Notes for lectures of Natural Resources Conservation prior to the 2nd midterm. Save out of your browser as a text file and import into a word processor then double or triple space and print out. I suggest putting them in a binder separated by lecture and bring to each class meeting and to review sessions. Add your own notes between the lines and use a highlighter to mark major facts and concepts.







Lec. 11. Pesticides & Their Management.



Pests & their nasty habits…

•      Pests are as old as human history; some agricultural societies worshiped cats and falcons because they controlled grain-eating rodents.

•      Today insects and weeds and fungi cause hundreds of billions in damage and directly kill thousands and indirectly kill millions.





What is a pesticide?

•      Chemical substance designed to kill a pest.

•      Includes: insecticides (kills insects), herbicides   (kills plants, usually weeds)

   Fungicides (kills molds, fungi)

•      Also: mitecides (kills spiders and mites), nematodecides (kills round worms), rodenticides (kills rats & mice) and some others.







Major types of pesticides:

•      Persistent including heavy metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons

•      Non-persistent including carbamate and organo-phosphate compounds.



Good and bad of persistent pesticides.

•      Good: Persistent pesticides require only one application to be effective for long period (decades for chlorodane termite treatments)

   Some are non-toxic the people (DDT for example) and have saved many lives by preventing diseases.

•      Bad: persistent pesticides can bio-accumulate, they can affect non-target species and some such as chlorodane and arsenic are carcinogenic (cause cancer.)







Examples of problems with persistent pesticides:

•      DDT discovered in 1939 used throughout world caused egg shell thinning and biomagnified banned in U.S.1972, still in use in Mexico, third world.

•      Agent Orange and Dioxin.

•      Chlorodane: used for termites shown to cause liver cancer banned in 1970’s.

•      Lindane still available but rare.


Wood preservatives:

•      A major local problem: superfund sites in Conroe.

•      Used to treat telephone poles to discourage dry rot and insects.

•      Originally petroleum distillates called creosote used, in 1950’s ortho-chlorophenol used (contains dioxin)

•      Now copper compounds used.



Bio-accumulation & Biomagnification.

•      Bioaccumulation means that pesticide enters and stays in animal tissue (usually fatty tissue or mothers milk). Example: PCBs in Oysters.

•      Biomagnification means that as one goes up the food chain concentration of accumulated pesticide in tissue increases:

•      Examples: DDT in eagles & falcons, mercury in swordfish.




Non-persistent pesticides.

•      Naturally break-down in the environment.

•      Less likely to bioaccumulation and biomagnified.

•      Include organo-phosphates, carbamates and pyrethrins (found naturally in chrysanthemums).


Non-persistent does not mean non-toxic.

•      Non-persistent pesticides have lower long-term toxicity (called chronic toxicity) but they are often highly poisonous immediately (high acute toxicity).

•      Examples: Organo-phosphates common in agriculture. Also used in nerve gas like VX (1 drop on hand is fatal in minutes). Carbamates caused Bhopal accident in India,



Example of Diazenon.

                 Banned in 2001 for most home uses due to toxicity to children

•      Non-persistent but shows up in every water sample taken in Texas.

•      Low acute toxicity but requires high application rate.

•      Resistance is developing among fire ants so what is alternative? Possible biological control.



Targeted pesticides

•      Designed to take advantage of some aspect of pest physiology or behavior.

•      Growth regulators are an example

•      Example: Logic.



Effectiveness of pesticides:

•      Pesticides are one factor that has held off global starvation but at a price.

•      Farmers using monoculture become dependent on heavy use of a broad-spectrum pesticide that has also killed the natural predatory insects and spiders and even birds.

•      However most pests develop resistance over time and generally faster than beneficial insects (Why?)



Other non-toxic pest control methods:

•      Use of bacteria or viruses.

•      Introduction of beneficial species.

•      Use of pheromones and sterilized males.

•      Use of mixed cropping and crop rotation.

•      Development of genetically engineered resistant plants.


Genetic Engineering.

•      Plants can be genetically engineered to resist pests.

•      This has been done for thousands of years through selective breeding.

•      Now molecular biology allows creation of plants with properties of other plants such as toxicity to be created.




Biological Control

•      In biological control a natural or introduced predator species is used.

•      Examples include lady bugs that eat aphids, wasps that eat caterpillars and praying mantis's that eat just about anything smaller than them.

•      Sometimes predator could be worse that disease (fire ants to control termites?)


Natural predators.

•      There are many species that prey on pests.

•      Some are disliked by man although these are beneficial snakes, spiders and bats are best examples.

•      Also most wasps, many ants, and praying mantises and lady bugs.

•      Lady bugs are cuddly killers most others are less lovable but can be very effective.




Messing with their sex lives.

•      Most insect pests (fungi also) live a short time so interfering with their reproduction can eliminate these pests.

•      There are several methods:

•      Use of sterilized males

•      Use of pheromones to get their timing off

•      Use of pheromones plus toxic baits.




Integrated Pest management (IMP):

•      Combines use of toxic chemicals timed appropriately and used sparingly with:

•      Biological control particularly saving existing predators (Birds, bats, spiders).

•      Mixed cropping and rotation.

•      Genetically engineered plants.

•      Water conservation (less water means better retention of applied pesticides).




Human exposure to pesticides:

•      Manufacturing workers used to get highest exposure: (Dioxin and DBCP).

•      Agricultural workers most at risk now from over spraying.

•      Residue on fruits can be a problem especially for imported produce.

•      Groundwater contamination a problem in some areas (Long Island, NY, CA Central Valley).






Protection Measures

•      Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

•      TOSCA

•      OSHA regulations

•      Safe drinking water act.

•      Food and Drug Administration



The future:

•      More banning (lindane in 2001).

•      More use of genetically engineered plants and chemicals that are narrow rather than broad spectrum.

•      More biological control

•      Possible nanomachines (Sony already has a radio control cockroach).












































Lec. #12. Water Resources I.


•      The significance of water,

•      The hydrologic cycle,

•      Water shortage/excess, 



Significance of Water:

•      Essential to all life. Death within 3 days without water, less in Desert. 

•      Average use in USA 180 Gal. per person per day.

•      A perpetual resource but distribution & degradation is a problem.

