| Aug 21, 2008

Feature Article - August 21, 2008

Back toHome

Feature Article - August 21, 2008 Water Falls and Water Walls:By Julie Druker

Ron & Susan Wolf's home on Eagle Creek.

What could be better than living in the midst of a natural waterfall? Ron and Susan Wulf of Bedford Township live in a century-old mill located on Eagle Creek by a waterfall that rushes by their living room windows and down past their front porch.

The views, sounds and smells are spectacular but… once in awhile there is a price to pay for dwelling in such close proximity to one of nature’s greatest treasures and mightiest forces.

Approximately 5 weeks ago a wall of water descended upon them, submerging their porch and flooding their basement in half a foot of water where their furnace and other electric appliances reside.

The wall of water was apparently the result of employees of CP Rail unclogging a large culvert which had been stopped up by beavers at the Eagle Lake/Eagle Creek trestle. It was unclogged sometime between July 7 and July 15.

At the end of June, an Eagle Lake cottager, Michael Day, was out exploring in his canoe and discovered the blocked culvert. He informed the MNR who contacted CP Rail about the problem.

A neighbor of the Wulf’s had come to inform them of CP Rail’s intentions to unplug the culvert but after one week nothing had happened. One week later, with no warning Susan Wulf recalls, “The water came.”

Before the dam was taken down, Eagle Creek had been dry and the Wulf’s falls were not running. It seems the clogged culvert was taken out all at once, creating a cascading wall of water that put their home in danger.

The Wulfs, realizing what had happened, called the township to have them break out the lower dam that exists near the northern bridge on Bobs Lake Road, hoping to lessen the dangerously rising water level. When no one arrived and water levels continued to rise, the Wulfs strapped on their floatation vests and ventured into the torrent to remove the lower dam by themselves, a daunting and dangerous task.

Mark Segsworth, the Public Works Manager for South Frontenac explained, ”We do rely on the public phoning in any problems that may arise.”

Segsworth also said that “with all of the rain that we have been having, beaver activity has really increased and it has been a real challenge this year to keep up with them.”

He also said that the way water flows downstream and affects a home can be the result of a multitude of factors.

In the early January thaw of this year, a similar deluge engulfed the Wulf’s home.

Brian Sears, the Water Resources Co-coordinator for the MNR in Kingston believes that the floodings that the Wulfs have experienced “had nothing to do with the log dam” but rather were the result of the beaver dams and the unclogging of the CP Rail culvert.

His records show that in May many cottagers on Eagle Lake complained of flooding and rising water levels.

Sears is very familiar with the water systems on the Eagle Lake and Creek and mentions that “two other huge beaver dams exist downstream of the log dam between it and the Wulf’s residence.” Any breaching of these dams could cause a similar effect.

A meeting was held approximately 3 years ago at the Wulf residence and was attended by most of the parties directly involved to discuss these same issues.

“We need to control the flow of the water,” said Susan Wulf. “We can’t just take out all of the stop logs and we can’t just take out the beavers dams because it has such a huge effect on what happens down stream.

“If we could get CP Rail, Bob’s Lake Association and Eagle Lake Property Association and the Ministry of the Natural Resources all talking to each other then we could actually control the water.”

Mark Segsworth agrees that “communication is always a good thing and there is always room for improvement there.”

While the Wulfs will continue to enjoy the beauty of the water that surrounds them, they will also continue to be wary of flooding and property damage that continues to pose a threat.

As for the beavers… they will continue to be beavers.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.