We live in a wet environment and the last few weeks have been quite wet with flooding all over our region. Usually we have inaccessible pastures during this time of year due to so much standing water. However late last summer we replaced an old collapsed culvert and installed a new one under the alley way. Today we took a walk in the sunshine to see how our culvert project has affected our troublesome locations, and I have to say that we are very pleased!
Here we have two sets of photos from standing in the same general location 11 months apart. To the left of the first 2017 image is the source of all of that standing water shedding from the hill and across the alleyway. The high spot in the second 2017 photo is where the collapsed culvert was. The standing water here was 12 to 18 inches deep and spilled into Pasture 2 for quite some distance as well. This was a common scene as it looked like this for most of the winter and spring, and it took a long while for the ground to dry out enough to allow the cattle to graze through the areas with standing water.
The two 2018 photos gap a bit in the center, but you can get a sense of how the two years look in the same location. After a few weeks of heavy rain and flooding, do you see any standing water? There isn’t any. (the darker areas in the second photo is exposed soil) The alleyway culvert is the blue/green spot on the left of the first photo and the replaced culvert is to the right in the second photo. We walked through the areas that have been the deepest water and though the ground is saturated, it has shed the excess water perfectly.
This is the alleyway, Pasture 1 is behind the trees on the left in 2017. It is hard to see from this photo but the standing water beyond the trees is 18 to 24 inches deep at this time of year in our seasonal high traffic alleyway. This is the primary access route from the winter pastures to the grazing pastures for the cattle. All of this wet is a big reason why it has taken us so long to be able to graze the cattle in these pastures in the spring or bring the tractor into these pastures. It has been frustrating, to say the least!
The elevation of the alleyway was also raised a bit to allow the culvert to drain the water underneath and toward the second culvert, and with all of that dirt work the exposed soil needed to be re-seeded and covered with old seedy hay. As we walked through this area today the ground was firm, which told us that we will finally be able to get the cattle to their pastures at the start of the grazing season and mow behind them to manage the pastures much more efficiently.
We have been looking forward to getting this project done for several years now and we’re thrilled to have finally been able to accomplish this necessary task. When we look at our land it’s hard to believe that our neighbors down the hill are still flooded and that the river is still so high.