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Special Issue "Variability in Mediterranean-Climate Waters: Space, Time, and Intensity"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. G. Mathias Kondolf

Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, 202 Wurster Hall, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720-2000, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: fluvial geomorphology; environmental planning; river restoration; sustainable floodplain management; urban rivers; social and biophysical connectivity of urban rivers; sustainable management of sediment in rivers and reservoirs; reservoir sedimentation; sediment starvation
Guest Editor
Dr. Ben Porter

Department of Near Eastern Studies, Director Phoebe Hearst Museum, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: archaeology; near eastern archaeology; middle east; arid environments; ancient water supply adaption; anthropology; heritage; tourism; archeological

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mediterranean-climate regions face distinct challenges to natural resource management, land-use planning, and design of the built environment: summer drought; highly seasonal precipitation and river flow, and the consequent adaptations to these conditions needed by biota; high inter-annual variability in precipitation; and episodic floods and sediment transport. Nonetheless, civilizations have flourished in water-limited Mediterranean environments for millennia. An understanding of how ancient societies adapted to these environmental stressors can inform our current challenges, as both the developed and developing world confront growing water shortages driven by population increases, expansion of irrigated agriculture, and climate change. To reduce uncertainty of water availability in Mediterranean-climate regions, modern societies have developed legal and institutional arrangements allocate water supplies and built water supply and control infrastructure at a scale far exceeding the degree of control seen in more humid climates, altering the seasonality of flow of streams and rivers in these regions.

This Special Issue examines variability in water in Mediterranean-climate regions from physical, biological, social, and institutional perspectives, drawing lessons from the range of adaptations employed by diverse cultures, many of which may be applicable elsewhere, especially as climate change is expected to increase the variability of precipitation worldwide.

Prof. Dr. Matt Kondolf
Dr. Ben Porter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • Mediterranean climates
  • hydrologic variability
  • adaptation
  • episodic channels
  • reservoir sustainability

