DNR weekend reading: Lots and lots of sediment yet to flow down Elwha River, and other articles

Chuckanut formation
Eocene continental sedimentary deposit of the Chuckanut formation in northwest Washington state. The formation’s deposits—fine-to-medium grained sandstones with lesser amounts of interbedded shale, conglomerate, and coal—and the presence of plant fossils indicate that the area was once a low-lying coastal plain with a subtropical climate. Photo: David Jeschke.

Here are links to articles about natural resources, climate, energy and other topics  published recently by universities, scientific journals, organizations, and other sources:

University of Washington: Tracking sediments’ fate in largest-ever dam removal
Salmon are beginning to swim up the Elwha River for the first time in more than a century. But University of Washington marine geologists are watching what’s beginning to flow downstream—34 million cubic yards of sediments from the largest dam-removal project ever undertaken.

University of California-Santa Cruz: Bats not bothered by forest fires, study finds
A survey of bat activity in burned and unburned areas after a major wildfire in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains found no evidence of detrimental effects on bats one year after the fire. The findings suggest that bats are resilient to high-severity fire, and some species may even benefit from the effects of fire on the landscape.

Scientific American: Clearing Forests May Transform Local—and Global—Climate
In the last 15 years, 200,000 hectares of the Mau Forest in western Kenya have been converted to agricultural land. Previously called a “water tower” because it supplied water to the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria, the forest region has dried up; in 2009 the rainy season—from August to November—saw no rain, and since then precipitation has been modest.

Virginia Tech: Researchers propose innovative solution to ensure biofuel plants don’t become noxious weeds
Some plants that are ideal for bioenergy production can potentially become invasive weeds that can cause billions of dollars in economic damage. A Virginia Tech researcher proposes changes in the regulatory methodology for evaluating the invasive potential of plants that are under consideration for large-scale cultivation as biofuel feedstock.

Stanford University: Stanford scientists calculate the carbon footprint of grid-scale battery technologies
Solar and wind power pose a challenge for the U.S. electrical grid, which lacks the capacity to store surplus clean electricity and deliver it on demand. Researchers are developing grid-scale storage batteries, but the fossil fuel required to build these technologies could negate some of the environmental benefits of new solar and wind farms, say scientists.

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