Arroyo (creek)

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Arroyo North Fork of Las Cruces, New Mexico, looking east. Las Cruces Arroyo.jpg
Arroyo North Fork of Las Cruces, New Mexico, looking east.
An arroyo in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona Sonoran Desert Arroyo Sahuarita Arizona 2013.jpg
An arroyo in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona
A flash flood hits a dry streambed in the Gobi Desert GobiFlood.JPG
A flash flood hits a dry streambed in the Gobi Desert
Aerial view of El Paso's Arroyo Park, or Billy Rogers Arroyo, providing a path for runoff of rain on the Franklin Mountains behind Billy Rogers Arroyo Park.jpg
Aerial view of El Paso's Arroyo Park, or Billy Rogers Arroyo, providing a path for runoff of rain on the Franklin Mountains behind

An arroyo ( /əˈrɔɪ/ ; Spanish:  [aˈroʝo] , "brook"), also called a wash, is a dry creek, stream bed or gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. [1] Flash floods are common in arroyos following thunderstorms.

Stream A body of surface water flowing down a channel

A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. The stream encompasses surface and groundwater fluxes that respond to geological, geomorphological, hydrological and biotic controls.

Stream bed channel bottom of a stream, river, or creek

A stream bed or streambed is the channel bottom of a stream or river, the physical confine of the normal water flow. The lateral confines or channel margins are known as the stream banks or river banks, during all but flood stage. Under certain conditions a river can branch from one stream bed to multiple stream beds. A flood occurs when a stream overflows its banks and flows onto its flood plain. As a general rule, the bed is the part of the channel up to the normal water line, and the banks are that part above the normal water line. However, because water flow varies, this differentiation is subject to local interpretation. Usually, the bed is kept clear of terrestrial vegetation, whereas the banks are subjected to water flow only during unusual or perhaps infrequent high water stages and therefore might support vegetation some or much of the time.

Gulch Deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion

In xeric lands, a gulch is a deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion. It may contain a small stream or dry creek bed and is usually larger in size than a gully. Sudden intense rainfall upstream may produce flash floods in the bed of the gulch.

Contents

In Latin America any small river might be called an arroyo, even if it flows continually all year and is never dry.

The terms rambla (Spanish) or wadi (Arabic) are used in Spain, North Africa, and Western Asia.[ citation needed ] Arroyos provide a water source to desert animals.

Wadi River valley, especially a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain

Wadi, alternatively wād, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some instances, it may refer to a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only when heavy rain occurs.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

The desert dry wash biome is restricted to the arroyos of the southwestern United States.

Desert dry wash is a North American desert vegetation type occurring in the flat bottoms of canyons and drainages that lack water at or near the surface most of the year, and are subject to periodic severe flooding events. Desert dry wash is contrasted with desert riparian vegetation, which occurs in desert canyons and drainages where there is year-round water at or near the surface. Plants must either be able to survive the severe flooding conditions or be able to reestablish themselves before the next flooding event. Some of these plants have evolved so that in order for their seeds to germinate, the seeds must be scarified or abraded by tumbling sand, gravel, and rocks during the flooding event. They must then quickly send down roots deep enough to be able to tap into deep underground water reserves, in order to survive the dry period after the flooding. Common dominant species of the desert dry wash include smoke tree, desert willow, catclaw, cheesebush, and waterweed.

Biome Distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate

A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. "Biome" is a broader term than "habitat"; any biome can comprise a variety of habitats.

Types and processes

Arroyos can be natural fluvial landforms or constructed flood control channels. The term usually applies to a sloped or mountainous terrain in xeric and desert climates. In addition: in many rural communities arroyos are also the principal transportation routes; and in many urban communities arroyos are also parks and recreational locations, often with linear multi-use bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian trails. Flash flooding can cause the deep arroyos or deposition of sediment on flooded lands. This can lower the groundwater level of the surrounding area, making it unsuitable for agriculture. However a shallow water table lowered in desert arroyo valleys can reduce saline seeping and alkali deposits in the topsoil, making it suitable for irrigated farming.

Landform A natural feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body

A landform is a natural feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together make up a given terrain, and their arrangement in the landscape is known as topography. Typical landforms include hills, mountains, plateaus, canyons, and valleys, as well as shoreline features such as bays, peninsulas, and seas, including submerged features such as mid-ocean ridges, volcanoes, and the great ocean basins.

