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Securing Arizona's Water Future

Geography of the Salt River Basin

The Salt River Basin occupies the eastern part of the planning area and is the second largest basin at 5,232 square miles.  Geographic features and principal communities are shown on Figure 5.2-1.  The basin is characterized by mid- to high-elevation mountain ranges, plateaus and canyons. Vegetation types include: Arizona upland Sonoran desertscrub; semi-desert, plains and Great Basin and subalpine grasslands; interior chaparral; madrean evergreen woodland; Great Basin conifer woodland; and montane and Rocky Mountain subalpine conifer forests (see Figure 5.0-10)  Riparian vegetation includes mesquite, mixed broadleaf and tamarisk along the Salt River and mixed broadleaf along the Black River.

Principal geographic features shown on Figure 5.2-1 are:
  • Salt River running east to west through the southern part of the basin from the confluence of the White and Black Rivers

  • White River and its tributaries in the northeastern portion of the basin

  • Black River running from the eastern basin boundary to the Salt River, which also demarcates part of Graham, Apache, Navajo and Greenlee county boundaries

  • Other major tributaries to the Salt River including Cherry Creek, Canyon Creek, Cibecue Creek, Carrizo Creek and Cedar Creek

  • Theodore Roosevelt Lake in the western portion of the basin and Apache Lake, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake in the vicinity of Tortilla Flat

  • Hawley Lake, Sunrise Lake, Crescent Lake and Big Lake in the high-elevation northeastern portion of the basin

  • Salt River Canyon (not labeled on map) along the Salt River and numerous side canyons such as Sycamore Canyon and Sawmill Canyon

  • Superstition and Pinal Mountains and Natanes Plateau along the southern basin boundary

  • Mogollon Rim along the northern basin boundary

  • Bonito Prairie between the White and Black Rivers south of Fort Apache

  • Four Peaks along the Maricopa and Gila County line in the Mazatzal Mountains and the Sierra Ancha Mountains south of Young

  • White Mountains in Apache County which contain the highest peak in the basin Mt. Baldy at 11,403 feet

  • The lowest point at 1,200 feet where the Salt River exits the basin

Click to view Figure 5.2-1

Click for Figure 5.2-1 Salt River Basin Geographic Features

 

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Download pdf of entire Central Highlands Planning Area Download pdf of the Salt River Basin

References and Supplemental Reading for the Salt River Basin

Colorado River Central Highlands Planning Area Download entire Central Highlands Planning Area Atlas in pdf Salt River Stream on White Mountain Apache Reservation