Monday, October 22, 2007

A Victory for Truth...

Looking upstream toward Devil's Tea Table on a perfect Monday trip with Riverkeeper friends including Katy (pictured), Shannon, Chari (Schuylkill Riverkeeper) and husband Jay, and Fred Stine. Felt great to be back on the water and paddling with such learned company.
Finally, after two years of the local print media regurgitating "the reservoirs did it" myth promoted by the self-proclaimed (and self-serving) "river rats" -- one newspaper -- The Hunterdon Democrat-- gets it right.

Well, they didn't get it completely right, but they have come closest to the truth. The NYC reservoirs did not cause any of the last three Delaware River floods. Permanent voids of 20% in the big reservoirs will NOT PREVENT flooding along the lower Delaware River floodplain.

Will leaving voids in the reservoirs reduce flooding? Maybe yes, maybe no. NOT if the preciptation during a particular storm event falls mostly within the Pennsylvania tributary watersheds and/or downstream from the reservoir drainage areas. The floodplain will flood again. Nothing will change that basic fact. Keeping the reservoirs at 50% won't stop flooding below Easton if the Pocono and Lehigh watersheds are pounded by rain on top of snow melt! The people who live along the river are there at the mercy of the river. Those who take positive action such as raising buildings or seeking a property buy-out are to be commended for accomodating reality.

This topic of Delaware River flooding is complex and involves many variables. The so-called "river rats" present a simplistic, fear based narrative that distorts both the historical flood record and watershed science. Unfortunately these distortions have become popular myth. They just keep repeating the lies over and over again to kind of catapult the propaganda. Reminds me of....oh never mind.

-- "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
George W. Bush May 25, 2005