Union Democrat staff

Snow strips can increase snowpack

To the Editor:

The article about cutting trees to bolster water supplies in the June 13, 2014, Democrat was interesting and informative.

To take the concept further, "Snow strips are effective in increasing the snowpack."

In areas above the average snow line, strips are laid 200 to 300 feet wide and 500 to 600 feet long on north facing slopes, perpendicular to the slope where large trees are removed to allow the snow to reach and accumulate on the ground.

Seedlings, saplings and brush are left to stabilize the soil when the angle of the sun is high enough in the spring to melt the snow and start the runoff. The 200 to 300 foot width of the strips allows some shade to slow the melt. The strips are laid out in a staggered pattern so that as the strips fill in with large trees, new strips can be created in the "leave" areas between the first strips.

If you go to the Sierra Crest, Sonora Pass, Tioga Pass, etc. this time of year, it is obvious that the remaining snow is on the north facing slopes, above the tree line.

Not only is the snowpack enhanced by this method, but fuels are reduced and wildlife benefits from the "edge effect" along the strips and the increased source of new feed.

William Lane


How much do

the wars cost?

To the Editor:

Sure enough, we stopped listening to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and now things are falling apart in Iraq. One program of the Bush administration that was greatly appreciated there was to deliver shrink wrapped pallets of neatly stacked one hundred bills to various locations in Baghdad. We should make this more inclusive and send shipments to every major city. Remote or dangerous areas could get parachute drops. In fact, we could just let the money blow out the back of cargo planes like green snowflakes.

No one knows exactly how much the war cost (some say a trillion) or where it all went, but it obviously wasn't enough. We should plan on spending, at least, a trillion more, so we can't be accused of not having the guts to do everything possible.

John Watson


Arts funding

is essential

To the Editor:

I read in The Union Democrat about the decision by the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors to move $45,000 previously allotted to the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance. The programming these dollars fund is truly exceptional. The Tuolumne County Arts Alliance has grown from a storefront on Washington Street to a beautiful facility twice the size at the historic Dome elementary school campus, on Barretta Street. It is not only a major county arts and education facility, it attracts revenue and jobs. This is a reality due to the guidance of an impressive and committed Board of Directors, and the visionary Executive Director, Constance O'Connor.

The TCAA mission, "To promote the arts and arts education in Tuolumne County, thereby enriching the lives of residents and visitors," is alive and contributing great things to our community daily. A visit to their website, www.tuolumnecountyarts.org reveals an impressive variety of offerings in the visual arts, poetry, dance, music, events and much more, such as the summer arts camp. Hundreds of local children and adults have the opportunity to play and learn and grow. All this with some of the finest, best educated talented and trained staff the state has to offer.

To de-fund this community treasure contributes to the potential troubles of our county youth. If the funds are not made available, limited Arts programming for our youth will be even more limited. Consider if you will the tiny amount funding the programs of the TCAA as a preventive measure, and a pittance in comparison to the $16.2 million set aside for a youth detention center. The reasoning for defunding TCAA is for the addition of a deputy County Counsel who will definitely be needed; as you may know; idle hands are the devils playground.

Douglas Erwin