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Columbus: Scioto Mile Riverfront Park News

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This was the first time in a long time I had so much fun in downtown Columbus for the Arts Festival. My in-laws were in town from STL and they were in shock at how much downtown C.O. has changed in the last 5 years. Keep it up Columbus, we are making great progress!

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I just had to share this beautiful panoramic pic of the Scioto Mile from this year's Arts Festival posted at Columbus Underground, which was originally posted on the Columbus Arts facebook page.  It shows a panoramic perspective of the Scioto River, Bicentennial Park, the surrounding streets and the two new bridges from the neighboring Waterford Tower.

 

iFX36.jpg

 


And it relates to an article the Dispatch's Joe Blundo's wrote about this year's Arts Festival.  He stated that although the Scioto Mile opened last summer, he considered this year's Columbus Arts Festival to be its real debut.  And I think he's right.  This year's Arts Festival shows the Scioto Mile doing what it was designed to do.  Accommodate large groups of people in a graceful urban setting.  Below is his article:

 

Dispatch: Arts fest showed Scioto Mile at its best

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I was also pleased to read the following update to an earlier Dispatch article about the Scioto Mile promenade during today's Red, White & Boom.  Apparently event crews had planned to block off access to the promenade features that run along Civic Center Drive from Broad Street to Bicentennial Park.  It's pretty common to temporarily fence off private landscaped areas during RW&B to protect them from the huge crowds.  But it makes no sense to do that with the public promenade features, which are designed to handle large crowds.

 

Fortunately, the mayor understood this and issued an order to keep the public promenade open and free of obstructions during Red, White & Boom.  Below is an update to the original Dispatch article about this:

 

Dispatch: Mayor's decision opens Scioto Mile promenade for Red, White & Boom watchers

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That panorama is awesome.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Earlier this month, the Rich Street Bridge officially opened.  The new Rich Street Bridge takes a slightly different path then the previous Town Street Bridge it replaces.  The old bridge connected Town Street in downtown to Town Street in Franklinton.  The new bridge connects Rich Street in downtown with Town Street in Franklinton.

 

Some photos of the new bridge from Columbus Underground's report on its official opening: Rich Street Bridge Officially Opens Downtown and photos of the Rich Street Bridge opening ceremony from the CU thread: Rich Street Bridge - News & Updates

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Scioto River project Downtown moves ahead

By Lydia Coutre, The Columbus Dispatch

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 4:44 AM

 

The City Council took another step yesterday toward removing the Main Street dam and revamping the part of the Scioto River that runs through Downtown.  The council unanimously agreed to give the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation the lead on the project's design, engineering and construction management.

(. . .)

The project is expected to be completed in late fall or early winter of 2015, although residents aren't likely to see construction until late 2013 or early 2014.  The city plans to remove the dam below the Main Street Bridge and lower the water level of the river, thus creating approximately 33 new acres where the city will add green space and trails.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/07/24/river-project-moves-ahead.html

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A few more photos of the recently completed Rich Street Bridge.  A local photographer took some stunningly beautiful night-time shots of the bridge.  I think the night-time look of the Rich Street Bridge is even better than its day-time appearance.  The concrete understructure of the bridge is brightly lit up.  That lighting beautifully hi-lights the graceful arches of the bridge while also producing some dramatic shadowing and reflections on the river.

 

Below are the three photos at a smaller preview size.  To see the full size images of the night-time views of the Rich Street Bridge at the photographer's flickr page click here

 

7584428130_9c1fcbd302_m.jpg  7584415724_8285dd2eba_m.jpg  7584404300_7f972d0398_m.jpg

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An update to this post in the Random Developments thread.  The Columbus Landmarks Foundation presented its 2012 James B. Recchie Design Award to two of its finalists: The Scioto Mile and Scioto River Bridges.

 

Columbus Landmarks Foundation: Jury Selects Two Winners for James B. Recchie Award

 

Columbus Underground: Scioto Mile and Downtown Bridges Win 2012 Urban Design Award

 

recchie-02.jpg

 

recchie-09.jpg

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That Rich Street bridge is pretty nice with the lights I must say. Walker took CDM and I over it at night and I was all "ooooh". Almost makes up for us not getting the Snake Bridge!

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I know!  It was like doing acid...not that we know anything about that...yeah...


