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Building a fence by a frequent flooding creek bed.  RSS feed

 
Nic Foro
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Shout from Texas, so my gardens are destroyed, vehicles are under water, just purged three small engines, etc, its not the first flood, it won't be the last. The problem is, this time my dog fence is completely destroyed, he has no where to go off leash now, the posts floated out, others flattened, etc. Is there any possible way to keep a fence up against 3-5' flood waters? 14 gauge rips apart easily. I'm leaning on 9 gauge chainlink for the first 4-5 feet since I plan to have a Timber wolf hybrid in 5-6 years. How well does 9 gauge or even hog paneling hold up to harsh water with brush and leaves in it? Is there some extra measures I can do like cement cedar posts in every four feet vs every eight feet? (we have a hole driller / auger so more holes isn't an issue) I just finished clearing one of the fence lines so now is the time to put up the strongest / most permanent thing within reason.

Does anyone have experience with essentially a flood proof fence short of massive stone walls and berms (not an option)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2c5ftsh1u0kpm6t/IMG_20160418_092209_882.jpg?dl=0 (pity picture)

*edit* No one lives in that house, its an empty rat shack. My shed is nearby, ended up having 3' of water in it so I have plans to put it on 5' pillars later.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I haven't seen any kind of normal fence being able to stand up to the floods we get. Big posts in concrete get knocked flat. The only fence that survives the river floods are those lay-down fence panels, but you have to put them back up... You say you can't do rock walls, but massive rock and timber walls might be the only thing that will stand up to flood...

http://geofflawton.com/videos/flat-land-and-flash-floods/
 
Nic Foro
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One of those members only places.

Replacing the fence every flood is also an option, it would only cost $1000-2000 per year or two. Can always have the fencing on hand, have a secondary pen on higher ground for the dogs while repairs are made rather than keeping them cooped up in house.
 
Anne Miller
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Your garden looks like you had a nice crop planted. I hope it recovered from the flood.

I live in an area that has flooding to wet weather creeks. When rain is in the forecast we do not leave home. There are several fences in our area that are able to withstand these flooding creeks. I don't know what they are called so I tried to google "fencing that will sustain flooding".

Flood Proofing Fencing for Waterways

Figure #8 looking similar to the fencing we has here. There are some fences in the area that are not on a creekbed and do not have the hinge. Figure #4 may give you an idea as to what you might need to do.

It seem to me that if you want to have a pen to keep your dog and future hybrid wolf in, you will need to do some dirt work that will keep their area from flooding. Swales, ditches, etc. as you would not want them to drown in a flash flood.
 
Anne Miller
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This link has the you tube for the geoff lawton video.

flat-land-flash-floods-permaculture
 
Tyler Ludens
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Oh good, that article on Flood Proofing Fencing shows how to build an inexpensive lay down fence (they call it a drop down fence).
 
Nic Foro
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@Anne Miller, Figure 8 looks like it would be ideal for two locations that collect leaves. Even after mowing and bagging all the leaves up there is still a problem with them collecting against the fence (compost them). There is nothing that could be done this time, my 20Sqft compost pile floated up and went through the fence, found most of it on the tree line along with my huglekulter bed, so I'm probably going to cut down all the brush, leave the biggest trees there, and put in another garden plot. Even if it were outside, brush and limbs from the forest took down the other side, stripped the fencing off all the posts and would have kept going through anyway.

3' of hinged bottom fencing should work for most of the 5-10 year flooding, this last one was the 100 year flood or worse, comparable to the flood from 1913, not to mention going into El nino. Robbed me of two years of work. When I become a millionaire I'll think about having a poured re-enforced concrete wall built but thats years away. I'm on the worst side of the creek bed, Its slowly eating into our land with each flood and this last one took about 5-8 feet along with a large 100 year oak tree, its usually .5-1 foot per flood. I'm trying to put the fence along the side of it and the flood waters flow directly outward from the creek, almost perpendicular. Not over or through it. common sense tells me that Styrofoam or plastic floats attached to the panels will aid in making them sit above the flood waters and not catch debris.

As for any dogs, they will be find. A lot of the land out here is hillside and forest, many acres of it. Dogs sleep inside with me anyway. One follows his nose and will wander too far off so he can't be trusted off leash unless hes in a pen. I would need to devise a way to secure the hinge panels so pups can't get through them when its not going to come a dumping flood. Maybe just make it a one way hinge...?

I do appreciate all the help hog/cattle/handy panels (all the same) would be the strongest material available to me.
 
Glenn Herbert
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I feel your pain about the creek bank erosion. I have a seven mile long creek flowing through my property, and although I own both sides, it is the near side where I have significant uses and a few earthworks that is eroding most. (Note: I only own 1/4 mile or so of it ) The 500 year flood in 2006 took 5-10' of bank in one spot and destabilized several others, and the 500 year flood in 2011 took another 5-10' (!)

Big rocks in riprap fashion can help, but you have to place them so the downstream end is protected from scour. Do you have any reasonable source of rock? My creek has enough slope that it has a very rocky bed mixed with sand and gravel, and I can find enough 100-500 pound rocks to move if I can get the time to do it... About 200 feet of 8-12' high bank that I need to restore to protect the important things. The creek once moved a 2-ton boulder 20' downstream and flipped it over.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The main problem with these flooding pieces of land is that we control such a small part of the flood channel, it's hard to do much to slow the water - that needs to be done upstream, and if we can't get our neighbors interested in water management, we're mostly out of luck. Here on our piece of land we have two seasonal creeks plus most of the runoff from the other side of the county road. I'm trying to get my upstream neighbors interested in slowing the creek, but they mostly seem fascinated or amused by MY hard work, not getting the hint that it would be really great if they did some work too....

