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Pond insecurity...

 
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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My background. Construction most all facets. Totally comfortable with laying out million dollar projects, setting elevations etc, etc. Building a pond that may overflow and take out my house is another thing entirely!

Come with me in your mind whilst I paint our parcel for you. 20 acres longer than wide. 80 feet fall from top to bottom. A seasonal stream that drains 8 square miles from above us. I learned how to read topos in the Marines playing mortarman. Came in handy while choosing this lot. The water comes in from the N in a Y shape. The Y joins about half way down the lot. When the water runs it moves pretty fast. Thousands of gallons an hour. The creeks are what I believe Neil calls incised (sp?). That is to say they are deep cut and rocky. See attachments.

What Id like to do: Up top, in a deep cut area build a dam up high on the lot. Problem, the dam will quickly overflow. I've watched the Lawton video on dam building. I have listened to Paul nd others on dam building too. The over flow spillway is the norm I get it. BUT! Did you hear the tires screeching? That over flow has to go somewhere. On this lot with the pond up high. An overflow will "overflow" and ruin and cut and wreak havoc down hill.

You say... well build a swail. I hear ya, and I say it will overflow too (and quickly) and cut and ruin stuff down hill.

My question is. Just shy of having a large flat pasture area to spread the water, how does one deal with large amounts of water coming out of a dam overflow? Is the answer to route it back into the original creek? Seems counter productive.
Seems easy till you care a bunch about sh*t down hill. Like a house if things go really wrong. Water is tricky. Sepp said it perfectly once in a video. If you don't do it right CATASTROPHE!
Apologies as all this is done on my phone.
Thanks for any input,
Jim
PS I have drawn a full CAD topo drawing of the lot with sector compass rose for fire,wind etc. If you have serious answers or interested in at least trying,Ill send it to you.

 
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
998
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We have a similar situation on our place with two seasonal creeks which flood catastrophically through the center of our 20 acres and periodically wipe out our driveway. Gradually we're putting in infiltration basins (uncompacted ponds) near but not in the creeks, which will eventually overflow back into the creek, having, we hope, dissipated some of their destructive energy....

So yes, eventually overflowing back into the creek might be the best choice at the lowest point, once you have intercepted the water as much as possible....
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Ahh we are in the same boat. Do you see any way around moving large amounts of earth to lessen the destructive energy? i.e. spreading basins? Real flat? I'm having issue uploading photos. Will get them later I guess.
J
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
998
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I'm frustrated by our situation here because the creeks meet in a deep rocky arroyo where there's no dirt to move, and if there were it would just wash away! So I'm going to try a couple really big brush dams across one of the creeks where it enters our land, and see if that might slow it down and redirect it back slightly uphill and possibly into another basin. Not being an hydrologist, I'm worried about screwing up horribly... We're going to hire a guy to dig another basin (he did one for us a couple years ago). I figure every little structure might help in slowing down the massive run-off which literally covers the entire land under inches of water in flood. If we'd known what "significant drainage" meant in the disclosure, we might not have bought this place! :p But now I'm trying to see it as a resource....

Looking forward to seeing photos of the problem(challenge) areas on your place...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
998
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The map of Geoff Lawton's farm Zaytuna shows the overflow routes of water from the various swales and ponds down to the creek, which might help you envision how overflow might work on your place: http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/01/zaytuna-farm-video-tour-apr-may-2012-ten-years-of-revolutionary-design/
 
gardener
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hi Jim,

here are two videos about working with water
maybe either of the presenters could help you with advise or consultancy
I wouldn't want to experiment on my own

http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/28/a-tour-of-permaculture-keyline-water-systems-at-wolf-gulch-farm-oregon/
http://permaculture.org.au/2012/07/19/keyline-systems-at-seven-seeds-farm-oregon-video/
 
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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swales(think big) seem they could be helpful in this case, as well adding texture to the landscape via lumps basically that help water to slow down and penetrate the soil effeciently
 
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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Just a thought....what about a series of basins down the hill? Each could overflow into the next, that might lessen the erosion (which I assume is your main concern).
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Picture
IMAG0836.jpg
looking up one creek.
looking up one creek.
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Okay guys got one pic up. Erosion is not such a problem as was has been flowing for eons. I'd like to somehow spread the.water near the top of the property. Then use it. I think all your ideas are sound. I guess I was just hoping for an answer that did not involve big money and a tremendous amount of earth work.
Neil Bertrando suggested terraces. I think this may be the answer for me. I can do them one at a time with the smaller tractor as time permits. Then with some sort of water lock system feed/meter water into a selected area. The area may well have swales and hugle mounds as you suggest. This will take some serious thought for sure. Mollison in his book has a cartoon of a fella using a tarp to divert water. Maybe a variation of this would work.
Since I'm on a phone here, and can't do a ton of surfing on the net. Has anyone seen this system in action on a YouTube vid? He stakes a corner and the water rides up and out of the tarp to flood an area down hill. As I recall this was for fire prevention. I'll have to look it up. Seems as though it mouth work in a real low tech way to flood a terrace? Mollison has it on page 55 of Into to Permaculture. Not the same cartoon as another one of his descriptions but the method is the same.
 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Just had an interesting conversation on a similar topic... Just adding roughness can reduce velocity causing a backwater that can allow for a diversion.. don't try to take all the water, maybe just skim off the top and store in the soil.

