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Keeping the umbrella handy

For about a week this month, the rain never stopped coming. The ground became saturated with water and could hold no more. The streams went over their banks and the level of Chautauqua Lake came up over a foot.

The power of water has always amazed me. I can remember standing on the bridge of a ship in the Navy in gale winds with the waves coming at us which were higher than the bridge. You felt helpless. There was nothing you could do but ride it out.

When the rain kept coming recently, all you could really do was watch and wait. When the waves started coming over your dock, you ran out and put pails and garbage cans full of water on the dock to weight it down. Then you stood by and hoped for the best.

Just after the height of the rain storm, I took my grandkids and some of their friends on a car ride to get candy and treats. When we stopped at Ashville General Store, I took a picture of them with water lapping at the edge of the parking lot. Goose Creek was over its banks!

Goose Creek, and all of the creeks in the area, were dark, chocolate brown in color–full of mud and sediment heading for the Lake. More sediment is not good for the Lake, but that day mother nature didn’t care and was flushing the entire watershed.

Certainly, septic systems at creek or lake level couldn’t have been working. What else was being swept into the lake?

Maybe this year we will know more since there are various sensors and buoys in place on the lake that take samples virtually all of the time. It will be interesting to find out what was happening with the various nitrogen and phosphorous levels during this time. More information is always good.

In the meantime, logs and brush brought down by the rushing water were building up in the various creek deltas on the lake, and brown water was mixing with the clear water of the lake itself.

I went down to Warner Dam to see if the gates had been opened to allow more water exit the lake. And, “yes,” the BPU seemed to have things humming down there. The flow of the Chadakoin River leaving the dam was up and lapping the arches on the first bridge downstream. However, when you get 3-4 inches of rain in a couple of days, there is no way you can adjust the outflow of the dam to empty the lake fast enough.

A flood makes you realize that mother nature is still in charge. You can’t fight water. You have to be patient with it –you can only do what it will allow you to do.

Finally, the rain ended, the streams subsided, and the lake level began to recede. When the rain comes, you can watch it and perhaps “tweak” where the water will go.

But, you have to wait for mother nature to complete the cycle. There are some things beyond our control.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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