Effects of snowdrift management on rangeland runoff

TitleEffects of snowdrift management on rangeland runoff
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1981
AuthorsCooley, K. R., Huber A. L., Robertson D. C., and Zuzel J. F.
Conference Name49th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 49th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1981
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSt. George, Utah
KeywordsRunoff, Snow fence, Snowdrift, Water supply

The installation of snow fences for increasing the size of snowdrifts, and thus increasing available water supplies, was investigated. Analysis of runoff from a 0.51 sq km watershed, and the size and shape of a drift induced by intallation of a 100 m long, 3 m high snow fence indicated that changes in runoff and size were insignificant, but the snow was distributed differently within the drift, possibly delaying snowmelt. Other studies have indicated increases, no change, and decreases in these parameters. Therefore, although increased drifts could provide important additions to local water supplies, it is very important to consider local conditions, which influence success before making any such installations. A more practical and reliable approach would be to locate natural drift sites and to install water harvesting systems in these areas.