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Smart-Phone Technology Helps Protect Salmon Habitat in Washington State –USGS, in cooperation with Seattle Public Utilities, embedded high-tech sensors typically found in devices such as smart phones into a new type of equipment to monitor riverbed movements that can help protect spawning habitat for endangered salmon. The new method is published in the Journal of Hydrology. Scientists took the high-tech sensors, also referred to as “accelerometers,” coupled with data-logging circuits, and placed them in tubes that were then buried in the Cedar River’s grovel in 26 salmon-spawning locations. (Read more about USGS activities in Washington).
Nutrient Enriched Groundwater Contributes to Excessive Algal Growth in Fish Creek, Wyoming –USGS, in cooperation with the Teton Conservation District, analyzed groundwater flow and streamflow, and collected water, aquatic insect, and algal samples from 2007 to 2011 to characterize the stream and to compare data to neighboring rivers and streams. The study found greater growth of algae and other aquatic plants in Fish Creek than in nearby rivers and streams. This excess algae is related to the influx of nutrients—orthophosphate and nitrate—to the stream from groundwater. Sources of nutrients to the groundwater include septic tanks, sewage treatment plants, animal confinement areas, and lawn fertilizer. Because groundwater discharge into Fish Creek is such a large percentage of flow in the stream, such nutrient inputs are ultimately affecting rapid growth of algae and large aquatic plants in the summer and fall in Fish Creek, which, in turn, results in declining species of aquatic insects such as the caddsifly and mayfly. (Press Release)
Mercury in the Boise River, Idaho –USGS, in cooperation with the City of Boise, published a study that documents low concentrations of mercury in water samples and high concentrations in two fish species already under Idaho state consumption advisories. This is the first year of a six-year watershed-based mercury monitoring program required in wastewater discharge permits for the City of Boise and other municipalities. City and USGS scientists will collect water and fish-tissue samples from the Boise River near Middleton again this fall. Sampling will rotate between one site and all six sites each year through 2018. (Press Release; Report)