Our first major earthworks were in the fall of 2015. At that time, we had swales dug in the northeast pasture, and a catchment pond and wetland area restored. We then went on that fall to dig more water directional ditches, off the roads and around buildings to make sure water sheeting down the hillside was directed to the pond to maximize the retention of rain runoff on the farm.
When there is a lot of water on the surface of the landscape, it needs direction, and if you put in some smart ditches and pipes allowing water to flow under roads, you can catch a surprising amount of water. It’s work thinking about, especially if you have land on a slope like Leafhopper Farm.
Our pond has been a great addition to the hydro works, catching all our upper property runoff and hosting a variety of wildlife throughout the year. We are committed to keeping this water source open to our local fauna, including deer, and waterfowl like hooded mergansers and wood ducks.
When big machines can make light work, with good planning, many amazing things can happen to enhance the landscape for generations to come. At our farm, we’re still planning many more machine works at the farm, but where we are right now can suffice for this generation of improvement. We hope in future to have our water planning move throughout the landscape, sending water from the top of the property to the creek with many swales and catchment basins in between to filter, feed, and rejuvenate the soil without erosion of harmful runoff.
There are still many places on the property that need to be addressed, and when we have a significant rain event, like the one pictured above; even with pipes and ditches, water will still cascade down the driveway, but will find it’s way to the pond further down this hill. Most of this writing addresses earthworks in use as water control, but earthworks does so much more, and to see it, I suggest visiting here, or another farm where earthworks are being executed, or already in place and established to see the results.