•      Most serious natural resource challenge in Southwestern U.S.


The hydrologic cycle:

•      Refers to the constant process of:

•      Evaporation  from the oceans (and to a lesser extent from lakes, forests and soil),

•      Condensation into clouds,

•      Precipitation as rain or snow.

•      Return to the ocean via rivers and groundwater flow.




Distribution of Water.

•      97.3 % in oceans

•       90% of fresh remainder is ice caps (Antarctic & Greenland).

•      Less than .3% in lakes, streams and groundwater aquifers: supports all terrestrial life.

•      Only .001% in atmosphere, but vapor & clouds have huge effect on climate.






Distribution of Surface Water in USA:

•      Abundant in southeast (except some parts of Florida).

•      and Northeast (Except major urban areas and coastal areas).

•      Less abundant in Midwest.

•      Rare in West, except Pacific Northwest.

•      Texas is marginal, except “deep east” Texas.



Distribution of Groundwater.

•      Exists under most of U.S. but some is saline.

•      Major aquifers are: California Central Valley, Columbia, Ogallala, Midwest Buried Valleys, Floridian, Gulf coast and Atlantic Coast.

•      Edwards is most important entirely Texas.


Floods & Droughts.

•      Both floods and droughts plague some areas. Many droughts end with a “thunder clap”. Dams store floodwaters for later use, but evaporation, interruption of spawning & replenishment of soils is a negative.



•      Rare in some areas continuous in others.

•      It’s hard to define beginning and hard to change water use patterns.

•       Texas: Dust bowl, 1951-1957 and 1995-1996, summer 1998 and so far this year were bad.

•      California drought 1984-1991.


Impact of droughts:

•      Sensitivity to drought varies greatly:

•      Areas dependent on rain-fed agriculture are vulnerable

•      Areas using groundwater less so.

•      Case of Edgewood, Texas.

•      Planning can minimize adverse impacts, wildlife has more trouble adjusting.



•      Floods can be of short or long duration.

•      Flash floods typical in deserts and central/south Texas, while extended floods typical of river valleys like Mississippi.

•      Flood control measures can make worse.

•      Flood plains are flat and have rich soils so often have been developed.





Water’s Role in the Environment.

•      Water plays a key role is sustaining all organisms. Human activities can drastically affect rivers and lakes.

•      Examples: Colorado River, Columbia River and Trinity River.

•      Some impacts of human use and development are beneficial, some are detrimental.



Water Use in Industry.

•      Water is needed by industry for processing and waste disposal. Oil, gas and petrochemical industries are big users.  Cause of groundwater overdraft and subsidence in Ship Channel area.

•      Other industries also depend on water.  Example: Miller brewery.


Water Use in Municipalities.

•      For domestic purposes typical family uses 200-400 gallons a day.

•      65% for watering lawns and gardens.

•      Domestic use varies regionally, with Arizona Nevada and West Texas very high, New England low.


Water Use in Agriculture:


•      Uses 70-90% of all water in west and Midwest.

•      Most for irrigation of row crops and pasture. CAFO’s and orchards can also be large users.

•      Most from Fed. water projects in West and from groundwater pumping in Midwest.



Regional Use of Water.

•      Water use in highest per capita in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana (Higher % of farmers).

•      Total water use highest in California.

•      Surface Water use highest in California, and Texas.

•      Groundwater use highest in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.




























































































































































Lec. #13. Water Resources II, Conservation.



Water Resources Management:

•      Combines hydrology with planning, law, economics, aquatic biology, chemistry, engineering and often forestry.


•      Seeks to minimize flooding, insure water supply, maintain or improve water quality, etc.



Competing demands:

•      There are increasing demands on a finite supply of clean water for agriculture, industrial and municipal uses, to sustain natural environments, provide recreation, generate electricity and disperse wastes.

•      Many of these uses are incompatible.





Level of Water Resources Development:

•      Varies from region to region. California, Arizona and Nevada have most development.

•      In New England only 6% of water is consumed.

•      In California 42% consumed.

•      In Colorado River Basin of Southwest 92% or more consumed.








Overuse of surface water:

•      Causes increasing salinity of water.

•      Loss of fisheries and habitat.

•      Loss of power production and navigation.

•      Example: Colorado River, Mono Lake.







Groundwater over-draft

•      Causes higher pumping costs,

•      Lower water quality

•      Salt water intrusion

•      Subsidence.

•       Example: Central Valley.
Baytown & Jersey Village Texas.



Increasing water supply:

•      Building dams can be an answer, but not always. Is water flowing into ocean wasted? Example: Lake Mead & Powell.

•      Alternatives include: Infiltration basins, injection wells, wastewater reuse and desalinization.

•      Examples: Las Vegas. Yuma, AZ. Saudi Arabia.







Wise use of water

•      Is needed since lack of planning can lead to crisis. Example: Edgewood, Texas.

•      But it is difficult since costs are high and interests are entrenched, but planning for future is essential or.

•      Ben Franklin’s observation that “We only learn the true value water when the well runs dry…” will be proved right once again.




Domestic Conservation

•      Residential water use can be cut 30% painlessly: Low flow toilets (1.6 vs. 5 gal) fix leaks, mist shower heads, replace grass with rock, etc.

•      Low flow toilets and shower heads, Xerascape, Reuse of greywater.

•      Changes in behavior:

–    Bumper stickers: “Do  Not Wash! Scientific Dirt Test in Progress” & Conserve Water:  or

–    “Take a shower with a Friend!”





Industrial conservation.

•      Pollution control rules have caused industry to discharge less/recycle more

•      Some areas like ship channel have switched sources from groundwater to surface water.

•      Some industries have sold water rights.

•      Some industries have reengineered

•      Example: Miller Brewing Co.



Water Conservation Examples.

•      Example Mirage hotel uses only 300 acre feet per year. Less than a mid-sized farm.

•      Recycles greywater, pumps perched groundwater and treats it with reverse osmosis. Uses xerascaping in some areas drip irrigation in others.






“Wheeling” Water

•      “Wheeling” is transferring a water right.

•      Usually this involves transfer from agriculture to urban users in the same state.

•      However, sometimes urban users have paid for conservation measures and taken the water that was saved.

