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Water Follows the People: Analysis of Water Use in the Western Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA

  • Ellen WohlEmail author
Chapter

The Drylands of Colorado: Regional Setting

The State of Colorado in the western United States has a semiarid climate (Fig.  24.1). This single fact dominates physical and ecological processes in the region, as well as the historical subsistence patterns of indigenous peoples. Rates of bedrock weathering are slow and soils are thin, with limited organic horizons. Vegetation cover is discontinuous in many parts of the state, varying from semiarid steppe characterized by bunch grasses on the eastern plains, through montane pine forests at the middle and lower elevations in the mountains and subalpine spruce and fir forests at the higher elevations, to semiarid steppe and desert shrublands on the western plateaus. Plant adaptations to aridity include reduced stomata and small leaves that may have a waxy or hairy texture to limit evaporation of moisture by the wind, a large percentage of total biomass in roots (between 60% and 80% of the plant’s weight in grasses), and short stature and...

Keywords

Stream Flow Sediment Yield Rocky Mountain Mountain Stream Snowmelt Runoff 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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