We've updated our Washoe Lake photo album, we finally have some photos of Washoe with actual water in the lake, yay!
We kayaked on the lake over the Forth of July and it was fabulous. We saw so many birds, herons, ibis, pelicans and hawks. If you have a boat I highly recommend taking some time to kayak around Washoe especially the north end.
Daniel Montero of RaD Explorations wrote a beautiful piece about the time we spent on the ephemeral Quinn River. We were recently back by the spot we paddled and the water has moved on, the channel now dry. The Quinn River has a special place in our hearts as it is the river our creek feeds and since its occurrence is rare, we reveled in the chance to experience its momentary passage into the desert.
Below is a small excerpt from Daniel's post. You can see the entire post on RaD Explorations Blog.
Ephemeral water. Water that exists and doesn’t exist. That exists in this time, but not in that time or the time before that, or after that. And then it exists again. It questions our notions of permanence.
The Truckee River is high and it is moving! With all the weather we've been having lately the Truckee River is higher than it has been in a long while. I headed over to McCarran Ranch yesterday to check out the water level.
The river is high enough that it has taken out a lot of the hiking trail (Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway) near the parking area off of Waltham Way and Wild Horse Canyon Dr. I didn't have my irrigating boots with me and unfortunately a spot along the trail was too deep and too socked in with big sagebrush to get around easily. So my exploration of the river was cut quite a bit shorter than I would have liked.
Below are pictures from where I did get to venture.
Wow!!! Check out this gorgeous map by Imgur user Fejetlenfej, a geographer and GIS analyst with a ‘lifelong passion for beautiful maps,’ it highlights the massive expanse of river basins across the 48 contiguous states of the United States.
Click on the map to learn more about the project!
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3860062/The-veins-America-Stunning-map-shows-river-basin-US.html#ixzz4O1452X6N
From Conservation Magazine:
The Amazon River and its tributaries, long watery snakes wind their way through the Amazon rainforest, are a dull, murky, muddy brown. Other waterways show up as green, primarily thanks to photosynthesizing algae. But perhaps the most prized waterways are colored a deep, rich, vibrant blue. Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the US and sixth largest (following the five Great Lakes), is one of the most iconic blue water lakes.
For a long time it’s been thought that the lake’s prized blueness, the focus of local “Keep Tahoe Blue!” campaigns, was related to water clarity. That makes intuitive sense. But the latest State of the Lake, a yearly publication from UC Davis’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), reports something different. For the first time ever, researchers there have managed to quantify the lake’s blueness by developing a measurement they call the “blueness index.”
To measure the lake’s blueness, TERC postdoctoral researcher Shohei Watanabe collaborated with researchers from Canada’s Laval University and NASA-JPL to measure the wavelengths of visible light leaving the water. By continuously monitoring those wavelengths, he was able to create a color record over time for the lake.
But it turns out that during parts of the year when clarity increases, blueness actually decreases. Clear water does not a blue lake make.
The lake’s clarity is governed by the presence (or absence) of fine particulate matter that seeps into the lake from the surrounding land. When there are fewer particles floating around, the lake becomes clearer – but not bluer. Blueness, instead, is related to the presence of algae. When there are more algae, the lake appears less blue to the human eye.
Learn more here: http://conservationmagazine.org/2015/07/keeping-lake-tahoe-blue-doesnt-mean-keeping-it-clear/
USGS SEATTLE, Wash. — More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed.
“The apparent success of dam removal as a means of river restoration is reflected in the increasing number of dams coming down, more than 1,000 in the last 40 years,” said lead author of the study Jim O’Connor, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Rivers quickly erode sediment accumulated in former reservoirs and redistribute it downstream, commonly returning the river to conditions similar to those prior to impoundment.”
Dam removal and the resulting river ecosystem restoration is being studied by scientists from several universities and government agencies, including the USGS and U.S. Forest Service, as part of a national effort to document the effects of removing dams. Studies show that most river channels stabilize within months or years, not decades, particularly when dams are removed rapidly.
