Saturday, May 9, 2009

Root River Parkway

It is interesting how powerful rivers are, and how fickle- they can flood, change course, divide off an oxbow into a separate lake, and often quickly.

Fa Ross has told me about an area of the Root River Parkway in Racine- a wild, natural river area. He has hiked there often over many years and sent these photos of the natural damming provided by trees and debris floating downstream, aided at times by hardworking beavers. He believes that if the Estabrook dam is removed by the DNR, that the natural Milwaukee River state in the affected area would be unstable and unpredictable.
Photo by Fa Ross
He described a time when, during a period of spring flooding, he watched the river change course to the west, over a period of hours, as it found a new way around a pile of debris. He offers this for comparison between the two rivers:

To my knowledge there has never been a dam in this area of the Root River. I think this area is an excellent example of what Lincoln Park will look like in 10 years or so. Yes, this area is very beautiful in its own way, but you will notice the lack of large trees and the many standing dead trees, pools of stagnant water and piles of logs, sticks and garbage. In the last 30 or so years, many homes have been torn down along the Root River due to the massive flooding, compounded by the dams the trees and ice make with much help from the beavers.
Photo by Fa Ross
There is a 7 foot high by @ 15 foot long wall of sticks and logs that has formed sometime in the last two years and is forcing the river to cut a new channel.

The most graphic example of what I am talking about is approximately one mile north of this on County Line Road, but the last time I drove by it had a No Trespassing sign up. (Part of this area is a superfund cleanup site.) If you have Google earth you can see what I think is a giant beaver dam made of garbage, that used to be there, around 42* 50’ 23.97” N 87* 53’ 28.51”-
see below, the middle of the screenshot.
Satellite photo of 42* 50’ 23.97” N 87* 53’ 28.51” courtesy of Google Earth

If you are interested in seeing this for yourself, here are Fa's directions: Take I 94 south (aka West) to Seven Mile road in (1st exit in Racine county) head east @ 4miles. Just after the second set of rail road tracks you will cross a bridge over the Root River . On the East side of this bridge you will see a oversized gravel shoulder park there. You can walk on either side of the river to the south for @ 1 mile. The park is only 20 or 30 yards wide and is usually used as a bridal path.


Anonymous said...

.... Or the Lincoln Park area will look how Hubbard Park looks now, which is how a river should look. FREE FLOWING!

The River Otter said...

Totally different topography- valley vs. wetland in original state.
But thanks for reading and for your comment.

Anonymous said...

"Wetland in original state"? Nothing about Lincoln Park is original.

The River Otter said...

Right. In its original state, it was a wetland.