Many California Meadows Will Vanish, Here’s Why It Matters

By Matt Weiser, KQED News Fix/Water Deeply

Mountain meadows are starting to get some respect. For over a century, meadows were the first alpine environments targeted for development, grazing and farming, because they tend to be flat and packed with rich soil and nutritious plants. But we’re starting to understand that meadows have a much more important role to play for society at large.

Meadows, it turns out, are water banks. As winter snows melt, the runoff flows into meadows, where deep organic soil holds the moisture like a sponge and then releases it slowly. This helps minimize downstream flooding during spring. Meadows release that runoff over a longer period, helping stretch valuable water supplies through the long, dry summer months.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/Water Deeply.