Pine River

Pine River
Pine River

It’s been a busy year in the Pine River watershed, earmarked by the completion of the Integrated Watershed Management Plan, funded by Ministry of the Environment and completed in partnership with the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority and the Ontario ministries of Agriculture and Food, and Rural Affairs.

Pine River Watershed Initiative Network (PRWIN) completed the construction of three wetland areas in 2012.

Other accomplishments include: planting 33,600 trees on 15 privately-owned properties with the participation of landowners; constructing an alternative water source for cattle; partnering with the Penetangore Watershed Group to complete watershed restoration activities in the Penetangore River watershed, Eighteen Mile River and Lower Main Saugeen River watersheds; and constructing more than two km of exclusion fencing that keeps cattle out of waterways.

PRWIN was also able to complete its first berm project. Berms work by storing water on a farm field to slow down the surge of runoff that follows an extreme rain storm.

The concept of storing water in Bruce County may seem counterintuitive to farmers who are installing tile drainage to make fields more productive in our often wet climate. While their efforts at removing water have been successful, they can result in unintended consequences downstream.

When rains do come, in recent times they are increasingly intense rainfall events. The increased velocity of water in streams during heaving rains causes erosion at a rapid rate, resulting in literally acres of valuable farm topsoil being quickly lost. Even an expertly drained field is still subject to surface runoff that can carry topsoil into streams, never to be recovered again. This topsoil is a resource we can scarce afford to lose. Once lost, productive fields take countless years to recover.

PRWIN partnered with the Ministry of the Environment, the County of Bruce, VanDriel Excavation Inc. and Farrell Farms in Huron Township to construct a berm designed to hold back water for 24 hours following a rainfall event.

This time period is important as the Farrell farm employs the typical crop rotation in the county – wheat, corn and beans, with the beans being the most sensitive to standing water. A bean crop can survive being submerged for up to 48 hours without dieback, so ensuring the water is off the landscape in 24 hours maintains crop health.

With engineering services provided by VanDriel Excavation, a berm was constructed to be about .69 metres high with an average width of 7.6 metres. It was designed to hold back a volume of 1,111 cubic metres of water on the 10.8 hectare field.

Allowing stormwater to pond temporarily behind the berm accomplishes two things. First, it allows the water to slowly enter the municipal drain, thereby decreasing the bank erosion downstream and nutrient input. And second, it allows topsoil to settle out and remain on the farm field rather than leaving via surface runoff.

A related element of this innovative project is a stormwater retention wetland that, during large rainfall events, allows water to leave the municipal drain and enter a stormwater wetland and sedimentation pond. Here, water slows down enough for more topsoil from the farm field to settle and nutrients to be absorbed by wetland plants.

Together, the field berm and the retention wetland work in tandem to conserve the capacity of the agricultural landscape and to further the mandate of the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network, which is to promote “clean water and a healthy ecosystem in the Pine River watershed.”

Also see this article Monitoring equipment installed on the Pine River

 

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Pine River
Pine River
Buffer Planting
Buffer Planting
Buffer Planting
Buffer Planting
4H Planting
4H Planting
PIne River
PIne River
Up Stream
Up Stream

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Project featured provincewide
Ontario has released a final report about communities in the province that have developed new water management tools with support of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program. A project by Ausable Bayfield Conservation and the Healthy Lake Huron: C
Friday, November 27, 2015   [details]

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