1% of Normal
Headline from last week says the Rio Grande Basin is at 1% of normal snow-pack. That is by far the worst runoff forecast I have ever seen in my 40 years of keeping track. Inevitably this leads to even lower aquifer levels. The following is one idea I have toward a solution:
Save our Farms / Save the World
Improving our soils could be the key to restoring the aquifer, keeping our farms profitable, and reducing carbon in the atmosphere. Cropping practices that improve soil health have been shown to increase water infiltration and storage capacity, reduce irrigation frequency, reduce input costs, decrease pest problems, protect water quality, and increase soil organic matter.
Recent studies indicate that 2 to 3 tons of carbon could be sequestered in the soil per acre, per year. That practice can translate into Carbon Credits that can be sold on the open market. We farm well over one million acres in the San Luis Valley. Imagine the impact we could have on climate change by sequestering 3,000,000 tons of carbon per year. One ton of carbon credit is now worth about $15.00. That implies a potential $45 million dollars could be added to the SLV economy, per year while improving soil health at the same time.
Water conservation “Sub-Districts” are now taxing themselves for water usage and using some of those funds to pay farmers to fallow their fields. Participation in this program has not been adequate. I think that by making some changes to this program and by adding the potential of marketing Carbon Credits, many more farmers could be persuaded to participate in this program.
Reducing water usage will help restore the aquifer. Improving soil health will benefit farms in the future while solving Climate Change now. Both will make agriculture viable for the next generation.
It is not often you have a win-win solution so readily at hand. We need to take full advantage of this opportunity immediately. If elected Commissioner I will make this a top priority.
Thomas D McCracken
Candidate for Saguache County Commissioner Dist. 1