6 Oct 2009, 9:02pm
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BLM Employees Too Cozy with Advocacy Groups, IG Report Says

by Noelle Straub of Greenwire, The New York Times, October 5, 2009 [here]

Bureau of Land Management employees appeared to be “less than objective” and created the potential for illegal behavior when coordinating with environmental groups over the National Landscape Conservation System, the Interior inspector general has found.

The Interior IG investigated the interaction between federal employees and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) after receiving a complaint that NLCS directors were potentially engaged in inappropriate relationships with advocacy groups and possibly violated anti-lobbying statutes and policies. The report [here] focuses largely on interactions with the National Wildlife Federation.

“Our investigative efforts revealed that communication between NLCS and certain NGOs in these circumstances gave the appearance of federal employees being less than objective and created the potential for conflicts of interest or violations of law,” the IG report states. “We also uncovered a general disregard for establishing and maintaining boundaries among the various entities.”

The investigation found that numerous activities and communications took place between NLCS officials and advocacy groups, including discussions about the NLCS budget and the editing of brochures and production of fact sheets by BLM employees for the National Wildlife Federation.

The IG turned over the findings to the chief of public corruption at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who said that the law covering “lobbying with appropriated monies” has no criminal sanctions associated with it and thus declined to prosecute in lieu of administrative action.

BLM has 90 days to provide a written response outlining what actions it takes as a result of the IG findings. … [more]

7 Sep 2009, 7:53pm
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‘Green Jobs Czar’ Van Jones resigns

WND’s 5-month series of exposés leads to White House’s 1st casualty

WorldNetDaily, September 06, 2009 [here]

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones quit late last night after pressure mounted over his extremist history first exposed in WND.

The last straw for Jones was being caught on tape in an expletive-packed rant, directly attacking Republicans in the Senate who he said abused their majority position in the past to push legislation through. He admitted after the statements were released that the comments were “inappropriate” and “offensive.”

“They do not reflect the experience I have had since joining the administration,” Jones said in the statement.

Jones was also linked late last week to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.

When the White House press corps grilled White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about Jones on Friday, a reporter asked how the administration could reject “conspiracy theories” about his birth certificate while employing someone who previously charged the U.S. government with masterminding Sept. 11. … [more]

Note: Hiring a self-avowed communist and anti-American revolutionary, with no background or qualifications in environmental science, as “Green Jobs Czar” says something about the Obama Administration’s commitment to true environmental stewardship.

24 Aug 2009, 10:25pm
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City leaders urge thinning of watershed despite lawsuit threats

By Vickie Aldous, Ashland Daily Tidings, August 22, 2009 [here]

An Ashland City Council majority has agreed to send a letter to National Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy asking for timely approval of a U.S. Forest Service plan to thin wildfire fuels in the Ashland Watershed.

The city of Ashland, its Forest Lands Commission and other groups, including The Nature Conservancy, have been cooperating with the Forest Service to develop the thinning plan and a monitoring system.

Note: the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project Final Environmental Impact Assessment - September 2008 is [here].

Ashland Fire & Rescue Forest Resource Specialist Chris Chambers told councilors earlier this week that $225,000 in Forest Service funding was lost because the federal agency has yet to make a decision about the thinning project.

“That money was passed on to other areas. Other money in the queue could be lost as well,” he said.

The project could involve thinning of brush and trees on 7,600 acres of Forest Service land in the watershed over a 10-year period.

Mayor John Stromberg said complex legal issues about what activities can be allowed in inventoried roadless areas are holding up a decision on the project.

Part of the watershed contains roadless area land.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse was joined by councilors Russ Silbiger, Kate Jackson and David Chapman in voting to send the letter asking for approval of the project.

“This is a tinderbox here,” Lemhouse said, referring to conditions in the watershed.

Councilors Eric Navickas and Carol Voisin voted against sending the letter.

The mayor votes only to break a tie.

Navickas said he was concerned that the project was developed under the Bush Administration-era Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

The act allowed the Forest Service to make one project proposal and consider a community alternative. In the past, the Forest Service had to analyze several options.

The proposed option for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan includes elements of an alternative plan developed by local residents with expertise in forest, fire and environmental fields.

Navickas said he would like the Forest Service to approve a scaled-down Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan that would allow work to proceed quickly by removing controversial elements like logging of large trees. He has long been a proponent of thinning only brush and small diameter trees in the watershed.

“They can avoid litigation and get work done quickly on the ground,” Navickas said.

