A watershed approach to reducing floods and non point pollution
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A Watershed Approach to Reducing Floods and Non-point Pollution. By Larry Stone & Bob Watson. PowerPoint Developed by Dick Janson in consultation with Larry Stone & Bob Watson; Based Upon Their Op-Ed in the January 22, 2012 issue of The Cedar Rapids Gazette.

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A Watershed Approach to Reducing Floods and Non-point Pollution

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A watershed approach to reducing floods and non point pollution

A Watershed Approach to Reducing Floods andNon-point Pollution

By Larry Stone & Bob Watson

PowerPoint Developed by Dick Janson

in consultation with Larry Stone & Bob Watson;

Based Upon Their Op-Ed in the January 22, 2012 issue of

The Cedar Rapids Gazette


A watershed approach to flood control

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

This presentation serves two functions; it informs and it requests.

Research tells us that prior to sod-busting in the 1830’s, rain and snow stayed on the land where it fell because of the sponge-like landscape of prairies, savannahs, forests, and wetlands.


A watershed approach to flood control1

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

There was a spring melt consisting of 10% of the year’s total rain and snow amount. But that happened over days and/or weeks. The melt’s volume was 3 to 4 inches of the annual rainfall of approximately 36 inches, and instead of flooding, the spring melt gently raised river volumes for a short time.

This presentation is about adopting crops and cropping systems that exist today that will, to the extent possible, recreate that sponge landscape without sacrificing our ability to feed ourselves.


A watershed approach to flood control2

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

We originally prepared this presentation with the floods of 2008 in mind. But, because of the crops and cropping systems we discuss, it’s become obvious that these ideas inform us about and speak to several other agricultural issues besides flooding. We hope you’ll see the implications relating to the drought, pollution and the “Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” the link between food and fracking, and the revitalization of rural America.


A watershed approach to flood control3

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

The request is that you work to change the farm bill.

Most farmers have to farm the farm bill in order to make money.

Change the farm bill and you will change agriculture.

Change agriculture and you will change flooding and pollution.


A watershed approach to flood control4

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Following the 2008 floods, the Army Corps of Engineers’ estimate of levee and pumping structures to “protect” Cedar Rapids from floods was $1 billion. More recent estimates for smaller systems have been substantially less, but still in the hundreds of millions.

CR Gazette


A watershed approach to flood control5

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

These efforts would protect only parts of Cedar Rapids, while creating worse conditions for other residents of the watershed. Also, these so-called “protective” systems would do nothing to alleviate the causes of floods.

CR Gazette


A watershed approach to flood control6

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

A parallel course of action would be for the people of Cedar Rapids and other flood-prone cities to focus on improvements in watershed practices to reduce flooding and pollution.

Larry Stone


A watershed approach to flood control7

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

This can be accomplished through this body and others spending political capital advocating a new farm bill, rather than only spending monetary capital on levees.

Senator Tom Harkin - Meeting with Cedar Rapids Residents


A watershed approach to flood control8

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Historically, Iowa was covered by deep-rooted forests, prairies, savannahs, and wetlands.

Konza Prairie LTER Program


A watershed approach to flood control9

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

This flora/hydrological system created a vast sponge ranging some 15 to 30 feet in depth both below and above the surface.

City of Elgin, IL


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Roots

of

Big

Blue

Stem

Hanging from

barn rafter

Photo: The Land Institute


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

This sponge …

This Perennial Land


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

allowed rainwater to infiltrate at 7 to 14 inches per hour, while purifying and slowly releasing the stored water for plant uptake and recharging groundwater and aquifers.

This Perennial Land


A watershed approach to flood control13

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Today’s intensive, row-crop agriculture has virtually destroyed that sponge.

Larry Stone


A watershed approach to flood control14

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Modern floods, although made worse by climate change’s extreme rain events,

CR Gazette


A watershed approach to flood control15

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

are mostly caused because industrial agriculture has turned the historic landscape on its head and put bare soil at the surface.

USDA NRCS


A watershed approach to flood control16

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

With this unprotected soil reaching saturation after as little as one inch of rainfall,

Janson


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

rainwater simply sluices off the surface…

USDA NRCS


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

on its way into our waterways.

