Two months after they saw historic flooding levels in their region, Big Creek residents are still grappling with some of the after effects.
The Chilcotin River below Big Creek and the tributaries of Big Creek all rose due to record rainfalls in the area over short periods of time. Roads were impassable for days and weeks and several ranches were flooded and land eroded.
Rancher Dina Russell said her family has not been able to hay as much as normal on their Anvil Mountain Ranch because of the water that never left their fields as a result of the flooding.
Iris Witte said she was out of her home most of the summer because of mud that came into her home from the flooding.
On Saturday, Sept. 7, the two women were busy with the annual Big Creek Roundup where the community and visitors enjoyed a horseshoe tournament, roasting a hot dog over the fire, a beef dinner and dance, a silent auction and a harvest fair-like competition.
Before they got ready to cook the corn, the two women talked to the Tribune about how the summer has been.
“We were at a wedding when friends contacted us about the flooding and told us we should get home, but we couldn’t because of the roads anyway,” Witte said.
When asked if she is eligible for any insurance coverage, Witte said there is none for flooding.
Russell said the rain made the high ground and low ground grow very well, but they cannot access the low ground because the water is still there.
“It just won’t go away and it’s kind of weird because the water table has dropped, even in Big Creek it’s dropped so you can actually cross it with a four-wheeler but a lot of these fields that are away from the creek had some kind of contributary to Big Creek. Every little divot in the ground has got water laying there which makes it really hard to hay.”
Water on hay makes it mold, she added, noting they’ve done some haying but are about half way to where they should be at this time of year.
“We should be basically done and going into dealing with our cows, but now we are going to have to overlap, which puts a lot of pressure on us. We cannot afford to buy a whole lot of help — it’s just us and our son goes to school in town so we will won’t have his help” Russell said. “He will be a weekend rider.”
Dealing with cows means figuring out where they are at, so that when the time comes they can bring them home as they’ve been out on the range.
Russell described the roads as “patched.”
“They really need to get up here and do them before the winter. I had my first experience with a floating culvert this year. It was put in above in case there were any fish in the creek, but we told them they are called Mud Creek and Dry Creek for a reason because they dry up and there are no fish in there,” she said.
Anyone wanting to apply for Disaster Financial Assistance because of the flooding will need to do so by the Oct. 15, 2019 deadline. A spokesperson for Emergency Management BC said they have received 15 applications for assistance from residents impacted by the flooding in July that are being processed.