Groundwater Discharge from Phreatophyte Vegetation, Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

Groundwater Discharge from Phreatophyte Vegetation, Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

Groundwater Discharge from Phreatophyte Vegetation, Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

Project Description

Groundwater evapotranspiration (ETg) from phreatophyte vegetation is the primary component of natural groundwater discharge within the Humboldt River Basin. This report summarizes previous study estimates of ETg, and details methods and results of updated groundwater discharge areas, ETg rates, and ETg volume estimates developed in this study. Estimates derived in this study are summarized for the period of 1985-2015 and were based on a consistent place-based approach that relies on Geographic Information System and groundwater level data and a least-squares regression model that relates Landsat vegetation indices with evaporative demand, precipitation, and in-situ estimates of phreatophyte ET. Median annual ETg rates and volumes reported in this study are representative of pre-development conditions. Where irrigated areas were identified, ETg rates were adjusted to reflect the phreatophyte vegetation that likely occupied irrigated areas prior to cultivation. Results from this study were used to inform groundwater modeling studies by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Desert Research Institute, in cooperation with Nevada Division of Water Resources, to support conjunctive water management.

Results and datasets are summarized and documented in the form of maps, graphs, tables, geodatabases, and metadata following Federal Geographic Data Committee standards and are available at www.dri.edu/humboldt-etg. Estimated pre-development total annual ETg volumes for the upper, middle, and lower Humboldt River basin are 158,500, 361,600, 55,900 ac-ft/yr, and 85,700, 248,400, and 46,100 ac-ft/yr when riparian lands are excluded, respectively. Discharge areas and median annual ETg rates and volumes were compared to previous estimates for respective ET Units and Hydrographic Areas. Results reported for the upper Humboldt River Basin indicate that potential areas of groundwater discharge are generally lower, and ETg rates and volumes are generally less than one half of the ETg rates and volumes reported by Plume and Smith (2013). Results reported for the middle Humboldt River Basin indicate that ETg volumes are higher in six, and lower in seven HAs when compared to previous estimates reported in Water Resource Bulletin and Reconnaissance Series reports. ETg rates and volumes in the middle Humboldt River Basin are also generally less than one half when compared to those reported by Berger (2000). Differences in ETg volumes are primarily due to differences in ETg rates and differences in groundwater discharge areas.

This study used place-based satellite remote sensing, climate and GIS datasets, groundwater levels, and in-situ based phreatophyte ET empirical regression models to estimate potential areas of groundwater discharge, and ETg rates and volumes within the Humboldt River Basin. Future study estimates of ETg within the Humboldt River Basin could be improved by refining delineation of groundwater discharge areas, variability in ETg with respect to climate and land use change, and collection of in-situ ET estimates in areas where large uncertainty exists.

Report – Groundwater Discharge from Phreatophyte Vegetation, Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

Appendix A – Previously Reported Groundwater Discharge Areas, ETg Rates, ETg Volumes, and Study Source Information

Appendix B – Meteorological Station Mean Annual Ratios of Station Calculated ASCE Grass Reference ET (ETo) to Estimated Gridmet ETo

Appendix C – Percent Change in Median ETg for Select Basins

Appendix D – Groundwater Discharge Areas and Median ETa Volumes for Each ET Unit and HA

Appendix E Part 1 – Annual time series of median EVI, ET, ETg, ETo, and PPT rates from 1985-2015 for all groundwater discharge areas inclusive of riparian discharge areas

Appendix E Part 2 – Annual time series of median EVI, ET, ETg, ETo, and PPT rates from 1985-2015 for groundwater discharge areas excluding riparian discharge areas

Appendix F – Bar Charts Illustrating Estimated Discharge Areas, ETg Rates, and ETg Volumes

 

GIS Data – Potential areas of groundwater discharge

GIS Data – Geotiff raster of median annual groundwater evapotranspiration

GIS Data – Groundwater discharge areas digitized from NDWR Water Resource Bulletin and Reconnaissance Series reports

 

CONTACT

Justin Huntington, PhD
Justin.Huntington@dri.edu

LOCATION

Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512

DIVISION

Hydrologic Sciences

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Assessments

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Assessments

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Assessments

Project Description

Groundwater supports a variety of ecosystems in Nevada and the Great Basin, including springs, rivers, lakes, meadows, and wetlands, as well as trees and shrubs that tap into groundwater through deep roots (called phreatophytes). Many of these groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) have small footprints on the landscape, but outsize ecological, economical, and cultural importance —  they provide water storage and purification, store carbon, provide recreational and economic benefits, many of them are considered sacred to indigenous peoples, and they provide habitats to a wealth of species, including many rare and endemics species that are found only in this region. As water demands for agriculture, mining, energy development, and potable water uses continue to increase, understanding the potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals on these ecosystems can assist efforts to sustainably manage limited water resources to meet economic and livelihood, wildlife habitat, recreation and other needs. Furthermore, understanding the influence of variability in climatic conditions on groundwater dependent vegetation will enhance our ability to better tease apart effects of climate from those associated with water management.

