Bureau of Reclamation Banner

Bulletins & Updates

These updates are brief and current news releases for Bureau of Reclamation end users, stakeholders, and other parties interested in Reclamation's Research and Development Program findings. You can also view updates from 2012, 2011 or previous fiscal years.

Photo with caption: Slowsand filter after being filled up.
Using Salt-Loving Plants to Treat Concentrates
Long-term testing for halophyte irrigation for concentrates from a desalination treatment using slowsand filtration and reverse osmosis
"The Marana Pilot Project demonstrates the ability of local utilities, academia, and the Federal Government to work together to produce real-world innovations. It has proven that slowsand filtration can be an effective and cost-saving pretreatment for reverse osmosis of Central Arizona Project water. It has also shown that unsightly evaporation ponds can be replaced attractive plantings, converting a troublesome waste product into a useful resource."
Eric Holler, Tucson Field Office Manager, Reclamation's Lower Colorado Region
Bulletin 2013-30: Halophytes Treating Concentrate (PDF, 231 kB)
Photo with caption: Test apparatus used for coating durability and mussel release testing in both the laboratory and the field.
Coating and Lining Resistance to High-Pressure Jets Used to Remove Invasive Mussels
Ensuring jets can remove mussels while keeping protective coatings and linings intact
"Testing in this study has helped determine the operational limits and effectiveness of submerged jetting to remove mussels from coatings without causing damage. We will be looking at developing a hybrid jetting/coating system initially for trashracks and possibly other hydraulic infrastructure."
Josh Mortensen, Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-29: Jets to Remove Mussels (PDF, 186 kB)
Photo with caption: Yellowtail Reservoir at full pool in May.
Rehabilitating Habitat Complexes in Side Channels
Understanding a case history of channel changes downstream of Yellowtail Dam will help facilitate the restoration of side channels
"The research provided a case study of side channel abandonment and the solutions developed to address the loss of critical habitat downstream from a Reclamation structure. These solutions can be applied to other river systems that have experienced loss of side channel habitat as a result of dam construction."
Jeanne Godaire, Geologist, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-28: Habitat Complexes (PDF, 284 kB)
Photo with caption: SRH-2D Model of Bank Retreat Simulation at the Upper Junction site of the Trinity River, California, in support of the Restoration Project.
Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Modeling
Understanding river hydraulics and sediment processes for better river restoration, infrastructure design, and water management planning
"SRH-2D has the best combination of flexibility and accuracy among two-dimensional models."
Yong Lai Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-27: Sedimentation Modeling (PDF, 220 kB)
Photo with caption: Woody Debris research roadmap participants.
How Large Woody Debris in Streams and Rivers Can Help Habitats
Developing the priorities for Reclamation's research into habitat enhancement with large woody debris
"Using large wood as treatment to rehabilitate geomorphic processes and form for dependent species requires a thorough understanding of how to measure the associated risks and bene?ts. Research in this ?eld will help us gain understanding for this evolving science and explore the most effective way to use large woody debris in our rehabilitation projects."
Sean Kimbrel, Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-26: Woody Debris (PDF, 131 kB)
Photo with caption: Setting up the ET monitoring equipment for the wetland. Specialized feet support the platform for equipment that measures available energy and meteorological data needed to calculate ET.
Improving Evapotranspiration (ET) Estimates for Better Water Management
Measuring ET rates for wetlands and open water in the Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon
"Knowing the ET from the lake and surrounding wetlands will improve our planning ability, as now we can more accurately include this information to analyze and predict the physical response of the watershed to measured conditions in the basin."
Mark Spears Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-25: ET Estimates (PDF, 249 kB)
Photo with caption: Cover of guidelines for treating produced water.
Managing Future Water Resources in the Upper Deschutes Basin, Oregon 1
Applying existing tools to simulate integrated surface and ground water response to climate change
"More accurate predictions of hydrologic changes will help water managers more effectively plan water operations over the next century. Insights from the Upper Deschutes Basin have general applicability to other regional ground water systems with mountainous recharge areas."
