Practical Results of Reforestation.
In some sections of the West the cash value of water is thoroughly appreciated and its conservation made secure. Walter V. Woehike emphasizes this fact in a special article in the Outlook on the “Water Savers.” Business men and fruit growers along the San Bernardino range of Southern California had become tired of suits over water supply and set out to learn the source of supply in the forests. After an experience of a dry season some old facts were demonstrated in 1900 by two scientific observers, James W. Tourney and William K. Prentice, of Princeton University. The precipitation and run-off of water from sections of the watershed of the range, denuded of trees and also covered sections, were studied, and it was shown that the covered sections held in reserve the moisture of the winter snows and rains to the extent of 60 per cent, of the whole for the dry period, while denuded sections retained only 5 per cent. The balance of 95 per cent, had been carried off in the first rush of the spring Hoods.
The upshot was the formation of a reforestation committee. Business men of three counties contributed $1,000 each to a fund for restoring the forests where devastated by lumbermen and offered the cash to the national forest service on condition that the government give an equal amount. The value of water that had been going to waste was appreciated as never before. “Astonishment and joy, mingled with skepticism, reigned in the Forestry Bureau when the communication containing the proposal reached Washington. For years the forest service had been lighting against tremendous odds to keep organized interests from destroying the timber on public land, lighting with hut little hope of public appreciation or support. Here, in black and white, the hitherto sleeping public offered real, actual money to he spent for the protection instead of destruction of the trees on public land!” It goes without saying that this was one of the occasions seized immediately by the Chief Forester, without waiting for red tape procedure. By constructing water basins and applying the conservation theory, desert places have been turned into fruitful orange groves.