The DRI studies highlighted below seek to enhance this understanding by assessing historical patterns of vegetation variability and trends in relation to climate and management using 35+ years of Landsat satellite imagery, climate data, groundwater levels, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and field surveys for selected areas across the Great Basin. Reports and all data compiled for each of these studies are available below for download.

 

CONTACT

Christine Albano, PhD
Christine.Albano@dri.edu

Blake Minor, MS
Blake.Minor@dri.edu

Justin Huntington, PhD
Justin.Huntington@dri.edu

LOCATION

Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512

DIVISION

Hydrologic Sciences

map of Nevada highlighting groundwater
Photo of Grass Springs with mountain in the background

Baseline Assessment of Groundwater Dependent Vegetation in relation to Climate and Groundwater Levels in select Hydrographic Basins of Nevada 

Objective:  To establish a baseline for monitoring and assessing the potential impacts of groundwater developments on GDEs in selected hydrographic basins of Nevada by quantifying the current status and historical trends in the condition of groundwater dependent vegetation relative to trends in both climate and groundwater levels. Analyses were completed for Pueblo, Continental Lake, Mud Meadow, Dixie, Railroad-North, Steptoe, Goshute, and Independence Valleys in Nevada. 

Key Findings: 

  • In several valleys, the areal extents of groundwater dependent vegetation (phreatophyte areas) were substantially smaller than was estimated historically, suggesting that either the historical extents were overestimated or that there have been substantial losses of groundwater dependent species due to lowered groundwater levels. These differences are important and merit further investigation, as real losses in groundwater dependent vegetation indicate large-scale ecological change, while historical overestimation of the phreatophyte area may suggest historical overestimation of the groundwater discharge, which has served as the basis for determining the perennial yield and groundwater appropriations for each valley.
  • Analysis of Landsat satellite data over 35 years revealed that vegetation outside the phreatophyte areas – especially forest and woodland vegetation was, on average, trending more positively than phreatophyte area vegetation, which tended to have only slightly positive to slightly negative trends. Areas classified as riparian, wetland, and low-intensity agricultural vegetation consistently had larger magnitude trends and tended to have a larger proportion of negative trends relative to dryland vegetation types. The trends observed in this study deserve careful consideration and future research to better isolate their causal factors.
  • Permitted groundwater rights are higher than the current estimated perennial yield in half of the eight basins assessed. Lack of consistent and long-term groundwater data was the most limiting factor in this study. Given the available data, over 25% of wells in each of five basins had statistically significant declines in groundwater levels. The largest declines in groundwater levels were most often observed in direct association with irrigated agriculture (up to 10’s of feet over 35 years) and mining activities (up to 100s of feet). 
  • Substantial human impacts were documented at all GDE sites that were visited in the field, but trends in vegetation over time varied from negative to neutral to positive. In most cases, there was insufficient groundwater levels data available to quantify groundwater-vegetation relations. This is an important data gap that will be essential to fill in order to understand the effects of water development on these ecosystems.

    Download the report and associated datasets here: 

    Status and Trends of Groundwater Dependent Vegetation in Relation to Climate and Shallow Groundwater in the Harney Basin, Oregon 

    Objective:  To increase understanding of relations between variations in climate, shallow groundwater, and groundwater dependent vegetation in the Harney Basin, OR. 

    Key Findings: 

    • Trend analyses of groundwater levels indicate widespread declines in groundwater levels across the basin; in most cases these declines were determined to be occurring independently of antecedent climate conditions. 
    • Substantial changes in surface water extent, vegetation vigor, and land use, indicated by the Landsat Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), were evident over the course of the 35-year study period, with positive trends in NDVI indicating lake level declines since the mid-1980’s and subsequent encroachment by sparse vegetation as well as increases in irrigated cropland. Negative trends in vegetation vigor were most prominent in riparian and wetland vegetation types and low-intensity agricultural lands used as pasture and/or hayfields. 
    • Site-specific analyses of field survey and remote sensing data identified transitions from mesic (i.e., riparian and wetland) to dryland vegetation along the edges of Malheur Lake in response to declining lake and shallow groundwater levels since the 1980’s. Other areas where trends in vegetation were evident have limited evidence of groundwater declines and are places where non-native plant species invasions and intensive vegetation management activities such as mowing, prescribed fire, invasive plant management, and agricultural water management are likely influencing vegetation trends. 

    Download the report and associated datasets here: 

    Spatiotemporal Reconnaissance Investigation of Phreatophyte Vegetation Vigor for Selected Hydrographic Areas in Nevada 

    Objective:  Identify patterns of phreatophyte vegetation vigor change through space and time and qualitatively assess relations between these changes and variability in precipitation, evaporative demand, and depth to groundwater for selected hydrographic basins where significant declines in groundwater are known to have occurred due to pumping for irrigation. Analyses were completed for Kings River, Quinn River (Orovada subarea), Upper Reese River, Paradise, Grass, and Edwards Creek Valleys in Nevada. 

