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Flooding Help

 
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Hi,  I live in western Washington, Puget Sound area, where we get a lot of rain in the winter and at the bottom of my property we have some winter flooding.  The flooding is probably the worst it has been in the three years since we have lived here, some places is 3" deep of standing water.  I have attached a drawing of my property that shows the flooding area.  Right now some of the blueberries that I planted down there last year are sitting in water so I need to take some action quickly.  

The Eastern property line is a bit of a valley the neighbors property almost mirrors ours as far as elevation goes. They have run horses for many years and the soil is very compacted, they do have a drainage toward the bottom of their hill running south past our property, but we do still get some water from that side. We are also getting a lot of runoff from our hill.  We have pretty hard soil, my guess is mostly clay, under the first couple inches of soil.  The driveway runoff, and the roof run off is just pointed down the hill.  The pond overflow is on the south side I'm not sure where it leads to (I'm going to dig it up) but my guess is where it is currently flooding.

I'm thinking about digging a smaller pond in the North end of the flooding area, I would also like to put a couple swales on the hillside where I could divert the water coming from the driveway runoff and at least half of the roof water from the house.  

How would I figure out how big of a pond I should dig?  Our big pond is fed I believe by a natural spring.  Would the smaller pond be empty or low most of the year or also overflowing? Would diverting the pond overflow to a smaller pond, and slowing down the water runoff from the hill with swales be enough to keep the south side of the flood area from flooding? Also, I have marked on my drawing where we are planning on taking out some very large evergreens (I forgot to mark the stand of evergreens in the midst of the flood area that we are planning on taking out).  Will that make the flooding worse if we remove them?

I need some advice on how to drain this area and keep it from flooding in the future.  My plan is to put a food forest area along the South and East side of my property as well as 2 strips of food forest going from South to North in the hill on the Southeast quarter of the property where I can perhaps run pasture in between for grazing animals.  The flooding would keep a lot of this area unusable for at least half the year, plus I would have to plan for flood tolerant plantings.

I am open and hoping for suggestions, Thank you!
IMG_20210223_0002.jpg
Drawing of my property
Drawing of my property
 
Kelli Boggs
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Just talked to my neighbor and he informed me that the pond overflow actually runs SE into the neighbors property, I'm guessing it ties into their field drainage.
 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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A few questions;
- Does the flooding cause any damage?
- Why are the evergreens being cut down?
- Could you install a 20,000L tank on the house and reuse the rainfall? My signature has details of that.
- Water retention in the soil is great, can you run a spiked roller over the ground when its damp and work to improve the soil to a greater depth?
Pond Size at Northern end.
Measure the area being flooded, using 3 inches as the flood depth determine the volume of water being trapped.
That should be the minimum pond size you build.
Remember to keep topsoil aside to cover the earth after forming the pond.
 
Kelli Boggs
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No the flooding does not cause any damage as of yet, though I am worried about the blueberries being under water.  It is well away from any structures.
I am planning on cutting the evergreens so I can plant more edibles like nut trees, fruit trees and such like a small food forest or guild plantings.  That’s also why I want to dry it out a bit.  
I would like to have some rain catchment for roof runoff but it probably wouldn’t be that big like 4 rain barrels on the south.  I am thinking of diverting the runoff from the north side of the house into the swimming pool that I’m going to convert into a small pond though that only holds like 1,500 gallons. I would prefer to store more of our water in the ground like in swales, or maybe diverting to mulch pits or something.
For the pond size I believe it is about 270’x90’ it’s about 10’ on the South we have half of it on our property.


 
John C Daley
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From this search I found some interesting answers
Blue berries and flooding
Berries and Floods

Utilizing proper soil drainage and irrigation techniques are important to growing healthy blueberry patches. Adequate soil drainage is essential for healthy blueberry patches. Blueberry plants will not tolerate excessive moisture (wet feet) for long periods.

 
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Something I am not seeing is where does this water come from?  What have you tried that worked or didn't work?

At our other property, the land looked flat though it was actually a slow change in grade from other properties.  When it rains the water naturally washed across my property.  We solved our problem by creating a system of ditches and french drains.

While a pond might help your situation that seems like a lot of work for something that might be a short-term fix.

One of the things that attracted me to our property was the pond unfortunately it sits empty most of the year and only fills when it rains then it drains quickly.

Have you talked with someone about where would be the best place to locate a pond or if it would work for your situation?  In our state, the office is called soil conservation.
 
Kelli Boggs
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Anne Miller wrote:Something I am not seeing is where does this water come from?  What have you tried that worked or didn't work?

At our other property, the land looked flat though it was actually a slow change in grade from other properties.  When it rains the water naturally washed across my property.  We solved our problem by creating a system of ditches and french drains.

While a pond might help your situation that seems like a lot of work for something that might be a short-term fix.

One of the things that attracted me to our property was the pond unfortunately it sits empty most of the year and only fills when it rains then it drains quickly.

