Well, that’s all the news from Washington State. If you must see the news you can try here and here. It looks like I-5 could be closed for several days from the flooding. This is THE major north-south highway in the state. Meanwhile, the Central Puget Sound region, around Seattle, was in a rainshadow, which meant that we got damp, but we didn’t get the 5-10 inches of rain the rest of Western Washington did. For which I am grateful, as it means I can go out on Epona this afternoon without installing the pontoons. Although I hear hammering from all around us, and hear some people are gathering animals two by two.
Which brings me to the first flood I experienced in Washington State. And they are saying this storm is a match to it, if not worse. The EX and I had barely been here a little over a month when it started to rain. And it rained and it rained. The next thing we knew, the river was flooding and we had a hard time getting out of town. I was lucky, I was still recovering from an auto accident and wasn’t working. But Barney had to find a way into the big town every day. This was hard as the main road out of town went over a bridge on the river. There were ways to wander around and get into town, but they were inevitably about five times as long.
One of the exports for Washington State is timber, and the timber industry
has held sway here for way too long. They have harvested timber in the most efficient, if not the most ecologically sound way. They clearcut. I was shocked when I first arrived here and saw the clear cuts on the mountains. I seemed to remember that we studied erosion in the sixth grade, and wind and water were cited as erosive forces. No one was allowed to clear cut in Colorado where I came from because of the erosive force of the winds there. So it was hard for me to reconcile the knowledge of erosion with a state that had high rainfall totals allowing clearcuts. But they do.
The result is flooding. When the white man first came here most of this land was covered with huge Douglas fir trees. In fact much of Western Washington and Oregon was rainforest. The only remaining temporal rainforest in the US is here in Washington, at the Hoh Rainforest. Many of the trees were ten or more feet in diameter. Some of these giants still exist in the Hoh Rain Forest. They had been here for centuries. But, of course, they were timber. The forests moderated the rainfall so that there wasn’t as much erosion, and slowed down any flooding that may have happened. Cutting down the trees and paving over the land has had the opposite effect. Now there is no place for it to go but into the streams, and there is nothing to slow it down.
Add to that the fact that the most recent Lands Commissioner was a tool in
the hands of the timber industry, who violated state law to allow cutting on unstable slopes, and you have the mess that was the flooding of December 2007. The current flooding is hitting the same area, which hasn’t had a chance to recover truly from the last bout. We turned the bastard out this last election, but it was too little, too late.
We know about erosion these days, we know the effects that clearcuts and paving will have. I don’t see any need to continue to do these things over and over. Especially since it’s the taxpayers that provide the flood insurance. I guess I’m angry that it’s twenty years since that first flood, and we haven’t seemed to have learned anything. I guess I’m just pissed off. I feel sorry for the loggers, since their jobs are endangered by endangered species and by changing times. But if we don’t save our earth, and do logging in a sustainable manner, our grandchildren will have nothing.
I guess this has been one of them there rants I promised you. Thanks for bearing with me.