The Disappearing Rivers of the U.S.

The rivers of the American West have shaped the pattern of human development across the region. In turn, human activities are rapidly changing the rivers that sustain them.

Today, nearly half - 49% - of all river miles in the West are no longer in their natural state. In all, 140 thousand miles of rivers in the American West – a distance long enough to circle the Earth nearly 6 times – have been modified by dams, diversions, suburban sprawl, legacy mines, and other human development.

The Disappearing Rivers of the US

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Ecoclimax is defined by Odum (1969) as the culmination state after a succession in a stabilized ecosystem in which maximum biomass (or high information content) and symbiotic function among organisms is kept per unit of available energy flow.