Have you talked with someone about where would be the best place to locate a pond or if it would work for your situation?  In our state, the office is called soil conservation.



So if you look at the map I attached on the original post I put contour lines on it (from county) and that flooding area is the low spot on our property so it makes sense that water makes its way there.  

We haven’t tried anything yet to fix this problem I’ve got some ideas I just am not sure they are worth it yet.  

Our pond stays full year round but in the summer it has dropped like 3’ in the past which is quite a lot for such a big pond (it’s about 10’ deep on our end). But that does lead me to wonder if our winter rains/snow may be just raising the water table here and that low area happens to be under it now.  If that’s the case is there any other option then just filling the low spot in with more dirt?

As for draining it I wouldn’t have anywhere to drain it to, unless my neighbor wants some extra water.  Really I would like to keep my water on my property just in a more contained way.

If the water is coming mostly from runoff of the hill, roof, and driveway maybe slowing it in swales on the hill will be enough?

If I dug a small pond there and the cause of the flooding is the water table rising it wouldn’t do much good, would it? I’m not sure.
 
Anne Miller
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I don't see well so I had not paid much attention to your drawing other than it is a nice drawing.

Looking more closely it looks like the lower elevation is below your garage.  I am not seeing where the flooding is.

I am puzzled by your last comment about draining the pond.  Why would you want to drain the pond?  Is that where the flooding comes from?
 
John C Daley
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Its rare for the water table to rise above the ground in the manner you speak of.
Its my guess its runoff that accumulates at a low spot prior to soaking away.
Doing exactly what you actually want, keeping it in your soil.
Why not accept what is happening and let it e?
 
Kelli Boggs
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Anne Miller wrote:I don't see well so I had not paid much attention to your drawing other than it is a nice drawing.

Looking more closely it looks like the lower elevation is below your garage.  I am not seeing where the flooding is.

I am puzzled by your last comment about draining the pond.  Why would you want to drain the pond?  Is that where the flooding comes from?



Sorry the drawing is kind upside down sideways which doesn’t help reading it. The low point on the property is the SE corner South from the pond.

I mentioned draining not to drain the pond but you had said in your earlier post that you used French drains and trenches to remove the excess water from your property I was just pointing out if we put a drain down there there isn’t anywhere to drain it to.
 
Kelli Boggs
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John C Daley wrote:Its rare for the water table to rise above the ground in the manner you speak of.
Its my guess its runoff that accumulates at a low spot prior to soaking away.
Doing exactly what you actually want, keeping it in your soil.
Why not accept what is happening and let it e?



I may have to leave it as it is but the reason I wanted it not flooding is because I would like to plant some nuts and fruit down there that are not going to like sitting in water all winter and spring. Plus my blueberries that are already down there I would like to save.  Maybe it would be best to find a new spot for them and try to transplant them right away.
 
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Location: moscow ID
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ok, please accept my quick MS paint drawing... but I have a few comments. If no building are being damaged by flooding, praise be. Flooding, of blueberries, I dunno, but, as a side note, Wa State Dept of Ecology has fined farms big on blueberry farms that have applied compost in fall that got washed off in flooding events and messed with their TMDL's. just something to keep aware of.  

I tend to think of land and plantings in places that plants want to be and thrive to grow. But that said, there are ways to manipulate water flow in a beneficial manor without changing the natural flow of things (keyline as an example of such).  US army corps of engineers had a big (disaster) plan to drain wet areas and river (straighten the rivers, drain the swamps) as fast as possible, huge problems there. Instead, beautify the land by slowing water at the top, help increase infiltration and percolation, delay the movement of water over the surface and create a path for water to move through the soil ... and that gets to my simple drawing.  You will likely need an engineer (or do a bit of search on web for a slope/contour/soil type/veg cover/rainfall intensity index model (sorry I dont have one off hand (MAYBE SOMEONE HAS A LINK TO SUCH A MODEL, RUSLE is a good place to start search))).

Another note, I'm pretty sure in one of sepp holtzers vids, ...to create a pond without permit, said something like ,,,you just take a little dirt at a time and make a small burm, then add a little more, if regulatory agency question, you just say "I was cleaning out a natural wet area"... I hope I got that right, full disclosure, I am not suggesting you do anything outside of permitting, and if I wrongly associated such comments with sepp, may I be struck with lightning.

So contour terraces. I have about a quarter acre of them, 2ft wide beds on about a 15% slope (1ft between beds), it works out well, you can angle them in a back and forth manor to prevent over flow kinda like a plinko game (?), plant the slope between each terrace with dense red clover or something perennial.

Ok, I think I should stop before I get in trouble. Have fun, but live life and be on the edge of trouble... the good side :)
P.  
MOUND-countours.jpg
[Thumbnail for MOUND-countours.jpg]
 
Patrick Rahilly
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Location: moscow ID
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one other note... nuts. Pecans are used quite often to "dry up" wet areas in the south, you might be able to find a suitable cultivar for your area.
 
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