    Key results: 

    • Findings from this study illustrate that phreatophyte vegetation vigor changes can be observed from Landsat satellite imagery and confirmed with field investigations. 
    • Groundwater levels have substantially declined over the last 50 years in many basins, and vegetation species have become less mesic from historical observations made in the 1960s and reported in USGS Reconnaissance Series Reports 
    • An important conclusion from this study is that while declines in vegetation vigor and localized stress and mortality was observed in areas with declining water levels, facultative phreatophyte vegetation such as greasewood persists where groundwater levels were historically at or near land surface (i.e., 0 to 30 ft) and currently exceed the typically reported range of rooting depths (~20 to 60 ft) for this species, suggesting that precipitation has been sufficient to sustain these vegetation communities over the long term. 

    Download the report and associated datasets here:

     

    Groundwater Discharge from Phreatophyte Vegetation, Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

    Remote Sensing Estimates of Evapotranspiration from Irrigated Agriculture, Northwestern Nevada and Northeastern California

    Remote Sensing Estimates of Evapotranspiration from Irrigated Agriculture, Northwestern Nevada and Northeastern California

    Project Description

    Accurate historical evapotranspiration (ET) information for agricultural areas in the western U.S. is needed to support crop and pumpage inventories, water right applications, water budgets, and development of water management plans. Annual and monthly ET from irrigated agriculture is largely a function of water availability, atmospheric water demand, crop type, crop conditions, and land use. Landsat thermal and optical satellite imagery is ideal for monitoring the spatial and temporal variability of crops given its spatial and temporal resolution, making it ideal for monitoring crop ET.

    The objective of this study is to estimate and summarize monthly, seasonal, and annual ET from agricultural areas in northwestern Nevada and northeastern California from 2001 through 2011 using Landsat satellite imagery. ET estimates from 57 Hydrographic Areas (HAs) are summarized in multiple ways including a geodatabase, maps, figures, and tables. Monthly and annual ET estimates for select HAs are discussed with respect to variations in climate, water supply, and land use changes, through visualizations and summaries of spatial and temporal ET distributions. Landsat based ET was estimated using a land surface energy balance model, Mapping EvapoTranspiration at high Resolution with Internalized Calibration (METRIC), using Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 imagery combined with reference ET.

    Results highlight that a range of geographic, climatic, hydrographic, and anthropogenic factors influence ET. For example, irrigators in Mason Valley have the ability to mitigate deficiencies in surface water by pumping supplemental groundwater, resulting in low annual ET variability. Conversely, irrigators in Lovelock are subject to limited upstream surface water storage and are not able to irrigate with groundwater due to high salinity. These factors result in high annual ET variability due to drought. ET estimates derived from METRIC for well-watered fields generally compare well to previous estimates derived from traditional reference ET – crop coefficient methods. Although there are limitations and uncertainties with the METRIC model, METRIC ET estimates are within 10 to 20 percent of ET reported from micrometeorological studies in Nevada for commonly grown crops of alfalfa and pasture grass. Landsat derived ET estimates reported in this study have many immediate applications relevant to water managers, researchers, and practitioners.

    A report is available for download here: Remote Sensing Estimates of Evapotranspiration from Irrigated Agriculture, Northwestern Nevada and Northeastern California 

    The dataset is available for download here: GeoDatabase Download (Separate Database Appendices Download)

    Justin Huntington
    Research Professor, Hydrology
    Division of Hydrologic Sciences
    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512
    775-673-7670
    Justin.Huntington@dri.edu

    CONTACT

    Justin Huntington
    Research Professor, Hydrology

    775-673-7670 

    LOCATION

    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512

    DIVISION

    Division of Hydrologic Sciences

    Drought Sensitivity and Trends of Riparian Vegetation in Nevada

    Drought Sensitivity and Trends of Riparian Vegetation in Nevada

    Drought Sensitivity and Trends of Riparian Vegetation in Nevada

    Project Description

    Maintaining the ecological integrity of riparian areas and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) is an important objective for natural resource and water managers, given the role of these systems in sustaining biodiversity and the other ecosystem services they provide. Long-term monitoring data are required to understand status and trends in these systems, which are often confounded by the influences of interannual climate variability. Yet, these data are expensive to collect and maintain and have historically not been widely available. Recent advances in cloud computing can now help to address these challenges, by allowing efficient and cost-effective processing and analysis of multiple decades’ worth of satellite remote sensing and climate datasets over large geographic extents.

