Water district tour shows flood damage
May 18, 2017
Carson Water Subconservancy District officials got an up close look at flooding in the Carson Valley on Wednesday.
The Carson River cut into at least 80-100 feet of Hussman Ranch, resulting in a loss of nearly three acres, David Hussman said during a flood tour by the Carson Water Subconservancy District officials Wednesday afternoon.
"When the river first started it was closer to the sand bank," said Hussman. "The January flood started it, and the February one finished it."
The River Valley flooding during the winter caused boulders along the Cottonwood diversion to be pushed out which caused damage to the apron of the structure.
"If you don't maintain the rocks, it digs a hole and starts tampering with the structure," said Hussman, fourth-generation farmer of the land. "The water is meant to flow over the rocks."
The Carson River spans approximately 3,965 square miles. It has limited upstream water storage capacity, no flood control structures within in the river and is one of the few rivers in the world that does not flow into an ocean. This causes potential flooding and damages like what happened to Hussman.
Edwin James, general manager of the Carson Water Subconservancy District, said the district is working closely with Carson River Coalition (CRC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to provide funding for upfront repairs and ongoing maintenance.
"The goal is to add rocks along the bank so when the water hits it keeps the water flowing," he said. "You don't want to straighten a river it will increase the velocity, so what you do is add curves, to decrease it."
James said the division is expected to have funding by July to go forward with repairs.
Flooding in the Carson River Watershed is a natural process that occurs regularly with serious flooding happening every 10-20 years and often after rain melts the snowpack or during summer thunderstorms, according to the Carson Water Subconservancy District website.
During a flood, open floodplains store and slow floodwater which helps protect natural resources such as drinking water, wildlife habitats and avoiding costly damages. The Carson Water Subconservancy District (CWSD) works closely with partners such as the CRC to coordinate, plan and fund numerous studies and conduct on-the-ground efforts to create watershed solutions to reduce the risk of flooding and protect the floodplain.
On Wednesday, the Carson Water Subconservancy District toured the Hussman Ranch, along with Cottonwood Diversion Dam, and East Fork River to better understand the damage in those areas to create a plan to repair and sustain the river.
This weekend's warmer temperatures are expected to bring more flooding with the East Fork of the Carson River near Markleeville expected to reach 7.6 feet Sunday night. The flood stage is 8 feet. On Thursday, it was running at 5.14 feet. The East Fork hit 9.36 feet during January's flooding and 8.39 feet in January.