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The geomorphic effectiveness of extreme floods increases with aridity and decreasing watershed size. Therefore, in small dry watersheds extreme floods should control the age structure and spatial distribution of populations of disturbance-dependent riparian trees. We examined the influence of extreme floods on the bottomland morphology and forest of ephemeral streams in a semiarid region. Along six stream reaches on the Colorado Piedmont we examined channel changes by analyzing a rectified sequence of aerial photographs spanning 56 yr, and we investigated the spatial distribution of different-aged patches of forest by aging 189 randomly sampled cottonwood trees. Channel change in these ephemeral sand-bed streams...