    In this study we analyzed climate-adjusted trends in riparian vegetation across the state of Nevada from 1985 to 2018 based on the 30 meter resolutionMap of Riparian Vegetation in Nevada. To accomplish this, we established relations between the Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI; a drought index representing the difference between precipitation and potential evapotranspiration for a select time period) and Landsat-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI, an indicator of vegetation vigor) using linear regression. We then used this relationship to adjust for the influence of drought on NDVI and assessed the NDVI trend over time using a non-parametric Mann-Kendall trend test.

    Our results highlight areas where changes in riparian vegetation have occurred that are likely due to natural disturbances or human impacts, as opposed to drought or interannual climate variability. This information helps to clarify and quantify the effects of management actions and can be used to target locations for field investigation or alternative management. We have coupled this work with targeted analyses of groundwater well trends and drone-based field assessments in high priority GDEs to interpret our results and identify potential causal factors of change.

    The dataset is available for viewing here: https://dri-apps.earthengine.app/view/nv-riparian-trends

    A publication describing the study is available here: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/12/9/1362 – Albano, C.M.; McGwire, K.C.; Hausner, M.B.; McEvoy, D.J.; Morton, C.G.; Huntington, J.L. Drought Sensitivity and Trends of Riparian Vegetation Vigor in Nevada, USA (1985–2018). Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1362.

    The 30-meter resolution (1 GB) dataset is available upon request.

    Please contact fill out the form below for access.

    Christine M. Albano
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Ecohydrology
    Division of Hydrologic Sciences
    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512
    Christine.Albano@dri.edu

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    CONTACT

    Christine M. Albano
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Ecohydrology

    775-673-7689 

    LOCATION

    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512

    DIVISION

    Division of Hydrologic Sciences

    Climate Engine

    Climate Engine

    Climate Engine

    Project Description

    Climate Engine (ClimateEngine.org) is a free web application powered by Google Earth Engine that can be used to create on-demand maps and charts from publicly available satellite and climate data using a standard web browser. Climate Engine provides access to a variety of geospatial datasets that track vegetation, snow, and water across the planet, as well as climate datasets that track temperature, precipitation and winds. Datasets are stored and processed in the cloud, eliminating the need for users to download, store, and process large data files on their computers. Climate Engine was created by a team of scientists from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), University of Idaho, and Google.

    CONTACT

    Justin Huntington, Ph.D.
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Justin.Huntington@dri.edu 

    LOCATION

    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512

    DIVISION

    Hydrologic Sciences

    SeaPort Enhanced Contracts

    SeaPort Enhanced Contracts

    SeaPort Enhanced Contracts

    CONTRACT NO. N00178-15-D-8333

    Project Description

    SeaPort-e is the Navy’s electronic platform for acquiring competing support services in 22 functional areas including Engineering, Financial Management, and Program Management. The Navy Systems Commands (NAVSEA, NAVAIR, SPAWAR, NAVFAC, and NAVSUP), the Office of Naval Research, Military Sealift Command, and the United States Marine Corps compete their service requirements amongst 2400+ SeaPort-e IDIQ multiple award contract holders. SeaPort-e provides an efficient and effective means of contracting for professional support services.

    DRI offers a unique blend of academic rigor with absolute dedication to customer service. High-impact subject matter and expert products are delivered on-time and on-budget. As the research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education, DRI generates $50 million in total annual revenue. Our faculty members are nontenured, entrepreneurial and cover more than 40 scientific disciplines. Conducting research on every continent, more than 500 highly skilled scientists, engineers, and students are involved in over 300 research projects at any given time. DRI houses 60 specialized labs and unique facilities on two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Functional Area #1 – Research and Development Support

    As the research branch of the Nevada System of Higher Education, DRI has and continues to provide research and development support and products for the US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Department of Energy, among others. Research and development projects are staffed and approached using processes and procedures tailored to the client need. The following narrative describes how DRI approaches Research and Development tasking.

    Fundamental research and development projects are hypothesis driven and utilize the scientific method to formulate an approach to address the hypothesis, conduct the research using the DRI’s state-of-art laboratories, visualization and computational capabilities, and disseminate the results of the work to the client and a broader audience where allowable by contract. DRI technical staff and faculty have conducted fundamental research with competitively awarded projects by ONR and SERDP, for example.

    Applied research and development projects are question or problem driven and utilize a blend of the scientific method and engineering approach to bound possible solutions. The typical applied research and development project is scoped in collaboration with the client and the work scope is broken into incremental step-wise blocks that are designed to produce intermediate results to the project Team. Regular team meetings are held to review these intermediate results, determine if there is enough of the answer to satisfy the question or problem, and adjust the approach or direction if necessary. This incremental approach drives early project stakeholder involvement and is used as a best practice to drive down project costs because often a ‘good enough’ answer is provided to the client without having to run the project all the way through to completion as is typically done with a fundamental research and development project.

