19 April 2009

Spring Beauty in Carbon Canyon (But . . .)

Generally speaking, greenery that appears in Carbon Canyon is welcome after dry summers and falls that leave the place looking brown are followed by winter rains. Because of November's Freeway Complex Fire which ravaged the Canyon, especially the Brea side, the prospect of rain in the winter also brought a concern for mudslides, perhaps as bad as those that hit in the last big rainfall in 2004-05. But, the slides didn't happen, because for the third consecutive year there was a below normal (whatever the means these days) amount of precipitation.

Still, after the devastation wrought by the blaze, the appearance of new plant life, which came quickly because there was rain shortly after, was certainly welcome. The problem: the conflagration burned away native plant materials and allowed for invasives to become more prominent than they already had been. Hence, the carpets of wild mustard that have sprung even more noticeably than in past years.

On the surface it looks good to see something, but the problem is that this something is not necessarily what makes for a healthy habitat. Having said this, there are some areas where wildflowers have developed, although their growth has been limited.

The above photographs, taken yesterday morning, show a few views of some of these areas along the south side of the Canyon between the county line and the La Vida Mineral Springs property (the further desecration of which was profiled yesterday.) After the moonscape-like bleakness that came about as a result of the fall fires, these photos show a welcome development, in portions of the Canyon, five months later. More photographs of similar scenes are at the bottom of the blog page below.

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