This article examines the influence of climate variability and accelerated forest thinning on runoff in ponderosa pine forests in the Salt and Verde River watersheds in central Arizona. The effects of thinning treatments were examined over 15-, 25-, and 35-year periods. Over the course of treatments, cumulative runoff on thinned forests was about 20% greater than un-thinned forests, regardless of whether forest thinning occurred in a dry or wet period. Runoff gains were temporary and modest when compared to total annual flows in Salt-Verde (≤3%). Nonetheless, additional runoff from thinning could help offset projected declines in snowpack due to warming, augment river flows on a seasonal basis, improve conditions for water dependent natural resources, as well as provide incidental benefits to downstream users.Download file (847KB)
Central Arizona’s Verde River is a natural resource that is critical to the regional economy, environmental sustainability, and quality of life. The river’s future is uncertain, however, as there are still unresolved issues over how we grow while sustaining a healthy river. This report examines possible futures for the Verde River within the Verde Valley and provides information for stakeholders and decision-makers on the river’s resources, economic value, and tools for promoting sustainable water management. The report also summarizes three water management case studies from around the western U.S. that characterize the range of water management options that communities have adopted.Download file (4 MB)
Published in PLoS ONE, this study used four scenarios to explore the potential effects of alternative growth and water management strategies on river flows. Under the base population projection, we found that rivers in seven of the 18 study watersheds could be dewatered due to municipal demand. Our approach provides a low-cost method to identify where alternative water and growth management strategies may have the most impact, and demonstrates that such strategies can maintain a continued water supply for both people and the environment.Download file (1 MB)
Presents a literature review and results of a May 2007 workshop where 35 subject experts from 16 agencies and institutions synthesized the state of knowledge for central Arizona’s Verde River. Report describes the river’s ecosystem, including its hydrology, geomorphology, riparian, and aquatic habitats, and fish and wildlife species – and how components would respond to changes in surface- and groundwater flows.
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