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Stanislaus River Report
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Stanislaus River Basin and Calaveras River Water Use Program|
Threatened and Endangered Species Report - March 1995
Bay Delta and Special Water Projects Division, CA Dept. of Fish and Game
2.1 VALLEY REACHThe valley reach is that portion of the river from the confluence with the San Joaquin River upstream to the Orange Blossom bridge (east of the city of Oakdale). It flows through an area that is highly developed agriculturally and whose major crops are fruits and nuts. This reach is approximately 47 river miles in length and has a gradient of 0.03 percent.
The major habitat type within this reach, valley foothill riparian, is primarily found bordering the Stanislaus River. This habitat is characterized by a canopy layer of cottonwoods, California sycamores, and valley oaks. Subcanopy cover trees are white alder, boxelder, and Oregon ash. Typical understory shrub layer plants include wild grape, wild rose, California blackberry, elderberry, button brush, and willows. The herbaceous layer consists of sedges, rushes, grasses, miner's lettuce, poison-hemlock, and nettle.
Annual grassland is also a habitat type found within the valley reach of the river. This is characterized as an open habitat dominated by annual grasses. Common species of annual grassland habitats include wild oats, soft chess, ripgut brome, red brome, wild barley, and foxtail fescue. Common forbs include redstem filaree, turkey mullein, clovers, and popcorn flower.
Other habitat types within this reach are fresh emergent wetland, riverine, urban, and disturbed. Fresh emergent wetland habitats are characterized by erect, rooted hydrophytes such as sedge, nutsedge, rush, and cattail. The river comprised the riverine habitat; the cities of Ripon, Escalon, Riverbank, and Oakdale comprised the category called urban. The disturbed category identifies those areas showing disturbance in the forms of gravel mining, rip-rapped stream banks, or similar man-made disturbances not suitable for inclusion with the other categories used.
In some areas within this reach the riparian corridor is virtually nonexistent, primarily due to farming which has encroached upon the riparian corridor practically to the river's edge. In a few areas the riparian corridor is wide. One example of an existing wide riparian corridor is in the Caswell Memorial State Park.