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Montana Ag Network: Sun River Valley flooding continues to impact farms and landowners

Posted at 10:41 AM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 12:44:09-04

Rich in both history and farmland, the Sun River Valley remains a vital part of the central Montana landscape, but year after year this area has found itself under water.

Lee Janetski, a landowner in the Sun River Valley, knows what it’s like to fight the water year after year.

“It gets very discouraging to try and fight this water all the time,” said Janetski.

Whether it be the communities along its banks or the farmers and landowners in its path, the frustration is evident.

“From the standpoint of a landowner, we don’t have control over the water,” Said Janetski. “The government owns the water, but the government doesn’t take responsibility.”

And when the flood waters hit along with it goes the topsoil, but it’s not just the missing soil that becomes an issue.

What many in this area refer to as the Sun River Flower is swept downstream, depositing its seeds wherever the water may take it.

“I guess are we good stewards of the land or are we just going to let it take us over,” said Janetski.

“As long as there’s farm ground around this, as long as there’s homes along this river, we have to control it to some point so the erosion doesn’t just take over and do whatever it wants to do.”

Janetski also said one of the best ways to prevent riverbank erosion is by installing rip rap which creates a sturdy bank — made up of granite and limestone rocks.

By installing rip rap, the back is much more likely to withstand continues flooding.

By Jason Laird – Montana Ag Network