Plate 954X. Swains Creek 1953 – 1978 – 2005 This Photo Plot Transect was established by the Forest Service in 1943 to monitor range conditions on Swains Creek about one-half mile below Tar Kiln Hollow. According to early narrative reports, the area was very heavily grazed by livestock when the transect was established. “Much of the soil here is shallow and shows serious sheet and gully erosion over the past decades”. The wet meadow along the creek was “once extensive, but deepening [down-cutting] of the channel has drained much of it and blue spruce is rapidly invading”. In 1948, Cottam noted that “the utilization of the meadow bottom this year has been tremendous. There is at this date hardly anything but stubble left”. From 1948 to 1953, an average of 1,048 sheep used this allotment each year, consuming on average, 2,592 AUM’s every growing season. “… the range is in … poor condition and has been for a long time…The deteriorated soil condition is one of the most conspicuous features on the transect area. All plots show it and the trend is, therefore, markedly down.” This despite the fact the operator took “considerable non-use” over the proceeding six years. During the 1960’s this changed from a sheep to a cattle allotment and the Forest Service instituted rest-rotation grazing. When the transect was remeasured in 1978, Dr. Jim Bowns reported, “Species composition and soil conditions have improved since the transect was established in 1943. The area along the stream has shown the greatest improvement. Erosion is no longer a serious problem. Many of the larger gullies have healed and are now completely sodded in with desirable grasses. Overall the range is in good condition and the trend is up.” Plate 954x is viewed west from the same camera station as Plate 953x. The stream channel has changed and is now behind (east) of the photopoint - - see Plate 953x. The USFS road has been moved further up the hill. Rushes are common in the old stream channel, while smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass dominate the drier parts of the floodplain. Needle and thread is the most common grass on the hillside. The area was actively being grazed by cattle in 2005.
U.S. Forest Service photographs (unnumbered) taken by I.H. Johnson on June 25, 1953, and by Al Tait on September 30, 1978; retake by Charles E. Kay on July 29, 2005 - - Photo No. 5488-10. 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 4, Range 7 West, Township 39 South; UTM of the transect end point 355300 E, 4145700 N; elevation 7,840 ft.