Note: When Eric Navickas threatens lawsuits, he means it. He has sued the USFS before [here]. He is a self-described “environmental activist” with a history of disrupting public meetings [here]. He also has a history of violent protest representing a group called Ashland Creek First! [here]. He opposes forest restoration for fire resiliency and has supported homeless camps in the Ashland watershed despite the obvious fire risk and hazard [here]. The list of his radical pro-holocaust anti-forest activities goes on and on. Eric Navickas is a real piece of work.

13 Aug 2009, 9:35pm
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Ancient Weapons Point to First Use of Fire for Tools?

Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News, August 13, 2009 [here]

With the tell-tale sheen of heat-treated rock, a 72,000-year-old cache of stone weapons found in Africa suggests humans began using fire to create tools nearly 50,000 years earlier than previously thought, a new study says.

Scientists had thought people began manipulating fire to create tools in Europe about 25,000 years ago. But the new finds suggest that people in what is now South Africa discovered that heating a stone called silcrete would make it easier to flake, allowing them to shape more advanced blades, knives, and other tools.

These early engineers likely used some of these tools, mounted on handles, to hunt and butcher wide range of prey, from the aggressive Cape buffalo to the tiny mole rat, according to the authors of the study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

Birth of Modern Humanity?

This sophisticated control over fire reflects advanced smarts, and marks the turning point when we became “uniquely human,” said study leader Kyle Brown, an archaeologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

“These people were extremely intelligent,” Brown said. “These are not the image of the classic cavemen, of brutish people that are stumbling around the landscape and, in spite of themselves, surviving.

“These are the people that [may have] even colonized the rest of the world,” he said.

As part of the study, the researchers replicated the processes the early Africans likely would have used to make the stone tools. Heated over a fire pit, the silcrete flaked and took on a glossy red color.

Such craftsmanship required thinking ahead, a sign of high intelligence, Brown said. People had to collect firewood, build the fire, work the stone, and then afix the handle to the stone using natural adhesives.

“Because [this is] such a sophisticated technology, this is something that would involve language to pass it on to the next generation,” he added. … [more]

11 Aug 2009, 7:38pm
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Dedication of Krassel Memorial To Take Place This Saturday

News Release, Payette National Forest, August 11, 2009 [here]

The dedication ceremony for a memorial honoring those killed during a helicopter crash in 2006 will take place this Saturday, August 15, 2009. The memorial will honor pilot Quinn Stone and passengers Monica Zajanc, Michael Lewis and Lillian Patten all of whom were killed in the crash on the Payette National Forest near the town of Yellow Pine on August 13, 2006.

The dedication ceremony will begin at 3:00 PM. Those planning to attend should park at the East Fork South Fork Bridge construction area near the intersection of South Fork Salmon River Road and East Fork South Fork Road no later than 2:30 PM. The ceremony should last about 45 minutes. Attendees are invited to the Krassel Helibase at the Krassel Work Center at noon for a barbeque lunch prior to the ceremony.

The East Fork South Fork Bridge area will be signed to direct visitors to the river bank where rubber rafts will be stationed to ferry visitors across the river. The memorial site is a quarter mile hike from the drop off point. Attendees should wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for warm weather. The dedication ceremony will take place rain or shine. Signs will be posted throughout the area directing people to the memorial dedication site.

The memorial overlooks the crash site. A plaque embedded in a rock pedestal and a bench will commemorate the accident and trees have been planted around the site to aid the restoration of the area, which burned during the fires of 2007.

Donations to the memorial may be sent to: Wildland Firefighters Foundation, Krassel Memorial Fund, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705. Checks should be made out to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation with “Krassel Memorial Funds” written in the memo line.

Attendees may drive up the South Fork Salmon River Road via Warm Lake Highway and park at the bridge construction site. Rafts will ferry attendees across the river to the other side. The EFSF Bridge is in the process of being replaced.

Note: see also In Memorium: Lillie May Patten, Monica Lee Zajanc, Michael Gene Lewis, and Quin Stone [here]

18 Jun 2009, 6:14pm
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Coincidentally, I just did a partial count of world human population and came up with “2″

Razor wit from the estimable Tom Nelson, [here]

The Associated Press: Partial walrus estimate alarms conservation group [here]

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A partial federal assessment of Pacific walruses estimates their minimum population at just 15,164 but says the count likely missed a number of animals.

The estimate released Thursday only represents animals counted in about half of walrus habitats in the Bering and Chukchi seas and does not account for animals that were in water rather than on ice. …

Wildlife biologist Doug Burn said agency officials had hoped to have a firm walrus population count by now but experienced problems with the thermal imaging methodology.

A method that counts walruses using body heat was tested near St. Lawrence Island during a relatively warm winter but did not prove reliable during a colder winter in 2006, Burn said.

