Monday, May 23, 2011

Lake Erosion

North Dakota Lake Swallow Land & Houses;

This article is from:


October 4, 2010


— It’s been called a slow-growing monster: a huge lake that has steadily expanded over the last 20 years, swallowing up thousands of acres, hundreds of buildings and at least two towns in its rising waters.

Devils Lake keeps getting larger because it has no natural river or stream to carry away excess rain and snowmelt. Now it has climbed within 6 feet of overflowing, raising fears that some downstream communities could be washed away if the water level isn’t reduced.

And those worries are compounded by another problem: Scientists believe the pattern of heavy rain and snow that filled the basin is likely to continue for at least another decade.

“It’s a slow-moving torture,” said 72-year-old Joe Belford, a lifelong resident of Devils Lake and a county commissioner who spends most of his time seeking a way to control the flooding and money to pay for it.

No other place in America has faced such a dilemma. The nation’s only other significant “closed-basin” lake is the Great Salt Lake, which was in danger of flooding housing developmentsin the mid-1980s. But shortly after the state spent $70 million on huge pumps, a dry spell began. Those pumps now stand idle.

“We’re unfortunately or fortunately — I don’t know what it is — pretty unique,” said Dick Johnson, mayor of Devils Lake, which has nearly 7,000 residents. The constant flooding “doesn’t have the immediate impact that a hurricane or typhoon might have, but it’s devastating.”

Since the water began rising in the early 1990s, more than 400 homes around the lake have been relocated or destroyed.

The lake, about 160 milesnorthwest of Fargo, is the largest freshwater body in North Dakota, with an estimated shoreline of at least 1,000 miles. It’s up to 75 feet deep and has attracted tourists from across the nation with excellent fishing and other recreational activities.

But local people and politicians are fretting that the lake is a catastrophic flood waiting to be released in their direction.

In the tiny town of Minnewaukan, the lake was once 8 miles away. Today it is lapping at the community from three sides, and residents are begging for help.

“This is tearing peopleapart,” said Minnewaukan Mayor Trish McQuoid, fighting back tears. Proposals include moving the entire town to higher ground.

On Monday, the lake stood at just over 1,451 feet above sea level. If it climbs above 1,458 feet, its water will spill into the Sheyenne River, which flows through southeastern NorthDakota before it joins the north-flowing Red River and heads into Canada.

Among the threatened communities along the Sheyenne is Valley City, west of Fargo. The mayor there said a spillover could raise the river more than 5 feet above a record 2009 flood, which forced most of the town’s 6,300 residents to evacuate. Thatmight flood up to half the city.

By the end of 2010, the federal government will have spent more than $1 billion to ease the threat, buying flooded property, building dikes and making other improvements. That figure does not include a $27 million floodwater-diversion channel built by the state on the west end of the lake. It also costs $330,000 a month for the electricity for pumps to take 1 inch off the lake.

All of those measures are considered temporary. The final solution — and its cost — is not known.

“The issue of stopping the flooding and trying to get water out of that lake is complicated,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat. “If it weren’t complicated, it would have been solved long ago.”

Devils Lake has nearly quadrupled in size since the early 1990s, flooding nearly 150,000 acres of land, inundating a million trees and destroying hundreds of homes and farm buildings. Many of those who lost property to the water were eventually bought out by the state or federal governments. The buyouts included the two tiny towns of Penn and Churchs Ferry, although some people remain in both communities.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say there’s no way to predict exactly when a normal weather cycle will return. But the agency’s models show a 72 percent chance that the current pattern will continue for at least 10 years.

Climate studies based on tree rings and lake sediment indicate that similar wet periods occurred in the Devils Lake Basin many times during the past 2,000 years, the agency said. The last time the lake overflowed was sometime prior to statehood in 1889.

A federal panel has been studying the lake, but it has not finished its report. Local officials say the recommendations should include creating a second flood-control channel on the east side of the lake and relaxing water-quality standards downstream to allow for the release of more water.

“If they don’t do that, we’re probably cooked,” Johnson said.

Pumping water downstream has long raised opposition in southeastern North Dakota, Minnesota and even as far away as the Canadian province of Manitoba, which could receive some of the water from the Red River.

Officials in those places fear the water would contaminate other waterways with harmful plants and fish and increase sulfate levels in the drinking water. Water high in sulfates, including salts, can taste bitter and act as a laxative. Officials in Fargo and West Fargo are seeking federal help to improve their water treatment facilities for Devils Lake water.

The lake’s sole natural outlet, a channel called the Tolna Coulee, is highly erodible and completely choked with sediment.

Madeline Luke, a Valley City doctor, suggests lining the outlet with concrete and storing more water upstream. She and others believe improving the coulee would prevent a wall of water from rushing downstream.

