Water Resources Professional Project Reports

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There is a threat to the health of watersheds beyond natural occurrences. This threat results from human recreational impacts. There are many ways in which watersheds can be managed and protected to better meet human needs for water, food, and other natural resources, including management of recreational activities, both today and tomorrow. In Thompson Canyon along Forest Road 59A, a rock climbing area has received national and international recognition. It is heavily used during all seasons. The National Forest Service writes, ""This use has had a negative impact on surrounding areas. There are several concerns regarding the Thompson Canyon Rock Climbing area: campers have denuded much of the adjacent meadow area, a potential health hazard exists because there are no sanitary facilities, there is no right of way on Forest Road 59A, there are threatened and endangered species concerns, and a lack of developed parking"" (CNF 2000). Typical land uses in National Forests include wildlife habitat, hunting, livestock grazing, agriculture, mining, timber production, recreational opportunities and aesthetic virtues. National forest land is generally managed under a multi-use concept. The objective of multi-use concept is to manage the various natural resources for the most beneficial combination of present and future uses (Brooks, et al., 1997). Likewise, the Thompson Canyon Watershed has been managed under the Cibola National Forest. Since 1987, when land uses in the canyon began to drastically change, Management was never updated or reformed to meet these changing conditions. Simple management techniques can considerably reduce erosion rates to more sustainable levels, without compromising the recreational values that this canyon beholds.

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Datil Mountains, watershed management, Thompson Canyon Rock Climbing Area, Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), sediment delivery ratio (SDR), water-induced erosion, rain drop splash erosion, gully erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, erosion pins, human recreational impacts


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment 0f the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 2001