Marshall Gannett Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Bulletin 2013-24: Upper Deschutes Water Management (PDF, 125 kB)
Photo with caption: Example of high-resolution model output from a heavy precipitation event: surface winds (yellow arrows), three-dimensional rain isosurface (blue), and three-dimensional hail isosurface (white).
Will extreme rainfall change in Colorado's future?
Using high-resolution models to understand extreme summer precipitation events and assess possiblefuture changes in Colorado
"High-resolution models provide a novel approach to evaluating the character of historical and future extreme precipitation events, offering improved representation of the timing, magnitude, and spatial distribution of precipitation events for input to hydrologic models for dam safety studies."
Jason Caldwell Meteorologist, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-23: Extreme Rainfall (PDF, 231 kB)
Photo with caption:  Schematic of conditions leading to heavy precipitation over central Arizona on January 21, 2010.
Do Atmospheric Rivers Cause Heavy Downpours in the Intermountain West?
Detecting and modeling moisture sources associated with winter storms in Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho
"Developing a better understanding of the long and complex pathways that winter storms use to deliver moisture to the Intermountain West is useful to water managers."
John England, Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-22: Atmospheric Rivers (PDF, 224 kB)
Photo with caption: Historical fraction of wet days from statistical downscaling techniques. Figure from Gutmann, et al., 2013.
Assessing the Assessment Methods: Climate Change and Hydrologic Impacts
Are our perceptions about adaptation needs sensitive to our methods for assessing future weather and hydrologic impacts?
"Water resource managers are significantly increasing their use of hydrologic models forced by climate-changed future conditions in our planning for responding to climate change. The need for better understanding uncertainties in the models used for assessments is acute, and that understanding can be put to immediate use."
Jeff Arnold, Co-Director, Climate and Global Change Programs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Photo with caption: Sample runoff prediction for Crystal River, Colorado.
Getting a Handle on Streamflow Prediction Skill
What are the sources of uncertainty in streamflow predictions and how do these vary?
"Understanding sources of skill in streamflow prediction, from basin observations to weather and climate forecasting, will help steer our investments in streamflow forecasting improvements to benefit water users."
Levi Brekke, Water and Climate Research Coordinator, Reclamation's Research and Development Office
Bulletin 2013-20: Streamflow Prediction (PDF, 142 kB)
Photo with caption: Sample image from website that supports customized user requests from across the U.S.
Downscaled Climate and Hydrology Projections Website
New daily climate and Western United States hydrology projections are now available
"Reclamation and its partners are taking leading roles to develop an understanding on how this new information complements previous climate projections made available through CMIP3, and on how CMIP5 projections should be considered in water planning and management."
Michael L. Connor, Commissioner, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-19: Website for Downscaling Projections (PDF, 126 kB)
Photo with caption: Conceptual framework for identifying climate projection information applicable to an individual planning or decisionmaking situation.
How Do We Determine Reliable and Relevant Climate Projections for Planning?
Reclamation's diverse set of planning and management situations requires a flexible framework for judging climate projections applicability across our collection of adaptation decisions
"Outcomes from the scoping pilot are expected to inform opportunities to refine this framework, ease scoping processes, and enhance planning and decisionmaking under future climate uncertainty."
Levi Brekke, Water and Climate Research Coordinator, Reclamation's Research and Development Office
Bulletin 2013-18: Climate Projections (PDF, 116 kB)
Photo with caption: Cover of guidelines for treating produced water.
Produced Water Treatment and Management for Oil and Gas Production in the Western United States:
Researching water quality and providing guidance for treating water from oil and gas extraction
"In arid and rural areas, water for hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas development poses challenges to regional water supply allocations. It is important to consider water requirements for energy production and the potential supply available if produced water is treated for use in the region. The goal of this research is to assess the value of produced water in the Western U.S. to manage water resources effectively for all water users."
Katharine Dahm Civil Engineer, Technical Service Center Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-17: Treating Produced Water (PDF, 479 kB)
Photo with caption: San Gabriel River  stilling basins.
