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Photos: Matanuska River closing in on Sutton home

Ed Musial walks out the back door of his house. The Matanuska river is now only 10 to 15 feet away. Ed and Val Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Val and Ed Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Val Musial walks on a path behind her home. The Matanuska River has eroded land close to her home. Ed and Val Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Chunks of Ed and Val Musial's yard has dropped into the Matanuska River. Ed and Val Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Ed Musial looks through paperwork he has saved on the topic of the Matanuska River, which is closing in on his house. Ed and Val Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Rapids on the Matanuska River are visible from the kitchen window in Ed and Val Musial's home. Ed and Val Musial have lived in their home near the Matanuska River in Sutton since 1959. They say the river didn't move toward their property until the state built erosion control dikes in the 1980s. Now they want the Mat-Su Borough to route the river away from their home. Photographed on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News
Marc Lester

SUTTON -- Ed and Val Musial built their house nearly a quarter mile from the Matanuska River in 1959.

Today, just 6 feet of sidewalk and sod separate the Musials' back door from the riverbank.

A once-grassy backyard leading to trees ends in an abrupt bluff over roiling gray water; chunks of land litter the cobbles below. The septic tank fell in last summer.

The view out a window over the kitchen sink is all moving water.

“We built this thing ourselves, every damn bit of it,” said 87-year-old Val Musial. “And it was hard work. We lived in the basement for 17 years because Ed doesn’t believe in debt.”

READ MORE: Mat-Su seeks Matanuska dredging as Sutton home teeters on the brink