reclamation of land

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

reclamation of land

reclamation of land, practice of converting land deemed unproductive into arable land by such methods as irrigation, drainage, flood control, altering the texture and mineral and organic content of soil (see fertilizer), and checking erosion. In the United States, all these methods have been used, but the chief effort has been through irrigation. Under the Reclamation Act of 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation supplies water, subsidized by taxpayers, to farmers on arid lands in 17 western states (see Reclamation, United States Bureau of). The irrigation water has increased production, but at some cost: selenium and salinity poisoning have damaged land once reclaimed, competition has grown between agriculture and municipal interests, and wildlife habitat has been jeopardized. Additional aims of the reclamation program include hydroelectric power generation, recreation, and flood control.

History of Reclamation in the United States

While irrigation schemes were built in the Southwest before the coming of the Spanish, by the Catholic missions in California, and by Mormons in Utah by 1847, moves to gain government help for reclamation schemes began with the Carey Land Act (1894). Focusing on the conservation of natural resources during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, reclamation was advocated for lands ruined by injudicious farming, grazing, and deforestation as well as for lands with little rainfall.

The Reclamation Act of 1902 provided that the federal government should plan and construct irrigation projects using the proceeds of public land sales, and that the water users (usually organized in some type of cooperative) should liquidate the cost and purchase the irrigation works over a period of 10 years. The program was vigorously pushed by Secretary of the Interior Ethan Allen Hitchcock. Among the many projects started then were the Truckee-Carson project (see Newlands project) and the Salt River project (see Salt River valley). The 1902 act had an acreage-limitation provision, but it did not halt the process of speculation in lands to be irrigated, which made costs to the actual farmers prohibitive. In 1914 the period of time for the water users to pay for the project was lengthened to 20 years (later raised to 40 years).

Interest in reclamation quickened after terrible droughts in the late 1920s and early 30s, and in the public works program of the New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt the reclamation program was linked with projects for flood control and for the development of power. The Bureau of Reclamation began to work alongside the U.S. Army Engineers Corps in building dams and forwarding multipurpose projects. The Flood Control Act of 1944 broadened the powers of the federal government in these matters.

Reclamation has created much new wealth in the United States by turning areas that had formerly been arid into thriving agricultural and industrial communities. However, environmentalists have questioned and even stopped more recent projects, such as the Bureau's 1991 water project on the Colorado River, due to the damage to the environment such dam building has caused. The Columbia River complex has had to limit the amount of water diverted to safeguard spawning salmon, and the Omnibus Water Bill of 1992 limited the bureau to environmentally sound projects. Further, criticism that the bureau's programs have disproportionately aided large, rich farms led, in the 1992 bill, to the restriction of water subsidies to family farms.

Bibliography

See F. Powledge, Water (1982); M. P. Reisner, Cadillac Desert (1986).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

reclamation of land
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.