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Entries in Flooding (5)


Life Returns

Newly flooded shorelines are bursting with life these days in central Florida's Clermont Chain of Lakes, as water levels are their highest in eight years. As the water rises, it floods grass and shrubs, providing habitat for insects and other invertebrates. Minnows and other forage species move in to feed on them. And they are followed by predatory fish and birds.

The great blue heron (top) gobbled up minnows yesterday evening, while the wood stork sifted through the grass and muck early this morning.

If the water stays up long enough, bass and other species should have spectacular spawns in these resurrected shallows during late winter and spring. That could translate into much better fishing in a year or two--- if the water remains high enough for anglers to access this chain of lakes.

Sadly, that probably won't be the case. Most likely because of so many withdrawals and diversions --- some legal and some not --- the Clermont no longer sustains historically "normal" water levels. 


High Waters Tough for Fishing, Great for Photography

Nature is full of beauty. You must slow down and pay attention, though, if you want to see the little gems like this damselfly that I spotted this morning in the flooded grass of Florida's Crescent Lake.

Waters are way up in many central Florida lakes right now, as well as on the St. Johns River, meaning fishing is, at best, difficult. When that's the case, I  often put down my rod and pick up my camera. Below is a shot of a family of sandhill cranes that I also saw this morning.

I'm still hopeful, however, for good fishing at Lake Okeechobee next week with topwater legend Sam Griffin.


Flooding Spreads Troublesome Plant, as Well as Carp

Last year’s high waters not only helped Asian carp spread into new waters. It helped disperse an aggressive plant as well.

While invasive fish followed the overflowing Missouri and Mississippi rivers from Louisiana to South Dakota, Japanese knotweed expanded in Vermont, courtesy of flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene and dredging afterward.

Here’s the bad news from the Washington Post, along with what to do about it:

 In Vermont, floodwaters and repair work broke off portions of stems and woody rhizomes of the aggressive Japanese knotweed. The perennial, imported from Asia as an ornamental, was already a problem in Vermont and a dozen other states in the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.

It spreads quickly on riverbanks, floodplains and roadsides, choking out native plants, degrading habitats of fish, birds and insects and weakening stream banks

The plant, which resembles bamboo when mature, spreads quickly in disturbed soils. Just this week, new young plants were inching out of the silt on the banks of the Camp Brook, a tributary of the White River, where the land looks like a moonscape since floodwaters washed away trees, rocks and other native plants. Once these invasive plants take over, their root structure and a lack of groundcover and native plants and trees with deeper roots, weakens the stream banks, causing erosion, and flood damage.

“We’d like to get out the message that if there’s ever a time to hand pull or mechanically control so we can avoid the use of herbicides, this is the one year where that’s possible,” said Sharon Plumb, invasive species coordinator, for the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.


Catastrophic Flooding Once Again on the Way, And We Will Pay

Catastrophic floods are coming down the Missouri River, and, sadly, once more we will be treated to the spectacle of people who express surprise at the consequences of building in floodplains. As taxpayers, we will be the ones who must pay for their repeated folly, and, as long as we do, they will continue to rebuild because they do not have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

The Environmental News Service reports:

Reservoir storage is now near capacity after a year's worth of rain fell in the Upper Missouri River Basin during the past few weeks. In addition, snowpacks measured at 140 percent of normal in Montana, northern Wyoming and the western Dakotas are melting, contributing to unprecedented runoff to the Missouri River and its tributaries.

Water managers expect significant flooding in cities, towns and agricultural land along the Missouri River in North and South Dakota. Many stretches of the river from Sioux City, Iowa, to the Mississippi River will rise above flood stage.

"Moving water out of the reservoirs is essential," said Brig. Gen. John McMahon, Commander of the Northwestern Division of the Army Corps of Engineers. "Protecting lives is our number one priority right now."


Flood Tragedy Used to Push Political Agenda

Bias toward a political agenda is clearly evident in a recent article from the Environmental News Service (ENS) about flooding along the Mississippi River.

Here’s the lead paragraph:

Human-induced climate change is contributing to the recent heavy rain and ongoing record flooding along the Mississippi River, and we can expect more extreme weather events in the future, according to scientists and adaptation experts on a teleconference held by the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

Yet not once is a source for the article quoted as saying humans are causing climate change. Instead, they simply explain climate change --- not “human induced” climate change --- and its consequences.

More than halfway into the article, ENS again injects its political bias:

“In addition, human-induced climate changes continue to warm the Gulf of Mexico, the scientists observe.”

But it provides no quotes from the experts and no scientific research to support that claim.

Here’s the truth:

1. The climate is changing. It is a dynamic and unpredictable force. We don’t know if our activities are contributing to that change. Possibly they are. But no evidence supports the claim that we are to blame.

2. Floods happen. Always have. Always will. Before we began erecting levees, high water naturally spread out into the floodplains that exist along both sides of rivers and streams. It is nature’s way of handling the overflow.

In other words, floods occur and “human-induced climate change” has nothing to do with it.

3. By artificially confining flow during times of heavy rains, levees push the problem to those downstream. If we’re lucky, no levees are breached and the threat eventually dissipates. But in times of catastrophic flooding, either levees get broken by the volume of water or they must be intentionally breached, with some towns and farmlands sacrificed to save others.

The bottom line is that nature is inexorable. Climate change or no climate change, “human-induced” or otherwise, floods naturally occur. It is our insistence on building and farming in floodplains that causes problems.

But instead of dealing with that, ENS and others --- who dream in green and want to force you to live according to their dictates --- try to make political gain.