“I don’t think anybody thinks there’s going to be any one thing that is going to solve it,” Luke said. “How to address it in the most efficient, cost-effective and least environmentally destructive manner is up for discussion.”

Devils Lake officials are ready to take the issue to court, possibly to fight the federal government’s water-quality requirements for lake runoff or to seek permission to build another drainage channel. The city has retained a Minneapolis law firm.

The rising lake, which is owned by North Dakota, has provided some economic benefits, too, particularly in construction and recreation, generating higher sales tax revenue and increasing housing demand.

Flooded farm fields are now a haven for sportsmen in search of walleye and other fish. Scores of Hmong and other Southeast Asian anglers come from hundreds of miles away to fish for white bass, which resemble a species native to their homelands. Fishing contributes an estimated $40 million a year to the local economy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Geotec Tube Erosion Restoration System For HOAs

Geotec Tube Erosion Restoration System For HOAs
• To protect your propertys value• To maintain and protect the soil• To maintain neighborhood aesthetic • To save money
Soil erosion restoration can save homeowners millions of dollars a year. Soil loss not only causes damage to roads and property but eventually finds its way to a lake, pond, river or stream. It contributes to the phosphorus load and can result in algae blooms. In addition, soil removal from roadside ditches and storm drains is required, costing home owners money.
Your property may be only one small part of the big picture but collectively, with other homes in your HOA , it can represent a significant source of home value depreciation due to soil erosion, Nature slowly wears away land, but human activities,such as construction, increase the rate of erosion 200 or even 2000 times nature's rate.
Are you planning to build a new home, camp or an addition? Thinking of installing a driveway or garage? Are you planning earth-moving activities such as upgrading or replacing a septic system? Here are some tips to consider BEFORE CONSTRUCTION.
1. Determine if the soils on your selected site are really suited for the proposed use. Consult your county soil survey (available at the local Soil and Water Conservation District) to find out what kind of soil you have and its limitations. Avoid disturbing wet areas, steep slopes, drainageways, unstable soils, areas subject to flooding, stream banks or edges, and lakeshores.2. Become familiar with the natural drainage patterns of the property and try to avoid altering them. Proper site design will help you avoid expensive erosion restoration measures.3. Contact your town office or code enforcement officer for any necessary permits or applications. Contact the DEP for projects within 100 feet of a water body or wetland. 4. Plan to preserve existing vegetation as much as possible. Vegetation will naturally curb erosion, improve the appearance and the value of your property, and reduce the cost of landscaping later. Wide buffer strips of undisturbed vegetation are required along stream and lakeshores. Don't allow heavy machinery to operate in these buffer areas.Discuss clearing limits with your contractor in advance. Field mark these limits with ribbons or flagging. Flag particular trees and shrubs that you want protected. Remember that heavy machinery must be kept well away from trees to avoid compacting their roots; otherwise, they will die a few years later. Trees roots can also smother if excess fill is re-graded around them.5. Consult with your construction contractor(s). Make sure everyone understands exactly what the job is, when it will be done, how long it will take, and what erosion restoration services will be used.6. Plan earth-moving activities early enough so that you can revegetate the site ASAP. Plan to mulch disturbed areas if construction is delayed. This will protect bare soil from rain water runoff.7. Machinery must not be allowed 'to cross streams. Major damage to stream banksoccurs when heavy equipment is carelessly run in stream channels.
If access across a stream is needed, plan for a temporary culvert and stream crossing that can be removed later.Here are some tips to consider DURING CONSTRUCTION.
1. Before doing anything else, install a filter barrier on the downslope side of the construction area. This barrier can be either a silt fence, an embedded hay bale barrier, or a combination of the two. Filter fence is better at filtering out soil from water, but is easily pushed over by construction equipment. Hay bales don't filter dirty water as well, but are more rugged in the field. When working in a critical area (next to streams and ponds) use them both. Trench sift fencing in about 6 inches. Trench and stake hay bales (4-inch trench, 2 stakes per bale). Hay bales and silt fencing don't work unless they are installed properly and maintained!2. If possible when earth moving, separate topsoil so it can be spread back on top of the site. You'll have greater success in establishing a new lawn or buffer strip area, and you won't have the added expense of buying topsoil. Ring the downslope edge of topsoil stockpiles with silt fencing or embedded hay bales. Take a soil sample and send it for testing to determine how much fertilizer and time you'll need for your replanting. Soil test kits are available from the local office of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service.3. Use mulch hay liberally on disturbed soil during the construction period to avoid having an erosion problem. Hay mulch is the cheapest and most effective way ofprotecting the soil. Be aware of the weather forecast and be sure to get your mulch out if rains are expected. Don't let a week pass without mulching4. Construct suitable runoff and erosion control structures. Consult with an engineer for sites with very erodible soils, steep slopes, natural springs and seeps, and spring runoff channels and streams.
• Culverts are used where a driveway enters a main road. The minimum size should be 12" in diameter. A "rule of thumb" for estimating culvert size for watersheds smaller than 7 acres is to add 8 to the number of acres in the watershed to determine culvert diameter. For example, a 7 acre watershed + 8 =15" diameter culvert. Larger culverts should be designed by a professional engineer. Generally, the entrance and the exit areas of a culvert should be reinforced by stone (riprap). • Grassed ditches or waterways can be used to channel moderate water flows. Be sure to line the base of new channels with excelsior mesh or use a combination of mulch arid biodegradable netting to hold the soil until grass is established. Contact an engineer for ditches on steep slopes (greater than 5°/0) or ditches that will carry a steady flow of water.• Diversions are similar to waterways but they take water across a slope, diverting it away from a critical area. A ridge or berm is constructed on the low side to intercept water.• Structures such as stone (riprap) channels, catch basins, or pipe systems are used to carry large, concentrated flows down a steep slope. These should be designed by an engineer.• Cut and fill slopes should be a maximum of 2:1(2 horizontal to 1 vertical) if vegetation will be used to stabilize them. Steeper slopes generally will need riprap or other structural modifications.
If a lot of water comes down the slope,you also may need riprap. Consult an engineer in these cases.Here are some tips to consider AFTER CONSTRUCTION.1. When the earthmoving is completed, replant the anal. Don't automatically plant the area to grass - consider replacing the native frees and shrubs. These species are generally better at taking up pollutants and nutrients in storm runoff water.2. Use your soil test results to determine fertilizer and lime needs. Be extremely careful when using fertilizers near streams, lakes and ponds. Don't apply before a storm. Use formulations very low in phosphorus in these areas.3. Always mulch new seedings. Apply mulch hay or straw at a rate of two bales per 1000 square feet. Wet the mulch down with water to hold it in place in flat areas. To hold the mulch down on steep slopes or in the bases of ditches, tack biodegradable netting over it, punch it into the soil with a shovel or roller, or stake it with baling twine. On very steep slopes, you may need erosion control mats such as excelsior. Your mulch is only as effective as your mulch anchoring. If mulch isn'tanchored properly, the soil and seed will wash away. When using erosion control nets and mats, be sure to install them according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Otherwise, they generally won't work and your money is wasted.4. Check before storms to see that your silt fencing and hay bales are in good condition and ready for action. Check and repair them again after storms. Remove sediment that has acccumulated. Replace silt fencing that no longer allows water to filter through it. If the barriers are being undercut at the edges, they should be replaced by a stone check dam.

