The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument is located along the Gunnison River on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in Montrose County, Colorado. The canyon is narrow because it is cut into resistant pre-Cambrian gneiss: it has a maximum depth of 900m and a minimum width of 300m from rim to rim (Hansen 1987). The watershed is 10,000 square km. A 450-m study reach was selected by the National Park Service (Fig. 1). The width of the canyon bottom within the study reach varies from 40 to 90 m, the gradient is 0.0128, and the elevation is approximately 1707 m. Average annual precipitation is 370 m (Colorado Climate Center 1984). Because of the steep canyon walls the study reach is inaccessible to livestock and has probably never been grazed.