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Food forest in a floodplain

 
G Duke
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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?

 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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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.
 
Daniel Kaplan
Posts: 14
Location: Adana, Turkey, Zone 9b
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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.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Can you find out if the property has flooded in the past few years? With changing weathers patterns in recent years, flood maps may not be accurate and floods may be more frequent.

Here's a video about permaculture in a flood plain: http://geofflawton.com/videos/flat-land-and-flash-floods/
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 613
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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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.

Here's one closer to where Duke is probably are located, but there will probably be one even closer if Duke searchs around on the NWS website.
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mso&gage=strm8
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 294
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Maps and asking the neighbors are important. You might also try to find out how long the flooding usually lasts. Many grasses and native trees 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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