How do flood plains make agriculture possible

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Six ways to increase productivity of flood-based farming systems

  1. Water distribution. Floods may vary in intensity and duration, from a few hours to a period of months, and may also at times be forceful and unpredictable.
  2. Field water management. Being able to manage the rise and drainage of floodwater within a field is also essential to be able to use the water productively.
  3. Groundwater use. …
  4. Agronomic practices. …

More items…

The formation of the floodplain on a valley floor is caused by the river. The river channel naturally meanders through the landscape and over time deposits sand, silt and other soil-forming material, especially during floods. These deposits provide fertile soil for agricultural production.

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Answer

Can farmers have their crops and floodplains?

A number of farmers are now realizing they can have their crops and some floodplain, too. J. Stacey Sullivan, policy director at the nonprofit group Sustainable Conservation, is guiding a major pilot project in partnership with the Almond Board of California and UC Davis.

How can floodplains boost the productivity of flood-based farming systems?

The productivity of flood-based farming systems can also be boosted by considering the multiple ways that floodplains provide benefits, such as through fishery, flood pastures, fuel wood collection and water supply.

What processes are involved in the natural development of floodplains?

There are two major processes involved in the natural development of floodplains: erosion and aggradation. The erosion of a floodplain describes the process in which earth is worn away by the movement of a floodway.

What is flood-based farming?

Flood-based farming is possible in areas that regularly receive floods, which can form the basis for productive farming systems, such as crop cultivation, livestock grazing or fishing grounds. Four main types of flood-based farming systems have been identified:

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How do floods impact agriculture?

Erosion and soil displacement from flooding can ruin fields and destroy crops. Erosion washes the fertile top soil away which leaves crop plants with nowhere to set roots. Sand, gravel, and rocks deposited by flood waters can smother and destroy exposed crops.


How does flooding help agricultural soils?

Flooding Influences Plant-Available Nutrients Deposition of sediments from floods may increase the level of nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon, and potassium in the soil. Water soluble nutrients such as nitrate-nitrogen and potassium can be leached past the crop’s rooting depth and potentially into the groundwater.


Can you grow crops on a floodplain?

Floodplains are the areas of level land located along the stream banks of rivers and streams. These dark-colored soils are rich in nutrients, providing ideal conditions for crop production despite the flooding risks.


Why are flood plains important in agriculture?

Sustainable Agriculture: Floodplains by Design helps to keep agriculture operations out of the most flood-prone areas, provides natural buffers to streams from farm and ranch operations, and targets restoration activities at the most ecologically valuable places.


How do floods help plants?

Water stored underground will be replenished by the floodwater, while soil above ground will be able to soak up the water. Plants will be able to receive water as a result. The nutrients carried by the flood water can also revive deprived plants and aid in the germination of seeds.


What is floodplain farming?

Floodplain management strategies in agricultural areas can take many forms. Practices to reduce risks affect the local river ecosystem but can also impact environments downstream. For example, farmers can protect their land from floods by planting trees, changing their crops types, or restoring riparian vegetation.


Why do farmers flood their fields?

This winter, some California farmers will be flooding their fields to replenish groundwater. El Niño is expected to deliver a warmer, wetter winter season to California, and farmers are hoping to capitalize on the extra water by directing floodwater and stormwater to their fields.


What crops can grown in flooded fields?

Crops grown in these areas tend to have phosphorus deficiencies, even in areas where soil phosphorus tests are adequate. Research indicates that banding 60 pounds of phosphorus oxide (P2O5) per acre can improve corn yields in flooded fields. Soybeans and sorghum are fairly tolerant to this as well.


Why do flood plains make agriculture possible?

Explanation:The flood plains make agriculture possible because it provides fresh water and it is the most fertile land. The flood plains jeopardize the the live…


Why are flood plains important to agriculture?

The flood plains make agriculture possible because it provides fresh water and it is the most fertile land. The flood plains jeopardize the the livelihoods of agricultural workers because flooding can harm people’s lives.


What is a floodplain?

floodplains are usually very fertile agricultural areas. Floods carry nutrient-rich silt and sediment, and distribute it across a wide area. floodplains are flat and often have relatively few boulders or other large obstacles that may prevent far


Why are farms at risk of flooding?

Farms in New England tend to be concentrated in river valleys because the soils are fertile and easily cultivated. Thus, many farms in this area are vulnerable to floods. Storms such as nor’easters and hurricanes are of particular concern because they can have very high rates of precipitation. For example, in 2011, Tropical Storm Irene hit the East Coast of the United States. Intense rains caused rivers in western Massachusetts to reach record high levels. An estimated 15,400 acres of farmland in western Massachusetts and Vermont were damaged during the storm. The economic impact of this storm on agriculture was about $20 million USD. Flooding on farmlands can cause many types of damage. They may include crop loss, contamination, soil erosion, equipment loss, debris deposition, and the spread of invasive species. In New England, farms are important to the regional economy and food supply. Luckily, farmers have a number of solutions available on-line for reducing the impact of increasing flood risk due to climate change.


