Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Mojave River Beaver Continues

And that is the last bit of surface flow in the Mojave River after coming off Deep Creek before it goes underground. Does not look very good for a beaver? No riparian corridor but Lawrence of Arabia amounts of sand. Until the river does something miraculous and resurfaces about 8 miles downstream at Mojave Narrows Regional Park where a confluence of geology forces the water back up. And discovering this amazing desert oasis are beavers from the nearby San Bernardino mountains where several translocations took place last century.

And they seem to like the desert.

Victorville looks like a veritable haven for beavers smack dab right in the middle of one of the most well known deserts in the world.

Look at that big body of water, the whole pond is about 750 feet long!!

You can actually back up and see the swath of riparian green - largely created by the beavers - contrasted sharply against the desert from outer space!! Beaver can attenuate waning surface flows and even more substantially increase subsurface flows.

A little bit after Victorville the river submerges underground again and the river become a wide sandy wash as pictured below.

So pretty cool little desert population of beaver. In the areas with surface flows the beaver have found them and greatly augmented the habitat for plants and wildlife, and deepened and widened the channel for more persistent year round flows and groundwater percolation. The Mojave River is a noted habitat for several endangered reptiles and amphibians - especially western pond turtles - and doubtless multitudes of bird species. Unfortunately the lone native fish - The Mojave Tui Chub - has more or less been pushed to the brink of extinction by its non - native introduced relative the Arroyo Chub. Interestingly the Mojave Tui Chub is an ice age holdover from when the Mojave river used to flow into a permanent lake so beaver would have likely benefited this fish as they prefer slow moving, lentic waters.


Support me on Patreon.
Like antediluvian salad on facebook.
Watch me on Deviantart @NashD1.Subscribe to my youtube channel Duane Nash.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Are Rivers In Northern California Starting to Look Like Rivers In Southern California?

Ah the old southern vs northern Californian debate.... a little background from where I am coming from I have family in the Bay Area dating to the gold rush and even though I currently live in southern California and was born and raised here - I did go to school and live in northern California from 1997 to 2010. So bottom line is I feel first and foremost that I am Californian. Now you can inject any arguments and historical anecdotes that vilify southern California in terms of water usage - and truth be told southern California is and continues to be negligent both in terms of public and governmental use of water. But when it comes to bad, outdated policy and the loss of perennial flows and natural habitat both the North and South have blood on their hands. Remember for every Owens Valley there is also a Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Hetch Hetchy Valley- the "other" Yosemite, now a reservoir for Bay Area
I want to direct your attention to a YouTube clip The Eel River Has Stopped Flowing:

Now down here in socal we are used to seeing our rivers look like this, in fact this is more water than one should expect in a southern river by this time of the year. However the Eel River is not supposed to look like this. By the way it is named the Eel River for the historical abundance of lamprey that were found here - which are not true eels.

Let us see.... is there any other bad news I can throw at you? There has been the suggestion that the drought we are experiencing in California and the west may in fact be the start of a prolonged multi-decade drought or that even these rainfall patterns are the new normal. Cry me a (drying) river...

Northern and Southern California needs to get some common sense groundwater management, get rid of all the lawns, stop growing rice and nut crops, and start importing non-native beavers from Patagonia and Argentina to restore groundwater in ALL watersheds!!! Every problem is a chance for a creative solution!!!

Support me on Patreon.
Like antediluvian salad on facebook.
Watch me on Deviantart @NashD1.Subscribe to my youtube channel Duane Nash.