    Specific Subcontract Examples of DRI’s applied research for use on Navy Ohio Replacement Program, SSP:

    • A project to determine the fate and transport of lead (Pb) in the gas generator of the Trident D5 launch system. This required estimating the physical and chemical properties of the gas and aerosol plume formed at muzzle broach during a legacy Trident D5 launch test at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. No plume measurements were taken during the launch testing that occurred in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and so first principles were used to derive likely bounds on particle size distribution, gaseous speciation chemistry and temperature profiles from temperature and pressure data at the aft-end of the test vehicle. This information was then used to parameterize a numerical aerosol plume transport model to estimate the fate and transport of aerosolized lead (Pb) – a National Ambient Air Quality Criteria Pollutant. The model was then used to inform decision makers as to the probable impacts of that lead-containing plume on nearby threatened and endangered species and an elementary school at NOTU Cape Canaveral. This work led to moving the Trident D5 launch test facility to the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, CA.
    • The total land holding at NAWS China Lake is 1.1 million acres, and the Navy is tasked with land stewardship and preservation of biological and cultural resources within the fence line. The classic means of locating, identifying and mapping these resources is with a boots-on-ground survey to walk an area of interest – a time intensive and expensive task that negatively impacts Ranges usability during the survey. DRI has developed a method to aerially map surface soil age, which when used in conjunction with the quaternary history of the landforms at China Lake, provides a map of areas that are good candidate locations for archeological sites, and those that are not. Areas that have had erosion, sand dune formation or sediment transport that create surface land forms that are younger than the archeological ages of interest, those areas can be excluded from the intensive ground survey effort which leads to significant cost savings to the Navy.

    Functional Area #2 Engineering, System Engineering and Process Engineering Support

    DRI and NESEP science and engineering technical staff and faculty provide engineering and systems engineering subcontract support to the Ohio Replacement Program, the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD) Trident Program Office, and the NAWCWD Ranges Department. Support is provided by:

    • Conduct research to locate and collect information needed to proceed toward a solution
    • Provide the client with conceptual design alternatives
    • Participate in feasibility assessments, and down select processes
    • Approach client engineering needs with intent to bound anticipated system behavior that then informs facility or system design requirements.
    • Provide neutral, third-party engineering support to the entire Navy stakeholder team – including government and corporate entities. Effective engineering is impossible without effective communication across the team.
    • Provide engineering framework, design, review, computational (numerical, modeling, visualization), and documentation in these areas of engineering expertise: civil, mechanical, geotechnical and environmental
    • Support the Government Design Review Process at all steps as members of elements, focus groups and program advisors.

    DRI Specific Program Subcontract engineering support to the Navy’s Ohio Replacement Program.

    • Launch Test Capability (LTC) Design and Acquisition efforts include:
    • Contributor to the proposal to design and operate the LTC
    • Provided several conceptual LTC designs to the Navy Design Team
    • Participated in the feasibility assessments and down-select process for the LTC and additional supporting design elements
    • Provided continuous technical support and leadership in the design process that was challenged by the need to integrate novel and unproven design solutions, which drove the need to bound expected behavior that in turn allowed element quantitative design to proceed
    • Currently provide technical leadership in the final stages of the Design Review process for the LTC
    • Engineering analysis to provide data and modeling products that are integrated into the structural design of many elements of the launch platform and arrestment structures
    • Technical review and guidance to all LTC elements
    • Emerging/crisis technical problem solving
    • Mobile Crawler Crane Acquisition, and Operation Method Analysis
    • Development of the CONOPS and test schedule for arrestment media delivery, placement, in-test management
    • DRI NESEP is jointly leading the arrestment media acquisition element for LTC
      • Create a specification for the arrestment media (a geomaterial) by bounding key parameters using scaled drop test data, and numerical modeling analysis.
      • Create a criteria acceptance design
      • Organize and plan for the logistics of production/delivery/acceptance/placement

    Functional Area #3 Modeling, Simulation and Analysis Support

    DRI technical staff and faculty use numerical modeling, simulation and analysis as part of work performed in Functional Areas 1 and 2. DRI invests in and maintains computational capability to support large-scale numerical simulation projects using multi-physics software (e.g. LS-DYNA, TOUGH, COMSOL), hydrologic software (e.g. MODFLOW, HYDRUS) and spatial analysis codes (e.g. ESRI).

    DRI Specific Program Subcontract Experience, Ohio Replacement Program’s Launch Test Capability Team:

    Modeling aerosol plume fate, transport, deposition, and exposure (described in Functional Area #1)

    Modeling dissolved metal (lead, cadmium, chromium) fate and transport in soils demonstrating that a secondary containment liner system was not required at NAWS China Lake Launch Test Facility (LTF)

    This work was reviewed and accepted with no revisions by the NAVFAC-SW review team, and is estimated to save the Government several million dollars over the course of the LTC program

    Constructing a comprehensive numerical groundwater model for NAWS China Lake and surrounding community to inform critical resource conservation decision-making. In progress.

