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.
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