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Old 09-26-2019, 12:24 AM
Location: Putnam County, TN
214 posts, read 44,357 times
Reputation: 118


This is how the stream in question goes in the spoiler...

Part 1: Small wash with no water. This begins in the bottom of the field at about 990ft in elevation, starting through the forest and running down to about 940ft.

Part 2: Shale falls. 940-900ft... Year-round water thanks to a decent spring running in, even in the absolute worst of droughts. The flatter parts of the shale bed are getting covered in gravels and mud from the waterfall above.

Part 3: Gradual sink-in, 900-880ft. The water from the section above flows into this section at first, and more springs feed into it, but it gradually sinks in mere feet from the bottom of this section despite gravel becoming LESS (not more) common towards the bottom and our heavy clay soil.

Part 4: Small pond. 880ft. This is an old pond built before my (recently deceased) maternal grandfather moved in and bought the land in the 1980s. Despite the lack of continuous water running in, it holds extremely well (except the top few inches), frequently overflows the dam in winter and gets unreliable input after summer rainfall.

Part 5: Big rut. 870-830ft. This is where the water from the pond goes when it overflows the dam. Again, it flows at first, but it sinks before reaching the bottom despite our clay soil and a momentary local lack of gravel...

Part 6: Dry streambed, 820-760ft. This extremely rarely flows; it used to reliably due to another spring (I heard stories from my mom and uncle's childhoods), but that other spring dried up. It gets flow from Part 5 more often (but still rarely) than from its major tributary.

Part 7: Semi-perennial creek, 760-700ft. At ~760ft in elevation, the dry streambed leads to a permanent pool of water emerging from under tree roots. After this, the stream snakes through the woods (gaining its largest tributary) to a segment ~720ft that it briefly runs underground before re-emerging. Shortly after this, it gains its third-largest tributary and runs beside an old dam I built then partially destroyed as a preteen (I could never fully repair nor fully destroy it despite trying) thanks to a naturally-attempted diversion I helped it fulfill quickly.

Part 8: Ephemeral stream, 700-640ft. Around 700ft in elevation, the stream becomes intermittent with the forest no longer entirely deciduous either; by 680ft, it's dried up to a limestone-bedded medium ephemeral creek and enters a River Cane brake (actually a type of bamboo native to Tennessee); and around 640ft, it finally flows off my mom's/uncle's land onto someone else's, shortly before merging with its parent stream not far above 600ft in elevation (I've studied the topography of my area super well on Google Maps).

How do we make Parts 3 and 5 hold towards the bottom? Dad used sodium bentonite to make the pond hold, and it worked so well that the pond has never dried up since and supports bluegill, mussels, bass, toads, bullfrogs and aquatic plants quite easily.

However, I fear the bentonite may wash out if we try using it in a streambed, and me using clay dug from the uphill edges of our trails would be a lot of work to dig, haul and place (not to mention replacing every time even a small amount eroded).

Using shale surely wouldn't work either because it would have gaps.

How do we stop Parts 3 and 5 of this stream from sinking in completely? Again, it's gradual too, so I can't find any one spot it happens in.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:50 PM
Location: British Columbia ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️
7,743 posts, read 6,868,961 times
Reputation: 15452
I think this thread needs pictures of all the features listed.

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Old 09-26-2019, 10:00 PM
Location: Putnam County, TN
214 posts, read 44,357 times
Reputation: 118
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
I think this thread needs pictures of all the features listed.

That'll take a bit of time, but I may do so whenever I get the chance. Thanks!
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Old Today, 06:16 AM
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
3,037 posts, read 1,168,329 times
Reputation: 6649
Water doesn't come UP to the surface to appear visible, the land goes DOWN to the water table for the water to appear on the surface. That's the principle behind digging a well:

If I understand your word description correctly, some sections of your "stream" are running underground for some sections. You'd need to dig down to below the water table if you want them to appear on the surface.

A clay lined depression is made to build an artificial pond. It holds the water above the water table just like a rain barrel keeps water from flowing away naturally. If you line a "stream" to hold water above the water table, the liner would naturally erode away or be under mined by the natural flow....ie- best bet is to deepen the channel if you insist on having the stream be visible over the whole course. (What about erosion even then?)
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