainfall is not a requirement for initiation of post-wildfire debris flows. Post-wildfire debris-flow hazard assessment entails estimating probability and magnitude of debris flows in the burned area, estimating debris-flow runout and intensity, and defining rainfall intensity-duration thresholds for debris-flow initiation. In the United States, probability and magnitude is estimated using empirically derived models largely based on data collected in southern California. The models provide maps to identify watersheds and drainage paths where post-wildfire hazards are most pronounced. Rainfall intensity-duration thresholds can be incorporated into flood hazard forecasting tools. Currently, work is underway to identify how to best implement debris-flow runout models in burned areas with efficiency and accuracy. Post-wildfire debris flows have been a long-recognized process in the Transverse Ranges of southern California; however, climate change is driving more frequent wildfires to burn more mountainous terrain throughout the western United States and worldwide. As a result, post-wildfire debris flows are becoming a more common threat in areas where they were once infrequent. As the threat of post-wildfire debris flow expands into new areas, evaluating the hazard becomes challenging because the degree to which wildfire increases debris-flow susceptibility varies from region to region. This chapter summarizes the knowledge to date for evaluating post-wildfire debris-flow susceptibility and hazard assessment. We summarize the characteristics of wildfire burn severity, topography, underlying soil and geology, and rainfall conditions that contribute to making a watershed most likely to produce post-wildfire debris flows. Methods for hazard assessment in the United States and other countries are summarized. We highlight knowledge gaps for how post-wildfire debris-flow susceptibility varies throughout the western United States and worldwide and identify research needs to improve hazard assessment methods in different geographies.

        How diverse is the toolbox? A review of management actions to conserve or restore coregonines

        Released March 29, 2024 09:21 EST

        2024, International Journal of Limnology (60)

        David Bunnell, Orlane Anneville, Jan Baer, Colin Bean, Kimmo Kahlilainen, Alfred Sandstrom, Oliver Selz, Pascal Vonlanthen, Josef Wanzenbock, Brian C. Weidel

        Over the past centuries, coregonines have been exposed to a range of stressors that have led to extinctions, extirpations, and speciation reversals. Given that some populations remain at risk and fishery managers have begun restoring coregonines where they have been extirpated, we reviewed the primary and gray literature to describe the diversity of coregonine restoration or conservation actions that have been previously used. Although stocking of hatchery-reared fish has been commonly used for supplementing existing coregonine fisheries, we considered stocking efforts only with specifically conservation or restoration goals. Likewise, conservation-driven efforts of translocation were not widespread, except in the United Kingdom for the creation of refuge populations to supplement the distribution of declining stocks. Habitat restoration efforts have occurred more broadly and have included improving spawning habitat, connectivity, or nutrient concentrations. Although harvest regulations are commonly used to regulate coregonine fisheries, we found fewer examples of the creation of protected areas or outright closures. Finally, interactions with invasive species can be a considerable stressor, yet we found relatively few examples of invasive species control undertaken for the direct benefit of coregonines. In conclusion, our review of the literature and prior Coregonid symposia revealed relatively limited direct emphasis on coregonine conservation or restoration relative to more traditional fishery approaches (e.g., supplementation of fisheries, stock assessment) or studying life history and genetics. Ideally, by providing this broad review of conservation and restoration strategies, future management efforts will benefit from learning about a greater diversity of potential actions that could be locally applied.

        Paleogene sedimentary basin development in southern Nevada, USA

        Released March 29, 2024 09:07 EST

        2024, Lithosphere (2024) 1-34

        Jens-Erik Lundstern, Theresa Maude Schwartz, Cameron Mark Mercer, Joseph Colgan, Jeremiah B. Workman, Leah E. Morgan

        The cause of the transition from Mesozoic and early Cenozoic crustal shortening to later extension in the western United States is debated. In many parts of the extant Sevier hinterland, now the Basin and Range Province, the sedimentary sections that provide the most direct record of that transition remain poorly studied and lack meaningful age control. In this paper, we present field characterization supported by U-Pb detrital zircon and 40Ar/39Ar feldspar ages for ten sections across southern Nevada. We describe a newly identified basin, here named the Fallout Hills basin, which preserves >1.0 km of sedimentary deposits as old as middle Eocene, ca. 48 Ma. Deposition occurred during the 20 m.y. (million years) before the 27.60 ± 0.03 Ma Monotony Tuff blanketed much of south-central Nevada, based on 47.6 Ma and younger detrital zircon maximum depositional ages (MDAs) from near the Pintwater and Spotted Ranges. Elsewhere in southern Nevada, prevolcanic Cenozoic strata commonly form thinner (~100 m), isolated exposures that yield detrital zircon MDAs ≤10 m.y. older than (and in some cases essentially the same age as) the ca. 27–28 Ma ignimbrites that cap the sections. A variable but overall upward-fining facies pattern is observed in both the Fallout Hills basin and the thinner sections. These localized patterns imply topographic changes that are unlikely to reflect plate-scale processes and are not consistent with large-magnitude extension. Instead, variable uplift due to magmatism combined with antecedent topographic relief from thrust faulting and subsequent erosion likely provided accommodation for these deposits.

