Nature’s Water Catcher
Listen, in March, April and May, for the music of water in the creek bottom. Snowmelt and rain runoff in the early season is murky and fast, and holds the promise of life.
In southern Idaho, most of the annual moisture arrives during the fall and winter. Riparian areas, like Hull’s Gulch, act like natural sponges soaking up water and, under the shade of riparian plants, holding it against the dry days of summer. This is natural flood control, helping prevent flooding downstream, and is part of the healthy functioning of a desert-riparian system.
By late April the creek runs clear. Spring is Hull’s Gulch at its gaudiest. Colorful songbirds pass through on their way north. Robins and waxwings arrive as early as February. Bright finches, noisy chats and flycatchers settle down and begin building nests. Arrowleaf balsamroot, chokecherry and Wood’s rose are blossoming.
By late May the creek is drying up and by June, temperatures can be hot. But even into July and August, the willows and creekbottom grasses and shrubs remain green, and the shadiest areas can shelter small pools of water through late summer, until the fall rains come and the cycle of moisture begins again.