King Conservation District is partnering with the King County Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program (ADAP) on major projects to assist farmers with recovering from the impacts of seasonal flooding. The goal is to restore food production on hundreds of acres that have become too wet to farm. The projects are supported by funding from the King County Flood Control District.
The Snoqualmie River floods farmers’ fields six to ten feet deep each winter. While the flooding can't be prevented, the role of the agricultural drainage project is to assist farmers in the valley recover more quickly and return land to production that had become too wet to farm.
In September, 2016, KCD and King County implemented an ADAP project at Goose and Gander Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley. Over the past two decades more than a quarter mile of the farm’s drainage channels had become choked by reed canary grass and blocked by Himalayan blackberries.
The drainage project included excavating an estimated 410 cubic yards of accumulated silt that had clogged more than 1,400 linear feet of drainage channels. The project will return ten acres to production that were too wet to farm, and will enhance production on many more acres.
Meredith Molli, owner of Goose and Gander Farm, is one of the new generation of young farmers re-vitalizing agriculture in the Snoqualmie Valley. Meredith started farming with her partner, Patrick McGlothlin, on two acres of leased land in Fall City in in 2011. Four years later they made the leap to purchase the former dairy north of Carnation.
In addition to being a passionate organic farmer, Meredith is a chef and is co-owner of La Medusa Restaurant in Columbia City. On the farm they grow a diverse array of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and eggs, which they sell through their farmstand, direct to restaurants, and at farmers markets.
Meredith’s passion for local food doesn’t stop at the farm gate. In addition to growing food and operating her restaurant, she also serves as a member of the King County Agriculture Commission.
The agricultural drainage project at Goose and Gander Farm was a partnership between the landowners, King County, King Conservation District, and the contractors, Doug & Paul Hoffmann of D & R Excavating.
On the left is Lou Beck, a King County engineer. He surveyed the site and produced the engineering drawings, wrote the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit application, and oversaw the excavation.
Ben Axt, KCD Agricultural Drainage Project Coordinator, collaborated with King County on implementing the project, including hiring the contractor on behalf of the landowner.
The first phase of the project included replacement of a 480 feet long 12-inch culvert to improve drainage on the south field. The photo shows the rich alluvial soils of the Snoqualmie River Valley.
Each side of the drainage channels will be planted with two rows of native trees and shrubs to shade and protect the waterway. The shade will help cool the water and suppress growth of invasive weeds.
Plants specified for the project include Snowberry, Nootka Rose, Salmonberry, Black Twinberry, Pacific Ninebark, Red Elderberry, Red Osier Dogwood, Beaked Hazelnut, Vine Maple, Willows, Pacific Crabapple, Oregon Ash, Red Alder, Black Cottonwood, and Sitka Spruce.