        A comparison of contemporary and historical hydrology and water quality in the foothills and coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic Slope, northern Alaska

        Released March 28, 2024 09:44 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5008

        Joshua C. Koch, Heather Best, Carson Baughman, Charles Couvillion, Michael P. Carey, Jeff Conaway

        The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a unique landscape in northern Alaska with limited water resources, substantial biodiversity of rare and threatened species, as well as oil and gas resources. The region has unique hydrology related to perennial springs, and the formation of large aufeis fields—sheets of ice that grow in the river channels where water reaches the surface in the winter and freezes. This work aims to update our understanding of water resources and water quality in the springs, streams, rivers, and lakes of this region, returning to sites sampled by the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1970s. We resampled eight streams, four springs, and six lakes for hydrological metrics, water quality, and macroinvertebrates, and recalculated flood-frequency metrics for rivers using updated data and modern techniques. Aufeis field melt rates were also assessed for the past several decades. Although the available data preclude trend determinations in most cases, our analysis and comparison to the historical sampling indicates an increase in dissolved ions for streams and springs, faster and earlier aufeis melt, and similar macroinvertebrate populations.

        Performance-based earthquake early warning for tall buildings

        Released March 28, 2024 06:52 EST

        2024, Earthquake Spectra

        S. Farid Ghahari, Khachik Sargsyan, Grace Alexandra Parker, Dan Swensen, Mehmet Çelebi, Hamid Haddadi, Ertugrul Taciroglu

        The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system aims to issue an advance warning to residents on the West Coast of the United States seconds before the ground shaking arrives, if the expected ground shaking exceeds a certain threshold. However, residents in tall buildings may experience much greater motion due to the dynamic response of the buildings. Therefore, there is an ongoing effort to extend ShakeAlert to include the contribution of building response to provide a more accurate estimation of the expected shaking intensity for tall buildings. Currently, the supposedly ideal solution of analyzing detailed finite element models of buildings under predicted ground-motion time histories is not theoretically or practically feasible. The authors have recently investigated existing simple methods to estimate peak floor acceleration (PFA) and determined these simple formulas are not practically suitable. Instead, this article explores another approach by extending the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) to EEW, considering that every component involved in building response prediction is uncertain in the EEW scenario. While this idea is not new and has been proposed by other researchers, it has two shortcomings: (1) the simple beam model used for response prediction is prone to modeling uncertainty, which has not been quantified, and (2) the ground motions used for probabilistic demand models are not suitable for EEW applications. In this article, we address these two issues by incorporating modeling errors into the parameters of the beam model and using a new set of ground motions, respectively. We demonstrate how this approach could practically work using data from a 52-story building in downtown Los Angeles. Using the criteria and thresholds employed by previous researchers, we show that if peak ground acceleration (PGA) is accurately estimated, this approach can predict the expected level of human comfort in tall buildings.

        Evaluation of in vitro treatments against the causative agent of Diadema antillarum scuticociliatosis (DaSc)

        Released March 28, 2024 06:23 EST

        2024, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms (157) 107-112

        James S. Evans, Julie Jenice Voelschow, Isabella T. Ritchie, Mya Breitbart, Ian Hewson, Christina A. Kellogg

        ABSTRACT: In the 1980s, a mass die-off of the long-spined sea urchin Diadema antillarum occurred on Florida and Caribbean coral reefs. D. antillarum populations largely did not recover, and in 2022, remaining populations experienced another mass mortality event. A ciliate most similar to Philaster apodigitiformis was identified as the causative agent of the 2022 event, which was named D. antillarum scuticociliatosis (DaSc). Here, we investigated possible treatments for this pathogen. We tested the efficacy of 10 compounds at final concentrations of 100, 50, 25, 12.5, 6.25, and 3.13 µM, or a 10-fold serial dilution series, against ciliates cultured from an infected D. antillarum specimen. Of the tested compounds, 8 induced 100% ciliate mortality at some dose after 24 h. The most effective (defined as those requiring the lowest dose to induce 100% ciliate mortality) were quinacrine and tomatine (both effective at 12.5 µM), followed by furaltadone and plumbagin (25 µM), bithionol sulfoxide and 2’4’ dihydroxychalcone (50 µM), and oxyclozanide and carnidazole (100 µM). Toltrazuril and a commercially available anticiliate product containing naphthoquinones were not effective at any dose tested. Shortened (15 min) time trials were performed using ciliate cultures reared in natural seawater to better reflect natural environmental conditions, and revealed that 2 of the compounds (quinacrine and tomatine) induced 100% ciliate mortality at 100 µM, with tomatine also effective at 50 µM. This study identified several treatments effective against the causative agent of DaSc in vitro, but their toxicity and utility in vivo remain unknown.

