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Just purchased seasonally wet property

 
Posts: 14
Location: Upstate NY
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Hello,

I recently purchased a property that is very wet at certain times of the year since it sits on hard clay and is mostly flat.

Any thoughts on how much it might cost to survey and map the elevations on 40 acres?

It is mostly open fields and pasture with some fencing running through it.

I'm in Upstate NY.

Best regards,

Nathan
 
pollinator
Posts: 145
Location: Courtrai Area, Flanders Region, Belgium Europe
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Nathan

Is there no publicly available digital hight map available online in your area? If not why not contact the closest universities? The departments of agriculture, geology, soil, ..... might have such maps.

Kind regards
Erwin
 
pollinator
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Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Some links:

free mapping video

LIDAR maps cheap

The search function with terms like map software might help.
 
pollinator
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Put your tax dollars to work and use Web Soil Survey as it is free and has a lot of helpful tools. Just plug in your address and it spits out a complete soil report, map, distance calculator, land classification, etc. In short; just about everything you would need to plan out 40 acres.

It is a little clunky to get used to, but once you realize how many tools it has, you will probably like it. Just don't be scared of the "shopping cart"; it truly is free so there is no expense.

Web Soil Survey
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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What I have heard on homesteading Youtube channels is that most contour maps are not helpful because on mostly flat land the contour lines are too far apart. Then they found that to have it surveyed was very expensive.  You may be best off to buy or rent a laser level and do it yourself a section at a time according to your priority.
What I have done on my 2 acres of floodplain is just fallow the water.  What past owners had done was try to dig ditches to drain where shallow ponds would develop. That did not work. Because I mow the fields with a scythe I was able to observe that the natural drainage was a giant Z. So I have worked with that, enhancing the connectivity of the ponds and expanding favorable ones to hold more water.  The natural system that has developed is the moles tunnel towards the ponds as the clay dries in the summer then when the rains return the water fallows the tunnels back out into the fields to hydrate the soil.
I was hoping to plant rice in the ponds but I cant find seed that will germinate in the cold water and have time to mature. But I have found that golden flax will germinate in the water and produce a crop of seed. I am going to trial chia seed also this year.
 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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I mapped 40 acres about 25 years ago and it cost me $2500 as I remember. It was on two foot contours. A surveyor could do it also, but I don't know about whether they could go as fine as 2 foot. That was done with a pair of aerial photographs. If you do that you should know in advance that many items will show in the photograph. You can see the top of a telephone pole. If you have survey pins and cut a hole in a white sheet of plywood and set them over the survey pins they will show in the aerial photos. They thought my trailer was a dog house. You could mark locations you want marked with the plywood trick or with a slice of log.

Usually they get ordered through your surveyor and he gets a copy. He then does his work using the results. You can ask them to "protect" an area adjacent to your property. A property you want to buy, or an intersection. Whatever it might be. Otherwise you get only the area of your property
 
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Contour map is a free app.  It is a bit clunky, and takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but does a fair job. It can go as high as 1' contours.
http://contourmapcreator.urgr8.ch
 
pollinator
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I used to live in a house high up in the Pennines in northern England that was seasonally damp . Every season it was damp :-)

David
 
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Hi Nathan.

Congratulations on your purchase. I suggest at least the free contour mapping app.

Is "seasonally wet" accurate, or understatement? I mean, are you talking about flood plain?

If you have arborists around, you can usually source clean wood chips from them, as long as they're not taking down trees previously treated for things like the Emerald Ash Borer. Adding organic matter to the top of clay soils can greatly impact the ability of fungi to remediate the soil, increasing soil life.

You could also take whatever your favoured green manures are that like to germinate and grow in the wet, preferably ones that have deep taproots and put lots of organic matter in the soil. To these, especially if your soil is rich, perhaps consider adding any of a variety of daikon radishes and/or heirloom beets of the mangelwurtzel variety. Even if you don't have livestock of some sort, even borrowed (I am sure a neighbour's hypothetical pigs would love you forever if you let them at that pasturage when the daikons/mangelwurtzels were done) the organic matter left in the soil would be tubes of composting veggie matter increasing soil structure and drainage, and feeding all your soil life.

Depending on how wet "seasonally wet" actually is, you might want to consider the type of hugelbeet usually employed to regulate moisture levels in seasonally waterlogged soil. A combination of burying woody materials and biomass and layering it with subsoil, topsoil, and raw and finished manures and composts, and raising your beds a foot or more above ground level. Granted, this approach is usually too labour-intensive for broad-acre application, but on the other hand, employed on contour, a system of these could increase water infiltration with the spreading root zones, much like swales that dig themselves over time.

If you can show us some pictures and let us know a bit more about your specific circumstances, that might help us get a handle on what you're dealing with.

Good luck, and keep us updated!

-CK
 
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Location: Beulah, CO
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Nathan,

I am familiar with the areas around Corning and Binghamton upstate NY as I am there for work every 2 months.  I've also been through a PDC.  

There are lots of free apps and data likely already available (investigate that first)
Secondly, you can take a google earth contour and import GPS data like contour lines into that map. So if you have a rotary laser level and a GPS, you can DIY it (worst case).  

If you're planning swales, key lines  or other earthworks, you can always just use a laser level to do all your work.  The most important thing is to find the lowest point on the highest boundary of your property and work from there.

I hope that helps.  Let me know if I'm on your way and could be of any assistance.  

Regards,

bob
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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If you were to texturize your land, it would help alot.

if you were to cut your flat land into 8ft strips and then every other strip you turn into a 2ft depression with some earthwork equipment and as for that 2ft of soil that you remove, dump it to the adjacent 8ft strip of land.

There would be a 4ft difference between the adjacent strips, more than enough than deep enough to hold the water, that 4ft difference might be too much for you so you could easily go for half of that. You could also fill the depression strip (swale) with wood chip and get a nice harvest of wine cap mushroom or oyster mushroom or pillbug factory for some chicken or duck, or maybe you could throw a pond liner at the lowest elevation strip and turn it into a fish pond.

You dont have to texturize your entire 11 acre you could just do area that you actually need.



 
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