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Streams are the arteries of life in the arid Southwest.

These once biologically rich areas are in the "worst shape in history," according to the EPA

Streams are the arteries of life in the arid Southwest. Today these once biologically rich areas are in the "worst shape in history," according to the EPA, the result of being clogged with cattle for a century or more. The cottonwood/willow gallery forest has declined by an estimated ninety-five percent from pre-settlement times. Despite making up only one percent of the arid Southwest, river forests provide clean water and critical wildlife habitat. They help prevent floods, filter sediments, and meter out water in times of drought. Healthy streamside woodlands are highly valued by recreationists, who are attracted to the cool shade, clean water, diverse wildlife, and scenery. Streamside areas are also centers of biodiversity; seventy-five percent of all our endangered wildlife depend upon healthy streams and remnant river forests.

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