Flat Creek is one of our most recognizable local water-bodies, thanks to the circuitous path it wends through downtown Jackson. Flat Creek provides ample opportunities for recreation, as well as wildlife and fish habitat, and scenic vistas that make Jackson such a beautiful and unique town. However, that prime downtown location comes with some drawbacks. When Flat Creek gets blocked, by trees, rocks or ice, it can cause real problems for those living and working along its banks.
Ice-related flooding has long been a problem along Flat Creek. To address this issues, the Flat Creek Water Improvement District (FCWID) was formed to "explore and implement ways to prevent damage to private property due to winter flooding of Flat Creek," through respecting and balancing the interests of water rights holders, property owners within the district, and residents, while also working to improve and enhance water quality and habitat health. As part of this mission, FCWID contracted with Alder Environmental to monitor water and ice conditions in the Creek flowing through Jackson. A preliminary analysis of ice-related flooding was released in October of 2016, and it is available here.
On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, TCD Water Specialist went out to join Professor Ed Kempema (University of Wyoming) and Kevin Poole (Alder Environmental), to monitor current ice conditions in Flat Creek. The purpose of the visit was to monitor anchor-ice formation, the presence of ice dams, and border ice growth. Anchor-ice refers to the ice that forms below the surface of the water which can cause the water level to rise within the banks of the body of water. Ice border growth refers to the amount of surface ice that has formed from the banks growing out towards the middle of the Creek. When anchor ice or border ice breaks off and flows down stream, it can get caught up and form an ice dam, which chokes the flow of water and can cause flooding. By monitoring the different varieties of ice formations present in Flat Creek, the goal is to develop a strategy to address common flood concerns to reduce the impact of flooding in the Flat Creek watershed.