Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Posey County and Vanderburgh County SWCD’s Use a Clean Water Indiana Grant to Build a Two-Stage Ditch

By Carrie Parmenter
District Technician, Posey County Soil and Water Conservation District

The SWCD’s are working in conjunction with the Posey County Drainage Board, Posey County Surveyor, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resource Conservation Service to install a ½ mile long two-stage ditch on Metz Lateral which is a tributary to Big Creek.  After months of canvassing the two counties for possible sites, this site was chosen because of the severity of erosion, easy access from a county road, suitable dimensions, and willing landowners.  

Metz Lateral where the two-stage ditch will be constructed.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a two-stage ditch, it is designed to have two levels.  The lower level is called the bench and it is about two feet above the normal water level.  These benches are grassed and act like little floodplains.  The side slopes are then taper back and also grassed.  The gentle slope and grass help stabilize the banks and provide additional area for flood waters during the spring.   The grass helps remove sediment and nutrients which creates much cleaner water.  

Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy 

There have been several two-stage ditches built in northeast Indiana, but this is a new conservation practice for southwestern Indiana.   The SWCD’s are planning to have events for the public to come and see the two-stage ditch being built and we will showcase the finished ditch.  It’s our hope that this practice will become much more common.   So watch the Posey County Soil & Water Facebook page for future activities during and after construction!   If you’d like to contact the Posey County SWCD you can find us at www.poseyswcd.net.  

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