Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 1999

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Management

Committee Chair

Morris Uebelacker

Second Committee Member

Lisa Ely

Third Committee Member

Douglas N. Reynolds


Satus Creek provides critical habitat for the Yakima River Basin steelhead. A diverse community of riparian vegetation is important for healthy fish habitat; vegetation changes can affect shade, cover, channel structure, water quality, and food availability. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze and illustrate riparian vegetation change, both temporally and spatially, along three separate reaches of Satus Creek. A Geographic Information Systems approach was applied to assess the vegetation change by comparing plant species composition and density on 1949 and 1995 aerial photographs. The GIS approach allowed patterns and trends in the vegetation to be identified. In less than fifty years, a significant shift from woody to herbaceous species has occurred. Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) population size has decreased and white alder (Alnus rhombifolia) population size has increased. This thesis links these and other vegetation patterns occurring along Satus Creek to land use practices in the watershed.