New high water mark at Roaring River

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hatchery staff assessing, repairing damages at park

A new record was set over the weekend at Roaring River State Park, as the river crested Saturday at 9.82 feet, topping the 9.60 mark set in April 2011.

Paul Spurgeon, manager of the Roaring River Hatchery, said cleanup began on Sunday and will continue through the week, as the heavy rains brought mud and debris into the park.

“We’ve been concentrating on cleaning up the upper end and the bridges from debris, then working our way down,” he said. “Zone 2 is closed to fishing [as of Monday afternoon], and I’m not sure when it will open back up. It’s safer to keep people back right now.”

Spurgeon said the Hatchery building took in some water, as did the fish pools. However, he said not many fish were lost.

“The biggest concern is how muddy the water is coming out of the spring,” he said. “The fish don’t really like that muddy water. But, it is a lot less muddy than it was Saturday.”

Spurgeon said it is still too early to tell if the baffles sustained major damage, but at the lower end of the park, staff are seeing some interesting effects.

“Over in Zone 3, the stream has basically cut a new channel,” he said. “So, we have a new river down there. We also had 2-1/2 feet of water over the Highway 112 bridge by the Park Store.”

Spurgeon said this event is difficult to compare to the last major flood in 2015, as all floods are different.

“This event was more sustained over a longer period of time,” he said. “We had a surge on Friday morning, and then a second surge at about 11 a.m. on Saturday that was sustained until about midnight. Every flood is different and picks somewhere else to effect. But, I have seen worse damage.”

Spurgeon said the park is open while cleanup efforts continue, and people were out fishing on Monday. The campgrounds were evacuated on Thursday, well ahead of the flooding.

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