December 3, 2010

John Wesley Powell’s Watershed Districts

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Food and Farms, Land Reform, Relocalization — Tags: — Russ @ 5:19 am


A few times I’ve mentioned John Wesley Powell’s idea that the American West should have been politically divided into watershed districts instead of the screwy, usually irrational and ecologically insensible state borders we ended up with.
Just the other day I saw his map for the first time, and I thought it would be interesting and worthwhile to show it here. Unfortunately, I can’t get the image to appear on this blog, so you’ll just have to click. Here’s the original article.
The basic idea is still good, and could be applied in some improved future arrangement. (Back in the heyday of New Jersey’s Highlands Act, I advocated it as the template for a future political redivision of the state into watershed districts. I also said the depressant effect on property prices it was having was actually a rational market correction that ought to be embraced, not apologized for. That was 2005, at the height of the bubble. Needless to say, the enviro-types I was talking to had no interest in either idea.)

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