Amanda and Andy Bramble, have launched a campaign on Indiegogo to fund the repair of a local watershed area that was devastated by last year's flooding in New Mexico. Here is their story and a link to their video on the Indiegogo website.
A railroad bed that was built in the 1890's runs through our property. It unnaturally channelized floodwater and created a big erosion problem. A crucial element in our recent restoration work was to provide a new flood way to cut through this old railroad bed. In 2011, we installed water harvesting and erosion control measures in an area where the water historically and naturally flowed before the railroad bed was constructed.
For a while, the newly constructed rock and brush structures did their job, collecting sediment, encouraging the establishment of vegetation, and creating a stable location for the side channel to meet up with the main floodwater drainage. The restoration was working well for normal rain events for our area, but no one knew the extent of the flooding that was still to come. On September 17, 2013 a record flood blasted through the town of Madrid, just upstream from us, and damaged the work done here too.
Now we have the challenge and opportunity to upgrade the design of these flood structures. We are blessed with the support of Bill Zeedyk, author of Let the Water Do the Work. He's basically a genius, a wizard of the land and waterways. He has toured the damage and contributed his design experience to help us come up with a good plan to repair and improve upon the project.
Now we will install new combinations of storm water harvesting and grade control structures, and once again, gather dozens of volunteers to help implement this project while learning how to restore their own lands.
It's all about getting water into the soil and regrowing our native wild lands!
Since the September flood, we have been looking for grants and government funding. We are not finding anything. We have been honored in the past to receive generous grants from both the Partners for Fish and Wildlife and the New Mexico Environment Department.
A lot of work and funds have gone into creating the restoration aspect of Ampersand, and in particular the water mitigation project focused on the railroad bed.
We won't let this all this past work go to waste because of this abnormal flood damage! We will learn from it as a community and continue to move forward -- and that's why we are asking you to help us now.
Our goal of $5000 for this campaign will help us hire the backhoe we need to contour the land and transport rock from the main arroyo to the places where we need to build these structures. It will also allow us to get all the tools we need to supply our volunteers and feed them well for our work days. It will take at least 6 work days for a crew of 8 to 10 volunteer workers to finish this project, beyond the backhoe work.
Watch the video and learn more about the project and the perks for donations. Click here!
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
Not sure how applicable this idea may be for a place such as this, but ...
As a paddler, I spend time on small and large rivers and a variety of lakes. With any of these bodies of water there is bank erosion and scouring. One remedy we employ on rivers that eat away at the bank is to use left over Christmas trees or coniferous tree clearing and lay them down into the river along the bank and cable them down with stakes. This slows the water down enough to allow the sediment to drop while giving some underwater habitat. I’ve seen some hellish river bends restored with this technique without having to resort to built infrastructure. It would seem in addition to “live” plantings that coniferous slash and cleared trees might be integrated into the design to cause silt to drop.
Just a shared thought. Maybe you’re way ahead of me and already using coniferous trees in such a manner.
I'm actually not part of the group doing the fundraising campaign - I merely shared it here because I thought it a worthwhile project to support. The folks at Ampersand are members of the Permaculture Credit Union, as am I. When the PCU featured this project in their newsletter, I found it really interesting and wanted to help spread the word.
Thanks for the clarification. I've always wondered if the river bank erosion mitigation techniques had application in other places for flooding. It is an interesting line of reasoning, regardless. Thanks for the link to the folks at Ampersand. I'm diggin' around on their website now.