January 18, 2015


A view of the mid-point of the swale and I initially approached. You can see all the locust trees we planted on the uphill side of the swale

The last few days we have had nearly constant rain. The land, after several months of steady precipitation in the form of snow and freezing rains, is beginning to become saturated. The downpours over the last few days are expressing themselves in a lot of overland flow of water.

The seasonal creek which runs through the main silvopasture, where we build a roadway/swale this past spring, is running powerfully. This is the first time since the swale was constructed that the creek is running and we can see how the swale holds up to task of stopping and infiltrating the water.

Close up of the mid-swale looking east, filled with about 6 inches of water. Seems to be holding up well.

Mid-swale, photo take from the same position as above, but looking the other direction down the swale.

A small creeklet running overland into the mid point of the swale.

As we walked down the swale toward the main creek inlet, we could easily see that the bottom of the swale was not perfectly level. There was a distinct rise which you can see below.

High point in the swale bed, looking toward where the above photos were taken.

Past the high point, the swale was still filled.

In order to still have access to a dug well we use for irrigation, we had to bust down a part of the swale mound and raise the swale bed. It turns out that the swale was holding so much water that these temporary earthworks were blown out, and the swale was loosing some water back downhill to the seasonal creek bed.

You can see the bust out on the bottom right. I am taking the picture standing on the raised portion of the swale bed we were using for temporary access as we develop another section as a permanent access down to the well. I am looking toward the inlet swale.

Walking down the swale some more we saw some rutting from when the swale was made, which were sticking above the water surface.

Walking to the end of the full-width section of the swale, where the inlet swale from the creek enters, looking toward where the above picture was taken. you can see the rutting in the swale in the distance.

A shot of the inlet swale with the forcefully flowing water coming out of the culvert. The water was so powerful that is busted a hole in splash pad mound. So only a portion of the creek is entering the swale. That splash pad will need to be significantly reinforced in the future.