Tag Archive for: root systems

Nature’s Flood Protection

A friend sent me a link to a Facebook post by a landscape/design company called Happy Gardens featuring this image of nature’s flood protection – the root systems of native grasses.

Said Happy Gardens, “This is why you don’t have to water native grasses. And their roots act like sponges to control flooding.”

It’s interesting to see the parts of these grasses that we never see. Note that some of these roots have been folded back and tied up to minimize their height for display purposes! Some are deeper than the lady is tall!

Providing Multiple Defenses Against Floods

Such grasses help reduce flooding several ways. They:

  • Slow water down in storms, decelerating runoff, and giving more runoff more time to soak in.
  • Absorb water like sponges.
  • Bind soil and reduce erosion.
  • Maintain more of an ecosystem’s natural hydrographic profile, which extends the time of accumulation and reduces flood peaks.
Runoff in natural areas spreads out over longer periods and has lower peaks.

No Watering and Less Maintenance

An additional plus: you never have to water them. They do look a little (pardon the pun) “rangy.” So some neighbors might object…until they flood.

Some time ago, another friend took me on a jet boat up the East and West Forks of the San Jacinto. The East Fork was plush with riparian vegetation.

The West Fork, by contrast, had been devastated by sand mining and erosion. The eroded sediment contributed to massive buildups of sand in the West Fork which reduced the conveyance of the river and also contributed to flooding.

Sometimes all you have to do to enjoy the protection of nature is just let it be. I hope this powerful image serves a reminder of that simple fact.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/11/2022

1839 Days since Hurricane Harvey