•      Example Imperial Irrigation District/MWD.





Why is water conservation not more common?

•     Conservation methods  cost $.

•     Water is cheaper than dirt, so conservation is economically unattractive.

•     Some uses are more economically rewarding than others.

•     Example: irrigated pasture.


New sources of water:

•      Good quality surface water sources are generally already used to a high degree.

•      Only by taking away water from one group can additional surface water supplies be developed in most local areas (particularly in the arid areas of the country)




Groundwater to the rescue?

•      Groundwater resources are accounting for an increasing proportion of water supply and there are largely untapped aquifers in many areas, but contamination and overdraft remain a threat.

•      However, conservation is the cheapest new source of water.




Not out of my basin…

•      Inter-basin transfers are possible, but very controversial. Examples of proposals include:

•      San Luis Valley, Peripheral Canal, Trans-Texas Project, NAWAPA.

•      Will Lake Superior make Minnesota the richest state in the country? Not likely.



Other new sources:

•      Sea water desalinization not economically practical at present.

•      Saline water treatment is marginal. Example: Clay Thorne and his “Tar”.


International conflicts:

•      Conflicts over water in the Middle East, in developed countries and arid areas will grow.

•      Rivers often form borders.

•      Example Danube Dam and Jordan Rivers.

•      Also, pollution originating in one nation may impact downstream countries.

•      Dams may require relocation of many people.

•      United Nations writes many reports but has almost no power.






































Lec. #14. Water Quality & Pollution.



What is water quality:

•      Besides measuring quantity of water the other water related parameters measured in the field usually involve quality measurements.

•      Quality measurements can be of the water body itself  or of a source of pollution such as a factory discharge, the run-off from a farm or sewer line.


 Water characteristics.

•     Composition: H2O and then some…

•     Natural constituents: Ca, Mg, CO3, SO4, Fe not a problem.

•     Problem elements Cl, Na, As, Pb, Mn, Radon gas and microorganisms.

•     Anthropogenic: Human & Animal wastes, hydrocarbons, metals, pesticides, and solvents.


Total Dissolved Solids

•      Measure of minerals and organic matter in solution.

•      Different than suspended particles

•      Usually measured as dissolved ions that change conductivity of water.

•      Water more than 1,000 parts per million is brackish, more than 10,000 ppm is saline.








•      cloudiness of water,  gives an indication of clarity.


Why is turbidity important.

•      Turbidity is an indication of presence of microscopic scum & clay in suspension.

•      This provides a nice hiding place for nasty microbes, so turbid water is difficult to chlorinate and disinfect.

•      Thus when it rains, Huntsville’s water treatment plant must shut down.


Dissolved oxygen:

•       (DO) is needed to support fish and break-down wastes, low DO is common in summer in stagnant water…

•      Low DO means dead fish...



•      Temp. that is too high ,say due to discharges from a power plant is a problem (Example: Tampa, Florida), but warm water is enjoyed by some species like lobsters (Example New Hampshire).

•      Higher temperatures promote solution of more minerals, some can be toxic.



•      pH is a measure of acid/base balance.

•      Either low or high pH can be bad.

•      Ranges from 0-14, 7 is neutral.\

•      0-7 is acidic, high acidity can leach toxic heavy metals.

•      7-14 is alkaline high alkalinity can hurt plants, make water hard to chlorinate.




Natural or not:

•      Water quality can involve natural constituents or anthropogenic contaminants...

•      Natural constituents can be of three types:

•      1) Inorganic minerals, 2)Organic substances and 3) organisms (such as microorganisms) .








Minerals :

•      Include salts (ionic compounds) and silica...

•      Major salts are calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, iron.…

•      All natural water has some dissolved minerals.

•      Example: Desani


Heavy Metals:

•      Heavy metals like lead and arsenic are less common but more of a problem since they can be toxic to people.

•      In some areas (western Colorado) radioactivity is naturally in water  as radon gas (from break-down of uranium)

•      Greatest danger is in the shower.



•      Include viruses, bacteria, animals (amoebas).

•      Some micro-organisms that cause problems in U.S. are giardia, crypto-spiridium (Example: Beer City).

•      In third world countries (Mexico, Arkansas, etc) amoebas and coliform bacteria are common: don’t drink that rum and coke on the rocks…Watch out for the Hotel Lord in Merida.





•       Point source. Factory or city sewage outfall. Heavy metals and human wastes.

•      Non-point source: agricultural field or streets, parking lots. Animal wastes and pesticides.

•       Hydrocarbons may come from a point source (like a refinery) or a non-point source (like a parking lot).




•      Anthropogenic contaminants include: human and animal waste, fertilizers, oils, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals.

•      Most are present at low levels so sophisticated lab methods, not field methods are used.

•      Most are present at some level in all surface water bodies (example: diazinon).








Human and animal waste:

•      Composed of substances that when broken down by micro-organisms deplete the dissolved oxygen in water that is needed for fish.

•      Impact of waste is measured as biological oxygen demand (BOD).

•      Also, sewage has ammonia and fecal coliform and strep bacteria.



Heat: thermal pollution.

•      Usually related to power plant discharges.

•      Can be bad or beneficial to aquatic environment.

•       Examples: Tampa Bay, vs.. Clearwater River in Florida & Seabrook in New Hampshire.


Toxic substances in water:

•      Synthetic organic chemicals like PCB’s and DDT.

•      Hydrocarbons like gasoline or crude oil.

•      Solvents like TCE, PCE.

•      Heavy metals like lead, chromium, mercury and arsenic.

•      Radioactivity: usually Radon gas.



Fate of pollutants:

•      Dispersion: “Dilution is the solution to pollution”...

•      Biochemical decay: Microbes convert to CO2  use up O2.

•      Sedimentation: persistent pollutants like DDT, PCBs and heavy metals stay in sediments.

•      Example: Minimata Bay, Japan.



Groundwater pollution:

•      Invisible problem that is widespread and very difficult to remediate.

•      Aquifers are vulnerable depending on proximity of pollution sources, permeability of soils, depth to water, and rates of groundwater flow.



What are aquifers.

•      Aquifer: a area of rock or soil that can store and transmit water.

•      Two types: Water table & confined aquifers.

