Reclamation of a low-yielding rangeland site

TitleReclamation of a low-yielding rangeland site
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1977
AuthorsTromble J.M., Gibbens, Robert P., Herbel C.H.
Conference NameNew Mexico Academy of Science
Date Published1977
Keywordsdikes, Jornada Experimental Range, rangeland, reclamation, soil water availability, water ponding, water retention
AbstractNonproductive range areas have been created where the erosive forces of water and wind have removed the surface soil, exposing a subsoil which is impermeable to water. Water ponding is being studied as a possible reclamation technique. Site characterization is being accomplished by use of soil surveys, rainfall simulator, soil temperature, and soil water profile measurements. Treatments consisted of constructing and instrumenting a series of crescent- or horseshoe-shaped dikes designed to impound water 3 and 6 inches deep; any excess water flows around either end of the dike to be caught by the next lower dike. The objective is to retain water longer on the soil surface and permit additional infiltration opportunity. Ten of these dikes were constructed on the Jornada Experimental Range in the spring of 1975. They effectively caught and held water, greatly increasing the depth of soil water and lengthening the period of soil water availability when compared to untreated areas. Grasses are being seeded to hasten the recovery process. The technique looks encouraging and research efforts are continuing.