Wednesday, November 16, 2005

16 November 2005 Hydrogy in Bell Creek

16 November 2005
Allen, the organic farmer next door had two huge Cottonwood trees down by the creek. They started growing about a half century ago, by their ring count. One had roots in the creek. Whether the winds are stronger or the amount of water we are getting is increasing, causing more erosion, or both, the tree with roots in the creek came down one stormy night.
It crushed Allen's fence. Our deeds don't allow fences past the power lines to allow Edison trucks egress. Edison is GTE now and many homeowners have put in all sorts of structures in 40 years. Who knows if Edison's records on properties have been digitized. So much for egress. Allen had the fallen tree sawed up and the other Cottonwood taken down. He has some huge stumps down the hill, by the creek. After two years, he lined them up along the property line, perpendicular from the creek, he said it will slow the water.
Last night we got a large storm and the water overflowed the banks. Sure enough, there is a little pond between the stumps and the brush pile. There is a raging current in the stream bed, but on the bank the water eddies and stays still in some places. Hurrah for trees and vegetation on the river banks.
Also the stream bed has more turns, islands and oxbows because fallen logs, some of them huge, are required to be left in the water when they fall there. Not every old tree is blown over on the banks. Some fall in the creek. One of our Cottonwoods fell across the stream and we are required to leave it. It slows the water when the huge flows come. The runoff from impervious surfaces upstream only increases, as more building takes place in outlying areas. I anticipate the day when river keepers have political clout enough to get a law passed that property owners must keep runoff on-sight, at least for new construction. Then there will be rain gardens and green roofing and retention ponds with fish to eat mosquito larva.
Then our hydrology problem of huge amounts of water all heading for the creek when it rains will be less. Fewer basements will flood. Fish and wild life will be able to breed in the river once again. My father used to swim in the Rouge RIver when he was young.


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