Archive for September, 2011

Updating your info

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Reminder: Now that everybody in the northern hemisphere is settled into the new academic year, it might be a good time to update your info on ScholarOne Manuscripts™. Our recent mailing to 2,300 reviewers and authors is getting a few returns.

Immigration recommendations

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Reviewers or authors often request we give them a letter of recommendation for immigration applications, and we are happy to do so. My usual practice is to write the recommendation on AWRA letterhead, sign it, and email a scanned copy.

DON’T waste your money having your lawyer write a “draft” for me telling how you saved American democracy. Any immigration officer worth their pay grade will see this for what it is. Rather, I go into our records (which are pretty complete) and write a recommendation describing what you actually did for us, all based upon solid, verifiable facts. If you did good professional work for us, you will like it.

DO let me know where and to whom to address the letter. It also helps to provide me a list of papers you have reviewed or authored for JAWRA; I can search for these myself, but it helps avoid my overlooking one.

I know the US immigration process can be byzantine. We are willing to do our part to help you through it.

AWRA Newsletter sent to reviewers and authors

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

AWRA Membership Coordinator Mary Ashton sent out AWRA’s monthly online newsletter to JAWRA’s 2300 reviewers and authors. I pulled the email addresses from ScholarOne Manuscripts and Mary did the rest. We appreciate those who contribute their time and effort to JAWRA and hope you find the newsletter interesting.

SPARROW: Decision Support

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “A Web-Based Decision Support System for Assessing Regional Water-Quality Conditions and Management Actions,” by Nathaniel L. Booth, Eric J. Everman, I-Lin Kuo, Lori Sprague, and Lorraine Murphy. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Model simulation workflow.

SPARROW is not a theoretical model. It is designed to help make intelligent, informed decisions on water-quality policy. A web-based decision support infrastructure has been developed to provide access to SPARROW simulation results on stream water-quality conditions and to offer sophisticated scenario testing capabilities for research and water-quality planning via a graphical user interface with familiar controls. The SPARROW decision support system (DSS) is delivered through a web browser over an Internet connection, making it widely accessible to the public in a format that allows users to easily display water-quality conditions and to describe, test, and share modeled scenarios of future conditions.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: National Nutrient Synthesis

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Factors Affecting Stream Nutrient Loads: A Synthesis of Regional SPARROW Model Results for the Continental United States,” by Stephen D. Preston, Richard B. Alexander, Gregory E. Schwarz, and Charles G. Crawford

Spatial Distribution of Incremental Yields of (A) Total Nitrogen and (B) Total Phosphorus Simulated by SPARROW Models of Six Major River Basins.

This overview article puts together the knowledge of the regional nutrient models. A key question in developing a SPARROW model or any other water-quality model over large watershed scales is whether the governing material transport equations should differ spatially in their functional forms and/or coefficient values to account for the effects of heterogeneity and scale.

The results confirm the dominant effects of urban and agricultural sources on stream nutrient loads nationally and regionally, but reveal considerable spatial variability in the specific types of sources that control water quality. These include regional differences in the relative importance of different types of urban (municipal and industrial point vs. diffuse urban runoff) and agriculture (crop cultivation vs. animal waste) sources, as well as the effects of atmospheric deposition, mining, and background (e.g., soil phosphorus) sources on stream nutrients. Overall, the authors found that the SPARROW model results provide a consistent set of information for identifying the major sources and environmental factors affecting nutrient fate and transport in United States watersheds at regional and subregional scales.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: Southwestern U.S.

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Modeled Sources, Transport, and Accumulation of Dissolved Solids in Water Resources of the Southwestern United States,” by David W. Anning. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Area-Normalized Predicted Reach-Catchment Delivery Rates of Dissolved Solids to Streams in the Southwestern United States. (A) Spatial distribution; (B) statistical distribution.

SPARROW is not just a nutrient model. In many areas of the Southwest, high concentrations of dissolved solids degrade a water supply’s suitability for use. In response to this water-quality issue, the USGS NAWQA Program completed a regional study to characterize dissolved-solids conditions in the basin-fill aquifers and streams of the Southwest region, and to understand how natural and human factors affect those conditions. This article describes the application SPARROW completed as part of that study and improves the understanding of the sources and transport of dissolved solids in streams of the Southwest, and the potential for salt accumulation in basin-fill aquifers.

