Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That Gully I Mentioned...

Now that the land is finally in our name our plans are beginning to feel real. With that in mind we went out the property right after signing the paperwork and talked about some more of the specifics of the layout. And then today we actually did a little bit of work, but more on that on another day! While we were out there on Monday afternoon I did take a few minutes to run down to the gully that I mentioned last Tuesday and Wednesday. On those days I didn't have a picture of the "major" problem area, but as you can see I have some now.

As you can see from the picture above we are losing a bit of land due to erosion. In fact that tree you see in the middle of the picture used to be on ground about two feet higher, but then it the whole chunk slid down into the ravine. Also, as evidenced by the picture on the right, you can tell that someone else thought this was a big enough problem that they also tried to fix it. Their fix involved throwing in some logs and brush along with the old woven wire and barbed wire fences that were taken down from some of the perimeter. That is not the kind of "fix" that I want to do. But, I do want to do something because I really don't want to lose that much more land down into this hole full of sticks and wire!

This last picture on the left shows some of the water shed that is funneling down into this gully and when you are there you can easily see the grass laid over from the rush of water coming down on all sides. This is not unexpected and isn't the end of the world, but it is something that can be addressed with good farming practices ... or fishing pond building ... but that may just be the fisherman in me speaking! Of course there is always going to be a rush of water in the spring with the combination of melting snow and spring rains, but it will be interesting to monitor this spot throughout the year to see how much water really runs off down the hill and into the gully.

I think my main method of attack will be to slow the water down, either by man made methods or by slowly increasing the organic matter throughout the farm so more precipitation would be soaked up by the ground and less will run off. Of course there will never be a perfect solution and it is totally natural for water to create a path of least resistance down the hill, we just want to make sure things don't get out of hand because of our bad stewardship.

So, any more ideas? What do you think about pulling the wire out of there? I'm not sure that it is really doing the job that it was intended to do and I also don't like the idea of just leaving junk laying around. But, I'm always open for more ideas. I do like the idea of a small livestock reservoir that can be used to water livestock below the "pond", but I think that will be in the long term project file.

Lots of work to do, but we are excited!


Rich said...

"What do you think about pulling the wire out of there? I'm not sure that it is really doing the job that it was intended to do and I also don't like the idea of just leaving junk laying around."

I can only tell you about one of my experiences with a situation like this. A tornado passed over the farm about 10 years ago, and left us with a massive cleanup job of downed trees, buildings, and fences. About 18 months later, a government tornado debris cleanup crew came and removed the downed trees, while they asked if I wanted to clean out a gully that contained old fence posts, etc. This gully had had these posts (and a little wire) for as long as I could remember, and it did look a little ugly, so I told them to go ahead and clean it up.

After they cleaned it out, it started to wash out more than before because the "junk" had acted like an ugly riprap to slow the erosion. In hindsight it would have been better in the long run to cover the debris (or junk) with something like rock.

Not to suggest that junk is the proper way to stop erosion, but I would go slow on removing it entirely. Remove it a little bit at a time so that the grass can fill the bare spots.

Anonymous said...

If it were me, I'd probably remove the wire just from a safety standpoint (people and/or livestock), but leave the rest of it for now.

You hit the nail on the head when you said 'slow the water down'. That's exactly what you need to do. One way to do that is to put up some silt fencing in two or three locations across (perpendicular) to the flow of water. Another way would be to stake some straw (not hay) bales across the flow of the water near the edge of the gully.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...