“We realized we were missing a lot of walrus groups,” he said. … [more]

14 Jun 2009, 10:11pm
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NREPA: Land off-limits to people

by Vern Westgate, May 14, 2009

Here’s the basic issue. The (misnamed) Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) is a huge Northwest American land grab. It is being pushed through Congress right now as HR 980. This bill proposes that 24 million MORE acres of land (about 38,000 square miles) in five northwestern states be given over to the Wildland’s Project. The intent is to drastically reduce human presence on the land.

The land’s resources currently provide jobs and recreation. This land grab also includes private property. For example: HR 980 lists Skitwish Ridge as an “inventoried roadless area in the Panhandle National Forest.” That’s about 12 miles from Coeur d’Alene. The claim is this is roadless. It’s not roadless, in fact there’s a home for sale there. If you Google map Skitwish Ridge and select Satellite view, you’ll see miles of roads including Interstate 90! We use those roads for recreation and jobs.

Who leads this ripoff? Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York who represents Manhattan. She’s been at this since 1993 and introduced this bill again. The representation on the committee is 21 Democrats, 14 Republicans. Of the five states targeted only three are represented on the committee and nobody from Idaho.

Here’s the size of the land grab: Oregon, 1,087,00 acres; Washington, 754,800 acres, Wyoming, 3,266,000 acres; Idaho, 9,800,000 acres; Montana, 8,256,000 acres.

HR 980 includes these details:

* The plan forbids development of public land in the five states by removing over 6,000 miles of existing roads, (from a roadless area?)

* The plan supposedly creates about 2,300 jobs for a “sustainable economic” base. That means government related and controlled jobs.

* In Idaho alone it threatens 20,000 existing jobs in logging and more in recreation, hunting, mining, ranching, etc. These are real jobs that have been genuinely sustained since 1900.

Why should you care? Under UN Agenda 21, use of natural resources is to be reduced dramatically, and all private property ownership is to be completely eliminated for the good of “Mother Earth.” How is this going to be accomplished? Legislation like HR 980 will end state and US sovereignty through various international and regional trade and cooperation treaties.

A few pandemics and economic crises will be “fixed” by a reduced population living in tightly controlled, highly concentrated population centers with large areas of our country/state off-limits to humans.

The bill is in front of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands subcommittee right now. If you want to know more and find out who to contact, take the time to learn of the full impact and text of this bill. Here are web sites:

http://www.savethewest.net/nrepasummary.htm

www.freedomadvocates.org

14 Jun 2009, 9:49pm
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Utah wilderness becoming a hot spot for marijuana plantations

By Sam Penrod, KSL NewsRadio, May 11th, 2009 [here]

SALT LAKE CITY — Drug agents in Utah are gearing up for what may be another busy summer searching for huge marijuana plantations hidden away in Utah’s mountains.

The pot grows create numerous issues that go far beyond more drugs on the streets, including trash, chemicals and the potential for violence against those who may unknowingly discover the illegal operations.

Last summer was the busiest ever for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Utah. The agency investigated 11 pot-growing sites on public land in the state; more than 90,000 marijuana plants were seized. …

At the Sanpete County site, law enforcement found what they had seen in other grow sites over the summer: natural springs and hundreds of feet of irrigation piping, with sprinklers to water the plants. Garbage was everywhere, including containers of fertilizer and other chemicals, some used to spray the plants for bugs.

All the marijuana plantation busts were complex operations, requiring a summer of hard work that was all for nothing. “It’s pretty intensive. It is not something you throw in the ground and come back next fall and hope you have a good crop. That’s not the way it works,” said DEA Supervisory Special Agent Michael Root.

The drug cartels have encountered more trouble smuggling marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border since 9/11, so they’ve moved growing operations to the United States. …

Most of the suspects arrested were illegal immigrants hired to do the work. For those operations that are harvested and make it to the street, the payday is millions of dollars. … [more]

14 Jun 2009, 9:28pm
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News You Can Use From the Editors of RANGE magazine

New on the Web! RANGEFiRE

Press Release: May 12, 2009

Carson City, Nevada, May 12, 2009 — C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor of RANGE magazine, announced the debut of RANGEFiRE [here] a Web site created by the editors of RANGE for people who need timely news, information and insider-intelligence about all the issues threatening the livelihoods of those who husband the lands and critters of the western United States.

These American ranchers, farmers and loggers preserve “The Cowboy Spirit on America’s Outback,” and RANGEFiRE provides fast-burn news, links, and editorials for those who share that spirit.

RANGEFiRE will help smoke out the scoundrels, rascals, weasels, and rats who infest the nation’s political landscape.

