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Any ideas on diverting water in central wyoming?

 
Posts: 9
Location: Northern Colorado zone 4-5
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Hello, We are getting ready to move to a very windy,cold in winter, hot in summer, High desert area of Wyoming. It use to be a grazing ranch, but drought has stopped that. There are 2-3 weeks of the year that have a huge gully washing flood of spring melt runoff and then hardly anything the rest of summer. The gullies in the area are at least 8-10 feet deep. I need to figure out how to redirect that water without using heavy equipment. The biggest problem is the water runs very fast & furious approximately 8 feet down in the gullies. we are not able to dig swales that deep without heavy equipment. I was wondering if someone might have an idea for damming the gullies, maybe in steps to slow the runoff and bring the levels closer to the surrounding landscape level. Any suggestions?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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pictures??
 
pollinator
Posts: 468
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Maybe you can read up on keyline design and the yeoman's plow. I have not used it myself, but I understand it doesn't need heavy machinery, and can help to slow run off and erosion.
 
Posts: 724
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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are there areas on the property that you can berm up to prevent the water from entering the gullies?

can gabions be installed in areas to capture/slow some of the water that does end up in the gully?
 
steward
Posts: 4617
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
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Howdy V. Ginger,
How much property are you talking about?
Wouldn't happen to be near Elk Mountain would it?
You might be able to collect and stack rocks ?
Sure would be a lot easier with a backhoe, do you have any neighbors that might help you out?
 
Posts: 1444
Location: Fennville MI
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Sounds like the kind of situation that needs to be headed off before it gets to the pass, so to speak.

Once the water is flooding down those gullies, it is a powerful force, the kind that will turn your average gabion into a weapon for digging out bigger holes further down the gully.

Do these gullies originate on your property? If they do, then you may be able to do something by putting in swales that will reduce the flow into the gully.

You will need to look carefully at your topography and figure out the watershed areas for each individual gully and then determine where to place swales to reduce/slow the flow of runoff into the gullies.

Getting more plants on the range will help too, by reducing and slowing the runoff. Swales can help in that regard too, as they will harvest water to grow plants, that will capture more water and reduce runoff.

As I understand it, fixing those gullies will be all about controlling the runoff Before it gets to the gullies.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2247
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I agree with Peter - you need to start at the top of your watershed and work down. Swales on contour will collect blown snow - as it melts it will infiltrate into soil rather flow across the soil surface into your gullies. You could try building small gabions way upstream, before the flow gets large and destructive. Once you know the effect of your Swales and initial few gabions you could start building more downstream along the gully.

You could investigate planting something like bamboo to stabilise and slow the flow in the gullies themselves.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1444
Location: Fennville MI
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Michael you hit an important point with collecting blown snow.

Getting some influence over where the snow collects may be easier than managing water! Snow fence and windbreak plantings to take over from the fencing could prove a major help in your water management system.
 
V.Ginger Borgeson
Posts: 9
Location: Northern Colorado zone 4-5
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So many good suggestions Thanks to all. You all have been very helpful. Many of the same ideas I had, but many times just having someone else tell you the same thing
as what you were thinking can be Tremendous reinforcement.

Miles, the ranch is about 600 some acres deeded and 400 some acres leased BLM land. Between Casper & Medicine bow, with absolutely
Nuthin' on it except an Old Trappers Cabin thats more wind than cabin any more. Hahaha. Nobody else around accept the Jackalope. Hahaha There is another ranch on one boundary,
but it's just graze that doesn't get used every year and no neighbor in residence.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4617
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
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Hey so we are sort of Neighbors!

My ten acres is over south of Elk Mountain.
I only get up there one week out of every month, in the summer, so it is slow going.
Can you post some pictures ?

Here is a thread about my place.

http://www.permies.com/t/27935/projects/Miles-Wyoming-Gulch
 
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