Water for the West: start thinning the forests | SummitDaily.com

Water for the West: start thinning the forests

Are we truly running out of water? Many articles in the national and local media suggest that we are, and no doubt government will have to impose more, stricter water regulations on us.

I appreciate our Colorado U.S. representatives’ work in trying to implement projects to thin our heavily dense forest. But there is one more benefit to properly thinning the forest other than just solving the fire danger.

To give a little background information, an acre of forest should have between 50 to 200 trees; the lowest estimate I can find from the government shows forested land has between 450 to 1,000 excess trees per acre.

One mature conifer consumes 10 to 200 gallons of water per day, depending on size and age. Colorado has six-million-plus forested acres. To understand water usage by a tree, I had to find out what water will do if it is not used by a tree. A raindrop has only three choices – evaporate, percolate into the ground or run downhill.

Water is used by the root system of the tree, and the tree’s water evaporates through the needles and is lost. If the water is being used by a tree, it is not percolating into the ground and running downhill to fill rivers, reservoirs and homeowners’ wells.

Do we have a working model? We can start with a Summit Daily article May 18, page A6 (Declaring war against the water-guzzling weed tamarisk).

“A single, large tamarisk can soak up 300 gallons of water per day,” Rep. Scott McInnis said in the story, calling that “an intolerable amount.”

If the tamarisk is consuming intolerable amounts of water, according to Mr. McInnis, so should heavily dense forests using 27 billion gallons of water per day that can restore rivers, reservoirs and wells.

But, I could not find any better example than one of the largest land owners in the country, Ted Turner. A Dec. 31 article in the Albuquerque Journal praised his work on his lands, saying the thinning and burning allow more snow and water to percolate through the ground, fueling springs and creeks.

If it is OK for Ted Turner, then it is OK for the largest land owner in the country, the U.S. citizens. Federal land and water belong to the American people. Our elected officials should be informed on all issues to protect our land, water, property rights and liberties.

We have plenty of water, and who is being told you cannot use it? Ask yourself these questions when you’re viewing the beautiful green forest, in the longest drought in American history, ask what is keeping them green and is this depriving you of your water?

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