Plate 1138X. Sidney Valley 1978 – 2005 This Photo Plot Transect was established by the Forest Service in 1943 to monitor range conditions in Sidney Valley. According to early narrative reports, the area was heavily grazed by livestock when the transect was established. In 1948, W.P. Cottam noted, “that grazing is severe here is evidence by the fact that Stipa lettermani is utilized much more than is general throughout the ranger district. Soil erosion is a serious problem on these gentle slopes. Grass clumps are frequently hummocked and [erosion] pavement is frequently conspicuous on soil unprotected by grass”. After remeasuring the transect in 1948, W.P. Cottam noted that what was once a domestic sheep allotment, had been changed to cattle use, but that “the amount of utilization [was still] far too great…” However, I.H. Johnson reported that the soil and vegetation trends were up in 1953. While in 1978, Dr. James Bowns found that “species composition has improved and ground cover had increased. For this site the range condition is good and trend is up.” Plate 1138x is viewed northeast from the first subplot (C-231) on the Photo Plot Transect. The large spruce with the “T” blaze at the start of the transect was still standing in 2005 but had recently died. Conifers have increased, while aspen has declined. Many mature spruce, though, were recently killed by insects and disease. Aspen has not regenerated due to repeated ungulate herbivory (Kay and Bartos 2000). Ground cover has improved despite the fact that the area was actively being grazed by cattle in 2005.
U.S. Forest Service photograph (unnumbered) taken by Al Tait on August 17, 1978; retake by Charles E. Kay on September 5, 2005 - - Photo No. 5562-18A. Original photographs, negatives, and narrative reports held in the range files on the Cedar City Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Cedar City, UT.
Conifer, Aspen, Dry Meadow
South West: Section 8, Range 8 West, Township 36 South; UTM of transect starting point 343700 E, 4172800 N; elevation 10,080 ft.