How can farmers protect their land from floods?

For example, farmers can protect their land from floods by planting trees, changing their crops types, or restoring riparian vegetation.


How much damage did the floods do to farmland in Massachusetts?

Intense rains caused rivers in western Massachusetts to reach record high levels. An estimated 15,400 acres of farmland in western Massachusetts and Vermont were damaged during the storm. The economic impact of this storm on agriculture was about $20 million USD. Flooding on farmlands can cause many types of damage.


Why should the land bordering rivers be restored to natural forests?

The forests would increase water infiltration, protect banks form erosion and reduce flooding.


Why are farms important in New England?

In New England, farms are important to the regional economy and food supply. Luckily, farmers have a number of solutions available on-line for reducing the impact of increasing flood risk due to climate change. Research brief Classroom materials.


Why did the rancher put floodwater on his land?

For many years he was putting floodwater on his land not necessarily because he was thinking of recharging his aquifer, but he was afraid of having his levees wash out, so he wanted to relieve pressure. The idea of using water for that purpose on his ranch came up in 2011.


What are some encouraging things about the agricultural system?

One of the things that’s very encouraging is we’ve had a wide a range of geographical distribution and different types of crops that are represented. We’ve got almonds, grapes, prunes, people with row crops. We want as wide a range as we can. We get the best results from the demonstration that way.


How many acres of farmland is needed to recharge the Kings River Basin?

I know that in the Kings River Basin, if they were going to just use dedicated recharge basins to basically correct their overdraft of their groundwater aquifer, they would need to retire something along the lines of 20,000 acres in productive farmland. If you can get that recharge without having to shut down the farms, you’re in that much better shape.


What are the challenges of coastal sewage treatment plants?

Some coastal sewage treatment plants are beginning to experience challenges from climate change, such as backflow from seawater and potential discharge problems. Two experts explain how facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area are addressing these risks. Feb. 26, 2018


Why are we going as fast as we can?

We’re still very much in the groundwork phase, but we’re going as fast as we can because that water could be coming very soon. We’re really trying to think about it in terms of days and weeks rather than months.


What was the Central Valley before?

Before it was settled by European immigrants, California’s Central Valley was a vast floodplain. Every winter it would fill with shallow water from swollen rivers, and this water would slowly trickle into underground aquifers.


Who said that groundwater is a basic hydrological function?

J. Stacey Sullivan: That’s correct. That’s why we have the underlying wealth of groundwater in the Central Valley that we do. That’s a basic hydrological function.


How can farmers use floodwater?

Several mechanisms can help in this matter: Dikes and soil bunds can help protect fields from unexpected floods and they can also allow farmers to dra in or retain water as needed; drainage ditches can be used to channel away excess floodwaters; and reuse agreements can enable farmers to take turns using water from the same source.


What is flood based farming?

Flood-based farming is possible in areas that regularly receive floods, which can form the basis for productive farming systems, such as crop cultivation, livestock grazing or fishing grounds. Four main types of flood-based farming systems have been identified: Floodplain agriculture, which is the most common type of flood-based farming in …


What is the Spate Irrigation Network Foundation?

This research has contributed to The Spate Irrigation Network Foundation, which aims to strengthen the networks of farmers and other stakeholders in flood based spate irrigation areas and to support and help implement programs on exchanging good economic and social practices and settling issues of water distribution and conflict mitigation. www.spate-irrigation.org.


Why is flood farming common in Asia?

Flood-based farming is also common in Asia, where it yields greater productivity and supports larger populations than what is reported for Africa. This discrepancy is primarily due to better management and more diverse uses of floods in Asia.


How to safely steer water?

Dividing the floodwater into smaller portions, and avoiding steep slopes where water can pick up speed, can help safely steer water. Other relevant flow diversion structures can be put place, including drop structures (to transition between levels), flood bed stabilizers (to prevent uncontrolled runoff) and water-spreading weirs (to reduce erosion).


How many people are affected by floods in Africa?

While floods are often framed as harmful and destructive, they also have many positive impacts and provide benefits for people and nature. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 25 million hectares are already being irrigated with floods, in various ways. With a mean plot size of 0.5 hectare, it can be assumed that about 50 million people directly …


How can floods be improved?

