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Projected sea-level rise and high tide flooding at De Soto National Memorial, Florida

Released June 21, 2024 08:37 EST

2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3016

Hana R. Thurman, Nicholas M. Enwright, Michael J. Osland, Davina L. Passeri, Richard H. Day, Bethanie M. Simons

Introduction

National parks and preserves in the South Atlantic-Gulf Region contain valuable coastal habitats such as tidal wetlands and mangrove forests, as well as irreplaceable historic buildings and archeological sites located in low-lying areas. These natural and cultural resources are vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise and escalating high tide flooding events. Through a Natural Resources Preservation Program-funded project during 2021–23, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the National Park Service, estimated the probability of inundation at De Soto National Memorial, Florida, and several other parks under various sea-level rise scenarios and contemporary high tide flooding thresholds. The maps produced for this effort can be used to assess potential habitat change and explore how infrastructure and cultural resources within the park may be exposed to future flooding-related hazards.

Dissolved arsenic concentrations in surface waters within the upper portions of the Klamath River Basin, Oregon and California

Released June 21, 2024 06:46 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5029

Marie Noële Croteau, Brent R. Topping, Rick A. Carlson

Arsenic toxicity is an environmental health problem. Levels of arsenic in surface waters at some locations in the Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon and northern California can exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for drinking water. There are both anthropogenic and natural sources of arsenic. The Klamath River Basin consists primarily of volcanic deposits and contains an underground geothermal system with hot springs and warm water wells, all known natural sources of arsenic. Anthropogenic sources of arsenic are related to the agricultural use of herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Surface water arsenic levels can also be affected by fertilizer amendments, evaporative concentration, oxygen-level depletion, and various geochemical transformations that can increase arsenic mobilization.

In this study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation, dissolved concentrations of arsenic, copper, and lead were measured in surface waters at 39 unique sites within the upper portions of the Klamath River Basin between 2018 and 2022. In every year, except 2022, sites were sampled four times between April and November. Surface-water arsenic concentrations varied up to four-orders of magnitude among sites. Median arsenic concentration was lowest at Cherry Creek (0.03 micrograms per liter [μg/L]) and highest at Wood Kimball Spring (36.7 μg/L), two sites located north of Upper Klamath Lake. The highest arsenic concentrations (17.4±4.9 μg/L, n=3) were found in drain sites (defined here as a waterbody returning used irrigation water) while the lowest arsenic concentrations were found in an artesian well (0.8 μg/L, n=1). The elevated arsenic concentrations of the drain sites suggest that arsenic might be concentrated or mobilized by agricultural activities, water re-use practices, and (or) by geochemical processes occurring around water stored in drains (that is, in the water column and across sediment water boundaries). A source of arsenic in drain water in the Klamath Strait Drain area includes water used for irrigation originating from Ady Canal. Other potential sources include groundwater, geothermal water, and local soils and sediments.

Seasonal differences in surface-water arsenic concentrations were detected at 13 sites, 10 of which had higher arsenic concentrations in summer than in either spring or fall. The sites sampled around Upper Klamath Lake, the impounded rivers, one of the two canal sites, and 5 of the 14 river sites had higher surface-water arsenic concentrations in the summer than in either spring or fall. Surface-water arsenic concentrations from groundwater sources (that is, springs and in the artesian well) did not vary significantly among seasons (p-values greater than 0.1).

Median surface-water concentrations of copper and lead ranged from 0.03 to 3.7 μg/L, and from 0.013 to 0.175 μg/L (n=2–18), respectively. Dissolved concentrations of both metals were below acute toxicity endpoints reported by the EPA for freshwater animals. Surface-water arsenic concentrations varied independently from corresponding changes in surface-water lead or copper concentrations. However, arsenic concentrations measured in bed-sediment samples collected from a subset of sites located north of Upper Klamath Lake correlated strongly and significantly with the corresponding sedimentary lead concentrations (p=0.015).

Aqueous arsenic speciation measured in a subset of sites in 2019 and 2022 showed that all the arsenic existed as arsenic (V), the most oxidized arsenic species, and presumably, the least toxic. The highest proportions of arsenite (As(III)), the presumably most toxic arsenic species, relative to total arsenic concentrations were found at drain sites.

Our assessment of dissolved arsenic concentrations in various surface-water bodies in the Upper Klamath River Basin reveals geographical areas of consistently low (below 2.1 μg/L), moderate (below 10 μg/L) and high (above 10 μg/L) surface-water arsenic concentrations. South of Upper Klamath Lake, surface-water arsenic concentrations were consistently higher than 20 μg/L at two drain sites located in an area of predominant agricultural land use with extensive water re-use practices. North of Upper Klamath Lake, surface-water arsenic concentrations greater than 20 μg/L were consistently measured at sites with limited nearby agricultural activities, suggesting a geogenic source. The consistently high arsenic levels from the Wood River at Jackson F. Kimball State Park, Fort Creek, and Crooked Creek, which are sites located at or near headwater spring sources, suggest a natural background source of arsenic. Water flowing downstream from this area could be a potential source of arsenic to Upper Klamath Lake and the Upper Klamath River.

System characterization report on the Gaofen-6

Released June 20, 2024 15:21 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2021-1030-M

Aparajithan Sampath, Jon Christopherson, Seonkyung Park, Minsu Kim, Gregory L. Stensaas, Cody Anderson

Executive Summary

Gaofen-6 represents a series of Chinese high-resolution Earth observation satellites. More than 12 satellites have been launched in the Gaofen series, beginning with Gaofen-1 in 2013. Satellites within the series have varying infrared, radar, and optical imaging capabilities. The primary goal for the satellites in this series is to provide near real-time observations for climate change monitoring, geographical mapping, precision agriculture support, environmental and resource surveying, and disaster prevention. More information on Chinese satellites and sensors is available in the “2022 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium.”

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence system characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances of Gaofen-6. Results of these analyses indicate that Gaofen-6 has an interior geometric performance root mean square error ranging from 2.84 meters (m; 0.18 pixel) to 7.42 m (0.46 pixel) in easting and from 2.84 m (0.18 pixel) to 11.57 m (0.72 pixel) in northing in band-to-band registration, an exterior geometric performance root mean square error ranging from 154.50 m (8.80 pixels) in easting to 14.65 m (0.80 pixel) in northing in comparison to a corresponding Sentinel-2 scene, a radiometric performance ranging from 0.018 to 0.055 (in offset) and from 0.620 to 0.858 (in slope), and a spatial performance ranging from 2.10 to 2.30 pixels at full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency ranging from 0.040 to 0.055.

Distribution, abundance, and breeding activities of the Least Bell's Vireo at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California—2020 annual report

Released June 20, 2024 14:10 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2024-1009

Suellen Lynn, Michelle Treadwell, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to provide the Marine Corps with an annual summary of abundance, breeding activity, demography, and habitat use of endangered Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCBCP, or Base). Surveys for the Least Bell's Vireo were conducted at MCBCP, California, between April 1 and July 10, 2020. Core survey areas and a subset of non-core areas in drainages containing riparian habitat suitable for vireos were surveyed 3–4 times. We detected 669 territorial male vireos and 16 transient vireos in core survey areas. An additional 156 territorial male vireos were detected in non-core survey areas. Territorial vireos were detected on all 10 drainages/sites surveyed (core and non-core areas). Of the vireo territories in core areas, 88 percent were on the 4 most populated drainages, with the Santa Margarita River containing 69 percent of all territories. In core areas, 79 percent of male vireos were confirmed as paired; 83 percent of male vireos in non-core areas were confirmed as paired.

The number of documented Least Bell’s Vireo territories in core survey areas on MCBCP (669) increased 39 percent from 2019 to 2020. The number of territories in all core survey area drainages increased by one or more between 2019 and 2020. The substantial increase in vireo numbers on MCBCP (39 percent) was consistent with population changes in surrounding areas, including the lower San Luis Rey River (26 percent), Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton (58 percent), and the middle San Luis Rey River (7 percent).

Most core-area vireo territories (69 percent of males) occurred in willow (Salix spp.) riparian habitat. An additional 4 percent of birds occupied willow habitat co-dominated by Western sycamores (Platanus racemosa) or Fremont cottonwoods (Populus fremontii). Eighteen percent of territories were found in riparian scrub dominated by mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia) or sandbar willow (S. exigua). Upland scrub was used by 7 percent or fewer vireos; 1 percent of territories occurred in non-native vegetation, and less than 1 percent of vireo territories occurred in habitat co-dominated by coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and sycamore.

In 2019, MCBCP began operating an artificial seep along the Santa Margarita River. The artificial seep pumped water to the surface from March through August each year during daylight hours and was designed to increase the amount of surface water present to enhance Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) breeding habitat. Although this enhancement was designed to benefit flycatchers, few flycatchers have inhabited the seep and proposed seep areas within the past several years. Therefore, vireos were selected as a surrogate species to determine effects of the habitat enhancement. This report presents preliminary analyses of vireo and vegetation response to the existing artificial seep.

We sampled vegetation in the Seep site and three Reference sites to determine the effects of a new water diversion dam that was completed in 2019 and a surface water enhancement seep pump installed along the Santa Margarita River. We found minor differences in non-native vegetation cover between Reference sites and the Seep site. However, soil moisture was higher at the Reference sites compared to the Seep site. The effect of the seep pump may have been masked by high precipitation in the bio-year (July 1‒June 30) before 2020, limited time for the water diversion to have an effect, well-draining soil, and the non-operation of two to three of the six seep outlets.

We color banded and resighted color banded Least Bell’s Vireos to evaluate adult site fidelity, between-year movement, and the effect of surface water enhancement on vireo site fidelity and between-year movement. We banded 146 Least Bell's Vireos for the first time during the 2020 season. Birds banded included 27 adult vireos and 119 juvenile vireos. All adult vireos were banded with unique color combinations. The juvenile vireos (all nestlings) were banded with a single gold numbered federal band on the left leg.

We resighted and identified 85 Least Bell's Vireos banded before the 2020 breeding season on Base in 2020. Of the 85, 13 vireos were originally banded on the San Luis Rey River, 2 were banded in Baja California Sur, 1 was banded at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, and the remaining birds were banded at MCBCP. Adult birds of known age ranged from 1 to 8 years old.

Most returning adult vireos showed strong between-year site fidelity. Of the adults present in 2019 and 2020, 74 percent, (79 percent of males; 40 percent of females) returned to within 100 m of their previous territory. The average between-year movement for returning adult vireos was 0.3 plus or minus (±) 0.8 kilometer (km). The average movement of first-year vireos detected in 2020 that fledged from a known nest on MCBCP in 2019 was 4.7±7.0 km. One first-year vireo that originated at MCBCP moved off Base and was detected at Murrieta Creek, 23.0 km from his natal territory.

We monitored Least Bell's Vireo pairs to evaluate the effects of surface water enhancement on nest success and breeding productivity. Vireos were monitored at one Seep site and three Reference sites. Base personnel plan to install a second seep pump at one of the Reference sites in the future, at which time the status of the monitoring site will change from Reference to Seep.

Nesting activity was monitored between March 31 and July 28 in 52 territories within the Seep and Reference sites (12 at the Seep site and 40 at Reference sites). All territories were occupied by pairs, and all but one territory was fully monitored, meaning all nesting attempts were monitored at these territories. One vireo territory within a Reference site was partially monitored. During the monitoring period, 94 nests (25 in the Seep site and 69 in Reference sites) were monitored.

Breeding productivity was similar at the Seep site and Reference sites (3.7 and 2.9 young per pair, respectively), with 75 percent of Seep pairs and 79 percent of Reference pairs successfully fledging at least 1 young in 2020. Compared to Reference sites, the Seep site had a higher proportion of all eggs that hatched and also a higher proportion of nests with eggs that hatched. Conversely, a lower proportion of hatchlings and nests that had hatchlings fledged at the Seep site than at Reference sites. According to the best model, nest survival in 2020 was not affected by treatment (Seep versus Reference), although the second best model that included treatment was also well supported.

Completed nests at the Seep site were likely to be as successful as nests at Reference sites in 2020 (57 percent and 59 percent, respectively). Predation was believed to be the primary source of nest failure at both sites. Predation accounted for 90 percent and 73 percent of nest failures at Seep and Reference sites, respectively. Failure of the remaining eight nests was attributed to the collapse of the nesting substrate, exposure to rain and flooding, and other unknown reasons.

Fourteen plant species were used as hosts for vireo nests in 2020. In 2020, we found that at the Seep site, successful nests were placed in taller host plants and further from the edge of host plants (closer to the center) than unsuccessful nests. We found no difference in nest placement between the Seep site and the Reference sites.

Distribution, Abundance, and Breeding Activities of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California—2020 Annual Report

Released June 20, 2024 14:01 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2024-1005

Scarlett L. Howell, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

Surveys for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) were done at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCBCP or “Base”), California, between May 4 and July 31, 2020. All of MCBCP’s historically occupied riparian habitat (core survey area) was surveyed for flycatchers in 2020. Additionally, one-fifth of the unoccupied riparian habitat (non-core survey area) was surveyed for flycatchers. Thirteen transient Willow Flycatchers of unknown subspecies were observed on four of the seven drainages surveyed in 2020. No Willow Flycatchers were detected at Fallbrook Creek, Pilgrim Creek, or San Mateo Creek. Transients occurred in a range of habitat types, including mixed willow (Salix spp.) riparian, riparian scrub, willow-sycamore (Platanus racemosa) or willow-cottonwood (Populus fremontii) dominated riparian vegetation, and upland scrub. Exotic vegetation, primarily poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), was present in most flycatcher locations.

The resident population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers on MCBCP declined 33 percent from three individuals in 2019 to two individuals in 2020. In 2020, the resident Southwestern Willow Flycatcher population on Base consisted of one male and one female. No single males or non-territorial floaters were observed in 2020. Overall, one territory was established consisting of one monogamous pair. Resident flycatchers were restricted to the Santa Margarita River, and distribution was limited to the Pueblitos breeding area. All resident flycatchers were located in mixed willow riparian habitat.

Nesting was initiated in late May and continued into early August. Three nesting attempts were documented, of which 33 percent (1/3) were successful. Predation and substrate failure accounted for the two nest failures. Two fledglings were produced, yielding a seasonal productivity of two young/pair. No instances of Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism were observed. Flycatchers placed nests in two plant species: native sandbar willow (Salix exigua) and exotic poison hemlock.

One hundred percent of resident birds that were present at MCBCP in 2020 were banded in previous years; no unbanded birds were detected. Of the three uniquely banded adult flycatchers present during the 2019 breeding season, 100 percent (1/1) of males and 50 percent (1/2) of females returned to MCBCP in 2020, and both banded flycatchers returned to the same breeding area they occupied in 2019. None of the seven nestlings banded in 2019 returned to MCBCP in 2020, and none were detected off Base. Six nestlings from two nests were banded in 2020; only two survived to fledging.

