Landscape Rehydration

NIDS in the Canadian River Valley

Our initial pilot launched in February, 2023. We installed over 110 NIDS along stretches of 5 watersheds in varying topographic & geologic settings located on privately owned rangelands in the Canadian River Valley, upstream from Lake Meredith and Alibates Flint National Monument. We did not work on the Canadian River itself, but would like to (cough, TX General Land Office). Conservatively, drawdown from the High Plains Aquifer System has reduced the water table here by 150' or more.  We sought to retain sediments & nutrients, slow, spread & soak stormwater so as to facilitate the recovery of functional watershed wetland & riparian processes, and to measure the costs of implementation, maintenance & outcomes. 

The Great Plains biome was irrevocably (?) disrupted by the extirpation of the Bison. Territory was conquered, settled & made real property, owned by (syndicate-backed) cattle ranchers or, up top on the flatlands, aspiring farmers. The rangelands aren't in bad shape but the riparian & wetland areas have been severely degraded. Reduced water availability tends increase pressure on the sources that remain. And cattle have been present for a century, relatively low density but nigh perpetual occupancy. The land use history extends past for thousands of years but modern land users, and those who own title thereto (or under, as minerals or groundwater) are largely disconnected from indigenous traditional ecological knowledge. 

A great number of "soil & water conservation" dams were built circa 1960. This undoubtedly caused incision below. Many of these dams have failed over the decades, as they tend do when they fill up with sediment, catch rain & feed it to the sky - evaporate away, shockingly fast as a function of sun, temperature, humidity & wind. And the wind blows here... 

Groundwater discharge, seeping down from local basement of the High Plains Aquifer System, exposed immediately N. of the Canadian River near the 287 bridge (Dumas Highway)

Seep, Corral Creek

When its' dry, cows go to where its' wet. As pools disappear, the ones that remain get hit harder. The surface waters disappear, which have knockoff effects to the grazier's interests and, of course, ecologically. 

Canadian River

Baseflow comes from groundwater discharge. Natural discharge in our region believed to have reduced by over 90% compared to historical levels (mere century ago).