“Everglades” of the Dakotas

As prestigious a comparison it is
to be called the “Everglades of the Dakotas,”

Red River country would be better served
to share our wading birds …

And not south Florida’s wide-spanning waters.


Of course our swamps and glades crest in fall …

Up north on the continent it’s the snow-melt freshets of spring
that cause the Red to rise up and over –

And then out …

Into the floodplain.

Meteorologist Daryl Ritchison likens the lay of the land
to a sheet of plyboard elevated on one end by the height of a dime.

Or in other words,
Wide open, flat, and slow flowing:

A lot like down here in the Everglades.


The Red River is on a major flood watch
for a second spring in a row.

Last year was a whopper – 2.5 million acre feet,

Or in south Florida terms:

About half a Lake Okeechobee volume.

(In the thirty years prior to last year, the Red River averaged a flow volume of 855,000 acre feet, as measured at Fargo, N.D.)

All eyes are on the Red (and it levees)
as its current tips the scales back above
10,000 cubic feet per second.

But what really caught my eye
was last year’s anamolous “high water” fall …

Very Everglades-esque.


And airboats, by the way, are a common sight
On the floodplain when it goes under …
mostly for search and rescue.

Practically the only difference
between the Dakota Red and the Florida Everglades
is a minor disparity in winter temperatures!

(Although I did spot ice in south Florida this winter.)

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