The Altar Valley Conservation Alliance is a collaborative conservation organization founded in 1995, and incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Just southwest of Tucson, Arizona, the Altar Valley comprises approximately 610,000 acres of Sonoran desert grassland, some of the most biologically rich and ecologically threatened biotic communities in the world. Private ranches work side by side with federal, state and local agencies to manage the valley, which is the largest unfragmented watershed in Pima County, outside of the Tohono O’odham Nation to the west. This collection is an archive of reports and other documents specific to Alliance activities.
Hand-Built Structures for Restoring Degraded Meadows in Sagebrush Rangelands
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Gully erosion and channel incision are widespread problems reducing the function and resilience of wet meadows and riparian areas. The loss of natural water storage capacity in these systems is of concern in low-precipitation areas where wet-mesic areas represent a small fraction of the landscape but are disproportionately important to wildlife and livestock. This technical note provides conservation practitioners with information on simple yet effective “Zeedyk” restoration techniques. The emphasis here is on structures that can be built by hand to address shallow headcuts or small incised channels (< 4 ft deep) impacting meadows and low-to-moderate gradient (< 3% slope) intermittent/ephemeral drainages in sagebrush rangelands. The note provides examples and lessons learned from partners in the Gunnison Climate Working Group who have been implementing a landscape-scale project using these techniques in the Upper Gunnison River Basin, Colorado. The note provides information and references to help practitioners identify opportunities, prioritize treatments, and design projects in similar watersheds across the West.
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