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  Preserving and Maintaining Our Human and Ecological Well-Being


...Interesting and carefully written... Dr. Toch knows how to write for the audience she is trying to reach...

Eugene Kozloff, Ph.D., Author and Professor of Zoology, University of Washington Friday Harbor Marine Labs, WA.

Around the world, decreasing water availability and increasing costs of water purification serve as an indicator of our struggle between human demands and the maintenance of ecological functions and processes. But while much has been written on the degradation of natural areas, and growing concerns for human health, little has been done to address their connections. The trend has been to focus on our "lacks and needs" rather than upon the protection and management of the mechanisms that allow these resources to exist.

Specifically referring to the drainage of wetlands, soil erosion and deforestation, habitat alteration and the degradation of watersheds has been targeted as the "highest risk to human health and quality of life"(USEPA, 1990). Land use activities have been known to affect rates of river flows, soil infiltration characteristics and storage capacities (UC Water Resources Center, 1991), and the decline of water has been correlated with the influx of disease (WHO, 1984). But while most land use activities can be associated with ecosystem change, resource use does not necessarily comprise a contamination source. It is the methods by which human activities occur on a watershed that has the potential to promote or reduce mechanisms for human illness. The degree and extent of specific land use practices can also be identified and controlled.

This work outlines the similarities and interactions between ecological and human needs, addressing land use as it relates to the impact on hydrologic processes, and ultimately human health and well-being. By exploring the connections between land use, water quality and human health, we can gain a better understanding of how human effects on ecological processes do, in fact, affect our quality of life.

Connecting & Maintaining Water Flows for All

Land Use Hydrology, Community Health, Environmental Planning,
Technical Assistance, Education and Training

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