But to work, RANGEFiRE needs as much input as it can get, so the site includes a blog for readers to share views and opinions.

To get the sparks flying, we’re offering a special subscription rate for RANGEFiRE bloggers — a year of award-winning RANGE magazine at 23% off, $15.50 for four quarterly issues! Call 1-800-RANGE-4-U (1-800-726-4348). We take VISA or MasterCard.

Light up the range!

Read and contribute to RANGEFiRE!

14 Jun 2009, 3:55pm
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Highway 58 closed by runaway windmill

By Gretchen Wenner, The Bakersfield Californian, May 3, 2009 [here]

A runaway windmill in Tehachapi closed Highway 58 — a major east-west freeway connecting California’s southern Central Valley to Las Vegas, Nevada and Arizona — for most of the day Sunday.

As of 9 PM, the highway remained closed between Tehachapi and Mojave. Officials had no estimate as to when it might reopen.

Wind turbines are subject to catastrophic failure when their brakes fail, allowing blades to spin uncontrollably. The resulting vibrations can cause them to explode, spewing propeller blades and debris hundreds of yards, as a YouTube video of an incident in Denmark last year shows.

Large turbines, like some in Tehachapi’s wind farm, can boast wingspans as wide as a jumbo jet.

The faulty unit was built in the 1980s and is much smaller than giant ones made today, said Meghan Dotter, spokeswoman for AES Corporation, a global power company with North American offices in Virginia, which owns the 90-kilowatt windmill.

The turbine’s brakes failed when winds exceeded 50 mph, Dotter said in an e-mail.

The California Highway Patrol shut Highway 58 “in an abundance of caution,” she wrote, “because the wind turbine was visible from the road.” … [more]

14 Jun 2009, 12:06pm
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Obama picks Babbitt aide to run BLM

By Patty Henetz, Salt Lake Tribune, 06/10/2009 [here]

Bob Abbey, who helped former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt complete a Utah wilderness inventory 10 years ago, is President Barack Obama’s nominee to head up the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the nomination Tuesday evening, calling Abbey a “consummate, professional natural-resource manager.”

Abbey has more than 32 years in state and federal public service, including eight years at the helm of the Nevada state BLM office until his retirement in 2005.

Early reactions indicated general approval of Abbey’s nomination from conservationists, off-roaders and oil and gas officials.

“I think he’d be a good director,” said Brian Hawthorne, public-lands policy director for the BlueRibbon Coalition, an OHV interest group. “He seemed to be well-liked by the [BLM] line officers and staff.”

Heidi McIntosh, an attorney and conservation director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said Abbey was known as “a good guy” and not ideological in any direction.

“He’s willing to listen. I think he’s a good choice,” McIntosh said.

If the Senate confirms Abbey, she said, he ought to restore a balance to managing public lands after the Bush administration’s eight years of focusing on oil and gas development. … [more]

2 Jun 2009, 11:38pm
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TNC Given $9 Million to Buy Land in NorCal

Nine million taxpayers dollars are to be handed over to The Nature Conservancy to buy land north of Lake Tahoe. TNC will keep the land.

Reclamation Announces Decision on Independence Lake Land Acquisition

Bureau of Reclamation News Release, June 2, 2009, [here]

The Bureau of Reclamation has signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) on the impacts of Reclamation’s action to provide Federal funding to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for acquisition of land around Independence Lake, located north of Truckee, California. In addition to acquisition dollars, funding will be provided for administrative management and to continue the existing fishery research and monitoring.

Public Law 110-161 directs Reclamation to provide $9 million in funding for acquisition of the land and protection of both the native fishery and the water quality of Independence Lake. TNC is exploring potential land management activities for future implementation, including forest management to minimize wildfire hazards, and public recreation management. Once the acquisition is completed, future management of the land will be decided and implemented by TNC as called for in the Public Law.

TNC also enjoyed over a billion dollars in income last year, including $100 million in government grants. They hold over $5.6 billion in assets, principally real property.

Hank Paulson, Sec of the Teasury who engineered the collapse of the US and world financial markets is a former President and CEO of TNC. Current President and CEO is Mark Tercek, formerly a managing director of Goldman Sachs, (as was Paulson).

21 May 2009, 11:57pm
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The Green Bubble

by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, The New Republic, May 20, 2009 [here]

Why environmentalism keeps imploding

Sometime after the release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, environmentalism crossed from political movement to cultural moment. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Seemingly every magazine in the country, including Sports Illustrated, released a special green issue. Paris dimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investments became hot, even for oil companies. Evangelical ministers preached the gospel of “creation care.” Even archconservative Newt Gingrich published a book demanding action on global warming.

