Paul LeFort 2017/05/02

As of 0800 today, the water at North Service barricade is about a meter closer to the bottom of the slope than it was at the highest water two weeks ago. That means no access is practical, not even to Yves’ marina, and there are no serious options for using our boat or canoe. There is no convenient way to reach the outer areas, as water is now three feet deep in the picnic area, on the access road past the culverts, and in front of the trail shed. Water will also surround the interpretive center, and be up two feet inside the work shed.

Al and I (and Steve, if he feels safe in an inflatable) may paddle out as the weather clears to inspect for lost items. In the longer term, if access to the marina area returns, I might go in and bring the jonboat and engine back to the marina so that some of us can go in and clean the mess in the immediate area of the interpretive center.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board’s last press release is clear, and is even more true today: reservoirs are full, and at this point, the water is expected to rise further, regardless of weather conditions, as the spring freshet has begun.

OTTAWA/GATINEAU, Friday April 28, 2017 –The Ottawa River Regulating Committee cautions that water levels and flows along the main stem of the Ottawa River between Mattawa and the Montreal region will remain high for a sustained period of time. Well above normal April precipitation combined with snowmelt runoff have resulted in recent peak levels not seen in the last 20 years in many locations. Current meteorological forecasts are calling for additional rainfall of 30-60 mm over much of the Ottawa River basin. This additional precipitation is expected to once again increase levels that had been in decline.

Current weather forecasts predict very significant precipitation beginning Sunday, April 30th into Monday, May 1st. These weather conditions could cause rapid increases in levels and flows between Mattawa and the Montreal region. The increase in levels and extent of possible flooding will depend on the amount of precipitation received, the tracking of the storm as well as the amount of snowmelt in the north.

With current forecasts, northern snowmelt runoff combined with precipitation is expected to fill most northern reservoirs in the next few days. As a result, the capacity to retain additional runoff from the headwater areas in the north will be diminished.  

Paul LeFort 2017/04/28

Greetings from P3. Al and I performed a circumnavigation (walk is the wrong word here).

One can drive carefully (washouts) up to the culverts. Water is two feet deep past the culverts, so Al got in over his boots, being a little crazy, and  I used waders, being prepared. Same problem for access to the picnic area from the parking lot.

Damage assessment:

  1. The water came up and touched the cottage floor, but did not go over the floor. We may assume it will dry nicely, but should test under linoleum anyway. Front verandah is intact. Lost: one rain barrel.
  2. Both the airplane and Thomas the Tank engine are gone, and did not land on any downstream beaches. Ditto most of the “fence logs”.
  3. The big bridge on Muskrat is hanging by sheer luck.
  4. The old crib that was beside Muskrat is now in front of the turtle blind.
  5. Turtle blind needs complete rebuild.
  6. Water rearranged content of work shed, flooding over the chain saw on the bottom shelf. I started it on the third pull.
  7. No water damage in schoolhouse, but it was wet at some point.
  8. Trail shed lost its steps, all six bags of concrete are set, and the water reached over the lawnmower engine. Like the chain saw, it will start first pull. Mud everywhere in there.
  9. Platform at Holland will need repositioning.
  10. All bench platforms are secure but floating around on their anchors.
  11. There are now only two planting boxes, both moved about 30 feet into the landscape. The bug hotel is gone as well. Won’t miss it…
  1. Sarah’s boat is safe, as noted before.
  2. No damage was noted from loose tree trunks, although the piles were reorganized and some floated away. The river was kind enough to completely level out the north branch of the trail to the western area.
  3. Wildlife report: not that many birds, too many geese, one garter snake with a woolen hat wearing a lifevest.

If the weather holds out (unlikely), we will be able to walk in with boots next Wednesday. The Regulation Board says the reservoirs are full, and expects the river will go up again as snowmelt and the coming rain do their thing.

Paul LeFort 2017/04/24

No change in the last two days. The water has dropped, but not visibly.

Dozens of the curious and loyal continue to visit the Trim Road barricade daily, many of them people who visit the island almost daily under normal circumstances.  They bring cameras and binoculars and enjoy the large number of birds present, along with a few muskrats and beavers. A captive audience for a membership drive…

Owner Yves and staffer John boated into the marina again today and are performing some duties. It seems that a few of the stored ice huts are flooded.

When waters recede, the City will have to clear and repair the access road before barricades are removed for the general public. By then I’m sure some os us will have gone out to inspect, either by human-powered boat or by human-powered boot (Steve: pun intended).

Waters are being held back in the upstream reservoirs (kilowatts will be distributed to taxpayers over time). If we do not have the kind of rain in Mat that April showered us with, things should be “normal”, meaning the regular spring freshet situation: no land access to Muskrat and Holland trails.

I don’t think any of the power outlets inside or outside the two buildings are low enough to have shorted out the power and popped the breakers.

 

Paul Lefort 2017/04/21

River continues to rise to unprecedented levels. Gained a few feet longitudinally on the access road.

I had an exchange of emails with Yves Grandmaître, who has known the island since childhood and remembers floods in years long past. He was unequivocal: there will be a few inches of water over the floor of the Interpretive Center. Assume a nice clean ground surface in our work shed, and some swollen plywood flooring at the Petrie Island Trailmaster Lodge & Resort. Also assume that some of the ash trunks left by Forestry will be wandering. Hopefully some of the branches will travel to the nether reaches of the Ottawa. Steve and I will be taking bets on where the wrecked timber crib off Muskrat will end up after Noah decommisions the ark.

(Ozile’s runaway canoe was retrieved, in case anyone noticed it east of the barricade)

The photo here was taken May 1, 2013, when water was under 43.5 m ASL. We are now over 44 m. I trust we chained the bench platform.

I was unable to inspect any distant locations from North Service due to thick fog. I have no intention of trying to take the kayak out to the cottage until the current slows down or the water allows us to reach beyond the causeway.

http://ottawariver.ca/river-levels-flows.php   – updates around 1400 hrs daily.