The extent and areal density of riparian vegetation, including both phreatophytes and hydrophytes, were mapped along the 100-mile main stem of the Mojave River during 1995. Mapping was aided by vertical false-color infrared and low-level oblique photographs. However, positive identification of plant species and plant physiological stress required field examination. The consumptive use of ground water and surface water by different areal densities of riparian plant communities along the main stem of the Mojave River was estimated using water-use data from a select group of studies in the southwestern United States. In the Alto subarea of the Mojave basin management area, consumptive water use during 1995 by riparian vegetation was estimated to be about 5,000 acre-feet upstream from the Lower Narrows and about 6,000 acre-feet downstream in the transition zone. In the Centro and Baja subareas, consumptive water use was estimated to be about 3,000 acre-feet and 2,000 acre-feet, respectively, during 1995. Consumptive water use by riparian vegetation in the Afton area, downstream from the Baja subarea, was estimated to be about 600 acre-feet during 1995. Consumptive water use by riparian vegetation during 1995 is considered representative of "normal" hydrologic conditions along the Mojave River. Barring major changes in the areal extent and density of riparian vegetation, the 1995 consumptive-use estimates should be fairly representative of riparian vegetation water use during most years. Annual consumptive use, however, could vary from the 1995 estimates as much as plus or minus 50 percent because of extreme hydrologic conditions (periods of high water table following extraordinarily large runoff in the Mojave River or periods of extended drought).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Riparian vegetation and its water use during 1995 along the Mojave River, Southern California
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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