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downslope access paths across swales when there's no ridge

 
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Hi

can you give me your experience in drawing access paths in the direction of the slope when there's no ridge on the land ? I have three swales, so they all have a leveled-spillway. But I don't know how to avoid the water runoff on the paths that are perpendicular to the swles.

Thanks for your feedback


 
master pollinator
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You may need to build "water bars" across the paths to direct the run-off to the sides.  There are lots of images and articles about water bars on the internet if you search that term.

We had a couple of water bars added to our driveway and they have helped a lot in keeping run off down the drive to a minimum.  We could use at least one more and will have it installed during the next driveway maintenance.



 
pollinator
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You could take the soil from some additional swales to make your own ridge.
Also if the swale cuts across the walkway, the swale will slow down the speed of the water on the walkway.
You could also line the walkway with woodchip/straw/gravel/CEB so as to make it more resistant to erosion.
A water bar is similar to swale/berm that cuts across a walkway(future gully), to slow the speed of the water and also send it off to the side.

EDIT: You could also make your walkway into a "terrace/steps" the with drop re-enforced by tiny rock filled baskets aka gabion, or if you hard huge rocks you could use those

 
gardener
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Suffolk County Water Bar construction notes

The above link is one of the best set of construction instructions I've ever seen, it even gives when this method is appropriate and where the diverted water should go next.

Most of this type of water diverting should be designed to fit the terrain you have. Just like swales, there are places they just don't work like they are supposed to work so you have to do something different to not make the problem worse than it is already.

Slopes over 10 degrees are a good example, my drive has a 38.6 degree slope with a drainage ditch on the up hill side, I have installed coffer dams to catch the subsoil that does erode in the drainage so it doesn't all end up down at the valley, covering the road surface.
My south facing slope is still in the process of being terraced into planting sized platforms with the back side of each acting like a swale to soak in all the water they can hold.
Our path ways use water bars to divert water from them to grassy swales along the top of our ridgeline, this water used to take top soil away but now the top soil is stable and only the water moves slowly to our berms on the down slope.
 
Louis Romain
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Wow thank you guys !
That's great. I thought aout water bars but I was not sure there was another way to approach this.
So water bars it is then !
Thanks for the great info.
 
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