Darwin Falls – Darwin Canyon ACEC
In this Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) a small, perennial stream flowing through Darwin Canyon supports an oasis amongst the surrounding creosote bush scrub. At the falls the stream drops in three stages before reaching the lower level of the deep, steep-sided canyon. Riparian and creosote bush scrub communities border the stream, and the latter also covers the canyon sides and adjacent slopes.
The riparian community includes tules, Scirpus sp., cattail, Typha
latifolia, rush, Juncus sp., yellow willow, Salix lasiandra, water-wally,
Baccharis salicifolia, and, at the lower end of the canyon, cottonwood, Populus
Larrea tridentata is the dominant species in the scrub. Camissonia
cardiophylla, Senecio flaccidus var. monoensis and Sphaeralcea ambigua
ssp. ambigua occur here also.
At the falls Mimulus guttatus and the fern Adiantum capillus-veneris are found.
As an oasis in an otherwise arid region, the area supports an abundance of wildlife. Among the species observed here are ringtail,
Bassariscus astutus, marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris, red-winged blackbird,
Agelaius phoeniceus, prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus, chuckwalla,
Sauromalus obesus, side-blotched lizard, Uta stansburiana, zebra-tailed lizard,
Callisaurus draconoides, red-spotted toad, Bufo punctatus, and Western toad,
Permian marine sedimentaries, Mesozoic granitics and Pleistocene volcanic basaltic rocks are present in the area.
Integrity: Off-road vehicles, camping and hunting have impacted portions of the area. Tamarisks are invading and the feral burro is causing some damage.
Use: Educational, scientific, observational.
Inventory of California Natural Areas
Revision © 2005 Steven Louis Hartman