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T H E W E E K LY S U N • M AY 10 - 16, 2017

NEWS ENVIRONMENT

AFTER HUGE SNOW SEASON, FLOO

A state of emergency dec

F

BY DANA DUGAN

looding in Blaine County has reached proportions not seen in a decade. Extreme flood years preceding this one were in 1983, 1996 and 2007, although this is by far the most severe. By Monday morning, the Big Wood River in Hailey had risen to 7.82 feet before leveling off at about 7.6 feet later in the day. Flood stage is 6 feet. The National Weather Service anticipates fluctuations on the river for at least the next five days. Historically, the Big Wood River will reach its peak flows toward the end of May into early June. On Monday, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, serving as Idaho’s acting governor while Gov. Butch Otter is on vacation, declared a state of emergency in Blaine County. In Hailey, roads closed in the Della View area on the Big Wood River include War Eagle, Triumph, Red Elephant, Della Vista, and a portion of Cedar Street. Other roads in the area are open to local traffic only. Several houses had power shut off as groundwater rose into crawl spaces, basements and garages. “We don’t know how long the road closures will be in place or if we’ll need to put in additional closures,” Craig Aberbach, Hailey Fire and Rescue chief, said. “Right now the river is flooding in ways we’ve not previously seen. It’s important that residents in flood-prone areas not currently affected by the floods get prepared now.” Last weekend, the City of Ketchum distributed 1,500 sandbags to residents battling rising floodwaters. On Wednesday morning, the community will help fill another 3,000 sandbags at the Ketchum Street Department at 200 10th St. E. Residents are encouraged to come help fill and distribute them. “We recognize the challenges residents are facing right now and are taking every possible step to help respond to the threats posed by flooding,” Jim Slanetz, Ketchum City Council president, said. “We also want

An expanse of lawn has turned into a muddy lake as water rises up to a deck in west Hailey. Photo by Dana DuGan

our citizens to be cautious and safe and to prepare for even more flooding posed by rising river flows.” In Ketchum, closed roads include Puchner Bridge, Picabo Street, Skiway Court, Skiway Drive between Howard Drive and Picabo Street, and Wood River Drive between Sabala and Williams streets. Board Ranch is closed to all but local traffic, and a couple was dramatically rescued from their home on Log Chain Lane out Board Ranch on Saturday by the Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments. The occupants were left stranded in their residence, which was surrounded by swiftly moving water on all sides, requiring a swift-water rescue to bring them to safety. Residents have also reported flooding on more than 20 other streets in Ketchum. While the Della View area in Hailey floods not infrequently due to its proximity to the Big Wood River, homes just to

COLUMN LIVING WELL UI-BLAINE EXTENSION TIPS

REPAIRING A FLOODED LAWN

BY TOM KALB, NDSU EXTENSION HORTICULTURIST

greater than 3 inches should be scraped away. Severely eroded areas should be replenished with topsoil. As a general rule, at least 4 inches of topsoil is needed for a healthy lawn. Cultivate the area, incorporating the silt into the topsoil. Prepare a smooth seedbed and apply a starter fertilizer. Seeding is best done from mid-August to early October in Idaho. Spring is the second best time of the year to sow. Use hardy grass types normally used in the region, such as Kentucky bluegrass, red and other fine fescues, perennial ryegrass, crested wheatgrass and blue grama grass. Flood-tolerant grasses, such as reed canary grass, are too coarse and not recommended for home landscapes. New sod can be applied through mid-October. Sod typically is a Kentucky bluegrass mix and should be used only in sunny areas. For more information, contact the Blaine County Extension office.

After flooding devastates a lawn, the first step is to pick up any garbage and other debris the floodwaters brought into the yard. Be careful, as pieces of glass, metal and other harmful items may be buried in the silt. Wash up thoroughly after working with the soil since it may have been contaminated with toxic materials. Lawns under water for less than four days and covered with 1 inch or less of silt may quickly recover. In this case, gently rake the ground to break the soil crust. Core aeration can help dry the soil. A half-strength fertilizer application (1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet) will encourage turf recovery. Fall overseeding may thicken the lawn. Lawns under water for more than four days and/or covered with more than 1 inch of silt will require major renovation. Much, if not all, of the turf is dead. Start by grading the landTom Kalb is a horticulturist at scape, trying to get it back to its original topography as much as North Dakota State University possible. Accumulations of silt Extension.