        Assessing influence from wastewater treatment facilities on Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River within Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico, February–October 2022

        Released March 27, 2024 10:44 EST

        2024, Open-File Report 2024-1014

        K. Wilkins, K.R. Beisner, R.E. Travis

        The Pecos National Historical Park protects 2.9 miles of the Pecos River and part of Glorieta Creek within the park boundaries. Updated water-quality data can assist resource managers in determining if effluent from two nearby wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is affecting the quality of the water in the Pecos River and Glorieta Creek within the park. Water samples were collected four times in 2022 at two WWTP outfalls, two locations on Glorieta Creek, and two locations on the Pecos River. Water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, water temperature, pH, turbidity, specific conductance) were measured in the field, and samples were collected and analyzed for major ions, trace elements, rare earth elements, nutrients, bacteria, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

        Specific conductance values in all samples collected from Glorieta Creek exceeded the New Mexico Surface Water Quality Standard (NMWQS) of 300 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius. Concentrations of dissolved oxygen in three samples collected from Glorieta Creek and one sample for the Pecos WWTP did not meet the standard for high-quality cold-water use. Concentrations of Escherichia coli in samples from the Pecos WWTP exceeded the NMWQS of 235 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters during every sampling event. Concentrations of E. coli in samples collected from two sites on Glorieta Creek in August exceeded the NMWQS.

        The chemical signature of water from Glorieta Creek indicated groundwater and (or) septic system contributions. Water samples collected from the Pecos River all had similar chemical signatures of calcium-bicarbonate type. Although concentrations of several trace elements were higher in samples from Glorieta Creek than in samples from the Pecos River, no concentrations exceeded the drinking-water standards. No concentrations exceeded aquatic life standards except for copper concentrations in two samples from the downstream location on Glorieta Creek. The trace element signature and the gadolinium anomalies in the WWTP samples indicate anthropogenic contributions.

        Eleven of the 28 PFAS compounds analyzed were detected in samples during this study, with the treated wastewater effluent samples having the highest total PFAS concentrations. The total PFAS concentrations in samples from Glorieta Creek decreased by an order of magnitude as the creek flowed downstream. At the downstream site on the Pecos River, there was only one sample that had a detection of PFAS.

        Where is the water? Desert [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 238

        Simona Love, Sophie Hill, Gregory Carling, Josh Lemonte, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Ryan Nixon

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates where water is in a desert environment, how it moves, and different ways water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Water cycle processes [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 235

        Eliza Anderson, Sophie Hill, Ryan Nixon, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Gregory Carling, Bryan Hopkins, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Elizabeth Bailey

        Description

        The water cycle describes how water moves from Earth’s surface into the atmosphere, then back to the surface again or to below Earth’s surface. This educational poster depicts five key water-cycle processes that transport or transform water between states: evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and infiltration. It illustrates examples of natural and human interactions with these processes. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences.

        Where is the water? Agriculture [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 234

        Simona Love, Sophie Hill, Bryan Hopkins, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Ryan Nixon

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates agricultural water use, how water moves, and different ways that water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Where is the water? Coast [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 232

        Simona Love, Sophie Hill, Richard Gill, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Ryan Nixon

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates where water is on the coast, how water moves, and different ways that water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Where is the water? Suburban [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 236

        Manon Hale, Anna Wright, Sophie Hill, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Ryan Nixon, Rebecca Hale, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Keely Song

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates where water is in the suburbs, how it moves, and different ways water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Where is the water? Forest [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 237

        Simona Love, Sophie Hill, Gregory Carling, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Ryan Nixon

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates where water is in forests, how it moves, and different ways water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Where is the water? Urban [poster]

        Released March 26, 2024 13:00 EST

        2024, General Information Product 233

        Simona Love, Sophie Hill, Bryan Hopkins, Benjamin Abbott, Raymond Lee, Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Bailey, Ryan Nixon, Hayley Corson-Dosch, Cee Nell, Rebecca Hale

        Description

        Water is an integral part of how we interact with the environment and live our everyday lives. This educational poster illustrates where water is in urban environments, how it moves, and different ways water is used both naturally and through human interaction. This poster is intended for eighth-grade audiences and younger.

