“Sandy Creek” lies just down the hill from my grandfather’s property. As a child, I fished and played in this stream, and touched the poison oak along its banks. I don’t remember ever seeing this stream flood or dry up, and the photograph is indicative of the only flow condition I have ever observed.
True to its name, the banks and bed of this stream are formed nearly entirely of sand or sandstone. Sandstone bluffs and ledges support the larger topography near the stream, but unconsolidated sand forms the stream banks and bed. The area soil is an Inceptisol, and contains little or no cohesive clay. Plant roots support the near vertical banks of Sandy Creek. Without the vegetation, Sandy Creek would be wide and shallow, with shallow banks and a constantly shifting channel. The dense forest in the Sandy Creek watershed also reduces the severity of runoff, sediment input into the stream, the severity of floods, and allows for a more stable stream channel.