https://permies.com/t/15484/permaculture/Induced-Meandering

The flood fencing idea might be interesting, reorganizing the boulders to create effects, lots of sediment and woody debris are blowing down that channel--I'd be nice to capture it...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
998
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
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Have you observed that arroyo in a flood? Beware they can become raging torrents capable of washing out most structures. Rock structures rather than earth may be appropriate.

Another helpful resource: http://drylandsolutions.com/dryland.php?i=4
 
Instructor
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Greetings Jim (and all others)

What you have there appears to be a 'Rosgen B channel' stream stype (best estimate from the one photo)... Dave Rosgen (wildland hydrology.com) is a master of working with water in landscapes, and has been my teacher, as well as the teach of Craig Sponholtz, Bill Zeedyk, Van Clothier, Steve Vrooman, Steve Carson... all of whom have been making a living working in ephemeral aridland 'waterways' and created and developed the excellent Induced Meandering concepts and applications...

Folks are steering you well to look into this approach... Here is the book to get on this: Zeedyk Book

Or see attachements for some very basic outlining of the approach. I know you said you're not as concerned about erosion in the channel, but the Erosion Control material is part and parcel of this overall approach, which is just as much about the uplands as it is about the riparian channel zone. You want to harvest water on the whole site, not just one ribbon running through it! And if you have bare ground anywhere with slope, you have erosion...

A next step Jim, being so close in Tehachapi, might be to consider attending the Quail Springs course November 27-December 1 on 'Applied Watershed Restoration' : AWR course... there, Craig Sponholtz and I will be teaching these techniques, along with a full day on the Keyline Design approach. Being on a budget - for less than it would cost you to get either one of us out there to site-visit/consult for a day, you get 5 days to learn all of this stuff, pick our brains about your place, meet many amazing people participating, etc... Hope to meet you there!

Filename: Induced_Meandering_Field_Guide.pdf
Description: Induced Meandering Field Guide
File size: 1 megabytes
Filename: Erosion_Control_Field_Guide.Sponholtz.pdf
Description: Erosion Control Field Guide - Sponholtz
File size: 5 megabytes
Filename: Erosion_Control_Field_Guide.Zeedyk.pdf
Description: Erosion Control Field Guide - Zeedyk
File size: 2 megabytes
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 11770
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
998
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Owen Hablutzel wrote:the Quail Springs course



Quail Springs is an excellent example of what those of us in the flood-prone Southwest might experience and should prepare for as much as possible: http://permaculture.org.au/2010/10/04/quail-springs-sustains-major-flood-damage/
 
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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that is surely beautiful land, I would love to see more photos when you have been able to build some ponds on it and green it up nicely..so update this thread as you proceed please
 
Jim Lea
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Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Tyler thanks for the link to Quail Springs. WOW! That's the sort of thing I'm trying to avoid. I think we have the potential to have severe flows here too. Maybe not like that but nothing to play with. I'll deffinatly look into the books mentioned here. I'm thinking seriously about attending the course there too. It's too close to not attend.
 
pollinator
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Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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In "The Secret Life of Water" Craig Childs spends a whole book developing the theme that the desert is primarily one huge water transport system. It's a very personal subjective narrative and you can't use the table of contents to go get specific info from particular chapters. It may not be for everybody. But it's a fine series of stories that can leave you with a slightly different take on water.

I mention it because one of the recurring ideas in the book is that the desert to a great extent publishes it's own story and maps the action of it's water. One has to stand back and look at the overall perspective and then the detail of a place, but the tale is there to see if one takes the time. I would imagine that's true of most land.

Rufus
 
Jim Lea
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
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Thanks Rufus, I'll look into the book.
Jim
 
Rufus Laggren
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{BONK on head}

Book title s/b "Secret KNOWLEDGE of Water" by Craig Childs
 
Arch enemy? I mean, I don't like you, but I don't think you qualify as "arch enemy". Here, try this tiny ad:
Voices of Transition--documentary, streaming
https://permies.com/t/143498/Voices-Transition-documentary-streaming
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