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Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 215.2, Upstream from Three Springs Canyon, Downstream View from River Left (Stake 2009b)

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Stake 2009b, 1 March 1890 View Larger Image
1 March 1890
Stanton and his crew were in a hurry to find Diamond Creek, but he also was disciplined enough to continue his systematic documentation of his railroad route. He stopped above Three Springs Canyon on the left to photograph his proposed route, which would have traversed the right bank, through a right-hand bend. Only by accident did Stanton include desert vegetation in his view. Only two barrel cacti appear in this view, the most obvious on the far left side. Several inconspicuous brittlebush appear in the midground at left and center of the view.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-651, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 2009b, 24 February 1991 View Larger Image
24 February 1991
This view has the most persistent species of any Stanton view: eight. Although turnover is readily apparent, particularly in pricklypear and cholla, most of the shrubs are still alive after a century. These species are creosote bush (lower left), range ratany (midground center), Mormon tea (several individuals throughout the view), Fremont thornbush (midground at center), Anderson thornbush (left foreground), beavertail (lower center), buckhorn cholla (lower right), and mesquite (midground at center). The density of plants is much higher in 1991, but the increase is mostly in formerly frost-limited barrel cactus and brittlebush. Twenty-two barrel cacti are visible in the 1990s view; similarly, brittlebush has increased dramatically. This view, more than most, illustrates the framework of climatically insensitive species around the suite of frost-sensitive species. At this site, ungrazed by burros, long-lived species persist with little turnover compared with the relatively large turnover in grazed vegetation on river right.
Photo credit: Dave Edwards

Stake 2009b, 29 September 2010 View Larger Image
29 September 2010
Again, turnover has occurred in this view, but the increase in barrel cacti and brittlebush continues while most of the other individual desert plants have persisted. Riparian vegetation, mostly tamarisk, has increased along both banks. Despite prolonged drought in the intervening 19 years, plant biomass in both the desert and riparian vegetation has increased, reducing the amount of open space visible from this camera station.
Photo credit: Bill Lemke

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