In many cases these swales are dry except for when a significant rain occurs.
|Willows at the bottom. Brome grass up the side. One indicative of standing water, the other of drought stress.|
|Typically, swales are fenced because they are steep sided and constitute an "attractive nuisance".|
|This is a photo looking diagonally across the bottom of a swale. The bottom of this one is normally dry.|
|This one has a wet bottom.|
|From May Theilgaard Watts, Reading the Landscape of America. Changes in moisture retention and the thinning surface duff causes a change in the climax community as one approaches the lip of a canyon.|
The east-facing slopes will be sheltered from the direct wind and will be kissed by the gentle morning sun. They will have plant communities reminiscent of places 400 miles to the East.
So it is with swales: An opportunity to create four unique ecosystems that are disjunct communities that encompass +/- 400 miles in any direction....all within a few hundred yards of each other.
But that is not all
Depending on the bottom, it may be a great way to create islands of genetic diversity of less common floodplain plants.
|Artwork by Robert Bateman, a phenomenal artist whose paintings are better than photos. |
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