Our Shrinking Watershed

Donald L Ferrt wolfbat359 at mindspring.com
Mon Apr 19 05:54:01 EST 2004

Larry Caldwell <larryc at teleport.com> wrote in message news:<MPG.1ae1f7a31910217498ada5 at news.west.earthlink.net>...
> In article <97682ad.0404092225.444ca03 at posting.google.com>, 
> armich at cox.net (Rich McGuiness) says...
> >  Development and land use practices have decreased the watersheds
> > ability to handle precipitation before it becomes runoff, at which
> > point it is no longer an asset in the watershed. It can only create
> > destruction until it joins a larger body of water. We have made this
> > worse by focusing on draining the land for agriculture, development
> > and in road building. We now have runoff even in very small events
> > were once it took massive rainfall to overwhelm the storage capacity
> > of the soil. Runoff is always a problem on steep ground, almost always
> > creating some kind of disturbance to the ground between its source and
> > its target outlet. Runoff increases as water conditioning land use
> > decreases, and as the soils ability to store water is diminished and
> > destabilized.
> >   Forests should drip and be moist year round. 
> This is a typical attitude among people ignorant of the range of forests 
> in North America.  One of the great environmental tragedies is the 
> encroachment of juniper in arrid regions.  If a juniper canopy 
> approaches 40%, the ecology of the area is completely destroyed, and is 
> unable to recover on its own.  Fortunately, grazing leases holders in 
> the West are addressing the juniper control problem.  Otherwise, it 
> would be completely ignored by the federal government.

They are the ones who caused it!  I would think they would be
responsible for some action:


> Trees are fierce competitors for available water.  Far from dripping 
> year round, many forests use nearly 100% of the available moisture.  
> Trees kill each other competing for moisture, and the dessicated fuels 
> feed fire storms that bake a water impermeable layer into the soil.
> The best approach to watershed management varies widely, depending on 
> local conditions.

On local cutting conditions no doubt!  I can see where Tamarisk would
be such a problem as you describe:


Few years back, the logic was to cut large areas of apsen trees, so
that the snow mositure would not be used by these trees; but would be
available for dam storage and evaporation and seekage from the dam! 
Found out that a big problem in Colorado was evaporation of the snow
instead of melting and trees absorption!
Snow in the trees is less effected by the hot dry winds Colorado High
country can get which causes massive evaporation instad of melting!

You go around Colorado, you will see large areas where they have taken
Natural stram beds and have eith replaced the bed with concrete or
rock!  They then put rip rock up the sides of the stram to about 10
feet or more!  And run off is them channeled downstream to where it
will cause great problems to those who have not done the same! 
Eventually, way down stram it migh even overwhelm this!  This of
course reduces habitat for wildlife and increases the probablility
that lcoal aquifers will not be recharged with this water!

I beleive the efforts of man to shrink the water shed is much more a
problem that any such trees!  Also, in Colorado with the Use it or loe
it water rules, many a local stream will go dry as farmers use their
allocated water through over irrigation!  Which has caused a great
salt content of the Colorado river!  Which we actually have to remove
a lot of salt from before we can let the water run into Mexico!

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