Turtle Creek Gardens is an 18-acre farm in Delavan, WI. Their $5,000 grant allowed them them to construct swales to mitigate rainwater runoff from a neighboring conventional farm and prevent rainwater flooding on interior areas. The swales were planted with grasses, forbs, perennials, and marketable crops.
“We have witnessed an immediate benefit from the newly constructed swale. We no longer have large areas of pooling water when we receive excessive rainfall amounts. In our proposal for the grant and early in the spring of 2016 we evidenced that 3 to 4 inches would inundate some of our farm that we use to grow our crops. Within a week after the swale was constructed over just a couple days we received 3+ inches of rain and the swale performed perfectly. It drained the low areas and the runoff slowly coursed through our farm away from our crop land. It was very gratifying to watch this working.
With these flood prone areas now able to drain effectively, we will no longer lose the time, effort and money expended on these parts of the farm to grow our marketable crops.
We have created a feature on the farm that will cultivate beauty. There will be a functioning drainage swale that will be a habitat for all sorts of new creatures and plants that would not ordinarily be in the “middle” of a vegetable operation. We expect pollinators to thrive in the newly introduced plant species that will complement the variety of flowers that the vegetables produce.
It is obviously a multiyear project. It will take years to have the new habitat mature to its potential but we are positive for the future!” ~ Steve Tomlins, field dude