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Effects of off-road vehicle use on the hydrology and landscape of arid environments in central and southern California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 76-99

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Abstract

Two widely separated sites in California used for motorcycle hill-climbing were studied to evaluate the impact on the landscape and hydrology. At Panoche Hills in central California, an area formerly used by motorcycles together with an adjacent unused area were monitored from 1971 to 1975. Observations in both areas included measurements of precipitation, runoff, soil moisture, soil bulk density, plant cover, and erosion surveys. At Dove Spring Canyon in souther California erosion was measured on a site that is currently being used for motorcycle hill-climbing. At the Panoche Hills site, the area used by motorcycles produced about eight times as nuch runoff as the unused area. Similarly, sediment yield from the used areas was 857 cubic meters/sq km, while the quantity of sediment from the unused area was not measurable by standard methods. At the Dove Spring Canyon site, which is still being used for hill-climbing, erosion surveys show that degradation in trails has been as much as 0.3 m in the period 1973-75. Compaction of soils and reduction of permeability appears to be the most serious hydrologic impact of motorcycle use at Panoche Hills. Increased bulk density of soils reduces depth of moisture penetration which deprives plants of moisture needed for growth. (Woodard-USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of off-road vehicle use on the hydrology and landscape of arid environments in central and southern California
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
76-99
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1976
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
iv, 45 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.