•       Water table aquifers are more vulnerable to pollution.


Sources of groundwater contamination:

•      Point sources: LUST. Landfills. Toxic waste dumps. Industry.  CAFO’s.

•      Non-point sources: Urban run-off. Agricultural fields. Feedlots. Mines. Septic tanks.

•      Major on-going problems are landfills, septic tanks and agriculture. Laws have improved industry & toxic dumps.



Extent of groundwater pollution:

•      Over 1 million LUST sites.

•      Millions of anaerobic septic systems in poorly draining soils (a major problem in Texas),

•      20,000 plus solid waste landfills, most not built in compliance with RCRA.

•       3,000 + hazardous waste sites, 1,200 on superfund list.




Is your drinking water safe? 

•      Probably yes, possibly no, but how safe is safe?

•      Many rural water systems are out of compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act standards,

•      Also many private wells.



Examples of drinking water risks:

•      400,000 people sick in Milwaukee, 16 people die in Las Vegas from cryptospiridium.

•      EPA estimates 6,000 additional cancer cases per year due to chlorination of organic laden water forming THM’s.

•      Chlorine alternatives limited, standards for turbidity are being made tougher.



Water pollution control methods:

•   Waste-water treatment: aerobic plants and/or anaerobic process. 

•    Industrial process controls.

•   Proper storage, & disposal of toxic wastes.

•   Pump & treat groundwater pollution.

•   Anaerobic septic systems phased out, replaced by aerobic systems (possible air quality and health hazard if improperly maintained).



Chlorine: The good, the bad and the smelly...

•      Chlorine is added to water to kill harmful microorganism that would kill millions in U.S. otherwise, but it can be toxic to fish and organisms.

•      Chlorination can also produce tri-halomethans that can cause cancer in people.

•      Water with lots or organic matter (like Lake Livingston’s in summer) needs heavy chlorination, could be a problem...


Status of Water Quality in USA:

•      Most dramatic progress in water quality in USA in last 25 years.

•      Most towns have secondary sewage treatment.

•      Most discharges by industry have been reduced or eliminated.

•      Non-point source pollution major remaining problem.



Status of Water Quality in other countries:

•      Water quality is improving in Canada, Japan and Western Europe

•      Going down-hill in developing countries with new industries:  Mexico, India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia.

•      Along with shortage (which makes quality poorer)  is biggest resource problem facing developing countries with the most people.



































Lec. 15. Aquatic Ecosystems


Wetlands and Aquatic Ecosystems:

Wetlands: Definition:

•      A wetland is an area that meets two of the three following criteria:

•      Hydrologic: consist standing water.

•      Soils: presence of hydric soils.

•      Plants: obligate hydrophilic vegetation.



•      1) Saturated soils or stagnant standing water on the soil surface for more than 14 days per year over several years.

•      Rivers, permanent lakes, springs and ponds are wet but not “wetlands”.




•       Presence of hydric soils:

•      These are usually histosols: Saturated, reduced oxygen, low pH, high organic matter soils at the surface.

•      Sometimes are sands or muds with low organic matter content.

•      Quick sand is included.





•      3)Presence of obligate wetland vegetation on a consistent basis.




•      Wetlands provide: detention storage of flood waters thus reducing flood damage,

•      Recharge of groundwater aquifers,

•      Input of nutrients into aquatic environments,

•      Break-down of harmful water pollutants

•      Habitat for development of fish and aquatic species.







•      About 50% of all wetlands in U.S. have been drained mostly lost to farmland and now urbanization.

•       Loss rate has declined and some wetlands have been restored or even created.




Constructed Wetlands:

•      manmade “wetlands” used as “mitigation” or for water treatment.

•      Examples:  Phoenix, AZ,

•      Beltway 8,

•      Pinon, AZ.

•      Galveston Bay.




•      Wetlands are recognized as a resource not something to be dreaded or drained.

•      Protected by section 404 of Clean Water Act also somewhat by NEPA.

•      National Wetlands Inventory program in National Biological Survey to map wetlands.

•      Requirement for COE permit and possible mitigation and/or Abanking@.

•      Source of controversy.


Examples of Wetland Issues:

•      Ellwood Shores Study.

•      Camp Crowder study.

•      MacDonald Creek  problems.


Aquatic Ecology:

Food chains and productivity.





•      The over-enrichment of an aquatic ecosystem.



•      A limiting factor supplied by man

•      ( inadvertently) will over-enrich an ecosystem.

•      Aquatic ecosystems have trouble with eutrophication.

•      P in sewage and detergents: Example: Lake Okochobee and Lake Livingston.




Limiting factors:

•      Things that are in short supply and are essential for an organism.

•      Nutrients and space are most important ones.

•       Examples: phosphorous, nitrogen, iron. Activity of predators is another limiting factor.

•      Influences carrying capacity.





•      Nitrate, Ammonia, & Phosphorus.

•      These are limiting nutrients if introduced can cause algal blooms (eutrophication).

•      Mostly from sewage and fertilizers.

•      Use of phosphates in detergents banned in 1970’s.



Fate of toxic substances:

•     Harmful chemicals when released into the environment move through biogeochemical cycles and the food chain
Accumulate in higher concentrations at higher trophic levels.

•     Some toxins are persistent.




•     The combination of persistence and spread through food chain causes bio-accumulation.

•     Examples: DDT in eagles, PCBs in oysters and man.


Distribution of toxic substances in the environment:

•     Toxins in air settle out with precipitation.

•     Toxins in water tend to be absorbed in  sediments. Some may be bio-degraded by bacteria.

•     Toxins in groundwater may migrate very slowly and remain for years.



Examples of problems due to ignorance:

•     Lake Livingston/Trininty River.

•     Minnimata Bay.











































Lec. #16. Marine & Fisheries Resources:



•      The oceans cover 3/4 of the planet.

•      Except for “200 mile territorial waters” the oceans are actually owned by no  person or government.

•      Tradition allows unlimited rights to the “high seas”...



Common Property Resource:

•      Oceans are the outstanding example of a “Common Property Resource”.

•      The lack of owners does not imply a lack of problems.

•      Garret Hardin “the tragedy of the commons…”



“Use it or loose it”...

