Hurricanes Florence and Michael raised havoc. These two major events were followed in November by yet another tropical storm. Unprecedented flooding caused massive destruction and loss of lives. We were braced at Jordan Lake for a huge trash cleanup of the shoreline that always accompanies flooding. But our volunteers were stymied because it was either impossible or dangerous to access the shoreline for almost the entire Fall due to extremely high water levels.
The cumulative precipitation graph for a measuring station near the lake shows 55 inches rain fell in 2018 whereas the average is about 42 inches. Even more rain fell in other parts of the watershed. For instance, Greensboro had 64 inches.
The result of rain over the 1,700 square miles of watershed was surprisingly not a record breaking rise in lake level. That said, the graph shows the lake reached 16 ft above normal! What appears unprecedented is the sustained period of high level due to three major storms from September to December, with only a brief respite in late October/early November.
The bar graph shows that due to stormy weather, the number of cleanup events declined from 70 in 2017 to 55 in 2018 as did the number of volunteers, bags of trash removed and tires removed. High lake level forced us to cancel our Annual Fall Trash Cleanup and a couple of corporate community service days. Most of the groups in our Adopt-A-Shoreline (AASP) and Adopt-A-Feeder Stream (AAFSP) Programs were asked to suspend their plans for cleanups throughout the Fall.
Despite postponements, there were still 55 trash cleanups in the AASP and AAFSP in 2018. As the bar graph below shows, these represent a large contribution to our overall volunteer efforts. There are now 21 groups in the AASP and 3 in the AAFSP assigned mainly to shoreline sections heavily used for recreation. Their multiple cleanups each year are not only keeping these access points clean but hopefully sending a message to users about the importance of stewardship!