Friday, March 02, 2007

2005 to 2007, San Gabriel Mountains

My grandmother would say, " should always have a reference point from which to compare...." and so to understand my last post, I have to go back to my photos of the San Gabriel Mountains from a couple of years, at least. Is my reaction to the condition of the SG River valley from February 24, 2007 just because I have not visited the area for a while... or is there something very different seasonally and perhaps 'globally'? The top picture was shot February 2005.

Look at February 24, 2007... this is not of the same angle of the valley and the reservoir as in the upper shot, but if you could look to the left up into the upper tributary of the River... this what you would see..... today....

Late November to March is our rainy season (give or take a month) so in February the rains should have stimulated growth of not only the weedy grasses but also the oaks and the Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina).

The picture on the left was shot after the 100 year storm in March of 2005. The reservoir was being drained. The mountain face with the most green vegetation on the right, was taken at the higher elevation approximately a mile or so from the area seen on the left.

In April of 2006, the valley was still green with some patches of dry. The picture on the left is at a higher elevation (above 2500 feet above sea level). The picture on the right is just above the dam (seen in the upper image)and around the thousand foot level.

The larger picture below was shot in December of 2005. This is looking north past the valley. I hiked with a friend on the 26th to enjoy the cool air of winter. The toyon trees (Heteromeles arbutifolia) were covered in red berries and lots of birds were enjoying the feast.

Now, the question is, is the valley being impacted by something that is drying out the vegetation faster then in other areas? I have been driving the last few days around through in the passes and I find some spotty drying, but not the wholesale valley as seen in the surroundings of the San Gabriel River.

I called this picture '80% dead'.... I am not sure if it is.

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