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Integrating Land and Water Management and Policy in the Western U.S. and Other Dry Regions 1

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM (MDT)
Room: Virtual Track 9
Organizers: Zachary Sugg, Jamie McEvoy
Chairs: Zachary Sugg

Call for Submissions

In the Western U.S., land management often effectively is water management, and vice versa; yet in practice water and land use policy and management are still often legally and administratively bifurcated and siloed in ways that can stymie achievement of sustainability goals [1,2,3]. Even in dry regions such as the Colorado River Basin where water supplies are critically important, decisions and laws that determine the patterns and water footprints of new development have often been detached from water supply and demand management plans and decisions [1]. This is partly because “Land planners and water managers don’t talk together, but they should”, to quote the title of one study [4].

Yet a variety of practices and policies have been emerging (e.g., green infrastructure, water sufficiency requirements for new growth), and sustainability concerns shared by land and water practitioners have been identified (e.g., outdoor water use, climate variability, water-sensitive urban design [4]) that could function as points of leverage for chipping away at silos.

The lack of integration in some communities and the adoption of (sometimes untested) emerging practices in others raise research challenges for both human and physical geographers. The aim of this session, therefore, is to explore geographical approaches and techniques for addressing this broad challenge, with an organizing focus on the Western U.S. and other arid and semi-arid regions. Submissions from across subdisciplines are encouraged. We solicit papers on a variety of topics at the intersection of land and water resources in including but certainly not limited to:

- Green infrastructure, especially in arid/semi-arid contexts
- New geospatial and other data sets, and tools for decision-making
- Social and technical dimensions of urban landscape transformations
- Hydrologic implications of broader-scale land use change
- “Water-smart” growth strategies and plans
- Agricultural irrigation and return flow management
- Water dimensions of ag-to-urban transitions, including governance and planning approaches
- Management and conservation of headwaters landscapes

Each session will consist of four papers (15-minute presentations including Q&A) followed by a collaborative discussion session about research linkages, themes, and current and future directions. If interested in participating, please send an abstract (max. 250 words) and AAG PIN number if possible to both organizers, Dr. Zach Sugg ( and Dr. Jamie McEvoy, ( by October 27th 2019. Authors will be notified by October 30th at the latest (the abstract submission deadline).

[1] Bates, S. (2012). Bridging the Governance Gap: Emerging Strategies to Integrate Water and Land Use Planning. Natural Resources Journal, 52, 39.

[2] Klein, B., & Kenney, D. S. (2009). The Land Use Planning, Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation Connection: Challenges and Opportunities.

[3] Tarlock, A. D., & Lucero, L. A. (2002). Connecting Land, Water, and Growth. The Urban Lawyer, 34(4), 971–979.

[4] Gober, P., Larson, K. L., Quay, R., Polsky, C., Chang, H., & Shandas, V. (2013). Why Land Planners and Water Managers Don’t Talk to One Another and Why They Should! Society & Natural Resources, 26(3), 356–364.

Additional sources
Bohn, T. J., Vivoni, E. R., Mascaro, G., & White, D. D. (2018). Land and water use changes in the US–Mexico border region, 1992–2011. Environmental Research Letters, 13(11), 114005.

Li, E., Li, S., & Endter-Wada, J. (2017). Water-smart growth planning: Linking water and land in the arid urbanizing American West. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 60(6), 1056–1072.

Serrao-Neumann, S., Renouf, M., Kenway, S. J., & Low Choy, D. (2017). Connecting land-use and water planning: Prospects for an urban water metabolism approach. Cities, 60, 13–27.



Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Trent Biggs*, San Diego State University, Gabriela Morales, San Diego State University, Joel Kramer, Weston Solutions, Agricultural change due to water policy along the US-Mexico border: Imperial and Mexicali Valleys 15 3:05 PM
Presenter Megan Baumann*, Pennsylvania State University, Remaking soil in dryland irrigation megaprojects: (Mis)aligned management of water and soil in Colombia’s Tolima Valley 15 3:20 PM
Presenter Sarah Church*, Montana State University - Bozeman, MT, Yuling Gao, University of California Berkely, Linda S Prokopy, Purdue University, Social dimensions of “green” stormwater infrastructure in Oregon and Indiana: Implications for policies and programming 15 3:35 PM
Presenter Jamie McEvoy*, Montana State University, Nature-Based Strategies for Mitigating Drought Impacts in the Upper Missouri Headwaters Basin: Interactions Between Land Management and Water Availability 15 3:50 PM
Discussant Zachary Sugg Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy 15 4:05 PM

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