‘Lake Agassiz’ forming on local farmlands

Some local fields are now under water for months each year

My family has owned and farmed ‘Limbert Mountain Farm’ since about 1902. Our flats are lowlands, and were made farmable year round by man made ditches. In 1907 a complaint was made to district council that the ditches were not being cleaned sufficiently to allow a free flow of water, (and all ditches were hand cleaned then).

Until about about five years ago, our ditch, (the Hogg ditch), would be completely dry for four or five months every summer, as there is no year round source of water in our area. The ditches were machine cleaned and regularily mowed, and they served their intended purpose.

Now, every summer this ditch is at least half filled with stagnant, stinky mosquito infested water. Last year the farmer who cuts the hay from our flats voiced his concern that he might not be able to cut the hay because the ground was too soft. (Not suprising considering how high the water table in the ditches was).

Our neighbor on Hamiliton Road has it worse than we do, I invite those interested to come and see the new Lake Agassiz that is forming. Some of his fields are now under water for months each year.

The cause is simple-poorly maintained ditches. Hand cleaning simply does not work because the root base from the grasses and weeds continues to raise the bottom of the ditches until they cannot serve the purpose they were created for-to efficiently remove surface water and lower the water tables to allow farming. In 1907 they were looking for creative ways to solve drainage issues, and now it appears we are returning to those times.

Last week’s letter supported the establishment of vegetated buffers along watercourses to control weed growth. How many hundreds of acres of valuable farmland would need to be dedicated to achieve this, and how are the farmers going to be compensated for this loss of productive land, and how long will it take before this vegetated buffer becomes effective.

Last week our two daily newspapers in Vancouver ran features about the need to protect our local food sources by protecting farmland. It would seem that this is not the case in Agassiz.

Claude Bouchard

Limbert Mountain Farm