The latest study shows a significant increase in erosion projected for 2050
A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters estimated that one-third of the 471 large watersheds in the western U.S. will see a doubling in erosion over the next 33 years. The study linked an increase in wildfires to soil erosion rates, ultimately damaging watersheds and reservoirs.
The researchers pointed to climate change as the main cause for the expected increase in droughts and wildfires. They estimated 90% of watersheds will see an erosion increase of 10% by 2050.
Increased erosion and sedimentation can lead to lower water quality and negatively impact both stream channel stability and aquatic ecosystems. Organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, Salt River Project, and the National Forest Foundation are already taking steps to protect watersheds and reduce the likelihood of high-intensity fires by thinning forests.