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Sacramento-San Joaquin System [Chapter 8]Author(s): F. Thomas Griggs; Stefan Lorenzato
Source: In: Carothers, Steven W.; Johnson, R. Roy; Finch, Deborah M.; Kingsley, Kenneth J.; Hamre, Robert H., tech. eds. Riparian research and management: Past, present, future. Volume 2. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-411. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 211-232.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (1.0 MB)
DescriptionThe Great Central Valley of California occupies 22,500 square miles (58,000 square kilometers) in the interior of northern and central California. At the time of the Gold Rush in 1849, nearly 1 million acres (1,600 square miles, 4,000 square kilometers) of riparian vegetation covered the Central Valley floor along with approximately an equal area of wetlands. The riparian area flourished in the large river basins and along river channels (Katibah 1984; Thompson 1961). The Central Valley is partly defined by the Sacramento River in the north, the San Joaquin River in the south, and the Delta where the two rivers meet and turn westward toward San Francisco Bay (figs. 27a and 27b). The valley is made up of a series of basins connected by the rivers, which form a distributary floodway. Before development, heavy winter and spring runoff would flow out of the river channels and drain to the basins until waters were deep enough to continue their flow to the Delta. As flows subsided, water would sit in the basins until evaporated or it seeped into the ground. The wetland and riparian lands were nourished by these flows and extended across the low-lying areas in the valley trough and basin sinks. The land surface consisted of shallow undulating ridges and swales, creating complex soil-water-plant interactions that provided a great diversity of hydrology, vegetation, water depth and velocities, and timing. The result was a rich and dynamic system that dependably provided a mix of microhabitats and physical features (Kelley 1989; Thompson 1961).
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CitationGriggs, F. Thomas; Lorenzato, Stefan. 2020. Sacramento-San Joaquin System [Chapter 8]. In: Carothers, Steven W.; Johnson, R. Roy; Finch, Deborah M.; Kingsley, Kenneth J.; Hamre, Robert H., tech. eds. Riparian research and management: Past, present, future. Volume 2. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-411. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 211-232.
Keywordsriparian, ecosystem, ecology, riparian processes, riparian losses, restoration, aquatic, arid, semiarid, upland, freshwater, groundwater, hydrology, watershed, tamarisk, tamarisk leaf beetles (Diorhabda spp.)
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