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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It's too bad there are no dedicated bike lanes on the Rich St bridge. Portland has a pedestrian-bike bridge connecting two neighborhoods.

 

opening.jpg

 

http://www.gibbsbridge.org/

 

Another view.

 

GibbsBridge.jpg

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-09-10/bike-lanes-revolution/57733256/1

 

What Columbus needs, Franklinton in particular, is at least one pedestrian and cyclist only bridge. Main offers a watered-down version and doesn't connect to destinations as well as the Rich St Bridge could have. Cyclists wanting a dedicated bridge to go to Dinin' Hall, Rehab Tavern, and more in the future have to go out of their way down to Main before crossing over if they're not comfortable in heavy traffic: no bike lanes on the new bridge. What should be a top priority is a ped and bike only bridge connecting the Arena District from around Neil Ave to Vet's Memorial. No harm in making it a fancier bridge like the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge in San Diego, which is probably that way because it connects directly to downtown whereas the one in Portland doesn't. The only thing I might change would be to highlight separated bike and ped paths on the bridge. I love the modern look of the one in San Diego.

 

hdpb-at-night.jpg?w=500&h=375

George M. Fattell

 

These bridges really are more useful by encouraging higher numbers of pedestrians and cyclists to visit destinations near either end and are a unique and enjoyable urban experience in their own right, which can't be said for Rich St Bridge with its loud motoring traffic that's prioritized and of course as ODOT said, “This project is a perfect example of ODOT’s values and goals". I'd say in the absence of a ped and bike only bridge connecting Downtown and Franklinton it also serves as an example of the City of Columbus' values and goals.

 

Here's a CU thread

Stop Rich Street Bridge where some forumers discussed a pedestrian-bike only bridge between Downtown and Franklinton back in 2010 is still overdue.

 

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Keith, the pedestrian bridge from the 2010 plan is still in the works, but the last I heard, it wouldn't happen for a few years anyway until after the Scioto River project is complete. 

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I saw the initial designs for them - they are done - and they were pretty cool. from  the area right under the railroad bridge to the vets memorial. most were s-shaped. pretty cool

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I saw the initial designs for them - they are done - and they were pretty cool. from  the area right under the railroad bridge to the vets memorial. most were s-shaped. pretty cool

 

Oh really?  Any link to the designs?  I wasn't aware they had gotten that far with it. 

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Not sure why they're waiting until the Scioto riverfront is complete  before starting since it didn't stop either of the other new bridges from going up which are available for use today and not requiring a wait of years more. I was wondering if it was going to have to go under the railroad bridge due to the angle and best access point near Vet's. I'm glad it sounds like it's going to look fun with the shape they'll need to get under the bridge: much better to have a curvy bridge than a straight plain one, even if it's not decked out. Now cough up those renderings! I know you took pictures.

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I wish - they were on a CD that someone else in a bigger position than me briefly shared. :( This was about a year ago tho, so I don't know why they didn't come out with them. It was really soon after the plan and I was pretty surprised by how quickly they moved on it.

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As previously posted in this thread here last year, the Scioto River Greenway Project will be getting underway later this year.  The Scioto River Greenway Project involves the removal of the Main Street Dam which lies south the new Main Street and Rich Street bridges.  This would narrow the river by half its existing width and create room for new parkland along its banks.  Below is the plan and a rendering showing this:

6899059498_9ce08e91ea_b_d.jpg

river-greenway-rendering-2012.jpg

 

One riverside tourist attraction that will be affected by this project is the replica of the Santa Maria.  The Dispatch is reporting that the Santa Maria will be towed in the middle of the Scioto River, where it will wait for two years as the riverbank work proceeds.  The Santa Maria will close on October 19 and repopen in Spring 2016.  After the riverbank work is finished, the Santa Maria will be relocated near its existing location.  More about this from the Dispatch at the link below:

 

Santa Maria to close for two years during Scioto shoreline project

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A recent Columbus Underground profile of local design firm MKSK had a rendering of a relocated Santa Maria at a reworked Scioto riverbank in downtown.  MKSK has been involved with the planning for the Scioto Greenways Project.  It is likely a conceptual rendering, but it does give us some idea of where they are heading with the project.  Full profile and interview with MKSK at http://www.columbusunderground.com/design-digest-mksk-bw1 

 

mksk-scioto-river.jpg

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The previous two posts showed the plans for the Scioto River Greenway Project that will take place at where the Scioto River runs thru Downtown Columbus.  The core of the Scioto River Greenway Project involves the removal of the Main Street Dam which lies south the new Main Street and Rich Street bridges.  Removal of this lowhead dam would narrow the river by half its existing width and create room for 33 arces of new parkland along its banks.