The Geotec Tube Advantage

Learn More about the Geotec Tube Advantages:
Our primary objective is to meet the growing demand for cost effective shoreline erosion repair. Because of past unrestricted dredging by developers for fill to build upon, shoreline erosion has affected most all developments, homeowners associations, golf courses, and private residences throughout the southern United States.
The Florida Water Management Districts (FWMD) has "set the standard" regarding the installation of ALL methods of erosion repair. Studies have shown that the Geotec Tube system is the most cost effective long-term option accepted by the SFWMD. Having proven itself over many years. ASR has decided to focus primarily on the Geotec Tube system.
ASR has a working relationship with engineers from the Florida Water Management Districts through out the State of Florida. ASR values this relationship and will continue to meet or exceed their specs for the Geotec-Tube method of shoreline maintenance.

American Shoreline Restoration - Erosion Control

American Shoreline Restoration

The leader in affordable shoreline restoration, erosion control & erosion restoration , specializing in the Geotec Tube shoreline restoration system.

Learn more about the Geotec Tube Advantages:
Lowest cost of all repair options, Tested & proven for over 20 years, Reclaims lost property, Increases property value, Environmentally responsible, Excellent aesthetic quality, All work performed from the water, No heavy equipment used and Cleans debris from lake bottom
Geotec Tube combine the strength and durability of textile materials with the stability of compressed soil for superior erosion containment
American Shoreline Restoration has earned the leadership role in the Geotec Tube installation industry by giving attention to detail on every project and achieving 100% customer satisfaction.
ASR meets, and in many cases exceeds, the required specs for shoreline maintenance established in 1993 by the State of Florida Water Districts.
We invite you to meet our growing sales force, "call for references".
Please peruse our web site and give us a call. We'll be glade to visit your site and give you a free, no obligationestimate. We look forward to working with you.