Federal Law: Water and Soils

Ecological Services: Taking from the Land
ECS 111
5 March 2018
Dr. Olson
What does it mean to “own” something?

Human Populations Using Ecosystems:
Natural Resources include water, soil, timber, minerals, and wild animals (fish and game).
These are typically unevenly distributed across a landscape making some areas more valuable than others.
Rights to access of natural resources involve mixtures of country, county, municipality, or private ownership.
Each of these may have restrictions placed on their control with respect to various resources that they contain.
The Concept of Ownership
Ownership is historically a fairly recent idea and is tied to complex issues with the definition of modern national states under a variety of forms of governance.
Outright ownership is usually tied to the core of a states economic system and formal deeds that are free market, legally binding instruments that tie resource use to a defined area referred to as a property.
There are typically a host of regulations and restrictions imposed on what can be done with these properties. These, in particular, restrict resources that are mobile such as water and wild animals.

Federal Law: Water and Soils
ECS 403
Fall 2014

U.S. Code Title 16 Conservation
U.S. Forest Service Dept. Agriculture
Water use and right-of-way
Wilderness Areas
Sustainable Yield
U.S. Code Title 43 Public Lands
Desert Land Act of 1877
Carey Act of 1894 (desert land states)
Reclamation Act of 1902
Taylor Grazing Act of 1934
Homestead Act of 1862

First Homesteader
Beatrice, Nebraska 1863
Provides 160 acres of land to any adult citizen or intended citizen who has never borne arms against the U.S.
Upon improvements including a dwelling this was free and clear in 5 years
Title could be gained earlier under improvements for a cost of $1.25 per acre and 6 months residence.

Business Day
NYT Friday 25 Sept. 2015
Location, location, location….
Water table
Owning Land: What do you get for your money?
Right of domicile (dwelling place) and use
Restrictions based on local and state laws (zoning codes)
Rights to water and public infrastructure
Right to sell or lease your property within regulations set down by government.

Assets of the Land
Living space: Just want to hang out.
Crops and live stock: subsistence or profit
Timber or pulp wood.
Mining and oil/gas production

Right of ways
Ecosystem Character and Landuse
– Temperatures
– Precipitation
– Physical
– Biotic (flora and fauna)
Converting the Land:
Choices in crops and the problem of crop yield.
Trying to remind ourselves of home
Extreme events and habitability: Winter 1886.
Invasive species issues: Englishmen, rabbits and foxes
A history of bubbles?

Choose your cash crop.
Technology Tames the West
Public Land in the United States

Federal Lands

100th Meridian and the West

Clive Bundy and grazing fees
What about the “native American” wild horse?
Who Owns the United States?

Those cows

Irrigation and Water Rights

Drought Update: October 2014
National Geographic
This winter was even drier. Just 6% of normal snow in the Sierras.
Limits to Land Use

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Author Since: November 30, 2020

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