 

Construction work has begun this week on this two-year long project.  Prior to the removal of the lowhead dam, prep work is starting at the Battelle Riverfront Park next to the Santa Maria.  The Santa Maria replica ship will be towed into the middle of the river for the duration of the project.  The existing Battelle Park - along with the rest of the existing riverbanks within the project area - will be rebuilt as new park space with bike paths, trees and natural vegetation after removal of the lowhead dam.

 

Columbus Underground has posted a brief video, along with many photos, of the work taking place at Battelle Park at http://www.columbusunderground.com/downtown-riverfront-park-construction-begins.

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The Dispatch had a brief article and photo of demolition work beginning yesterday on the Main Street lowhead dam in the Scioto River.  This is at the opposite end in the downtown area to the demo work being done at Battelle Park (posted above).  Below is a link to the article, a photo of the demo work at the dam, and an older aerial photo of the dam:

 

Dispatch: Main Street dam’s days are numbered

 

main-street-dam-pkg-1126-art-g95pqa7i-1main-street-dam-ac-01-jpg.jpg

 

main-st--dam-art0-g1mnrji1-1bridge-03-jpg.jpg

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Scioto Dredging Reveals Junk, Rare Mussels

By Sam Hendren, 89.7 NPR News Reporter

December 24, 2013 - 2:42AM

 

Dredging of the Scioto River started in downtown Columbus last week.  It’s part of the Scioto Greenways project that began with demolition of the Main Street dam.

 

Workers have found a lot of man-made debris as the river level falls; and they’re saving some valuable aquatic species.  Uncovering all kinds of junk in the Scioto was not completely unexpected.  The same sorts of debris were found upstream when the 5th Avenue dam was demolished.

(. . .)

The Scioto Greenways project won’t be complete until the fall of 2015.  As the river narrows more than 30 acres of park land will emerge downtown.

 

MORE: http://wosu.org/2012/news/2013/12/24/scioto-dredging-reveals-junk-rare-mussels/

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10TV had a very decent video report recently about the Scioto Greenways project (aka narrowing the Scioto River in downtown).  The video report - along with the rest of the report - is at the article link below:

 

Supporters Say Downtown Riverfront Work Will Soon Pay Off

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 9:26 AM

WBNS 10TV

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two years from now, the downtown Columbus riverfront will look a lot different than it does today.  The Scioto River will become narrower as it winds through the city.  And there will be a lot more green space - on both sides of the river.

 

Supporters say the temporary eyesore - is worth the payoff in the end.  Take a walk by the riverfront now and you'll notice a mountain of mud and machinery - uprooted trees and blocked trails.  It's all part of the Scioto Greenways project.

 

MORE: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2014/01/15/columbus-downtown-development-greenway.html

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May 1st update on the Scioto River since the Main Street Dam was removed last year.  Since the dam removal, the water level in the downtown area has dropped about 7 feet.  Now, construction crews are starting to reshape these downtown riverbanks as part of the two-year Scioto Greenways project that will reshape the river into a more natural course and add about 33 acres of parkland along its edge by the 2016.

 

Below is an aerial photo that shows some of that parkland being added at the east bank of the Scioto River in downtown.  The Dispatch has more about this at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/05/01/river-remake-taking-shape.html

 

scioto-greenway-update-art-gtms84ue-1greenway-update-jpg.jpg

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As previously posted HERE last year, the Scioto River Greenway Project will be getting underway later this year.  The Scioto River Greenway Project involves the removal of the Main Street Dam which lies south the new Main Street and Rich Street bridges.  This would narrow the river by half its existing width and create room for new parkland along its banks.  Below is the plan and a rendering showing this:

6899059498_9ce08e91ea_b_d.jpg

river-greenway-rendering-2012.jpg

 

