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How do I work with washes on my Desert landscape?

 
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Hello,
I'm fairly new to permaculture and just recently purchased a 5 acres plot in Avra Valley Arizona, which is just north of Tucson. I have been walking my land everyday and there is a rather large wash, that starts at the south part of the property and curves around and ends in the northeast side. What I would like to know is how can I incorporate this into my earthworks design? We have flattish land but the house was built up to stop flooding. I want to build a pond where the wash starts. I'll include a picture of the property and any advice would be most appreciated, thank you.
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A pond may very well be possible.

In my state, we have a department called Soil Conservation that came out to my property and marked the best location for a pond.

Observing the land when it rains will give a person some insight into what can be done with the land earthwise.

Best wishes for your new land.
 
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Hi Daphne,

It's wonderful you have a wash! The precious water source will bring so much life to your land.

A pond to control flooding sounds like a great idea, although it is likely dry most of the year. Still a few days of wet ground will help the frogs to propagate. I see there are dense vegetation along the wash, ate those mesquite  trees? They are amazing for shade, bbq smoking and the seed pods are food for ground dwelling birds. I would suggest to keep those as much as possible when you do earthwork.

Are you new to the area? Have you been to Tohono Chul park? It's a beautiful park and maybe you will find inspiration s for your desert garden.  Keep us posted on your project.
 
Daphne Howard
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Yes, the pond will be in the front of the property where there is already a fairly deep concave to the land right there. We will also be putting a tiny home on the right hand side of the property not 100% sure where yet but the gray water from that will go to the pond and we will plant alot of shade around it to try and prevent evaporation.
Some of the vegetation is mesquite but unfortunately most of the trees have been choked out by desert mistletoe. The ones that are still alive I'm going to cut the mistletoe and i hope they bounce back. 90% of the vegetation is creosote bushes.
I just moved to Avra Valley but I've been living in Mesa Arizona for the past 10 years, and I didn't know about that park so I will have to check that our.
But I'm still not sure what earth works will work well for the area with the main house and driveway built up causing a man made hill. I'm not sure if the contour lines from the picture above will apply well to it our if I should try and do contour around the hill like the natural wash is doing. Any advice is helpful, Thank you.
 
May Lotito
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You have quite some plans there. Maybe you can contact the pima county department of environmental quality for more info. They are really encouraging people to reuse gray water.

Another interesting place to visit is the sweetwater wetlands park right off I-10 prince rd exit, next to the water treatment facility. It's very lush and green, a birding paradise among the locals.
 
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Check with neighbors for information on how deep/wide  the water is when it flows across the property.  If it is a one foot wide trickle just from rain run off it will be easier than a 5 or 10 foot wide path of water.  From what I see in the pictures it doesn't look like it would be very deep or wild water so hopefully it will be a simple project.

As soon as you can try to plant any trees around the property and run a drip line irrigation system at the same time.  The sooner you get trees planted the sooner they will give you shade.  Just make sure they are something that can actually grow in your area.  Mesquite trees can handle the heat and grow relatively fast, I don't know what else will work in your area.

 
May Lotito
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Years ago a friend got a greywater system done in her backyard with quite a few volunteers to help out. I  just checked with another friend who used to work in water management and he said it was through the NGO Watershed Management Group. Maybe you want to check that out too.
 
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