Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The United Watershed States of America 
John Lavey, a land use planner from the Sonoran Institute has resurrected John Wesley Powell's 1879 proposal that states be organized around watersheds. Powell reasoned that new states in the arid west would conflict with each other if watershed boundaries were ignored. His ideas were rejected in favor of railroad and agricultural interests and the conflicts he predicted are still ongoing throughout the region. Here is Powell's drainage basin map.
Lavey quotes Donald Worster, author of Dust Bowl:The Southern Plains in the 1930s speculating that the massive urban growth of western cities would not have happened because cities would have had to deal with local watershed groups to secure their water rights. For a more detailed analysis see Lavey's post on Community Builders.

I have many disagreements with Lavey's organization of states.
  • Why is the state organized around the Hudson River called Connecticut and not New York? - Most of the non Great Lakes region of New York State is historically tied to the Hudson.                       
  • Why is the state along the Connecticut River not Connecticut? - After all the state around the Delaware River is Delaware. If you preserve all 50 states and need a Vermont then organize it around the Lake Champlain watershed. 
  • This leaves some of western and northern New York state without an identity. If Ohio is now a state around the Great Lakes including Buffalo then the rest of the non-Hudson New York should be part of that state-except for some of the Adirondacks being part of Vermont.
  • New Jersey is not NYC and Long Island, it is the Jersey Shore (Delaware is not.)
  • That western piece of Rhode Island - just no! 
  • I would probably rethink the whole Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky thing. Maybe Cumberland-Kentucky, Wabash-Indiana and let Ohio be Ohio.
  • The northern part of Oklahoma is the Arkansas basin and therefore should be Arkansas. Where he has Arkansas should be part of Mississippi - this is the only place where a river divides states instead of uniting them.                       
  • The Oregon coast is either Oregon or California. It has no business being in Washington.  
This is all theoretical anyway as we're not going to change our state boundaries anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I
was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha
plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having difficulty finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Feel free to surf to my page ... drip feed backlinks ()

Dug said...

No I don't. I just use the blogger form with comment moderation and it's served me well so far. Good luck.