Saturday, June 16, 2007

Is it time to build an ark?

There has been a lot of flooding in Montana recently; rivers, creeks, cities (that are by these rivers and creeks) and also flooding of basements.

There is obviously something going on geologically in the Forsyth area, because people that have lived in their homes for over 30 years are reporting water in their basements when they've never had it before. Granted there has been a significant amount of moisture in a relatively short period of time, but not an unprecedented amount. So the question is, what is causing it?

My watershed group (meaning me) has agreed to be the information clearing house for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology as they study the basement flooding pattern in Forsyth. The hope is that the cause of the flooding can be determined, and maybe in knowing that, a cure can be devised. Not likely, but an interesting possibility, nonetheless.

There are a few schools of thought on it; the dike along the Yellowstone was raised several years ago, it is possible that the work has diverted water from one of the old riverbeds, of which there are many.

Another possibility is that a seismic event caused a fissure to form which is allowing water from the aquifer that lies underneath the Yellowstone River valley to push up, supersaturating the ground.

Add to that the recent rain event and the high level of the Yellowstone, BIghorn and Tongue Rivers, Rosebud and Armell's Creek and you have sub-irrigation which makes the water table much higher, hence the flooding of anything lower than the current water table.

Another school of thought is that a meteor rocketing through the cosmos caused a rift in the space-time continuum...(ha ha, just checking to see if you were still reading...)

Although I'm not going to bore you with a lot of photos of flooded basements, I am going to bombard you with some of the Stillwater River photos (including the one at the top of this post) that I took yesterday while on adventure with my dad, brother and Shasta the Disasta. As you will note (below), the river is fairly high, but that didn't stop Shasta from demanding that my brother throw sticks into the water for her to fetch.

Nor did it stop him from throwing them. She is the boss, you know.

Happy Shasta...

Very happy Shasta!

The last photo is of a wild rose. This species is very common along the banks of the Stillwater River.

As a final note, I want you all to know that we are doing OK. The memorial was lovely and very well attended by Dale's friends and family. Cathy, at Looking Up, sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and Karen, at Karbon Kounty Moos, brought an ice chest of Dasani water that had, yes, you guessed it, ice crystals in it just as Dale had been craving so many weeks ago.

It was a time of great sadness, but also a time of celebration. Dale was remembered fondly and lovingly. He is gone from this earth, but lives on in our memories. I believe he is at peace.


Anvilcloud said...

I guess there's been flooding elsewhere in BC too, but not near us.

Courtney said...

How does the flooding bode for the seven year drought that MT has been in the middle of for the last 20 years? :P

KGMom said...

Laurie--a bittersweet post with a mixture of interesting info on the flooding (and theories as to why) and the memorial time for Dale.
Glad to hear you are doing as well as possible--and I hope you continue to have moments of happy recall to salve your ache of loss.

Laurie said...

AC, I'm glad you are high and dry...well dry anyway. :-)

Courtney, considering Forsyth's average annual precipitation is 14 inches and we've had 9 inches of rain in the last month and a half...I'd say, at least in the short term scheme of things, we are on our way to being out of the drought.

KG, a lot of people have asked how the service went, so I felt I needed to say something about it. I'm glad you found the flood information interesting.

Ur-spo said...

My vote is trolls. I can spot their handiwork anywhere.

Cathy said...

Oh, yeah - I like the rip in the space time continuum theory! I just started listening to "The Fabric of the Cosmos". Give me 20 years and I'll maybe understand what Brian Greene is talking about. But it's cool - almost as interesting as flooded basements ;0) What!? No pictures?!
Shasta is as precious as that scenery is beautiful and the music is so sweet. Glad you're doing OK.

threecollie said...

It is amazing how many wonderful, caring people you can meet on the Internet. Blog friends and other net friends are an amazing comfort and support during hard times....and you have certainly had your share of those.

Rhea said...

The changes in the watershed are cause for alarm. There are so many reasons for this kind of thing that it is sometimes hard to trace it back. Sometimes it's development on land that once absorbed runoff. Who knows?

MsLittlePea said...