From 2000 to 2020, overall adult survival of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers on MCBCP was 60 percent, while first-year survival was 20 percent.

A conspecific attraction study initiated on Base in 2018 and repeated annually through 2020 found that 100 percent of breeding flycatchers detected in 2020 settled close to automated playback units.

Signatures of wave erosion in Titan’s coasts

Released June 19, 2024 06:54 EST

2024, Science Advances (10)

Rose Elizabeth Palermo, Andrew D. Ashton, Jason M. Soderblom, Samuel P. D. Birch, Alexander G. Hayes, J. Taylor Perron

The shorelines of Titan’s hydrocarbon seas trace flooded erosional landforms such as river valleys; however, it is unclear whether coastal erosion has subsequently altered these shorelines. Spacecraft observations and theoretical models suggest that wind may cause waves to form on Titan’s seas, potentially driving coastal erosion, but the observational evidence of waves is indirect, and the processes affecting shoreline evolution on Titan remain unknown. No widely accepted framework exists for using shoreline morphology to quantitatively discern coastal erosion mechanisms, even on Earth, where the dominant mechanisms are known. We combine landscape evolution models with measurements of shoreline shape on Earth to characterize how different coastal erosion mechanisms affect shoreline morphology. Applying this framework to Titan, we find that the shorelines of Titan’s seas are most consistent with flooded landscapes that subsequently have been eroded by waves, rather than a uniform erosional process or no coastal erosion, particularly if wave growth saturates at fetch lengths of tens of kilometers.

Distribution, abundance, and habitat characteristics of Coastal Cactus Wrens (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) in San Diego County, California—2023 Data Summary

Released June 18, 2024 09:43 EST

2024, Data Report 1196

Suellen Lynn, Barbara E. Kus

Executive Summary

We surveyed for coastal Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) in 507 established plots in San Diego County in 2023, encompassing 4 genetic clusters (Otay, Lake Jennings, Sweetwater/Encanto, and San Pasqual). Two surveys were completed at each plot between March 1 and July 31. Cactus Wrens were detected in 181 plots (36 percent of plots). Cactus Wrens were detected in 26 percent of plots that have been consistently surveyed since 2020, indicating lower plot occupancy than in 2022 (31 percent), 2021 (34 percent), and 2020 (35 percent). There were 158 Cactus Wren territories detected across all survey plots in 2023. In plots that have been consistently surveyed since 2020, we documented 85 territories, which is a decrease from 94 territories in 2022, 113 territories in 2021, and 109 territories in 2020. The number of territories declined from 2022 to 2023 in the Lake Jennings, Sweetwater/Encanto, and San Pasqual genetic clusters but remained virtually the same in the Otay genetic cluster. At least 80 percent of Cactus Wren territories were occupied by pairs, and 125 fledglings were observed in 2023.

We observed 14 banded Cactus Wrens in 2023, 9 of which we could identify individually by color band combination. Adults of known age ranged from 4 to 7 years old. All individually identifiable adult Cactus Wrens occupied the same territory in 2023 that they occupied in 2022, and we detected no movement of banded Cactus Wrens between genetic clusters.

Vegetation at Cactus Wren survey plots was dominated by coastal sage scrub shrubs, such as California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), and San Diego viguiera (Bahiopsis laciniata). No definitive signs of fungal pathogens were observed on cactus within and around survey plots. Blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) was detected at 41 percent of plots, and Cactus Wrens occupied proportionally more plots with elderberry than plots without elderberry. Very little dead or unhealthy cactus was observed within all survey plots, and Cactus Wren occupancy did not differ between plots with high or low amounts of dead or unhealthy cactus. Almost 90 percent of plots had more than 5 percent of cactus crowded or overtopped by vines and shrubs, and Cactus Wren occupancy did not differ between plots with high or low amounts of cactus crowded or overtopped by vines and shrubs. Non-native annual cover was more prevalent in survey plots in 2023 than in 2022. Cactus Wrens did not select or avoid plots with more non-native cover.

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

Released June 17, 2024 07:11 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5064-B

Mackenzie K. Marti, Thomas M. Over

This report characterizes changes in peak streamflow in Illinois and the relation of these changes to climatic variability, and provides a foundation for future studies that can address nonstationarity in peak-flow frequency analysis in Illinois. 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; 30 years 1991–2020) for trends, change points, and other statistical properties indicative of changing conditions. Median peak streamflows generally exhibit upward trends across the State for the 100- and 75-year trend periods and in northern and southern Illinois for the 50- and 30-year trend periods. The medians of the trend magnitudes (normalized by median peak streamflow) range from a 23-percent increase during the 30-year trend period to a 41-percent increase during the 100-year trend period. Streamgages with trends in peak streamflow often also have change points, or abrupt changes, in streamflow magnitude. More than two-thirds of streamgages at the 100- and 75-year trend periods exhibit a trend and change point in median peak streamflow in the same direction. Temporally, clusters of change points are observed in the late 1960s through early 1980s for the 100- and 75-year trend periods and around 2006 for the 50- and 30-year trend periods. Trends in the 90-percent quantile of peak streamflow, which correspond to the 10-percent exceedance probability often used for the design of drainage structures, increased about the same amount as the 50-percent quantile peak streamflows, except at the 100-year trend period, where the 50-percent quantile peak flow increased more for almost all streamgages. The frequency of high flows has also increased in Illinois, with increases in peaks-over-threshold observed across much of the State for the 100- and 75-year trend periods and in northern and southern Illinois for the 50- and 30-year trend periods.

Upward trends in observed temperature and observed annual precipitation dominate in all trend periods, with clusters of likely upward trends observed in northern and southern Illinois at the 50- and 30-year trend periods. As expected in response to increasing temperature, the modeled proportion of precipitation falling as snow has largely decreased in the study basins across the State, and modeled potential evapotranspiration has increased. Upward trends in modeled annual runoff, which in this report incorporates only the effects of climatic variation, are observed in the same geographic areas where there are increases in observed annual precipitation.

The widespread upward trends in the magnitude of median peak streamflows and the frequency with which high flows occur across the State at the 100- and 75-year trend periods and in northern and southern Illinois at the 50- and 30-year trend periods appear to be driven largely by increases in precipitation based on spatial patterns of these changes and statistical relations between streamflow and climate metrics. Other effects not considered in this report, like urbanization, may be important drivers for certain streamgages in the State.

The prevalence of nonstationarity in peak streamflow in Illinois has important implications for peak-flow frequency analysis. Average annual 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.

Catchment coevolution and the geomorphic origins of variable source area hydrology

Released June 17, 2024 06:48 EST

2024, Water Resources Research (60)

David G Litwin, Gregory E. Tucker, Katherine R. Barnhart, Ciaran Harman

Features of landscape morphology—including slope, curvature, and drainage dissection—are important controls on runoff generation in upland landscapes. Over long timescales, runoff plays an essential role in shaping these same features through surface erosion. This feedback between erosion and runoff generation suggests that modeling long-term landscape evolution together with dynamic runoff generation could provide insight into hydrological function. Here we examine the emergence of variable source area runoff generation in a new coupled hydro-geomorphic model that accounts for water balance partitioning between surface flow, subsurface flow, and evapotranspiration as landscapes evolve over millions of years. We derive a minimal set of dimensionless numbers that provide insight into how hydrologic and geomorphic parameters together affect landscapes. Across the parameter space we investigated, model results collapsed to a single inverse relationship between the dimensionless relief and the ratio of catchment quickflow to discharge. Furthermore, we found an inverse relationship between the Hillslope number, which describes topographic relief relative to aquifer thickness, and the proportion of the landscape that was variably saturated. While the model generally produces fluvial topography visually similar to simpler landscape evolution models, certain parameter combinations produce wide valley bottom wetlands and non-dendritic, trellis-like drainage networks, which may reflect real conditions in some landscapes where aquifer gradients become decoupled from topography. With these results, we demonstrate the power of hydro-geomorphic models for generating new insights into hydrological processes, and also suggest that subsurface hydrology may be integral for modeling aspects of long-term landscape evolution.

Accuracy assessment of three-dimensional point cloud data collected with a scanning total station on Shinnecock Nation Tribal lands in Suffolk County, New York

Released June 14, 2024 15:39 EST

2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5027

Michael L. Noll, William D. Capurso, Anthony Chu

A combined point cloud of about 85.6 million points was collected during 27 scans of a section of the western shoreline along the Shinnecock Peninsula of Suffolk County, New York, to document baseline geospatial conditions during July and October 2022 using a scanning total station. The three-dimensional accuracy of the combined point cloud is assessed to identify potential systematic error sources associated with the surveying equipment and the novel methodology used to collect and field-register (data are oriented and aligned in real time) point cloud data. The accuracy of the combined point cloud was assessed in terms of relative and absolute reference frames. Relative accuracy provides a measure of error within the local coordinate system and is determined by combining the uncertainty associated with the position of the scan station (the point being occupied by the scanning total station during the scan), the uncertainty associated with the position of the network control points, and the uncertainty associated with the laser of the scanning total station. Assessment of the absolute accuracy includes these three potential error sources combined with the uncertainty associated with the geodetic coordinates to which the local control network is referenced. The combined overall relative horizontal and vertical accuracy of the point cloud is 0.0156 and 0.0241 meter, respectively, at the 95 percent confidence level. The combined overall absolute horizontal and vertical accuracy of the point cloud is 0.0598 and 0.0733 meter, respectively, at the 95 percent confidence level.

Groundwater, surface-water, and water-chemistry data, Black Mesa area, northeastern Arizona—2019–2021

Released June 14, 2024 14:48 EST

2024, Open-File Report 2024-1019

Jon P. Mason

The Navajo (N) aquifer is an extensive aquifer and the primary source of groundwater in the 5,400-square-mile Black Mesa area in northeastern Arizona. Water availability is an important issue in the Black Mesa area because of the arid climate, past industrial water use, and continued water requirements for municipal use by a growing population. Precipitation in the area typically ranges from less than 6 to more than 16 inches per year, depending on location.

The U.S. Geological Survey water-monitoring program in the Black Mesa area began in 1971 and provides information about the long-term effects of groundwater withdrawals from the N aquifer for industrial and municipal uses. This report presents the results of data collected as part of the monitoring program in the Black Mesa area from calendar years 2020–2021 and, additionally, uses streamflow statistics from November and December 2019. The monitoring program includes measurements of (1) groundwater withdrawals (pumping), (2) groundwater levels, (3) spring discharge, (4) surface-water discharge, and (5) groundwater chemistry.

In calendar year 2020, total groundwater withdrawals were estimated to be 2,680 acre-feet (acre-ft), and, in 2021, total withdrawals were estimated to be 2,570 acre-ft. Total withdrawals during 2021 were about 65 percent less than total withdrawals in 2005 because the Peabody Western Coal Company discontinued its use of water to transport coal in a coal slurry pipeline after 2005 and ceased mining operations in 2019.

Owing to Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation access restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic, water levels were not collected from municipal wells in 2020 or 2021. Water levels measured in 2021 from wells completed in the unconfined areas of the N aquifer within the Black Mesa area showed a decline in 7 of 13 wells when compared with water levels from the prestress period (prior to 1965). The changes in water levels across all 13 wells ranged from +8.4 feet (ft) to −42.4 ft, and the median change was −0.4 ft. Water levels also showed decline in 11 of 12 wells measured in the confined area of the aquifer when compared to the prestress period. The median change for the confined area of the aquifer was −25.9 ft, with changes across all 12 wells ranging from +17.3 ft to −133.7 ft.

Spring flow was measured at four springs between 2020 and 2021. Flow fluctuated during the period of record for Burro Spring and Pasture Canyon Spring, but a decreasing trend was statistically significant (p<0.05) at Moenkopi School Spring and Unnamed Spring near Dennehotso, Arizona. Discharge at Burro Spring has remained relatively constant since it was first measured in the 1980s, and discharge at Pasture Canyon Spring has fluctuated for the period of record.

Continuous records of surface-water discharge in the Black Mesa area were collected from streamflow-gaging stations at the following sites: Moenkopi Wash at Moenkopi 09401260 (1976–2021), Dinnebito Wash near Sand Springs 09401110 (1993–2020), Polacca Wash near Second Mesa 09400568 (1994–2020), and Pasture Canyon Springs 09401265 (2004–2021). Median winter flows (November through February) of each winter were used as an estimate of the amount of groundwater discharge at the above-named sites. For the period of record, the median winter flows have generally remained constant at Polacca Wash and Pasture Canyon Springs, whereas a decreasing trend was observed at Moenkopi Wash and Dinnebito Wash.

In 2020 and 2021, water samples were collected from a total of four springs in the Black Mesa area and analyzed for selected chemical constituents. Results from the four springs were compared with previous analyses from the same springs. Dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate concentrations increased at Moenkopi School Spring during the more than 30 years of record at that site. Concentrations of dissolved solids and sulfate at Pasture Canyon Spring have not varied significantly (p>0.05) since the early 1980s, and there is no increasing or decreasing trend in those data. However, concentrations of chloride from Pasture Canyon Spring show a diminishing trend. Concentrations of dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate at Unnamed Spring near Dennehotso have varied for the period of record, but there is no statistical trend in the data. Concentrations of dissolved solids at Burro Spring have varied for the period of record, but there is no statistical trend in the data. However, concentrations of chloride and sulfate from Burro Spring show a trend towards lower concentrations.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2023 annual report

Released June 14, 2024 14:43 EST

2024, Circular 1524

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) monitors volcanic and hydrothermal activity associated with the Yellowstone magmatic system, carries out research into magmatic processes occurring beneath Yellowstone caldera, and issues timely warnings and guidance related to potential future geologic hazards. YVO is a collaborative consortium that includes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Yellowstone National Park, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, Montana State University, EarthScope Consortium, Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, and Idaho Geological Survey. The USGS component of YVO also has the operational responsibility for monitoring volcanic activity in the Intermountain West of the United States, including Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

National Aquatic Environmental DNA Strategy

Released June 14, 2024 07:03 EST

2024, Report

Kelly D Goodwin, Christina M. Aiello, Mike Weise, Masha Edmondson, Katie Fillingham, Dee Allen, Alicia Amerson, Meredith L. Barton, Abby Benson, Gabrielle Canonico, Zachary Gold, Jennifer Gumm, Margaret Hunter, Nina Joffe, Richard Lance, Alyse Larkin, Ricardo Letelier, Christine Lipsky, Dana McCoskey, Cheryl Morrison, Karen Clark, John A. Darling, Amelia-Juliette Demery, Meredith Everett, Colette Fletcher-Hoppe, Krista M. Nichols, Kim M. Parsons, James Price, Kimberly Puglise, Katie Scholl, Mike K Schwartz, Adam Sepulveda, Janet Shannon, Woody Turner, Timothy White

Katie Fillingham, Masha Edmondson, Elaine Shen, editor(s)

Aquatic life is the engine of ecosystems and economies. In environments ranging from freshwater through marine, this biodiversity underpins the health, culture, opportunities, and economic wellbeing of the Nation -- from local communities to the entire country. The ability to evaluate the status, trends, and future projections of nature is key to maintaining national prosperity, and this requires timely and trusted information about the condition of aquatic biodiversity on a vast scale. With one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world and extensive estuaries, lakes, rivers and streams, it is a grand challenge for the United States to explore, monitor, and understand aquatic life.

