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Tapping Arkansas Mountain Spring  RSS feed

 
Posts: 14
Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Hello everyone, I was hoping to find some help from someone who has knowledge or experience of tapping into a spring like mine. I bought 22 acres in Eureka Springs Arkansas and discovered two springs on the property that had previous spring boxes. The springs start at about 1400 ft elevation and flow into a series of creeks, lakes and finally ending in Beaver Lake. The pictures below are of the spring where the most construction had taken place. There are at least three holding/cistern boxes that I have uncovered so far, so my guess is that this spring at one time had good flow. The spring its self appears to seep through the cracks in the different layers of rock. Interestingly enough, on the opposite side of the ridge is the other spring that is at the same elevation. I was wondering if I can hammer a rock bar into the cracks in the rock where the water is flowing, in hopes of creating a larger space for water to flow? If this is not the best way would someone please lend some knowledge my way? I would also like to draw/upload some pictures of the past configuration so that someone could explain how/why it worked.

Future plans for the springs on the property include Ram pumps where applicable, holding stations and irrigation. We discovered almost our entire property is covered in blueberries and I just got several thousand feet of chicken house pvc water dispensers perfect for irrigating for $100!! (Just had to brag on my find!)

Any help/advice or joke is appreciated!
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Nick Marlowe wrote:Hello everyone, I was hoping to find some help from someone who has knowledge or experience of tapping into a spring like mine. I bought 22 acres in Eureka Springs Arkansas and discovered two springs on the property that had previous spring boxes. The springs start at about 1400 ft altitude and flow into a series of creeks, lakes and finally ending in Beaver Lake. The pictures below are of the spring where the most construction had taken place. There are at least three holding/cistern boxes that I have uncovered so far, so my guess is that this spring at one time had good flow. The spring its self appears to seep through the cracks in the different layers of rock. Interestingly enough, on the opposite side of the ridge is the other spring that is at the same altitude. I was wondering if I can hammer a rock bar into the cracks in the rock where the water is flowing, in hopes of creating a larger space for water to flow? If this is not the best way would someone please lend some knowledge my way? I would also like to draw/upload some pictures of the past configuration so that someone could explain how/why it worked.

Future plans for the springs on the property include Ram pumps where applicable, holding stations and irrigation. We discovered almost our entire property is covered in blueberries and I just got several thousand feet of chicken house pvc water dispensers perfect for irrigating for $100!! (Just had to brag on my find!)

Any help/advice or joke is appreciated!



Nice find! They didn't tell you that you had a spring on the property when you bought it?

I've been looking for land down that way but won't have cash until this winter. Have a pretty good read on available property and what's been available for a long time as well as what's in demand and what's not in demand.
 
Nick Marlowe
Posts: 14
Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Thanks J Anderson, I should have worded that better. Yes I knew there was one spring, however I had not seen the boxes, nor the second "Bonus" spring that I found later! Look every day for property around here. I have been a local here most of my life, actively seaching for property for about 3 years now. I was online every day and still missed opportunities for beautiful land just because a good piece of property with everything a homesteader could want goes quick! And believe it or not relatively cheap compared to many other places. Thanks for the response and good luck finding a place.
 
J Anders
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Nick Marlowe wrote:Thanks J Anderson, I should have worded that better. Yes I knew there was one spring, however I had not seen the boxes, nor the second "Bonus" spring that I found later! Look every day for property around here. I have been a local here most of my life, actively seaching for property for about 3 years now. I was online every day and still missed opportunities for beautiful land just because a good piece of property with everything a homesteader could want goes quick! And believe it or not relatively cheap compared to many other places. Thanks for the response and good luck finding a place.



Do you care to say how much per acre? Most of the places I'm looking at are around $2k per acre. A few places more and a few places less. It really depends. Have thought about renting something for awhile down there but I have such a wide area that could interest me that it's difficult. Hard to rent somewhere when I am open to places that are 150 miles away from where I might want to rent!
 
pollinator
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I might do a little observation before I went hog wild on developing the spring. That is sound Permicultural advice.

I say that not to dampen your enthusiasm, but because just because a spring was developed prior, does not automatically mean it was well producing, or had quality water. Back in the day (and not that long ago) when horse and mule logging reined, developing a spring or even seep to collect water for 1 or 2 horses, oxen or mules was common. All the seep had to do was collet enough water while the animals worked in the woods so that when thirsty, they had enough to drink while being rested. That might not be enough volume for homesteading.

