With all the devastating flooding along with Mississippi-Missouri River system back in the Midwest, local communities should also sit up and take notice. The Mojave River can - and has - flooded like that, even in historic times.


I've heard people, chiefly newcomers to the area, ask, "River, what river?" They have driven through the Mojave River on Rock Springs Road and also crossed the Bear Valley Bridge, and still they ask, "What river?" Only those people who've crossed the river at the Upper Narrows admit there is a river.


The Mojave River is millions of years old, created when the High Desert was wetter than it is now. It's been called the "Upside Down River," for it's one of the only rivers, in North America, that flows from south to north. And among other nicknames, another name is the "Hidden River," because there is all most always, water beneath the apparently sandy surface. But make no mistake, there is a Mojave River and it does flood occasionally, sometimes with devastating results.


And it's not the only major watercourse, dry or not, in the Victor Valley. The so-called Antelope Valley Wash that marks the south perimeter of Hesperia, and its smaller tributary, which flows through the golf course area, and others. And those people who drive Phelan Road go down through two dry watercourses. It's called the Oro Grande Wash, and it, too, flows north and northeast through Baldy Mesa and Victorville and dumps into the Mojave River near the Narrows. All these areas have seen flooding in historic times and it could happen again. Beware all those people in Desert Knolls, and lower Spring Valley Lake, that they live in the flood plain of the Mojave River.


It is unconfirmed by officials, chiefly geologists, but I believe the Mojave River runs in a "graben" (a dropped area) and along a fault line. And there is another one, unwisely beneath the dam at Silverwood Lake. It's called the Cleghorn fault, and it crosses the San Andrease Rift at right angles. If any of these should shift, and they will, the dam at Silverwood should fail. There are millions of acre-feet of water in Silverwood, it being a reservoir for the State Water Project and fed by the California Aqueduct and local streams, and that's more water than the Mojave River could contain. The flood control dam at Deep Creek would never contain it and the Mojave River could experience a "hundred-year flood" like it's never seen before.


Local historians remember vast flooring on the Mojave River and its tributaries, and I've witnessed a few myself. In the winter of 1969 I witnessed the Mojave River overflow its banks. After a week of steady rain, and "El Nino flood year," formerly dry ground became part of the Mojave River, because it was part of the historic flood plain, and it wiped the Rock Springs Road crossing off the map and almost took out the Bear Valley Bridge. The eastern flood plain in Apple Valley, below Kiowa Road, was wisely planted in alfalfa fields' years ago. It's such fertile ground because it sits on the flood plain. Eastern Hesperia also has - or had - its alfalfa fields, for the same reason. And only the upper campus of Victor Valley College is above the flood plain. The lower campus of VVC and the fish hatchery are all within it. And so is lower Spring Valley Lake, the Equestrian area, Jess Ranch, and most of all, Desert Knolls. Homes and businesses should have never been allowed here. So, beware people - you're living in a flood-prone danger zone!