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California's Colorado Desert
Desert
is a part of the larger Sonoran Desert. It encompasses approximately 7 million acres (2,800,000 ha), including the heavily irrigated Coachella and Imperial valleys. It is home to many unique flora and fauna.

Contents

1 Geography and geology 2 Climate 3 Flora and fauna

3.1 Endemic flora

4 National and State Parks 5 Environmental issues 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Geography and geology[edit]

The Algodones Dunes

The Colorado Desert
Desert
is a subdivision of the larger Sonoran Desert[1] encompassing approximately 7 million acres (28,000 km2)[2] The desert encompasses Imperial County and includes parts of San Diego County, Riverside County, and a small part of San Bernardino County.[3] Most of the Colorado Desert
Desert
lies at a relatively low elevation, below 1,000 feet (300 m), with the lowest point of the desert floor at 275 feet (84 m) below sea level at the Salton Sea. Although the highest peaks of the Peninsular Ranges
Peninsular Ranges
reach elevations of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m), most of the region's mountains do not exceed 3,000 feet (910 m). In this region, the geology is dominated by the transition of the tectonic plate boundary from rift to fault. The southernmost strands of the San Andreas Fault
San Andreas Fault
connect to the northernmost extensions of the East Pacific Rise. Consequently, the region is subject to earthquakes, and the crust is being stretched, which will result in a sinking of the terrain over time. Climate[edit] The Colorado Desert's climate distinguishes it from other deserts. The region experiences greater summer daytime temperatures than higher-elevation deserts and almost never experiences frost. In addition, the Colorado Desert
Desert
experiences two rainy seasons per year (in the winter and late summer), especially toward the southern portion of the region; the more northerly Mojave Desert
Desert
usually has only winter rains.[4][5] The west coast Peninsular Ranges, or other west ranges, of Southern California–northern Baja California, block most eastern Pacific coastal air and rains, producing an arid climate.[4] Other short or longer-term weather events can move in from the Gulf of California
California
to the south, and are often active in the summer monsoons. These include remnants of Pacific hurricanes, storms from the southern tropical jetstream, and the northern ITCZ. Flora and fauna[edit]

Blooming cholla cactus with bird's nest in Anza Borrego Desert
Desert
State Park

Bighorn sheep
Bighorn sheep
at Palm Canyon in Anza-Borrego State Park.

See also: Flora of the Colorado Desert
Flora of the Colorado Desert
and List of flora of the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
Region by common name See also: the categories Flora of the California
California
desert regions, Fauna of the Colorado Desert, and Fauna of the Sonoran Desert. The region's terrestrial habitats include creosote bush scrub; mixed scrub, including yucca and cholla cactus; desert saltbush; sandy soil grasslands; and desert dunes. Higher elevations are dominated by pinyon pine and California
California
juniper, with areas of manzanita and Coulter pine. In addition to hardy perennials, more than half of the desert's plant species are herbaceous annuals, and appropriately timed winter rains produce abundant early spring wildflowers. In the southern portion of the region, the additional moisture supplied by summer rainfall fosters the germination of summer annual plants and supports smoketree, ironwood, and palo verde trees. The unique Joshua tree can be found in Joshua Tree National Park,[4] as well as small regions of central or northwestern Arizona. Common desert wildlife include mule deer, bobcat, desert kangaroo rat, cactus mouse, black-tailed jackrabbit, Gambel's quail, and red-diamond rattlesnake. Among sensitive species are flat-tailed horned lizard, Coachella Valley
Coachella Valley
fringe-toed lizard, desert tortoise, prairie falcon, Andrews' dune scarab beetle, peninsular bighorn sheep, and California leaf-nosed bat.[4] The best place to spot wildlife is at the wetland refuges along the Colorado River, Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
and Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.[6] In the Colorado Desert's arid environment, aquatic and wetland habitats are limited in extent but are critically important to wildlife. Runoff from seasonal rains and groundwater springs forms desert arroyos, desert fan palm oases, freshwater marshes, brine lakes, desert washes, ephemeral and perennial streams, and desert riparian vegetation communities dominated by cottonwood, willow, and non-native tamarisk. Two of the region's most significant aquatic systems are the Salton Sea
Salton Sea
and the Colorado River. While most desert wildlife depend on aquatic habitats as water sources, a number of species, such as the arroyo toad, desert pupfish, Yuma rail, and southwestern willow flycatcher, are restricted to these habitats. In some places, summer rains produce short-lived seasonal pools that host uncommon species like Couch's spadefoot toad.

Washingtonia filifera
Washingtonia filifera
in Anza Borrego Desert
Desert
State Park

Desert
Desert
fan palm oases are rare ecological communities found only in the Colorado Desert. They occur only where permanent water sources are available, such as at springs or along fault lines, where groundwater is forced to the surface by the movement of hard impermeable rock, and can be found in the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, and Little San Bernardino mountains, in the canyons of Anza-Borrego Desert
Desert
State Park, and along the San Andreas Fault
San Andreas Fault
in the Coachella Valley.[4] The only palm native to California, Washingtonia filifera
Washingtonia filifera
(desert fan palm), grows at the oases.[7] Endemic flora[edit] Some sub-regions of the Colorado Desert
Desert
contain endemic flora. Along the Lower Colorado River
Colorado River
Valley, in-flow side canyons, flatlands, or low-to-higher level elevations, at least three such flora occur: Hesperocallis undulata
Hesperocallis undulata
(desert lily), Nolina bigelovii
Nolina bigelovii
(Bigelow's nolina), and Peucephyllum schottii
Peucephyllum schottii
(desert fir). National and State Parks[edit]