Evaluation of coal mine drainage and associated precipitates for radium and rare earth element concentrations

Released June 14, 2024 06:32 EST

2024, Journal of International Coal Geology (289)

Bonnie McDevitt, Charles A. III Cravotta, Ryan J. McAleer, John C Jackson, Aaron M. Jubb, Glenn D. Jolly, Benjamin C. Hedin, Nathaniel R. Warner

Coal mine drainage (CMD) and associated metal-rich precipitates have recently been proposed as unconventional sources of rare earth elements (REEs). However, the potential occurrence of radium (Ra), a known carcinogen, with the REE-bearing phases has not been investigated. We hypothesized that Ra may occur in solids that are precipitated from CMD as a “radiobarite” solid solution ((Ba,Sr,Ra)SO4) and/or adsorbed with hydrous metal oxides. REEs have been documented to sorb or co-precipitate with iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and aluminum (Al) oxyhydroxide in CMD solids. Likewise, Ra has been documented to sorb to hydrous Fe and Mn oxides especially where sulfate (SO4) and/or barium (Ba) concentrations are insufficient to precipitate radiobarite. Thus, we conducted the first-ever survey of Ra concentrations in corresponding CMD water and solid samples in the United States. Samples were analyzed from 4 untreated and 9 treated CMD sites in both the bituminous and anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania across a range of pH and SO4 concentrations. The dissolved Ra in CMD was relatively low (<0.5 Bq/L), consistent with radiobarite solubility; however, CMD solids were largely composed of amorphous Fe, Al, and Mn oxyhydroxide and silicate minerals. Ra was associated with Mn-enriched CMD solids, upwards of 875 Bq/kg. Total REE + yttrium (Y) content in the CMD solids was enriched upwards of 3600 mg/kg and was significantly correlated with Al content. These preliminary results suggest that REE extraction may target Al-rich solids to avoid Ra in Mn-rich solids.

    The U.S. Geological Survey Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory

    Released June 14, 2024 06:10 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3004

    Braden M. Lanier, Amie M.G. Brady, Jessica R. Cicale, Christopher M. Kephart, Lauren D. Lynch, Maxim W. Schroeder, Erin A. Stelzer

    The U.S. Geological Survey Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory is a part of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center. The mission of the laboratory is to provide microbiological data of public health significance from surface waters, groundwaters, and sediments for a variety of study objectives. The laboratory conducts internal projects, works with external cooperators, and assists U.S. Geological Survey offices and National programs. The laboratory offers guidance, study design, and data interpretation expertise to collaborators, all following rigorous quality control and quality assurance procedures.

    Bedrock geologic map of the Woodstock quadrangle, Grafton County, New Hampshire

    Released June 13, 2024 12:35 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Map 3522

    Gregory J. Walsh, William C. Burton, Thomas R. Armstrong, E. Allen Crider, Jr.

    The bedrock geology of the Woodstock 7.5-minute quadrangle consists of highly deformed metasedimentary rocks of the Central Maine trough, including the Silurian Rangeley and Perry Mountain Formations and the Devonian Littleton Formation. The central, northern, and eastern parts of the quadrangle are underlain by the oldest rocks in the area, the Rangeley Formation. In the southwest and south-central part of the quadrangle, metaturbidites of the Perry Mountain Formation and subsequent Littleton Formation overly the Rangeley Formation in a deformed F1 synform, herein informally called the Bagley Brook basin. The metasedimentary rocks were intruded by widespread syn- to post-tectonic granitoids of the Devonian New Hampshire Plutonic Suite and minor post-metamorphic Jurassic-Cretaceous mafic dikes of the White Mountain Plutonic-Volcanic Suite. The metasedimentary rocks were affected by at least two episodes of deformation in the Devonian Acadian orogeny. The dominant regional foliation is second-generation (S2/D2) and formed during the development of sillimanite-muscovite mineral assemblages. Large bodies of the Early Devonian Kinsman Granodiorite intruded the metasedimentary rocks semi-concordantly during D2 deformation. Dikes of the Late Devonian Concord Granite cut the Kinsman Granodiorite and the metasedimentary rocks and were emplaced either syn- or post-D2. The map pattern in the Rangeley Formation is dominated by northeast to northwest trending, moderately to steeply north-dipping F2 and F3 folds. Map-scale F1 folds are defined by the Bagley Brook basin. Previous division of Rangeley Formation stratigraphy in this region into “upper” and “lower” parts was not corroborated by 1:24,000-scale mapping of lithodemic units, and rocks previously mapped as part of the Smalls Falls and Madrid Formations are here reassigned to the Rangeley Formation. Some rocks previously mapped as the lower part of the Littleton Formation are now assigned to the Perry Mountain Formation. The Littleton Formation on this map is approximately equivalent to rocks previously mapped as the upper part of the same formation.

    Steeply dipping fractures in the quadrangle show a preferred northeast orientation, consistent with subsurface fracture orientations in the well fields near Mirror Lake. Jurassic-Cretaceous mafic dikes and normal faults show preferred northeast orientations, similar to the fractures, suggesting that the extensional stress field that controlled dike orientation during the Mesozoic also produced the dominant brittle fabrics in the area.

    Bees of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge—A preliminary report on a bee survey in a vulnerable semi-desert grassland of the Sonoran Desert

    Released June 13, 2024 11:19 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1032

    Kathryn A. Thomas, Angela M. Hoover, M. Kathryn Busby

    Pollinators are vital to the continued existence and seed production of about 87.5 percent of all flowering plants (Ollerton and others, 2011). In the semi-desert grasslands of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, in the Sonoran Desert of the United States, flowering forbs provide seed vital to the food base of wildlife, including the 136 species of resident and migratory birds using the Refuge’s grasslands and, notably, the endangered Colinus virginianus ridgwayi (masked bobwhite quail) for which the Refuge was established. The Sonoran Desert is known for its high diversity of native bees, but these pollinators have not been extensively described at the Refuge. We conducted a survey of native bees at the Refuge from late May 2019 through early February 2020. Of all bees collected, we subsampled, curated, and identified over 3,300 bees representing 39 genera within four families (Andrenidae, Apidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae). For about 8 percent of the sampled bees, we further identified 36 species and several potentially new, undescribed species using either visual or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) barcoding methods. Sampling was done using bee bowls and blue-vane traps. Our initial results suggest the Refuge is species rich in native bees and supports diverse bee faunas across subtle differences in plant composition and location within the Refuge. Continued survey, inventory, and focused monitoring of the bee populations of the Refuge will be valuable in understanding the relationship of bee populations with the health and productivity of seed-bearing plants, effect of prescribed fire on bee fauna, the ongoing dynamics of bee-plant interactions, and how the bee pollinator community of the Refuge is responding to stressors, such as invasive species proliferation and changing climate conditions.

    Neotropical migratory bird monitoring study at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California—2021 annual data summary

    Released June 12, 2024 11:20 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1024

    Shannon Mendia, Barbara E. Kus

    Executive Summary

    Two Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) stations were operated at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCBCP), California, in 2021: one at De Luz Creek and one at the Santa Margarita River. The stations were established to provide data on Neotropical migratory birds at MCBCP to support the dual missions of environmental stewardship and military readiness.

    A total of 1,227 individual birds were captured in 2021 between the two stations: 395 at De Luz and 832 at Santa Margarita (both 15 banding days). Of these 1,227 individuals captured, 955 were newly banded (273 at De Luz and 682 at Santa Margarita), 150 were recaptures banded before 2021 (28 at De Luz and 122 at Santa Margarita, excluding recaptures released before reading band number [1 at De Luz and 3 at Santa Margarita]), and 118 were unbanded (93 at De Luz and 25 at Santa Margarita). Return rate in 2021 was much lower than the annual mean at De Luz (1995–2019) and similar to the annual mean at the Santa Margarita station (1998–2020). The sex ratio of known-sex adult birds was skewed toward males at both stations in 2021.

    Species richness was similar at De Luz from 2019 to 2021, increased at Santa Margarita from 2020 to 2021 and was above annual means at both sites (1995–2019 and 1998–2020, respectively). The most abundant species at De Luz were Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata) and Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin). Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) and Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) were most abundant at Santa Margarita.

    Since 2002, we have examined the population trends of 12 species at De Luz and 13 species at Santa Margarita for which numbers of known-age individuals were adequate for statistical analysis. We estimated population size and calculated indices of productivity and survival for a subset of these species with sufficient captures and recaptures for valid parameter estimation—four at De Luz and six at Santa Margarita. We determined that in 2021, abundance of 42 percent (5 of 12) of focal species at De Luz and 38 percent (5 of 13) of focal species at Santa Margarita was below the annual mean abundance. Of the focal species below mean abundance, 40 percent (2 of 5) at De Luz and 60 percent (3 of 5) at Santa Margarita were migrant populations. Of the focal species, 25 (3 of 12) percent at De Luz and 31 percent (4 of 13) at Santa Margarita had declining population trends during the span of station operation. With few exceptions, these declines appeared to be associated with conditions on the breeding grounds.

    Annual productivity (calculated as the ratio of juveniles to adults among individual captures) was zero for all focal species at De Luz in 2021. At Santa Margarita, productivity increased from year 2020 to 2021 for Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, and Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) and declined from year 2020 to 2021 for Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), but productivity was above the 1998–2020 mean for all four species, whereas productivity was maintained for Orange-crowned Warbler (Leiothlypis celata) and Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens). Winter precipitation affected productivity of Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), Common Yellowthroat, and Song Sparrow at De Luz and affected productivity of Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler, Song Sparrow, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Yellow Warbler at Santa Margarita.

    We calculated the mean annual adult survival for 1998–2020 at Santa Margarita, excluding years when the station was not operated. Survival could not be calculated for De Luz in 2021 because the station was not operated in 2020. Model-averaged annual adult survival ranged from 42 to 66 percent for residents and from 30 to 66 percent for migrants at Santa Margarita. Survival of Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, and possibly Yellow Warbler was found to be affected by winter precipitation. Sex was a significant predictor of survival for Common Yellowthroat, Least Bell’s Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Yellow-breasted Chat at Santa Margarita, where females were found to have lower survival than males.

    At Santa Margarita, multiple regression analyses examining adult survival and productivity as predictors of future population size indicated that resident Song Sparrow and migrant Yellow Warbler populations were affected by population size from the previous year, migrant Yellow-breasted Chat populations were affected by productivity from the previous year, and migrant Orange-Crowned Warbler populations were affected by survival from the previous year. Updated previous-year population size predictions could not be calculated for De Luz because the station was not operated in 2020.

    Source, migration pathways, and atmospheric release of geologic methane associated with the complex permafrost regimes of the outer Mackenzie River Delta, Arctic, Canada

    Released June 12, 2024 07:06 EST

    2024, Journal of Geophysical Research (129)

    Scott Dallimore, Laura Lapham, Michelle Côté, Robert Bowen, Roger MacLeod, Hadley Marcek, C. Geoffrey Wheat, Timothy Collett

    Sources and fluxes of methane to the atmosphere from permafrost are significant but poorly constrained in global climate models. We present data collected from the variable permafrost setting of the outer Mackenzie River Delta, including observations of aquatic methane seepage, core determinations of in situ methane occurrence and seep gas isotope geochemistry. The sources and locations of in situ geologic methane occurrence and aquatic and atmospheric gas release appear to be controlled by the regional geology and permafrost conditions. Where permafrost is >250 m thick, thermogenic gas deposits at depth are isolated by laterally continuous, low permeability ice-bearing sediments with few through-going thawed taliks. Thus, the observed in situ methane and aquatic gas seepage appears to be dominated by microbial methane. In contrast, where permafrost is <80 m thick, taliks are more likely to be through-going, providing permeable conduits from depth and migration pathways for both thermogenic and biogenic gas. Continuous annual fluid sampling of two lakes and a river channel documents aquatic methane flux from microbial sources, more deeply buried thermogenic sources, and mixtures of both. Using estimates of in situ methane concentration from deep core samples and observations of in situ free gas occurrences, we conclude that the reservoir of in situ geologic methane within ice bonded permafrost is substantial and that this methane is presently migrating with ongoing atmospheric release. It is our assessment that the permafrost setting, and processes described are sensitive to future climate change as the permafrost warms.

    Chlorophyll a in lakes and streams of the United States (2005–2022)

    Released June 12, 2024 06:59 EST

    2024, Nature Scientific Data (11)

    Sarah Spaulding, Lindsay R.C. Platt, Jennifer C. Murphy, S. Alex. Covert, Judson Harvey

    The concentration of chlorophyll a in phytoplankton and periphyton represents the amount of algal biomass. We compiled an 18-year record (2005–2022) of pigment data from water bodies across the United States (US) to support efforts to develop process-based, machine learning, and remote sensing models for prediction of harmful algal blooms (HABs). To our knowledge, this dataset of nearly 84,000 sites and over 1,374,000 pigment measurements is the largest compilation of harmonized discrete, laboratory-extracted chlorophyll data for the US. These data were compiled from the Water Quality Portal (WQP) and previously unpublished U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) data. Data were harmonized for reporting units, pigment type, duplicate values, collection depth, site name, negative values, and some extreme values. Across the country, data show great variation by state in sampling frequency, distribution, and methods. Uses for such data include the calibration of models, calibration of field sensors, examination of relationship to nutrients and other drivers, evaluation of temporal trends, and other applications addressing local to national scale concerns.

    Field observations and logs from the Rose Hip trench exposure across a north-facing scarp within the Seattle Fault Zone, southern Bainbridge Island, Washington

    Released June 11, 2024 14:46 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Map 3520

    Stephen J. Angster, Brian L. Sherrod, Wes Johns, Jessie K. Pearl

    The Seattle Fault Zone is an approximately 70-km-long, east-west-trending zone of south-dipping blind reverse faults within the Puget lowland region in Washington. Because of the proximity, the Seattle Fault Zone poses a significant earthquake hazard to the Puget sound and Seattle metropolitan regions. We present preliminary mapping and trench-site information from a paleoseismic investigation across a newly identified active fault scarp located within the hanging wall of the Seattle Fault Zone on southern Bainbridge Island, Washington. The trench exposed monoclinally folded Miocene bedrock, fractured and faulted glacial-related deposits, and laminated lacustrine deposits capped by slope-derived colluvium. The observations from this investigation record late Pleistocene to Holocene north-vergent folding and faulting along this new fault scarp.

