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7488Re: Spring runoff and flooding: Big can of Worms!!

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  • claytonbergman
    Apr 1 11:33 PM
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      Jeff,

      The idea is to stay as natural as possible. I don't want to disturb
      mother nature as little as possible. I have a five year time horizon
      for completing my preliminary work. I plan to rotate seasonally
      wheat and barley, but the canary grass is a real big problem. I plan
      to use cover crops to force out the canary grass combined with mowing
      by hand. I don't intend to use machinery so it will consume much of
      my efforts. I want to impact the wetlands minimally if at all. I am
      hoping that the smallest impact with enable mother nature to do her
      work. There already exists a channel system to pass the flood water
      through the land. It is just clogged with more canary grass.

      Most of this land is sub-irrigated. A granite bedrock is about six
      to twelve feet under a think layer of decaying organic humus and
      canary grass. I intend to take this slowly by starting on small
      mowed plots, seeding with seed balls, mowing greater areas and more
      seeding. I'll be trying perrenial rye grass and buckwheat and
      rapeseed to start.

      As my fields enlarge and as I become more knowledgeable with crops,
      I'll expand my types and varieties of plants.

      One of the biggest problems I face is deer, moose, and elk. Any
      ideas other than fences, fences, and more fences? I know that these
      animals are part of nature, but I hope to feed myself and my family.
      Maybe I should take up hunting? Annual rain is about 17 inches and
      most of the years percipitations is in winter. Summer and fall get
      the least. This land is sub-irrigated so I anticipate that these
      crops will grow well given the deep soil and ground water that
      remains on top of the granite. I don't intend to use and mechanical
      means other than gravity and some culverts across the driveway. I
      have seen only two winters so far and this one is by far the wetter.
      What I am trying to do is create a market farm to produce grain,
      friut, and vegetables for local sale. This area will reamain wet
      until into June so a long time if I did nothing. There are
      protections on this land and I don't want to violate them. I hope to
      protect them just grow some food for my family and to sell.

      Thanks for the perspective. Any other ideas you may have would be
      helpful.

      Clay


      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:
      >
      > Clay,
      >
      > you have opened up a chasm,.....
      >
      > OK- from a scientific point of view-
      > The answer depends on
      > a) what crops you're planting, and which vareities
      > 1) are you pushing the envelop with longer season crops, or
      > sequence planting?
      > b) how much rain you get during the growing season, and how valuable
      > the run-off contribution is
      > c) what financial or mechanical means you have to fix the problem
      > d) what your experience is with this land-how many seasons you've
      seen
      > e) how does this tie into a larger perspective with what you're
      trying
      > to do with the land
      > f) what type of soil you have, hydrology, vegetation.. etc
      > g) how long it will remain flooded for, 15 days during growing
      season
      > may constitute a wetland which has certain protection, but that will
      > depend on f)
      >
      > from the industrial farmer's perspective (and most soil conservation
      > dist),
      > drain it, the faster the better
      >
      > from the environmentalist perspective
      > let it be, its valuable temporary habitat that feed ground water,
      > prevents downstream flooding, and can improve water quality.
      >
      > since you're on this list I would guess you would lean towards the
      > natural side of things, however, the pragmatist in us all would lead
      > for a more balanced approach.
      >
      > Personally, if you have the ability I would really like to see a
      > small flow-through wetland created, small wetlands can provide
      habitat
      > and improve downstream water quality immensely,
      > however, channelizing the rest to accomplish improved drainage in
      the
      > remaining productive areas would be a suitable compromise,... of
      > course positioning the wetland downstream of the productive land,
      > ideally......
      >
      > the mechanical solution would be to install a larger culvert on the
      > driveway to drain it faster, however, this could lead to errosion
      > problems among other things...especially since it the water would be
      > flowing with minimal vegetation on the land,
      >
      > you also may need a permit to ditch the land effectively...
      >
      >
      > > I have spring snow melt and runoff coursing through my property.
      Some
      > > drainage canals were dug by the original farmer but not very
      deep. The
      > > prior owner allowed them to fill with thick grass and put a
      driveway
      > > over top so now I have water backed up.
      > >
      > > Should I open the canals and get the water flowing or just let it
      take
      > > it's natural course and dry up over time? I am concerned that it
      will
      > > delay my spring planting. This is water that will not remain but
      will
      > > pass through the land anyway.
      > >
      > > Clay,
      > >
      > > Spokane, Wa.
      > >
      >
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