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Install swales/ponds if you're too wet?

 
Posts: 6
Location: Southeast Missouri
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We live on the north side of a small Ozark "mountain" ("big hill" to the rest of the world). We get a LOAD of runoff from above us which floods a creek about a mile below us. I get flooded in and can't make it to work (darn the luck) a couple of times each March/April. Our yard stays pretty soggy until July or so, after which it's merely damp.

With this in mind, should I still be considering swales and/or catchment ponds higher up? I have been thinking that slowing the water down a bit and holding some of it up higher would make things less wet, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just be digging drainage ditches and letting it all go downhill. That won't help with the flooded creek, but it might help with the soggy yard. I hate to lose all that water, though, because we do get a bit dry in August except in the lower parts of the yard.

Thoughts?


Thanks!
April
 
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Posts: 11293
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I strongly advise against draining the water off the land. This will only cause more flooding downstream. I wish I had the problem of too much water most of the time. It is so much easier to grow plants where it is damp than where it is dry. You might look into hugelkuture to improve drainage for your growing areas. I think you should put in some ponds, but that might just be me having water envy!


I recommend Brad Lancaster's book "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 2" which gives a lot of details about designing earthworks for water management. Also of course look at Sepp Holzer's videos about his wonderful waterscaping and terracing.

 
Posts: 185
Location: Mineola, Texas
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April Boughton wrote:We live on the north side of a small Ozark "mountain" ("big hill" to the rest of the world). We get a LOAD of runoff from above us which floods a creek about a mile below us. I get flooded in and can't make it to work (darn the luck) a couple of times each March/April. Our yard stays pretty soggy until July or so, after which it's merely damp.

With this in mind, should I still be considering swales and/or catchment ponds higher up? I have been thinking that slowing the water down a bit and holding some of it up higher would make things less wet, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just be digging drainage ditches and letting it all go downhill. That won't help with the flooded creek, but it might help with the soggy yard. I hate to lose all that water, though, because we do get a bit dry in August except in the lower parts of the yard.

Thoughts?


Thanks!
April



I think you might be able to use that water. You don't say whether you are on 1/5 acre, or on 50 acres, so I will just have some fun with this, and maybe something might seem like a good fit for you.

Use your water by building a couple ponds, stock them with catfish, perch, bass and go fishing.
add more humus to your soil (look up how you build soil, it is around here someplace, I am sure) which will soak up more of your water, holding it longer, and allow the water to seep deepe into the subsoil.
Plant more trees that love water. Pecans come to mind..
You might consider holding some of it uphill, but it has to go somewhere at some point. maybe that is where you build a retention pond, and several smaller constant level ponds, and provide a way to be able to use that uphill water if things get dry.

rh
 
April Boughton
Posts: 6
Location: Southeast Missouri
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We're on around 70 acres, 50 of which (the higher up part) are wooded. Your comment about building humus struck a chord with me. I imagine that's part of the problem. The soil here on the mountain is kind of shallow and the large granite rocks are not far below the surface.

I've never thought about water loving trees. Great idea!

Thanks!
 
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