    Creating a high spatial and temporal resolution model to forecast meteorological conditions in support of LTF CONOPS. In progress.

    Model will provide a NOWCAST of meteorological conditions over the subsequent four to six hours to assist the LTC firing officer in shot planning and critical lift scheduling with the LTF 500-ton mobile crawler crane

    Functional Area #5 System design documentation and technical data support

    All DRI projects are documented, reviewed and published in accordance with contract terms and conditions. As a science and engineering organization, the need to thoroughly document and review work is a foundational and essential activity. DRI’s administrative staff assists with this Functional Area by providing clerical, format review and archival support.

    DRI has served as a subcontractor on the Ohio Replacement Program, the NAWCWD Trident Program Office and the NAWCWD Ranges Department by:

    • Conducting the tasking in Functional Areas 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11 and then preparing Technical Reports (TR) and Technical Presentations (TP) to support the numerous review steps that are part of the Government Design Review Process. Ongoing.
    • Providing Technical Review of numerous design element TR and TP products. Ongoing.
    • Key participant in creating Critical Lift Packages for the LTF 500-ton mobile crawler crane

    Functional Area #6 Software Engineering, Development, Programming and Network Support

    Per their subcontract, DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty have gained experience in designing, developing, integrating, and maintaining the software and hardware systems that comprise the Real Time Environmental Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS). This FOUO system provides web-based real-time and historical environmental data and alerting capabilities in support of NAWCWD Ranges Department and Trident Program Office operations. REMAS operates under a DIACAP C&A endorsed by NAVAIRSYSCOM. REMAS is comprised of a mixture of software and hardware components:

    • Integration of multiple software packages, including both COTS and in-house proprietary code to support data collection, transmission, storage, analysis, and presentation
    • Modification of COTS software to improve REMAS system performance and user experience
    • Installation, programming, and maintenance of a datalogger network to acquire sensor data
    • Design, installation, and maintenance of an (a) encrypted RF communications network, (b) encrypted VPN data link between China Lake and DRI, and (c) an isolated DMZ at DRI to house servers and networking equipment the comprise REMAS.
    • Role-based REMAS web portal system provides access to data and features
    • REMAS services are modified as needed or requested to improve the user experience and/or provide new functionality to assist client needs

    Functional Area #8 Human Factors, Performance, and Usability Engineering Support

    All tasking that the DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty are engaged in or have completed for the NAWCWD Trident Program Office and Ohio Replacement Program as a subcontractor contain elements of this Human Factors Functional Area. Examples of how the DRI NESEP technical staff performs in this Functional Area include:

    • Foundational participant in the design process for the LTF.
      • Many early design concepts were eliminated due to Human Factors, Performance, and Usability factors.
    • Key participant in creating Critical Lift Packages for the LTF 500-ton mobile crawler crane

    Functional Area #9 System Safety Engineering Support

    All of the tasking that the DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty are engaged in or have completed as a sub for the NAWCWD Trident Program Office and Ohio Replacement Program contains elements of this Safety Engineering Functional Area. Examples of how the DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty have performed in this Functional Area include:

    • Determining the safe working wind speed limit for the LTF 500-ton mobile crawler crane
    • Demonstrating the need to include meteorological forecasting in the LTF firing sequence schedule (includes elements of Functional Areas 1, 2, 3)
    • Developing the Real Time Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS) for the NAWCWD Trident Program Office
    • Key participant in creating Critical Lift Packages for the LTF 500-ton mobile crawler crane

    Functional Area #11 Quality Assurance (QA) Support

    DRI utilizes Quality Assurance (QA) techniques throughout the organization. DRI employs a full-time PhD Quality Assurance Officer who drafts, reviews and maintains the QA documentation for many of DRI’s programs, including NESEP subcontract support. The DOE Program complies with the DOE Quality Assurance requirements, which is the responsibility of each project team lead. Quality Assurance best practices and techniques is a mainstay of DRI’s operation.

    Specific Program examples of Quality Assurance Support:

    National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) for the state of Texas.
    DRI participated in Quality Assurance accreditation and certification programs for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) under the NELAP Program to qualify DRI’s Environmental Analysis Facility (EAF). As a result the DRI EAF is accredited for the following functions:

    • Air & Emissions Matrix
    • Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix B
    • Particulates <10 µm (PM10) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix J
    • Fine particulates <2.5 µm (PM2.5) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix L

    DRI has been accredited for the above each year since 2007. The current accreditation certificate, # T104704271-14-5, was issued by the TCEQ on 7/1/14 and goes through 6/30/15.

    Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program  for the EPA
    In addition, as one of the laboratories that performs analyses for EPA’s Chemical Special Network and the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program, the EAF has participated in annual performance evaluation (PE) and inter-laboratory inter-comparisons conducted by EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL) since 2005.  The EAF also has technical systems audits (TSAs) conducted by a NAREL audit team approximately every three years.  The PEs, inter-comparisons, and TSAs cover mass by gravimetry, elements by energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), anions and cations by Ion chromatography (IC) and carbon analysis by the IMPROVE_A thermo-optical reflectance/ thermo optical transmittance (TOR/TOT) protocol.

