Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE96-150
Mr. Rounsaville’s land is situated on a fairly steep slope, in the valley of the Chenango River. This river floods from time to time, with disastrous effect. It occured to Mr. Rounsaville that if enough catchments could be built in the upper part of the drainage, it might be possible to control water flows nearer their source, thus reducing flooding in the bottomlands. It also occured to him that such catchments might help to contain flows in places where water tends to concentrate, and so diminish gullying on this erosion-prone land.
To demonstrate what he had in mind, Mr. Rounsaville built a series of catchments in sequence along a slope. Each is fed with seepage and runoff from further upslope. When it rains these catchments fill, then release their contents slowly to the valley below.
For this to be an effective flood-control system, many landowners all along the valley would have to dig similar catchments. Mr. Rounsaville realizes that not many are likely to do so without a financial incentive, so he has sown the catchments with wild rice, and put minnows in them, to show by example that they can be made productive. He has besides two tanks fed with water from one of the catchments. This water, laden with excreta from the minnows, feeds algal blooms. There are trout in the tanks; they feed on the algae, and receive supplemental meals of minnows as well. The outflow from the tanks is in turn used to water and fertilize a vegetable bed.
The system is quite extensive, and Mr. Rounsaville has been working on it for some years. His SARE grant did not pay for the entire project, but only for expansion of a part of it.