California irrigation the dammed essay

In its natural state, the valley floor was marshy and often flooded in the spring when snow melt in the high Sierra cascaded down the Tuolumne River and backed up behind the narrow gorge which is now spanned by O'Shaughnessy Dam. The Hetch Hetchy Road drops into the valley at the dam, but all points east of there are roadless, and accessible only to hikers and equestrians.

California irrigation the dammed essay

Eddy Promote Pecos River Irrigation In much of the American West, the histories of agricultural activity and farm settlement patterns are directly tied to the availability and sources of useable water supplies.

While hopeful immigrant farmers in the developing West routinely assumed that rain and snowfall would provide the necessary moisture for their crops, this was not true for much of the obviously arid Southwest.

Here, from the beginning, irrigation was seen as a necessary component of any large-scale agricultural activity.

This concept did not originate with the Southwest's Anglo-American settlers; the region was largely unique in America's western frontier in that irrigation was not a new concept, but rather an economic tradition dating back centuries.

Members of both the Southwest's Native American and Hispanic societies regularly watered small fields by constructing modest canal networks, often fed by short-lived, brush, diversion dams across nearby streams and rivers.

This technology was highly vulnerable to flooding and drought, both seemingly common in many southwestern river valleys. Consequently, these reclamation practices were necessarily restricted in their scope and effectiveness, and apparently saw only limited use by early Anglo-American settlers.

Here, near Truchas Peak, a small, clear trout stream tumbles through timber-lined canyons and gorges and soon flows through the 15th century Pueblo of Pecos, now Pecos National Monument. Even at this high 7, feet elevation, Indians and later Spanish settlers tapped the Pecos River for domestic and agricultural purposes.

The river's character changes dramatically, however, when it enters the dry, rolling topography to the south. In this region, with its broad valleys and treeless plains, the Pecos moves through desolate terrain underlain with limestone, gypsum, and sinkholes.

The lower Pecos Valley saw relatively little early agricultural or irrigation activity. Sources suggest that the advent of permanent white settlement was inhibited by Native American hostilities and a general sentiment that the region was simply too "wild. These early ranches were primitive but often massive enterprises that frequently occupied thousands of acres of the high, treeless plains.

Often, the ranchers appropriated water rights for stock watering; these allocations were among the first Pecos River waters utilized by local landowners. Tarr, an observer for the United States Geological Survey, toured the Pecos Valley inhe counted a total of fourteen irrigation ditches leading from small tributary rivers near the young farm and ranch community of Roswell.

The largest of these canals could potentially serve perhaps 2, acres of farmland. Little irrigation water was diverted directly from the Pecos River, and almost no irrigation was occurring downstream south from Roswell. Tarr did note the site of one small brush dam and associated canal on the Pecos itself, the dam had washed out annually until the farmers gave up battling the "changeable and violent" river.

Balancing Diverse Interests

Nevertheless, Tarr admired the valley's potential for larger-scale agriculture. He estimated that the region between Roswell and the Texas line contained someacres of fertile, irrigable land. As settlement in the region slowly increased, others began to recognize the potential.

This awakening to the commercial possibilities of irrigation occurred throughout much of the arid west during the last three decades of the nineteenth century, and entrepreneurs in several western states began orchestrating the construction of large, privately-funded reclamation networks.

These irrigation developments, spurred both by increasing western settlement and improvements in the nascent technology of reclamation engineering, marked the beginning of large-scale irrigation efforts in the West. When the entrepreneurs and boosters of the Pecos Valley began planning their own large irrigation network, they reflected a pioneering trend destined to rapidly reshape western agricultural practice.

From his acre ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, the retired sheriff envisioned the transformation of the lower Pecos River valley from desert to small family farms. In many ways a visionary, Eddy "could dream up something, begin talking about it, would soon begin to believe in it himself, was then irresistible and could convince any skeptic.

Among those who envisioned a larger agricultural presence in the Pecos Valley was a group of adventurous gentlemen who were relatively early arrivals in the Roswell area.Dec 28,  · The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano.

California irrigation the dammed essay

He lives in Davis. Follow him on Twitter. Chris Austin is the creator and former publisher of Aquafornia, a California water news aggregating website, now publishing the California water, science, and policy blog Maven’s Notebook. California, Water Management in California and water: the two always have been, and always will be, inextricably linked.

No resource is as vital to California's cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, scenic beauty, and environmental preservation as its "liquid gold.".

California Water. used for summer irrigation in the Central Valley. This water, combined with the Mediterranean climate permits the growing of a great number of crops. California produces over different crops and leads the nation in production of 75 commodities. California is the sole producer of 12 different commodities including almonds.

A dam's primary function is to trap water for irrigation Showed first characters. Do you need an essay? Here are the options you can choose from: The Impact of Hydropower Dams on California's Populations of Anadromous Fish: What Can be done to mitigate the Dams Effects and Restore California's Watersheds.

already dammed a small. - Dammed Dams The basic principle of a dammed dam is to prevent water from being passed. People have been continuing and to build and perfect these structures, not .

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