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derelict canal

Posted by spoonplayer z6 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 3, 06 at 23:28


Just for kicks, I recently went to look at a tiny house that has been on the market for a year and seemed to be ridiculously low-priced. I expected to find black mold or a dead body, but the situation instead is a derelict canal behind the property, less than six feet from the back of the house! It is about 20 feet wide and runs the entire length of the property and of the adjacent properties. The canal has slowly filled with furniture, a few shopping carts, and a lot of old tires. The canal is contained by cement walls approximately 4 ft. high. The first few feet are dry and have brush and small trees growing up. The water level slowly drops off to what I imagine is about three feet deep in the center. I saw a frog and a turtle floating on some wood out there. The realtor claimed this area sometimes dries up, but the neighbors informed me that this isnt the case and then they said "what a shame it is." Clearly this canal/swamp/moat of stagnant water has kept this little house from selling.

Is there anything that I could do to turn this into a habitat of some kind or to make it more pleasant to look at and be near? (There are so many mosquitoes!) Is it silly to imagine planting something that might soak up some of the water? On the other hand, is the best thing to put up a high privacy fence or to just forget the house all together? I love gardening but am overwhelmed at the prospect of even cleaning it out. Yikes, what if it is deep out there? Is this house a terrible investment that I will never be able to sell? Is the drop-off and water a liability? Id hate to think of someone getting hurt! Are there experts who could advise me what to do?

Thanks for any advice/ideas!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: derelict canal

You know... you might be able to acquire funding or help to clean it up. Almost every area has a stream or river citizens group and they might be willing to help. There may also be funding from your locality or state to reimburse stream clean-up costs.

In regard to what to do with it after it is cleaned up, the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, many of these "canals" are usually signs of a previous wetland that was ditched and drained. One possibility is to dam a portion of it and recreate a small patch of wetland. I'm sure lots of people on this list would help you with ideas on how to do that, or create a healthier stream habitat.

One other possibility, is that walls of canals like that are GREAT places to grow ferns. There are some really unusual and beautiful native ferns you could put on the walls, giving a real three dimensional feel to the place.

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