Water slowly washing away area land

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
With his home only a stone's throw from the rising water, Bowling Green resident Bill Githens keeps a watchful eye on the Eel River. Ivy Jackson Photo.

The recent heavy rains are causing Eel River to rise again, but Bill and Ruth Githens have gotten used to it.

"This is the third time this year it's rose up this high," Bill said while watching a large tree limb race by in the murky river water that is coming closer to his home. "It happens every year."

Bill's wife isn't as easy-going about the rising water.

"It gets a little scary at times," Ruth admitted to The Brazil Times. "But you get used to it after a while."

Bill purchased the land at 161 South County Road 475 East, Bowling Green, 38 years ago because he always wanted to live along the river.

"It's a funny thing, I loved to fish and dreamed of living here, but once I bought the place I stopped fishing. I'm 85 now and it's getting to be too much for me to keep it up all the time," he said. "But it has it's good qualities."

Although the Githens have considered moving a couple of times, they admit to being "river folk."

"It's like living next to a park all the time and there are always animals in the area," Bill said.

There was once a large yard around Githens' home. However, the annual flooding of the Eel River has engulfed 30-40 feet of his property, leaving only 10 feet of land around Githens' garage.

"Won't be long before the water takes it away, too," he said.

During the recent flooding March, Githens' home was surrounded by water and they were unable to get out for two days. Because he took the precaution to "build-up" the land before putting his trailer on the property, Githens admits his home becomes an island amid the rushing waters of the Eel River during the flooding season.

"Sometimes the water is so swift it will pull the back of the car if you try to drive through it. I have a van to get out if needed, but when it gets up that high, we usually just stay home," Bill said. "It's not that bad, we watch television."

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