Ox Canyon

Ox Canyon is defined by intermittent flow and numerous springs that provide year-round pools.  In November 2007 the Ojo Peak Fire burned approximately 7,000 acres of ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest, including the upper watershed of Ox Canyon.  The fire left steep, denuded hillslopes prone to severe erosion during high intensity summer thunderstorms.  After the fire the channel in Ox Canyon incised by as much as four feet after heavy runoff.  Of particular concern was that the channel erosion might have dropped the water table in critical areas around springs; potentially leading to their dessication.  In an effort to stabilize approximately 800 feet of channel–below Forest Service Road 422–over 20 structures aimed at mitigating upland and channel erosion were installed  The project was collaboratively implemented in the fall of 2013 by the Claunch-Pinto SWCD, SWCA Environmental Consultants, the US Forest Service, and Southwest Urban Hydrology.  Willow (Salix spp.) were planted in the spring of 2014 to further stabilize structures and improve riparian habitat.  Examples of some of the structures before and after planting can be found below.

The erosive cutting of water flowing over a headcut was minimized through the implementation of a log stepdown.

The erosive cutting of water flowing over a headcut was minimized through the implementation of a log stepdown.

A large headcut prior to stabilization by a log stepdown.

A large headcut prior to stabilization by a log stepdown and willow planting (see completed structure in photo to right and vegetation recover below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The log stepdown structure was reinforced with willow cuttings (Salix spp). Vegetation rapidly recolonized the area after implementation of the structure.

The log stepdown structure was reinforced with willow cuttings (Salix spp). Vegetation rapidly recolonized the area after implementation of the structure.

Ox Canyon Log Stepdown with One Rock Dams Below

Ox Canyon Log Stepdown with One Rock Dams Below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A headcut was armored with a rock rundown to prevent further downcutting upstream.

A headcut was armored with a rock rundown to prevent further downcutting upstream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A log mat was established at a cross-over to lift an incised section of the channel.

A log mat was established at a cross-over to lift an incised section of the channel.