Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Invasive Species Assessment and Control to Enhance Sustainability of Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Salinity mobilization and transport from rangelands: assessment, recommendations, and knowledge gaps

Authors
item Weltz, Mark
item Nouwakpo, S. Kossi -
item Rossi, Colleen -
item Jolley, Leonard -
item Frasier, Gary -

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2014
Publication Date: May 16, 2014
Citation: Weltz, M.A., Nouwakpo, S., Rossi, C., Jolley, L.W., Frasier, G. 2014. Salinity mobilization and transport from rangelands: assessment, recommendations, and knowledge gaps. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricutlural Research Service, Great Basin Rangelands Research. General Technical Report 1. Reno, Nevada. 61.

Interpretive Summary: This document is a review and synthesis of the scientific literature covering salinity sources, mobilization, and transport from rangelands to river systems, with particular emphasis on the Colorado River basin. Rangelands cover approximately 40% of the nation, however, there is no coordinated effort to monitor or assess salt mobility, transport and delivery from rangeland uplands to western rivers. Salt transport is a natural process and is the result of complex interactions among soil, vegetation, topographic position, land use and management, and climate. Salt transport occurs when climatic processes (wind, rainfall, and runoff) exceed the soils inherent resistance to these forces. This review of the published literature broadly supports the concept that by controlling soil erosion on rangelands that salt transport to the UCRB would be reduced. However, it is not possible to determine the magnitude or trend in salt reductions that would be derived from proactive conservation/management actions because of the minimal information documenting the benefits from such actions in the peer-reviewed literature. There is a clear need to develop monitoring protocols and research programs aimed at generating standardized and systematic data to develop an effective cost-benefit analysis system to estimate reductions in salt loading from specific conservation/management actions.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of the salinity project is to improve the understanding of sources and transport mechanisms in rangeland catchments that deliver dissolved solids (salts) to streams within the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) through a review of relevant literature on what is known about the impact of range management practices to reduce salt loading to the UCRB. An important goal of the project was to gain knowledge about how certain land management practices or land conditions may be affecting dissolved-solids yields to streams. Changes in the land and water management can be made to reduce dissolved-solids yields and enhance the health and sustainability of rangeland plant communities and improve water quality. Rangelands cover approximately 40% of the nation, however, there is no coordinated effort to monitor or assess salt mobility, transport and delivery from rangeland uplands to western rivers. Salt transport is a natural process and is the result of complex interactions among soil, vegetation, topographic position, land use and management, and climate. Salt transport occurs when climatic processes (wind, rainfall, and runoff) exceed the soils inherent resistance to these forces. This review of the published literature broadly supports the concept that by controlling soil erosion on rangelands that salt transport to the UCRB would be reduced. However, it is not possible to determine the magnitude or trend in salt reductions that would be derived from proactive conservation/management actions because of the minimal information documenting the benefits from such actions in the peer-reviewed literature. There is a clear need to develop monitoring protocols and research programs aimed at generating standardized and systematic data to develop an effective cost-benefit analysis system to estimate reductions in salt loading from specific conservation/management actions.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page