Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roaring waters


The Kettle River, which is in the Upper St. Croix watershed in Minnesota, peaked at a record gauge height of 17.93 feet early in the morning of June 22. Normal height is probably around 6-7 feet. I had some time the evening before to check out the river at one of my favorite spots, the old Sandstone dam site. A hydroelectric dam created a reservoir upstream before it was removed in 1994. The removal of the dam revealed a waterfall, Big Spring Falls, which is shown in the first video. The second video shows the actual site of the old dam.






When the dam was removed, the sediment that had built up behind the dam for nearly a hundred years washed downstream. While dam removal is generally a good thing for river ecosystems, the sediment in this case filled up deep holes downstream that were once habitat for lake sturgeon, which is listed as a species of special concern in Minnesota. While this record river level was not a good thing for some people who lived near the river upstream (people who never had any reason to believe their homes would ever be threatened by the river), this surge of water just may wash out some of the fine sediment and restore some of the sturgeon holes.

At Big Spring Falls, I saw reminders of when water levels were even higher, thousands of years ago, creating cuts and kettles in the sandstone bedrock. The roar of water on rock drowned out every other sound and engulfed me, much like the roar of ocean waves. A dreadful and amazing sound.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deb, this is beautiful! Powerful and breataking. Interesting how removing the dam revealed the waterfall. About 1996 the dam on the Milwaukee River was removed and the wide sluggish green water became, in time, a quick moving clean stream with---to my suprise--salmon! (Denise in Milwaukee)

Caroline said...

It is 103 in the Black Hills at the moment, that rushing water sounds lovely and cool.

webb said...

Mother Nature is awesome. It's hard to imagine the forces that have moved our earth around to create this lovely place where we live. great videos.

Deb said...

The powers of Mother Nature are indeed awesome. I am more drawn to the Kettle River than ever before.

Floridacracker said...

Wow! Our rivers are not so energetic!

Lausten North said...

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