City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 16, 2016

December 16th

Filed under: Colors, Gambel's Oak, Stream — canopus56 @ 9:02 pm

The Black Ribbon

4:00p.m.-5:30 p.m., December 15th, 2016. Before dusk, the stream is a brown ribbon that is marked with spots of brown-yellow from differing sediments on the bed and with green from moss and lichen. But as dusk falls, the stream becomes darker until it is a black ribbon winding out of the canyon. The black ribbon can also be seen when the Golden Ribbon (see Dec. 14th entry) below near picnic site 3. As the stream bends around a corner from the golden hued reflecting stream, the stream no longer reflects light, and because of the contrast with the lighted section, the stream appears inky black.

At mile 1.2 and picnic site 10, the Gambel’s oaks are no longer fringed with red. Today, temperatures reached into the fifties with high winds, and most of the snow has evaporated. The warm wind has also drawn much of the water out of the air and from the trees. The formerly red sprigs at the end of the oak branches have become grey, except at the very top of the trees. The Gambel’s oaks now sport silver-grey coats and not red outer coats.

Where snow remains by the roadside next to the warmer air, the snow seems to radiate cold just as a truly warm evening Sun radiates heat. In lower City Creek near Bonneville Drive, where the earth is exposed, bunch grass continues to grow at the roots and is more green.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on December 16th, 1850, he observes fleas in a handful of snow, and he finds butterfly cocoons hanging from a tree. On December 16, 1840, Thoreau compares the awkward motions of quadrupeds such as deer and moose to the fluid movement of cats, birds and fish. On December 16th, 1837, he notes that the morning winter forest is covered with mist rising from wet leaves.

On December 16th, 2014, Salt Lake City’s Director of Public Utilities Jeff Niermeyer and the City Water Resources Manager Laura Briefer described the history of watershed protection in Salt Lake City and City Creek Canyon in the context of a suit seeking the release of more city water for City of Alta development (Deseret News). Niermeyer noted that the City has restrictive rules to protect the watershed, but pursues a multiple use philosophy. The City imposes a $1.50 per month watershed protection tax on its users which generates $1.5 million per year for protection. He states that,

The bottom line we only have a limited amount of water. It is not replaceable and if anything it is going to be reduced because of climate change, and we really need to protect what we have. We can’t lose it because of poor choices or poor planning.

On December 16th, 2005, Bishop George H. Niederauer of the Diocese of Salt Lake City was nominated as the Archbishop of San Francisco Archdiocese (Deseret News). Earlier in the week, he went for a hike with ten students in City Creek Canyon (id).

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