I'm glad you're doing all right.

Nice pictures- as always.

I think your space time continuum theory seems the most accurate. You should definitely investigate it further....

Laurie said...

Ur-spo, I bet you are right. Darn trolls, you just can't trust them!

Cathy, I think Ur-spo's trolls caused the rip in the space-time continuum! You two are onto something!!

Threecollie, there are some utterly beautiful people in blogworld, and that's a fact.

And we have had some problems, but I know that a lot of other folks have as well, they just might not be as vocal about it.

Rhea, I think that development (at the risk of making a whole lot of people angry) is the cause of a lot of problems like this, but in Forsyth's case, there is no development to speak of nor is there any on the creeks and rivers that flow through the area.

It is in one of the last best places. No one has discovered it yet and because it is in the middle of the prairie it may be awhile before they do. (*Crosses fingers*)

In Absarokee, where I was born and raised, I have no doubt that development plays a role. There are creeks and streams surrounding my dad's place, which has been flooding for the last several years.

The adjacent landowners have devegetated the streambanks and added rocks to the channels to cause a rippling effect. Removing the plants and their roots, causes the stream to lose integrity.

The water within the stream channel subirrigates into the surrounding ground. The rocks placed within the stream to slow it down increase this effect.

Laurie said...

MsPea, I am calling a team together to do just that!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That water looks so good! Please send some rain my way: here in Louisville we are in “moderate drought” conditions: about 10 inches below the normal rainfall for the year. Just south of us, folks are in “severe drought” condition: less (and in some spots, much less) than 10 inches below the normal rainfall for the year.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics! I have no answer why all the rain, but I know some that would love to have some!

catnapping said...

It's the Canadians. I hear they've invented a weather machine, reverse-engineered from equipment salvaged from an alien ship...

I'm sorry for all that extra rain. It seems like a waste, when you could use so much of it...What we need are a few hundred bathtubs out there to collect and save the rain water for later! If only those pesky cattle weren't hogging all that land!

Squirl said...

Yes, you can send some of that rain over here. They keep promising, but it dissipates over Lake Michigan as soon as it makes landfall.

I'm glad you made through the memorial okay. The Dasani was such a nice touch. Sounds like you're beginning the healing.

Menchie said...

Gosh, tell me about it. An hour of non-stop rain causes flooding in the streets over here and unbearable traffic.

Am glad to know Dale's memorial service went well. Take care.

Mary said...

It seems like we get all or nothing at all. There are such severe extremes in weather. Very interesting...

It's so good for you to spend time with your Dad and Shasta the disasta. Looks like great time!

I'm glad you are doing OK, Laurie.

Bonita said...

I'm glad you had a relaxing fun weekend with family and Shasta the disasta. (Spell-check doesn't like the spelling, but then it is good to play.)

Gina said...

Shasta is so cute!

And I am glad that it was a lovely service for a lovely man.

Laurie said...

Nick, you can have some of our moisture. We've had 11 inches in the last month and our annual average is usually 14. We've had enough for now!

Butterfly, you and Nick can share our excess, OK?

Squirl, I'm doing the best I can. Thank you.

Menchie, we don't really have much for traffic, but Saturday's storm included hail and we lost a lot of windows and roofs.

Mary, it was as good a weekend as it could be. Thank you.

Bonita, she is a disasta, but a lovable one!

Gina, she's very loving, but also very demanding. My brother might have accidentally s-p-o-i-l-e-d her.

wd said...

I am also glad the memorial went well ... I'm sure Dale was pleased also (smile) ... As to the rain - we've had just about enough down here for right now. The other night it took me three hours to get home (normally a 30 minute trip)!

(HUGE bear hug) ... b

C. H. Green said...

I juset found your blog...I favorited because I want to visit Montana someday. But I kept reading, and was so touched by your blogs about Dale. What a beautiful love story. I also like your title :)

Pam said...

Space-time continuum...good one.

There has been so much flooding, it makes you wonder. Our weather has changed and our maple trees are starting to suffer.

Watch out the flood current doesn't get your dog! (I worry about these things, my daughter got caught once.)