Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Skinny on Floods...any day now

(photo Assateague Island November 2007)

How to shake this blogger from a state of dormancy? The issue of Delaware River floods and flooding in general will get me going. And now we have the threat of flooding with the predicted 2-inches of rain, which didn't happen -- just another spring freshet.

Meanwhile another rainstorm is approaching from the south. That can't be good.

I've been reluctant to wade into this uber complex issue, preferring instead to observe the never ending debate about flooding along the Delaware River. Debate is too kind a word for what I've witnessed.

Distilling this extremely complex subject into a few pages will take time. I'm still trying to figure out which hat to wear and which voice to use. If only it was as simple as certain simpleminded people think it is.

Speaking of of the first chapters will deal with the myths and propaganda being spread around the watershed like so much horse manure by the Delaware Riverside Conservancy. This mob uses junk science and revisionist history to support their hysterical claims. The tragic result is that hundreds if not thousands of floodplain dwellers believe that a 20% void in the reservoirs will "stop the flooding." It wouldn't, although it could help reduce flooding in certain circumstances, to varying degrees. That's the rub. The river will flood no matter what; not every flood is reservoir inspired much less reservoir related. After all, there are at least three general categories (themes) of Delaware River floods and several possible meteorological and hydrological variations with each. Serious flooding can and has occurred without any influence from the reservoirs.

I predict that the river rednecks will soon be calling for a massive flood control project featuring a dam across one of the only free-flowing major rivers in the Nation. Not going to happen. A war would break out. I'd be on the side of the free-flowing river.

The answer? There are many. Best ones? Raze or raise. Buy-out and raze the more vulnerable homes, especially those that originally served as summer cottages. Raise up the rest. There are many other measures that can be taken to lessen the economic impact of floods.

My self-imposed deadline for the series is June 14. It will be a birthday present and a special gift for the Delaware River. That's my voice and that's my hat. Any day now. Any day now.