Creeks, Rivers, and what about
A country drive looking at degraded Sub-Watersheds and Stripped Riparian Zones.
Take a look from the car window, and lets have a discussion about what we see, and what we do not see.
Rating: Poor (my personal rating system)
As I said earlier, our drive starts just south of Milton Ontario. This picture is looking almost straight north. The Niagara Escarpment is the high ground on the horizon and all the land around here is rising towards it. Lake Ontario is behind us to the south. Water will flow towards us in this picture.
This farmer may not like what I am about to say. He and other farmers like him are contributing to the wind and water erosion of our topsoil. In addition to this, his field is badly compacted with a clear elevation difference between the field and the grassy area at the bottom of this picture. Soil compaction contribute to poor crop growth, as roots need space in soil to grow into.
The dark strip up the middle of the picture is the low ground on the field. All water flows towards this area during the spring runoff and after a rain fall. Areas such as this collectively represent the headwaters or sub-watershed of our rivers. They may dry up during the summer month, as this one already has. Further down stream you will find that the water continues to flow all year as the flow off numerous areas like this gather together.
As you can see here, the farmer has plowed right across the low area, with the furrows oriented such that there is no restriction to the movement of water into the drainage area. Water is allowed to flow quickly carrying soil, organic mater, nutrients, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicide with it into the creeks. You are looking at a major source of algae blooms in our lakes right here. Water that gathers here is not protected from the sun resulting in elevated water temperatures in the creeks. At the vary least this farmer could plow parallel to the drainage area so that each furrow acts as a dam reducing water erosion, and he could allow the middle area to become a narrow meadow which would act as a filter.
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