Thursday, December 11, 2008

restoration vs reclamation

rec•la•ma•tion: ...a reclaiming or being reclaimed; esp., the recovery of wasteland, desert, etc. by ditching, filling or irrigating...

The Dept. of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation was founded on the idea that natural ecosystems are synonymous with wasteland. The result of that approach was that most of the Rio Grande was turned into a sterile ditch fringed by dense stands of exotic saltcedar and Russian olive.
     Over the last decade a philosophy of ecological awareness has gained ground in the area of the Middle Rio Grande and allowed considerable progress in undoing the damage of previous years to the riparian environment. Hundreds of flood-control structures known as jetty jacks have been removed from the river banks, exotic species have been cleared away and the cottonwood forest is making a comeback.

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