    Evidence of DRI expertise in performance of this Functional Area include:

    • Development of a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for an Open-Burn, Open-Detonation R&D project for the NAWCWD Weapons and Energetics Department.
      • NESEP volunteered to take this task on, and the first draft of the QAPP was accepted with minor revisions, which reportedly saved the project significant time and money
    • Successful Foundation of the Real Time Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS) on QA principles due to criticality and security needed for the data, analysis, and decision making that REMAS is designed to provide to the NAWCWD Trident Program Office and to LTC.

    Functional Area #12 Information System (IS) Development, Information Assurance (IA), and Information Technology (IT) Support

    DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty have developed knowledge, experience and an outstanding reputation in this Functional Area in the course of developing the Real Time Environmental Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS) as a subcontractor on the NAWCWD Ranges Department and Trident Program Office. An essential aspect of the development of REMAS is the REMAS website which is hosted by DRI NESEP at its Reno campus. DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty engaged the NAWS China Lake IS, IA, and IT communities to develop a path toward a successful DIACAP C&A. DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty engaged these communities as extensions of the NAWCWD customer. The response to this approach from the IS, IA, and IT communities was immediate and positive, eventually leading to the signing of the DRI NESEP DIACAP C&A by a NAVAIRSYSCOM. A Business Unit Validator Endorsement Memo (BUVEM) was issued May 2014. The processes DRI uses for IS, IT, and IA support to the Navy included:

    • Development and maintenance of  an isolated DMZ network at DRI that contains the hardware and software that comprises REMAS
    • Ensuring ongoing compliance of the REMAS DIACAP C&A and IS and IA requirements
    • Provisions for REMAS to collect and process data at the FOUO level
    • Security Assurance for REMAS comprised of an on-base network of dataloggers communicating through encrypted RF network and secure computing infrastructure used to store, process, analyze, and present data
    • Ensuring the entire REMAS system is client-owned and client-operated

    Functional Area #15 Measurement Facilities, Range, and Instrumentation Support

    All previous and current DRI NESEP tasking as a sub with the Navy shows experience in this Functional Area. Experience and knowledge that DRI has gained by learning how to be an effective NAWCWD Ranges Department stakeholder, coupled with DRI’s unique culture and business model, has enabled DRI NESEP to provide new and innovative technical approaches for the customer. Examples of DRI expertise in this Functional Area include:

    • Key participant in the Ohio Replacement Program as described previously.
      • The Launch Test Facility (LTF) will be built on the China Lake Range.
    • Creator of the Real Time Environmental and Alert System for  NAWCWD Trident Program Office (TPO)
      • 24/7 monitoring, analysis and alerting of temperature, relative humidity and shore power in all TPO magazines and test bays (all located on the NAWCWD Range)
      • Temperature history for past 30-days is a critical parameter for D5 motor test evaluation (firing)
      • REMAS data, analysis, alarms available 24/7 by the DRI NESEP hosted REMAS website (see Functional Area #6, 12)
      • DRI NESEP REMAS replaced a non-functioning system
      • DRI NESEP REMAS is saving the Government time and money by alerting to HVAC and power problems much earlier than previously possible, which prevents test evaluation delays
      • DRI NESEP REMAS will be leveraged to provide this same service to other Ranges Department customers, such as LTC/LTF and the NAWCWD Salt Wells ordnance scale-up facility.

    Functional Area #18.1 Technical Training Support

    DRI is an educational Institution where teaching and training are integral to the organization. As such, DRI contributes significantly to workforce training. Students are enrolled in graduate programs at one of the two Universities, but are employed by DRI on projects. While DRI does not grant degrees, it does provide its graduate student population with an immersive work experience that emphasizes responsiveness, attention to detail, accountability and effective communication.

    Specific REMAS Subcontract Experience for NAWCWD Ranges and Trident Program Office

    DRI Technical Training expertise is exemplified by our development and integration of specific REMAS training software training for NAWCWD. The REMAS software has been designed to be as easy and intuitive to use as possible (see # 6 and 12 previously), but the capabilities offered by REMAS are sophisticated enough that no amount of software design can prevent the need for effective training and teaching of staff to gain all the utility and usefulness that the system offers. DRI NESEP personnel have developed training materials to induct new staff in the basics of how to use the system. As the REMAS capability set grew, it became very clear that a single training manual, or face-to-face training session was not entirely effective at delivering the information needed. DRI NESEP programmers then took the initiative to develop an on-line ‘wiki’ that is available for the content on each page of the REMAS website that explains in clear and concise text what the function does and how to use it. Staff can now ‘self-teach’ using the wiki for those aspects of the system that they need, when they need it.  REMAS personnel also provide telephone support and perform on-site training or review session when requested. Training also provides insight and feedback that are used to improve REMAS services provided to the client.

