Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After the Rain

Late last week we experienced four separate storms that produced a total of 1.5 inches of rain over a two day period.  The first storm arrived in the early evening, so there was plenty of light for me to sit on the porch and enjoy the action.  The rain quickly filled the Water Garden to overflowing.

The storm lasted a total of 20 minutes and five minutes of that was a straight downpour that gave us 0.5 inches.  That’s a rate of six inches per hour.  I think we could have soaked up a full hours worth. 

Following the heavy stuff was a gentle rain and a lot of lightning.  This bolt struck in the woods across the road.

Even though the rain did nothing to recharge our ground water supply, it did rehydrate all of the plants.  The most noticeable change was the Rose Pink once again producing fragrance. 

There was no overland flow associated with these storms, but the water that fell in the creek bed made its way to the low points and filled most of the pools.  This will ease the stress on animals that need an open source of water.

Without additional rain, this water won’t last more than about three weeks.  It’s nice and clear now, but that will change with increased animal usage.  As pools are lost, those that remain become cloudy with sediment stirred up by animal visitors.

The newly filled pools are without fish.  Only those aquatic animals capable of surviving periods without water were around to take advantage of the restored aquatic environment.

Drifts of cedar leaves and berries at the downstream edge show that the pools were just at the point of breaking out and temporarily restoring stream flow.  It seems that each storm we have is violent enough to remove fruit and nuts from the trees.  Those cedar berries are supposed to be attached to the trees to act as food for the overwintering Bluebird population.  The amount of fruit lost to the effects of storms and drought make me think this is going to be a tough winter for many species.

The gravel beds that hold water in the pools are not water tight and allow a trickle of water to move through.  This nearly imperceptible flow can only be seen in those areas of the creek where solid bedrock is exposed.  Under normal conditions, this water would be replaced by water moving into the creek from the groundwater reservoir.  Because of the extended drought, that water is not available.

Where the creek bottom is composed of loose gravel, the moving water is hidden from sight.  The rain necessary to end this drought is still somewhere in the future.  There’s still time for this year of weather extremes to amaze us with more unexpected developments.

No comments:

Post a Comment