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Another storm, another flood of mud

Flood waters crest near the top of the walking trail retaining wall.
Little Zoe surveys the overflow of muddy water at the loading dock behind Fresh Market Wednesday.
On Thursday, Dale Wright stands beside the bog where Gordon Creek flooded his Carbonville acreage.
The Price River trailhead at 100 North is completely submerged by muddy water.
A black ribbon of water carry post-fire debris snakes through Gordon Creek beneath the old railroad trestle.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Dale Wright has seen heavy rains and high water around his Carbonville horse property over the past 30 years or so. "I saw the 100-year flood back in - when was it ? - the 1980s. But I have never seen anything like this," he said Thursday morning.

Wright was looking at the muck and mud on his acreage near the confluence of Gordon Creek and the Price River. The bog resulted from a downpour Wednesday afternoon miles to the west on thousands of acres of high country that was scarred by the Seeley Fire last year.

Without vegetation and ground cover to protect the ground, rain simply flows unrestricted downhill. Water drains into bigger and bigger channels, ultimately flowing into the Price River, which swelled to about 10 feet above normal by 6 p.m.

Gordon Creek and Garley Wash were the main collectors of storm water this time.

The surging water submerged the low point of the Price River Trail at the 100 North overpass. The bridge and trail are designed for high water and suffered no structural damage. There was a layer of mud about four inches thick left behind, though.

While the recent flood caused no appreciable property damage, some residents like Dale Wright continue to wince when they see dark clouds forming in the west.

Wright was among a small delegation of people who live near the Price River who went to the County Commission a year ago to see what, if anything, could be done to deal with the threat of flooding since the Seeley Fire.

The response from the county was that its hands are tied, at least for now.

They were informed that anything that has to do with altering a stream or river needs a federal 404 permit, and that includes the county or individual property owners.

During that meeting, Christian Bryner, the commission's attorney, told them, "The county can be a good neighbor but there are limits to what can be done. People should not assume that the county can be involved in every situation."

Wright said Thursday that maybe it's time he and his neighbors had another visit with the commission.

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