Installing natural infrastructure can impact the water and carbon budgets of dryland streams and watersheds
An illustration of a mountain with water flowing from the top down to a river with smaller rivers flowing off the sides. Multiple items appear along the various rivers including leaky weirs, one rock dams, log dams, gabions, check dams, trincheras, and earthen berms. Informational bubbles appear alongside these various item in the illustration.
Illustration Title: Aridlands Water Harvesting Study
Riparian detentions structures create soil-water sponges (like wetlands!)
This regenerative riparian management creates climate resilience!
Items: Leaky weirs; one rock dams; trincheras. Healthy vegetation (biomass) is supported up & downstream from structures. Erosion & sediment transport is reduced & hillsides are stabilized. Sediments & organic debris behind structures form thick, rich soils that sequester carbon.
Items: Log dams, check dams, earthen berms. Wetlands fare formed from the soil-water-carbon sponges behind structures. Storage & lateral flow in the hyporheic zone are supported by structures increasing quantity & longevity of water availability. Structures enable vegetation growth = more photosynthesis (carbon drawdown) & evaportranspiration.
Items: Gabions. Structures filter & slow water flow, reducing flood hazards & turbidity = better water quality & better wildlife habitat (*biodiversity!)
Items: Trees, roots, and river. Deep soil sponges supported by structures, enable deeper more plentiful roots, over longe growing seasons, that draw more carbon down! Structures can increase infiltration and potential recharge to aquifers, that could support water tables in times of drought.
Illustrated by Heartwood Visuals.
Norman, L. M., Lal, R., Wohl, E., Fairfax, E., Gellis, A. C., & Pollock, M. M. (2022). Natural infrastructure in dryland streams (NIDS) can establish regenerative wetland sinks that reverse desertification and strengthen climate resilience. Science of The Total Environment, 157738.