Monday, 30 March 2015

Spring Melt 2015: A damaged road and could today be the day the river goes?

For everyone in Saskatchewan you will know already how nice the weather has been. The snow seems to be disappearing at a rate we are happy with when we think back what everything looked like this time a year ago or even two years ago. After a couple really long winters we deserve to outside and enjoying the sun in March, after all it’s nice to remember that not every winter seems to stretch into April or even May.

The melt at Shekinah has historically brought some challenges. Well, challenges is probably an understatement if we are thinking back 23 months ago to the day when the waters rose to unmanageable levels and pianos floated and you probably know the rest. So how is melt 2015 going for Shekinah?

Through the month of March we have been watching and speculating as to how things would go. Certainly there have been a number of factors in our favour. There is certainly not the snow accumulation that we have seen in previous years and the warm temperatures have led to a slow melt. All this is good for us and it was a couple weeks ago now that we saw the river start to rise and the creek that runs down into the river start to flow. The river has come up about 5ft from its winter levels and this recent stretch has not seen any significant rises in water levels even though the creek is now becoming more of a raging torrent.

And then unexpected happened! It is after all Shekinah right? On Friday afternoon we walked outside to find a raging torrent in an unexpected location. Coming down our road! With deep channels already carved out by the water we went looking for the plugged culvert or the spring that had popped up, but that’s not what we found.

What we found was water draining out of the field at the top of the hill and flowing “downstream” along the road. After some assessing we knew we needed to do something, but the question was what exactly? We decided to build a dam and divert the water to the other side of the road and hopefully create a new path down the side of the hill rather than our road.

The road was already a mess but we could potentially mitigate the situation. So we put down gravel only to see the torrent sweep it along in its path. Eventually we scraped up some mud and dirt off the road and put it in place. This worked. We were able to divert the water and we got lucky. We would like to claim that it was deliberate, but it wasn’t because the water we diverted flowed perfect to a culvert and so we did have to get it across the other “up” road.

Down by the office the water was pooling on the sidewalk and threating to breach the threshold. While we had diverted the bulk of the flow it was still gathering momentum further down the hill as water was running down the side off the valley to collect with whatever was managing to seep through our dam wall.

The following video shows us building the second dam on the down road to drain the water towards a culvert. This time we knew what we were aiming for.

We were reminded (not that anyone at Shekinah can forget) of the power of water and the damage that it can do in a very short period of time. As that memory gets entrenched in the banks we began monitoring the river for the duration of the weekend. The question looming, when will the ice go and what will it mean for us?

This Monday 30 March 2015 we are wondering if today will be the day. With big pools of water on the ice and the channel Reddekop island completely open the signs are there. The water did not rise overnight, but there were lots of really loud cracks that were heard coming from the river yesterday afternoon. Today could be the day and if it goes we hope and pray that the river ice is rotten enough that it simply breaks down easily and ice jams will not be a factor. But with Mother Nature you just never know what the next surprise will be… Watch this space.

No comments:

Post a Comment