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Category: Technology
  • Estimating Growing-Season Root Zone Soil Moisture from Vegetation Index-Based Evapotranspiration Fraction and Soil Properties in the Northwest Mountain Region, USA

    Abstract: A soil moisture retrieval method is proposed, in the absence of ground-based auxiliary measurements, by deriving the soil moisture content relationship from the satellite vegetation index-based evapotranspiration fraction and soil moisture physical properties of a soil type. A temperature–vegetation dryness index threshold value is also proposed to identify water bodies and underlying saturated areas. Verification of the retrieved growing season soil moisture was performed by comparative analysis of soil moisture obtained by observed conventional in situ point measurements at the 239-km2 Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, Idaho, USA (2006–2009), and at the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) soil moisture measurement sites in Sundance, Wyoming (2012–2015), and Lewistown, Montana (2014–2015). The proposed method best represented the effective root zone soil moisture condition, at a depth between 50 and 100 cm, with an overall average R2 value of 0.72 and average root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.042.
  • Corrosion and Performance of Dust Palliatives: Laboratory and Field Studies

    Abstract: This report details laboratory and field experiments on BioPreferred® dust suppressants to assess performance and corrosion characteristics. Numerous bio-based dust suppressant products are marketed, but little data are available to assess performance for dust abatement and corrosion of common metals. A laboratory study used an air impingement device and the Portable In-Situ Wind ERosion Laboratory (PI-SWERL) to simulate wind speeds similar to those in field conditions for rotary wing aircraft. Laboratory corrosion studies used metal coupons imbedded in soil treated with dust palliative. Field trials were conducted using ground vehicle traffic to minimize cost and lower safety concerns while increasing surface wear from repetitive traffic. These studies clearly show that bio-based products demonstrate low corrosion potential with similar dust abatement performance to synthetic-based agents.
  • Incorporating Sentinel-1 SAR imagery with the MODIS MCD64A1 burned area product to improve burn date estimates and reduce burn date uncertainty in wildland fire mapping

    Abstract: Wildland fires result in a unique signal detectable by multispectral remote sensing and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). However, in many regions, such as Southeast Asia, persistent cloud cover and aerosols temporarily obstruct multispectral satellite observations of burned area, including the MODIS MCD64A1 Burned Area Product (BAP). Multiple days between cloud free pre- and postburn MODIS observations result in burn date uncertainty. We incorporate cloud-penetrating, C-band SAR-with the MODIS MCD64A BAP in Southeast Asia, to exploit the strengths of each dataset to better estimate the burn date and reduce the potential burn date uncertainty range. We incorporate built-in quality control using MCD64A1 to reduce erroneous pixel updating. We test the method over part of Laos and Thailand during April 2016 and found average uncertainty reduction of 4.5 d, improving 15% of MCD64A1 pixels. A new BAP could improve monitoring temporal trends of wildland fires, air quality studies and monitoring post-fire vegetation dynamics.
  • Methods for Simultaneous Determination of 29 Legacy and Insensitive Munition (IM) Constituents in Aqueous, Soil-Sediment, and Tissue Matrices by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

    Abstract: Standard methods are in place for analysis of 17 legacy munitions compounds and one surrogate in water and soil matrices; however, several insensitive munition (IM) and degradation products are not part of these analytical procedures. This lack could lead to inaccurate determinations of munitions in environmental samples by either not measuring for IM compounds or using methods not designed for IM and other legacy compounds. This work seeks to continue expanding the list of target analytes currently included in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 8330B. This technical report presents three methods capable of detecting 29 legacy, IM, and degradation products in a single High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method with either ultraviolet (UV)-visible absorbance detection or mass spectrometric detection. Procedures were developed from previously published works and include the addition of hexahydro-1-nitroso-3,5-dinitro-1,3,5-triazine (MNX); hexahydro-1,3-dinitroso-5-nitro-1,3,5-triazine (DNX); hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitroso-1,3,5-triazine (TNX); 2,4-diamino-6-nitrotoluene (2,4-DANT); and 2,6-diamino-4-nitrotoluene (2,6-DANT). One primary analytical method and two secondary (confirmation) methods were developed capable of detecting 29 analytes and two surrogates. Methods for high water concentrations (direct injection), low-level water concentrations (solid phase extraction), soil (solvent extraction), and tissue (solvent extraction) were tested for analyte recovery of the new compounds.
  • Summary of Collaborative Wildlife Protection and Recovery Initiative (CWPRI) Conservation Workshop: Least Bell’s Vireo

    Abstract: This special report summarizes the regional workshop held 24–26 April 2018 at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Ecological Services Office in Carlsbad, California on the importance of collaboration among federal, state, and nongovernmental agencies to facilitate the recovery of threatened and endangered species (TES). This workshop focused primarily on one species, the least Bell’s vireo (LBVI), and how to achieve full recovery and eventual delisting through agency partnerships. A major theme of the workshop was applying the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(1) conservation planning process as a building block towards recovery of LBVI—as well as other threatened, endangered, and at-risk riparian species within the Southwest. The main objective of this workshop was to assemble an interagency and interdisciplinary group of wildlife biologists and managers to detail how the Section 7(a)(1) conservation planning approach, in consultation with the USFWS, can assist in the recovery of LBVI primarily on federal lands but also other public and private lands. Goals of this workshop were to (1) review Section 7(a)(1); (2) outline LBVI ecosystem processes, life history, threats, and conservation solutions; and (3) develop and organize agency commitments to collaborative conservation practices.
  • Autonomous Transport Innovation: A Review of Enabling Technologies

