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The Importance of Snow

With the beginning of this "winter season" warm and rainy; there is concern about soil health this coming summer. The recent snow is just what the watershed needs. Winters with thick snow packs mean a productive, drought free summer. Snow falls to the ground, insulating the soil and roots of plants. When the snow melts it sinks into the ground

between cracks and crevices of the bedrock replenishing the groundwater supply or flows over the ground recharging surface water. Mild winters threaten soil productivity, plant growth and freshwater resources.

Biogeochemical processes that take place in the soil can be halted during mild winters. The snow acts as a blanket that insulates the soil and keeps it from freezing. If there is a mild winter, there is less insulation, which results in root and microbial mortality and the leaching of important nutrients such as nitrogen. This results in less productive soils for the following growing season. Snow accumulates debris and nutrients from the atmosphere. These are released into the ground when the snow melts, fertilizing the soil naturally. 

On the positive side; lower snow levels means more animals are able to find food sources and survive through the cold winter months. If the snow gets too deep; deer and turkey will not be able to find food. Other species need the deeper snow to make travel over the winter wonderland easier.

With the colder temperatures and snow we have been receiving, just think of what this summer will bring; lush green vegetation, productive soils, and ample trout habitat and fishing. Go outside and enjoy the ample snow. I know we here at the MRBA will. 

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