        Spatial distribution of API gravity and gas/oil ratios for petroleum accumulations in Upper Cretaceous strata of the San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations of the south Texas Maverick Basin—Implications for petroleum migration and charge history

        Released March 26, 2024 12:45 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5124

        Colin A. Doolan, William H. Craddock, Marc L. Buursink, Javin J. Hatcherian, Steven M. Cahan

        The Maverick Basin of south Texas is currently undergoing active exploration and production of gas and oil from tight sandstone reservoirs. The most productive tight sandstones in the basin are in the Upper Cretaceous San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations. These units are second only to the Eagle Ford Shale in terms of cumulative production volumes. The structural history of the Maverick Basin, from rifting to subsidence to exhumation, has had a profound effect on the characteristics of these reservoirs and the petroleum resources contained therein. This U.S. Geological Survey review of the production history of these strata reflects a recent shift from conventional production to horizontal drilling (unconventional) that exploits low permeability reservoirs in previously overlooked areas of existing oil and gas fields in southern Texas, typically outside of established field boundaries.

        To investigate the physical properties of the Maverick Basin hydrocarbon accumulations, this case study compiled American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity measurements and calculated cumulative gas/oil ratios (GOR) for thousands of producing wells from the San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations. Maps were generated from the compiled well production data to show the spatial heterogeneity of API gravity and GOR values for the three formations within the Maverick Basin and immediately outside the basin to the northeast. Within the Maverick Basin, the spatial patterns of API gravity values indicate lighter oils downdip towards the southern basin edge. GOR values indicative of wet and dry gases within the basin are seen interspersed, with values that correspond to black and heavy oils. Differences in the spatial patterns of the petroleum properties within the Maverick Basin are interpreted as effects of Eocene basin inversion caused by Laramide orogenic deformation, and the resulting reservoir exhumation of basin strata. East of the Maverick Basin, spatial distributions of API gravity and GOR values show progressively heavier oils updip to the northwest, grading to dry gases downdip to the southeast, which correlates to the oil and gas windows of the underlying Eagle Ford Shale.

        Correlation of API gravity and GOR values from the San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations with thermal maturity data from the Eagle Ford Shale suggests that the Eagle Ford Shale is the petroleum source, and that petroleum migration was approximately vertical for areas to the east of the Maverick Basin. The discontinuity of API gravity and GOR properties within the Maverick Basin implies a complex petroleum charge history, possibly involving the remigration of petroleum and the addition of petroleum from other source intervals in Mexico, to the southwest. Depressurization of exhumed, overpressured reservoirs of the San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations can explain the intermittent occurrence of gas production throughout the southern Maverick Basin by exsolution of gas from formation brines and the resulting dry gas flushing of hydrocarbon-charged reservoirs. The introduction of dry gas through flushing can, in turn, explain why the patterns of API gravity and GOR values are so dissimilar in the Maverick Basin. This process has implications for possible future production of unconventional resources from undiscovered tight-gas reservoirs in strata of the San Miguel, Olmos, and Escondido Formations, and a different approach to petroleum exploration may be needed in the Maverick Basin relative to exploration techniques applied in other basins within the northern Gulf of Mexico.

        Evaluation of sensors for continuous monitoring of harmful algal blooms in the Finger Lakes region, New York, 2019 and 2020

        Released March 26, 2024 10:10 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5010

        Brett D. Johnston, Kaitlyn M. Finkelstein, Sabina R. Gifford, Michael D. Stouder, Elizabeth A. Nystrom, Philip R. Savoy, Joshua J. Rosen, Matthew B. Jennings

        In response to the increasing frequency of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, a pilot study by the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, was conducted to enhance CyanoHAB monitoring and understanding. High-frequency sensors were deployed on open water monitoring-station platforms at Seneca Lake in 2019–20, at Owasco Lake in 2019–20, and at Skaneateles Lake in 2019. One of the goals of this study was to evaluate the ability of in-place sensors to make representative measurements of dissolved organic matter, nutrients, and algal pigments (as indicators of phytoplankton biomass) while collecting routine field parameters (water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, weather, and light) to provide additional information about environmental conditions.

        Despite challenges like power issues and sensor fouling, the sensors performed well overall. However, correlation analyses between sensor readings and laboratory measurements revealed variable performance. Results indicate the relation between the fluorescent dissolved organic matter sensor and laboratory-measured dissolved organic carbon was weak at all study lakes. The nitrate sensors can be sensitive to ambient temperature and have a substantial power requirement, and the relation between sensor- and laboratory-measured nitrate values differed among lakes. The orthophosphate sensors, which were complex and prone to data loss, yielded results that were difficult to interpret because orthophosphate detections are rare in the study lakes. The multichannel fluorometer was also complex to use and required several unique procedures for its operation.

        Chlorophyll measurements from the fluorometers correlated moderately well with laboratory-measured chlorophyll-a, although relations with total phytoplankton biovolume were weaker. Relations between phycocyanin concentration measurements from the dual-channel fluorometers and cyanobacterial biovolume were not significant; however, the cyanobacterial biovolume correlation was moderately strong with chlorophyll contribution from cyanobacteria measurements from the multichannel fluorometer. Of all collected parameters, water temperature was among the strongest correlated with chlorophyll-a, total phytoplankton biovolume, and cyanobacterial biovolume.