    Colored shaded relief bathymetry and acoustic backscatter of Ozette Lake, Washington

    Released June 11, 2024 14:24 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Map 3517

    Peter Dartnell, Daniel S. Brothers, Andrew C. Ritchie, Brian L. Sherrod, Jackson E. Currie, Peter Dal Ferro, David C. Powers

    Offshore of the Pacific Northwest of the United States is the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 1,000-kilometer-long tectonic boundary defined by a large fault, called a megathrust, that extends from the Mendocino Junction off northern California to the Nootka Fracture Zone off Vancouver Island, Canada (U.S. Geological Survey, 2023). The Juan de Fuca and Gorda oceanic plates to the west of this boundary subduct under the North America continental plate to the east. Several other smaller faults that cut through the North America plate crust also affect the region. Although their effects upon Ozette Lake are uncertain, geological evidence for past earthquakes, such as underwater landslides, may be found in Pacific Northwest lakes.

    Underwater landslides caused by past earthquakes should be well preserved in these relatively undisturbed lake environments. The floor of Ozette Lake, Washington, located along the Pacific coast of the United States, west of the Puget Sound region and about 140 kilometers east of the megathrust was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey in July of 2019 to search for evidence of past earthquakes. Mapping was completed using a SWATHplus-M 234-kHz interferometric side scan sonar system pole-mounted on the U.S. Geological Survey research vessel San Lorenzo. The system collected full-coverage bathymetric and acoustic backscatter data that were processed to 2-meter spatial resolution (Dartnell and others, 2024). This two-map series displays the results of this mapping. A colored shaded relief bathymetry map (sheet 1) and an acoustic backscatter map (sheet 2) show the lake floor morphology and backscatter intensities, respectively, that can be analyzed for evidence of past earthquakes.

    Environmental monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and soil at the Ammonium Perchlorate Rocket Motor Destruction Facility at the Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, 2021

    Released June 11, 2024 13:55 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1031

    Daniel G. Galeone, Shaun J. Donmoyer

    Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, built an Ammonium Perchlorate Rocket Motor Destruction (ARMD) Facility in 2016 to centralize rocket motor destruction and contain all waste during the destruction process. The U.S. Geological Survey has collected environmental samples from groundwater, surface water, and soils at ARMD since 2016.

    During 2021, samples were collected from four groundwater wells in September, one surface-water site in October, and five soil sites in November near the facility. Samples were analyzed for nutrients, trace metals, major ions, total volatile organic compounds, and perchlorate. Perchlorate was not detected in any 2021 samples.

    Groundwater results showed no constituents exceeded any U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL). Dissolved arsenic (As) was detected in one well above the reporting detection level (RDL) of 3 micrograms per liter (μg/L) at 5.4 μg/L but below its MCL of 10 μg/L. Dissolved iron (Fe) was the only inorganic constituent measured above an EPA secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL). All groundwater samples collected in 2021 exceeded the Fe SMCL of 300 μg/L, with concentrations ranging from 390 μg/L to 3,500 μg/L.

    Surface-water data collected during 2021 showed no measured constituents in the surface-water sample that exceeded any EPA MCL or SMCL.

    Soil samples collected from 2016 through 2021 showed all concentrations of As exceeded the EPA soil screening levels of 3 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) but did not exceed the Pennsylvania medium-specific concentrations for As of 61 mg/kg. Arsenic concentrations in 2021 ranged from 9.1 mg/kg to 12.9 mg/kg.

    The 2021 results for the ARMD Facility indicate no increases in concentrations of reported compounds compared to data from 2016 to 2020. The contained burn treatment facility for demilitarization of rocket motors during 2021 appears to have operated without elevating concentrations of target compounds compared to previous years.

    Status of greater sage-grouse in the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment—An evaluation of population trends, habitat selection, and efficacy of conservation actions

    Released June 11, 2024 13:52 EST

    2024, Open-File Report 2024-1030

    Peter S. Coates, Megan C. Milligan, Brian G. Prochazka, Brianne E. Brussee, Shawn T. O'Neil, Carl G. Lundblad, Sarah C. Webster, Cali L. Weise, Steven R. Mathews, Michael P. Chenaille, Cameron L. Aldridge, Michael S. O'Donnell, Shawn P. Espinosa, Amy C. Sturgill, Kevin E. Doherty, John C. Tull, Katherine Miller, Lief A. Wiechman, Steve Abele, John Boone, Heather Stone, Michael L. Casazza

    Preface

    This study was completed to provide timely scientific information regarding greater sage-grouse population trends, habitat selection, and the efficacy of previous conservation actions implemented to benefit the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS). Specifically, we provide these analyses to inform the current (2024) status review and pending listing decision for the DPS being undertaken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These findings provide updated, detailed, and comprehensive information regarding the status of a geographically isolated and genetically distinct population of a species of high conservation concern and their habitat. Importantly, this report also provides information on the efficacy of previously implemented conservation actions targeting the Bi-State DPS in a framework that is transferable throughout the species’ range.

    Distribution of ancient carbon in groundwater and soil gas from degradation of petroleum near the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

    Released June 11, 2024 12:30 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5034

    Jared J. Trost, Barbara A. Bekins, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Geoffrey N. Delin, Daniel A Sinclair, James K Stack, Rylen K. Nakama, Uli'i M. Miyajima, Lhiberty D. Pagaduan, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli

    The groundwater below the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (the facility) in Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, contains fuel compounds from past spills. This study used carbon-14 analyses to distinguish fuel-derived carbon from background carbon, along with other biodegradation indicators, to address two goals: (1) determine the extent and migration direction of groundwater affected by residual fuel below the facility and (2) determine if residual fuel locations in the subsurface could be identified by analyzing soil gas at the surface above the facility.

    Groundwater from 19 wells was sampled between September 2022 and April 2023. Nonvolatile dissolved organic carbon (NVDOC) from a well presumed to be unaffected by past spills contained 38 percent ancient carbon indicating a natural source of ancient carbon in the subsurface. The NVDOC concentrations and ancient carbon percentages indicate fuel biodegradation products are likely present on the north and south of Red Hill with the greatest effects at well RHMW02 near the 2014 spill site. The NVDOC concentrations are almost three times higher than diesel range organic (DRO) concentrations in groundwater from the same sites. Major ion data indicate that iron reduction is an important biodegradation process.

    Soil probe samples and soil carbon traps were used to determine the carbon-14 content of soil carbon dioxide. Ancient carbon from fuel biodegradation was not detected at any soil probe or carbon trap site in contrast to a 2017 study which reported ancient carbon detections. A reanalysis of the 2017 results using a range of local values for background carbon-14 indicates that ancient carbon from fuel biodegradation was probably only detected in lower tunnel exhaust system samples and not in any soil carbon trap samples. Measurements of carbon dioxide efflux with a dynamic closed chamber were highly variable. The soil gas results indicate that soil gas measurements at land surface were not useful for detecting residual fuel at the facility.

    The where and why of large wood occurrence in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers

    Released June 11, 2024 10:35 EST

    2024, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

    Molly Van Appledorn, Kathi Jo Jankowski, Kaija Gahm, Serenity Budd, Douglas Baumann, Barbara Bennie, Richard A. Erickson, Roger J. Haro, Jason J. Rohweder

    Large wood (LW) plays important geomorphic and ecological roles in rivers and is widely used as a restoration tool. Changes to floodplain land use and historical removal have altered wood dynamics in fluvial systems globally. We know little about the distribution and dynamics of LW in great rivers (approximately >105 km2) like the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers despite its ecosystem importance and use in restoration projects. We assessed LW occurrence data collected by the fisheries component of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program's Long Term Resource Monitoring element. We analysed 25 years of data collected across six reaches of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers that represented contrasting physiographic settings, and across four aquatic area types comprising gradients of hydrology, connectivity and geomorphology. We tested hypotheses on drivers of LW occurrence using generalised linear mixed effects models, where occurrence was predicted by reach- and local-scale environmental variables. Occurrence varied significantly across reaches and aquatic area types. In general, wood occurred more frequently upriver and in side channels compared to other aquatic areas. Large wood was most strongly predicted systemically by reach identity but not local-scale variables, underscoring the importance of broad-scale physiographic gradients in defining hydrogeomorphic processes. Floodplain forests and shoreline revetment were consistently important predictors across reaches. Our findings show that the spatial variability of LW occurrence reflects the physical variability of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. They also reveal the value in using geomorphic classifications as frameworks for understanding physical processes like LW dynamics because of their ability to contextualise site-scale conditions. The baseline understanding of LW abundance across different hydrogeomorphic gradients and scales presented here can give insight into how to more effectively target restoration efforts in great rivers and contribute to a broader understanding of LW dynamics where such studies have been lacking.

    Potential hazards of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Great Lakes tributaries using water column and porewater passive samplers and sediment wquilibrium partitioning

    Released June 11, 2024 10:03 EST

    2024, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

    Austin K. Baldwin, Steven R. Corsi, David Alvarez, David L. Villeneuve, Gerald T. Ankley, Brett R. Blackwell, Marc A. Mills, Peter L. Lenaker, Michelle A. Nott

    The potential for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-related effects in benthic organisms is commonly estimated from organic carbon-normalized sediment concentrations based on equilibrium partitioning (EqP). Although this approach is useful for screening purposes, it may overestimate PAH bioavailability by orders of magnitude in some sediments, leading to inflated exposure estimates and potentially unnecessary remediation costs. Recently, passive samplers have been shown to provide an accurate assessment of the freely dissolved concentrations of PAHs, and thus their bioavailability and possible biological effects, in sediment porewater and overlying surface water. We used polyethylene passive sampling devices (PEDs) to measure freely dissolved porewater and water column PAH concentrations at 55 Great Lakes (USA/Canada) tributary locations. The potential for PAH-related biological effects using PED concentrations were estimated with multiple approaches by applying EqP, water quality guidelines, and pathway-based biological activity based on in vitro bioassay results from ToxCast. Results based on the PED-based exposure estimates were compared with EqP-derived exposure estimates for concurrently collected sediment samples. The results indicate a potential overestimation of bioavailable PAH concentrations by up to 960-fold using the EqP-based method compared with measurements using PEDs. Even so, PED-based exposure estimates indicate a high potential for PAH-related biological effects at 14 locations. Our findings provide an updated, weight-of-evidence–based site prioritization to help guide possible future monitoring and mitigation efforts.

    Temporal habitat use of mule deer in the Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico

    Released June 11, 2024 06:39 EST

    2024, Journal of Wildlife Management

    Daniel E. Bird, Laura D'Acunto, Daniel Ginter, Glenn Harper, Patrick A. Zollner

    Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are important economically, culturally, and recreationally to the Pueblo of Santa Ana in central New Mexico, USA. Studies of habitat selection improve our understanding of mule deer ecology in central New Mexico and provide the Tribe with valuable information for management of mule deer. We used global positioning system telemetry-collar data collected on mule deer around the Pueblo of Santa Ana to create resource selection functions from proximity-based habitat predictors using a generalized linear mixed model. We created separate resource selection functions for females and males during summer and winter at different times of the day. Season generally had a greater effect on mule deer habitat use than the time of day. Female and male mule deer selected for similar habitats but were sexually segregated in their summer distributions. These findings are consistent with results from other locations where mule deer partitioned habitat similarly between seasons and sexes. Supported models reaffirm accepted patterns of habitat selection for mule deer to the Pueblo of Santa Ana where local results were lacking. Our results can help managers identify locations in and around the Pueblo of Santa Ana where future development such as highway expansion are likely to conflict with mule deer activity and locations where habitat enhancement projects such as adding water sources can have the greatest effect for the deer population.

    Lifetime reproductive characteristics of gray wolves

    Released June 10, 2024 19:47 EST

    2024, Journal of Mammalogy

    David Edward Ausband

    Female and male cooperative breeders can use different strategies to maximize reproduction and fitness over their lifetimes. Answering questions about fitness in cooperative breeders requires long-term studies as well as complete data on group composition and size which can be exceedingly difficult to obtain. Using a long-term genetic data set of complete group pedigrees, I asked how lifetime reproductive characteristics of female and male gray wolves (Canis lupus) differed. I predicted that genetic relatedness to helpers would be higher for females than males due to philopatric behavior of female wolves, group size would be similar between the sexes, females would inherit breeding positions from within groups more often than males due to differences in dispersal strategies between the sexes, males would have more lifetime mates and produce more young than females because of polygamy, and females would breed for more years than males due to the likelihood that females would still breed (with a new partner) after a mate died or was expelled from the group. I documented complete lifetime breeding histories for 11 male and 18 female wolves in Idaho, United States, 2008 to 2018. Genetic relatedness to helpers, group size, number of mates, pups, and years breeding did not differ between the sexes. Females, however, inherited breeding positions within groups far more often than males. Individuals who secured breeding positions generally reproduced for 2 seasons and commonly had more than 1 partner during their lifetimes if they were able to maintain their breeding position longer. Direct fitness varied greatly within female and male breeding wolves.

    Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2020

    Released June 10, 2024 11:30 EST

    2024, Data Report 1192

    Kirk P. Smith

    As part of a long-term cooperative program to monitor water quality within the Scituate Reservoir drainage area, the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Providence Water (sometimes known as Providence Water Supply Board) collected streamflow and water-quality data in tributaries to the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island. Streamflow and concentrations of chloride and sodium estimated from records of specific conductance for 14 tributaries were used to calculate loads of chloride and sodium during water year 2020 (October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020). Water-quality samples were collected by Providence Water at 37 sampling stations on tributaries to the Scituate Reservoir during water year 2020. These water-quality data are summarized by using values of central tendency and are used, in combination with measured (or estimated) streamflows, to calculate loads and yields of selected water-quality constituents for water year 2020 in this report.

    Annual mean streamflows for monitoring stations in this study ranged from about 0.32 to 26.7 cubic feet per second during water year 2020. At the 14 continuous-record streamgages, tributaries transported about 2,200 metric tons of chloride and 1,400 metric tons of sodium to the Scituate Reservoir; annual chloride yields for the tributaries ranged from 13 to 110 metric tons per square mile, and annual sodium yields ranged from 8.8 to 6 metric tons per square mile. At the stations where water-quality samples were collected by Providence Water, the medians of the median daily loads were 220 kilograms chloride per day, 10 grams nitrite as nitrogen per day, 500 grams nitrate as nitrogen per day, 290 grams orthophosphate as phosphate per day, 55,000 million colony forming units of coliform bacteria per day, and less than 900 million colony forming units of Escherichia coli per day. The medians of the median yields were 76 kilograms chloride per day per square mile, 4.1 grams nitrite as nitrogen per day per square mile, 240 grams nitrate as nitrogen per day per square mile, 100 grams orthophosphate as phosphate per day per square mile, 31,000 million colony forming units of coliform bacteria per day per square mile, and less than 260 million colony forming units of Escherichia coli per day per square mile.

