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Resource Use for Environmental Mitigation

Few resources are as precious in the American West as water. Many environmental mitigation projects require the use of water, and so its efficient and effective use are of critical importance in project development.

The Owens Dry Lake in eastern California is the largest producer of fugitive dust in the western hemisphere. Agrarian developed and refined the mitigation measures of shallow flooding and managed vegetation to assure that dust control would be achieved without unduly compromising the water supply for Los Angeles. Reclamation of the highly saline/sodic soils for plant growth was a challenge. Optimizing efficiency of the control measures has saved hundreds of millions of dollars in life cycle costs for the long-term mitigation.

The Salton Sea has multiple uses, all of them important both economically and environmentally. Increasing salinity of the water is caused primarily by the discharges to the Sea from agriculture, which relies on the Sea as a sump for its drain water. The increasing salinity, however, threatens fish populations, which in turn impact the large numbers of bird species that rely on the fish and other aspects of the Sea’s environment for nesting and migration. Agrarian is working to control salinity in the Salton Sea in a cost-effective and sustainable fashion to enhance both agricultural and environmental sustainability.

Irrigated agriculture in the American west relies on drainage, which produces water that may have constituents that present environmental risk. Agrarian can assist farmers and irrigation districts with addressing TMDL’s (Total Maximum Daily Loads) for drain water constituents such as salt, selenium, boron, molybdenum, nutrients, suspended solids (sediment), pesticides and herbicides. By improving the quality of drain water, it is often possible to utilize that water for the benefit of wildlife, for enhancing flows in rivers and streams, and for blending for re-use in agriculture.