•      With no owner, the resource is likely to be over-exploited by individual people, companies or countries each seeking to get as much as possible or risk losing the resource to others.




•      Oceans are a complex system with immense flows of nutrients, energy, tides, currents, fish and up- welling.

•      These determine productivity. Productivity is high in coral reefs and bays and in estuaries.




Water, water everywhere and not a fish in sight…..

•      Deep oceans are productive in zones of up-welling (Pacific coast of non-tropical North and South America, North Atlantic & Antarctic).


•      Deep oceans are not productive in most other areas. No nutrients= no food chain.




Oceanic Stock Resources: Oil:

•      How: 1st well in 1899 Summerland, CA. today in water 7,500 feet deep or more.

•       Where: Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Angola.

•      Why:  Sea-beds are sedimentary deposits, oceans cover most of earth.

•      How much: 500 billion barrels, but production costs $20/bbl vs. as low as $1/bbl on shore.





Natural gas:

•      Where: Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf  & Gulf of Mexico.

•      Hard to bring on shore.

•      Sometimes factors other than economics drive extraction:

•      Example: Coal Oil Point N.G. “capture tent”.



Manganese nodules:

•      10,000 feet down are  spheres of  manganese, nickel, copper & cobalt.

•      Technically available, costs are now much higher than from Africa.  Also impact of mining is unknown on  black smokers: “Save our friends the giant sea worms”..

•      Since deposits are over 200 miles off-shore ownership is an issue.



Renewable Oceanic Resources: Fish:

•      The #1 ocean resource.

•      Heavily depleted in many areas,  little exploited elsewhere:

•      Over-fishing for Cod in Atlantic, Salmon in Pacific, Anchovies in Mediterranean, & Peru, Tuna in tropical Pacific.





Shellfish & Crustaceans:

•      The sad fate of crabs and oysters… over-harvested in many areas: abalone in Calif. Crabs in Alaska, Oysters in Chesapeake & Galveston.

•      These shell-fish communities vulnerable to pollution, siltation and diversion of fresh water.






Economically important species

•      Small high protein fish like herring, anchovy, mackerel used in animal feeds have highest total value.

•      Traditional dinner fish like tuna, cod, salmon are in shorter and shorter supply and cost more.

•      New species like pollock, angle fish, lumpfish, orange roufy are often found in deep water and ugly as sin…But can be tasty.





New frontiers:

•      Little fishing in African coastal waters (Red Sea and Horn of Africa) but poverty, instability and diet limit fishing.

•      New sources in high arctic and Antarctic using factory ships

•      Deep water species: Monkfish (a shark) and Orange Roufy (New Zealand).





Whales & seals:

•      Nearly driven to extinction.  Example: elephant seal.

•      Whaling now limited to Bowheads taken by Eskimos.

•       Japan & Norway fought ban.

•      Norwegian attitude was hypocritical: Be green... unless it hunts your country economically.



Other issues:

•      Oil spills from tankers & platforms. Example: Exxon Valdez.

•      Dumping garbage and sewage sludge.  Now discontinued most places, example: Hudson Canyon.

•      Offshore incineration of hazardous wastes: Now in North Sea.

•      The saga of the M.V. Vulcanis.

































Lec. # 17.   RANGE-LANDS:




Definition of Rangelands:

•    Rangelands are areas where grasses predominate.

•    Used for gazing domesticated animals; cattle, sheep, and goats.




Rangeland Locations:

•     Located in semi-arid areas such as the middle-east, Australia and the interior of Asia and North America

•     Includes mountainous areas unsuitable for agriculture.

•     Also, in the seasonally dry tropics of Latin America and Africa.




•     Vulnerable to erosion and desertification, since they are semi-desert even without over-grazing.

•     Pressure to produce meat and wool leads to spread of deserts and erosion of top soil in many areas.




Arid grazing lands:.

•     Periodic droughts cause herds to exceed land’s carrying capacity.

•     In past, nomadic lifestyles minimized impacts, now settlement is encouraged for economic and political reasons.






•     Grasses predominate in seasonally arid areas or where fire is common, also thin soils and  very cold areas do not support trees.

•     Desirable grasses can be pushed out by undesirable inedible shrubs like sagebrush, mesquite and tamarisk.




Choosy eaters & plant chemical warfare.:

•      Gazing animals selectively remove some species like grasses, others are resistant even to goats: cactus, sagebrush.

•      Some plants are allelopathic: creosote bush & chemise emit toxic vapors poisoning soil, limiting competition.





•     Beef  converts only 5% of energy in the vegetation into available food. Uses 1,000 gal. H2O per lb of meat. 

•     But in many areas no food could be created for humans by other means.

•     Corn feed beef is a luxury in a hungry world. Kobe beef more so.



Intensive livestock rearing:

•     Pigs and chickens are more common in developing world and more suitable to industrial agriculture.

•     Feedlots grow out cattle which were formerly on grazing land can increase weight 50% in 6 months.





•     Catfish are more efficient.

•     Also shrimp, salmon and oysters.

•     Days of hunter/gatherer methods for fish and shellfish may be numbered.

•     Water pollution and scarcity are limiting factors.





•     Cows introduced by Spanish.

•     Industry centered in Texas after civil war. Crash in 1870's.  Sheep wars.

•     Establishment of National Forests,  Federal Grazing Service and BLM, FLPMA.

•     Farms & ranches are now CAFO’s.




•     735 million acres of grasslands & 320 million acres of forests for grazing, 99% is in Western states,

•     Most is private and so is the best.

•     South-west (including Texas) has the most problems with overgrazing.




Desertification, and growth of undesirable scrub brush.

•     Western states and dryer areas are most subject to problem.

•     Indian Reservations are in the worst shape. Then State lands, BLM, and Forest Service lands.

•     Private lands tend to have the best stewardship.




•     Keep herd size below carrying capacity.

•     Spread animals out and rotate between gazing areas.

•     Avoid destructive animals like sheep and goats or move these animals over large areas.




Erosion control:

•     Protect riparian areas and fence off other vulnerable areas.

•     Remove invaders, seed with hardy native grasses, perennial preferably.

•     Use prescribed burns to stop brush.

•     Replant banks and install detention ponds & guzzlers.



