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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Drought causes concern

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This photograph, taken by Jim Anderson, shows the level of water currently running through the Eel River near Bowling Green.
For as far back as Jim Anderson can remember, he's taken trips to the Eel River to fish.

But recently, what he saw left him baffled.

Anderson -- who was born in Bowling Green -- wanted to see for himself what the level of the river was. And he left the area very concerned.

"It's hard to believe," Anderson said, referring to the water level of the Eel River. "I've been on that river all my life. I've seen it low, but not like this."

Anderson said he could walk through the river in several areas where the water was just touching the top of the bottom portion of his shoes.

"I had just went there to check it out," he said, "and there's nothing there."

Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservationist Doris Scully recently told The Brazil Times the beginning of the Eel River comes from Cataract Lake and feeds to the southern end of the county, joining up with the White River.

She added if water were let out of Cataract Lake, the level of the river would quickly come back to normal.

However, with the severe drought conditions the county has combated this summer, Scully said there is no need to do that at this moment.

Rather, she said farmers and their crops have been the hardest hit due to the drought.

"The worst thing (about the water level) is the fish," she said. "We'll have loss with that for a while. But the drought for all the crops is the biggest concern. What will be a problem (for the river) is when it does start raining and water starts flowing in the river; it could cause stream bank erosion.

"You can walk across the river, and that is a little bit uneasy to know that it is that far down, but crops are more of a concern."

Scully said area farmers had difficulty with crops in 1988, but this year has been far worse.

"It was a very dry year in 1988, but this is much worse than that," she said. "It's really bad. There are some fields that have absolutely no yield whatsoever. It's just a really sad situation this year. Those who have crop insurance will not be hit so bad."

However, those in the business of agriculture are hoping some crops will make it through unscathed.

"We're still holding out for the beans," Scully said. "They have some pods on them. If we could get some rain, it's possible they could fill out a little bit."

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