The Life and Death of An American River

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
Explores the demise of the once great watercourse owing to a variety of causes such as overgrazing, inappropriate agricultural practices, groundwater overdrafting, and damming

Blackwell North Amer
In this richly documented cautionary tale, Gregory McNamee narrates the natural and human history of this once-great watercourse.
For sixty million years, the Gila River (pronounced HEE-luh) flowed through the highlands and deserts of Arizona and New Mexico as one of the preeminent watercourses of what is now the American Southwest. From its source in the ice caves of the Mogollon Mountains of New Mexico to its historic confluence with the Colorado River above Yuma, Arizona, the 600-mile Gila - longer than the Delaware and Hudson rivers combined - shaped the ecology of the arid lands surrounding it, serving as a natural highway for a vast array of migrating animal and plant species.
But the Gila is now, for at least half of its course, a dead river. Owing to a variety of causes - overgrazing, inappropriate agricultural practices, groundwater overdrafting, damming - the Gila has long since been bled dry, like most of the other major rivers of the West.
Where a river once flowed year-round now stands a normally empty bed of sand and rock, and where cultures once flourished along its banks now lie asphalt cities interspersed with dead fields.
Gregory McNamee exposes the human folly and arrogance that allows us to condemn rivers - or mountains, or meadows, or seashores - to death, while at the same time he offers a modest program of measures for restoring the river.

Publisher: New York : Orion Books, c1994
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780517591635
Characteristics: 215 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm


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