Proposed limits on dust irk farmers

The EPA is considering lowering allowable particulate matter from 150 micrograms per cubic meter to the range of 65 to 85 micrograms. This would be a very good outcome for many reason ranging from health, soil erosion and snow melt runoff.

Recently a study implicated dust, primarily from western livestock grazing, as a big cause behind earlier and faster snow melt runoff in the Colorado Rockies which resulted in 5% less water in the Colorado River. Under current law there is little regulation on agricultural practices, especially livestock grazing, which could help mitigate this very real problem.

Of course the livestock industry is up in arms over the proposal and have gotten their lackey politicians involved.

“As usual, the EPA has failed to recognize the real-world impacts of their regulations,” [Mike] Simpson said in a press release.

Well, it looks like they are starting to recognize the impacts of their regulations. It now appears that they have seen the failure of their current regulations to protect long term public values over short term profits of the livestock industry. Let’s hope they make the change soon.

Proposed limits on dust irk farmers.
Capital Press agriculture news

Dust cuts water flow into upper Colorado River

Dust from livestock grazing in the southwest reduces water runoff in the Colorado River Basin by 5%

An interesting study has been released by the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies which explains that spring runoff from the Colorado Rockies has been compressed into a shorter period of time due to high levels of dust found on the mountain’s snowbanks.

“Runoff comes from the mountains in a more compressed period, which makes water management more difficult than if the water came more slowly out of the mountains.”

Evaporation and sublimation of the warmer snow itself–then transpiration from the earlier-exposed vegetation–results in water losses to the atmosphere, losses that then don’t go into runoff.

According to the study, the dust loading is five times greater than normal due to human activities such as livestock grazing, activities associated to livestock grazing such as vegetation treatments like these pictured in Nevada, and other disturbances.

After the Mower/Chopper Cave Valley, Nevada © Ken Cole

After the Mower/Chopper Cave Valley, Nevada © Ken Cole


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