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Economic and ecological implications of alternative brush management and restoration scenarios designed to improve water yield in two Texas watersheds
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Water shortages throughout Texas have brought increased attention to the state's water supply. One possible method of increasing water yield in water-poor areas is through brush management. Economic modeling of brush control systems designed to improve water yield for numerous Texas watersheds have been performed for single criteria brush control programs that may have negative impacts on certain wildlife habitats and may be unacceptable to landowners. In addition, state-funded brush control programs provide an opportunity for additional restoration practices to be conducted. The purpose of this study is to determine the economic feasibility and ecological consequences of five different brush management and restoration scenarios designed to improve water yield and wildlife habitat in two Texas watersheds by using a model which incorporated information from a hydrologic modeling group, landowner focus group meetings, and range scientists. Brush management/restoration Scenario I incorporates the control of all moderate and heavy mesquite, juniper, and mixed brush on slopes less than 15 percent. Scenario II is identical to Scenario I except that all brush occurring within 75m of a mapped stream remains untreated. Scenario III is similar to Scenario II except that residual amounts of moderate and heavy brush cannot be reduced to less than 40% of the area for all sub-sub-basins. Scenarios II-R and III-R are identical to their counterparts, Scenarios II and III, except that riparian-specific restoration treatments are used in place of a riparian buffer zone. Results indicate that total state costs of implementing Scenario II-R are usually highest for all sub-basins within both watersheds while total state costs are lowest for Scenario III. Costs of additional water are lower for sub-basins within the Edwards study area (ranging from $32 to $70 per acre-foot of water added) than in the Twin Buttes (ranging from $63 to $218 per acre-foot), meaning that brush management efforts are more attractive for the Edwards if water production is the primary goal. While total state costs and costs of additional water are generally higher for the Twin Buttes' sub-basins, those sub-basins, with few exceptions, produced larger amounts of treated acres under all brush management and restoration scenarios.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 60-66).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Olenick, Keith Layne (2002). Economic and ecological implications of alternative brush management and restoration scenarios designed to improve water yield in two Texas watersheds. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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