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Spring runoff and flooding

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  • claytonbergman
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 31, 2008
      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.
    • Jeff
      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
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 1, 2008
        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.
        >
      • claytonbergman
        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
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 1, 2008
          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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