For the region as a whole, geologic units contributed 44% of the dissolved-solids deliveries to streams and the remaining 56% of the deliveries came from the release of solutes through irrigation of cultivated and pasture lands, which comprise only 2.5% of the land area. Accumulation rates were <10,000 (kg ? year) ? km2 for many hydrologic accounting units (large river basins), but were more than 40,000 (kg?year)?km2 for the Middle Gila, Lower Gila-Agua Fria, Lower Gila, Lower Bear, Great Salt Lake accounting units, and 247,000 (kg?year)?km2 for the Salton Sea accounting unit.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: Pacific Northwest

Friday, September 9th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Surface-Water Nutrient Conditions and Sources in the United States Pacific Northwest,” by Daniel R. Wise and Henry M. Johnson. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Incremental phosphorus

Annual nutrient yields were higher in watersheds on the wetter, west side of the Cascade Range compared to watersheds on the drier, east side. High nutrient enrichment (relative to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended nutrient criteria) was estimated in watersheds throughout the region. Forest land was generally the largest source of total nitrogen stream load and geologic material was generally the largest source of total phosphorus stream load generated within the 12,039 modeled watersheds. These results reflected the prevalence of these two natural sources and the low input from other nutrient sources across the region. However, the combined input from agriculture, point sources, and developed land, rather than natural nutrient sources, was responsible for most of the nutrient load discharged from many of the largest watersheds.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: Missouri River Basin

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Nutrient Sources and Transport in the Missouri River Basin, With Emphasis on the Effects of Irrigation and Reservoirs,” by Juliane B. Brown Lori A. Sprague, and Jean A. Dupree. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Primary sources of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Agricultural inputs from fertilizer and manure were the largest nutrient sources throughout a large part of the basin, although atmospheric and urban inputs were important sources in some areas. Sediment mobilized from stream channels was a source of phosphorus in medium and larger streams. Irrigation on agricultural land was estimated to decrease the nitrogen load reaching the Mississippi River by as much as 17%, likely as a result of increased anoxia and denitrification in the soil zone. Approximately 16% of the nitrogen load and 33% of the phosphorus load that would have otherwise reached the Mississippi River was retained in reservoirs and lakes throughout the basin. Nearly half of the total attenuation occurred in the eight largest water bodies. Unlike the other major tributary basins, nearly the entire instream nutrient load leaving the outlet of the Platte and Kansas River subbasins reached the Mississippi River.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: South-Central U.S.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Sources and Delivery of Nutrients to the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico From Streams in the South-Central United States,” by Richard A. Rebich, Natalie A. Houston, Scott V. Mize, Daniel K. Pearson, Patricia B. Ging, and C. Evan Hornig. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Delivered total N yields

Model predictions of nutrient loads (mass per time) and yields (mass per area per time) generally were greatest in streams in the eastern part of the region and along reaches near the Texas and Louisiana shoreline. The Mississippi River and Atchafalaya River watersheds, which drain nearly two-thirds of the conterminous U.S., delivered the largest nutrient loads to the Gulf of Mexico, as expected. However, the three largest delivered TN yields were from the Trinity River/Galveston Bay, Calcasieu River, and Aransas River watersheds, while the three largest delivered TP yields were from the Calcasieu River, Mermentau River, and Trinity River/Galveston Bay watersheds. Model output indicated that the three largest sources of nitrogen from the region were atmospheric deposition (42%), commercial fertilizer (20%), and livestock manure (unconfined, 17%). The three largest sources of phosphorus were commercial fertilizer (28%), urban runoff (23%), and livestock manure (confined and unconfined, 23%).

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]

SPARROW: Great Lakes

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

October 2011 article (early view): “Nutrient Inputs to the Laurentian Great Lakes by Source and Watershed Estimated Using SPARROW Watershed Models,” by Dale M. Robertson and David A. Saad. Part of Featured Collection on SPARROW.

Results indicated that recent U.S. loadings to Lakes Michigan and Ontario are similar to those in the 1980s, whereas loadings to Lakes Superior, Huron, and Erie decreased. Highest loads were from tributaries with the largest watersheds, whereas highest yields were from areas with intense agriculture and large point sources of nutrients. Tributaries were ranked based on their relative loads and yields to each lake. Input from agricultural areas was a significant source of nutrients, contributing ~33-44% of the P and ~33-58% of the N, except for areas around Superior with little agriculture. Point sources were also significant, contributing ~14-44% of the P and 13-34% of the N. Watersheds around Lake Erie contributed nutrients at the highest rate (similar to intensively farmed areas in the Midwest) because they have the largest nutrient inputs and highest delivery ratio.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]