Yet Another 100 Year Flood forced upon Skokomish Valley homes:
Once again Skokomish Valley Residents had to endure a ‘100 year flood’ in the span of only a few years. This one fell short of the December, 2007 all time record flood in the valley by a fraction of an inch.
2007 was a memorable year for several reasons:
The wife nearly drowned (suffering hypothermia from struggling through 1/4 mile of raging waist deep frigid water laden with ice and snow) in the dark of that flood at 4:00am while trying to get to her job in the Shelton Post Office to process Christmas mail/packages; we lost our truck (4 days under water)…her only means of transportation.
Yours truly was (without provocation) clubbed to the floor (and hospitalized) in the Belfair FEMA facility by their untrained private security guard (this miscreant then fled the state in anticipation of the ensuing lawsuit) for having the temerity to criticize the agency for incompetence, mishandling the application for relief from the disaster.
Our insurance wouldn’t cover the loss of our truck. FEMA wouldn’t help and proved to be incompetent, assaultive, obstructive, and conspiratorial. Moreover, we had witnessed half a dozen devastating floods since moving to the valley circa 1991. These destroyed dozens of area homes later burned to the ground by our volunteer fire dept. to dispose of them. As many families were displaced along with some businesses such as Purdy Canyon Restaurant.
Skokomish Valley residents are beset with many lost school and work days because the road in/out is impassable under water. Land owners are prohibited from building on their parcels or even repairing/modifying their structures in many instances because of a County imposed building moratorium given the frequent threat to life, property, and the consequential expanded flood plain.
A long history of ill conceived government planning yielded an upland watershed of clear cuts, dikes, and completely silted stream beds. Victims (valley residents) of this mismanagement were twice injured when government imposed restrictions on them rather than requiring the perpetrators (itself and Simpson Timber Co.) to remedy the damage they had wrought.
A monument to government incompetence can be seen from an aerial view of the valley where Highway 101 crosses it. Rather than allow the flood waters to pass freely beneath it, our State chose to build an earthen dike to support the road, restricting the Skokomish River’s flow to two narrow passages beneath it. The valley is wide to accommodate flood events because its drop in elevation rate is slight. Highway 101’s construction design contributes to considerable back-ponding during flood events.
Now, however, residents (victimized yet again) are being told that further destruction of the remaining organic material/trees in our upland watershed with its steep slopes is going to improve our environment and our quality of life?
Over the years, we have witnessed a pattern of reduced buffering of flood events commensurate with the stripping of our upland woodlands by Simpson Timber Co. Notably, even wind/weather in our immediate area has been altered. Wind storms are noticeably more severe and damaging in contrast to what we witnessed when hillsides were better cloaked with standing forests.
Awakened by my neighbors leading their horses through the flood waters to safety while parking their truck on the only high ground available, I noticed water invading our garage and lapping at the foundation of our home. Our yard, pasture, sidewalk, and driveway were under water. The power had failed.
Residents have no ingress/egress to their homes. Once again they’re faced with the daunting task of having to shovel out/clean up the crap handed to them by government officials intent on shining the boots of rapacious corporations such as Simpson and Adage in their bid for BioMassacre domination of Mason County!
Early on (1990) following our taking up residence in the Skokomish Valley, even the heaviest rain storms took about 3 days before flood levels peaked. Today they take less than a day…sometimes as little as 6 to 8 hours…as a result of the total degradation of our stream beds and river banks in the wake of all the upland clear cuts. While it took decades to reach the current catastrophic levels, no one (not the government or the corporations who benefited from the poor forest management practices) is offering to repair the tremendous damage done to the environment and residents. Instead, residents are restricted from utilizing their property while corporations such as Simpson and Adage are encouraged to exacerbate environmental destruction in a ‘business as usual’ fashion.