High Recovery Nanofltration/Reverse Osmosis Integrated Treatment System:
Using both systems to recover more than 90 percent of an impaired water source
"NF/RO integrated treatment system concept is a viable alternative to a standard RO system and could be employed for the GRIP project. The main advantages of this system include the ability to operate at an overall recovery of approximately 93 percent and to achieve a high degree of rejection for many of the constituents that are relevant for indirect potable reuse projects, including total organic carbon and select chemicals of emerging concerns."
Bruce Mansell Engineer, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Bulletin 2013-16: Treatment for Indirect Reuse (PDF, 439 kB)
Photo with caption: Potential future researcher explores the Denver Water Treatment Engineering and Research Laboratory.
Ceramic and Polymeric Membranes:
Comparing performance and cleaning of ceramic and polymeric membranes
"More research is needed to minimize the cost [of low-pressure membrane systems] by reducing membrane fouling and optimizing membrane design and operation."
National Research Council, 2008
Bulletin 2013-15: Ceramic and Polymeric Membranes for Desalination (PDF, 406 kB)
Photo with caption: Physical model of stepped spillway and stilling basin.
Improving the Range of Hydraulic Performance of Type III Stilling Basins:
Determining how stepped chutes affect stilling basin performance
"Understanding how features such as stepped spillways and modified baffle blocks affect stilling basin performance is an important step in extending the operational range of Type III stilling basins."
Connie Svoboda, Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-14: Stepped Chutes Stilling Basin (PDF, 286 kB)
Photo with caption: Terrain surface from LiDAR data.
Filtering Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Data for Rivers:
A literature review of LiDAR tools, methods, and best practices
"Overall, this will allow for more accurate analyses of geomorphic forms, processes, and habitat types and provide a basis for more accurate engineering analyses and design."
Christopher Cuhaciyan, Project Manager, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-13: LIDAR for Rivers (PDF, 329 kB)
Photo with caption: The Raven launch at Aldwell Reservoir on the Elwha
River, Washington..
Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:
Determining how Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can help meet Reclamation's remote sensing data needs
"Reclamation's UAS community of interest now has over 50 people, from every Reclamation region including directors, group managers, information resource personnel, dam safety experts, hydraulic engineers, geographic information systems scientists, geographers, civil engineers, geologists, soil scientists, meteorologists, emergency management staff, remote sensing specialists, and information management specialists. This shows the wide-spread interest in this technology."
Douglas Clark, Physical Scientist, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-12: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (PDF, 207 kB)
Photo with caption: Coring an old Utah Juniper.
Using Tree Rings Analysis to Reconstruct Paleoclimate and Streamflows:
Using tree rings to determine historic climate conditions in Utah
"This information confirms the climate change that we have been seeing in our annual operations, and we can use this information in future planning."
Fred Liljegren, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-11: Tree Ring Analysis (PDF, 268 kB)
Photo with caption: Chamber for measuring sediment on reservoir bottoms. The rubber seals create a better seal on uneven bottom surfaces.
Modeling Changes in Water Quality From Sediment Delta Interactions:
Determining the implications of reservoir drawdowns for sediment delta interactions
"Sediment nutrient cycling and processes are complex. This research is providing tools and methods to help us understand these important processes."
Dr. Gustavious Williams, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Bulletin 2013-10: Sediment Delta Interactions (PDF, 282 kB)
Photo with caption: Gravel bar in the Trinity River, California.
Assessing Gravel Bars' Habitat Complexity and Ecological Functions:
Determining how restored gravel bars affect the aquatic ecosystem in the Trinity River, California
"The Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) has been at the forefront of efforts to restore coarse sediment supply and transport in regulated rivers, with the goal of recreating the instream geomorphological features lost due to sediment starvation by upstream dams."
Reclamation, 2000. TRRP Record of Decision.
Bulletin 2013-09: Gravel Bars (PDF, 381 kB)
Photo with caption: CS. Mark Nelson, Reclamation; Ken Eng, USGS; and Ben Holcomb, Utah Division of Water
Quality�taking samples at Currant Creek, Utah.
