Sacramento Deep Water Shipping Channel

Light and nutrients are the staples of every phytoplankton production recipe, but wind and tides in the Delta affect phytoplankton production too, say researchers.

Several projects in the lower Sacramento River and Delta have been exploring strategies for increasing the quantity and quality of food for migratory and resident fish. As part of a broader whole-ecosystem experiment that added nitrogen into the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel, Leah K. Lenoch and colleagues at USGS and UC Davis looked into the channel’s hydrodynamics to explore whether the environmental conditions there hold promise for increasing the quantity of phytoplankton (the microscopic algae at the base of the food web). They knew that turbid and well-mixed waterways, including parts of the San Francisco Estuary and Delta, are not very productive because phytoplankton don’t get enough light and are at the mercy of invasive clams. However, where...
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