Predator Control.

•     Controversial:  exterminated  wolf, caused loss of bear, eagle, mountain lion & and wolverine. Also, P. Dog control killed black-footed ferret.

•     Coyote is too wily, it has increased.

•     Options: Compound 1080,  or traps, or better sheep dogs.



Global issues:

•     New gazing lands in Latin America. Fastest growth in seasonally dry areas in Latin America.

•     Tropical dry forest  is being cleared for large cattle ranches to supply the North American and Asian demand for beef.





•      Controversial; causes damage  &  fees don’t cover costs. $1.35 per month per A.M.U.

•      Some want higher fees and “No more MOO in 2002"...

•      Ranchers want lower fees and seek to preserve “a way of life”.

•       Option: “The Buffalo Commons”.



Cannibal Cows:

•      Technological advances can have unanticipated problems

•      Example: Mad cow disease.

•      History: simple idea: add meat protein to cattle food.

•      Sheep brains have scrapie.

•      Link to variant Klienfeld/Jacob syndrome.



CAFO’s as a problem.

•      CAFO’s are confined animal feeding operations.

•      Can have many negative environmental and social impacts as well as poor living conditions for the animals.





•     More pressure for multiple uses. Example: Santa Fe area.

•     Competition from factory farms.

•     Changes in diet.

•     Switch to other meat sources: Buffalo, Emu, Etc.

















Natural Resources Conservation Lec. #18.


Forest Resources Management I.



•      One of  the most abundant and important of all resources.

•       Frequently the subject of controversy.

•      A renewable resource, but only on a long time scale.

•      Concept of multiple use is key.

•      Concept of Sustained Yield is important.




•      Most in Boreal areas: Canada, Russia 

•      Much in Tropics: Amazonia, Borneo.

•      No net loss of temperate and boreal forests.

•       Rapid loss (45% gone, 1% more annually) of rain forests.



Forest ownership:

•      In Europe privately owned,

•      In Russia, Canada government owned,

•      In USA is a mix,

•      In tropical forests often no ownership.




Characteristics of forest ecosystems:

•      10 billion acres (31% of land area).

•      Forests vary from tropical rain forest to seasonally dry tropical forests to chaparral (forests) to mixed woodlands to temperate hardwood forests to temperate coniferous forests to temperate rain forests to boreal forests.




•      Hardwoods: Oak, maple, hickory, etc. Found in eastern US. Often in mixed stands (a collection of trees) with mostly younger trees often on former farmland.

•      Useful for furniture and for heating

•      not efficient for large scale harvesting and not useful for paper or plywood industry.

•      Softwoods: dominant in South and West: More uniform stands often larger trees and faster growing (particularly in wet areas). Most useful for lumber, plywood and pulp.




•      Conifers: Pine, spruce, fir.

•      Dominant in South and West: More uniform stands, often larger trees and faster growing (particularly in wet areas).

•      Most useful for lumber, plywood and pulp.

•      Worth more hardwoods or softwoods?




•      Oak, maple, hickory, etc. Found in eastern US.

•      Often in mixed stands with mostly younger trees, often on former farmland. Useful for furniture and for heating. Not efficient for large scale harvesting and not useful for paper or plywood industry.




•      Location and character of U.S. Forests:

•       720 million acres in U.S.

•      830 million in Canada.

•      2/3  have commercial value.

•      Divided into hardwood and softwood forests.




U.S. Distribution:

•      Common in U.S. in South- east, East, Northwest and higher elevations in western USA.

•      Rare in Midwest and dryer areas of southwest.

•      This county is at transition zone between grassland and pine/hardwood forest ecosystems.





•      National Forests in West, also in Texas, Missouri, Carolina and Appalachian areas.

•      Private pine plantations in Texas, Georgia, Pacific Northwest and Maine.

•      Small stands of mixed hardwoods throughout eastern USA, particularly mountains and New England.




•      Currently growth exceeds harvest in hardwoods and in South, while harvest exceeds growth in Pacific Northwest and some western states.

•      Problems or lack thereof exist due to economics and growth rates and surrounding environment.




•      Location and character of U.S. Forests:

•      720 Million acres in U.S. (830 million in Canada).

•      2/3 have commercial value.

•      Divided into hardwood and softwood forests.


Forests in Texas:

•      Private forest lands: about 4 million acres of pine plantations, Champion, Louisiana Pacific, International Paper mostly pine plantations.

•      National Forests: Four in Texas, Sabine, Angelina, Davy Crocket and Sam Houston. All date to 1930's.

•      No harvesting due to lack of management plans in N.F’s.

•      Loss on long leaf pine and bottom-land hardwoods/old growth trees and Red Cockaded Woodpecker are issues.


Forests in Walker County:

•      Sam Houston National Forest

•      LP & Champion major owners.

•      Private lands: Gibbs Brothers.

•      This county is at transition zone between grassland and pine-hardwood forest ecosystems.



Uses of forests:

•      Forests are used by: Animals for habitat.
To generate oxygen.

•      To provide a watershed.

•      To prevent erosion.

•      To provide recreation

–    Hunting

–    Fishing

–    Bird watching

–    Hiking, backpacking

–    To provide timber



Role of fire:

•      Fire is necessary to insure healthy forests.

•      Frequent small fires keep brush & pests in check are needed for reproduction.

•      Elimination of fires causes dead fall and sick trees, high a density & lack of habitat.

•      Therefore controlled (prescribed) burning is now a management practice.




•      Ground fires, Surface fires, Crown fires, Controlled burns, Fire storms.

•      Intensity depends on: wind speed, humidity, wind  direction, slope, aspect, fuel and moisture content.

•      Will fires burn up-hill or down-hill faster?






•      Fire breaks, look-outs, phosphate bombers, hand crews, smoke jumpers and pumpers. All used in past to suppress all fires.

•      Now  “Let it burn policy” for natural fires, “prescribed burns in some places.

•       Controversy and costs of suppression & in-holdings remain problems.




Impact of fires.

•      Depends on type of fire,

•      Depends on climate, slope and soil type,

•      Depends on nature of the forest.

•       Intense crown fires can kill seed trees & even sterilize forest soil.





•      After all fires: Rapid input of nutrients, more light, more erosion, loss of some habitat.