its north, on Robin Hood Drive, suddenly became waterfront property over the weekend. The Big Wood River joined with groundwater that has been slowly rising as temperatures warmed. Chris Schnebly and Rick Spalding have a large, meandering property some 300 yards from the Big Wood River, separated by scrub woods and the Draper Wood River Preserve. A creek bed that wanders alongside their lawn is normally bone dry, but is fast-flowing now. “It was crystal clear to start, but then the river water came and it’s totally muddy,” Schnebly said, looking out over the very green, wet lawn. “It’s hard to get your brain around it. First thing I do now is look at the water.” Spalding, who’s lived on the property for 35 years, said, “Every few years I get my creek, when the river jumps its banks. It was once called Tailrace Creek and came out of

the old sawmill upstream.” Two houses away, Patrice Cole checked the water level near the furnace in her home’s crawl space. Idaho Power turned off their electricity and, like their neighbors, the Coles are using a generator to power sump pumps. Sandbags won’t help them now; the river has come all the way up under their decks. There is a Blaine County Fire & Flood Facebook page for residents needing or offering help. Julie Gates, who boards her horse, Rooster, at a ranch on flooded Broadford Road south of Hailey, was able to move Rooster to higher ground over the weekend. “This is my first real instance with flooding, and I didn’t want to take a chance,” Gates said. “You have to have respect for the elements.” In Hailey, volunteers filled more than 2,000 sandbags. “The community has really stepped up in helping those residents whose homes are already surrounded by water,” said Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle. Meanwhile, officials warn that the floodwaters are fast-moving and can be extremely dangerous for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and pets. Potholes and sinkholes are opening up under moving water and the water itself may be a health hazard. Debris, pollutants, and possible electric currents are carried within the water. The flooded areas all have underground power. Floodwaters may carry electricity from damaged power sources. Dottie Klein, the manager at Riverside RV Park in west Bellevue, said several residents had pulled out of the park, and were heading south, after water and sewer service was turned off over the weekend. Water was turned back on Monday, but there is still no sewer for the RV park or Westwood Mobile Home Park adjacent to it. Porta-potties were brought in. “Unfortunately, there’s no time frame on

NEWS IN BRIEF

Idaho Gives Update

Sun Valley (SUN) from June 10 through Oct. 28 to include daily nonstop flights from June 10 to Sept. On Thursday, May 4, Idaho Gives day was held 5, and then two nonstop flights a week, on Tuesthroughout the state. A total of $1,374,285.57 was days and Saturdays, from Sept. 9 through Oct. 28.   raised for Idaho nonprofits through 10,566 donaUnited’s Denver flights will run June 30 to Oct. tions for 628 organizations. 3, with daily flights through Sept 5, and then two The highest earning organization was Planned nonstop flights a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawai- from Sept. 9 to Oct. 3. ian Islands, followed by The Peregrine Fund, Idaho All flights are now available for booking online. Humane Society and Idaho Food Bank. The complete 2017 SUN summer/fall flight schedIn Blaine County, the Animal Shelter of the Wood ule can be found at flysunvalleyalliance.com. River Valley raked in $9,085 in donations, followed by Sun Valley Realtors Give at $8,225; Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center at $5,445; The Hunger Coaltion at $5,200; The Community Library at $3,380; Sawtooth Botanical Garden Leading industry magazine Engineering at $3,190; Senior Connection at $2,330; Flourish News-Record named POWER Engineers, Inc., one Foundation at $1,190; Wild Gift at $1,890; and of the top design firms in the country last week, NAMI-WRV with $1,855 in donations. putting it at 21 of the top 25 pure design firms in its Top 500 Design Firms list. POWER’s headquarters is located in Hailey, and the company has 42 offices worldwide. Locally, it employs about 250 people. The Hailey Farmers’ Market will move locaThis is the highest POWER has ever ranked—up tions this summer to Carbonate and Main streets two spots from 2016—which POWER CEO Bret between Sun Valley Brewery and the Christopher & Co. buildings. The Brewery will have a beer garden Moffett says is a reflection of the company’s and the street will remain closed for the event from growth and continuing commitment to its clients. Main Street to the alley. The Farmers’ Market will “Above all, we focus on innovative solutions that be from 3-7 p.m. Thursdays from June 29 through are responsive to our clients’ needs,” Moffett said. Oct. 12. “It’s not just about finishing a job for us. It’s about finding a long-lasting solution that will work for our clients long after the project is completed. Strong client relationships are the key to our success, and it’s our employees’ dedication to focusing on our clients that lands us on ENR’s list of top firms year The United Airlines fall flight schedule to Sun after year.” Valley from San Francisco and Denver offers an exPOWER ranked 42nd in the overall design catetended season, officials with Fly Sun Valley Alliance gory and held steady in the number five slot for the announced.  power sector. POWER has ranked in the top 100 United Airlines will offer expanded seasonal overall design firms since 2005. summer service between San Francisco (SFO) and

POWER Ranks Among Top Design Firms In Nation

Hailey Farmers’ Market To Move

New Flights Announced To And From Sun Valley

May 10 - 16, 2017  
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