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Marooned!

Received this email and photos from Heidi this morning. don’t quite know yet what will be in store for us when we reach the University Field Station a week on Friday (24th April), that is, IF we reach the Field Station!

I’m marooned as of last night. The diversion overflowed its banks in the wee hours of the morning. They were running it for almost 2 weeks prior to this at low levels to clean the channel of ice and that seems to have worked. Because it had been so cold for so long, the ice on the Assiniboine River just started moving Sunday and I got a call to ‘be ready’ – as things started to move, and because Winnipeg is having flood problems of its own with the Red River, most of the water from the Assiniboine is diverted north to Lake Manitoba as they don’t want to put added pressure on Winnipeg if they don’t have to. And then there are ice jams to worry about which are very random and unpredictable – so, yesterday they increased the flow in the diversion to 12,000cfs (cubic feet per second), which is on the edge of its capacity – no room for ice jams or surges of water.

Jeff (the Field Station maintenance manager) and I took a drive last night about 10pm and there was only a few inches before we overflowed. This morning we went for a drive at 7am and as soon as we drove up to the diversion from our road we could tell we were going to be marooned as the water was right up to the edge of the high part of the road, and sure enough as we made our way towards the failsafe (the low section that lets the water into the marsh in such a case as this), was covered in ice and water flowing over – marooned!! >:-o

Seems like the water may be running over the road (and increasingly eroding it making the repair more lengthy) for the next week – its all bad. We will get you here somehow (helicopter, boat, airboat??) – somebody will make it happen, but I’m not going to worry about it till I see how the next days proceed – we must pray for miracles.

On the bright side, lots of birds are coming back, many new species over the past few days.  :-)

Looking south, the field station access road (the only road into the site) is on the right of the picture, with ice and water spilling over the road, from the diversion on the left into the marsh on the right hand side, washing out the road.

Looking south, the field station access road (the only road into the site) is on the right of the picture, with ice and water spilling over the road, from the diversion on the left into the marsh on the right hand side, washing out the road.

Looking north towards where the diversion runs into Lake Manitoba

Looking north towards where the diversion runs into Lake Manitoba

Water running from the diversion into Lake Manitoba (the lake is on the left)

Water running from the diversion into Lake Manitoba (the lake is on the left)

As a comparison here are some photos taken during our stay at Delta 2006 (Ian was the ringer in charge for the Autumn – July to end September).

Crossing the diversion - no problem!

Crossing the diversion - no problem

Birding along the field station access road (the diversion is on the left of the picture)

Birding along the field station access road (the diversion is on the left of the picture)

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