“In many cases, fish and other biological aspects of river ecosystems also respond quickly to dam removal,” said co-author of the study Jeff Duda, an ecologist with USGS. “When given the chance, salmon and other migratory fish will move upstream and utilize newly opened habitat.”
The increase in the number of dam removals, both nationally and internationally, has spurred the effort to understand the consequences and help guide future dam removals.
“As existing dams age and outlive usefulness, dam removal is becoming more common, particularly where it can benefit riverine ecosystems,” said Gordon Grant, Forest Service hydrologist. “But it can be a complicated decision with significant economic and ecologic consequences. Better understanding of outcomes enables better decisions about which dams might be good candidates for removal and what the river might look like as a result.”
Sponsored by the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, a working group of 22 scientists compiled a database of research and studies involving more than 125 dam removals. Researchers have determined common patterns and controls affecting how rivers and their ecosystems respond to dam removal. Important factors include the size of the dam, the volume and type of sediment accumulated in the reservoir, and overall watershed characteristics and history.
From UNR's Nevada Today:
Two representatives of the University of Nevada, Reno will be part of a newly appointed Nevada Drought Forum. Mark Walker, dean of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, and Doug Boyle, associate professor in the College of Science and Nevada State Climatologist, will join the group described by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as "some of the best minds in Nevada's scientific, government and industry sectors" to address the drought situation and define the "path to sustainability."
Sandoval, an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Reno, signed the executive order April 8 creating the Nevada Drought Forum in a setting emblematic of the drought situation. His podium was on a bed of sand below the boat launch at Washoe Lake.
"Where we are standing now is usually under 3 feet of water," he said.
The Nevada Drought Forum will conduct a series of public meetings and is anticipated to provide a final set of short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to Sandoval. The effort will build on the findings and next steps put forth in the Western Governors' Drought Forum Final Report, an initiative led by Sandoval who is currently chairman of the Western Governors' Association.
Learn more here: http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2015/nevada-drought-forum
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s commitment to empower tribal nations, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, on behalf of the United States, signed an historic agreement today at the Department of the Interior guaranteeing the water rights of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes in Nevada and ensuring water supplies and facilities for their Duck Valley Reservation.
Joining Secretary Jewell in a signing ceremony were Shoshone-Paiute Chairman Lindsey Manning and other members of the tribal business council, and other state and federal officials.
Today's ceremony is a crucial step towards a fully enforceable and final settlement, which will free up $60 million in funding authorized for the Shoshone-Paiute to develop water resources and rehabilitate the Bureau of Indian Affairs irrigation project serving the Duck Valley (Shoshone-Paiute) Indian Reservation.
Learn more at the U.S. Department of Interior.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a convenient and informative new method for the analysis of groundwater and surface-water hydrologic data called the Groundwater (GW) Toolbox. The GIS-driven graphical and mapping interface is a significant advancement in USGS software for estimating base flow (the groundwater-discharge component of streamflow), surface runoff, and groundwater recharge from streamflow data.
The GW Toolbox brings together several analysis methods previously developed by the USGS and Bureau of Reclamation. Each of the methods included with the GW Toolbox use daily streamflow data automatically retrieved from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) for more than 26,000 streamgage sites across the United States. In addition to streamflow data, the GW Toolbox facilitates the retrieval of groundwater-level and precipitation time-series data from the NWIS database.
The GW Toolbox will be of use to engineers, academia, and government agencies at all levels for the analysis of many of the water-budget components of a typical watershed. The intensively visual interface will help shed light on water availability and hydrologic trends in response to climate and land-use changes and variability in these watersheds.
The GW Toolbox runs in a Microsoft Windows environment and includes the Base Flow Index (BFI), HYSEP, and PART hydrograph-separation methods to estimate base flow and surface runoff and the RORA and RECESS methods to estimate groundwater recharge.
The GW Toolbox is available from the USGS at no cost. The documentation report also is available online from the USGS.
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The Basin and Range Project
We love the Basin and Range region and work to promote appreciation and respect for the area. We encourage all users to learn about, play in and protect this amazing resource.
We currently focus primarily on issues in the Nevada region of the Basin and Range, but are looking to expand soon.