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Bear Creek (Si-ku-ptat[1])
Stewart River[1]
Bear Creek in Medford, Oregon
Country  United States
State Oregon
Counties Jackson
Source
 - location Near Emigrant Lake
 - elevation 1,841 ft (561 m) [2]
 - coordinates 42°11′40″N 122°39′57″W / 42.19444°N 122.66583°W / 42.19444; -122.66583 [3]
Mouth Rogue River (Oregon)
 - location Central Point
 - elevation 1,075 ft (328 m) [4]
 - coordinates 42°25′56.28″N 122°58′7.32″W / 42.4323°N 122.9687°W / 42.4323; -122.9687 [5]
Length 28.80 mi (46.35 km) [4]
Basin 361 sq mi (935 km2) [6]
Discharge for Central Point, Oregon
 - average 114 cu ft/s (3.23 m3/s) [4]
 - max 204 cu ft/s (5.78 m3/s)
 - min 45 cu ft/s (1.27 m3/s)
Route of the Bear Creek

Bear Creek is the name of a stream located entirely within Jackson County, Oregon. The stream drains approximately 400 square miles (1,000 km2) of the Rogue Valley and discharges an annual average of 114 cubic feet per second (3.2 m³/sec) into the Rogue River. It begins near Emigrant Lake and travels 28.8 miles (46.3 km) through the municipalities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and Central Point.[4]

Contents

History

Prior to the arrival of settlers in the 1850s, the Bear Creek Valley was home to three Native American tribes; the Takelmas, the Latgawas, and the Shastas. The scattered camps hunted deer and elk, fished for salmon, and consumed plums, sunflowers, and root crops.[7] When the area was originally settled, the stream was called Si-ku-ptat by the natives and may have been known as Stewart River by settlers.[1]

Various forced migrations occurred during the 1850s resulting in almost all of the Native American inhabitants being displaced to Indian Reservations by 1857.[7][8] Farmers and ranchers continued to acquire land claims and when the Oregon and California Railroad arrived in 1883, Bear Creek was chosen as the route to follow.[9]

Geology

The Bear Creek watershed is a curved valley (actually part of the Rogue Valley) averaging about 13 miles (21 km) wide and 28 miles (45 km) long, covering approximately 361 square miles (930 km2).[6][10] The confluence with the Rogue River is in the northwestern tip of the valley. The highest point in the watershed is on Mount Ashland at an elevation of about 7,500 feet (2,300 m). From there at least 83 streams in 21 sub-watersheds share a link with the greater Rogue River Basin.[4]

The landscape surrounding the watershed has been carved by tectonic activity leaving steep canyons which are prone to flooding when the snow melts in spring.[6] The slopes are part of the transition zone between volcanic soil and granitic soil covering much of Southern Oregon and Northern California and are prone to significant periods of erosion and runoff during high-flow periods. Furthermore, the elevation of the watershed at the point of confluence is about 1,075 feet (328 m) and a significant amount of kinetic energy builds up over the first 5,000 feet (1,500 m) drop.[4] Historically, the landscape plays a large part in dispersing this energy but flooding has become a regular problem along the Bear Creek;[6] several earlier bridges in the Rogue Valley have been wiped out during random flood events.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Gray, Dennis J (1987). [http://soda.sou.edu/awdata/021104a1.pdf "The Takelma and Their Athapascan Neighbors"]. Southern Oregon University. p. 17,79. http://soda.sou.edu/awdata/021104a1.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-05.  . For Stewart River, Mr. Gray was referencing a 1925 work by A. L. Kroeber called Handbook of California Indians. For Si-ku-ptat, a 1981 work by J. P. Harrington. An Oregon Department of Environmental Quality report cites "Landry" for Si'kuptat.
  2. ^ Obtained using the USGS National Map elevation tool on the coordinates listed above.
  3. ^ This information was obtained using the United States Geological Survey National Map and centering it on the confluence of Emigrant Creek and Neil Creek.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Bear Creek Watershed Assessment - Phase 2". Rogue Valley Council of Governments. 2001 December. p. 9. http://www.rvcog.org/pdf/WR_BCWA_PART2_BCMAINSTEM.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-21.  
  5. ^ This information was obtained using Google Maps and centering it on the confluence of Bear Creek and the Rogue River
  6. ^ a b c d "Bear Creek Watershed TMDL". Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. July 2007. http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/tmdls/docs/roguebasin/middlerogue/bearcreek/tmdlchp1sec12.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-15.  
  7. ^ a b Atwood, Kay & Gray, Dennis J (2003). "Where Living Waters Flow: Place & People: Native American Cultures: The Takelma & Other Peoples". Oregon History Project. http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/narratives/subtopic.cfm?subtopic_ID=23. Retrieved 2009-04-28.  
  8. ^ Allen, Cain (2003). "Table Rocks". Oregon History Project. http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=43979D89-A43B-C9A0-575310CFF485915F. Retrieved 2009-04-23.  
  9. ^ "Railroad Notes". Oregon Sentinel (Jacksonville, Oregon). Talky Tina Press. March 10, 1882. pp. 3. http://id.mind.net/%7Etruwe/tina/medford1883.html. Retrieved 2008-03-13.  
  10. ^ The width comes from the length of the Bear Creek as cited by the Watershed Assessment and the area measurement.
  11. ^ "Since you asked: A bridge too many". Mail Tribune. 2008-02-08. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080208/NEWS/802080334/-1/NEWS02. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  

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