In New Mexico, under the pressures of climate change and population growth, demand for water is increasing, and there is mounting evidence that the available water supply may actually be decreasing. While water use conservation efforts are necessary, there is great interest in finding ways to increase the available water supply. Tree thinning in mountain regions is an effective way to decrease fire danger in areas where forests are overgrown. Potentially, tree thinning can also be used as a tool to increase water supply. This report describes a watershed study in the southern Sacramento Mountains, which focused on the effects of tree thinning on the hydrologic system, specifically on the potential to increase groundwater and surface water availability in the Sacramento Mountains.
Mercury is a globally distributed pollutant that threatens human and ecosystem health. Even protected areas, such as national parks, are subjected to mercury contamination because it is delivered through atmospheric deposition, often after long-range transport. In aquatic ecosystems, certain environmental conditions can promote microbial processes that convert inorganic mercury to an organic form (methylmercury). Methylmercury biomagnifies through food webs and is a potent neurotoxicant and endocrine disruptor. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Maine, and the National Park Service (NPS) Air Resources Division are working in partnership at more than 50 national parks across the United States, and with citizen scientists as key participants in data collection, to develop dragonfly nymphs as biosentinels for mercury in aquatic food webs. To validate the use of these biosentinels, and gain a better understanding of the connection between biotic and abiotic pools of mercury, this project also includes collection of landscape data and surface-water chemistry including mercury, methylmercury, pH, sulfate, and dissolved organic carbon and sediment mercury concentration. Because of the wide geographic scope of the research, the project also provides a nationwide “snapshot” of mercury in primarily undeveloped watersheds.
In a press conference held on November 14 to discuss their climate adaptation plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) discussed the possibility of an agency-wide shift toward holistic watershed management.
To prevent natural resource degradation, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is considering the development of acceptable practices for managing storm water runoff in urbanizing watersheds. Development of strategies to minimize or avoid future flood losses is also contemplated.
To help quantify the relationships between stream geomorphology and land use activities for Vermont conditions and to provide a technical foundation for possible future guidance governing stormwater management runoff control for growing watersheds, ANR commissioned this study under Phase II, Technical Analysis of the project. It is anticipated that Phase III of the project will involve the development of a stormwater management guidance manual for the State of Vermont and Phase IV will involve training and education on the implementation of the guidance.