    Microbial diversity, genomics, and phage–host interactions of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms

    Released June 10, 2024 07:00 EST

    2024, mSystems

    Lauren E Krausfeldt, Elizaveta Shmakova, Hyo Won Lee, Viviana Mazzei, Keith Loftin, Robert P Smith, Emily E. Karwacki, Eric Fortman, B.H. Rosen, Hidetoshi Urakawa, Manoj Dadlani, Rita Colwell, Jose V Lopez

    The occurrence of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) is related to their physical and chemical environment. However, less is known about their associated microbial interactions and processes. In this study, cyanoHABs were analyzed as a microbial ecosystem, using 1 year of 16S rRNA sequencing and 70 metagenomes collected during the bloom season from Lake Okeechobee (Florida, USA). Biogeographical patterns observed in microbial community composition and function reflected ecological zones distinct in their physical and chemical parameters that resulted in bloom “hotspots” near major lake inflows. Changes in relative abundances of taxa within multiple phyla followed increasing bloom severity. Functional pathways that correlated with increasing bloom severity encoded organic nitrogen and phosphorus utilization, storage of nutrients, exchange of genetic material, phage defense, and protection against oxidative stress, suggesting that microbial interactions may promote cyanoHAB resilience. Cyanobacterial communities were highly diverse, with picocyanobacteria ubiquitous and oftentimes most abundant, especially in the absence of blooms. The identification of novel bloom-forming cyanobacteria and genomic comparisons indicated a functionally diverse cyanobacterial community with differences in its capability to store nitrogen using cyanophycin and to defend against phage using CRISPR and restriction-modification systems. Considering blooms in the context of a microbial ecosystem and their interactions in nature, physiologies and interactions supporting the proliferation and stability of cyanoHABs are proposed, including a role for phage infection of picocyanobacteria. This study displayed the power of “-omics” to reveal important biological processes that could support the effective management and prediction of cyanoHABs.

    Climate change scenarios for air and water temperatures in the upper San Francisco Estuary: Implications for thermal regimes and Delta Smelt

    Released June 10, 2024 06:28 EST

    2024, San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science (22)

    Brock Huntsman, Larry R. Brown, Marissa L. Wulff, Noah Knowles, R. Wayne Wagner, Frederick V. Feyrer

    Climate projections and their effects in the San Francisco Estuary have been evaluated as part of the US Geological Survey’s CASCaDE2 project. Understanding the ecological effects of climate change can help manage and maintain the ecological health and productivity of the San Francisco Estuary. In this study, we assessed downscaled air temperature data from 10 global climate models (GCMs) under two representative concentration pathway (RCP) trajectories for greenhouse gas concentrations for three regions of the San Francisco Estuary: Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, Suisun and Grizzly bays, and Suisun Marsh. We also used previously derived regression models to estimate future water temperatures at 16 locations in the upper San Francisco Estuary. We used a thermal regime approach to summarize water temperature projections to investigate changes to the thermal regime of the upper San Francisco Estuary, and used the Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) to demonstrate the effects that a warming climate may have on the habitat needs of this fish species. Our results suggested there were no major differences in the extent of air-temperature warming among the three regions. Annual average air temperatures were projected to increase approximately 2.0 °C and 4.7 °C by the end of the century for the low and high RCP scenarios, respectively. We found timing, frequency, and magnitude metrics varied by period and RCP scenario, while duration and variability metrics varied by space for water-temperature thermal regimes. For example, the spawning window for Delta Smelt (thermal-regime duration metric) is projected to expand in the future, with spawning starting earlier for both RCP scenarios for most sites. Although our thermal-regime analysis focused on the life history of Delta Smelt, similar approaches could be used to assess climate-change threats to a wide array of native and invasive terrestrial and aquatic species found in San Francisco Estuary.

    Taking heat (downstream): Simulating groundwater and thermal equilibrium controls on annual paired air–water temperature signal transport in headwater streams

    Released June 07, 2024 09:58 EST

    2024, Journal of Hydrology (638)

    Zachary Johnson, Martin Briggs, Craig D. Snyder, Brittany G. Johnson, Nathaniel P. Hitt

    Headwater stream temperature often exhibits spatial variation at the kilometer-scale, but the relative importance of the underlying hydrogeological processes and riverine perturbations remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the relative importance of groundwater (GW) and other processes on downstream annual stream temperature signal characteristics using deterministic heat budget model (HFLUX) scenarios within an idealized stream reach representative of mountainous forested conditions. We summarized annual stream thermal regimes from the relationship of paired sinusoidal air and water temperature signals (amplitude ratio, phase lag, and mean ratio). Results showed that downstream changes in annual temperature depended on the thermal gradient between water and the hypothetical equilibrium temperature (where all heat fluxes sum to zero). GW inflow, riparian shading, and the boundary input signal were the most significant factors affecting downstream annual water temperature signals, while flow volume and channel dimensions impacted how quickly annual temperature signals changed. Effects of GW were dominated by advective rather than conductive heat exchange processes, but conduction played a larger role when GW input was more spatially diffuse. Our results indicated several mechanisms by which local processes may affect stream thermal resilience to disturbances and can help guide management of wildfire and climate change.

    Rainfall intensification amplifies exposure of American Southwest to conditions that trigger postfire debris flows

    Released June 07, 2024 09:49 EST

    2024, npj Natural Hazards (1)

    Matthew A. Thomas, Allison C. Michaelis, Nina S. Oakley, Jason W. Kean, Victor A. Gensini, Walker S. Ashley

    Short-duration, high-intensity rainfall can initiate deadly and destructive debris flows after wildfire. Methods to estimate the conditions that can trigger debris flows exist and guidance to determine how often those thresholds will be exceeded under the present climate are available. However, the limited spatiotemporal resolution of climate models has hampered efforts to characterize how rainfall intensification driven by global warming may affect debris-flow hazards. We use novel, dynamically downscaled (3.75-km), convection-permitting simulations of short-duration (15-min) rainfall to evaluate threshold exceedance for late 21st-century climate scenarios in the American Southwest. We observe significant increases in the frequency and magnitude of exceedances for regions dominated by cool- and warm-season rainfall. We also observe an increased frequency of exceedance in regions where postfire debris flows have not been documented, and communities are unaccustomed to the hazard. Our findings can inform planning efforts to increase resiliency to debris flows under a changing climate.

    Earthquake scenario development in conjunction with the 2023 USGS National Seismic Hazard Model

    Released June 07, 2024 08:58 EST

    2024, Earthquake Spectra

    Robert Edward Chase, Kishor Jaiswal, Mark D. Petersen

    We present earthquake scenarios developed to accompany the release of the 2023 update to the US Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM). Scenarios can serve a range of local and regional needs, from developing proactive-targeted mitigation strategies for minimizing impending risk to aiding emergency management planning. These deterministic scenarios can also be used to communicate seismic hazard and risk to audiences who are not well versed in methods, such as probabilistic seismic hazard analyses. Specifically, we discuss the scenarios developed, challenges, and lessons learned in the development process, and how this work aided the development of the 2023 NSHM itself. In total, 28 scenarios were developed for Hawaii, Utah, Alaska, and Virginia considering the 2023 NSHM science, past scenario efforts, and input from local experts and stakeholders. Finally, we investigate how NSHM modeling decisions can change estimated impacts to Utah and Hawaii in more detail showing, for example, that a shallower dip of the Wasatch fault under Salt Lake City can increase predicted ground-motion intensities and therefore estimated losses and deaths.

    The 3D National Topography Model Call for Action—Part 1. The 3D Hydrography Program

    Released June 06, 2024 12:48 EST

    2024, Circular 1519

    Rebecca Anderson, Vicki Lukas, Stephen S. Aichele

    The U.S. Geological Survey is initiating the 3D Hydrography Program (3DHP), the first systematic remapping of the Nation’s surface waters since the original 1:24,000-scale topographic mapping program was active from 1947 to 1992. Building on decades of experience maintaining the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), the 3DHP will completely refresh the Nation’s hydrography data and improve discovery and sharing of water-related data. The design of the 3DHP is based on the results of a study that estimated that the fully implemented program would have the potential to provide more than $1 billion in benefits to Federal, State, Tribal, Territorial, and local governments and to private and nonprofit organizations every year, in addition to myriad societal benefits. The 3DHP would directly support better decision making regarding water resources by providing more accurate, complete, and integrated information than is currently available.

    The 3DHP datasets will include a three-dimensional (3D) hydrography network generated from and integrated with elevation data from the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to better represent stream gradients and channel conditions, along with waterbodies, hydrologic units, hydrologically enhanced elevation and other surfaces, and more consistent and accurate attributes. The 3DHP datasets will inherit key attributes of the NHD, WBD, and NHDPlus HR, and they also will include new attributes and links to other data such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory, groundwater data, and engineered hydrologic systems such as stormwater networks. The 3DHP will be designed to provide a set of open and interoperable web-based tools, maps, and data catalogs, creating a robust system for users to reference their information about water; the system elements are collectively referred to as the “infostructure.” The 3DHP and the infostructure can provide a foundational geospatial underpinning for the Internet of Water, a community-based effort to modernize tools and technologies to share water data. As proposed, the 3DHP would begin providing products and services to the public in 2024.

    The 3D Elevation Program—Supporting Ohio's economy

    Released June 06, 2024 12:44 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3017

    Charles E. Hickman

    Introduction

    High-quality elevation data are proving to be a resource of great economic value in dealing with many important issues in Ohio. Current and accurate high-resolution elevation data support flood risk management, water quantity and quality assessment, precision farming, conservation planning, impervious-surface modeling, forest and other natural resources management, abandoned mine and geologic hazard assessment, karst mapping, and siting of wellhead pads for horizontal drilling. These data also support coastal zone management, traffic safety and preliminary engineering site-selection studies for transportation infrastructure, solar potential and other renewable energy planning, aviation safety, and identification of features of interest or concern such as archaeological sites and orphan oil and gas wells. Critical applications that meet the State’s management needs depend on light detection and ranging (lidar) data that provide a highly detailed three-dimensional (3D) model of the Earth’s surface and aboveground features.

    Marine heatwaves affect breeding, diet and population size but not body condition of a range-edge little penguin colony

    Released June 06, 2024 11:18 EST

    2024, Marine Ecology Progress Series (737) 193-213

    B.L. Cannell, William L. Kendall, J.A. Tyne, M. Bunce, Y. Hetzel, D. Murray, B. Radford

    Significant marine heatwaves (MHWs) developed along the Western Australian coast in 1999 and 2011. Despite ecosystem losses and the southwards occurrence of many tropical fish species during and after the extreme MHW in 2011, there have been few studies on the effects of this MHW on seabirds, and no biological impacts related to the 1999 MHW have been reported. Using data from 1986-2019, we investigated the impacts of these events on breeding outcomes, body condition, diet composition, population size and mortality of little penguins on Penguin Island, in the temperate waters off Western Australia. Breeding outcomes were negatively impacted by the MHWs but body condition was not. Diet composition changed after the MHW, with sandy sprat Hyperlophus vittatus, the penguins’ typical major prey component, replaced by scaly mackerel Sardinella lemuru, a tropical fish species. Using an open robust design analysis that accounts for imperfect capture probabilities and staggered annual arrival and departure dates, we found that the population decreased by 80% following the 2011 MHW. Finally, more penguins died from starvation or from novel protozoal parasitic infections in 2011 and 2012 that were potentially introduced with the changed diet. This research highlights that the temporal and spatial influence of MHWs on seabirds depends on several factors. Furthermore, the magnitude and direction of a prey species’ response can be very localised and have significant impacts on avian predators. There are no obvious ways to mediate climate effects, but perhaps measures taken to reduce any synergistic impacts on prey abundance, particularly during MHW events, could be effective.

    Mechanisms by which marine heatwaves impact seabirds

    Released June 06, 2024 09:58 EST

    2024, MEPS (737) 1-8

    John F. Piatt, Mayumi L. Arimitsu, Sarah Ann Thompson, Rob Suryan, Rory Wilson, Kyle Elliott, W.J. Sydeman

    Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are characterized by periods of extreme warming of local to basin-scale marine habitat. Effects of MHWs on some seabirds (e.g. mass die-offs) are well documented, but mechanisms by which seabirds respond to MHWs remain poorly understood. Following from a symposium at the 3rd World Seabird Conference, this Theme Section presents recent research to address this knowledge gap. Studies included here spanned one or more MHW event, at spatial scales from individual seabird colonies to large marine ecosystems in subtropical, temperate, and polar oceans, and over timespans from months to decades. The findings summarized herein indicate that MHWs can affect seabirds directly by creating physiological heat stress that affects behavior or survival, or indirectly by disrupting seabird food webs, largely by altering metabolic rates in ectothermic prey species, leading to effects on their associated predators and prey. Four main mechanisms by which MHWs affect seabirds are (1) habitat modification, (2) physiological forcing, (3) behavioral responses, and (4) ecological processes or species interactions. Most seabird species have experienced limited effects from MHWs to date, owing to ecological and behavioral adaptations that buffer MHW effects. However, the intensity and frequency of MHWs is increasing due to global warming, and more seabird species may have difficulty coping with future heatwave events. Also, MHW impacts can persist for years after a MHW ends, so consequences of recent or future MHWs could continue to unfold over time for many long-lived seabird species.

    Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in postsalt reservoirs of the West-Central Coastal Province of Africa, 2022

    Released June 05, 2024 10:00 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3011

    Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Cheryl A. Woodall, Phuong A. Le, Andrea D. Cicero, Ronald M. Drake II, Geoffrey S. Ellis, Thomas M. Finn, Michael H. Gardner, Sarah E. Gelman, Jane S. Hearon, Benjamin G. Johnson, Jenny H. Lagesse, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Kristen R. Marra, Kira K. Timm, Scott S. Young

    Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean conventional resources of 10.5 billion barrels of oil and 47.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in postsalt reservoirs within the West-Central Coastal Province of Africa.

