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Evaluation of Ditch Plug Designs and Construction Methods for the Blocking of Field Ditches to Restore Wetland Hydrology in the Coastal Plains of South Carolina

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  012058,  2001 ASAE Annual Meeting. (doi: 10.13031/2013.4195) @2001
Authors:   Larry Cantrell
Keywords:   wetland restoration, ditch plug, Carolina bay

Approximately seventy-five ditch plugs were installed in the coastal plains of South Carolina to restore wetland hydrology to sites under the federal Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) from 1997 to 2000. Some problems were encountered with the early ditch plugs and the designs and construction methods were modified over time. A visual inspection and evaluation of selected ditch plugs was completed in the spring of 2001 and recommendations are made as to the most successful ditch plug configuration. 1.) Borrow for the ditch plug should be upstream and not immediately adjacent to the plug. 2.) "Wing dikes" should be part of the design. 3.) Placing rock riprap on the downstream end of the plug should be considered to provide any overflow water access back into the channel without causing erosion. 4.) A ditch plug can be allowed to naturalize with native vegetation and does not require the maintenance that a dike across the ditch would require. 5.) When a steady flow of water is expected over the plug, a plug constructed of crusher-run gravel and riprap works well.

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