Two threads about the darn creeks:

http://www.permies.com/t/53556/earthworks/Creek-repair-rock-dams

http://www.permies.com/t/51421/earthworks/Creek-repair-brush-dams
 
Nic Foro
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/ali8h3pjjo63iwy/IMG_20160207_152127_065.jpg?dl=0

I had packed all the brush up against the edge of the creek and left a lot of the trees and larger brush to keep it in place but it only helps with lesser floods. I entertained the idea of a rock wall and had stacked a bunch of rocks up beside an oak down to another tree, well there is a little sand bar there now and the oak tree is missing. I did get an elm tree deposited in the middle of the field though. This isn't a small creek, its about 15' deep and in some places 20-30 feet across. There is about five miles of creek up stream. There are a lot of new trees in the creek as well, so other people must have lost stuff.

No real source for large stones, they exist but I have no way to get them without special heavy equipment, even then it would just cause erosion there and only somewhat slow down the water.

The speed of the water was the problem, lesser floods it just deposits silt and moves stuff around, this time it ripped /all/ of my topsoil away and gave me a bunch of worthless sand all over the yard.

I'll try the hinged flaps, I may make them out of corrugated metal sheets, but probably cattle panel, cattle panel comes in 8' panels anyway so its pretty much the ideal size. They are about $13/sheet and 500lb load chain shouldn't be too expensive.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Fast water is a real problem, where the bed is not stable.
My creek channel is around 20-30' wide and 5-15' deep, with some flowing water year round, but it takes a fifty year flood to fill the channel to overflowing. Erosion really started here when an interstate was built across the headwaters of my creek in the early '70s, combined with Hurricane Agnes. Now runoff is always a bit faster than it used to be, and the long-established grade can't handle the flow. Fortunately the latest big erosion episode scraped the channel to bedrock at the top edge of my part, so any rock I move has a limited deleterious effect that will soon stabilize. Eventually my section may stabilize with more bedrock exposed and a lower slope below, though rock will probably continue to get washed down from above. A modest four wheel drive tractor makes it possible for me to do serious work.

If you are low on serious rock, can you dig/drill holes in the creekbed? Sinking piles that angle back against the bank and guide flow up and away from the bed might be stable enough to hold for a number of years. The key there would be to avoid creating turbulence at the base.
 
Anne Miller
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I was wondering if getting an estimate from a ranch fencing company that has been in business for many years would help to see what they would recommend.

My other thought would be to dig a pond or tank up stream. We have one that was built sometime prior to our purchasing our property. It is 8 to 10 ft deep, about 10 to 15 ft wide and maybe 50 ft long. It usually doesn't hold much water, so we rerouted the channel leading into it by removing large rocks. With a heavy rain it fills it up. That is a lot of water, my thought is that if we didn't have the tank where would all that water be? Our house might be standing in water if it wasn't for the tank?

There used to be help available from Soil Conservation. I don't know it it is still available but it might be worth asking to see what they would recommend. About 20 years ago at another property we owned we had them come out to recommend where we should put a tank.
 
Nic Foro
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Speaking of interstates, the one out here was build with a horribly inadequate bridge and once there it reaches its flow capacity the water fills back toward us while trying to find other routes. It may have gone over the top this time around because the neighbors haybales are up there. Once a tree gets stuck under that bridge it just makes it all the worse but good luck telling the state to build a better bridge for a hand full of people. My best bet is a fence that opens on the bottom for the first 4 feet while putting heavy cedar posts in as deep as I can get them. I cleared a lot of brush out along the edge of the creek, left all the trees and larger saplings (holly brush) which kept all my trimmings from coming back at me but it wasn't much of a strainer for anything else.

Its sad, part of the fence is still standing and good but it all has to come down anyway now, I'm rolling up the non-crumpled up pieces of fencing (5' welded wire) for later use on the new fence but there isn't much of it.
 
Anne Miller
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Part of your flooding could be based on how the interstate was constructed. I wonder if the person who built that old house had problems with flooding?

I think I need to clarify something that I said. I offered what I said about our tank to show how the land can be designed to help with the flood water. We hear folks talk about swales, ditches, french drain, etc. but I have never heard someone talk about using a tank. I don't know if one would be a solution or a problem.

When I offered the information regarding soil conservation I was not only suggesting looking into a tank but the other options that they might offer.

How to receive conservation assistance from NRCS
 
Tyler Ludens
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We've had some basins (ponds/tanks with uncompacted bottoms) dug and they help a lot with slowing runoff.

Brad Lancasrer's Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands Volume 2 discusses many ways of harvesting rainwater in the soil http://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
 
Glenn Herbert
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For runoff from your or nearby land, a pond/tank/basin could be a valuable method for flood mitigation and water conservation. For the kind of creek the OP has, it would take a lake to do anything significant. Anything that can overtop a 15' bank is beyond individual control, only at best mitigation or channeling of the immediate effect on your own land.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I agree, the most we can hope to do with these creeks is slow the water and attempt to direct it in less damaging directions. There's no way to get rid of that much water. Our basins slow water flowing from the upper parts of our own land, but they don't do anything to help with floods in the main creek.

For basins, swales, etc to do much good for flooding requires all neighbors in a watershed to be working on slowing and soaking the water, and here in our region, almost everyone is doing the opposite - clearing and paving huge tracts of land, and making the flooding much worse. I expect it to get worse as storms become more dramatic due to climate change.
 
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