        Stepwise regression analysis was used to identify the best parameters for modeling variance in laboratory measures of phytoplankton biomass. This analysis included factors such as chlorophyll fluorescence, pH, water temperature, and others, which varied by lake. Overall, the models had limited explanatory power for chlorophyll-a and other biovolumes, possibly due to the absence of CyanoHABs at the open-water monitoring locations. Multivariate models did not outperform simple fluorescence-based models. Notably, turbidity was a more significant indicator of cyanobacterial biovolume variability than phycocyanin from dual-channel fluorometers.

        The study concludes that while single and multivariate models based on sensor data are useful, they did not explain any more variance than fluorescence-based models. Broader data collection, including more CyanoHAB events, is necessary to refine these models. Integrating machine learning could leverage large, complex datasets to improve CyanoHAB predictions, thereby enhancing the management and understanding of these blooms.

        The Metzger marsh restoration: A vegetation-centric look after 27 years

        Released March 26, 2024 09:37 EST

        2024, Journal of Great Lakes Research (50)

        Douglas A. Wilcox, Kurt P. Kowalski, Alexandra (Sasha) A Bozimowski

        We investigated wetland vegetation before, during, and after dike construction at the Metzger Marsh project in western Lake Erie, which was designed to restore a 300-ha wetland that had been degraded following the loss of a protective barrier beach. A dike was constructed in 1995 to replace the function of the eroded barrier beach, but it contained a water-control structure to allow managed hydrologic connection to the lake. The control structure contained a fish passageway to allow movement of fish across the dike, while restricting entry of large common carp. Color-infrared aerial photos from project start in 1994 through 2010 (and 2022) were analyzed to track vegetation changes, and major vegetation types were sampled quantitatively. Drawdown of water levels in 1996 after dike construction elicited a response of mudflat species from the seed bank, as well as tree seedlings. Over half of the marsh was vegetated then and in subsequent years. The water-control structure was opened in 1998, and by 2000, invasive Phragmites australis had gained dominance. Most trees were eventually eliminated by herbicide treatment and flooding, and extent of Phragmites was reduced by management actions. Typha spp. and emergents Sagittaria latifolia and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani became dominant by 2022. This restoration project increased habitat values for fish and wildlife; it also provided lessons for future projects on lands managed by multiple agencies with differing missions. More importantly, it showed that long-term monitoring data are critical for assessing wetland restoration projects and guiding management decisions.

        Pre-existing ground cracks as lava flow pathways at Kīlauea in 2014

        Released March 26, 2024 07:13 EST

        2024, Bulletin of Volcanology (86)

        T. Orr, Edward W. Llewellin, Kyle R. Anderson, Matthew R. Patrick

        In 2014, the Pāhoa lava flow at Kīlauea, on the Island of Hawaiʻi (USA), entered a string of pre-existing meter-width ground cracks in the volcano’s East Rift Zone. The ground cracks transported lava below the surface in a direction discordant to the slope of the landscape. The cracks, which were 100s of meters long and 10s to 100s of meters deep, also widened by up to several meters as they filled, probably in part at the expense of adjacent cracks, which likely closed. Widening of the cracks caused shallow crustal blocks on the volcano’s flank to shift—this deformation was captured by a nearby GPS station and a borehole tiltmeter. The GPS station moved away from the cracks in response, while the tiltmeter showed tilting toward the cracks, consistent with opening. Noting that the lava-filled cracks act as top-fed dikes, we adapt existing theory for the thermo-rheological evolution of dikes to analyze transport of lava captured by ground cracks and propose mechanisms for the exit of the lava back to the surface. This study shows that ground cracks as narrow as 50 cm wide can facilitate the transport of advancing lava flows and can carry lava in directions that differ from those expected based on surface topography, invalidating flow path projections based on the assumption of subaerial flow.

        Controls on in-stream nitrogen loss in western Lake Erie tributaries

        Released March 26, 2024 07:00 EST

        2024, Journal of Great Lakes Research (50)

        Rebecca Kreiling, Lynn A. Bartsch, Patrik Mathis Perner, Kenna Jean Breckner, Tanja N. Williamson, James M. Hood, Nathan F. Manning, Laura T. Johnson