    Decomposition of physical processes controlling EASM precipitation changes during the mid-Piacenzian: New insights into data–model integration

    Released June 05, 2024 09:19 EST

    2024, npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (7)

    Yong Sun, Haibin Wu, Lixin Chen, Christian Stepanek, Yan Zhao, Ning Tan, Baohuang Su, Xiayu Yuan, Wenchao Zhang, Bo Liu, Stephen Hunter, Alan M Haywood, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Camille Contoux, Daniel J. Lunt, Aisling M Dolan, Deepak Chandan, Gerrit Lohmann, Harry J. Dowsett, Julia C. Tindall, Michiel Baatsen, W. Richard Peltier, Qiang Li, Ran Feng, Ulrich Salzmann, Wing-Le Chan, Zhongshi Zhang, Charles J. R. Williams, Gilles Ramstein

    The mid-Piacenzian warm period (MPWP, ~3.264–3.025 Ma) has gained widespread interest due to its partial analogy with future climate. However, quantitative data–model comparison of East Asian Summer Monsoon (EASM) precipitation during the MPWP is relatively rare, especially due to problems in decoding the imprint of physical processes to climate signals in the records. In this study, pollen-based precipitation records are reconstructed and compared to the multi-model ensemble mean of the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2 (PlioMIP2). We find spatially consistent precipitation increase in most simulations but a spatially divergent change in MPWP records. We reconcile proxy data and simulation by decomposing physical processes that control precipitation. Our results 1) reveal thermodynamic control of an overall enhancement of EASM precipitation and 2) highlight a distinct control of thermodynamic and dynamical processes on increases of tropical and subtropical EASM precipitation, reflecting the two pathways of water vapor supply that enhance EASM precipitation, respectively.

    Origins and nature of large explosive eruptions in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea volcano, Hawaii: Insights from ash characterization and geochemistry

    Released June 05, 2024 08:50 EST

    2024, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (452)

    Richard W. Hazlett, Johanne Schmith, Allan Lerner, Drew T. Downs, Erin P. Fitch, Carolyn E. Parcheta, Cheryl A. Gansecki, Sarah Spaulding

    Several powerful explosive eruptions have taken place in the populated lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea within the past ∼750 years. These have created distinctive landforms, including a tephra rim enclosing Puʻulena Crater immediately south of the Puna Geothermal Venture power station, a tuff cone at Kapoho Crater near the eastern cape of the Island of Hawaiʻi, and a set of littoral cones, the Sand Hill in Nānāwale, where the 1840 lava flow poured into the ocean. Kapoho Crater tuff cone is the largest of these recent pyroclastic features. Mineral, glass, and melt inclusion analyses of tuff cone ash and later fissure-related scoriaceous materials also found within the crater indicate slightly evolved basaltic magmas (1120–1130 °C) that are compositionally similar to parts of the effusive lower East Rift Zone eruptions in 1955 and 2018. Tuff cone magmas were stored at depths of ∼2.5–3.5 km and had pre-eruptive volatile contents (0.5–0.8 wt% H2O, 280–340 ppm CO2, 1400–1800 ppm S) similar to other Kīlauea eruptions (e.g., 1959, 1960), suggesting that internal magma properties were unlikely to account for the unusual explosiveness of this eruption. Tephra componentry, grain-size analyses, and field observations confirm that the cone grew during a phreatomagmatic eruption mostly of vitric ash, probably where a fissure opened across the coastline or shallow ocean floor nearby. Supporting this hypothesis is the identification of at least two genera of marine diatoms within tuff cone strata. Sand Hill littoral cone ash is also vitric like that of Kapoho Crater, but distinctly coarser with abundant fluidal ejecta represented. In contrast, the Puʻulena Crater eruption deposited lithic ash and related blocks with minor juvenile magmatic contribution; a phreatomagmatic eruption that was dominantly phreatic. Differences in eruption styles are related to unique mechanics that tephra analyses help us interpret. While powerful explosive eruptions in the lower East Rift Zone are rare, they present a definite future hazard for inhabitants in this part of Hawaii.

    Climate-influenced phenology of larval fish transport in a large lake

    Released June 05, 2024 08:24 EST

    2024, Limnology and Oceanography Letters

    Spencer T. Gardner, Mark D. Rowe, Pengfei Xue, Xing Zhou, Peter Alsip, David Bunnell, Paris D. Collingsworth, Edward S. Rutherford, Tomas O. Hook

    Elucidating physical transport phenologies in large lakes can aid understanding of larval recruitment dynamics. Here, we integrate a series of climate, hydrodynamic, biogeochemical, and Lagrangian particle dispersion models to: (1) simulate hatch and transport of fish larvae throughout an illustrative large lake, (2) evaluate patterns of historic and potential future climate-induced larval transport, and (3) consider consequences for overlap with suitable temperatures and prey. Simulations demonstrate that relative offshore transport increases seasonally, with shifts toward offshore transport occurring earlier during relatively warm historic and future simulations. Intra- and inter-annual trends in transport were robust to assumed pelagic larval duration and precise location and timing of hatching. Larvae retained nearshore generally encountered more favorable temperatures and zooplankton densities compared to larvae transported offshore. Larval exploitation of nearshore resources under climate change may depend on a concomitant shift to earlier spawning and hatch times in advance of earlier offshore transport.

    Projected sea-level rise and high tide flooding at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Florida

    Released June 04, 2024 07:19 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3008

    Hana R. Thurman, Nicholas M. Enwright, Michael J. Osland, Davina L. Passeri, Richard H. Day, Bethanie M. Simons

    Introduction

    National parks and preserves in the South Atlantic-Gulf Region contain valuable coastal habitats such as tidal wetlands and mangrove forests, as well as irreplaceable historic buildings and archeological sites located in low-lying areas. These natural and cultural resources are vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise and escalating high tide flooding events. Through a Natural Resources Preservation Program-funded project during 2021–23, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the National Park Service, estimated the probability of inundation at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Florida, and several other parks under various sea-level rise scenarios and contemporary high tide flooding thresholds. The maps produced for this effort can be used to assess potential habitat change and explore how infrastructure and cultural resources within the park may be exposed to future flooding-related hazards.

    Balancing natural resource use and extraction of uranium and other elements in the Grand Canyon region

    Released June 03, 2024 10:45 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3003

    Katherine Walton-Day, Benjamin J. Siebers, Jo Ellen Hinck, Kate M. Campbell, Marie Noële Croteau

    The Grand Canyon region is an important natural, cultural, and archeological resource known worldwide. The region contains uranium resources that could be used to generate electricity. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, is conducting studies to answer questions about the environmental effects of mining uranium and other associated elements in the region.

    Development of high surface area organosilicate nanoparticulate thin films for use in sensing hydrophobic compounds in sediment and water

    Released June 03, 2024 09:11 EST

    2024, Biosensors (14)

    Sangho Bok, Venumadhav R. Korampally, Jacob K. Stanley, Keshab Gangopadhyay, Shubhra Gangopadhyay, Jeffery Steevens

    The scope of this study was to apply advances in materials science, specifically the use of organosilicate nanoparticles as a high surface area platform for passive sampling of chemicals or pre-concentration for active sensing in multiple-phase complex environmental media. We have developed a novel nanoporous organosilicate (NPO) film as an extraction phase and proof of concept for application in adsorbing hydrophobic compounds in water and sediment. We characterized the NPO film properties and provided optimization for synthesis and coatings in order to apply the technology in environmental media. NPO films in this study had a very high surface area, up to 1325 m2/g due to the high level of mesoporosity in the film. The potential application of the NPO film as a sorbent phase for sensors or passive samplers was evaluated using a model hydrophobic chemical, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), in water and sediment. Sorption of PCB to this porous high surface area nanoparticle platform was highly correlated with the bioavailable fraction of PCB measured using whole sediment chemistry, porewater chemistry determined by solid-phase microextraction fiber methods, and the Lumbriculus variegatus bioaccumulation bioassay. The surface-modified NPO films in this study were found to highly sorb chemicals with a log octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) greater than four; however, surface modification of these particles would be required for application to other chemicals.

    Microtopographic variation as a potential early indicator of ecosystem state change and vulnerability in salt marshes

    Released June 03, 2024 08:09 EST

    2024, Estuaries and Coasts

    Alexander J. Smith, Glenn R. Guntenspergen, Joel A. Carr, David C Walters, Matthew Kirwan

    As global climate change alters the magnitude and rates of environmental stressors, predicting the extent of ecosystem degradation driven by these rapidly changing conditions becomes increasingly urgent. At the landscape scale, disturbances and stressors can increase spatial variability and heterogeneity — indicators that can serve as potential early warnings of declining ecosystem resilience. Increased spatial variability in salt marshes at the landscape scale has been used to quantify the propagation of ponding in salt marsh interiors, but ponding at the landscape scale follows a state change rather than predicts it. Here, we suggest a novel application of commonly collected surface elevation table (SET) data and explore millimeter-scale marsh surface microtopography as a potential early indicator of ecosystem transition. We find an increase in spatial variability using multiple metrics of microtopographic heterogeneity in vulnerable salt marsh communities across the North American Atlantic seaboard. Increasing microtopographic heterogeneity in vulnerable salt marshes mirrored increasing trends in variance when a tipping point is approached in other alternative stable state systems — indicating that early warning signals of marsh drowning and ecosystem transition are observable at small-spatial scales prior to runaway ecosystem degradation. Congruence between traditional and novel metrics of marsh vulnerability suggests that microtopographic metrics can be used to identify hidden vulnerability before widespread marsh degradation. This novel analysis can be easily applied to existing SET records expanding the traditional focus on vertical change to additionally encapsulate lateral processes.

    Remote sensing evapotranspiration in ensemble-based framework to enhance cascade routing and re-infiltration concept in integrated hydrological model applied to support decision making

    Released June 03, 2024 06:52 EST

    2024, Journal of Hydrology (637)

    Mostafa Gomaa Daoud, Jeremy T. White, Eric D. Morway, Christiaan van der Tol, Maciek W. Lubczynski

    Integrated hydrological models (IHMs) help characterize the complexity of surface–groundwater interactions. The cascade routing and re-infiltration (CRR) concept, recently applied to a MODFLOW 6 IHM, improved conceptualization and simulation of overland flow processes. The CRR controls the transfer of rejected infiltration and groundwater exfiltration from upslope areas to adjacent downslope areas where that water can be evaporated, re-infiltrated back to subsurface, or discharged to streams as direct runoff. The partitioning between these three components is controlled by uncertain parameters that must be estimated. Thus, by quantifying and reducing those uncertainties, next to uncertainties of the other model parameters (e.g. hydraulic and storage parameters), the reliability of the CRR is improved and the IHM is better suited for decision support modelling, the two key objectives of this work. To this end, the remotely sensed MODIS-ET product was incorporated into the calibration process for complementing traditional hydraulic head and streamflow observations. A total of approximately 150,000 observations guided the calibration of a 13-year MODFLOW 6 IHM simulation of the Sardon catchment (Spain) with daily stress periods. The model input uncertainty was represented by grid-cell-scale parameterization, yielding approximately 500,000 unknown input parameters to be conditioned. The calibration was carried out through an iterative ensemble smoother. Incorporating the MODIS-ET data improved the CRR implementation, and reduced uncertainties associated with other model parameters. Additionally, it significantly reduced the uncertainty associated with net recharge, a critical flux for water management that cannot be directly measured and rather is commonly estimated by IHM simulations.

    Applying local and global sensitivity analysis to inform bigheaded carp management

    Released June 01, 2024 08:40 EST

    2024, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Managment

    Richard A. Erickson, Benjamin J. Marcek, Hannah Mann Thompson, Brian Schoenung, John M. Dettmers, Michael N. Fienen

    Natural resource managers commonly use population-level models to aid in understanding the status of target populations or the potential implications of management actions. Sensitivity analyses, specifically, local sensitivity analysis (LSA) and global sensitivity analysis (GSA), exist as tools to improve understanding of these models, the importance of specific parameters to model outcomes, and the assumptions inherent to population models. However, applied ecology and closely related fields such as fisheries and wildlife management rarely use LSA or GSA. Here, we apply LSA and GSA to the Spatially Explicit Invasive Carp Population model, a population-level model used to simulate and compare management actions on the invasive silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix population in the Illinois River. The spatial structure within the model arises from the navigation “pools” that exist between navigation lock-and-dam in the river and are also the focus of fisheries management in the river. We completed LSA and GSA for two reasons: (1) to compare the importance of model input parameters on simulated model populations and (2) to demonstrate the use of LSA and GSA for population-level models. In our system, the most important sensitivity values generally were detected in Alton Pool. This pool is the farthest downstream and includes a direct connection with the Mississippi River. These results indicate that the population dynamics in Alton Pool are an important driver of the population dynamics throughout the Illinois River. Management outcomes in this system will, therefore, be strongly dependent on the dynamics of Alton Pool.

    Identifying the forage base and critical forage taxa for Chesapeake waterbirds

    Released June 01, 2024 08:16 EST

    2024, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

    Matthew Hack, Jeffery D. Sullivan, Cody M. Kent, Diann Prosser

    To effectively maximize the conservation value of management plans intended to capture ecosystem-wide health, it is essential to obtain an understanding of emergent patterns in dietary dynamics spanning many species. Chesapeake Bay, USA, is a critical ecosystem used annually by a diverse assortment of waterbird species, including several of conservation concern. However, the ecosystem is threatened by many ecological pressures driven largely by the dense human population of the surrounding region. These issues necessitate proactive monitoring and management efforts to track the health of ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay. Such monitoring efforts of population dynamics require adequate data on the connections between trophic levels to understand how changes to the forage base might influence higher trophic levels, such as these diverse avian predators. However, we have historically lacked standardized quantitative data drawing these connections at the community level, as well as the relative importance of these taxa in the diet of such predators. We collated existing quantitative data on avian dietary composition to construct a database on the diets of 58 waterbird species that make use of the Chesapeake Bay. From this database, we quantified the relative importance of forage taxa to the diet of each waterbird species. Such data can enable managers to develop a comprehensive suite of forage taxa indicators whose abundance and distributions can be monitored as a proxy for ecosystem health. It is our goal that this database be harnessed as a tool to enable conservation practitioners to prioritize indicator taxa for monitoring purposes, contributing towards conservation plans that best address the health of the ecosystem at large.

    Preparing for today's and tomorrow's water-resources challenges in eastern Long Island, New York

    Released May 31, 2024 14:50 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3020

    Ronald Busciolano, John P. Masterson, Robert F. Breault

    Freshwater is a vital natural resource. Although New York is a water-rich State, the wise and economical use of water resources is needed to ensure that there is enough water of adequate quality for both human and ecological needs—both for today and for tomorrow. Nowhere in New York is this more evident than in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, where the public water supply is obtained from the sole-source aquifers located directly beneath the nearly 3 million people who live there. In 2023, in eastern Long Island’s Suffolk County, groundwater was pumped from these aquifers by more than 1,100 public water-supply wells to meet the needs of about 1.5 million people.

