In order to find out what happened here, we have to take you back up the road where the flooding first began.
The Truckee River looked anything but high and dry in the early hours of Saturday January 31st...waters were only expected to go higher...and they did.
It eventually crossed east McCarran at the Main Station Farm and spilled into the pastures here. Today, you can see the erosion and knocked down sign posts ....
Assistant Director Kevin Piper says that's when he and his staff started to move cattle and sheep to safer ground.
" Our intention was, we have a high spot where the dairy and that's since we were going with these animals so when we evaluated it was great pasture is holding up good let's move them down the road let's get them in the pasture."
But that pasture would prove to be anything but a safe haven in the flood. Just a couple of hours later, Piper says levies on the west and south side of this pasture broke loose late saturday afternoon, water he says came up to his chest.
" I'll take that responsibility right here and now, people were making a good effort but it was definitely getting to a point where I wasn't going to put people in harm's way. I pulled the plug and said we are done."
Piper agrees with interim president Joe Crowley's assessment: Neither he nor his staff knew about pathways of the Truckee River or tributaries in the area to understand what flooding could mean to the main station farm. Expect new flood response procedures when the investigation is complete. What won't change he says is the sense of loss and the continued resolve to take care of the animals here. The incident is the latest in a series of troubles for the farm. In October the U-S Department of Agriculture cited the university for animal welfare problems and fined the school 11-thousand dollars. The university says today those problems have been fixed.
The flood caused nearly a three quarter of a million dollars in damage to the farm. The loss of the sheep equates into about 50-thousand dollars.