        Management efforts to reduce cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) in the Great Lakes have focused on decreasing tributary inputs of phosphorus (P). Recent research has indicated that reduction of both P and nitrogen (N) can lessen cHABs severity. Microbially mediated N cycling in streambed sediment may reduce N riverine loads, yet little is known about in-stream N processing rates in the Maumee River Basin, a major source of nutrients to Lake Erie. During summer of 2019 and 2021, we sampled streambed sediment to measure potential nitrification and denitrification rates using the acetylene block method at 78 sites throughout the Maumee River network. We used structural equation models to identify indirect and direct drivers of denitrification. Precipitation was greater in 2019, resulting in a 67 % increase in mean discharge, 41 % of farm fields to be fallow, and a 50 % reduction in fertilizer use. During summer field surveys, median stream-water nitrate concentrations were not different between 2019 and 2021. Median denitrification rates were 13.3 mg N/m2/h and 31.2 mg N/m2/h, respectively, indicating high potential to remove N. Nitrate concentrations and nitrification rates were strong direct drivers of denitrification, especially in 2019 when coupled nitrification–denitrification sustained denitrification. Nitrate concentrations varied with land use. Notably, nitrate concentrations increased with the area of fallow land, which may indicate the presence of a legacy N source. These findings indicate that promoting streambed denitrification could reduce N loads to Lake Erie, but legacy N currently stored in the system may mask N reduction efforts.

        Relation between the relative abundance and collapse of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and microbial antagonism in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

        Released March 26, 2024 06:46 EST

        2024, FEMS Microbiology Ecology (100)

        Jennifer C. Underwood, Natalie Celeste Hall, Adam Mumford, Ronald W. Harvey, Paul Anthony Bliznik, Kaitlyn Michelle Jeanis

        Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is the dominant filamentous cyanobacterium that develops into blooms in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon each year. During AFA bloom and collapse, ecosystem conditions for endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers deteriorate, thus motivating the need to identify processes that limit AFA abundance and decline. Here we investigate the relations between AFA and other members of the microbial community (photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic bacteria and archaea), how those relations impact abundance and collapse of AFA, and the types of microbial conditions that suppress AFA. We found significant spatial variation in AFA relative abundance during the 2016 bloom period using 16S rRNA sequencing. The Pelican Marina (PM) site had the lowest AFA relative abundance, and this was coincident with increased relative abundance of Candidatus Sericytochromatia, Flavobacterium, and Rheinheimera, some of which are known AFA antagonists. The AFA collapse coincided with phosphorus limitation relative to nitrogen and the increased relative abundance of Cyanobium and Candidatus Sericytochromatia, which outcompete AFA when dissolved inorganic nitrogen is available. The data collected in this study indicate the importance of dissolved inorganic nitrogen combined with microbial community structure in suppressing AFA abundance.

        Establishment of terrestrial mammals on former reservoir beds following large dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington, USA

        Released March 26, 2024 06:40 EST

        2024, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (12)

        Rebecca McCaffery, Sara Cendejas-Zarelli, Katy R Goodwin, Patricia J. Happe, Kurt Jenkins, Kimberly A. Sager-Fradkin

        Terrestrial wildlife species are important yet often overlooked taxa in the recovery of ecosystems following dam removal. Their presence can shape ecosystem recovery, signal restoration of ecosystem function, and influence food web dynamics and nutrient transfer. We used camera traps to examine seasonal use of two former reservoir beds and an upstream reference reach by the mammalian community following the removal of two large dams on the Elwha River, Washington, USA. For certain taxa, we compared current species use to data collected prior to dam removal. Camera traps revealed use by at least fifteen mammal species, including but not limited to American black bear (Ursus americanus), Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti), puma (Puma concolor), coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), and snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus). Coyotes were found mostly lower in the watershed outside the Olympic National Park boundary, while other species were distributed throughout the restoration area. We did not see major differences in species composition between the restoration areas and the upstream reference reach, though number of detections across study reaches differed for most species. Unlike previous findings, black bears were observed across all seasons in this study, suggesting a shift in seasonal use since dam removal. Full restoration of the terrestrial wildlife community could take decades to unfold, but early patterns demonstrate rapid establishment and use by wildlife on new riparian surfaces that are expected to continue to evolve with restoration of fish and vegetation communities.

        A conceptual site model of contaminant transport pathways from the Bremerton Naval Complex to Sinclair Inlet, Washington, 2011–21

        Released March 26, 2024 05:50 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5011

        Kathleen E. Conn, Sarah E. Janssen, Chad C. Opatz, Valerie A.L. Bright

        Historical activities on the Bremerton Naval Complex (BNC) in Puget Sound, Washington, have resulted in Sinclair Inlet sediments with elevated concentrations of contaminants, including organic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and trace elements including mercury. Six U.S. Geological Survey–U.S. Navy datasets have been collected since the last major assessment, in 2013, of soil and groundwater contaminant transport pathways and mercury loading estimates from the BNC to Sinclair Inlet. These include:

        1. mercury isotope analysis to support sourcing of mercury in Sinclair Inlet;
        2. mercury sampling within the dry dock systems;
        3. nearshore thermal surveys to identify potential groundwater discharge locations to Sinclair Inlet;
        4. time-series monitoring in nearshore wells to understand the inland extent and dynamics of the tidal mixing zone;
        5. tidal studies of mercury in nearshore monitoring wells in an area of contaminated fill material called Site 1; and
        6. a spatial survey of trace elements and other parameters in nearshore monitoring wells, pore water, seeps, surface water, and sediment along unwalled shorelines in the western part of the BNC.

