It doesn’t take a meteorologist to know that 2011 was a wet year. Local precipitation records were not only broken, but were shattered by over 10 inches. One storm in late July dropped 4 inches of rain over a 2-hour period in portions of the Rocky River Watershed. And who could forget the flood of February 28-March 1, during which the gage on the Rocky River near Cedar Point Rd. recorded a peak discharge of 17,400 cubic feet per second (cfs). This represents the second highest peak discharge ever recorded at the gage, which has been in operation since 1924 (with a short hiatus during World War II), and is the equivalent of about a 50-year flood. Only the January 22, 1959 flood, which topped out at an astounding 21,400 cfs was higher. For comparison, the average discharge in the Rocky River is just 86 cfs in August (the lowest monthly average) and 610 cfs in March (the highest). So, at the peak of the February 28-March 1 flood, nearly 30 times the normal amount of water was flowing through the river! So, what does all this flooding mean for the watershed? Well, if you spend much time on the river, chances are you’ve seen some changes—sand or gravel bars changed in size or migrating up or downstream, or maybe a boulder moved downstream. Some areas flooded that, according to local residents, “never flooded before.” The more devastating changes from a watershed perspective occurred in headwater streams, where intense rainfall in these smaller catchments can have a destabilizing influence on a stream’s banks and beds. This is especially true in urban and suburban areas, where the increased concentration of hard surfaces covering the landscape causes more rainwater to run off the landscape, instead of seeping in. The silver lining in all of this, is that floods like the ones we experience in 2011 grab people’s attention, and get them noticing and thinking about rivers again. Our challenge is to take advantage of that increased awareness to further the goals of the Rocky River Watershed Council!