But, the use and management of floods can be improved, by implementing relatively low-investment and low-skill interventions, to boost agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.


What are the two processes that occur in the natural development of floodplains?

The erosion of a floodplain describes the process in which earth is worn away by the movement of a floodway. Aggradation (or alluviation) of a floodplain describes the process in which earthen material increases as the floodway deposits sediment.


Why do floodplains require more insurance?

Houses and businesses that are built on floodplains often require more insurance coverage than buildings constructed on higher ground, because flood damage is more likely to occur.


How big is the flood fringe of the Todd River?

The flood fringe of the seasonal Todd River extends the floodplain to 445 square kilometers (170 square miles). Some floodplains are extraordinarily wide. The Barotse floodplain of the Zambezi River, for example, is a vast wetland stretching thousands of kilometers through Angola, Zambia, and Botswana.


Why is the Nile delta subsiding?

The huge aggradation of sediment around the Nile delta, for instance, is subsiding due to the rising level of the Mediterranean Sea. The alluvium, or sediment, of a floodplain varies. Its coarseness and composition depend on the surrounding landscape and the velocity of the currents that created the floodplain.


What are the features of a floodplain?

Features such as oxbow lakes and seasonal wetlands are often a part of floodplains created through erosion and deposition. A meandering stream can contribute to a floodplain’s aggradation, or build-up in land elevation, as well as its erosion. A typical aggradation environment is a wide, shallow, braided river.


How does a river erode a floodplain?

A river erodes a floodplain as it meanders, or curves from side to side. The massive lowland floodplain of the Amazon River, for instance, is carved with hundreds of oxbow lake s that document the meandering river and its tributaries over time.


Why do floodplains have meadows?

Many flood-plain settlements maintain flood meadows and water meadows to reduce the impact of seasonal flooding. Flood meadow s are natural areas of grassland immediately adjacent to a floodway. Flood meadows are often used as pasture s for livestock when they are not saturate d with water.


How can I reduce flood risk on my farm?

How you can reduce flood risk on your farm. Large rocks are assembled for a low-grade weir, a water control structure, in an agricultural drainage ditch in north Mississippi. Good planning and investment by private landowners and agricultural producers can prevent flooding and protect land interests and assets .


What happens when rain pours down?

As the rain pours down, water levels in ditches, creeks, rivers and storm drains rise rapidly, increasing flood risk in urban and rural areas.


How can water control structures help?

Water control structures like low-grade weirs can aid in slowing water flows to reduce the energy in drainage water from eroding channel bottoms and banks. Pipes with in-field slots — or risers with boards — also enable landowners to slow and control water movement.


How does water infiltration help the soil?

Improving water infiltration — the rate at which water gets through the surface and into the soil — helps to prevent localized flooding and replenishes groundwater. Improved infiltration also can lead to potential increases in water held in soil.


Why is adequate drainage important?

An adequate drainage system is the most common planned response to reduce flood risks on farmed land. Such a system involves maintaining watercourses, improving drainage …


Why is proactive land management important?

While proactive land management may seem like an unnecessary financial burden, protecting and investing in natural resources almost always saves money in the long run. Management and conservation help ensure adequate drainage, reduce flood risk and prevent minor erosion issues from becoming major concerns. Eroding landscapes means land loss and can …


What does it mean when a landscape is eroded?

Eroding landscapes means land loss and can put livestock at risk for injury. Be aware of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that address ongoing erosion battles. Some programs provide financial incentives to implement stream buffer zones or other conservation practices. Such practices and programs help protect land resources and slow the flow of runoff, intercept sediment and increase infiltration.

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Flood Management Tradeoffs

  • Floodplain management strategies in agricultural areas can take many forms. Practices to reduce risks affect the local river ecosystem but can also impact environments downstream. For example, farmers can protect their land from floods by planting trees, changing their crops types, or restoring riparian vegetation. Such measures can help lessen flo…

See more on climatehubs.usda.gov


Interviews with Floodplain Stakeholders

  • In 2014, we interviewed 36 residents and farmers in the Deerfield River watershed in western Massachusetts. This area has experienced significant flooding in recent years. Some residents proposed that all the land bordering rivers should be restored to natural forests. The forests would increase water infiltration, protect banks form erosion and reduce flooding. This practice, howev…

See more on climatehubs.usda.gov


Teaching Tradeoffs and Floodplain Resilience

  • As the climate changes, farmers and community stakeholders in New England will need to adapt to changing rainfall patterns. We created a curriculum to facilitate learning and discussion of this issue. The content is based on interviews we did with floodplain stakeholders. Lessons look at strategies that can help protect farms, downstream communities, and river ecosystems from flo…

See more on climatehubs.usda.gov

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