This series will document the explanation, layout and installation of a backflood swale attached to a dam with a road crossing the swale with culverts under the road.
A backflood swale is a rain water harvesting earthwork on contour which is attached to a dam and is used to divert water from a catchment area to a dam and to move water from the dam across landscape. It is useful to increase the catchment area that feeds a dam and can be used to put the spillway farther from the dam.
A backflood swale fit into my design because I wanted to hold more water up higher in my pasture and I needed an access road to run close to the dam so I had to find a different location for the spillway.
On the farm, I try to DIY everything. I need a water line run from the house out into a centrally located area in my rotational grazing setup. I have access to a good tractor and I wanted a subsoiler anyways to do keyline plowing so I got a subsoiler and used it to install the water line. Stacking functions is a good thing.
As with all digging projects, be careful where you dig so you don't hit anything important underground and call diggers hotline if your not sure.
In today's post I talk about logging, hugelkultur, putting wood on the downhill side of a swale mound, build site leveling, and road building.
I hatched about 50 new chicks with my incubator and bought 15 broad breasted white turkeys to raise this season. Here is a video of them in the brooder at night getting ready to go to sleep.
The satellite has recently passed over and updated the imagery for my project. It was a few weeks early as it missed 2 new ponds and 400 feet of swales but it will get it next time. I wanted to get these pics saved because these earthworks will soon become buried under new growth and I don't see many pictures of "virgin" permaculture earthworks from space on this scale. I don't know if it is just a coincidence or if it is part of the program but the pictures were taken within 1 month of each other perspectively. The before in November of 2013 and the after in October 2015.
Hey, I'm terraforming here.
In late spring 2014, I installed my first dam right above the lower field. It is the lowest catchment (so far) on the farm before allowing the water to exit into the lower field and creek. It drained quickly at first, not through the dam wall but under it via the original spring lines and into the surrounding landscape. After 2 years of filling and draining and silting up, it is now holding within 2 feet of full of the maximum depth of about 13 feet.
If I had to do it again, I would dig the keyway deeper (I didn't have my backhoe yet) and I would do a better job getting the topsoil down to the water line. Other than that, it's just how I want it and the ducks really like it. This spring, I hope to stock it with minnows and some lager fish.