Green had moved beyond politics. Gestures that were once mundane-bringing your own grocery bags to the store, shopping for secondhand clothes, taking the subway-were suddenly infused with grand significance. Actions like screwing in light bulbs, inflating tires, and weatherizing windows gained fresh urgency. A new generation of urban hipsters, led by Colin Beavan, a charismatic writer in Manhattan who had branded himself “No Impact Man,” proselytized the virtues of downscaling-dumpster-diving, thrift-store shopping, and trading in one’s beater car for a beater bike-while suburban matrons proudly clutched copies of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and came to see the purchase of each $4 heirloom tomato at the farmer’s market as an act of virtue.

For those caught up in the moment, the future seemed to promise both apocalypse and transcendence in roughly equal measure. The New York Times and San Francisco magazine ran long feature stories on the uptick of upper-middle- class professionals who worried to their therapists about polar bears or who dug through the trash cans of co-workers to recycle plastic bottles, as though suffering from a kind of eco-OCD. At the same time, folks like Pollan and Beavan provided a vision of green living that seemed to offer not just a smaller carbon footprint but a better life. Amid the fear was the hope that the ecological crisis would bring us together and make us happier.

And then, almost as quickly as it had inflated, the green bubble burst. … [more]

31 Mar 2009, 11:47pm
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A Cooling Trend Toward Global Warming

Written by Ed Hiserodt, The New American, 01 April 2009 [here]

Over the past several years, it appeared that our society was doomed to succumb to what Weather Channel founder John Coleman has described as “the greatest scam in history”: anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW). For two decades there has been an incessant drumbeat of propaganda attributing every weather-related event to an increase in carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels. With the election of a president who is solidly in the global-warming-alarmist camp — and with many high-level appointees who are bona fide climate-change alarmists — coupled with a Democratic legislature anxious to please their environmentalist and media benefactors, the passage of legislation causing some form of economy-crippling energy taxation seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

But then came the unexpected: a recession brought on and exacerbated by the heavy hand of government, and a second consecutive severe winter. Indeed, we may look back and see that our current financial crisis and Mother Nature were the saviors of free-market capitalism. They may have slowed the statist steamroller long enough for the proponents of climate realism to make such socialistic schemes as “cap and trade” understood for what they are and what they are not. They are not about anything to do with global warming or climate change. They are instead a massive transfer of wealth from the productive to those who will not adopt free markets.

While the primary promoters of the warming hoax have not “broken and run” yet, there is much evidence that there is an increasing tide of defectors and that climate catastrophists have completely run out of dry powder. … [more]

28 Mar 2009, 5:03pm
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Why Is the Red River of the North So Vulnerable to Flooding?

North Dakota State University, Red River Flood Homepage [here]

During recent years in Fargo, the Red River has passed into flood stage at least once per year. During most years, this flooding has been minor. However, since the beginning of a wet climatic cycle in 1993, several of these floods have been truly devastating.

Why does the Red River flood so frequently and with such extensive areal coverage throughout the “Valley”? Four factors, all associated with our unusual physiography, seem to be involved:

1. SYNCHRONY OF DISCHARGE WITH SPRING THAW:
The Red River flows northward. But, at the same time, spring thaw proceeds steadily northward along the Valley. Thus, along the Red River, runoff from the southern portion of the Valley progressively joins with fresh, meltoff waters from more northerly localities. If this synchrony is perfect, the consequences in the northern portion of the Valley can be truly disastrous.

2. ICE JAMS:

This factor is also related to a northward-flowing river system. Ice derived from the southern Valley progressively meets with freshly-broken ice in the central and northern Valley. Ice concentrations in this regime can only build, retarding or damming water flow.

3. GLACIAL LAKE PLAIN:
The Red River has incised a shallow, sinuous valley across one of the flattest expanses of land in the world: the floor of Glacial Lake Agassiz. Therefore, when the river floods onto this plain, areal coverage of the waters can become dramatic.

Related to this physiographic factor is the young age of the Red River. In its present form, the Red River is about 9,300 years old and far too young geologically to have carved a significant valley-floodplain system. Therefore, the lake plain becomes the “floodplain” to this river.

4. DECREASE IN GRADIENT DOWNSTREAM:

“Gradient” refers to the slope of a river. In the region of Fargo-Halstad, the gradient of the Red River averages 5 inches per mile of length. In the region of Drayton-Pembina, however, the gradient drops to 1.5 inches per mile. During floods, the Red River at Drayton tends to pool due to lack of slope - the region becoming essentially a massive, shallow lake.

 
  
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