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Characterizing Precipitation Variability and Trends in the World’s Mediterranean-Climate Areas
Water 2017, 9(4), 259; doi:10.3390/w9040259 (registering DOI)
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 6 April 2017
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Abstract
The Mediterranean climate is principally characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. However, there are large variations in precipitation dynamics in regions with this climate type. We examined the variability of precipitation within and among Mediterranean-climate areas, and classified the Mediterranean
[...] Read more.
The Mediterranean climate is principally characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. However, there are large variations in precipitation dynamics in regions with this climate type. We examined the variability of precipitation within and among Mediterranean-climate areas, and classified the Mediterranean climate as wet, moderate, or dry based on annual precipitation; and strongly, moderately, or weakly seasonal based on percentage of precipitation during summer. Mediterranean biomes are mostly dry (<700 mm annually) but some areas are wet (>1300 mm annually); and many areas are weakly seasonal (>12% of annual precipitation during summer). We also used NOAA NCDC climate records to characterize interannual variability of annual and dry-season precipitation, as well as trends in annual, winter, and dry-season precipitation for 337 sites that met the data quality criteria from 1975 to 2015. Most significantly, sites in many Mediterranean-climate regions show downward trends in annual precipitation (southern California, Spain, Australia, Chile, and Northern Italy); and most of North America, the Mediterranean basin, and Chile showed downward trends in summer precipitation. Variations in annual and summer precipitation likely contribute to the high biodiversity and endemism characteristic of Mediterranean-climate biomes; the data indicate trends toward harsher conditions over the past 40 years. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Collaborative Approaches to Flow Restoration in Intermittent Salmon-Bearing Streams: Salmon Creek, CA, USA
Water 2017, 9(3), 217; doi:10.3390/w9030217
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
In Mediterranean-climate regions of California and southern Oregon, juvenile salmon depend on groundwater aquifers to sustain their tributary habitats through the dry summers. Along California’s North Coast streams, private property regimes on land have created commons tragedies in groundwater and salmon fisheries, both
[...] Read more.
In Mediterranean-climate regions of California and southern Oregon, juvenile salmon depend on groundwater aquifers to sustain their tributary habitats through the dry summers. Along California’s North Coast streams, private property regimes on land have created commons tragedies in groundwater and salmon fisheries, both classic examples of commons that are often governed collectively and sustainably by their users. Understanding the linkages between salmon and groundwater is one major focus of salmon recovery and climate change adaptation planning in central California and increasingly throughout the Pacific Northwest. In this paper, I use extended field interviews and participant-observation in field ecology campaigns and regulatory forums to explore how, in one water-scarce, salmon-bearing watershed on California’s central coast, collaborators are synthesizing agency and landowner data on groundwater and salmon management. I focus on three projects undertaken by citizen scientists in collaboration with me and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District staff: salmonid censuses, mapping of wet and dry stream reaches and well monitoring. I find that collaborative research initiated by local residents and agency personnel has, in some cases, created a new sense of ecological possibility in the region. I also consider some limitations of this collaborations, namely the lack of engagement with indigenous Pomo and Miwok tribal members, with the Confederated Tribes of Graton Rancheria and with farmworkers and other marginalized residents, and suggest strategies for deepening environmental justice commitments in future collaborative work. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Climate Variability Structures Plant Community Dynamics in Mediterranean Restored and Reference Tidal Wetlands
Water 2017, 9(3), 209; doi:10.3390/w9030209
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2908 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Mediterranean regions and other areas with variable climates, interannual weather variability may impact ecosystem dynamics, and by extension ecological restoration projects. Conditions at reference sites, which are often used to evaluate restoration projects, may also be influenced by weather variability, confounding interpretations
[...] Read more.
In Mediterranean regions and other areas with variable climates, interannual weather variability may impact ecosystem dynamics, and by extension ecological restoration projects. Conditions at reference sites, which are often used to evaluate restoration projects, may also be influenced by weather variability, confounding interpretations of restoration outcomes. To better understand the influence of weather variability on plant community dynamics, we explore change in a vegetation dataset collected between 1990 and 2005 at a historic tidal wetland reference site and a nearby tidal wetland restoration project initiated in 1976 in California’s San Francisco (SF) Bay. To determine the factors influencing reference and restoration trajectories, we examine changes in plant community identity in relation to annual salinity levels in the SF Bay, annual rainfall, and tidal channel structure. Over the entire study period, both sites experienced significant directional change away from the 1990 community. Community change was accelerated following low salinity conditions that resulted from strong El Niño events in 1994–1995 and 1997–1998. Overall rates of change were greater at the restoration site and driven by a combination of dominant and sub-dominant species, whereas change at the reference site was driven by sub-dominant species. Sub-dominant species first appeared at the restoration site in 1996 and incrementally increased during each subsequent year, whereas sub-dominant species cover at the reference site peaked in 1999 and subsequently declined. Our results show that frequent, long-term monitoring is needed to adequately capture plant community dynamics in variable Mediterranean ecosystems and demonstrate the need for expanding restoration monitoring and timing restoration actions to match weather conditions. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Climate Change Impacts and Water Management Adaptation in Two Mediterranean-Climate Watersheds: Learning from the Durance and Sacramento Rivers
Water 2017, 9(2), 126; doi:10.3390/w9020126
Received: 19 October 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
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Abstract
Climate change is bringing more risk and uncertainty to water management in the world’s Mediterranean-climate regions. In this paper, we compare two Mediterranean-climate watersheds: the Durance basin in southern France, and the Sacramento River in northern California, USA. For the Durance basin, we
[...] Read more.
Climate change is bringing more risk and uncertainty to water management in the world’s Mediterranean-climate regions. In this paper, we compare two Mediterranean-climate watersheds: the Durance basin in southern France, and the Sacramento River in northern California, USA. For the Durance basin, we present new research on climate change impacts on water management, and discuss their implications for potential adaptation responses. For the Sacramento River, we review existing climate data and research on impacts and describe the progress in implementing various adaptation strategies. We find that the Durance and Sacramento—while certainly at different scales—nonetheless share many characteristics, such as a highly variable climate and hydrology, and extensive hydromodification and intense water competition, which will be affected by climate change. Although some issues and approaches to adaptation are unique to each region, at the same time, these two river basins are utilizing some similar strategies to cope with a changing climate, such as regional planning and management and water conservation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Restoring Summer Base Flow under a Decentralized Water Management Regime: Constraints, Opportunities, and Outcomes in Mediterranean-Climate California
Water 2017, 9(1), 29; doi:10.3390/w9010029
