In response to the Jan. 25 edition article titled “Losing Ground,” it’s a helpless feeling to watch good farmland wash down a creek or river. We own about a mile of farm property along Cow Creek, a tributary to the South Umpqua River. As a child in the 1940s, I remember Cow Creek being a deep, narrow stream with healthy banks. Then a series of heavy rains and snow melts caused flooding. Due to the floods, farmland eroded and the narrow creek became wide, shallow and in the summer the water quality was so bad the creek was condemned for swimming. Fish couldn’t survive.
In the mid-1980s, Galesville Dam was constructed on upper Cow Creek. With a dam to hold back a good portion of the flood waters, in time Cow Creek once again became a narrow, fairly deep stream with healthy banks. The water temperature remains the same year around. There is very little erosion and the fish runs have returned. Because of the dam, water has been available for crop irrigation … and support for the fish runs, even during the drought years.
The “Powers that Be” need to use common sense when dealing with the river and farmland erosion. The food they eat didn’t originate in a can or deep freeze! Once good farmland is gone, there’s no replacing what has been lost. Just as I have experienced on Cow Creek, sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help …and besides, there’s always a market for good gravel!
Marian Martin Owens
(Martin Land & Cattle)