LOWER MILL CREEK
General Description: This photopoint is in Grand County at the junction of the south and north forks of Mill Creek. Although the site is in Grand County, a large portion of the south fork watershed is located in San Juan County. The view is east upstream of the north fork which is public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Legal Description: SE1/4SE1/4 Section 5 T.26S., R.22E.
COMPARISON: Lee’s 1925 photograph shows an incised sandy alluvial terrace with little or no riparian vegetation. The 1999 retake shows a healthy, properly functioning riparian zone with a wide variety of woody and herbaceous riparian plant species representing several age classes. Further outward expansion of this riparian zone is limited by confining topography (high terraces and canyon walls). Some of the native riparian plants include Fremont cottonwood, Gooding willow, yellow willow, coyote willow, boxelder, bulrush, spike rush, Baltic rush, horsetail, saltgrass and white virgin’s bower. Exotic species include tamarisk, Siberian elm and Russian olive trees. These exotics are not a major component of the overall plant community, but Russian olive plants are increasing. This area was grazed by cattle until 5 years ago when they were relocated. The area was closed to motorized vehicles at the same time, but is now heavily impacted by pedestrian traffic.
Date: ca. 1925 (- A)
Photographer: W.T. Lee
Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Colorado
Photograph Number: Lee No. 3085
Date: June 28, 1999 (- B)
Photographer: Earl Hindley
Source: San Juan County