Joshua Tree National Park Imperial NWR Sonny Bono Salton Sea
Salton Sea
NWR Indio Hills Palms Anza-Borrego Desert
Desert
State Park Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area Picacho State Recreation Area Heber Dunes
Dunes
State Vehicular Recreation Area Salton Sea
Salton Sea
State Recreation Area

Environmental issues[edit] The Colorado Desert
Desert
is one of the least-populous regions in California, but human activities have had substantial impacts on the region's habitats and wildlife. Many unique communities, particularly aquatic and dune systems, are limited in distribution and separated by vast expanses of inhospitable, arid desert terrain. Even limited human disturbances can have markedly deleterious effects on the endemic and sensitive species supported by these unique regional systems.[4] Some of the greatest human-caused effects on the region have resulted from the water diversions and flood control measures along the Colorado River. These measures have dramatically altered the region's hydrology by redistributing the region's water supply to large expanses of irrigated agriculture and metropolitan coastal areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego. The once-dynamic Salton Sea
Salton Sea
and Colorado River ecosystems are now controlled by human water management. Because of the scarcity of water resources in the desert environment, these alterations have had substantial impacts on regional wildlife and habitats. In addition, portions of the region are experiencing substantial growth and development pressures, most notably the Coachella Valley.[4] See also[edit]

Yuma Desert Chihuahuan Desert Deserts of California List of North American deserts

References[edit]

^ https://calwil.wordpress.com/category/california-colorado-desert/ ^ http://www.borregospringschamber.com/abdsp/documents/ch08_colorado.pdf ^ "Poster- Colorado Desert
Desert
Ecoregion (ER_322C)". Retrieved 2017-10-31.  ^ a b c d e f g "Colorado Desert". Retrieved 2009-08-06. [permanent dead link] ^ Allen A. Schoenherr, A Natural History of California, 1992 ^ "Tour Cibola Wildlife Refuge". CaliforniaResortLife. Archived from the original on 2015-12-27. Retrieved 2015-12-24.  ^ "A Desert
Desert
Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Colorado Desert.

Colorado Desert
Desert
– Overview from California
California
Wildlife Action Plan site  "Colorado Desert". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 

v t e

Colorado Desert
Desert
Region

Counties

Imperial County San Diego County(part) Riverside County(part) San Bernardino County(part)

Major Cities

El Centro Palm Springs Indio Palm Desert Coachella Calexico Brawley Blythe

Natural features

Sonoran Desert Colorado Desert Yuha Desert Imperial Valley New River Coyote Mountains Chocolate Mountains Algodones Dunes Palo Verde Valley Colorado River Salton Sea San Andreas Fault Fossil Canyon Painted Gorge

Historical interests

Bradshaw Trail Fort Yuma Old Plank Road

Designated areas

Joshua Tree National Park Imperial National Wildlife Refuge Heber Dunes Ocotillo Wells Picacho Salton Sea
Salton Sea
State Recreation Area Indio Hills Palms Sonny Bono Salton Sea
Salton Sea
National Wildlife Refuge Anza-Borrego Desert
Desert
State Park

v t e

World
World
deserts

Desert Desertification List of deserts List of deserts by area

Africa

Algerian Bayuda Blue Chalbi Danakil Djurab Eastern Ferlo Farafra (White) Kalahari Libyan Moçâmedes Namib Nubian Nyiri Owami Richtersveld Sahara Tanezrouft Ténéré Western

Asia

Ad-Dahna Akshi Arabian Aral Karakum Aralkum Badain Jaran Betpak-Dala Cholistan Dasht-e Kavir Dasht-e Khash Dasht-e Leili Dasht-e Loot Dasht-e Margo Dasht-e Naomid Gurbantünggüt Gobi Hami Indus Valley Judaean Karakum Katpana Kharan Kumtag Kyzylkum Lop Maranjab Muyunkum Nefud Negev Polond Ordos Qaidam Ramlat al-Sab'atayn Rub' al Khali Russian Arctic Registan Saryesik-Atyrau Syrian Taklamakan Tengger Thal Thar Ustyurt Plateau Wahiba Sands

Australia

Gibson Great Sandy Great Victoria Little Sandy Nullarbor Plain Painted Pedirka Simpson Strzelecki Sturt's Stony Tanami Tirari

Europe

Accona Bardenas Reales Błędów Cabo de Gata Deliblatska Peščara Hálendi Monegros Oleshky Oltenian Sahara Ryn Stranja Tabernas

North America

Alvord Amargosa Baja California Black Rock Carcross Carson Channeled scablands Chihuahuan Colorado Escalante Forty Mile Gran Desierto de Altar Great Basin Great Salt Lake Great Sandy Jornada del Muerto Kaʻū Lechuguilla Mojave North American Arctic Owyhee Painted Desert Red Desert Sevier Smoke Creek Sonoran Tonopah Desert Tule (Arizona) Tule (Nevada) Yp Yuha Yuma

South America

Atacama La Guajira Los Médanos de Coro Monte Patagonian Sechura Tatacoa

Zealandia

Rangipo Desert

Polar Regions

Antarctica Arctic Greenland North American Arctic Russian Arctic

Project Category Commons

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 240819

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