    Functional Area #20 Program Support

    The four DRI technical staff and faculty who form the nucleus of expertise on this proposal have a combined 119 years of experience planning, organizing, and staffing, inspiring and nurturing, and leading team efforts in large R&D and design projects. These same principles apply to acquisition programs, such as the LTC which DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty have been intimately engaged in and productive participants in since LTC inception. DRI’s approach to providing Program Support in a subcontractor role is as follows:

    • Effective and lean leadership throughout the organization
    • Common platform planning and organizing tools (MS Project, ARGIS Financial Tracking)
    • Active and dynamic team building, engagement and dissolution to effect rapid on-task solutions as they emerge in the design process
    • Commitment to inspiring and nurturing technical staff and faculty and staff to ‘own’ their part of the project, with the consequent development of individual stakeholders and sense of pride in the work product which translates to outstanding products for the customer
    • Commitment to identifying, mentoring and challenging DRI NESEP technical staff and faculty to become the next generation of team leads, program managers, program directors and executive management.
    • DRI operates on the principles of non-profit, transparency in accounting, accountability to the customer, engagement as a neutral third-party (DRI isn’t selling a product), outstanding service to the customer while on-schedule and on-budget.
    • DRI understands the sometimes complex project control and reporting requirements that accompany federal contracts. Personnel and systems are in place to accommodate earned-value reporting, analysis of budget and schedule versus actuals, including variance analysis and running projection of estimates at complete (EACs). Scope, schedule, and budget for baseline development and change control are regularly constructed to support agency program needs, with systems to integrate baseline estimates, execution year plans, and monthly status reporting. Systems are in place for tracking and reporting government property, labor hours, and safety records, as needed for compliance with regulations and directives.

    DRI utilizes Quality Assurance (QA) techniques throughout the organization. DRI employs a full-time PhD Quality Assurance Officer who drafts, reviews and maintains the QA documentation for many of DRI’s programs, including NESEP subcontract support. The DOE Program complies with the DOE Quality Assurance requirements, which is the responsibility of each project team lead. Quality Assurance best practices and techniques is a mainstay of DRI’s operation.

    Specific Program examples of Quality Assurance Support:

    National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) for the state of Texas.
    DRI participated in Quality Assurance accreditation and certification programs for the Texas Commission on environmental Quality (TCEQ) under the NELAP Program to quality DRI’s Environmental Analysis Facility (EAF). As a result the DRI EAF is accredited for the following functions:

    • Air & Emissions Matrix
    • Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix B
    • Particulates <10 μm (PM10) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix J
    • Fine particulates <2.5 μm (PM2.5) by 40 CFR Part 50 Appendix L

    DRI has been accredited for the above each year since 2007. The current accreditation certificate, #T104704271-14-5, was issued by the TCEQ on 7/1/14 and gores through 6/30/15.

    Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program for the EPA
    In addition, as one of the laboratories that performs analyses for  EPA’s  Chemical Special Network and the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program, the EAF has participated in annual performance evaluation (PE) and inter-comparisons conducted by EPA’s National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL) since 2005. The EAF also has technical systems audits (TSAs) conducted by a NAREL audit team approximately every three years. The PEs, inter-comparisons, and TSAs cover mass by gravimetry, elements by energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), anions and cations by Ion chromatography (IC) and carbon analysis by the IMPROVE_A thermo-optical reflectance/ thermo optical transmittance (TOR/TOT) protocol.

    Evidence of DRI expertise in performance of this Functional Area include:

    • Development of Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for an Open-Burn, Open-Detonation R&D project for the NAWCWD Weapons and Energetics Department.
      • NESEP volunteered to take this task on, and the first draft of the QAPP was accepted with minor revision, which reportedly saved the project significant time and money
    • Successful Foundation of the Real Time Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS) on QA principles due to criticality and security needed for the data, analysis and decision making that REMAS is designed to provide to the NAWCWD Trident Program Office and the LTC.

    Task Orders for Contract N00178-15-D-8333

    Task Order Title Date Issued Issuing Activity Zone Point of Contact
    0001  CLIN Minimum Obligation  02 APR 2015 Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division  6  Dave Decker

    Our team assembled for the SeaPort-e contract consists of 64 DRI faculty and staff, and 8 teammates from subcontracted firms to provide our Navy customers a substantial breadth of expertise in earth sciences and engineering.

    CONTACT

    Dave Decker, Ph.D.
    Project Director
    775.673.7353
    Dave.Decker@dri.edu

    Yvonne Rumbaugh
    Business Manager
    775.673.7366
    Yvonne.Rumbaugh@dri.edu  

    LOCATION

    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512

    DIVISION

    Hydrologic Sciences