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To Keep Flow Steady

While it might seem strange to some, to have a Sacramento Valley Newsletter be devoted to fire, you only have to think about the millions of dollars being spent on fisheries restoration to understand how much the upper watershed health means to those of us dependent on water from the Cascades and the Sierra’s. The health of the watershed and its ability to store water is critical to every fish and every farm. For those who don’t remember the “Forest Wars” of two decades ago, the war started over clear cutting and its impact on fish. The concern that large clear cuts would allow soil to be washed away in winter storms seems to be forgotten now as we have burns in the thousands of acres.

Those clear cuts that brought the lawsuits that gave us the Northwest Forest Plan and articles like Tom Knudson’s Sacramento Bee, Sierra in Peril are almost forgotten now as fires rip through the west. As our state makes plans to protect future Generations from Global Warming, no one seems to mind the days on end of smoke filled skies. As former Trinity County Supervisor Roger Jaegel said in a recent letter to the editor “We are tired of breathing our trees.” In addition to forgetting why the Forest Wars started many of us have forgotten why the National Forests were created. I wonder what Mr. Pinchot would say about his beloved forests now?

To Keep The Water Flow Steady

What they do…is to nurse and conserve the rain and snow after they have fallen. Water runs down a barren, hard surface with a rush all at once. It runs down a spongy, soft surface much more slowly, little by little…A very large part of the rain and snow of the arid regions fall upon the great mountain ranges. If those were bare of soil and vegetation, the waters would rush down to the valleys below in floods. But the forest cover-trees, brush, grass, weeds and vegetable litter-acts like a big sponge.

From the Use of the National Forest by Gifford Pinchot

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