I think that planting in your front using food perennials, shrubs, and trees would probably be the least likely to attract unwanted attention from neighbors. What works in my town is to put a ring of mulch or better yet compost around any planting, that way when people or the town tries to get you to take it out by citing some zoning law, you can point out that its 'primary' purpose is as a landscape and that it grows food only as a secondary benefit. You might even be able to put in some hugel beds and call them mounded landscaping.
One thing to play with the level of the bank on your property's side of the stream. If you can legally alter it ( this might be tricky) to overtop the bank during high flows to then move water into a swale wetland complex. Water can be stored and infiltrated in this manner using ponds, level spreaders, Swales, etc. the plus of this is that during normal flows you are not removing water that is "owned" by your downstream neighbors. It is sort of the opposite of a levy, an artificially lowered sport that allows flood water, say a 1% storm event, to overflow the banks, giving you lots of temporary water for your storage and infiltration. You must take care to ensure the bank toe is protected from erosion using vegetation.
Sorry. Looking back at what I posted, I thought it could be seen as rude. I would (and do) incorporate permaculture design aspects into my bio intensive backyard garden system. Permaculture is about observing the world around you and design your space to take care of the earth, to take care of the people, and to share the surplus. So if you look at the system you want to create, plan accordingly, and then incorporate intensive practices into the system so that they are benefiting the system as a whole, you'd have both a permaculture design and a bio intensive one.
Observation is key and as time passes you will notice what works and what doesn't work as well. You then adjust accordingly. I have a rain garden with natives in my plotted area. It soaks the ground around it. Over the years, I have retaken to planting zucchini, tomatoes, ect in the beds that get the heaviest drink because they do not like their leaves getting wet. I have found that my powdery mildew dropped dramatically after I did this.
I hope this helped.
You should find a two friendly people who have groves of paw paws and see if they will let you dig up a couple of runners to transplant. I have had friends who were very successful with this when their seeds would not germinate. You do need two different colonies though because they will not cross pollinate with the same genetic clone.
I have successfully inter seeded clover into my lawn without removing any grass. One question I have is what type of grass is it, cool or warm season? If it is a warm season grass, inter seeding will be easier. If it is cool season, I would strip till it and seed the strips.
Do you have a land bank that might want to work with you on this? Fruit trees on their properties might make them more desirable to buyers. Until then, which can be decades they could be open to the public. How about working with your local beautification non profit? Maybe they have in roads to doing this above ground (pun intended). This might cut down on losses from city workers etc
It's called a jaboticaba. They taste like A cross between a lychee and a grape. I used to work at a tropical botanic garden and we had a small grove of them. They make good jelly. They are one of my favorite fruits and I hope to grow a couple one day.
So I will rain on everyone's parade. Nationally, if you are placing anything into a stream or wetland you technically have to apply for a section 404 permit from the army corps. Intermittent streams are a grey area, but I haven been made to get them in the past or face litigation. States will also have their own permit requirements that vary by state. In Indiana we require a 401 permit to mitigate against any impact on wetlands for streams. We would also require a construction in a floodway permit. One of the best ways around these permit requirements is to try to capture the rainwater before it hits the stream.