Trees in the riparian zone (Trees and water resources).

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Tue Sep 30 04:01:15 EST 1997

A.J. Glauber wrote:
> A complex answer to a complex question.
> Yes, some types of trees do use relatively high amounts of water (e.g.
> willows, cottonwoods, etc.). However, vegetation in channels or
> floodplains slow the flow of water, instead of conveying higher flows
> quickly downstream (often too quickly to be handled by
> stormwater-discharge or filtration systems).
> Riparian wetlands (including forested) provide many beneficial services
> to the ecosystem and to human devleopment. For example, wetlands: (1)
> act as "filters", removing many contaminants from water, including
> heavy metals, and storing them in saturated conditions that may not be
> bioavailable; (2) minimize the impact of flooding, by providing storage
> capacity for high waters; and (3) provide habitat to a plethora of
> wildlife species at varying times in their life histories.
> In my job as a restoration ecologist, I have countless projects that
> involve developing mitigation and restoration plans to offset the
> unintended effects of dredging, channelization, and/or vegetation
> removal. The impacts to both the ecosystem and public works are
> staggering. In the San Francisco Bay Area, voters have just approved
> over $200,000,000 to come up with ways of restoring the Sacramento-San
> Joaquin Delta that is faces catestrophic decline both in terms of biota
> (numerous endangered fish species and aquatic habitats), water supply
> (heavily engineered water distribution systems based on levees,
> dredging, canals, pumping, etc), water quality (decimation of wetlands
> coupled with increase in polution from agriculture, non-point sources,
> etc.),  and various other factors.
> So, let's think before we act! There are ways to accomodate both humans
> and the world beyond that can save countless dollars and quandries in
> the not-too-distant-future.

And of course when all the damage was being done to the environment
there were people speaking up and being ignored as dangerous radicals
who didn't appreciate the wonders of modern capitalism.

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