Wet conditions causing big problems in Lamont County as agriculture disaster declared

Wet conditions cause for concern in Lamont County
Even with a few hot days in a row, June has been a rainy month and its taking a toll northeast of Edmonton in Lamont County. As Sarah Komadina explains, residents there are dealing with closed roads and flooded fields.

In the first 10 days of June, Lamont County had 55.5 millimetres of rain — more than half of the monthly average.

Even with a few hot days in a row, the wet weather has taken its toll. Residents are facing closed roads and wet fields.

Connor Wytrykush works on his in-laws’ farm in Lamont County. He said the wet weather is an ongoing problem.

“It started out on saturated soils and it led to flooding and water is sitting. [There are] basically a bunch of unseeded acres that we aren’t able to get to this year,” Wytrykush said.

He said one of the fields they work on still isn’t combined from harvest last year.

“We hadn’t been able to combine it, seed it, spray it. We haven’t been able to do any upkeep to the field,” Wytrykush said.

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“We have a lot of producers that haven’t been able to finish their seeding and it’s so late in the year they can’t and we had about 25 per cent of our already-seeded acres washed away,” Lamont County’s Heather Atkinson said.

“Drainage has been a big problem, particularly for overland farmers. We have declared an agriculture disaster because of the amount of water that [is] on the fields.”

Warm weather will help dry things up, but locals say the ground is so saturated, any more rain will cause problems.

It’s not just the fields that are affected; many roads have been washed out.

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“[The rain] has been overwhelming to our infrastructure, which is about 70 years old, and that is why we are seeing a lot of problems with our flooding,” Atkinson said.
Wet conditions cause for concern in Lamont County
Wet conditions cause for concern in Lamont County

Severe floods in 2018 caused damage to infrastructure that the county is still fixing.

A drainage study is expected to be done by the end of fall. The county also has a virtual open house to answer residents’ questions and keep people updated on progress.

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Fixes to culverts and other infrastructure are expected to take years.

Alberta Transportation said in a statement to Global News that its maintenance contractor is helping by clearing culverts and debris as well as encouraging the water to drain through natural drainage routes as much as possible.