The Confluence

green valley with stream running through it, a ranger flat hat is on the ground adjacent to wooden bridge
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NPS Photo/Adam Gericke

Area Description: Are you thirsty? A confluence is a place where two streams come together. This meeting of Beaver Creek and Cold Spring Creek is one of the major confluences of the park and attracts a lot of wildlife.

Visible Vegetation: Common Mullein, Arumleaf Arrowhead, Wild Bergamot, American Licorice, Box Elder, Ponderosa Pine

Possible Animal Habitat:

Mammals: Bison, Elk, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Coyote, Mountain Lion, Hayden’s Shrew, Porcupine

Birds: Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren

Geology: The rocks on the hillside are Paha Sapa Limestone. In other parts of the country this layer of rock is often called the Madison Formation. This limestone formed in the Mississippian age over 330 million years ago. Laid down in a shallow sea, limestone is mostly composed of calcium carbonate. Its coloration ranges from gray to light tan.

For Educators:

Thematic Information: With the influx of water from Cold Spring Creek, Beaver Creek grows by about 50%. As you look up Cold Spring Creek to the southwest, you can see the impact large animals have when the stream bank becomes over crowded. The animals stomp out the vegetation and stir up sediments in the water.

Recommended Student Activity:

What negative effects do the heavily-impacted stream banks have?

During periods of high rainfall, due to the lack of vegetation, erosion can be a greater problem.

Plants that can only grow near water can be trampled and killed.

Heavily sedimented water can have a negative effect on aquatic life.

What would the stream bank look like on a healthier stream?

More vegetation and more variety. Steeper banks as vegetation would hold the soil in place.

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Last updated: December 29, 2017

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Hot Springs, SD 57747

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