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Hydrology and soil erosion

Lane, L.J., Kidwell, M.R.
soil erosion, watershed management, water balance, sediment yield, runoff, grazing, semiarid zones, surface water, climatic factors, hydrologic models, mathematical models, CREAMS model, watersheds, vegetation cover, Prosopis, range management
We review research on surface water hydrology and soil erosion at the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER). Conceptual models for annual water balance and annual sediment yield at the SRER were developed and supported by data from four very small experimental watersheds operated by the ARS. The impacts of rotation and year-long grazing activities and of mesquite removal were analyzed using data from four small experimental watersheds. The analyses suggested that mesquite removal reduced runoff and sediment yield, but differences in hydrologic response from paired watersheds due to soils differences dominated grazing and vegetation management impacts. The 28 years of monitoring under the same experimental design on the four pairs of watersheds provides us with a long period of 'pre-treatment' data on the paired watersheds. New treatments could now be adapted and designed based on lessons learned from monitoring over nearly three decades. There is a unique opportunity to institute long-term adaptive management experiments on these experimental watersheds.