Farmers and homeowners should be prepared for spring flooding

According to the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) floods are the most common natural disaster that communities face, excluding fire.

Michigan in the spring is a wonderful time. Fields are being prepared for the bounty that they will give us, life starts a new, and it is a great time to be a Michigander. Not only do we see the beauty of nature but we can also see its furor. The spring storms cause great floods that can devastate our landscape. The EDEN lists some common risks associated with flooding and cleanup of flooded sites including:

  • Airborne microorganisms; microbial growth (e.g. bacteria and fungi)
  • Heat stress
  • Mosquitoes
  • Slippery and unstable surfaces
  • Fatigue or exhaustion from working long shifts
  • Floodwater exposure; contaminated flood-waters
  • Sharp or jagged debris
  • Electrical hazards
  • Contact with animal and human remains
  • Air contaminants/Chemical exposures

So what steps can farms take to minimize damage by these unstoppable forces of nature?

Flooding in a field or farmstead also can have environmental consequences that farmers should be prepared for. Livestock facilities that have liquid manure storage should always maintain a 6-inch freeboard plus the 100 year storm event. A buffer or filter strip should be maintained along surface water edges to minimize soil loss and to help water infiltrate through the soil. Minimize wetland removal. One of the functions of wetlands is to receive storm water runoff and release it gradually. This will reduce the danger of flooding by changing brief heavy flows to slower discharges that flow at less dangerous rates.

For more information on flooding and how you can protect your home and farm visit the EDEN website.

Flooded road on Baldwin River
Road to the public access on the Baldwin River, Baldwin, Mich. May 5, 2012

Flooded Baldwin River
Baldwin River, Baldwin, Mich. May 5, 2012  

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