    Realizing the potential of eDNA biodiversity monitoring tools in the marine environment with application to offshore renewable energy

    Released May 31, 2024 12:14 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3019

    Adam Sepulveda, Cheryl Morrison, Maggie Hunter, Mona Khalil

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researches the biological diversity and distribution of species to support management, conservation, and resource use decisions. USGS scientists advance detection and monitoring technologies to assess changes in fish and wildlife populations, biodiversity, and the health of ecosystems. The United States is planning to install 30 gigawatts of offshore marine and wind energy by 2030. However, the effects on fish and wildlife and their habitats are not well understood. The USGS is a leader in the field of eDNA technologies and has helped advance robotic eDNA samplers, has extensive experience working in the offshore environment, and has developed novel and actionable statistical methods and standards for eDNA monitoring applications. This fact sheet presents key eDNA research and development advances needed for realizing the potential of eDNA biodiversity monitoring tools in the marine environment and applying eDNA monitoring to offshore renewable energy development. New and cost-effective tools for measuring changes in biodiversity in response to offshore renewable energy development can help to inform natural resource management and project planning and permitting decisions.

    A genomic hotspot of diversifying selection and structural change in the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)

    Released May 31, 2024 06:51 EST

    2024, PeerJ (12)

    Robert S. Cornman

    Background

    Previous work found that numerous genes positively selected within the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) lineage are physically clustered in regions of conserved synteny. Here I further validate and expand on those finding utilizing an updated L. cinereus genome assembly and additional bat species as well as other tetrapod outgroups.

    Methods

    A chromosome-level assembly was generated by chromatin-contact mapping and made available by DNAZoo (www.dnazoo.org). The genomic organization of orthologous genes was extracted from annotation data for multiple additional bat species as well as other tetrapod clades for which chromosome-level assemblies were available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Tests of branch-specific positive selection were performed for L. cinereus using PAML as well as with the HyPhy package for comparison.

    Results

    Twelve genes exhibiting significant diversifying selection in the L. cinereus lineage were clustered within a 12-Mb genomic window; one of these (Trpc4) also exhibited diversifying selection in bats generally. Ten of the 12 genes are landmarks of two distinct blocks of ancient synteny that are not linked in other tetrapod clades. Bats are further distinguished by frequent structural rearrangements within these synteny blocks, which are rarely observed in other Tetrapoda. Patterns of gene order and orientation among bat taxa are incompatible with phylogeny as presently understood, implying parallel evolution or subsequent reversals. Inferences of positive selection were found to be robust to alternative phylogenetic topologies as well as a strong shift in background nucleotide composition in some taxa.

    Discussion

    This study confirms and further localizes a genomic hotspot of protein-coding divergence in the hoary bat, one that also exhibits an increased tempo of structural change in bats compared with other mammals. Most genes in the two synteny blocks have elevated expression in brain tissue in humans and model organisms, and genetic studies implicate the selected genes in cranial and neurological development, among other functions.

    Towards entity-aware conditional variational inference for heterogeneous time-series prediction: An application to hydrology

    Released May 31, 2024 06:49 EST

    2024, Conference Paper, Proceedings of the 2024 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM)

    Rahul Ghosh, Wallace (Andy) Mcaliley, Arvind Renganathan, Michael Steinbach, Christopher Duffy, Vipin Kumar

    Many environmental systems (e.g., hydrology basins) can be modeled as entity whose response (e.g., streamflow) depends on drivers (e.g., weather) conditioned on their characteristics (e.g., soil properties). We introduce Entity-aware Conditional Variational Inference (EA-CVI), a novel probabilistic inverse modeling approach, to deduce entity characteristics from observed driver-response data. EA-CVI infers probabilistic latent representations that can accurately predict response for diverse entities, particularly in out-of-sample few-shot settings. EA-CVI's latent embeddings encapsulate diverse entity characteristics within compact, low-dimensional representations. EA-CVI proficiently identifies dominant modes of variation in responses and offers the opportunity to infer a physical interpretation of the underlying attributes that shape these responses. EA-CVI can also generate new data samples by sampling from the learned distribution, making it useful in zero-shot scenarios. EA-CVI addresses the need for uncertainty estimation, particularly during extreme events, rendering it essential for data-driven decision-making in real-world applications. Extensive evaluations on a renowned hydrology benchmark dataset, CAMELS-GB, validate EA-CVI's abilities.

    Simulated effects of projected 2014–40 withdrawals on groundwater flow and water levels in the New Jersey Coastal Plain

    Released May 30, 2024 20:00 EST

    2024, Scientific Investigations Report 2024-5028

    Leon J. Kauffman

    Abstract

    Groundwater flow between 2014 through 2040 was simulated in the New Jersey Coastal Plain based on three withdrawal scenarios. Two of the scenarios were based on projected population trends and the assumption of water conservation; the nominal water-loss scenario projected a status quo in the efficiency of water loss in the delivery systems whereas the optimal water-loss scenario projected a better water-loss efficiency resulting in less withdrawals. The third scenario assumes that all wells will withdraw water at their full allocation level which is generally much more than reported withdrawals in 2013 or projected under the other two scenarios.

    Maps and summaries of heads and drawdowns are presented for nine confined aquifers. All the aquifers have areas with heads below sea level by 2040. Of the three scenarios, the drawdowns are most extreme in the full allocation scenarios; there are large areas of head decline greater than 20 feet in 5 of the 9 confined aquifers. The exceptions are the Vincentown aquifer, despite some areas of large drawdown in the vicinity of wells, and the three Potomac-Raritan-Magothy (PRM) aquifers where withdrawals are regulated by Critical Area restrictions. The nominal and optimal water-loss scenarios have some areas of head declines; most are less than 15 feet. The simulation of these scenarios shows some extensive areas of head recovery as well—especially in the aquifers that are regulated by the Critical Area restrictions.

    Budgets of inflow and outflow components were calculated for 44 hydrologic budget areas (HBAs). The budget analysis shows that the water movement is complex and varies based on the aquifer geometry and location of pumping wells. Flow components between the unconfined and confined parts of the system were summarized by HUC11 (hydrologic unit code 11) basins.

    Stratigraphy, paleoflora, and tectonic setting of the Paleogene Sheep Creek volcanic field, central Alaska

    Released May 30, 2024 14:16 EST

    2024, Professional Paper 1814-G

    Timothy White, David Sunderlin, Dwight Bradley

    In this paper, we provide new information on the stratigraphy and paleoflora of the Sheep Creek volcanic field in the Alaska Range that bolsters our understanding of a key interval in the tectonic, paleoclimate, and paleoenvironmental history of the northern Cordillera. Although the distribution and basic stratigraphy of these rocks have been previously reported, here we document the stratigraphic context of recently dated igneous rocks and paleosols ranging from the Paleocene–Eocene boundary to the early middle Eocene, describe a more complete fossil leaf flora from the succession, and place the Sheep Creek volcanic field in its regional tectonic context of ridge subduction and slab window migration in central Alaska.

    Deep vs shallow: GPS tags reveal a dichotomy in movement patterns of loggerhead turtles foraging in a coastal bay

    Released May 30, 2024 10:12 EST

    2024, Movement Ecology (12)

    Margaret Lamont, Daniel Slone, James P. Reid, Susan M. Butler, Joseph A. Alday

    Background

    Individual variation in movement strategies of foraging loggerhead turtles have been documented on the scale of tens to hundreds of kilometers within single ocean basins. Use of different strategies among individuals may reflect variations in resources, predation pressure or competition. It is less common for individual turtles to use different foraging strategies on the scale of kilometers within a single coastal bay. We used GPS tags capable of back-filling fine-scale locations to document movement patterns of loggerhead turtles in a coastal bay in Northwest Florida, U.S.A.

    Methods

    Iridium-linked GPS tags were deployed on loggerhead turtles at a neritic foraging site in Northwest Florida. After filtering telemetry data, point locations were transformed to movement lines and then merged with the original point file to define travel paths and assess travel speed. Home ranges were determined using kernel density function. Diurnal behavioral shifts were examined by examining turtle movements compared to solar time.

    Results

    Of the 11 turtles tagged, three tracked turtles remained in deep (~ 6 m) water for almost the entire tracking period, while all other turtles undertook movements from deep water locations, located along edges and channels, to shallow (~ 1–2 m) shoals at regular intervals and primarily at night. Three individuals made short-term movements into the Gulf of Mexico when water temperatures dropped, and movement speeds in the Gulf were greater than those in the bay. Turtles exhibited a novel behavior we termed drifting.

    Conclusions

    This study highlighted the value provided to fine-scale movement studies for species such as sea turtles that surface infrequently by the ability of these GPS tags to store and re-upload data. Future use of these tags at other loggerhead foraging sites, and concurrent with diving and foraging data, would provide a powerful tool to better understand fine-scale movement patterns of sea turtles.

    Formation and evolution of the Pacific-North American (San Andreas) plate boundary: Constraints from the crustal architecture of northern California

    Released May 30, 2024 09:46 EST

    2024, Tectonics (43)

    Kevin P. Furlong, Antonio Villasenor, Harley M. Benz, Kirsty A. McKenzie

    The northward migration of the Mendocino triple junction (MTJ) drives a fundamental plate boundary transformation from convergence to translation; producing a series of strike-slip faults, that become the San Andreas plate boundary. We find that the 3-D structure of the Pacific plate lithosphere in the vicinity of the MTJ controls the location of San Andreas plate boundary formation. At the time of initiation of the Pacific-North America plate boundary (∼30 Ma), the sequential interaction with the western margin of North America of the Pioneer Fracture Zone, soon followed by the Mendocino Fracture Zone, led to the capture of a small segment of partially subducted Farallon lithosphere by the Pacific plate, termed the Pioneer Fragment (PF). Since that time, the PF has translated with the Pacific Plate along the western margin of North America. Recently developed, high-resolution seismic-tomographic imagery of northern California indicates that (a) the PF is extant, occupying the western half of the slab window, immediately south of the MTJ; (b) the eastern edge of the PF lies beneath the newly forming Maacama fault system, which develops to become the locus for the primary plate boundary structure after approximately 6–10 Ma; and (c) the location of the translating PF adjacent to the asthenosphere of the slab window generates a shear zone within and below the crust that develops into the plate boundary faults. As a result, the San Andreas plate boundary forms interior to the western margin of North America, rather than at its western edge.

    Evaluating satellite-transmitter backpack-harness effects on greater sage-grouse survival and device retention in the Great Basin

    Released May 30, 2024 08:41 EST

    2024, The Wildlife Society Bulletin (48)

    Carl G. Lundblad, Christopher R. Anthony, Tyler Dungannon, Kimberly A. Haab, Elizabeth M. Schuyler, Chelsea E. Sink, Katie Dugger, Christian A. Hagen

    Wildlife tracking studies have become ubiquitous in ecology and now provide previously unobtainable data regarding individual movement, vital rates, and population demographics. However, tracking devices can potentially reduce survival of study subjects, generating biases in the vital rates they seek to measure. Previous studies have found that greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices may experience reduced survival, relative to those tracked with traditional radio transmitters, and have documented skin abrasions and lacerations associated with typical backpack-style GPS harnesses. We implemented an experimental study comparing survival and harness retention between 2 different backpack-style GPS transmitter harnesses. We captured female sage-grouse at 3 study sites in the northwest Great Basin of Oregon, Nevada, and California during 2019–2021. We fit each individual, following previously published recommendations, with either a standard backpack harness or a modified harness hypothesized to reduce skin abrasion and laceration. We used known-fate models in Program MARK to model variation in survival and harness retention separately as a function of harness type, year, age, a linear effect of time, and the ratio of the device to individual body mass. Neither survival nor retention varied systematically by harness type, however retention decreased as a function of body mass ratio. We echo previous recommendations for standardized harness attachment protocols and studies designed to isolate and test potential mechanisms by which tracking devices and attachment methods might affect survival and well-being of sage-grouse and other tracked species.

    Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the North Chukchi Basin, outer continental shelf of the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas, Arctic Ocean, 2023

    Released May 29, 2024 09:52 EST

    2024, Fact Sheet 2024-3015

    David W. Houseknecht, Craig P. Markey, Tracey J. Mercier, Christopher J. Schenk, Christopher D. Connors, Jared T. Gooley, Palma J. Botterell, Rebecca A. Smith, William A. Rouse, Christopher P. Garrity

    Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean volumes of 1.8 billion barrels of oil and 119.9 trillion cubic feet of gas technically recoverable from undiscovered, conventional accumulations in Cretaceous and Cenozoic strata of the North Chukchi Basin.

    Carbon isotope trends across a century of herbarium specimens suggest CO2 fertilization of C4 grasses.

    Released May 29, 2024 09:39 EST

    2024, New Phytologist

    Isa del Toro, Madelon Florence Case, Allison Karp, Jasper Slingsby, A. Carla Staver

    • Increasing atmospheric CO2 is changing the dynamics of tropical savanna vegetation. C3 trees and grasses are known to experience CO2 fertilization, whereas responses to CO2 by C4 grasses are more ambiguous.
    • Here, we sample stable carbon isotope trends in herbarium collections of South African C4 and C3 grasses to reconstruct 13C discrimination.
    • We found that C3 grasses showed no trends in 13C discrimination over the past century but that C4 grasses increased their 13C discrimination through time, especially since 1950. These changes were most strongly linked to changes in atmospheric CO2 rather than to trends in rainfall climatology or temperature.
    • Combined with previously published evidence that grass biomass has increased in C4-dominated savannas, these trends suggest that increasing water-use efficiency due to CO2 fertilization may be changing C4 plant–water relations. CO2 fertilization of C4 grasses may thus be a neglected pathway for anthropogenic global change in tropical savanna ecosystems.