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (10282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Seasonal rainfall dynamics in Mediterranean-climate coastal California place pressures on humans and aquatic ecosystems. Without rainfall during summer, residents and land managers commonly turn to streams and adjacent shallow aquifers to meet domestic, irrigation, and recreational water needs, often depleting the water necessary
[...] Read more.
Seasonal rainfall dynamics in Mediterranean-climate coastal California place pressures on humans and aquatic ecosystems. Without rainfall during summer, residents and land managers commonly turn to streams and adjacent shallow aquifers to meet domestic, irrigation, and recreational water needs, often depleting the water necessary to support stream biota. The potential for adverse ecological impacts within this coupled natural-human system has led to interest in restoring summer base flow (especially for federally protected steelhead and coho salmon, which depend on flow through the summer dry season for juvenile survival) through methods such as reducing dry-season water abstractions. Characterizing constraints and opportunities has proven useful for planning streamflow restoration in Mediterranean-climate coastal California. Biophysical parameters such as ample rainfall and very low summer discharge are critical considerations, but institutional parameters are equally important: regional management practices and state laws can inhibit streamflow restoration, and implementation is dependent on interrelationships among residents, agency staff, and other stakeholders (which we term the egosystem) within each watershed. Additionally, while watershed-scale spatial analysis and field-based evaluations provided a solid foundation for exploring streamflow restoration needs, adaptation based on information from local stakeholders was often essential for prioritizing projects and understanding whether projects will have their intended benefits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evolution of Two Urbanized Estuaries: Environmental Change, Legal Framework, and Implications for Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability
Water 2016, 8(11), 535; doi:10.3390/w8110535
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2854 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The San Francisco Bay (CA, USA) and the Tagus Estuary (Lisbon, Portugal) share striking similarities in terms of morphology and urban development. A finer analysis of development patterns reveals crucial differences in the extent of shoreline alteration and types of land use that
[...] Read more.
The San Francisco Bay (CA, USA) and the Tagus Estuary (Lisbon, Portugal) share striking similarities in terms of morphology and urban development. A finer analysis of development patterns reveals crucial differences in the extent of shoreline alteration and types of land use that now encroach upon natural estuarine habitat. Through historical map analysis and prior stratigraphic and historical research, we reconstruct in GIS environment the evolution of both estuaries over the last millennia and the relative distribution of different classes of land cover. We also discuss the legal frameworks that accompanied this evolution, and how they have influenced the process of wetland reclamation and landfilling. We compared the legal history and synchronous patterns of development by compiling historical mapping information and resorting to GIS analysis to explore spatial patterns over time. This method was useful in isolating events and decisions that were unique to each of the case studies. The Tagus Estuary has experienced disruption of natural environments for over two millennia. Yet, the State has been able to keep estuarine lowlands under public control, even if vast areas have been transformed into farmland. Public control could allow wetland migration with rising seas and restoration efforts. The San Francisco Bay was affected by several decades of elevated sediment loads in the 19th century, which induced rapid wetland expansion, but virtual cutoff of sediment supply by dams in the 20th century now impairs their ability to accrete. Meanwhile, tidal wetlands were subject to extremely fast and poorly regulated development. Artificially filled and/or drained wetlands were transferred to local governments and private landowners, in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine. The transformation of wetlands into salt ponds, industrial zones and even residential neighborhoods created extensive developed areas at or below sea level, which are vulnerable to even modest rises in sea level. Remaining wetlands are now heavily encroached on their landward side by urban development, which prevents their landward migration. Different legal interpretations of comparable definitions of public trusts and jurisdictions over shorelines may have significant implications for the ability to adapt to sea-level rise. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Governing for Integrated Water and Flood Risk Management: Comparing Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches in Spain and California
Water 2016, 8(10), 445; doi:10.3390/w8100445
Received: 17 June 2016 / Revised: 31 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 September 2016 / Published: 12 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Flood risk management in the context of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is becoming widely accepted as an approach to improving resilience in light of increasing flood risks due to climate change and other factors. This paper contributes to a better understanding of
[...] Read more.
Flood risk management in the context of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is becoming widely accepted as an approach to improving resilience in light of increasing flood risks due to climate change and other factors. This paper contributes to a better understanding of the governance arrangements needed for effectively implement integrated approaches to managing flood risk. We compare how IWRM and flood risk management have been operationalized within “top-down” and “bottom-up” governance arrangements in the European Union and the United States. We focus in particular on two case study regions, the Catalan coastal region in Spain and the San Francisco Bay Area in California, which have strong similarities in economy, climate, and environmental values, but different institutional settings. Our findings contribute empirical evidence of the need for a balance between “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches. While the San Francisco Bay Area’s strongly collaborative and participatory approach has generated new connections among flood managers and other stakeholders, the lack of a central entity with the capacity and mandate for on-going coordination and region-wide risk assessments appears to constrain its ability to support integrated and adaptive management. The European Union’s top-down approach and the presence of a central authority at the river basin scale have led to a consolidated regional plan in Catalonia encompassing all phases of flood risk management, but the degree of engagement and opportunities for knowledge-sharing among participants may be more limited. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview High Variability Is a Defining Component of Mediterranean-Climate Rivers and Their Biota
Water 2017, 9(1), 52; doi:10.3390/w9010052
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3500 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Variability in flow as a result of seasonal precipitation patterns is a defining element of streams and rivers in Mediterranean-climate regions of the world and strongly influences the biota of these unique systems. Mediterranean-climate areas include the Mediterranean Basin and parts of Australia,
[...] Read more.
Variability in flow as a result of seasonal precipitation patterns is a defining element of streams and rivers in Mediterranean-climate regions of the world and strongly influences the biota of these unique systems. Mediterranean-climate areas include the Mediterranean Basin and parts of Australia, California, Chile, and South Africa. Mediterranean streams and rivers can experience wet winters and consequent floods to severe droughts, when intermittency in otherwise perennial systems can occur. Inter-annual variation in precipitation can include multi-year droughts or consecutive wet years. Spatial variation in patterns of precipitation (rain vs. snow) combined with topographic variability lead to spatial variability in hydrologic patterns that influence populations and communities. Mediterranean streams and rivers are global biodiversity hotspots and are particularly vulnerable to human impacts. Biomonitoring, conservation efforts, and management responses to climate change require approaches that account for spatial and temporal variability (including both intra- and inter-annual). The importance of long-term data sets for understanding and managing these systems highlights the need for sustained and coordinated research efforts in Mediterranean-climate streams and rivers. Full article
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