Serving the heart of California since 1892

The Madera Tribune

River vegetation could cause flood

Most newspaper content here is incomplete. Want it all? Sooner? Subscribe to our full print and online editions by calling (559) 674-4207 and get both for the price of one!

webmaster | 10/30/13

The folks along the Jersey Shore who took such a pounding from Super Storm Sandy a year ago are telling one another stories of how it was when wind and water destroyed their idyllic way of life, as anyone would. When the big one hits, everybody within its wake becomes a victim.

We might think about that here. We are spoiled rotten by good weather. Yes, we need more rain, and we’ll probably get it, if not this year then next. However, we may wind up complaining about that almost as much as the Sandy victims gripe, and here’s why:

If it does rain here — even one good gully-washer — we could experience floods along the Fresno River almost as bad as those that were experienced before Hidden Dam was built, only the extent of the damage would be worse because of all the housing that has been built adjacent to the river.

If you want to know how that could happen, just drive over any of the bridges that cross the Fresno River. You will see, if you haven’t already, that the river bed is getting clogged by vegetation. All those bushes and trees mean water from a heavy rain could well be slowed by all the tonnage of big plants that have sprung up and prospered in the relatively moist river bottom soil during the dry summer. If that water can’t flow as quickly as it needs to in order to stay within the Fresno’s banks, it will spill over.

You may remember just a few years ago the rushing Fresno River was slapping at the bottoms of bridges on Gateway Drive. And that was when the river was relatively clear of greenery, compared to how it is now. Other county waterways also are problematical, over-full of vegetation.

It wouldn’t take a Super Storm Sandy to turn the Fresno River and other waterways into dangerous torrents — maybe only a couple or three inches of rain falling in a short period of time.

I know, it couldn’t happen here, but that’s what they said in New Jersey.


comments powered by Disqus