•      Overall increase in habitat after a short period early success ional species: grass, fireweed.

•      Example: Yellowstone ecosystem after 1989 firestorm .





•      Controversy occurs where old growth and slow growing trees are on public lands or in areas with vulnerable slopes or sensitive species are present.

•       Examples: Spotted Owl, Salmon spawning areas, Old growth Redwoods in CA, and Douglas fir in Alaska.

•      Insect control & use of pesticides.



“do trees have standing”



























Lec. # 19. Forest Resources  II

Management & silviculture.




Importance of Forestry

•      Forests: One of most abundant and important of all resources.

•      Frequently the subject of controversy.

•      A renewable resource, but only on a long time scale.

•      Concept of multiple use is key.





•     Concept of Sustained Yield:

•      Over long term timber harvest and other resources are maintained or enhanced.

•     Multiple Use Concept:

•      Need to support many users without over-exploitation by any one group.





•      Balance of multiple conflicting uses.

•      Long term outlook to provide for sustained yield of timber and related resources.

•      Need to assess & minimize damage from:

•      Post harvesting soil erosion.

•      Loss of endangered species habitat.



Harvesting Methods:

•      Clear cutting.

•      Shelter-wood cutting.

•      Thinning (selective harvesting).

•      Biomass harvesting.




Timber Cruising:

•      Requires going into the forest and measuring size, age and density of trees.

•      The estimation of health and harvestable board feet of timber present in a stand or multiple stands of timber.





     Harvesting Technologies: Cable yarding (Railroad yarding), Harvesting (skidding) with heavy equipment

•      Helicopter harvesting

•      Tree Pullers

•      Haul roads are as big a controversy as thinning.



Replanting & regeneration.

•      Trees are now farmed just like asparagus.

•      Only it takes 10-100 years to harvest the crop.



Other things foresters & silviculturists look for:

•      Age and ring thickness: Take core from tree.

•      Pests: Pine bark beetles.

•      Moisture in tree.

•      Soils and soil moisture.

























Lec #20. Endangered Species & Exotic Species.


Endangered species:

•      A species in danger of extinction at least in some portion of its range.

•      Range: (the area it is naturally found).




What is a species:

•      “A genetically distinct group of organisms”.

•      Now can be based on DNA, in past morphology (shape or color) was used.

•      Definition is a difficult problem since many sub-species can interbreed.

•      Example: Cutthroat trout.



Endangered Species Preservation.

•      Preservation of habitat is biggest factor in preventing a species from becoming in danger of extinction.

•      Other factors: stopping unlimited exploitation (particularly of species that reproduce slowly),

•      Maintaining viable populations (diversity).




Reason to preserve species:


•      Esthetic reasons: Call of the Wild.

•      Moral reasons.

•      Practical reasons: Medicinal plants, products like alligator leather.




Extinct species:

•      Dodo,

•       Moa,

•      Passenger pigeon,

•      Galapagos tortoise.




Local extinction:

•      Red wolf in Texas (except the finger eating ones at the zoo),

•      Grizzly bear in California (now only on the state flag).




Species in danger of extinction.

•      Many more added every year,

•      Particularly in tropical areas,

•      China and India.



Endangered species in the USA.

•      Fauna:

•      Vertebrates: Grizzly bear, Wolf, California condor, American crocodile,  ocelot…

•      Many birds.


Poster children…

•      Most endangered species are not large or attractive, but the ones that are get the most attention and have the most money spent on their recovery.

•      Over $50 million spent on Condor, Wolf, Bald Eagle.

•      Pity the Furbish Lousewart or the Salt Marsh Harvester Mouse.



Most vertebrates are fish.

•      Gila, Apache, Alvord Cut, Lahontan Cut, Silver King Creek Cut, Pyramid lake cut, Little Kern River Golden.

•      Pecos Gambusia.

•      Zzyzx Chub.

•      Pahrump Poolfish...

•      Devils Hole pupfish.

•      Why so many Desert fishes?

•      What makes a separate species?



Most are invertebrates:

•      Snails, insects…

•      Numerous species of fresh water mussels

•      Burying beetles, urban and desert butterflies...




Many plants.

•      Furbish lousewort.

•      Ash Meadows aster.


•      Frequently desert plants or bog plants limited to small isolated habitats.




Why no bacteria???

•      The Bruneau Hot Springs Snail and the Socorro isopod are about the smallest.





Texas issues:

•      Localized species can be used to protect larger areas and focus debate.

•       Example: Barton Springs Salamander.

•      Water is a common thread in Texas.

•      More plants than animals in Texas are endangered most animals are fish.

•      Lack of public lands, Mexico are issues.





•      Protection of habitat.

•      Fines for harm.

•      Injunctions from Federal courts against development.

•      Duty of landowners to protect species on or passing through their lands, even little snails.




ESA limits:

•      Endangered Species Act has caused controversy:

•      Example Tellico Dam and Snail Darter.




Other controversial species:

•      Northern spotted owl.

•      Sockeye salmon.




Problem species:

•      Widespread species more problematic than localized ones.

•      Some species are attractive and more likely to get protection.

•      Species that depend on habitat that man uses are more likely to cause controversy.

•      Some regions are more intensively studied.



Methods for preservation of endangered species:

•      Habitat preservation: Aransas NWR, pond at Frany’s Cathouse.

•      Reintroduction: Black Footed Ferret.

•      Captive Breeding: CA Condor

•      Habitat restoration: Ash Meadows Riffle beetle.

•      Banning pesticides: Eagle Falcon Pelican.

•      Recovery plans.




Role of preserves:

•      Wildlife refuges,

•      Public lands,

•      Nature Conservancy,

•      Zoos (last hope for many tropical species),

•      Reintroduction: California Condor and Golden Lion Tamarind.


Recovery plans can be simple:

•      Examples: Kendal Warm Springs Dace, do nothing,

•      or involve limited efforts:

•      Santa Barbara Island Live Forever,

•      or they can be costly and complex:



Or highly complex

•      Colorado River...4 listed fish species in lower river.

•      Huge release of water to create a flood to generate habitat for spawning.

•      Trade-off damage to economy, more air pollution, damage to other species some also endangered.