One riverside tourist attraction that will be affected by this project is the replica of the Santa Maria.  The Dispatch is reporting that the Santa Maria will be towed in the middle of the Scioto River, where it will wait for two years as the riverbank work proceeds.  The Santa Maria will close on October 19 and repopen in Spring 2016.  After the riverbank work is finished, the Santa Maria will be relocated near its existing location.  More about this from the Dispatch at the link below:

 

Santa Maria to close for two years during Scioto shoreline project

 

It looks like the City has had second thoughts about moving the Santa Maria into the middle of the river while they do all the heavy construction work around it.  Instead, the Santa Maria will be removed entirely from the river, warehoused and restored while all the riverfront parkland creation/river narrowing is happening.  (see the story in the next post)

 

Probably a good idea for both the Santa Maria and the downtown riverfront project.  It gives both some breathing room to do what each needs to do.  Also, when it returns in 2016, the Santa Maria might be at a different site.  It is now being reported (in the story below) officials are considering putting it closer to COSI, or possibly farther south - but there is no consensus at the moment where the restored Santa Maria would exactly be located within the new downtown riverfront.

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Santa Maria to be moved, repaired amid riverfront work

By Lucas Sullivan, The Columbus Dispatch

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 4:03 AM

 

Columbus City Council members unanimously approved $500,000 yesterday to remove the Santa Maria, a replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, so the city can continue renovations on the waterway.  The ship, moored at Battelle Riverfront Park, is getting in the way of the ongoing $35.5 million Scioto Greenways project. ... “It’s a challenge to move (the boat) around, and some areas of the river are being deepened (and dredged) to improve the quality of the river,” said Alan McKnight, director of the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks. “During this time, we thought it would be good to get it out of the water and do some renovations on the ship.”

 

When the ship first came to the location in 1991, it was funded through donations and private dollars and was not intended to be publicly owned.  Over time, however, it was gifted to the city, which is using non-tax dollars to pay for the ship’s removal.  The bottom of the ship is made of fiberglass and does not need to be repaired, but the wooden deck and other parts have decayed over the years.  The Santa Maria will be moved in the next several weeks.  The original builder of the ship, based in Albany, N.Y., will be hired to help with the renovations.

 

The ship, which is run by the nonprofit Santa Maria Inc., likely will return to the river in late 2016, although it might go back into the water at a different site.  McKnight said officials are considering putting it closer to COSI, or maybe farther south.  But he said there is no consensus at the moment where it will go.  About 17,000 visitors board the ship annually, according to Linda Ketcham, the nonprofit group’s executive director.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/06/16/Santa-Maria-replica-moving-repair-river-project.html

 

Photo of the Santa Maria replica when it was christened on Oct. 11, 1991

santa-maria-01.jpg

 

Aerial view of the same location as the Scioto Greenways project occurs around the Santa Maria.  Renovation work is also taking place at the neighboring street-level Battelle Park along with the riverfront parkland creation/river narrowing along the Scioto River.  A portion of the Federal Courthouse Building is visible in this aerial view - the same building in the background of the 1991 photo.

santa-maria-today.jpg

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I took these shots last weekend. I noticed how much lower the water is than it was in May. I also noticed how the Santa Maria was sitting in its own private puddle.

 

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^ Great update on this project, CyclingExplorer.  You really get a good sense of the scope of the work with those camera pans.

 

One part of the construction that seems unexpected is the installation of metal pilings at the new river's edge.  This is in the middle section of project on the downtown side.  Your camera pan from Broad Street Bridge looking north at 0:43-0:50 catches this from a distance.  Your next camera pan from Civic Center Drive looking westward at 0:56-1:16 gives a closer view of these metal pilings being installed.

 

What makes it unexpected is that most of the new riverbanks were going to be "natural edges".  But if you look closely at the Scioto Greenways overhead plan (last posted here on 7/19/14), you can see a walkway at the river's edge in the area where the metal pilings are being installed.  One would guess that the metal pilings are to stabilize this area for this future walkway.  I haven't seen any renderings or plans for this area, but it seems like a good idea to have a "less natural/more civic plaza edge" at this one area.

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I thought this was an interesting FYI look into the maintenance of the future new natural riverbanks along the Scioto - from a recent article about an identical river restoration project on the Olentangy:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/03/anti-geese-efforts-ongoing-for-restored-banks.html.

