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Fontenelle Forest experiences beneficial flooding

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 23:32:35-04

The wetlands area at Fontenelle Forest is living up to its name right now as the trails are nearly impossible to hike due to recent flooding.

While it appears you can strut through this trail without getting wet, it turns out you'd sink right into the rising water. 

"The water came up really quickly once the river got close to flood stage."

The flooding just hit a portion of the forest on the southern floodplain, which is a wetlands area. Researcher Jeanine Lackey says its beneficial to wildlife.

"This is a nutrient rich area, which means there is a lot of biological diversity here and so a flood actually enhances that says Jeanine Lackey, director of research at Fontenelle Forest.

When the river overflows its banks and spreads out onto the floodplain, it relieves pressure on dikes and levees, while also cleaning the water. 

"So as the water dissipates and spreads out over the flat plain, a lot of that sediment gets trapped on the land and so it takes it out of the river," says Lackey. 

The animals that already live there also enjoy the extra water. 

"That provides a lot of habitat and breeding areas for fish, and frogs and the birds like it too," says Lackey. 

Because the area is flooded for just a short time, it's not expected to kill any trees or vegetation although Fontenelle Forest employees will have to make some repairs to the boardwalk.

"There's positives and negatives and I just think it's important for people to understand that and not always think of it in such a negative light," says Lackey. 

While it may look fun to go wading through the water folks at Fontenelle Forest do not recommend hiking the wetlands trails until the water goes down, so the boardwalk doesn't suffer any more damage.