Sonoran Desert habitat type: Arroyos and Washes

There doesn't seem to be a hard and fast distinction between washes and arroyos. Both are drainageways that carry water during rainstorms. In some of the literature, there seems to be a tendency to refer to washes as relatively large, wide, intermittent stream channels formed by the coalescence of of a number of smaller, narrower channels, and occurring more in wide valleys or large canyons.

The term arroyo seems to refer more to narrow, deep drainageways coming out of the mountains and passing through upper bajadas. For our purposes here, we will refer to arroyos as having narrow, rocky and gravelly bottoms, high rocky sides, and as being relatively close to the mountains.

Washes will be defined as being wide, relatively shallow, mostly out in the valleys, and having deep sandy bottoms. For many people, the terms may be completely interchangeable. In either case, runoff water is collected from the surrounding mountains and desert so that moisture conditions are much more favorable than those areas.

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Some species that could be found in Arroyos and washes.

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