Monday, December 5, 2011

Creek Again

Rains have recharged the groundwater to the point where water once again flows continually through the creek. Summer rains weren’t enough to keep the creek flowing and it spent several months as a series of separate pools. The return of the creek is always a happy occasion.

Some of the rock configurations have changed, but there are still plenty of small waterfalls. This riffle is bounded by some large limestone slabs, so the basic shape doesn’t change much. The changes come from smaller stones that travel down the creek channel. Any rock smaller than a typical person’s head is subject to movement during storm runoff. Sometimes the movement is very slight, but that’s enough to change the pattern of the stream’s base flow.

This pool is relatively stable and hasn’t changed much since I moved here. Limestone bedrock forms the pool basin and cannot be shifted by any amount of flood water. Sand and gravel sometimes deposit in the pool, but this is cleaned out during high flow periods.

The rocky stretch of creek below the pool changes constantly. Populations of aquatic creatures living among the stones don’t seem to be bothered by the frequent rearrangement of their living area.

Loss of a tree on the bank has allowed this pool to almost double in size since last year. The smaller pool always held a good population of salamander larvae in the spring. The current size and shape is more conducive to fish, which could mean trouble for the salamanders.

A large cedar has fallen where the creek makes a sharp turn. Accumulated debris is already blocking the channel. That cedar will be a tough obstacle for the flood water to move. I’m anticipating the creek rerouting itself around the obstruction, but I’m not sure where that new channel will form.


  1. Hi Steve.. Looks like the area is going into the winter months in good shape ...the water should be good to stay now that the warm weather is gone!!
    I hung Christmas lights outside today in just a sweatshirt...let me rephrase that I was fully clothed, not just a sweatshirt hahaha!! It was 55 degrees, no breeze...nice!!

  2. Hi Grace. It's been raining all day here. Plenty of water to keep the creek going. I took the family to get a Christmas tree yesterday and the temperature was 62. Cooler weather is not far away now.