Water rising between Graham and Spanaway

Underground waterBy Marianne Lincoln

The water table between Graham and Spanaway has been a reliable source of well water for resident. On years such as this one, with rain far exceeding normal levels, the water rises up out of the ground and surprises the uninitiated new residents.

Flooding in the oxbow ay Pioneer Valley (Eustice-Hunt Road and 204th/Knoble Road)  and the nearby Fir Meadows development (206th St. & 67th Ave.) has been greater this year than remembered by most local residents. That underground water has broken through to the surface and is a nightmare to manage. Just after the ice age, 10,000 years ago, the water from Clover Creek was a large river flowing past Emerald Ridge High School and over the cliff to the Puyallup River near Orting. You can see the swath in the topographical map.

The water from Pioneer Valley keeps seeping through until Frederickson Lake swells up and gradually moves along northward to Clover Creek and northwest to Stoney Lake between 192nd St along 28th Ave. and Waller to Military Road. There is an oxbow there as well that heads northwest from Military and Waller to 22nd Avenue before it seeps down into Clover Creek.

I attempted to show some on this topographical map from Pierce County’s GIS system.

I took a considerable number of photos of the flooding from the land and air this past week. The aerial photos were on March 19, 2017. The flooding is in progress and moving north-northwest toward the creek. The usual time it takes is about 2 weeks to pass through. It’s not over and in places the water has not risen to its full level. Sadly, it is also still raining.

Here is a link to the You-Tube video of my photos. It takes less than 2 minutes to watch, the photos only last 1 second each.

DSC_8958I presented a copy of this video to each of the Pierce County Council members Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Behind this action was a thought shared to me by a local Puyallup Indian. Water is life. It moves through the land and provides us with drink to nourish our cells. On occasions, like this flooding season, it also reminds us that we need to make way for it to flow through the land like we need it to flow through our bodies. When we build buildings, parking lots, houses, barns and garages, we get in its way. This year is a reminder that we need to take an honest look at where the water needs to be and give it room to do its business.

That is called wetland delineation in engineering terms. This is a perfect year to do just that and leave some room for the water, so we don’t build more houses that will be flooded.

This article, like my testimony yesterday is dedication to the Kennedy, Murray, Pike and Fir Meadows families currently dealing with being flooded.

4/2/17 UPDATE: KING 5 TV went out to Fir Meadows and did a segment. Also the county came out to a meeting there with the flooded neighbors. No solutions yet.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris McAfee says:

    Thank you! Excellent photos showing the area. The county needs to do their job and stop allowing lower density housing developments! The mighty Dollar is going to once again hit us all in the pocket books when Pierce County starts purchasing flooded properties that never should have been built on. Keep up the great coverage!

    1. What happened in Pioneer Valley was multiple high density new housing developments were put in on land built up (fill) over the normal water way. That squeezed the water into a smaller space resulting in the older homes becoming flooded.

  2. Paula Morris says:

    This was a fantastic article and video on youtube Marianne. The Indian quote was so accurate and well timed–during this era of mass development and urban sprawl. If we don’t listen to Nature, the land, the environment around us, we are fools. Same thing happened in the Mississippi Basin area (I grew up in Illinois). People kept building in the overflow area and then wondered why they were flooded out year after year after the heavy rainy season when the grand ole Mississippi overflowed her banks and swallowed up the land–she always swallowed up! Same ole, same ole. People don’t get it! Developers need to do extensive research before building, and the towns need to scrutinize more thoroughly, any projects they propose. I’m sick of money/profit dictating everything. Good work Marianne!

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