Plan B Rainy Day Backyard Exploring

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I had to cancel my Grand Canyon N Rim plans due to this week's rainstorm, and the previously forecasted Mon-Thu rain continued to linger all weekend. Since I didn't know whether to expect a downpour I stuck around close to home and decided to explore some of the new to me terrain near home. I didn't bother to bring my nicer camera since I didn't expect to find much of interest. Boy was I wrong. Here are cell phone/flat lighting pics of my rambling route. I didn't track mileage, but did a rambling route through Italian and Grapevine Washes and subsidiaries.

The drainages were surprisingly interesting with short sections of narrows
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and high sculpted outcroppings.
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Rabbit brush (Ericameria nauseosa) is one of the few plants in full bloom right now.
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The aspen leaves haven't started to turn color at ~5000'.
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The turkeys took full advantage of the runoff from the recent rains.
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Near the bottom the creek bed widens with willows.
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About to pop back onto the road with southward views toward Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
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Good to see the wet ground. So badly needed.
Most definitely. The one upside to the emergency drought in UT is that they're finally working on putting water conservation measures into place statewide.
 

LarryBoy

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Most definitely. The one upside to the emergency drought in UT is that they're finally working on putting water conservation measures into place statewide.
Apparently UT is second to last in the nation in per capita water usage. And Nevada is last...
 
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Great Pictures -- even from the less nice camera. ;)

Looks like you have some great areas to explore in your backyard, good on you for making the most of a rainy day.
 
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Apparently UT is second to last in the nation in per capita water usage. And Nevada is last...
NV does quite a bit of water recycling and does a far better job at promoting xeriscaping. At least in southern UT there's no financial incentive to conserve b/c property taxes cover the bulk of the water district fees instead of usage based fees. We're also fighting the costly and unnecessary Lake Powell Pipeline Project. Ultimately it's going to take restructuring of the antiquated water rights laws to overcome the wasteful "use it or lose it" attitude, but I can't see that happening in the near future given the agricultural lobby. There's an interesting Fresh Air interview with ProPublica reporter, Abrahm Lustgarten (author of the Killing the Colorado series), about how the Colorado River Compact was based on an anomalous year of high rainfall and how the law disincentivizes water conservation.

If any Utahns are reading this DNR has a water conservation survey out that will help shape upcoming policies.

Great Pictures -- even from the less nice camera. ;)
Looks like you have some great areas to explore in your backyard, good on you for making the most of a rainy day.
Thanks. I feel lucky in that regard.
 

DrNed

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I love the look of red rock after rain!
Good stuff!
 
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thanks, DrNed! The clouds really bring out the desert colors.
 

LarryBoy

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NV does quite a bit of water recycling and does a far better job at promoting xeriscaping. At least in southern UT there's no financial incentive to conserve b/c property taxes cover the bulk of the water district fees instead of usage based fees. We're also fighting the costly and unnecessary Lake Powell Pipeline Project. Ultimately it's going to take restructuring of the antiquated water rights laws to overcome the wasteful "use it or lose it" attitude, but I can't see that happening in the near future given the agricultural lobby. There's an interesting Fresh Air interview with ProPublica reporter, Abrahm Lustgarten (author of the Killing the Colorado series), about how the Colorado River Compact was based on an anomalous year of high rainfall and how the law disincentivizes water conservation.

If any Utahns are reading this DNR has a water conservation survey out that will help shape upcoming policies.



Thanks. I feel lucky in that regard.
Bingo. The Colorado River Compact is fundamentally flawed. The problem, though, is there is no incentive for anyone (except Mexico), much less everyone, to come back to the bargaining table - because everyone would see their acre-feet entitlement drop. So everyone scrambles to grab their piece of the pie, and in the meantime, the river dries up.

With respect to NV, it's not necessarily Josey Q Homeowner who's to blame... there's a lot of fountains and pools and all manner of ridiculousness in the gambling towns that waste an enormous amount of water. Plus it's lower and hotter and has therefore higher rates of evaporation.
 
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With respect to NV, it's not necessarily Josey Q Homeowner who's to blame... there's a lot of fountains and pools and all manner of ridiculousness in the gambling towns that waste an enormous amount of water. Plus it's lower and hotter and has therefore higher rates of evaporation.
Assuming you're mostly talking about Vegas here, but casinos use a small fraction (7.6%) in contrast to residents, even with their silly fountains (which should still go away). Yes, Lake Mead is completely wasteful with respect to evaporation as is Lake Powell and some of smaller, local reservoirs around southern UT. There is an older study that put UT per capita water usage behind NV, but UT DNR admitted their estimates were low by at least 30%.

According to this from the Water Deeply project (formed to focus on water issues in the west) and Congressional Quarterly, Las Vegas has reduced their usage to 127 gallons/capita (a 40% reduction). St George, which has a similar desert climate as Vegas, is close to 300 gallons per capita/day (source: KNPR). Drive around Vegas and count the proportion of houses with grass yards compared to southern California or St George and I think you'd be surprised. Tucson, considered to be a model desert city, is 120. Owning a house with native plant landscaping and no need for irrigation, even 120 gallons per day seems ludicrous.
 

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