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Publication Abstract

Water and Land Resources of the Crab Orchard Lake Basin Stall, J.B., J.B. Fehrenbacher, L.J. Bartelli, G.O. Walker, E.L. Sauer, and S.W. Melsted, 1954  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS B-42    Full Text Available

Water supply follows the law of supply and demand. At a particular place and time an excess supply may go unused and at another place and time the successful development of a project may be prohibited by the lack of sufficient water. In southern Illinois, which is chiefly dependent on surface water, mean annual rainfall is about 40 inches. In various years, from 2 to 20 inches of this flows off the land through the stream system. This runoff, however, is distributed very unevenly in time and place as well as in amount. This extreme variability of stream flow makes it necessary to construct a dam across the stream to impound its waters so as to create a storage basin into which the stream can flow and from which water can be pumped for use when it is needed. However, when a dam is built to store the waters of a muddy flowing stream, the particles of mud or sediment carried by the water immediately begin to settle to the bottom of the lake that is formed and come to rest there, thereby decreasing the storage capacity of that lake. And so, immediately upon construction of a lake its destruction begins.

Some erosion occurs on practically all farmland. In Illinois, a yearly loss of three or more tons of soil per acre may occur if land subject to erosion is farmed. The cutting of a gully into afield is quickly noticeable. Sheet erosion on the other hand, removes a thin layer of soil every time rainfall occurs. The magnitude of sheet erosion is not easily noticed and such erosion can continue to remove great amounts of soil without being recognized.

The transport of soil particles from the farmer's field through ditch and stream into a storage reservoir affects the use of the water in many ways. A study, such as the one reported herein on the Crab Orchard Lake area, serves to emphasize to farmers the great amounts of soil being carried away from their land. Impoverishment of farm land has been illustrated in many ways, but here, since soil movement is destroying a lake, it is quite obvious. A study such as this also serves to bring to the public attention the great stake which reservoir owners have in the proper management of the watershed farmland.

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