how do I properly drain low lying land along a creek?

Chicken Fruit

10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Echo Homestead
We have almost 2 acres that is low laying at the house we inherited. Its full of useless pine trees and "wet" pasture grass (we're in upstate NY) its along a good size creek. It floods with the melt off (usually about a foot deep across most of the entire 1+ acres) otherwise its fairly dry year round. However any time the creek rises from rain the water table pops right up and that area gets a little soggy. So much so that we wouldnt want to garden on it or have livestock on it. A lot of the trees need to go, theyre scrubby and useless, however in the middle of the area there are three MASSIVE sycamores gulping up water that we'll leave. Theyre just too pretty.. and big.

This is a major issue as I'd like to fence it and use it for both a veggie garden and some goats and a pony.

Would trenches with gravel, or even just an open ditch or two be sufficient? Its not clay soil, its just loamy healthy sandyish soil. There is a small "pond" in the midst of it, and a small marsh in one corner against the creek.

Any thoughts? I could link some satellite pictures if someone has any serious ideas...

Thanks guys!

PS iam not really looking to stop the yearly melt off floods- just the standing water from the occasional heavy rain and high water table. It seems kinda impossible to stop the floods- as we dont own the other bank and its higher than us.
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First i'd check to make sure you're allowed. In some places that might be "disturbing seasonal wetlands" or some other big no-no. Better to be sure it's kosher first, then be hit with fines and having to re-establish it as swampy later.
I have the same exact problem where I live, SAME problem. As for being able to do anything with it, as long as we own it, we can do whatever we want with it. Wetlands definition here is property that cannot be built on. However, you can install proper drainage, which we looked into. It would be underground piping. Just something that is out of our budget right now, but doable. Our neighbors did it, and it works.
In NY as long as its not on the army corps of engineers wet lands map its not protected. This is just low land that used to be dry and now is not as the creek has changed course of the years.

I think I might try some ditches... We could always bury pipe in them later. I noticed the farmers across the way did one big trench ditch in a similar area and it now has pasture grass in it. All it would cost is paying someone with a little back hoe to come in and dig...

It just seems pointless to have all that land and not be able to DO anything with it. grrrr.
Wetlands and areas, such as yours, serve an integral purpose, in the overall function of the environment....A prime example is large housing developments. Instead of building amongst the trees, and letting trees do what they are designed to do, land is bulldozed, for the conveniences of the infrastructure...Then, they have to build huge rentention ponds, to contain storm runoff, which would not have occurred, had some semblance of nature been allowed to remain intact.

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