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The Province - Agriculture will have to adapt to extreme weather: expert

Published: 3 Jul 2011

What lay behind this spring's ferocious flooding along Quebec's Richelieu River seems simple enough to pin down: Blame the highest water levels in recorded history for Lake Champlain, which feeds into the river.

What lay behind this spring's ferocious flooding along Quebec's Richelieu River seems simple enough to pin down: Blame the highest water levels in recorded history for Lake Champlain, which feeds into the river.

The Richelieu region is especially vulnerable to the effects of flooding because the soils through which the river courses are generally both poorly drained and "very, very flat" — but no one anticipated the severity and duration of this spring's flood, said Chandra Madramootoo, dean of McGill University's faculty of agricultural and environmental sciences.

"I think where we got caught off guard on this one, from what I can tell, is (by) all the abnormally high snow amounts that you had in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains that then melted," he added. "Nobody was really aware of that, I would say, or taking it into consideration."

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