Newcomers to Tucson know the Santa Cruz River as a dry bed that can become a rampaging flood after heavy rains. Yet until the late nineteenth century, the Santa Cruz was an active watercourse that served the region's agricultural needsuntil a burgeoning industrial society began to tap the river's underground flow.
The Lessening Stream reviews the changing human use of the Santa Cruz River and its aquifer from the earliest human presence in the valley to today. Michael Logan examines the social, cultural, and political history of the Santa Cruz Valley while interpreting the implications of various cultures' impacts on the river and speculating about the future of water in the region.
Logan traces river history through three erasarchaic, modern, and postmodernto capture the human history of the river from early Native American farmers through Spanish missionaries to Anglo settlers. He shows how humans first diverted its surface flow, then learned to pump its aquifer, and today fail to fully understand the river's place in the urban environment.
By telling the story of the meandering riverfrom its origin in southern Arizona through Mexico and the Tucson Basin to its terminus in farmland near PhoenixLogan links developments throughout the river valley so that a more complete picture of the river's history emerges. He also contemplates the future of the Santa Cruz by confronting the serious problems posed by groundwater pumping in Tucson and addressing the effects of the Central Arizona Project on the river valley.
Skillfully interweaving history with hydrology, geology, archaeology, and anthropology, The Lessening Stream makes an important contribution to the environmental history of southern Arizona. It reminds us that, because water will always be the focus for human activity in the desert, we desperately need a more complete understanding of its place in our lives.
Longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert, the Tohono O'odham people have spent centuries living off the landa land that most modern citizens of southern Arizona consider totally inhospitable. Ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan has lived with the Tohono O'odham, long known as the Papagos, observing the delicate balance between these ...
One of the most recognizable animals of the Southwest, the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) makes its home in both the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts, as well as in tropical areas to the south in Mexico. Called by Tohono O'odham people "komik'c-ed," or "shell with living thing inside," it is one of the few desert creatures kept as a domestic petas well as one of the most studied reptiles in the world.
Most of our knowledge of desert tortoises comes from studies of Mohave Desert populations in California and Nevada. However, the ecology, physiology, and behavior of these northern populations are quite different from those of their southern, Sonoran Desert, and tropical cousins, which have been studied much less. Differences in climate and habitat have shaped the evolution of three races of desert tortoises as they have adapted to changes in heat, rainfall, and sources of food and shelter as the deserts developed in the last ten million years.
This book presents the first comprehensive summary of the natural history, biology, and conservation of the Sonoran and Sinaloan desert tortoises, reviewing the current state of knowledge of these creatures with appropriate comparisons to Mohave tortoises. It condenses a vast amount of information on population ecology, activity, and behavior based on decades of studying tortoise populations in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and also includes important material on the care and protection of tortoises.
Thirty-two contributors address such topics as tortoise fossil records, DNA analysis, and the mystery of secretive hatchlings and juveniles. Tortoise health is discussed in chapters on the care of captives, and original data are presented on the diets of wild and captive tortoises, the nutrient content of plant foods, and blood parameters of healthy tortoises. Coverage of conservation issues includes husbandry methods for captive tortoises, an overview of protective measures, and an evaluation of threats to tortoises from introduced grass and wildfires. A final chapter on cultural knowledge presents stories and songs from indigenous peoples and explores their understanding of tortoises.
As the only comprehensive book on the desert tortoise, this volume gathers a vast amount of information for scientists, veterinarians, and resource managers while also remaining useful to general readers who keep desert tortoises as backyard pets. It will stand as an enduring reference on this endearing creature for years to come.
It is the only absolute desert in North America, a four-hundred-square-mile dry lake bed so desolate that nothing ever grows there. Vast and featureless, Nevada's Black Rock Desert defies visual measurementmuch to the consternation of off-roaders who venture out onto this playa only to run out of gas before reaching the other ...
Although cacti such as the saguaro and organ pipe have come to define the Sonoran Desert for many people, they represent some 170 species of columnar cacti found in many parts of the Americas. These giant plants are so dominant in some ecosystems that many species of animals rely on them for food and shelter. They are pollinated by ...
High on the Colorado Plateau lies a uniquely magical desert place: a land of sandy mesas and slickrock escarpments, an elegant maze of vertical-walled, vertigo-inspiring canyons plunging to darkened depths. Cedar Mesa, Utah, is a place frozen in time.
A land that can only be adequately explored on foot or horseback, Cedar Mesa ...
As biological diversity continues to shrink at an alarming rate, the loss of plant species poses a threat seemingly less visible than the loss of animals but in many ways more critical. In this book, one of America's leading ethnobotanists warns about our loss of natural vegetation and plant diversity while providing insights into ...
Since the beginning of the reservation era, the bitter conflict between Indians and non-Indians over water rights was largely confined to the courtroom. But in the 1980s the federal government began to emphasize negotiated settlements over lawsuits, and the settlements are changing water rights in fundamental waysnot only for tribes but also for non-Indian communities that share scarce water resources with Indians.
In Native Waters, Daniel McCool describes the dramatic impact these settlements are having both on Indian country and on the American West as a whole. Viewing the settlements as a second treaty era, he considers whether they will guarantee the water future of reservationsor, like treaties of old, will require tribes to surrender vast resources in order to retain a small part of their traditional homelands. As one tribal official observed, "It's like your neighbors have been stealing your horses for many years, and now we have to sit down and decide how many of those horses they get to keep." Unlike technical studies of water policy, McCool's book is a readable account that shows us real people attempting to end real disputes that have been going on for decades. He discusses specific water settlements using a combination of approachesfrom personal testimony to traditional social science methodologyto capture the richness, complexity, and human texture of the water rights conflict. By explaining the processes and outcomes in plain language and grounding his presentation in relevant explanations of Indian culture, he conveys the complexity of the settlements for readers from a wide range of disciplines.
Native Waters illustrates how America is coming to grips with an issue that has long been characterized by injustice and conflict, seeking to enhance our understanding of the settlements in the hope that this understanding will lead to better settlements for all parties. As one of the first assessments of a policy that will have a pervasive impact for centuries to come, it shows that how we resolve Indian water claims tells us a great deal about who we are as a nation and how we confront difficult issues involving race, culture, and the environment.
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