USDA NRCS

USDA NRCS


A watershed approach to flood control19

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

But other innovative, alternative agricultural systems – which are available now –

The Land Institute


A watershed approach to flood control20

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

would allow us to re-perennialize agriculture and rebuild the topsoil “sponge,” with its flood and pollution mitigating capabilities.

Middlesex Stewardship Council, Ontario, Canada


A watershed approach to flood control21

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Soil Porosity Comparison

Never-plowed prairie soil & No-till conventional crop soil


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

An Iowa State University study has shown that interspersing annual crop fields with strips of native prairie,

STRIPs

STRIPs


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

STRIPs

STRIPs

STRIPs

which can soak up 7 to 13 inches of rain per hour, can eliminate up to 95% of erosion.

100% Perennial

Prairie Strips in Ag Crops

100% Agricultural w/No-Till


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

The Land Institute is breeding prairie plants to have large seed heads for human and animal consumption.

The Land Institute

Mike Strand, Salina Journal


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

The first of these should be ready for sale to farmers by 2020.

Photo Credits: The Land Institute


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

We will be able to eat the prairie,

Photos: Julie Dennis Brothers, FarmForkLife.com


A watershed approach to flood control27

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Laura Jackson

Kernza Rhubarb Pie


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

and these crops would help rebuild Iowa’s historic sponge.

Photo: Jodi Torpey, WesternGardener.com

Photo: The Land Institute


A watershed approach to flood control29

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

We also should take livestock out of confinement buildings,

Photo Credits: Janson


A watershed approach to flood control30

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Larry Stone

David Schmidt, UMN

David Schmidt, UMN


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

which are really dangerous sewage collection facilities.

David Pressler, UMN

CAFO Lockout Tag


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Treated Human WasteRaw Human WasteConfinement Waste

CBOD 25 200 1000

TSS 30 200 1000+

Ammonia/Nitrogen 1-5 15-20 300-400

Confinements create:

•untreated sewage,

•hydrogen-sulfide,

•ammonia,

•methane, and

particulates that damage human health…


A watershed approach to flood control33

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

and pollute the environment.

MIDWEST WIDE AMMONIA CLOUD

Courtesy of Donna Kenski, Ph.D.

Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium, Des Plaines, IL


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

And we should remove livestock from feedlots, which often are little more than open sewers.

Oceanworld.tamu.org


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

If we put animals on the land, fields now used for row crops could be converted to pasture. Utilizing intensive rotational grazing, that pastureland could store up to 7 inches of rain per hour.

Middlesex Stewardship Council, Ontario, Canada


A watershed approach to flood control36

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

As part of a rotational cropping system, crops which would feed people and animals could include small grains, hays, vegetables, and fruits.

USDA NRCS

Orchard Photo Credits: Seed Savers Exchange


A watershed approach to flood control37

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Another important part of a rotational cropping system could be industrial hemp, which needs little or no commercial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

J.C. Calloway @ Finola.com


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Hemp was important for food and fiber in early America, but its cultivation now is prohibited in the United States. (We are the only developed country to ban hemp.)

Samson Images.com


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

Yet hemp ranks second only to soybeans in its protein content, and it can be used to produce food, fiber, textiles, paper, essential fatty acids, and other products. These hemp products are legally bought and sold in the US. We just can't grow the hemp that they are made from.

Photo Credit: Apparently Apparel.com


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

The declining supply of petroleum eventually will require a change from petro/chemical-dependent industrial/row crop agriculture

Larry Stone


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

to more sustainable crop rotations.

The Land Institute


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

That could mean the need for 40 to 60 million smaller, sustainable farmers.

The Land Institute

Bob Watson


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

And that could revitalize our rural communities.

Photo Credits: Larry Stone


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

A more diverse, sustainable sponge agriculture…

Photo Credits: Janson


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

would go a long way toward reducing future flooding and pollution along Iowa’s waterways.

USDA NRCS


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A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

  • A farm bill that spends political capital to promote watershed improvements to reduce floods and pollution.

  • A levee and pump system to attempt to control the next “500 year” flood.

    These are parallel courses of action.


A watershed approach to flood control47

A Watershed Approach to Flood Control

THANK YOU!

QUESTIONS?

Contact Information

Bob WatsonLarry Stone

[email protected]@alpinecom.net

(563) 379 - 4147(563) 419 - 6742

www.civandinc.net (Appendix D)


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