Landscapes - Winter 2017 - LPplus26

ESSEX COUNT Y IN SPRING

----
JUSTINE HOLZMAN + SANDRA COOK

FLOODING FIELDS

Designing the strategic inundation of Lake Erie's
agricultural landscape

EN_
WATER DOWN THE DRAIN
Millions of metres of drainage tiles
and canals swiftly carry nutrient-rich
water off the agricultural landscapes
of Southern Ontario and into rivers and
waterbodies. Lake Erie, once proclaimed
"dead," has for decades suffered from
massive algal blooms. The culprit,
phosphorous, is a main ingredient in
agricultural fertilizers. Once a land of
swamps and marshes, the now heavily
fertilized agricultural landscapes of
Essex County are a main contributor to
the yearly Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
of Lake Erie.
To reduce phosphorous across Essex
County, the design research project Wet
Lands, proposes policies and landscape
design interventions specific to individual
farms that reduce phosphorous while
supporting the agricultural economy.
Because the landscape is variable and
each farm is unique, Wet Lands uses
historic and current data with parametric
modelling techniques to visualize
the effects of flexible policies across
the region.
PIPES AND POLICIES
In North America, the draining of
inundated lands for agricultural land
reclamation began long ago as a primary
tool of colonization. Unsurprisingly, this
practice has been the leading cause of
26 LANDSCAPES PAYSAGES +

historic wetland loss. Essex was settled
by French soldiers and later British
loyalists after the American revolution.
Once all the naturally draining land was
deforested and settled, early subsurface
drainage methods were employed.
Introduced from Britain, Canadian
farmers began digging trenches to fill
with sticks and stones and cover with
earth to remove excess water from the
soil. However, the majority of Essex
remained swamp until the Ontario
Drainage Acts of 1869 and 1873, which
made the drainage of large swaths of
land achievable.
Main drains were cut through swamps
and marshes and guaranteed by the
municipal council, who collected annual
rent from landowners benefiting from
the drain. As manufacturing advanced,
subsurface rubble was replaced with
agricultural tile drains. Clay pipes were
extruded in mass and placed end to end in
trenches allowing water to seep into the
tube through small gaps. And in the 1950s,
polyethylene corrugated drainage tube
was manufactured in long segments to
be laid down in one continuous piece by
trenching machines and tractors.
However, despite the technical
advances, ultimately it was the policy
and financial incentive for municipal
drainage infrastructure that transformed

the landscape. The result for Essex
has been a 97 percent loss of historic
wetlands. Currently, 72 percent of the
land is agricultural, the majority of which
is tile drained.
BLOCKING PHOSPHOROUS
AT SOURCE
The Lake Erie Basin receives 44 per
cent of the phosphorus entering the
Great Lakes. Rather than address the
phosphorous once it is already in the
lake, there is tremendous opportunity
to reduce the phosphorus at the source.
While landscape architects certainly
have the skills to design landscape
infrastructural solutions, the dispersed
nature of phosphorus runoff and limited
capital of farming municipalities, leave
large-scale interventions too expensive
with minimal impact. Designing
for a broad scale often requires an
understanding of the legal and political
landscape that, in many cases, becomes
a more challenging design project.
In Essex County, this places pressure
on individual farmers to apply green
infrastructure and amend their
practices. Real change will hinge on using
policy, incentives, and a knowledge of the
farming economy to design a regional
program that will assist individual
farmers in implementing strategies
without economic loss.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Winter 2017

To Begin With
Une Dernière Salve
Collaborateurs
Writers
Upfront
Prologue
La Vague
Romance of the Stone
La Pierre Romancée
Numériser La Nature
Riding Technology’s Wild Interface
Flooding Fields
Conversation
Designing Invisible Landscapes
Stacking Up - the LA’s Toolkit: A Groundhog Plugin for Grasshopper
Grasshopper Gagne Un Plugiciel
Wood Works
Floating a New Idea for Water Stewardship
LACF
Bourses De La FACP
Critique
Parting Shot
Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - INTRO
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover1
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover2
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 3
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 4
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 5
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 6
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 7
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 9
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Writers
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 11
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 12
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 13
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 14
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Prologue
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 16
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 17
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 18
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 19
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - La Vague
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 21
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - La Pierre Romancée
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 23
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 24
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 25
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 26
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 27
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Riding Technology’s Wild Interface
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 29
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 30
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 31
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 32
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Flooding Fields
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 34
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 35
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Conversation
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 37
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 38
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 39
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 40
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 41
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 42
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Designing Invisible Landscapes
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 44
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 45
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Grasshopper Gagne Un Plugiciel
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 47
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 48
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 49
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 50
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 51
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Wood Works
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 53
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Floating a New Idea for Water Stewardship
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 55
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 56
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 57
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 58
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Bourses De La FACP
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 60
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 61
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Critique
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 63
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 64
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 65
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 66
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 67
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 68
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 69
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 70
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 71
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 72
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 73
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 74
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 75
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 76
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 78
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover3
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover4
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - LPplus1
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