wet lawn

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  #1  
Old 07-12-13, 05:52 AM
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Location: southeast pennsylvania
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wet lawn

My lawn is sloped down toward a small stream. The part of the lawn that is near the stream is soaking wet and actually could resemble a swamp. Any ideas how I could get rid of that wetness. A few years ago I dug it up and put in french drain pipes but the DEP told me I could not use the pipes to run the water into the stream. I told them the water would wind up in there anyway and they told me I would be fined unless I removed the pipes. So now I am stuck each spring with a swamp!

Thanks,
Rich
 
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  #2  
Old 07-12-13, 06:51 AM
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Anything you do will probably require the proper permits and they will tell you what you can and can not do. They may not be sympathetic to ground that is wet during the spring but you can try.
 
  #3  
Old 07-12-13, 08:45 AM
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If you could post pics it would help but Im envisioning something like a smiley face trench cut deep to capture the seasonal spring. Start up hill a bit, trench toward creek bank then arc back up hill. Fill the first 2/3 of ditch with gravel then top off with sand. Just a thought but at least If the ditch didnt handle it all it would seep out at the lowest point and not along the entire creek.
 
  #4  
Old 07-12-13, 09:39 AM
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Sigh, I've dealt with this quite a bit in southeast Pa.
Here's the really short version.

The bad news:
Areas that would have been a farmed as a "wet meadow" in the 1800s through 1930s have been
platted out at lawns, often right down to the stream bank.
The lawn layout in 1940-60s developments is no longer practical, trying to maintain a lawn right up to the stream bank is likely to get you into conflict with your local township/county or DEP.

The part of the lawn that is near the stream is soaking wet and actually could resemble a swamp.
Eh, stop, flip that.
It IS a swamp but it actually could resemble a lawn.
As the stream was there first, it's a swamp that CAN be used as a lawn during a portion of the dry season.

There are cool season grasses, and warm season grasses. For areas that are too wet to mow in the cool spring, you want to cultivate warm season grasses - they don't grow well in the early wet months, but take off in the warmer drier months. Something as simple as letting the summer grasses go to see every other year can help shift the growth so that the warm season e.g. dry season grass predominates, which is easier to maintain.

Any ideas how I could get rid of that wetness.
You won't.
The area around a stream is naturally going to be wet, because, of course it is down hill from everything else and is sitting next to a stream. Anything which qualifies as a "stream" generally drains a few hundred acres, and conveys huge amounts of water.

A few years ago I dug it up and put in french drain pipes but the DEP told me I could not use the pipes to run the water into the stream.
I told them the water would wind up in there anyway and they told me I would be fined unless I removed the pipes.
If you're already on the DEP's radar, I would tread carefully.
025 Pa. Code *102.14.*Riparian buffer requirements.

The good news-

You can usually convert an problem wet lawn into a showcase wet wildflower meadow.
Add some water-tolerant native plants, add some bluebird houses; you'll be amazed at
how much better it looks.

Better news - your local fisherman's association has grants, and volunteers to help out.
Most areas of Pennsylvania will have a nearby chapter of Trout Unlimited, who do lots of work
converting wet lawns into feeders for local trout streams.
Home | Trout Unlimited - Conserving coldwater fisheries
 
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