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Heavy clay, high water, former gravel pit

 
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I’m new to this entire thing, from farming/ranching to these forums. Nutshell?

Bought my “dream place” in 2012 in rural Mid/Northern lower peninsula Michigan (Marion area), 37 acres, about half wooded. Aesthetically beautiful. Creek (usually dry in summer) cuts through front half of property. Twelve foot deep pond in backyard (rough shape, still is). Nice hill going up to back of property. About 20 acres hay fields. Older, mobile home at end of long driveway (winds) rough shape but was planning to build a nice homestead for entire family on other side of creek toward front.  Fenced but no livestock barn. (Again, build)

Home had water barrels and (cheap) plastic tubing system that fed to pond. Seemed PERFECT! The first three or four years it was. Not much snow and not big spring rains. Creek rose a bit during melt off but it was kinda nice not to have to water horses for a couple of weeks.

Found out while it’s beautiful, my naïveté May have been costly. Ground is all CLAY. Horse field, even in summer dry time gets soaked where the horses have removed grass (by gate and along some fencing). HIGH water table (thought that was good!?) where in many areas in the two acre backyard, digging more than a foot down brings water pool. Found out this entire area was a gravel pit (explains why there’s not soil or sand) and the last two years, with heavier snows and spring rains, entire area floods, including the actual road I’m on. The entire 37 acres, minutes about 10 at the very back of the property, is at the bottom of a slow grade hill (I’m talking my entire property and the one neighbor who is close), so badly that I was locked in my property for two days this spring, road and driveway washed out entirely.  The rain barrel system fell apart (plastic piping was cheap) the year after I lost my job, so haven’t replaced yet and I now have a small creek running right off my back porch complete with cattails growing. Guessing this area where the house is located was pretty much swamp.

Can I engineer my way out of this? HELP! (Grew up in Detroit for 35 years of my life and in over my head literally!)

I’ve included one pic of how the backyard looked when I looked at home before buying and one recently.
D9C29F53-E798-486B-8A43-C7F2EC24AB75.jpeg
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Home in 2012
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Home well area recently
 
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hugelkultur forest garden ungarbage
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Sorry to hear about your flooding situation...If you can find an overhead topography view, and post it - maybe some more help could come along.

One thing that pops into my head at the moment would be creating swails in key spots along contour and into channels or the creek to guide the excess water towards the pond or some other area where a large amount can be contained and slowly dispersed. Might be a pretty big undertaking with a lot of dirt work and possibly some rip rap to aid in draining. Would end up being kind of like a canal/retention system. I'm no expert but based on your description of layout I cannot think of any other option.
 
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As Ty Greene suggested, it would be helpful if you provided an aerial view, together with contours, that extends into the neighbouring properties.

Also, it would be useful to get some research on the previous land use: from records and neighbours, particularly depth of fill and what it contained.

That way we can provide suggestions e.g. dewatering with swales/drainage channels/subsurface piping near house site, etc; rerouting of internal roads, whatever to possibly improve the situations.

 
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