The Wetland That Saved Highway 101 From Flooding – NCLC

April 8, 2014 | OPB – Land owned by the North Coast Land Conservancy plays a critical role in eliminating flooding from a section of Highway 101.
Listen to the audio version of this story.
Allowing the Necanicum River to flood this pasture kept Highway 101 dry this winter. Photo by EarthFix

Allowing the Necanicum River to flood this pasture kept Highway 101 dry this winter. Photo by EarthFix

Every winter on Oregon’s north coast, the Necanicum River spills out over its banks during heavy rains and swallows the road just south of Seaside. This happens at least once -– and up to seven times — a year.

But not this year.

Last summer, highway officials teamed up with a local landowner to use a nearby wetland as a natural sponge for floodwater. By removing a mile-long wall of dirt, they freed the river to spread out into its natural flood plain. Since then, even when the Necanicum has over-topped its banks, it hasn’t sent its waters to flood the highway.

It’s a big change from how things used to be. Continue reading…