USDA Actions to Replace Wildlife Values Lost Due to Irrigation Improvements — Colorado Salinity Program

by John D. Hedlund,
G. Arthur Shoemaker,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


USDA is challenged by the conflict generated within the environmental community between advocates wanting irrigation water conservation and water quality improvements and those wanting to preserve wetland and wildlife values and protect endangered fish. Rules, regulations, and laws are often contradictory. SCS is challenged by the need to install irrigation improvements to control salinity, sediment, nutrient, pesticide, and chemical pollution. SCS is also challenged by the need to preserve or replace artificially created wetland values and provide instream flow. Irrigation improvements can eliminate artificially created wetlands and wildlife habitat. There is a middle ground we are striving for, but that effort takes a lot of time and energy. However, progress is being made to improve irrigation systems to control salinity in the Colorado River which traverses the seven basin states into the Republic of Mexico. Progress is also being made to protect the enhance fish and wildlife values at the same time. Progress requires some give and take and compromise between irrigation water conservation and pollution abatement and preserving wetland values, and providing instream flow.

Subject Headings: Salt water | Water conservation | Wildlife | Irrigation | Water quality | Water pollution | Wetlands (fresh water) | Aquatic habitats | Colorado | United States | Colorado River | Mexico

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