Conservation Ditches OWC

Conservation Ditches OWC

In an effort to reduce sediment traveling through the Old Woman Creek watershed and impacting the estuary and Lake Erie several agricultural ditches have received a face lift made possible through the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. Over 2,500 feet of “2-stage ditch” and 900 feet of “overwide ditch” was installed through 2012-2014 in three project areas of the east branch of Old Woman Creek. The locations were located in the targeted region for “in-channel” improvement as part of the Old Woman Creek Watershed Action Plan, as well as landowner interest and participation to try a new approach for ditch construction.

Overwide and 2-stage ditches differ from the traditional drainage ditch in agricultural fields by creating a overwide base or floodplain benches that allow the stream to spread out during higher flow events. By doing this, the stream flow can slow at the edges and allow sediment to settle out, while the vegetation helps to reduce excess nutrients in the water. An added bonus of these ditches is an increase in carrying capacity which helps to reduce flooding into adjacent fields that can result in reduced yields, erosion from run-off, and loss of nutrients. These ditches will help reduce an estimated 2,500 pounds of sediment impacting the watershed each year by reducing bank erosion, flooding, and acting as a sediment collection zone for sediment entering upstream of the project area.

If you would like to see these projects they are located on Derussy Rd in Huron County near Liles Rd and Andress Road, north of 113 in Erie County.