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This study explores how the relationship between flow and riparian vegetation varies along a montane river. We mapped occurrence of woody riparian plant communities along 58 km of the San Miguel River in southwest- ern Colorado. We determined the recurrence interval of inundation for each plant community by combining step-back- water hydraulic modeling at 4 representative reaches with Log-Pearson analysis of 4 stream gaging stations. Finally, we mapped bottomland surficial geology and used a Geographic Information System to overlay the coverages of geology and vegetation. Plant communities were distinctly arrayed along the hydrologic gradient. The Salix exigua Nuttall (sand- bar willow) community occurred mostly...
The Colorado River is one of the most highly regulated and extensively utilized rivers in the world. Total reservoir storage is approximately four times the mean annual runoff of -17 times 109 m3 year-1. Reservoir storage and regulation have decreased annual peak discharges and hydroelectric power generation has increased daily flow variability. In recent years, the incidental impacts of this development have become apparent especially along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and caused widespread concern. Since the completion of Glen Canyon Dam, the number and size of sand bars, which are used by recreational river runners and form the habitat for native fishes,...