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Re: P2 practices for irrigated farming?



Scott,
I had a previous life as a soil conservationist and offer the following
simplistic ideas. For irrigation, clearly the most efficient method is
point of use drip irrigation, where the hose lines have openings spaced
to match plant locations. Obviously, this may not work with crops like
hay, but will work with others like veggies. These systems will cost
some money but save a lot of water.
As for sediment, the age old method of building sediment ponds/trenches
allows the sediment to settle before it drains into surrounding
waterways. Another way is to plant a dense cover crop as a buffer along
the waterway and allow the returning water to flow over it. The cover
crop will capture some of the sediment.
Melinda Dower
NJ (yes, that's the Garden State) Dept of Env. Protection
>>> "Butner, R Scott" <scott.butner@pnl.gov> 06/24/03 12:53PM >>>
Sometimes, if we play our cards right, our professional lives and our
personal lives intersect in interesting ways.  Such is the case for me
at the moment.  Thanks to my overriding obsession with fly fishing, I
find myself in the role of being a P2 client, rather than provider. 
So
of course, I'm turning to P2TECH.

As anyone who has spent 5 minutes talking to me knows already, I am a
fanatical fly fisherman.  Most of the time I spend fishing is spent in
the scenic Yakima River Canyon, a 1500 foot deep gorge cut by the
Yakima
River through basalt cliffs in the eastern foothills of Washington's
Cascade mountains.  The surrounding area is semi-arid (< 10 inches of
rain/year) but fertile farmlands, needing only water and seed to grow
just about anything one can imagine.  

Before entering the canyon, the river flows through the Kittitas
valley,
a largely agricultural area with lots of hay farming, as well as corn
and other grain.  Most of this is irrigated farming, and a lot of the
acres are irrigated using flood irrigation.  One of the Yakima's key
tributaries in this region, Wilson Creek, picks up a great deal of
sediment from the 54,000 acres of irrigated land that make up it's
drainage.   This sediment makes a huge impact on the river.

A group of us who use the river for recreational purposes (including
many of the 30 guides who earn their living by taking people fishing
on
this stretch of river) are trying to engage the local ag community to
work on collaborative solutions to this problem.  But my P2 experience
is mostly limited to manufacturing facilities, and I don't have many
tools to work with when it comes to farm practices.  

I know some of you work with the ag community quite a bit. Any
suggestions for web sites, fact sheets, etc which can help me
understand
the issues the farmers face, and provide some effective alternatives
to
them?  I'm particularly interested in ways to reduce or mitigate
sediment in irrigation return streams (the cattle feedlots and dairies
seem to have their respective acts together, at least on this stretch
of
the river).

Anyone who responds is eligible for a free guided fishing trip on the
Yakima, next time you're in Washington State.   I can't promise you'll
catch fish, but I can probably show you real live mink, otters,
beavers,
bighorn sheep, and other grateful residents of the canyon.    :)

===============================
Scott Butner 
Director, ChemAlliance
c/o Pacific NW National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA  99352
Voice: (509)-372-4946/Fax: (509) 375-2443
Website: http://www.chemalliance.org/ 
E-mail: scott.butner@pnl.gov 
===============================



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