Area Environmental Characterization Report of the Dalhart and Palo Duro Basins In the Texas Panhandle - Volume I. Dalhart Basin

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Date

1982

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NUS Corporation

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This area report describes the environmental characteristics of the Dalhart and Palo Dura basins in the Texas Panhandle portion of the Permian basin. Both basins are rather sparsely populated, and the overall population is decreasing. The economic base is centered on agribusiness and manufacturing. Most of the potentially conflicting land uses in both basins (i.e., parks, historic sites) occupy small land areas, with the exception of a national grassland in the Dalhart and military air training routes in both basins. Ground transportation in the Dalhart basin is adequate, and it is well developed in the Palo Dura basin. In both basins, irrigation constitutes the principal water use, and groundwater is the principal source. However, the dominant aquifer, the Ogallala, is being depleted. Both basins consist primarily of grasslands, rangelands, and agricultural areas. No critical terrestrial or aquatic habitats have been identified in the basins, though several endangered, threatened, or rare terrestrial species occur in or near the basins. Aquatic resources in both basins are limited because of the intermittent availability of water and the high salt content of some water bodies. Playa lakes are common, though usually seasonal or rain-dependent. The climate of the area is semiarid, with low humidity, relatively high wind speeds, and highly variable precipitation. Restrictive dispersion conditions are infrequent. National ambient secondary air quality standards for particulates are being exceeded in the area, largely because of fugitive dust, although there are some particulate point sources.

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