Flood control channel engineered canal designed to manage floodwater

Flood control channels are large and empty basins which let water flow in and out or dry channels that run below the street levels of some larger cities, so that if and when a flood occurs, the water will run into these channels, and eventually drain into a river or other body of water. Flood channels are sometimes built on the former courses of waterways as a way to reduce flooding.

Grade (slope) tangent of the angle of a surface to the horizontal

The grade of a physical feature, landform or constructed line refers to the tangent of the angle of that surface to the horizontal. It is a special case of the slope, where zero indicates horizontality. A larger number indicates higher or steeper degree of "tilt". Often slope is calculated as a ratio of "rise" to "run", or as a fraction in which run is the horizontal distance and rise is the vertical distance.

Natural

In the U.S. state New Mexico, the Doña Ana County Drainage Ordinance defines an arroyo as "a watercourse that conducts an intermittent or ephemeral flow, providing primary drainage for an area of land of 40 acres (160,000 m2) or larger; or a watercourse which would be expected to flow in excess of one hundred cubic feet per second as the result of a 100 year storm event." Research has been conducted in the hydrological modeling relative to arroyos. [2] Natural arroyos are made through the process known as arroyo-cutting. This occurs in arid regions such as New Mexico, where heavy rains can lead to enlargement of rivers cutting into surrounding rock creating ravines which are dry under normal weather conditions. [3] It is argued, however, whether these excessively stormy periods are the sole cause of arroyo-cutting as other factors such as long-term climate changes must also be taken into account. [4] Arroyo cutting which occurred in the 1900s in the southwestern United States caused serious farming issues such as a lowered water table and the destruction of agriculture and grazing lands.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Doña Ana County, New Mexico County in the United States

Doña Ana County is a county located in the southern part of the State of New Mexico of the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 209,233, which makes it the second-most populated county in New Mexico. Its county seat is Las Cruces, the second-most populous municipality in New Mexico.

Constructed

In agricultural areas in climates needing irrigation, farmers traditionally relied on small constructed arroyos, acequias, zanjas or aqueduct channels and ditches for the distribution of water.

Agriculture Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

Farmer person that undertakes agriculture

A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organisms for food or raw materials. The term usually applies to people who do some combination of raising field crops, orchards, vineyards, poultry, or other livestock. A farmer might own the farmed land or might work as a laborer on land owned by others, but in advanced economies, a farmer is usually a farm owner, while employees of the farm are known as farm workers, or farmhands. However, in the not so distant past, a farmer was a person who promotes or improves the growth of by labor and attention, land or crops or raises animals.

Aqueduct (water supply) any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used to convey water supply

An aqueduct is a watercourse constructed to carry water from a source to a distribution point far away. In modern engineering, the term aqueduct is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose. The term aqueduct also often refers specifically to a bridge on an artificial watercourse. The word is derived from the Latin aqua ("water") and ducere. Aqueducts were used in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and ancient Rome. In modern times, the largest aqueducts of all have been built in the United States to supply the country's biggest cities. The simplest aqueducts are small ditches cut into the earth. Much larger channels may be used in modern aqueducts. Aqueducts sometimes run for some or all of their path through tunnels constructed underground. Modern aqueducts may also use pipelines. Historically, agricultural societies have constructed aqueducts to irrigate crops and supply large cities with drinking water.

An example of larger constructed arroyos is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are several miles of open-air concrete lined drainage channels that drain an area into the main North Diversion Channel, a tributary of the Rio Grande joining upstream of Albuquerque. After the San Juan Project Water Treatment Plant here, the Rio Grande's flow exceeding that needed for the river's silvery minnow habitat is available for municipal water supply diversion. Signs are posted at the constructed arroyos warning to keep out due to danger of flash flooding.

The Arroyo Seco and Los Angeles River are more famous examples in Southern California of former natural arroyo seasonal watercourses that became constructed open drainage system arroyos.

See also

Notes

  1. "Arroyo Definition". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  2. "Modeling the Dynamics of Gully and Arroyo Formation Fort Carson and Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado" (PDF). Defense Technical Information Center. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  3. King, Cuchlaine; Landforms and Geomorphology: Concepts and History, Wiley, 1976 ISBN   978-0470150542
  4. Rice, R. J.; Fundamentals of Geomorphology, Longman, 1988 ISBN   978-0582301511

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Middle Rio Grande Project

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