Diana Doll: Nature has reason for wetlands

March 9, 2014 

Your editorial “Some ideas for regulations on groundwater” (Opinions, March 5) was timely and logical. I wish the county’s Groundwater Advisory Committee Godspeed on their urgent mission.

To a layperson, the massive planting of new orchards in unirrigated grasslands seems ill-judged, to put it kindly. As has been reported, depleted aquifers sink in upon themselves and cannot refill.

There is another consideration here. I have read the comment that a continuing drought will make the Valley a “Dust Bowl.” The cautionary history “The Worst Hard Time,” by Timothy Egan, shows that the actual Dust Bowl was not initiated by drought. The harsh and windblown high plains were covered with a strong thatch of native grasses, evolved over many thousands of years. A perfectly adapted animal, the buffalo, lived there. When homesteaders and carpetbaggers, in a frenzy of wheat planting, demolished this ecosystem by killing off the buffalo, the stage was set for an overwhelming environmental catastrophe.

Since hope is not a plan, let’s consider our actual circumstances and cooperate with nature. Maybe the grasses and wetlands edging our Valley aren’t providing the short-term promise of orchards. But maybe they are giving us something more important.



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