Care of the Watershed Trees
The water supply, both as to its quantity and its quality, is often dependent to a large degree upon conditions on the watershed. The amount of coverage supplied by a healthy and full growth of trees is very essential, in order that the springs and small streams supplying the larger bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, may not be dried up, especially in the hotter Summer months. In order to insure this covering there must be planted a sufficient number of trees and these trees must he cared for, nurtured and preserved from disease and ravages of pests, if they are to gain their full perfection.
This requires a certain working knowledge of the science of tree culture on the part of superintendent or some one delegated by him to care for the forests of the watershed. There are many points at which this knowledge is necessary and these include all of the stages, from the purchase of the trees or the growth from seedlings, up to the final cutting for lumber or for purposes of thinning out. A properly cared for watershed, if the right variety of trees are planted and intelligently grown, should in time yield a fair profit in lumber cut, and certainly more than cover the expenses incident to the care and nurture of the forests.
The matter of fire prevention is a very important part of the care of the watershed. The cutting of fire breaks at intervals through the heavily wooded portions is a necessary precaution. Another is the maintaining of a small trained force always ready to extinguish any incipient blaze before it develops into a forest fire, and to be prepared to fight the fire intelligently if it gets beyond bounds. This firefighting force can be recruited from the employees of the water works, and should he equipped with light pumping apparatus, hose, brooms for heating out brush fires, spades, picks, etc. This small body should hold occasional drills and should he prepared to take charge of a much larger volunteer force in case of serious forest fires to be handled. The cooperation of the regular city fire department should also he secured, so that if needed they can be called upon to assist and give the advantage of their expert advice.