Cosumnes River flood threatens local vineyard

Drive through Wilton, Rancho Murieta, even Elk Grove, and it's easy to see why those who live near the Cosumnes River are worried about Tuesday's storm. (Jan. 9, 2017)

By Monday night, the Cosumnes River was already reaching the doorsteps of many Wilton homes. Rain and flooding shut down roads in Sloughouse, near Dillard Road.

But at Kautz Vineyard in Wilton, there is no shutting down, at least not until these storms are over.

“We've been monitoring the river since 9 [Sunday] night,” said Tim Chappell, who manages the vineyard.

Chappell has been with the company for four decades, and still vividly remembers the damages from the 1997 flood.

"Literally, you could not see the vines. It just looked like an ocean," Chappell said. "At this time, we're fine. Another foot and you know we'll be in more danger."

The Cosumnes River is the only river in the western Sierra without major dam control.

“The water is crazy powerful,” Chappell said. “Looking at it, watching it. But the sound of it, especially when it breaks...it's got a really hurting sound to it.”

It's not easy preparing for an even bigger storm on Tuesday, but Chappell said they've been trying.

“Sandbags and personnel to patrol up and down the levees to look for any boils,” Chappell said.

Chappell also pointed out wildlife that will be affected, like deer, rabbits, gophers, and snakes. 

“What it'll do, it'll wash rattlesnakes out, so for a few years, you'll have a lot snakes by the levees,” said Chappell. 

Chappell said that he feels vineyards are harder to get in and clean up after a storm, adding that in 1997, it took about 3 weeks to rebuild.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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