Riparian Community

From the point at which Red Butte Creek emerges from the canyon and throughout the floor of the canyon the streamside vegetation (plants residing in soil kept moist to wet by the stream) consists chiefly of western water birch (Betula occidentalis) and mountain alder (Alnus incana), accompanied at intervals by usually dense stands of red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) and willow (Salix spp.). Adjoining the stream along the floor of the canyon below and above the reservoir is an often densley wooded strip consisting chiefly of Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), boxelder (Acer negundo), and bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum), many of these trees ranging from 9 to 18 m (30 to 60 ft) or more tall. Also included in this plant community are widely scattered individuals or small populations of cottonwoods (Populus fremontii, P. angustifolia, and P. acuminata), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Woods rose (Rosa woodsii), bearberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata), thimbleberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), western black currant (Ribes hudsonianum), and golden currant (Ribes aureum). Relatively few species of grass and forbs are found here. They are listed to the right.

Beaver, once native, were reintroduced into Red Butte Canyon in 1928 (Bates 1963) and were active along Red Butte Creek and some of its tributaries for 54 years thereafter. Numerous marshy areas between elevations of 1645 m (5400 ft) and 2133 m (7000 ft) were created by the impoundment of water due to their dam building activities. To prevent the beaver populations from becoming undesirably large, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in 1971 undertook management ofthe populations. In December 1981 a recommendation was made, based on an analysis of the water supply to Fort Douglas from Red Butte Canyon, that all beaver be eliminated from the canyon because their feces could contaminate the water with the parasite Giardia lamblia. Accordingly, in 1982 the colonel in command of Fort Douglas applied for and received from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources a permit to remove the beaver from the canyon. Subsequently, all beaver were "harvested."

For more on Beavers in Red Butte Canyon

Grasses and Forbs

Elymus glaucus, blue wildrye
Lomatium dissectum, giant lomatium
Mahonia repens, Oregon grape
Osmorhiza chilensis, sweet cicely
Poa compressa, Canada bluegrass
P. pratensis, Kentucky bluegrass
Smilacina stellata, wild lily-of-the-valley
S. racemosa, false Solomon-seal
Solidago canadensis, goldenrod