Assessing the Ecological Costs of Streamflow Regulation:
Measuring the biological health of ecosystems in streams with altered flows
"Our study yielded quantitative relations between the severity of streamflow alteration and the degree of biological impairment and suggests that water management that reduces streamflows during winter months is likely to have negative effects on downstream benthic communities in Utah mountain streams."
Carlisle, D.M., S.M. Nelson, K. Eng. "Macroinvertebrate Community Condition Associated With the Severity of Streamflow Alteration." River Research and Applications, 2012.
Bulletin 2013-08: Ecological Costs (PDF, 479 kB)
Photo with caption: Elwha Science Symposium in 2012. Photo by Barb Maynes from Olympic National Park, Washington.
Elwha Science Symposium Event--Online and In Person:
Getting scientists and the public together on the science of dam removal as part of river and reservoir restoration
"This conference allowed scientists and the public to share information that will help shape the future of Elwha River research. The online forum was efficient and easy to use and was a huge time saver."
David S. Parks, M.S. Geologist/Wetland Scientist, Forest Practices Division, Washington Department of Natural Resources
Bulletin 2013-07: 2012 Elwha Symposium (PDF, 400 kB)
Photo with caption: Using PIT tags on floating antenna on the San Juan River, New Mexico.
Now Available: New Antenna System to Detect Tagged Fish:
New antenna system detects tagged fish in waterways while floating over them
"This product exists because of the early stage funding provided by your projects as well as the hard work and creativity of the people involved. We have figured out how to manufacture the antenna efficiently and with robust quality. Now we need to thoroughly test the product in the river."
Dean Park, President, Biomark, Inc.
"This provides another example of how we are able to achieve the transfer of Federally funded technologies into usable products without patents, licenses, or royalties."
Chuck Hennig, Deputy Director, Research and Development Office, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-06: Detecting Tagged Fish (PDF, 277 kB)
Photo of employee measuring Expeditionary Unit Water Purification (EUWP) concentrate.
Variable Salinity Source Water Desalination:
Developing flexible desalination systems design for both brackish and seawater desalination
"This project exemplifies the practical value of partnering to advance desalination research. This project was made possible through the creative leveraging of efforts and resources of at least six different organizations."
Jorge Arroyo, Director, Texas Water Development Board, Innovative Water Technologies
Bulletin 2013-05: Using Different Source Waters (PDF, 214 kB)
Photo with caption: Building saline wetlands at the administrative building in Oxnard, California.
Saline Treatment for Salt Marsh Coastal Wetlands:
Using wetlands to treat concentrate from desalination processes
"The Oxnard demonstration wetland is a unique facility for research into wetland treatment processes. Once the initial concept is proven, the demonstration wetland will remain available to support additional research into the future. Oxnard's saline treatment wetland is a worthwhile concept that could provide a dependable supply of brackish water to support coastal wetland habitats in Ventura County, California."
Doug McPherson, Environmental Protection Specialist, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-04: Treating Concentrate along the Coast (PDF, 360 kB)
Photo with caption: Bins held wetlands in the pilot-scale project.
Treating Concentrate in Desert Wetlands:
An innovative, environmentally sustainable, cost-effective method to treat concentrate in an inland area
"This idea of managing concentrate through natural means is a complete shift in thinking from conventional concentrate management. Instead of using lots of energy and highly engineered systems, we can use natural means to process the concentrate, removing the harmful constituents and returning the benign salts back to nature, with the added bonus of water for the desert environment.."
Tom Poulson, Civil Engineer/Planner, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-02: Treating Concentrate in Deserts (PDF, 252 kB)
Photo with caption: Temporary ?? ashboards help expand water storage in Llano, Texas, 2012. This impounded supply would last for 186 days.
Tool for Planning Temporary Water Supplies for Drought Emergencies:
Compendium of information and guidance to assist communities challenged by drought
"This work is an impressive effort. I see this tool as a foundational contribution that will evolve with use and time--which will in itself be a good measure of success."
Jorge Arroyo, Director, Texas Water Development Board, Innovative Water Technologies.
Bulletin 2013-01: Drought Planning Tool (PDF, 235 kB)

This information was last updated on March 27, 2014
Contact the Research and Development Office with questions or comments about this page