•      Cost over $50 million for study, $100 million per year.




Re-introduction issues:

•      Wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone.

•      Buffalo in Buffalo, Texas?

•      Bears in East Texas until 1960’s in Hardin County. Now a few in Big Bend.

•      If re-introduced would they be protected?

•      Bears can be an in-compatible species.




Which endangered species to save?

•      Sometimes protecting one species hunts another.

•      Wolves , mountain lions and other predators may kill other endangered species.

•      Some man made features like dams help one endangered species but hurt another.

•      Which species do we like best?


Issue: no roaming on the range.

•      Bison control history

•      Current controversy.



Issue ESA does not apply on Indian Lands

•      Native peoples may hunt endangered species if traditional.

•      Hunting by outside hunters on a fee basis is legal even for endangered species.



Trade in endangered species:

•      Prohibited by treaty.

•      Trade mostly involves medicinal products…bear gall bladder, tree frog skin, rhinoceros horn or

•      Decorative products: ivory, snake skin, butterfly wings and rhinoceros horn again.



Exotic species:

•     When a species is introduced where predators and other limiting factors do not exist it may take over:

•      Examples: Tumble weeds, rabbits in Australia, Fire Ants, Kudzu, Tamarisk, algae in Mediterranean, Zebra Mussel...



Exotic Species

•      Fire ants.

•      Killer Bees.

•      Tumble weeds.

•      Zebra Mussel.

•      The sea weed that ate the Mediterranean.

































Lec 21. Wildlife Management & Biodiversity:



•       Ecosystems are under pressure from man. They sustain life on earth through maintaining bio-geo-chemical cycles like oxygen and carbon cycle.

•      Diversity of ecosystems is under threat even when ecosystem remains. Many ecosystems have been fragmented.




•      The place species live.  

•      Some are small, some extensive.

•      Wyoming examples: Kendal Warm Springs Dace: 200 feet of spring & creek, Grizzly Bear range: 250 square miles.



Human activities impact habitat.

•      Some species are adaptable, some are not:

•      Texas examples: Coyotes, cockroaches, are adaptable.

•      Arkansas River Shiner, Red Cockaded Woodpecker are not adaptable.



Game Management Principles.

•      Protect habitat.

•      Define hunting/fishing rules spatially and temporally.

•      Provide adequate cover & food sources

•      Reintroduce species

•      Track movements

•      Cull species selectively



Importance of Hunting and Fishing For Game Species:

•      Hunting injects into billions local economies

•      Fishing injects even more.

•      Healthy (at least if you for the hunter’s) outdoor recreation

•      Provides sustenance

•      Provides connection to our pioneer roots.




Non-game management.

•      Protect habitat

•      Delineate home ranges

•      Protect diverse niches

•      Isolate rare and endangered species from interference

•      Captive breeding/reintroduction

•      Cull or relocate is over population threatens




Game management technologies.

•      Tracking with radio collars and pit tags

•      Use of GIS to map and analyze habitat




Game management issues

•      Over population.

•      Products.

•      Culling.

•      Game farms.

•      Cruelty?




Biological Diversity:

•      Both genetic variability within a species and the mix of species within an ecosystem.

•      Biodiversity helps to insure survival of species and health of ecosystems.




Genetic diversity.

•      If genetic pool becomes too small and inbred it becomes susceptible to disease and genetic problems.

•      Examples: Potatoes, Cheetahs, Folks in Blind Fish Cave, KY.




Degree of diversity:

•      Some Habitats have low diversity: High arctic and Manhattan.

•      Even areas with lower diversity are under threat:

•      Habitat is being increasingly fragmented (divided into smaller and smaller pieces).



Causes of reduced diversity:

•      Most ecosystems have fair diversity.

•      Introduced species and changes in land-use can cause biodiversity to diminish.

•      Over 40 species of indigenous fish in Texas, several extinct, 20 endangered.

•      From: Overdraft of groundwater, introduced species, dams, water pollution.




High diversity:

•      Some ecosystems have high biodiversity:

•      Coral reefs.

•      Rainforest.

•      Tropical grasslands.



Coral reefs:

•      Rain forests have the highest terrestrial diversity, coral reefs may have higher total diversity.

•      In most areas reefs are not under threat, but in Philippines and Southeast Asia they are under attack by fishing practices. Siltation is a problem in many other areas.



The tropical rainforest:

•      The focus of most efforts to preserve biodiversity, because a high proportion of all land  species live in tropical and equatorial rainforest.

•      Rainforests are under serious threat due to deforestation.



Tropical deforestation:

•      Driven by economic factors and global economy.

•      Most serous problems in Brazil, Central America, Southeast Asia (Borneo, Malaysia).

•      Protection only in Costa Rica, Belize, Australia (richer and/or more democratic countries).


Two basic types of deforestation:

•      Slash and burn agriculture,

•      Commercial timber cutting/cattle grazing.

•      In some areas rainforest diversity is replaced with monoculture of palm oil or rubber trees.




•      Efforts to preserve biodiversity have centered on preservation: such as World Biosphere Preserves in Peru, Brazil.  

•      Other countries have tried to both preserve and conserve rainforests through: Ecotourism, Limited agriculture and sustained yield forestry:

•      Example: Costa Rica.



Costa Rica. Model for wise use.

•      Contains estimated 6% of all diversity.

•      12% in National Parks, 10% more in forest preserves, investment incentive program, ecotourism, new rainforest compatible products: nuts, cocoa, butterflies, teak.

•      Started with the Quakers in 1948 at Monte Verde, quetzal was main reason.



The rainforest experience:

•      High rates of productivity, profusion of organisms, stable conditions over millions of years has caused complex interrelationships to form and millions of specialized species to emerge.

Beautiful but toxic...

•      Many species of plants have evolved that may have medicinal value, mostly because of toxins present like curare.

•      Toxic frogs & butterflies.

•      Also evolution of many bacteria and viruses such as Yellow Fever...




Reason to preserve biodiversity:

•      Esthetic or moral reasons.

•      Practical reasons: Medicinal plants and gene pool for development of new food sources, etc.

•      New products, things to eat: tepesquintlet.

•      Avoid dangers of spread of diseases: Ebola virus, AIDS…