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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Ventura in Ventura County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force

 
 
The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 3, 2019
1. The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force Marker
Inscription.  The low-lying Scorpion Valley has always been subject to flooding, but overgrazing by sheep increased the intensity.

One night in December 1997, over a foot of rain fell on eastern Santa Cruz Island, sending a torrent of mud and water through the Scorpion Valley where you now stand. Imagine water up to your armpits, mud and silt up to your knees. The next morning, the valley was still under water. The flood had destroyed the campground and damaged trails, historic buildings, and artifacts—a blacksmith shop from the 1900s was even washed away.

Floods and storms have always been part of life at Scorpion — it is a river delta. The National Park Service can't do much about the weather, but it can reduce flooding in the Scorpion Valley. Decades of overgrazing devastated plant cover, leaving the soil vulnerable to erosion. By removing livestock and encouraging native plant growth, we are increasing the soil's ability to hold water and slow runoff.

(Sidebar:)

Flood waters unearth the past

The flood carried the white bunkhouse next to the visitor center 30 feet off its foundation, revealing

The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 3, 2019
2. The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force Marker - wide view
The marker is visible here on the side of the shed.
a piece of history previously known only on maps. Archeologists found the foundation of one of the east end's oldest ranch buildings—a 140-year-old residence with a cobblestone courtyard, adobe walls, and a cement floor, all buried under two feet of flood deposits. Maps going back to 1876 show a building on this site. Archeologists think a flood may have damaged or destroyed the original house.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 34° 2.938′ N, 119° 33.489′ W. Marker is near Ventura, California, in Ventura County. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ventura CA 93001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located at the Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island, which is part of Channel Islands National Park. To reach the ranch, take the boat from Ventura (approximately 1 hr.) to the Scorpion Ranch landing. The ranch and marker are approximately 100 yards up the trail from the landing. There is no entrance fee to the park itself, but the boat ride is not free.
 
Also see . . .  Santa Cruz Island Interpretive Guide (NPS, see esp. p. 14). (Submitted on March 6, 2019.)
 
Categories. AnthropologyDisasters
 
More. Search the internet for The Flood of 1997: A Destructive Force.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 6, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 6, 2019, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 6, 2019, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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