        The results were incorporated into an updated Conceptual Site Model and used to update contaminant load estimates from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet. The results from these studies provide data to the U.S. Navy to support prioritization of on-going remediation actions to manage contamination on the BNC that reduce potential impacts to Sinclair Inlet sediment, surface water, and fish and shellfish tissue.

        Mercury isotope analysis of surface sediments and particulate material indicated that a similar industrial mercury profile is present throughout Puget Sound, including terrestrial and marine BNC samples and in other Sinclair Inlet sediments and persists across regions with low and elevated mercury concentrations. Two sources of mercury at the BNC are Sites 1 and 2 subsurface soils/fill material, with total mercury concentrations in particulates collected from the bottom of monitoring wells drilled in these materials ranging from 18,000 to 44,000 nanograms per gram (as compared to the Washington State Marine Sediment Cleanup Screening Level of 590 nanograms per gram).

        Contaminants are transported from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet via three primary pathways, (1) stormwater outfalls, (2) dry dock discharges, and (3) direct discharge along unwalled shorelines.

        Previous loading estimates (based on filtered total mercury) ranked stormwater outfalls, particularly outfall PSNS015 in Site 2 soils, as the largest soil and groundwater contaminant transport pathway from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet. Updated loading estimates in this report suggest that the dry dock systems may be a larger pathway of mercury from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet than previously thought, within the same order of magnitude as the PSNS015 storm-drain system.

        Trace-element loads via direct shoreline discharge are difficult to estimate due to the large and dynamic tidal mixing zone of groundwater and seawater in the nearshore along unwalled shorelines. However, current best estimated ranges suggest that direct shoreline discharge is one of the three main pathways and may contribute smaller mercury loads than the stormwater and the dry dock systems. Along unwalled shorelines, direct groundwater discharge of terrestrial contaminants may be less important than recirculating seawater in the nearshore mixing zone that can extract contaminants from nearshore subsurface material. Total estimated mercury loads from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet range from approximately 40 to 200 grams of filtered total mercury per year and a minimum of 70–350 grams of particulate total mercury per year, for a minimum total of 110–525 grams of whole (filtered plus particulate) total mercury per year. Data gaps are identified that, if filled, would further refine the Conceptual Site Model and contaminant loading estimates from the terrestrial BNC to Sinclair Inlet.

        At-a-Glance—Summary of the 2023 U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Research Unit Program Year in Review

        Released March 25, 2024 11:40 EST

        2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3006

        Caroline E. Murphy, Elise R. Irwin, Dawn E. Childs, Donald E. Dennerline, Jonathan R. Mawdsley

        Introduction

        Established in 1935, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (CRU) program is a unique partnership among the USGS, State Fish and Wildlife agencies, host universities, the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). As of 2023, there are 43 CRUs in 41 states that fall under three supervisory regions and a National Program Office located at USGS in Reston, Virginia.

        Novel data in recreation monitoring—Summary proceedings from interagency workshops in 2019 and 2023

        Released March 25, 2024 11:35 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5013

        Emily J. Wilkins, Christian S.L. Crowley, Eric M. White, Spencer A. Wood, Rudy Schuster

        Two interagency workshops were held in 2019 and 2023 in Fort Collins, Colorado, to discuss the use of novel data in recreation monitoring. During the workshops, the phrase “novel data in recreation monitoring” was primarily used to refer to data from social media, mobile device applications, and other online secondary sources. The goals of these workshops were to share information across agencies and researchers on the state of the science and applications for using novel data and to collectively discuss best practices for using novel data for understanding recreation on public lands and waters. Presentations during the workshops focused on use-cases, current applications, and the current state of research (as of the time of the workshops) for using novel data in recreation monitoring. Group discussions during the workshops focused on the strengths and limitations of novel data sources, potential approaches for integrating new and emerging data sources and methods with traditional approaches, and research and management needs. This report provides the proceedings of the 2019 and 2023 interagency workshops on novel data in recreation monitoring.

        Evaluation of groundwater resources in the Upper White River Basin within Mount Rainier National Park, Washington state, 2020

        Released March 25, 2024 10:05 EST

        2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5015

        Leland T. Fuhrig, Andrew J. Long, Alexander O. Headman

        The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service, investigated groundwater gains and losses on the upper White River within Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. This investigation was conducted using stream discharge measurements at 14 locations within 7 reaches over a 6.5-mile river length from near the White River’s origin at the terminus of the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier to the White River Entrance near the northeast boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Locations selected for the stream discharge measurements were on the main channel of the White River and on tributary streams near their confluence with the White River.

