Technical Resources

The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), in collaboration with the Government of the State of Sonora and the Commission on Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEDES), hosted the Fourth Border Sustainable Infrastructure Forum: Resilience and Competitiveness for Cities of the U.S.-Mexico Border. Attendees to the forum held in Hermosillo discussed the importance of using sustainable infrastructure, primarily for its environmental, economic and human health benefits.
Ecologists are rehabilitating delicate habitat in San Diego’s Proctor Valley. The area is a long-time gathering place for outdoor and off-road enthusiasts, but it is also home some of California’s most delicate plant and animal species. KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson looks at an effort that is turning back the clock. See full article: Delicate Vernal Pools Restored In San Diego County
Santa Clara Pueblo experienced a post fire flood. This report is a critique of their land management policies that have severely impacted land and river health.
Abstract There is a widespread view among land managers and others that the protected status of many forestlands in the western United States corresponds with higher fire severity levels due to historical restrictions on logging that contribute to greater amounts of biomass and fuel loading in less intensively managed areas, particularly after decades of fire suppression. This view has led to recent proposals—both administrative and legislative—to reduce or eliminate forest protections and... Full description
Abstract: Developing and restoring moisture retaining areas or patches in arid Southwest landscapes has gained importance in recent decades. Arroyos, specifically those on high desert plateaus, may through cost-effective restoration provide a resilient hydro- ecological niche during uncertain precipitation and prolonged droughts. This research addresses two questions related to this role: 1. what are the microclimatic differences between an arroyo and the adjacent upland and the relationships... Full description
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) has finalized the science report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence.
In this study, hydrological processes are evaluated to determine impacts of stream restoration in the West Turkey Creek, Chiricahua Mountains, southeast Arizona, during a summer-monsoon season (June–October of 2013). A paired-watershed approach was used to analyze theeffectiveness of check dams to mitigate high flows and impact long-term maintenance of hydrologic function. One watershed had been ex-tensively altered by the installation of numerous small check dams over the past 30 years, and the... Full description
Encroachment of open woodlands by shrubs is a global phenomenon associated with marked changes in ecosystem structure and function. We measured sorptivity and steady-state infiltration at two supply potentials under shrubs and grasses and in their interspaces where shrubs were encroaching into grassland. Steady-state infiltration (ponded) and sorptivity were greater at the grassland than the shrubland site, and there was substantially greater infiltration under shrubs (48.2 mm h−1) and grasses... Full description
International Journal of BiodiversityVolume 2014 (2014), Article ID 163431, 10 pages Review Article Holistic Management: Misinformation on the Science of Grazed Ecosystems John Carter,1 Allison Jones,2 Mary O’Brien,3 Jonathan Ratner,4 and George Wuerthner5 1Kiesha’s Preserve, Paris, ID 83261, USA 2Wild Utah Project, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA 3Grand Canyon Trust, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA 4Western Watersheds Project, Pinedale, WY 82941, USA 5Foundation for... Full description
Ecologists have concluded that diversity per se in ecosystems is important to ecosystem function and ecological services. Meta-analyses of several hundred investigations showed that a loss of diversity negatively affected ecosystem function (Balvanera et al., 2006; Cardinale et al., 2006, 2011; Tilman, 2012). Specifically, research showed that loss of species diversity decreased productivity, resilience, nutrient cycling, drought tolerance, options for water management, resistance to pests and... Full description
Thirty million people in the American West depend on snowmelt to grow food, slake their thirst, and run their towns, cities, and industries. Twenty-two million of them live in Southern California. As in many parts of the world, western water supplies are over-allocated and populations are growing. Increasing variability in precipitation—the primary impact of climate change on the hydrologic cycle—exacerbates the stress: longer droughts, less snowpack, and earlier snowmelt are already observable... Full description
Introduction The urban forest (or community forest, used interchangeably) consists of the trees along our streets, the landscaping around our homes and institutions, the vegetation in commercial and industrial areas, the multi-layered forests in our natural areas and the plants in our parks. Community forests include all of the related landscape vegetation on both public and private property, along with the watersheds, wildlife, soils and microbes within the urban environment. Trees, due to... Full description
Overview On Wednesday, September 11, 2013 Van Clothier from Stream Dynamics, Inc. met at city hall with Mayor John Mulcahy, City Manager Juan Fuentes, and Street Department supervisor Buster Smith. We discussed the damaging rainwater runoff situation and I gave a presentation on water harvesting techniques that could potentially help solve the problem. After about an hour I departed with Buster Smith for a tour of the problem areas and source areas where the water was coming from. While doing... Full description
Executive Summary The Town of Silver City initiated a water conservation planning process to evaluate ways to sustain and conserve its municipal groundwater supply. The water conservation plan was developed with guidance and review of a stakeholder group that included representation from the Town, water associations, environmental groups, local committees, the local business community, the New Mexico Environment Department, the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, and the general... Full description
Efforts to restore ecosystems often focus on reintroducing apex predators to re-establish coevolved relationships among predators, herbivores and plants. The preponderance of evidence for indirect effects of predators on terrestrial plant communities comes from ecosystems where predators have been removed. Far less is known about the consequences of their restoration. The effects of removal and restoration are unlikely to be symmetrical because removing predators can create feedbacks that... Full description
See at USGS site here.
Objective: To assess potential causes of woody plant encroachment into desert grassland systems using a 5500-yr-old sediment record from a cienega in New Mexico. Location: Cloverdale Cienega, southwestern New Mexico. Methods: Utilizing fossil pollen and charcoal preserved in wetland sediments, a long-term record of variations in vegetation composition and fire activity was generated. The record was compared to published data on drought, the El Nin~o/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO), carbon dioxide... Full description
The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) recovery program is an example of single-species manage- ment to preserve flora and fauna. We argue that conservationists must move beyond that approach for success. In 1988, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a down-listing goal of 1500 adult black-footed ferrets in 10 wild populations by 2010. The recovery program has only reached 23% of that goal. The overriding reason is the lack of regulatory mechanisms for poisoning and shooting... Full description
WHEREAS: Water is one of the most valuable resources in this dryland community. Developing, operating and maintaining well water and delivery systems is expensive. Town wells deplete the aquifer, and electricity must be used to pump this water uphill, where it originally came from. Meanwhile, storm water runoff from urban hardscape (roofs, roads, etc.) produces way more water than all the wells combined, and can deliver it for free directly to one thousand places. In this remote mountain... Full description
With the passage of the nation's first municipal rainwater harvesting ordinance for commercial projects, Tucson placed itself at the forefront of the national rainwater harvesting movement. The ordinance calls for 50 percent of water used for landscaping on new commercial properties to come from harvested rainwater. Looking forward, the law will require this proportion of water used in landscaping to be increased to 75 percent within three years of the property being legally occupied. The only... Full description
In recent years, people have interpreted scientific information about the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) in various, and sometimes conflicting, ways. Political complexity around the relationship among black-tailed prairie dogs, agricultural interests, and wildlife has increased in recent years, particularly when prairie dogs occur on publicly owned lands leased to private entities for livestock grazing. Some have proposed that estimates of prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) numbers... Full description
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Boise, Idaho Many riparian areas in the West need rehabilitation. Natural climatic events and abuses in the past have caused the destruction of vegetation and accelerated streambank and stream bottom erosion (Kauffman and Krueger 1984; Skovlin 1984; Platts 1981; Thomas and others 1979). Emphasis on water quality, aesthetics, wildlife, and fisheries has prompted interest in methods for revegetating eroding stream channels (Carlson 1992; Carlson et al.... Full description