 

The City and Ohio State partnered on a project that involved the removal of the 5th Avenue lowhead dam in 2012.  The dam's removal narrowed the Olentangy River for 1.5 miles between W. 5th and Lane avenues.  In 2013, the new river banks were reshaped and then in 2014 replanted with native grasses and wildflowers.  More about the Olentangy River restoration project in the Random Projects thread in 2012 HERE and HERE; and also in 2013 HERE.

 

This above linked Dispatch article looks at the efforts to see that those native plantings take root this year.  Surprisingly, the biggest efforts involve keeping Canada geese from the new plantings.  According to the article, the geese love to eat the newly sprouted grasses that the City and OSU are trying to grow along the river.  Since March, the city hired a wildlife biologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to work with OSU to scare the geese away from the project to restore the riverbank’s natural habitat.

 

It seems to have worked.  Through mid-June, fireworks called Bird Bangers and Whistler Screamers were used to frighten the geese away.  Then, temporary fences blocked the geese from coming back during their summer molt, when they couldn’t fly.  The geese will eventually be allowed to nest on the banks, but not until plantings get established to reasonable levels, where the geese grazing doesn’t impact the plants sustainability.

 

According to the article, the city allocated $150,000 in 2014 for the efforts along the Olentangy, with just under $30,000 spent through June.  The article also notes that this revitalization effort near OSU is about a year ahead of the city’s Scioto Greenways project, which will create 33 acres of parkland between COSI Columbus and Downtown along the banks of a narrowed Scioto River.  Next year, the city will need to do the same thing along the banks of the Scioto until its new plantings get established. 

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More about the Santa Maria being moved to allow work on the Scioto Greenways project.  But unlike the June report from the Dispatch (posted previously), there is much more doubt if the Santa Maria will return to the revamped downtown riverfront in this report:

 

Santa Maria coming out of Scioto, but will it return?

By Lucas Sullivan, The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 10:32 AM

 

The Santa Maria replica anchored Downtown appears to be sunk unless a $1 million lifeboat floats up the Scioto River.  Crews started dismantling the ship yesterday, and the remaining shell is to be taken out of the water on Friday.  But whether it ever floats on the Scioto again likely will depend on whether backers can raise the money for repairs.

 

Board members of the nonprofit group that oversees the ship have been discussing the grim reality after it was determined that the replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship needs about $1 million in repairs. “We don’t know what is going to happen,” said Linda Ketcham, the executive director of Columbus Santa Maria Inc., which operates the ship. “I can’t discuss with the press what is going on behind closed doors.”

 

The ship is moored at Battelle Riverfront Park and is in the way of the $35.5 million Scioto Greenways Project.  The Columbus City Council allocated $500,000 a few months ago to remove the ship from the water so that renovations of the riverbank can continue.

 

That money will pay for plucking the ship out of the water, dismantling it into several pieces and storing it at one of the city’s impounding lots.  City officials said public dollars will help remove the ship, but they will not be used for renovations.  Santa Maria Inc. has been told to come up with the money.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/13/Santa_Maria_coming_out_of_Sciotx_but_will_it_returnx.html

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Get rid of it.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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One part of the construction that seems unexpected is the installation of metal pilings at the new river's edge.

 

A shot of that area

 

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:clap:


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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^ I wondered that too.

 

The people behind the downtown river project did say that the new water level would rise and fall like a "normal" river.  Early spring is usually the high water mark for most rivers around here.  With late summer to fall being the low water mark.  But we've had a steady amount of rain this summer.  So I wouldn't see this water level as the lowest it could go.  Less rainfall between now and fall could lower this water level further.  (Unless there is something in the construction process that is artifically lowering the level.  But I don't think that's the case.)

 

Which sets up an interesting situation.  As Eridony's August 19th photo of the Rich Street Bridge shows, this lower water level is exposing the foundations of this bridge.  (The lower water level doesn't appear to impact of the foundations of the Broad Street or the Main Street bridges.)  It looks like this project will need to include some kind of skirting going from the stone cap of the foundation to below the new water level.  Not only for aesthetics, but to prevent debris from collecting there.

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We actually haven't gotten that much rain in places this summer, at least in the past two months. The rain has come in spotty downpours. Any time it's spotty like that water levels in major tributaries will drop because they're not getting water from all over.

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