But then again, it just might be.

To that end there are many ways to develop a spring, and the USDA has a lot of ideas on how to do that. Here in Maine, we typically use concrete well casings that are 4 feet high, and 4 feet in diameter, and then sink them into the ground around the spring. Placing rock around the base forces the water to sort of filter up through the rock and gives quite a bit of reservoir to the spring which can be pumped off to the home or livestock stock tank.

Another idea to get more water to a wet spot, is install drain tile (black plastic pipe that is perforated) that branches out to all the wet areas located around it. This collects water from a much broader area and then leads the water down to the central collection point which again is those concrete well casings sunk into the ground.
 
Nick Marlowe
Posts: 14
Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Travis, thank you for your advice. I had the water tested, it is good clean water at both spring sites.There are too many old pipes run up and down this mountain for the spring to be small or unusable. A few of the old timers around here say that if I can clean the site and use a pressure washer to wash out the clay and dirt stuck in the layers of rock, it should start flowing again. The main reason I believe there to be an already existing, well running seep is because the ground is very VERY wet all around the area and there is several feet of rocks and dirt ontop. To see this much moisture is uncommon as most of the time the water simoly travels under all the rocks around here making it difficult to find.

Thanks again for your response Travis.
 
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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There is a good thread on here with input from Zach Weiss. There is also a video of Zach casing a spring in Ecuador I believe, discussing the basic idea, and showing the installation of the gravel and geotextile. If you search for him (and there used to be a video of Sepp doing this stuff, can't seem to locate it), you will get the idea.

Bottom line is don't degrade the natural B/C horizon, that is the source of your lateral flow. Use correct materials (Zach is using modern stuff, and often lists sources).

This is a great opportunity to be the "spring guy" in your area. That is great value in a network. I have cased a small one as a kid just to learn, and it is something a reasonably smart 13 year old could figure out from materials in the library. Just measure twice, cut once, like everything else...
 
Travis Johnson
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Nick Marlowe wrote:Travis, thank you for your advice...



Thanks for correcting me, and it is a pleasure to be corrected. Water on a homestead is a first step and it seems you are off to a great start on purchasing the land, and on what needs to be done. You have my respect!

It is funny too that TJ Jefferson brings up the point of being "the Spring guy". I was just talking to a guy about this the other day. His Grandfather back in the day doused my well, and to make a VERY long conversation (but an interesting one) shorter, the man concluded that "dousing wells would make someone a great side retirement job." I never paid the Grandfather of this man for dousing my well, but he got paid for most of them. he was really good friends with my Grandmother so doused my well for free as a favor to her. That man went all over the state dousing wells for money. Not a bad side gig.

Not sure if dousing or developing springs is your thing or not, but it was interesting that this was just brought up.
 
Nick Marlowe
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Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Thank you TJ and Travis. I am interested in learning as much as my poor brain can handle when it comes to permaculture, survival and sustainability. I have lived in these woods most of my life, know most of the locals like family and love my area. It would be my great honor to learn more about the springs and water sources around my area, so that one day I might have enough experience to help others with their springs with safety and confidence. Being the, "Spring Guy," I like that! Again thank you guys!
 
Nick Marlowe
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Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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I also wanted to add that it is common around these parts to build a spring box, spring house or use stone and mortor to build....well I can't remember what they are called but basically a bowl on the bedrock to collect water and then reroute through a pipe. I worked in a quarry for a brief while and learned a lot about shaping stones, uses for different varieties of limestone, how to use stone and mortar and many other things. There are thousands upon thousands of undeveloped, unused springs in my area due to there not being a "Spring Guy" around here. Well partially true, while working at the quarry I met a man who had developed a few dozen springs for a local wealthy land owner. He would come in and get our largest blocks (somewhere around 18"x18"x24") he could possibly lift by himself and that is what he used to build his spring boxes/house. I work for a man who's father quarried his own stone using some hand tools to drop, divide and split limestone shelfs. There are some amazing people around my area. If any of you have time, look up my home town Eureka Springs Arkansas. We are known for our "healing" springs and there are many pictures of ES being built in the 1800s. The quarry I worked in is called Ozark Southern Stone, however if you google Beaver Arkansas quarry you can find old pictures of the quarry and nearby train staion. Really cool place to live and I feel fortunate to do so. Thanks you guys for the responses!
 
