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Flood update

July 14, 2013
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

So much has happened since the Memorial Day Weekend on both my personal and work fronts that I finally realized over the weekend that I have not done any kind of "report" on the aftermath of the flooding that occurred on and around that weekend.

On the personal note, Memorial Day brought straight line winds of barn leveling proportions at my mother's home. She opened the door during the storm and was flung into and over the deck railing to the concrete sidewalk below. For weeks, her frail cancer-stricken body fought the brain injury that occurred. In the end, the cancer won out and we celebrated her life on Monday.

I only say that to explain that between those events and the water that we experienced over that weekend, things seem almost like a blur. As I said at the beginning of this you really have not had a report of the damages that our parks and wildlife areas experienced. Sorry about that. Here is a quick one.

Article Photos

A portion of the Comet Trail badly damaged following the recent floods of late spring.
Photo by Kevin Williams

The worst damage occurred on the Comet Trail. The water first over topped the trail from the North and then when the Wolf Creek crested, it over-topped from the South. The result was about a thousand feet of trail that lost all or most of the surface, all or most of the ballast below, and several hundred feet scoured more than two feet into the former railroad bed. With all that the secondary roads department has experienced in the last few weeks, as well, we are delaying the start of repairs until private haulers are through assisting with that.

Elsewhere on the trail there were stretches severely washed in Wolf Creek Park and toward Beaman. The culverts on the entrance drive at Wolf Creek Park were over-topped, as well. The road top was washed off and the culverts undermined. That needed immediate attention before campers that weekend could exit safely. Oh, and all the road stone from the drive was deposited near the foot bridge downstream that was washed out on the west side.

The Pioneer Trail also saw water damage and while addressed now, there will still be work in the next several weeks on places before everything is good. I hope that users can be patient.

And then there are areas like the Black Hawk Creek Wildlife Area near Morrison. The area has experienced flooding of similar proportions in other years and likely worse. However, crop residue is now left on fields where just a few years ago that was not the case. This is a wonderful soil erosion control practice that is saving countless tons of topsoil in normal rain events. But in floods like this one the cornstalks being carried to the streams are amazing and disheartening. There are drifts of cornstalk material that were deposited on the area. And some near impossible to remove in the wooded portions. Decay will be a slow process and certainly will have a negative impact on the natural vegetation of the area.

So there in a nutshell is a brief report on the damage done from the flooding of this spring. Bear with us as we address the damages.

 
 

 

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