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Flood can be more devastating than drought  RSS feed

 
Tracy Wandling
master steward
Posts: 1510
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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This is the town in northern British Columbia where I grew up, and where my friends, family, and most importantly, my children still live. Dawson Creek, and many of the surrounding towns and agricultural areas have been flooded. Major roads and bridges, vehicles, power poles, and so much land has just been washed away.

In Permaculture, we talk a lot about 'drought proofing' our land: storing water in the soil; digging swales and ponds; building dams; basically anything we can do to get that water there and keep it. But are you ready for flood? Are your ponds, dams and swales set up to deal with an inundation of massive amounts of water? Or will everything just wash away?

I think that it is really important, in these somewhat insane times of freakish weather (among other things), to be prepared for just about anything. Dawson Creek and surrounding area had over 49 forest fires in April. That's just insane. An entire northern town was evacuated because of fire - most of it was destroyed, or affected in one way or another - and now it's flooding, too.

Are you ready for fire? Do you have firebreaks, and the water storage to deal with a major fire? What can we do to be prepared?!

This has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of freakish weather patterns, and the effects they could have on our property, and our island. My mind is ticking through the list of possible natural disasters, and what we can do now, to mitigate the effects they could have on our lives. I'm not one to get all freaky and scared about stuff, but it just seems like it's one thing after another lately, and I am under no delusions that I am immune.

I thought it might be good to start a list of things that can be done, regarding the preparations, structures, and possibly earthworks, that could help to protect our (that's ours, yours, and everyone's) property, before the disaster hits. The Man is making cleared areas around the perimeter of our main open areas to use as access as well as firebreaks; between the trees and us, basically. We're also very careful about fire when it's hot and dry. But there are going to be things that are out of our control, and I want to be as prepared for them as possible. Mentally, as well as physically.

My little brain is just whirling. So many disasters, so little time.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas to share about ways to protect our little slices of paradise, in case of a natural (or unnatural) disaster?











DawsonFlood-2016.jpg
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Dawson Creek, BC flood 2016
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 94
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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We have just had major storm and flooding in NSW and Tasmania. We too are expriancing wild weather. I had already removed all large trees near the house, and made a 100 m fire zone that includes plants that are fire resistant. We are also using the info we kept from our videos to make Swales to control excess water. Our dam spillway coped great with 200mm of rain in one day!! But we are concerned that all that water we .. Lost.. We need to keep for fires etc so we are building more dams.we also face erosion from the sea coming up the river with 6 m storm surges. the local council conducted a climate change review and worked out we could lose 25m of land. So we are working with Landcare d the community to sort out better planting and rock cages to help the river banks. So I get it! Ps we are also working with the local fire brigade to manage our land, 78 acres next to a national park, so they get to practice so it's a win win.
Plus we have good evacuation plans to get out for flood and fire. We plan to get out early! Otherwise we are trapped. The final plan in case of fire, is get in a tiny and float down the river. It is a massive river! Scary!
 
Tracy Wandling
master steward
Posts: 1510
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
265
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Hi Giselle;

Yes, the crazy weather is everywhere. I'm glad you have put so much thought into it - and sincerely hope you never have to use it.

~

I was talking with a friend about this yesterday, and she told me about how the community would get together for a potluck/chat, and work out emergency plans. Children were included in the plan making, and it would be a fun night of brainstorming and community building. One of the things that they decided on was that everyone would put a fire extinguisher in the same place near their front doors. The two reasons for this were, 1) you often need a fire extinguisher to actually get through flames to get out of your house; and 2) if a neighbour comes to the rescue, they will know exactly where to look for the fire extinguisher.

It's little gems like this that I am gathering together in my head, to make our plan of escape/survival should something really nasty happen. Also, gathering the things I need for a 'go bag'. It could make a big difference one day, ya just never know. And things like this can be helpful just by the feeling of security they can provide.

Another thing that I'm on the lookout for is a very strong metal box-type thing that would withstand fire, and wouldn't wash away in a flood (I could just put some really big rocks around it, of which we have many), in which to put things that will be important for survival (most of which would be replaced each year to keep them viable) such as:

seeds
grains/rice/quinoa/amaranth
honey?
salt?
Blankets, clothing, boots
Tools
Items such as solar lights, solar radio, and other things that don't need power (I'll have to ponder this: any ideas?)
Of course, medical supplies
And the list could go on

What would you put in your 'strong box'?


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9698
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I think we can mitigate both floods and droughts by repairing the watersheds.

 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 677
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Keeping plants in ground keeps the soil intact. Monocropping and excessively weeded gardens not good.

We've had two years of heavy rains. Like 12" in 2 days. Haven't had an issue except some of my potatos rotted.
 
Tracy Wandling
master steward
Posts: 1510
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
265
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Tyler and Wayne: I completely agree. There are many things that can be done to start to halt the damage, and begin to heal the land and waterways. And we are in the process of doing what we can here to repair the years of damage and neglect on our property. But in the meantime . . .
 
Giselle Burningham
Posts: 94
Location: Australia, Now zone 10a, costal, sandy, windy and temperate.
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If you are looking for an emergency seed bank I would collect and spread the seeds with others in the local community.. Safety in numbers. If you keeping an emergency ... Re start kit.. Then bury it, fire only hits the top 3 inches of the ground. A plastic bucket sealed with long term seeds vacumn packed. Plus basic tools etc ie prepper stuff. Is another alternative. Plenty of info on the net re this.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9698
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I think basic emergency supplies are always prudent, especially if you live in an area prone to natural disaster. I think it's good for everyone to prepare for likely natural disasters. I don't think it's a good idea to become a doomer and prepare for the zombie apocalypse. I crapped up years of my life by getting into that stuff.

In event of even small floods, we're trapped on our land because the floodplain covers the entire front of it and the flooding creek extends throughout, so the only way we could "escape" would be to hike for miles uphill. Not a good plan. So we just stay home.
 
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