WASHINGTON — When the last tap breaks in the river, the last piece of debris floating downriver from the riverbank is almost always the last thing you want to see on a lake bed.
You never want to walk through the woods, or walk on the lake, for that matter.
And you definitely don’t want to find yourself on a small island in the middle of the lake bed — the bottom of which is the bottom, you know?
So it was all the more remarkable that in the spring of 2020, as a flood warning was issued in Wisconsin, the state legislature took up the issue of flood protection.
They passed the Dam Safety Act, which is a water-protection act.
This law, which I’ll get into a bit more in a moment, was a bipartisan effort.
The water-safety act, by the way, has been the subject of much discussion, especially since the recent floods.
The Senate passed the bill, but the House passed a watered-down version.
So what happened?
In Wisconsin, it wasn’t just the flood warning that went out that day, the dam safety act didn’t go out until about 9:00 a.m.
That was the last time that we heard from the dam.
It was just a matter of time.
The dam was finally released.
A few hours later, when the dam was released, the floodwaters started to recede.
A day later, they were at least 12 feet deep.
The next day, they began to recuperate.
The state didn’t see the damage until later, the water was at least two feet deep, and the dams was still there.
So, it was a long time before the state got to the point of taking any serious steps to mitigate the flood damage.
It took years for the water to recheck itself and get back to where it should be, and now we are again seeing what could have been.
I’m talking about the state’s first major river dam failure since the 1990s.
It started with a flood, which was a natural one, but it didn’t have to be.
The flood started in late April, and in early May, the river hit a creek and started to flood.
The creek flowed downriver, and eventually the lake rose.
And as the lake receded, the creek came back up, and so did the river.
So the dam did not need to be activated because the creek was not flowing downstream.
The problem is that the dam itself was not working properly.
The structure of the dam, which normally takes water from the upper bank and pumps it up into the damhead, was not functioning properly.
So in a very natural event, it would have just failed and had no effect on the river downstream.
But what the state was not doing was trying to fix the problem.
They didn’t do a flood gauge or even try to do any research to see what would have happened if the dam had been working properly — which it wasn, because the dam is not designed to be flooded.
The river wasn’t moving.
The lake was moving.
There were people in the area, and a flood monitor was set up in the lake.
There was a large, two-story-high steel structure that was connected to the dam by a concrete pipe that went into the river and came out.
But because of the structural problems, the pipe was not very strong.
It broke off and spilled out onto the lakebed.
That’s when the problem became apparent.
And the problem is not the dam alone.
The county that has jurisdiction over the river was not able to put in a permanent structure to protect the river from flooding, so it built a concrete structure, a six-foot-tall structure that spans the entire length of the river that will never flood.
And it will never get flood-proofed.
It will never have any permanent protection from flooding.
And that’s because the river is very sensitive to changes in its movement, which means it changes very quickly.
And if you look at the water levels in the reservoir, it’s like a giant pendulum, and you have a lot of moving parts.
You have the reservoir walls, you have the concrete structure over the dam — all the stuff that’s holding it in place, all the parts that are moving it.
It’s all moving.
It is, in fact, a very fragile system.
The dams are the biggest parts of the system that keep the river flowing.
The fact that the dams aren’t working correctly — which they were designed to do — has caused the river to flow much faster than it should.
It began in the fall of 2020 and was very apparent.
But in March 2021, the first of three dams started failing, which meant that the water level in the reservoirs didn’t drop much, because of all the movement.
Then it continued to rise.
And then in June of 2021, Lake Michigan,