Nick Marlowe
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Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Ok one more, I dont believe I explained my pictures. The first picture is just one area on this spring that I have uncovered and is at the bottom of 3-5 shelves of rock, all with water coming out of the cracks. The water has obviously been running a long time because there are mineral deposits like stalagtites. Sorry if that isn't spelled right. I do not have pictures of the other spring but it is basically the same thing. 3-5 shelves, all about 3-5 feet tall, all with signs of water. I see a lot of pipe, brick and mortar, ferns up and down the slopes which means water. However there is 1-5 feet of rock/dirt and massive trees that have grown up around the areas. I am just curious about how to get this water flowing easier than hand digging the entire thing out. I was thinking I could drive a rock bar inbetween some of the shelves to open up the vein. Any thoughts?
 
Posts: 6619
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi Nick, You are in one of the best areas in the state! We love Eureka and have quite a few friends there.

I think if we had made a conscious choice of where to land in this state near Eureka would have been at the top of the list...and probably Fayetteville.

Lovely craft and music and food community......

Land with springs is such a bonus!
 
Nick Marlowe
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Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Judith Browning wrote:Hi Nick, You are in one of the best areas in the state! We love Eureka and have quite a few friends there.

I think if we had made a conscious choice of where to land in this state near Eureka would have been at the top of the list...and probably Fayetteville.

Lovely craft and music and food community......

Land with springs is such a bonus!



Hi Judith! Yes I love my area in the state. I have travelled almost every square inch of Arkansas and nothing quite compares to the Ozarks. Next time you are in Eureka stop by the Cathouse downtown. My girlfriend works there, Amanda. She will fix y'all up!
 
Travis Johnson
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Nick Marlowe wrote:I also wanted to add that it is common around these parts to build a spring box, spring house or use stone and mortor to build....well I can't remember what they are called but basically a bowl on the bedrock to collect water and then reroute through a pipe. I worked in a quarry for a brief while and learned a lot about shaping stones, uses for different varieties of limestone, how to use stone and mortar and many other things. There are thousands upon thousands of undeveloped, unused springs in my area due to there not being a "Spring Guy" around here. Well partially true, while working at the quarry I met a man who had developed a few dozen springs for a local wealthy land owner. He would come in and get our largest blocks (somewhere around 18"x18"x24") he could possibly lift by himself and that is what he used to build his spring boxes/house. I work for a man who's father quarried his own stone using some hand tools to drop, divide and split limestone shelfs. There are some amazing people around my area. If any of you have time, look up my home town Eureka Springs Arkansas. We are known for our "healing" springs and there are many pictures of ES being built in the 1800s. The quarry I worked in is called Ozark Southern Stone, however if you google Beaver Arkansas quarry you can find old pictures of the quarry and nearby train staion. Really cool place to live and I feel fortunate to do so. Thanks you guys for the responses!



I know how you feel...and please do not feel like what I am saying is this is Maine versus Arkansas, because I am not saying that; home is where the heart is.

Here we have granite quarries, though I have never worked in one. I have worked granite up though, and have plenty of slate from my own quarry. That has come in really handy here building my own house!

I just generally love history, railroads, and that sort of stuff, so I definately understand. Our own house is decorated like a 1930's era home complete with antiques and everything.

Here, we do not really need to develop springs, as much as knowing where the springs are, or wells. There were so many people here in the 1800's that "old cellar holes" abound, with many hand dug wells nearby. My Grandmother's house across the street has (3) alone. An "old cellar hole" down in the woods that used to be an old Inn, has one as well. I am not sure how many wells I have on my place, probably a dozen! I often joke that here we never "shoot, shovel and shut-up", because with so many wells way out in the woods, it is just easier to drop the bodies in! (Joking people)

The question I have is, how in the world of tarnation did the old duffers know where to dig? In this one spot, there is bedrock exposed all over the place, yet they started digging and got a 24 foot deep well right in between all this ledge. How the heck did they know they had to dig THERE. I am a big fan of dousing...I cannot explain it, but do believe in it, but still, I would have never tried to sink a well surrounded by ledge!
 
Nick Marlowe
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Location: Eureka Springs, AR
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Travis, thank you for your reply. Dousing has always fascinated me as well. A lot of the old timers will tell you if you want to find a spring or water, douse for it!
 
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