Sylamore Creek Watershed
Sylamore Creek is a clear predominantly spring-fed stream that originates in the Ozark Mountains of Northcentral Arkansas and empties into the White River 72.3 km above Batesville. Sylamore Creek is composed of two branches, North and South Sylamore, which comprise the bulk of the watershed. Both branches flow through the extremely rugged and scenic country before joining to form Sylamore Creek proper. After the confluence of both branches, the Creek flows 0.8km before emptying into the White River at Allison, Arkansas.
North Sylamore has its origin in the Ozark National Forest and flows through national forest land. The North Sylamore Creek watershed is characterized by steep V-shaped, limestone, and dolomite-sided valleys separated by long, narrow winding ridges. Land cover in the watershed is 99 percent forest and 1 percent cleared land and private land holdings account for less than 5 percent of lands within the Forest boundary (Mast and Turk 1999). Over 23 km of the main stem of North Sylamore Creek is designated National Wild and Scenic River corridor and the stream is also considered an Extraordinary Resource Waters by the State of Arkansas. North Sylamore Creek flows southeast into the White River, which is a tributary to the Mississippi River. Recreational activities within the watershed include camping, horseback riding, hiking and fishing, particularly for smallmouth bass.
An interesting characteristic of streams within this watershed is the presence of large underground or dry sections, particularly in the tributaries, but also in the upper main stem. Some of these sections contained residual pools that likely play an important role in the distribution of fish, crayfish, and amphibians within the watershed. We noted fish, crayfish, and tadpoles in many residual pools separated from flowing water by several hundred meters. Springs appear to play a vital role in maintaining both base flow and water temperature within many stream sections. The watershed provides ample opportunity for research on the role of residual pools in maintaining biological communities.