Our water problems, too much now and too little later, are a result of our gross mismanagement of our watersheds.
In the natural system, our forest and rangeland watersheds were covered with natural vegetation, which held back water and delivered it in a balanced way throughout the year.
Poor logging practices and the abuse by domestic livestock have resulted in huge peak flows and massive amounts of sheet erosion.
Riparian vegetation is destroyed and streams have become deep ditches.
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In the natural system, streams were on the surface and meandering with healthy and diverse riparian vegetation. Beaver ponds were plentiful. The result was less peak flow and more late season flow.
Even in peak snow years, the spring melt was orderly.
Go and look for yourself the terrible damage done to our watersheds.
Odos Lowery, natural resource specialist, Boise