Columbia backwaters flood Salmon Creek Greenway

By Edward Stratton, Columbian staff writer

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— Up to 1.5 miles of the Salmon Creek Trail was under six inches of water on Monday.

The flooding is at the western end of the popular 3.1-mile pedestrian, cyclist and equine path.

Tides on the swollen Columbia River have been flooding parts of the Salmon Creek Greenway since last week.

Mark Kibby of Battle Ground noticed last Wednesday that his jogging trail turned into a moat. He’s been running there for four years.

“It never got this high last winter,” he said. “There were places to sneak through on the trail -- it’s never been impassable.”

Runoff streaming into the Columbia is at its highest level since 1997 because of abnormally high rain and snowfall. Much of the greenway is a floodplain, so it’s only natural it would be affected.

“Those waters down there will fluctuate with the Columbia River levels,” said Ron Wierenga of the county’s Clean Water Program. “When the Columbia backs up, everything backs up.”

Wierenga said that water flow on Salmon Creek last week was 60 percent higher than at the same time last year.