    Two risk assessments: Evaluating the use of indicator HF183 Bacteroides versus pathogen measurements for modelling recreational illness risks in an urban watershed

    Released May 29, 2024 08:30 EST

    2024, Water Research (259)

    K Skiendzielewski, Tucker R. Burch, Joel P. Stokdyk, Shannon McGinnis, S McLoughlin, Aaron Firnstahl, Sandy Spencer, Mark A. Borchardt, Heather Murphy

    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of HF183 Bacteroides for estimating pathogen exposures during recreational water activities. We compared the use of Bacteroides-based exposure assessment to exposure assessment that relied on pathogen measurements. We considered two types of recreational water sites: those impacted by combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and those not impacted by CSOs. Samples from CSO-impacted and non-CSO-impacted urban creeks were analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for HF183 Bacteroides and eight human gastrointestinal pathogens. Exposure assessment was conducted two ways for each type of site (CSO-impacted vs. non-CSO impacted): 1) by estimating pathogen concentrations from HF183 Bacteroides concentrations using published ratios of HF183 and pathogens in sewage and 2) by estimating pathogen concentrations from qPCR measurements. QMRA (quantitative microbial risk assessment) was then conducted for swimming, wading, and fishing exposures. Overall, mean risk estimates varied from 0.27 to 53 illnesses per 1,000 recreators depending on exposure assessment, site, activity, and norovirus dose-response model. HF183-based exposure assessment identified CSO-impacted sites as higher risk, and the recommended HF183 risk-based threshold of 525 genomic copies per 100 mL was generally protective of public health at the CSO-impacted sites but was not as protective at the non-CSO-impacted sites. In the context of our urban watershed, HF183-based exposure assessment over- and under-estimated risk relative to exposure assessment based on pathogen measurements and the etiology of predicted pathogen-specific illnesses differed significantly. Across all sites, the HF183 model overestimated risk for norovirus, adenovirus, and Campylobacter jejuni, and it underestimated risk for E. coli and Cryptosporidium. To our knowledge, this study is the first to directly compare health risk estimates using HF183 and empirical pathogen measurements from the same waterways. Our work highlights the importance of site-specific hazard identification and exposure assessment to decide whether HF183 is applicable for monitoring risk.

    Temporally dense monitoring of pathogen occurrence at four drinking-water well sites – Insights and Implications

    Released May 29, 2024 06:59 EST

    2024, Water Research (259)

    James F. Walsh, Randall J. Hunt, Anita C. Anderson, David W. Owens, Nancy Rice

    Yearlong, event based, microbiological and chemical sampling was conducted at four public water supply well sites spanning a range of geologic settings and well depths to look for correlation between precipitation events and microbial occurrence. Near-continuous monitoring using autosamplers occurred just before, during, and after 5–7 sampling events triggered by rainfall and/or snowmelt. Microbial genetic material was noted at all four locations during all but one sampling event, but was exceedingly variable in time, where one sample would have no detections and the next sample could be a relatively high concentration. The highest microbial sums (microbial concentrations summed over an event) were observed during months in which precipitation exceeded historical averages. Extended wet conditions through the spring thaw resulted in the highest percentage of microbial positive samples, though at relatively low concentrations. Sampling events that followed drier than normal periods showed longer lag times between the onset of precipitation and microbial occurrence, as well as lower microbial detection rates. Although a general lag time pattern was observed at each site, the largest offset in time was observed at the site with the greatest depth to water. The study's temporally dense representation of drinking water pathogen characterization suggests that single event or infrequent periodic sampling of a drinking water supply cannot provide a representative characterization of the probability that pathogens are present, which likely has ramifications for calculating health risk assessments.


    A phylogeographical study of the discontinuously distributed Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)

    Released May 29, 2024 06:47 EST

    2024, Ibis

    Kim T Scribner, Sandra Talbot, Barbara J. Pierson, John D Robinson, Richard B. Lanctot, Daniel Esler, Kathryn Dickson

    Species distributions are often indicative of historical biogeographical events and contemporary spatial biodiversity patterns. The Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus is a sea duck of conservation concern that has a disjunct distribution, with discrete portions of its range associated with northern Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins. Movement data indicate migratory connectivity within regions of each ocean basin but not cross-continent dispersal, suggesting that genetic structuring could exist at multiple spatial scales. Little is known regarding the impacts of past vicariance events on the species phylogeographical structure and historical demography, or rates of gene flow at different spatial scales. We used data from microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences to quantify levels of genetic diversity within, and the extent of spatial genetic differentiation among locations sampled at multiple spatial scales across the species range. Samples were collected at nonbreeding locations, which represent groupings appropriate for characterizing genetically differentiated subgroups at regional and continental scales. Collectively, genetic data and coalescence modelling suggested that individuals colonized regions currently occupied within both ocean basins in the Holocene from a single refuge in the Atlantic. Further, it seems likely there was secondary contact with lineages derived from populations in Asia, based on the shallow species-wide mtDNA phylogeny and high incidence of recently derived private mtDNA haplotypes. Estimates of inter-location variance in microsatellite allele and mtDNA haplotype frequency were moderate and significant between western (Pacific – North America) and eastern (Atlantic – North America, Greenland and Iceland) ocean basins and among sampling groups within each ocean basin. Genetic differentiation among sampling groups was particularly evident at the species distributional margins in the Atlantic (Iceland) and the Pacific (Shemya Island) Ocean basins. Coalescent modelling results suggest that contemporary spatial genetic patterns in the species arose through the combined influences of secondary contact, shared ancestry and gene flow after the last glacial maxima.

    Thermal transfer rate is slower in bigger fish: How does body size affect response time of small, implantable temperature recording tags?

    Released May 28, 2024 08:27 EST

    2024, Ecology of Freshwater Fish

    Matthew J. O'Donnell, Amy M. Regish, Stephen D. McCormick, Benjamin Letcher

    The recent miniaturisation of implantable temperature recording tags has made measuring the water temperatures fish experience in the wild possible, but there may be a body size-dependent delay in implanted tag response time to changes in external temperature. To determine whether fish body size affects the response rate of implanted temperature tags, we implanted 20 Salvelinus fontinalis (127–228 mm fork length (FL), 15.1–120.4 g) with temperature recording tags and subjected them to rapid temperature changes (±8°C in less than 2 seconds) in the laboratory. We found that thermal transfer rates, and the lag in temperature tag response rate, was positively correlated with fish size, but the direction of temperature change (colder or warmer) had no significant effect. In fish exposed to a slower rate of temperature change (2°C h−1) implanted tags did not show a response lag. Understanding the limitations of this important technology is crucial to determining the utility of the data it produces and its ability to accurately measure fish thermal experience in the wild.

    Retrospective review of the pathology of American pikas

    Released May 28, 2024 06:43 EST

    2024, Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation

    Adrienne Barrett, Kali Holder, Susan Knowles, Elise E. B. LaDouceur

    American pikas (Ochotona princeps) are small lagomorphs that live in mountainous talus areas of western North America. Studies on the histopathology of American pikas are limited. We summarize here the clinical histories, and gross and histologic findings of 12 American pikas, including 9 captive (wild-caught) and 3 wild animals. Death was often attributed to stress (transport, handling, anesthesia) with few-to-no premonitory clinical signs. Infection was the cause of death in 2 cases: 1 had bacterial pyogranulomatous dermatitis, cellulitis, and lymphadenitis with sepsis; the other case had oomycete-induced necrotizing colitis. Incidental parasitic infections included sarcocystosis, nematodosis (oxyurids), and ectoparasitism. Most animals with adequate nutritional status had periportal hepatic lipidosis; this finding was absent in all animals with adipose atrophy, and it is possible that periportal hepatic lipidosis is non-pathologic in American pikas. Three cases had myocardial necrosis that was considered the cause of death; the cause of necrosis was not determined, but it may have been caused by stress or vitamin E–selenium deficiency. Esophageal hyperkeratosis was noted in animals with a history of anorexia and negative energy balance; accumulation of esophageal keratin can result from lack of mucosal abrasion by ingesta. Several histologic findings that are likely normal in American pikas include splenic extramedullary hematopoiesis, thymic tissue in adults, and Clostridium sp. in the enteric lumen.

    A comparison of eDNA sampling methods in an estuarine environment on presence of longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) and fish community composition

    Released May 27, 2024 07:06 EST

    2024, Environmental DNA (6) e560

    Lizabeth Bowen, Shannon C. Waters, Lyndsay Lee Rankin, Karen M. Thorne, Daphne Gille, Susan De La Cruz, Isa Woo, Levi Lewis, Katie Karpenko, Cheryl Dean, Gregg Schumer

    The loss of tidal wetlands in the San Francisco Bay estuary have led to declines in native fish presence. Restoration of tidal wetlands in this area has intensified, with a primary goal of increasing the number of native fishes. We compared the presence of longfin smelt in naturally accreted and beneficial dredge reuse wetlands as a measure of successful restoration. We used environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses as our metric for fish presence and fish community composition, employing two different water sampling methods for comparison (standard and high-volume). Longfin smelt were present in multiple sites, but at numbers too low for accurate comparisons across sites. Community composition varied based on the water sampling method, but the presence/absence of longfin smelt was consistent across sampling methods. As this represents a pilot study, further refinement of methodology is necessary, but the use of high-volume water sampling methods is promising.

    Causal inference approaches reveal both positive and negative unintended effects of agricultural and urban management practices on instream biological condition

    Released May 27, 2024 06:55 EST

    2024, Journal of Environmental Management (361)

    Sean Cassian Emmons, Taylor E Woods, Matt J. Cashman, Olivia Devereux, Gregory B. Noe, John A. Young, Scott Stranko, Jay V. Kilian, Katherine Hanna, Kelly O. Maloney

    Agricultural and urban management practices (MPs) are primarily designed and implemented to reduce nutrient and sediment concentrations in streams. However, there is growing interest in determining if MPs produce any unintended positive effects, or co-benefits, to instream biological and habitat conditions. Identifying co-benefits is challenging though because of confounding variables (i.e., those that affect both where MPs are applied and stream biota), which can be accounted for in novel causal inference approaches. Here, we used two causal inference approaches, propensity score matching (PSM) and Bayesian network learning (BNL), to identify potential MP co-benefits in the Chesapeake Bay watershed portion of Maryland, USA. Specifically, we examined how MPs may modify instream conditions that impact fish and macroinvertebrate indices of biotic integrity (IBI) and functional and taxonomic endpoints. We found evidence of positive unintended effects of MPs for both benthic macroinvertebrates and fish indicated by higher IBI scores and specific endpoints like the number of scraper macroinvertebrate taxa and lithophilic spawning fish taxa in a subset of regions. However, our results also suggest MPs have negative unintended effects, especially on sensitive benthic macroinvertebrate taxa and key instream habitat and water quality metrics like specific conductivity. Overall, our results suggest MPs offer co-benefits in some regions and catchments with largely degraded conditions but can have negative unintended effects in some regions, especially in catchments with good biological conditions. We suggest the number and types of MPs drove these mixed results and highlight carefully designed MP implementation that incorporates instream biological data at the catchment scale could facilitate co-benefits to instream biological conditions. Our study underscores the need for more research on identifying effects of individual MP types on instream biological and habitat conditions.

      Explosive 2018 eruptions at Kīlauea driven by a collapse-induced stomp-rocket mechanism

      Released May 27, 2024 06:44 EST

      2024, Nature Geoscience (17) 572-578

      Joshua Allen Crozier, Josef Dufek, Leif Karlstrom, Kyle R. Anderson, Ryan Cain Cahalan, Weston Thelen, Mary Catherine Benage, Chao Liang

      Explosive volcanic eruptions produce hazardous atmospheric plumes composed of tephra particles, hot gas and entrained air. Such eruptions are generally driven by magmatic fragmentation or steam expansion. However, an eruption mechanism outside this phreatic–magmatic spectrum was suggested by a sequence of 12 explosive eruptions in May 2018 at Kīlauea, Hawaii, that occurred during the early stages of caldera collapse and produced atmospheric plumes reaching 8 km above the vent. Here we use seismic inversions for reservoir pressure as a source condition for three-dimensional simulations of transient multiphase eruptive plume ascent through a conduit and stratified atmosphere. We compare the simulations with conduit ascent times inferred from seismic and infrasound data, and with plume heights from radar data. We find that the plumes are consistent with eruptions caused by a stomp-rocket mechanism involving the abrupt subsidence of reservoir roof rock that increased pressure in the underlying magma reservoir. In our model, the reservoir was overlain by a pocket of accumulated high-temperature magmatic gas and lithic debris, which were driven through a conduit approximately 600 m long to erupt particles at rates of around 3,000 m3 s−1. Our results reveal a distinct collapse-driven type of eruption and provide a framework for integrating diverse geophysical and atmospheric data with simulations to gain a better understanding of unsteady explosive eruptions.

      Prion seeding activity in plant tissues detected by RT-QuIC

      Released May 26, 2024 08:48 EST

      2024, Pathogens (13)

      Kate Burgener, Stuart Siegfried Lichtenberg, Daniel P. Walsh, Heather Inzalaco, Aaron Lomax, Joel Pedersen

      Prion diseases such as scrapie, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and chronic wasting disease (CWD) affect domesticated and wild herbivorous mammals. Animals afflicted with CWD, the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids (deer, elk, and moose), shed prions into the environment, where they may persist and remain infectious for years. These environmental prions may remain in soil, be transported in surface waters, or assimilated into plants. Environmental sampling is an emerging area of TSE research and can provide more information about prion fate and transport once shed by infected animals. In this study, we have developed the first published method for the extraction and detection of prions in plant tissue using the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay. Incubation with a zwitterionic surfactant followed by precipitation with sodium phosphotungstate concentrates the prions within samples and allows for sensitive detection of prion seeding activity. Using this protocol, we demonstrate that prions can be detected within plant tissues and on plant surfaces using the RT-QuIC assay.

      Behavioral trade-offs and multitasking by elk in relation to predation risk from Mexican gray wolves

      Released May 26, 2024 06:09 EST

      2024, Ecology and Evolution (14)

      Zachary J. Farley, Cara J. Thompson, Scott T. Boyle, Nicole M. Tatman, James W. Cain III

      Predator non-consumptive effects (NCE) can alter prey foraging time and habitat use, potentially reducing fitness. Prey can mitigate NCEs by increasing vigilance, chewing-vigilance synchronization, and spatiotemporal avoidance of predators. We quantified the relationship between Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) predation risk and elk (Cervus canadensis) behavior. We conducted behavioral observations on adult female elk and developed predation risk indices using GPS collar data from Mexican wolves, locations of elk killed by wolves, and landscape covariates. We compared a priori models to determine the best predictors of adult female behavior and multitasking. Metrics that quantified both spatial and temporal predation risk were the most predictive. Vigilance was positively associated with increased predation risk. The effect of predation risk on foraging and resting differed across diurnal periods. During midday when wolf activity was lower, the probability of foraging increased while resting decreased in high-risk areas. During crepuscular periods when elk and wolves were most active, increased predation risk was associated with increased vigilance and slight decreases in foraging. Our results suggest elk are temporally avoiding predation risk from Mexican wolves by trading resting for foraging, a trade-off often not evaluated in behavioral studies. Probability of multitasking depended on canopy openness and an interaction between maternal period and predation risk; multitasking decreased prior to parturition and increased post parturition in high-risk areas. Openness was inversely related to multitasking. These results suggest adult female elk are altering the type of vigilance used depending on resource availability/quality, current energetic needs, and predation risk. Our results highlight potentially important, but often-excluded behaviors and trade-offs prey species may use to reduce the indirect effects of predation and contribute additional context to our understanding of predator–prey dynamics.