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I'm a meteorologist with little experience in hydrology. I'm studying my land with the rainwater flow patterns during heavy rain events and looking to manage the erosion, flash flooding, and ponding on my property. Thankfully it backs up to natural wetlands. The main issue is that the ditch in front of our house overflows faster than it removes water downstream. Our neighbors frequently have to place sandbags at the front of their driveway to keep their garage from flooding.

I'm not sure where to go next. Any thoughts on where to look for more information?

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    $\begingroup$ 1) County or city government? (Maybe you have already tried this). 2) Civil engineer to determine need for pipe or the need for professional grading co. 3) Geotechnical engineer (doubtful in your case). I would start with the local government. Really a grading company could probably handle the whole thing, but the local govt will require a permit probably. I don't see why the govt would not do it to benefit all the homeowners. $\endgroup$ – Gordon Apr 15 '18 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Btw landscape architects are trained to mitigate some of these problems, but your situation sounds a little more involved at this point; I don't know, but they are certainly worth considering. Something tells me that ditch will still need attention, pipe, or etc. Maybe your neighbor can go with you to meet with govt. (as long as get along with your neighbor!). This is not legal advice, but just based upon some issues I have dealt with over the years. $\endgroup$ – Gordon Apr 15 '18 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Gordon -- Your comments would make a good answer. $\endgroup$ – Jasper Apr 15 '18 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Gordon - I appreciate the kind words, but please don't hesitate to include an answer if you have additional information to add. The more information we can present to the OP the better. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Apr 16 '18 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ You definitely need to talk to local authorities if you have wetlands. You may not be able to divert any of the ditch water into the wetlands. $\endgroup$ – mkennedy Apr 16 '18 at 22:53
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Erosion:

  • Establishing a deep rooted vegetation may help. What would work best is dependent on where you live. Your local conservation office would be able to help with what would work best in your area. This site has some good information for choosing plants on slopes.
  • Rip-rap (rock) is also commonly used to help slow erosion. The size you would need would depend on the slope and flow of a the drainage, if it would be within a drainage area.

    enter image description here

    Source: http://www.erosioncontrolnetwork.com/rip-rap/rip-rap.aspx

  • Another option would be gabion baskets, however they would be one of the most expensive options. Gabion baskets often look like chain link fencing wrapped around rock. In this way the rocks stay in place and the can be placed in a more vertical position.

    enter image description here

    Source: http://www.svca.on.ca/page.php?page=erosionandfloodcontrol

Flash Flooding:

The first thing I would do is establish who is responsible for maintenance of the ditch. The capacity may need to be re-established or increased if run-off from additional developments have been added to it. If increasing the capacity of the ditch is not an option, I would see if I could construct either berms (a slight rise in topography) or swales (a minor trough in topography) to direct the water away from any structures on my property. However, you would need to make sure that you are not increasing flow onto any other neighboring properties or impeding flow from any other properties.

Ponding:

  • Dry wells are often used to address ponding in yards. They are basically an underground chamber that water is directly to through pipes. Holes in the container let water slowly soak back into the surrounding soils. These need to be sized properly to accommodate the volume of water one is trying to remove from the surface of their yard. Also, these may not work well in clay soils that the water would percolate slowly into. More information can be found at the source link below.

    enter image description here

    Source: http://www.svca.on.ca/page.php?page=erosionandfloodcontrol

  • Rain gardens are a more decorative option that includes water storage in a depression, water infiltration,and native vegetation. The basic idea of a rain garden is captured in the image below. Additional helpful information can be found here. Some municipalities may also have funds available for installing rain gardens on private property.

    enter image description here

    Source: http://vienna-wv.com/portal/2013/07/18/what-is-a-a-rain-garden/

Again, I would definitely contact the local jurisdictional authority before I do anything. There are many government agencies that have codes that need to be met. Additionally, they would know what works best in your area and may have subsidies that would help defray costs.

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