        A soil-water-balance (SWB) model analysis was also performed on the White River basin to estimate groundwater recharge throughout the basin during the time of the study. Analyses were made for the White River basin at the sub-basin (zone) scale to determine groundwater input to the stream for individual stream reaches. The gridded SWB model was simulated at a 10-meter (m) horizontal resolution, where recharge simulations were constructed using five spatially distributed datasets. Daily climate data as input for the simulation included gridded daily precipitation and air temperature.

        Upon analysis of the seepage run results, three of the seven reaches showed groundwater gains in this study. The SWB model results were used in conjunction with the baseflow gain totals in the reaches to estimate the length of time for recharge to become base flow. Further analysis estimated the rates of groundwater flow in the zones with adjacent gaining reaches. A streamflow gain curve was created from a simple flow model for each of the zones to relate the recharge from the zones to the adjacent reaches on the White River and tributaries. The fit of the streamflow gain curve to the calculated streamflow gain during the seepage run was used to analyze where the recharge from each zone resulted as streamflow gain. Consecutive reach losses from zones D and L were immediately followed downstream by a relatively large gain in zone GH, indicating that the gain in the reach adjacent to zone GH could be from the recharge in zones D and L.

        Linking temperature sensitivity of mangrove communities, populations and individuals across a tropical-temperate transitional zone

        Released March 25, 2024 09:44 EST

        2024, Journal of Ecology

        Yiyang Kang, David A. Kaplan, Michael Osland

        1. Climate change is reshaping coastal wetlands worldwide, driving ecosystem shifts like mangrove poleward expansion into saltmarshes in tropical-temperate transitional zones. Though warming is recognized as the primary driver, a lack of detailed field studies limits our ability to predict mangrove responses to rapid climate warming.
        2. Here, we characterized how mangroves vary across a temperature gradient at 18 sites along Florida's Gulf of Mexico coast (USA). We used minimum air temperature (Tmin) derived from daily data from 1989 to 2021 as the independent variable and applied plot-based and synoptic approaches to quantify species-specific mangrove variation at community, population, and individual levels. We then used these results to spatially project future mangrove ecosystem properties under multiple warming scenarios.
        3. Across the Tmin gradient from −10.8 to −1.4°C, mangrove canopy height and coverage ranged from 0.4 to 11.5 m and 15% to 98%, respectively, with both exhibiting sigmoidal increases with Tmin. Estimated mangrove aboveground biomass ranged from 0 to 496.7 Mg/ha and showed a positive linear relationship with Tmin due both to the tall tree stratum's increased biomass per tree and higher abundance.
        4. While the population abundance and coverage of Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa had positive linear relationships with Tmin, Avicennia germinans exhibited a significant quadratic relationship, reflecting the higher freeze tolerance of this species. Such tolerance may stem from A. germinans' higher morphological plasticity observed at the individual level, adapting to cold stress by exhibiting a more shrub-like architecture at colder sites.
        5. Based on these field-derived quantitative relationships, we projected substantial increases in mangrove coverage and canopy height near current range limits, with tall A. germinans dominating in the north and R. mangle dominating the centre and south of the study region.
        6. Synthesis. To better predict the ecological consequences in coastal wetlands under future climate change, it is essential to understand how mangroves respond to winter temperature regimes across a temperature gradient. Collectively, these cross-level and species-specific results advance our understanding of mangrove temperature sensitivity and provide information about the future of coastal wetland structure and function in response to a changing climate.

        Noise constraints on global body‐wave measurement thresholds

        Released March 25, 2024 06:44 EST

        2024, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

        Adam T. Ringler, David C. Wilson, Paul S. Earle, William L. Yeck, David B. Mason, Justin T. Wilgus

        Intermediate sized earthquakes (≈M4–6.5) are often measured using the teleseismic body‐wave magnitude (⁠mb⁠). mb measurements are especially critical at the lower end of this range when teleseismic waveform modeling techniques (i.e., moment tensor analysis) are difficult. The U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) determines the location and magnitude of all M 5 and greater earthquakes worldwide within 20 min of the rupture time, and therefore accurate mb magnitude estimates are essential to fulfill its mission. To better understand how network geometry and noise levels affect the global response capabilities, we developed a method to spatially estimate the minimum measurable mb⁠. To do this, we compare expected mb amplitudes at every station to the station’s background noise level. We find that using NEIC’s current network geometry and these idealized thresholds, NEIC can potentially estimate mb magnitudes down to M 4.5 globally. Low‐latitude regions in the Southern Hemisphere present the biggest opportunity to improve monitoring capabilities. However, logistically they also present the biggest hurdles for network operators. Finally, to test the resiliency of the network we removed the 20 most important stations and found the mb threshold remains mb 4.5. However, the region where only mb 4.5 and greater can be estimated increases and is again restricted to the Southern Hemisphere.