    Purpose: This document is the first of the technical note series under the Autonomous Transport Innovation (ATI) research program. The series intends to be an introduction on autonomous vehicles (AVs), their testing, and associated infrastructure. A review of technologies that enable vehicle autonomy is necessary to provide the basis for understanding vehicle performance in testing scenarios and in actual use.
  • Environmental Life Cycle Assessment on CNTRENE® 1030 Material and CNT Based Sensors

    Abstract: This report details a study investigating the environmental impacts associated with the development and manufacturing of carbon nanotube (CNT)–based ink (called CNTRENE 1030 material) and novel CNT temperature, flex, and moisture sensors. Undertaken by a private-public partnership involving Brewer Science (Rolla, Missouri), Jordan Valley In-novation Center of Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri), and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (Vicksburg, Mississippi), this work demonstrates the environmental life cycle assessment (ELCA) methodology as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint the particular processes and materials posing the greatest environmental impact associated with the manufacture of the CNTRENE material and CNT-based sensor devices. Additionally, ELCA tracked the degree to which optimizing the device manufacturing process for full production also changed its predicted marginal environmental impacts.
  • Phytomanagement of Soil and Groundwater at the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) Using Hybridized Trees

    Abstract: The Manhattan Engineer District previously used the 191-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) in Niagara County, New York, to store radioactive residues and wastes from uranium (U) ore processing. At present, management practices will determine whether enhanced evapotranspiration rates produced by hybridized shrub willow cuttings planted in 2016 will affect groundwater hydrology. Two shrub willow varieties were planted in an approximately one-half acre area to examine growth performance along a U impacted sanitary sewer line. Additionally, control plots will compare the effectiveness of shrub willows to unplanted areas. Observations of the planted area after 18 months showed success of shrub willow growth with increasing biomass. Chemical analysis from tree tissue samples of the field study showed no significant uptake of U or thorium (Th) to date. A greenhouse study conducted in parallel to the field study tested the willows under controlled greenhouse conditions and evaluated their ability to grow and accumulate contaminants under controlled conditions. Results from the greenhouse study demonstrated that U accumulation was minimal. Thus, this study demonstrates that the shrub willows are not accumulators of U or Th, an advantageous characteristic that implies stabilized contaminants in the soil and no translocation of U into the aboveground biomass.
  • Leveraging Chemical Actinometry and Optical Radiometry to Reduce Uncertainty in Photochemical Research

    Abstract: Subtle aspects of illumination sources and their characterization methods can introduce significant uncertainty into the data gathered from light-activated experiments, limiting their reproducibility and technology transition. Degradation kinetics of methyl orange (MO) and carbamazepine (CM) under illumination with TiO2 were used as a case study for investigating the role of incident photon flux on photocatalytic degradation rates. Valerophenone and ferrioxalate actinometry were paired with optical radiometry in three different illumination systems: xenon arc (XE), tungsten halogen (W-H), and UV fluorescent (UV-F). Degradation rate constants for MO and CM varied similarly among the three light systems as k W-H < kiv-F < kXE, implying the same relative photon flux emission by each light. However, the apparent relative photon flux emitted by the different lights varied depending on the light characterization method. This discrepancy is shown to be caused by the spectral distribution present in light emission profiles, as well as absorption behavior of chemical actinometers and optical sensors. Data and calculations for the determination of photon flux from chemical and calibrated optical light characterization is presented, allowing us to interpret photo-degradation rate constants as a function of incident photon flux. This approach enabled the derivation of a calibrated ‘rate-flux’ metric for evaluating and translating data from photocatalysis studies.
  • Comparison of Generic and Proprietary Aquatic Herbicides for Control of Invasive Vegetation; Part 3: Submersed Plants

    Abstract: Herbicide selection is key to efficiently managing nuisance vegetation in our nation’s waterways. After selecting the active ingredient, there still remains multiple proprietary and generic products to choose from. Recent small-scale research has been conducted to compare the efficacy of these herbicides against floating and emergent species. Therefore, a series of mesocosm and growth chamber trials were conducted to evaluate subsurface applications of the following herbicides against submersed plants: diquat versus coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum L.), hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata L.f. Royle), southern naiad (Najas guadalupensis (Sprengel) Magnus), and Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L.); flumioxazin versus coontail, hydrilla, and Eurasian watermilfoil; and triclopyr against Eurasian watermilfoil. All active ingredients were applied at concentrations commonly used to manage these species in public waters. Visually, all herbicides within a particular active ingredient performed similarly with regard to the onset and severity of injury symptoms throughout the trials. All trials, except diquat versus Eurasian watermilfoil, resulted in no differences in efficacy among the 14 proprietary and generic herbicides tested, and all herbicides provided 43%–100% control, regardless of active ingredient and trial. Under mesocosm and growth chamber conditions, the majority of the generic and proprietary herbicides evaluated against submersed plants provided similar control.