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  •  45 and raining in NW Oregon (13+ / 0-)

    I was reading diaries about the KXL hearings in Grand Island, Nebraska.  That took me back decades when my friend's father and us would go hunting and fishing in central Nebraska along the Platte River.  We were told "Platte" was the Indian word for flat, but that was actually French.

    The joke was the Platte River is a mile wide and an inch deep, which was only a mild exaggeration.  They told us kids the Platte was also the top of a vast underground river.  To a kid, prompted mental images of a roaring river going thru a cave, deep in the earth, ala Jules Verne.  It actually referred to the massive Ogallala aquifer beneath the Platte.

    During the Spring snow melt, the Platte got very wide as it meandered over the plains, and then the water receded.

    I was remembering when I walked by myself along the Platte, and when I came upon a backwater pond, isolated when the River receded, and the water seemed to boil when I approached, it was so full of agitated fish.

    I brought my friend there, and we realized that pond was jammed full of garfish, which haven't changed much for a hundred million years. They are so vicious, they would attack a small stick thrown on the water.

    Once the story was, it was against the law to see a garfish and not kill it, because they were believe to attack game fish.  That was false, they actually prey on so-called trash fish, but gars were mercilessly depleted.

    The alligator gar is one of the biggest fish in North America, reaching 10 feet long.

    It all makes me think how little has changed out there at some locations along the Platte, where for millions of years the cranes and other birds have flown that flyway, and the meandering Platte, and the ruthless gar, waited below.  Except these days most of the adjoining wetlands are gone, replaced by corn fields, and thirsty humans have drawn the River down.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:48:40 AM PDT

    •  If the land is flat, those flooding rivers (10+ / 0-)

      are a boon to the soil nearby, even though the flood itself can be dangerous. Up here in we see that in our flood plains, like the Willamette down your way, and the Skagit up here. Incredibly fertile soil. The Skagit is diked now, in places more than 20 feet high, so the runoff sediment only gets on the land during really huge floods. Even so, the Skagit flood plain/delta is wonderfully productive, and as yet unpaved. Most of the fertile flood plain soil in the Seattle area is buried under concrete and asphalt. A waste of beautiful soil.

      Thanks for the story about the Platte and the gar. I didn't know about them.

      •  I was along and around (8+ / 0-)

        the Skagit many times years ago, it may be one of the most lush and fecund areas in the world.

        The Platte's flood plain and sediments also supported a belt of farms and forests for hundreds of miles through the arid west of Nebraska.  "Too thick to drink, too thin to plow," they said.

        Ten or so years ago,I was objecting to a bunch of proposed hydroelectric plants on small allegedly salmon-less creeks that fed into the Skagit and other rivers, some around Concrete.

          FERC finally rejected most of them because of the unstable soils, and because some sneaky salmon had been spotted above the supposedly un-breachable barriers and so-called impassable falls in those creeks.

        I am watching Intel expand onto priceless Willamette Valley farmland as we speak.  Thanks for the jobs, now what will we eat?

        Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

        by 6412093 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:46:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bummer about the development. I thought (4+ / 0-)

          Intel was inside the urban growth boundary of Portland, a truly visionary construct. Are they expanding outside it, or is the boundary being revised?

          At least the Willamette isn't totally dammed up like the Columbia. Could be worse.

          Appreciate your efforts on the Skagit. In spite of its dams up the valley, it is a phenomenal river. The eagles there in winter feeding on salmon are an amazing spectacle, for example.

          •  It's been awhile (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, OceanDiver

            Some of the proposals were on the Nooksack, too. In a highly fortunate coincidence, one of the Lummi tribe leaders at that time was also a pipefitters union officer, which married environmental concerns with fair labor concerns.

            Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

            by 6412093 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:30:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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