Link to USGS home page

CHANGES IN RIPARIAN VEGETATION IN THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES:
Repeat Photography at Streamflow Gaging Stations

 

SANTA CRUZ RIVER AT TUCSON (09482500)

(November 22, 1930). This downstream view, taken from near the west abutment of the old Congress Street Bridge, shows the wide alluvial channel of the Santa Cruz River. At this time, the river flowed through a rural area, and cottonwood trees lined its banks. The relatively shallow arroyo began downcutting in 1878, and the 1914 flood of 15,000 ft³/s and 1917 flood of 7,500 ft³/s caused the most recent channel change before 1930 (photographer and number unknown).
   
(December 17, 1994). The channel of the Santa Cruz River is now confined by soil-cemented banks. The open gallery forest of cottonwood trees was destroyed by ground-water pumpage and development, and the channel reached its present depth between 1977 and 1983 (Dominic Oldershaw, Stake 3300).
   
(February 3, 1964). This downstream view shows the approach to the gaging station at the Congress Street Bridge in Tucson. A relatively small channel became established within the arroyo walls in the middle part of the 20th century, when few significant floods occurred. Non-native athel tamarisk, a non-invasive species in Tucson, appear downstream from the bridge on channel right (photographer and number unknown).
   
(August 22, 2000). The bridge was replaced, but its roadway surface was at about the same elevation as the old one. Channel downcutting, which primarily occurred during the 1977 and 1983 floods (the latter had a peak discharge of 52,700 ft³/s), has lowered the bed by up to 9 feet. Because of persistent problems with lateral channel change, soil cement now stabilizes the channel banks (Dominic Oldershaw, Stake 298).

Next: San Pedro River at Charleston (09471000)

Previous: Gila River below Blue Creek (09432000)

Introduction

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL:
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Last modified: Friday, January 11 2013, 02:19:28 AM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button