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Comb Wash Near Snake Canyon

ca. 1910




COMB WASH NEAR SNAKE CANYON The 1910 Woodruff photograph is a very early image of Comb Wash. It depicts a wide, shallow and braided channel with little, if any, riparian vegetation. The active channel width here is about 900 feet. The 1999 image reveals a much narrower channel with a main stem and overflow channels. The active channel now has a width measuring from 20-30 feet. Three floodplain terraces have developed. Vegetation on the second and third terrace consists mainly of tamarisk, greasewood, rabbitbrush, a few Fremont cottonwood trees, grass and forb species. Streambanks and the first terrace are occupied by a surprising number of other riparian plant species, including coyote willow, Fremont cottonwood seedlings and poles, spikebrush, bulrush, saltgrass, scratchgrass and Bermuda grass (an exotic specie). Comb Wash is an intermittent stream at this point and riparian development will be correspondingly slow. However, vast improvements have occurred in the diversity, frequency and density of the vegetation community and channel configuration at this point in the 89 years between photographs. Photograph - C illustrates a 1999 downstream view of the channel just east of the photopoint, note the various age classes and specie mix along the stream bank.

Vegetative Community:



San Juan

January 2018