First to flood

Posted by Ken Campbell November 10, 2008 0 Comment 559 views

It’s been raining on and off (mostly on), for the past week and all that water falling from the sky has effects here on the ground. Some are good – my lawn is green again – but some are not so desirable, like those along the Skokomish River.

First to flood and the last to clear: that’s the reality of the lower Skokomish. Two dams on the north fork have controlled flooding to some extent, but because the water they are holding behind their concrete plugs is not sent downstream, the river bed has been adding silt at a rate that it cannot discharge. The river bottom is, in some places, up to three feet higher than it used to be. (For an excellent overview of the state of the river and the effects of the dams and area logging practices, check out “Flooded by greed.”)

The rain has fallen here for centuries. The area gets less rain than some places on the peninsula, but significantly more than what falls in Seattle. The fate of the Skokomish and the adverse effects that have come to define the Skokomish delta – reduction in salmon habitat, increase in water temperatures – are results of human activity that was not well thought out, and perhaps downright malicious.

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