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Tucson CCC Swales Pics  RSS feed

 
Tom Davis
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Today, I visited the CCC (Depression era, WPA) Swales in Tucson made famous by Bill Mollison.
Pretty neat hour long excursion, I wish I could have stayed longer, but my group was ready to go after an hour.
The Monsoon winds and the rains they bring have ended (although a little bit of rain today in Tucson today, but not at the swales).
So the swales are showing a lot of life -- It would be interesting to see how they look in May (next time I am in Tucson in May I will revisit).
Here is a link to the Picasa Album. It's about 50 pics, following our walk from the road heading East.
The last pics were really eye opening to me about how powerful passive water harvesting can be.
The swales are pretty tall -- 8-10 foot berms that end abruptly. Except for the last one, which is basically a circular swale/berm/dam with an inlet near the back.
I didn't see any signs of humans using the area for sleeping, or cooking but there were signs of people nearer to the road.
Some broken bottles, but by the last Big Swale, I didn't see any trash.
https://picasaweb.google.com/111260028013275681495/TucsonCCCSwales?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNHGjZPu_L3P1gE&feat=directlink
I made comments on the bottoms of the pics to give you orientation. I couldn't see the comments in slideshow view, so if you click through each pic you will get more detail.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Very cool! Thank you for taking photos and sharing them.

 
Tom Davis
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Glad you like it -- really eye opening for me.
This gentleman's work is equally impressive and I think would be a great addition to swales on on contour in arid regions.
As a general question for those who have built earhworks:
I wonder what would result from Keyline ripping, followed with "imprints" on contour, and coupled with swales on contour? Perhaps that is too much investment in machinery?
Would one dig swales first, keyline rip, and then imprint?
Or Keyline rip, dig swales, imprint?
Yeah, I know, "It depends . . ."
http://permaculturenews.org/2012/09/19/imprinting-soils-creating-instant-edge-for-large-scale-revegetation-of-barren-lands/
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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The results from imprinting are amazing. Personally I think we should try all methods, if we can afford it and equipment is available. I think for most people berms and basins, and swales are more probable because they can be built with readily available earth-moving equipment or even hand tools. Keyline plowing and imprinting require special (expensive!) equipment which might not even exist in most areas.

Brad Lancaster advises that many small structures may be more effective than a few very large ones, so those CCC swales could probably have been smaller, if there were more of them. Although the very large berms might provide more microclimate protection. sepp holzer seems to promote very large structures, so I think again it depends on what one wants and is capable of attempting. Small spaces might require small structures, large areas might benefit from large ones, or extensive small structures such as the imprints.

 
John Polk
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Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in a very hurt country.
Besides the Great Depression, it was also the times of the "Dust Bowl".

His programs (FDA, and CCC) were looked upon as ways to alleviate both problems. Masses of unemployed people were put to work on programs that would help heal the earth. Thousands of miles of swales were dug, and thousands of miles of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) were planted as wind breaks, and to feed depleted soils. If you were to ask Bill Mollison who his favorite U.S. president was, his answer would be "FDR".




 
Ashe Higgs
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Location: Phoenix, Az
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What is the exact location of these swales? I want to go check them out.
 
s. ayalp
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Location: istanbul - turkey
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Ashe Higgs wrote:What is the exact location of these swales? I want to go check them out.

location
 
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