I am considering buying a piece of land that is right next to a river on the floor of a valley. I want to plant perennial forage crops for chicken, pig, and human consumption, and am wondering if anyone has suggestions of things that could work well on that kind of land. It is in the Bitterroot Valley MT. The ground water is 3 ft down, and there is both a spring and creek with water rights on the property for irrigation. It is in the 100 year floodpaln.
The accessibility of water is attractive to me, but I am wondering how many perennial forage crops will be unable to survive a flood. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
I wouldn't let the 100 year flood plain be a big deterrent. Esp if the floods come in the winter/spring when the plants are dormant. And even if it wipes out your crops. We are talking once every 100 year, not every other year.
I think I would have to answer the question based on other uses. Like do do you plan to build a house there or just grow the food forest? I would never put a house there or barns. But just a forest would probably be OK. I'd probably look at things like bamboo that might slow the water down some when it comes onto your property. Tree placement might be important, too, to make sure that you aren't stopping the water hard and creating concentrated erosion but just slowing it down.
S Bengi wrote:I wouldn't let the 100 year flood plain be a big deterrent. Esp if the floods come in the winter/spring when the plants are dormant. And even if it wipes out your crops. We are talking once every 100 year, not every other year.
In many cases, the 10 or 5 year floodplain is only a few feet (or even inches) in elevation lower than the 100 year floodplain, so a good chunk of the property may flood quite often.
Here is a link to the NWS river gauge where I am:
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=ind&gage=lafi3 The "historical crest" information will probably be the most useful to Duke right now.
Maps and asking the neighbors are important. You might also try to find out how long the flooding usually lasts. Many grasses and nativetrees can survive a day or two of flooding. That's all we usually had on the farm I grow up on. The woods were very healthy. Silver maples, pin oaks, willow, hedge, mulberry, and other types. The common types of fruit trees aren't likely to survive. There are pecan farms here that flood about every year and the trees do great. I'm sure a crop gets washed away now and then.
I'd walk all over the land and look for piles of flood debris to see how high the water got and maybe get an idea how strong the current was by the size of logs in the piles.
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