We love this creek that flows through our property. We bought this particular chunk of land in 2005 and at that time the creek was almost inaccesible due to willows and thick brush all along the banks. We started a project called “rip rapping,” in which the vegetation is removed, the soil is all removed from the banks, huge boulders are then laid on the banks, and the soil returned and planted with grass seed. We’ve had a few bad floods, and rip rapping will prevent the creek’s banks from eroding during such periods. When this was done, there were also “trout bunkers” installed in a few places along the length of the creek.
The best way to explain a trout bunker is an area along the bank, underwater, that is out of the main flow, so it’s sort of like a “cave” that trout can go into. The bunkers almost look like large wooden crates but they’re not enclosed. They are high enough to give the trout plenty of room inside, and then large rocks are laid on top to hold them in place, with soil on top of the rocks and grass planted on top of the soil. When they’re finished, it’s almost like “undercuts” into the bank of the stream have been created. I think of them as trout havens. Or, trout motels.
The grandkids seem to enjoy getting into the creek and helping us clean it out. On the other hand, maybe they are just humoring us. After watching a few episodes of “Monsters Inside Me,” I’m a little leery getting into the creek without hip waders on.
The reinforced banks will help to prevent erosion due to floods. Since the creek is at the edge of a field that is planted in corn or soybeans, it’s important to protect the agricultural land. The video below shows how a bad flood can overrun the creek’s banks. When this happens, valuable agricultual land is lost. The video shows what the little creek, as seen in the photo above with the grandkids and my husband in it, can turn into during a bad flood period.
The first phase of the rip rap project was started in 2011 and it was finished in 2015. Of the creek that goes through our land, it’s all been rip rapped except for one more small section and that will probably be done as well. We had all the junk trees removed, such as the box elders and willows which were really nothing more than a jungle of brush. We planted about 150 trees, including tamarack and white swamp oak, a bit farther back from the creek edge. We also maintain the creek banks by weed whacking them and we mow the trails next to it.
Click here to see some of the garden areas in the yard: GARDENS