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Swains Creek





Plate 953X. 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 953x is viewed northeast to Swains Creek from near subplot C-202. The strem channel has changed and is now further to the right. The streambanks are more heavily vegetated today than they were in earlier times. The area was actively being grazed by cattle in 2005. The meadow is mostly smooth brome and Kentucky bluegrass, while needle and thread is the most common grass on drier sites. In the distance, ponderosa pine has increased, despite repeated logging, while aspen has declined. The larger shrubs at the base of the hill are currants.

Photo Information:

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. 5488-4. Original photographs, negatives, and narrative reports held in the range files on the Cedar City Ranger District, Dixie National Forest, Cedar City, UT.

Vegetative Community:

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.

January 2018