Floods in northern pasture lands

"It's time consuming," Richard Sergent said, explaining how the flooding has disrupted all aspects of life on the ranch. The family's sheep look out of place here, feeding on hay in a sandy forest clearing with their flooded pastures in the background. The herd's protection is tasked to two sheepdogs who live with the herd.

By Ben Ingram

Rain has become an unwelcome guest on the Sergent ranch north of Meadow Lake as waters from the Meadow River have flooded much of the property, including the pastures.

“Our whole yard is all flooded except for the house,” Kathie Sergent said. “I’ve had to move my sheep to high ground as all the sheep pastures are flooded.”

The difficulties created by the floods are numerous for the Sergents, as large pools of water have consumed not only their pastures, but their stockyards and equipment sheds as well.

Hay bailing is not an option in the fields where as much as six feet of water have consumed areas normally afforded to sheep and cattle. The family has also had to relocate much of their heavy equipment to clearings in the nearby forest, so as to avoid damage from flooded areas.

“We moved the bulls, the bulls had to swim,” Richard Sergent said. “There was a good five to six feet of water in some of the draws, pretty well two feet over the whole meadow.”

Sergent guessed that recent rains had only flooded the area more as the river threatens to envelop much of the ranch.

For their flock of sheep, numbering the hundreds, it’s meant they’ve had to be relocated to the edge of the woodlands which outline the ranch.

“The dogs have been keeping a good track on that, but we’ve been watching really close,” he said. “Each time they go further out, there’s more chance of predators.”

While the heavy rains have created momentary chaos on the Sergent ranch, the outward effects of the rain could spell more trouble down the line.

A disused bridge over the Meadow River has been documented by the city as having a negative effect on Meadow Lake’s ability to drain flood waters. The bridge accumulates debris from the river, which city officials fear could make runoff more likely to the south.

According to several staff members, negotiations have commenced with the Borschowa family, owners of the area surrounding the bridge, around the possibility of executing a demolition of the structure.

Kathy Borschowa said that the city’s concerns are unfounded, in light of the flooding which has occurred on her and the Sergent’s properties.

“It’s getting through somehow. They’ve got lots of water too and all our meadows are flooded down from that bridge, so it’s not holding any water,” she said.

Borschowa said her husband Craig had asked if the scraps from the demolition would be cleaned up afterwards and was told they wouldn’t be.

For the Sergents, this is especially concerning.

“The river’s over the banks and all that debris ends up in our meadows,” Sergent said. “It’s hard on equipment, flat tires from the nails.”

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