One of my goals for my property has been to not allow any unfiltered rainwater runoff. Unchecked storm-water runoff from farm fields in the Mississippi Delta causes huge amounts of soil erosion and chemical contamination each year. This runoff has effects both locally and across the region. The most obvious effects are that the US Corps of Engineers maintains very expensive, full time dredging operations that are required to keep shipping moving on the Mississippi river and that there is a permanent “dead zone” at the mouth of the Mississippi river. Here are a couple of articles if you are interested. Sadly, it is common practice to leave millions of acres agricultural fields plowed and open (no cover crop) during the winter, exposing them to torrential rains and destructive erosion.
Even though I only have about 17 acres here, I wanted my plot to be a model for what I believe could happen on any agricultural land. Water flows from the high end of my property at 106 elevation to the highway at about 104. With only 24 inches of fall, it has been a challenge to move the water in a way to allow filtering before it exits the property.
I just added my fourth “pond” as you can see in the photos. In each pond the earth was removed and placed in an adjacent field. This corrected poor drainage in the field and created a depression that could accommodate runoff and then meter it slowly off the property. In the photo at left – and just before a large storm moved through – I put the finishing touches on the basin and “eyeballed” the overflow level to hold water at the level I wanted.
This pic shows what it looked like after the rain. After the water leaves this pond, it flows over a small sediment dam and through some brushy areas (filter) down stream before exiting. This was the last piece in my storm-water runoff plan and I think it’s going to work out well. If this is anything like my other ponds, it will, in addition to it’s soil conservation attributes, attract an incredible variety of wildlife.