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Rainfall retention

Rich McGuiness armich at cox.net
Wed Feb 26 15:56:11 EST 2003

The Klamath river debate, green sturgeon listing, global warming and fire
articles are all related to a single subject, lowering water tables. The
main cause of this is current practices which cause almost all rain water to
drain off the surface intoditches, streams, creeks and rivers as fast as
possible, not allowing saturation. Our more than adequate rainfall here
devastates our landscapes and fills in the streams and creeks with sediment,
then they go dry in the summer, or have so little flow as to be unusable for
native species. Beaver dams traditionally recharged aquifers by impounding
the water. They created humidity. Large wet surfaces separated timbered
hillsides and ridges having at least some fire slowing qualities.
Reintroduction of beaver on the Front Range is said to be refilling the
Ogallala aquifer several feet a year. Higher water tables mean more summer
surface water which is becoming critical to restoration efforts. How do you
restore sturgeon habitat, who need 30-40 foot deep pools, without summer
water? How do you push sediment through the channel if the only water used
has as much sediment as caused the problem? The continued paving, roofing,
soil compacting and clearcutting and emphasis on drainage need to be
rethought. There is a discussion at waterforum at yahoo.groups but much of it
is about politicians and technicians hewing to a billion dollar industry of
controlling a basic right or need. Artificial shortages and bad planning are
impacting all these scenarios in a big way. Interestingly, urban and rural
areas are both similarly impacted.
Richard McGuiness

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