Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That river is high! Hopefully less so April 25

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Here's a snapshot of the take-out at the lowhead dam in Flandreau. This would be where paddlers putting in at the pow wow grounds would end their trip.

As the picture shows, the river is highly flooded and dangerous right now, esp. with the water temps being so low. But here's to hoping the next few weeks will make it more approachable.

One nice thing is the proximity of the put-in for the Flandreau to Egan run. It's literally 20 feet from the take-out shown above.


There's plenty of parking near the dam, and there is more parking on the other side of the river if need be. So we certainly have our location well-chosen.


Bridge to other side of river:


Here's a look at the powwow grounds put-in. For those who started there last year, you'll notice just how high the river is currently. All this snow certainly will not help. The trail that led down to the river is right there where that plastic bag is floating.


If you look at this one you can see the little "rapids" are completely under water currently, this is at the powwow grounds put-in as well.


This last photo shows the sheer power of the river at the dam. If the half-ton logs caught in the dam's vortex can't make it away from the face of the dam, just think how poorly a paddler or swimmer would do in the same reality. Stay away from lowhead dams!


And here's a little video of the water at the dam - it's a rager! But here's to hoping we'll still get our Earth Day fix on April 25.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Big Sioux River flood warnings

Saturday evening I drove by the Big Sioux River near Flandreau and it's pretty much open. But with weekend rains and all the snow melt, flood warnings have been posted for almost all the river.

This old photo (h/t CraigZone on Flickr) shows how bad it can get, here's to hoping it doesn't go that far, but this post is just a quick reminder to all paddlers to stay off any river under flood warning.

After waiting months of winter to paddle, nothing would be more disheartening than to go out on a flooded waterway and risk life, limb, and boat. The water will decline in time, so let's stay safe.

Anyone with recent photos of South Dakota waterways that are high, please share them with the club.

It's on, ya'll

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
We've had adequate response to make our March 29 pool session a go, friends, so if you were considering it, now you may lock in your chance to get wet in warm water once more before heading out for the real-deal waters of South Dakota.

Our last training session of the spring will be:

10 a.m. to noon
March 29 (Sunday this coming)
YWCA pool, Sioux Falls

Bring your boats, floats, paddles and any other gear you might like to use during the session. We'll make an effort to give newcomers priority and there will be plenty of folks there to help you with loading, assisted rescues, and more.

Feel free to e-mail Jarett with questions. See you on Sunday, folks.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Once more into the pool?

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
OK, after a delay, the YWCA got back to me this morning, so this is a call to all - do you want more pool training before April?

If so, please let me know. We could get the Sunday morning pool operation going one more time on March 29 (10 a.m. to noon) if we have interest. Please e-mail me at


If you want to take part. If we get six to 10 people who say "I'm in!" we'll do it; if no one wants to pool it up we'll let it slide. I told the YWCA I would let them know before 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

As the kids say: "Holler!"

For those who have not been to the pool training sessions, they are fun. We have a big enough pool to use for at least five kayakers to work at one time. Self-rescues, rolling, assisted rescues, whatever you want to do, you can do it for free in warm, clean water.

It's a great tune-up before the ice is all gone and the rivers beckon.

Hopefully, we'll fill the session and take 'em up on their (albeit late) offer for services.

Mo River trail meeting next Wednesday

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
There's another meeting coming up - in Vermillion - on March 25. Here's the skinny:

Tim Cowman, director of the Missouri River Institute, will give a presentation about the Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail at 7 p.m. March 25.

The talk will be held in room 125 of the Akeley-Lawrence Science Center on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

The MNRR Water Trail is the result of a group effort comprised of several federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations. Currently, the water trail encompasses the entire 59-mile segment of the MNRR from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton to Ponca, Neb.

The water trail also includes an additional 20 river miles from Ponca to Sioux City, Iowa. A 39-mile segment of the MNRR will be added to this water trail in the future.

The planning group is working on improving public access to the river, compiling float trip information, creating informational brochures and signs, and building an interactive web site that can be used to plan float trips.

More information on the water trail and directions to the location of the talk can be found at http://www.mnrrwatertrail.org.

Following the water trail presentation, a short discussion about the concept of a hiking trail along a portion of the Missouri River will take place.

We invite paddlers to discuss trips they have taken in this area and their thoughts on a water (or hiking) trail development plan in South Dakota.

Visit the site, or contact Jarett if you have questions/need some more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bank Stabilization Meeting

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
The East Dakota Water Development District will host a meeting at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Renner Township Hall in Renner.

The meeting will include remarks from Andrew Simon, a project manager with the Agricultural Research Services (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture. The ARS recently completed an analysis of bank stability and potential reductions in sediment loading to the Big Sioux River between Baltic and Sioux Falls.

Input from the public is welcome; the meeting will highlight plans for work, costs involved, and areas affected. Call the East Dakota Water Development District/Big Sioux River Watershed Project leader Roger Strom at 605-688-6741 with questions.

Reminder: Ice is melting on the Big Sioux River in many places, so save April 25 for an Earth Day cruise, it's right around the corner.