Sunday, March 29, 2009

WATERWORKS - April 1st - In a Time of Flooding

The Alternative Shoreland Standards are in the Aitkin County Shoreland Ordinance, amended in October 2008, by a 5-0 vote. Conservation Subdivisions and Resort-Friendly Rules now apply, effective January 1st.

The current topic is "High Water and Runoff." - from the Aitkin Independent Age -

"The rain pelts a sodden earth. Creeks rise and rush to swollen streams.
Streams spill over banks. Rivers rise relentlessly."

This was my account from a vantage point on the Mississippi, half way to the Gulf of Mexico, in the Summer of 1993. And for a month after writing, all along this mighty watershed, we had more rain - and record flooding.
Driving by a washout on our township road last week, I noted how brown the puddles and streams had become. We now are very familiar with the story. Frozen ground prevents soaking. Heavy rains continue to fall, and the hydraulic power of all that meltwater and rainwater overwhelms gardens, plowed fields, and anything in the way.

Rain gardens and rain barrels are coming to a meeting near you this summer. The Aitkin County Water Planning Task Force has a plan and a project. And a committee is being formed with volunteers.
The idea is this: We all live downstream. Any means to slow down that rushing water - from our roofs and driveways - gullies and gutters - means less muddy runoff and chemical contamination for the waters of Aitkin County and beyond.

There are some good examples nearby of how to control runoff. And more will be constructed. More than twenty lakes in the county have associations that were formed to preserve some of the beauty that attracts people to their lakeshore. The lessons of prevention of flooding and erosion will be made available through these associations by our Task Force and its outreach to lake people.

From workshops like the one held in McGregor, Thursday, March 26th, to the Rivers and Lakes Fair, coming to Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin, on Saturday, June 20th, the answers of storm water management will be available.

It’s one of our "Waterworks."