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creating a creek in a dry gully

 
master pollinator
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Birdman wrote:

where is the water going to come from? 



The same place it comes from in any watershed - the sky:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJL1yZ4N6fs
 
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Location: wellsville, utah
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This thread has caught my attention.

Tree selection seems to be critical here. not just any tree will do, a full grown juniper for example, will drink 40 gallons of water per day.
so will a salt cedar.


we also have to remember watershed. a creek is fine, but if it has been gone a long time, some of the structure might be gone too, so plants in the creek seems critical, something perrenial obviously, but probably more than perrenial, it should be rhizomous.( sp?) 

the most critical part of this though, is of course design.  How long will it take for the appropriate fungi to take hold? how can you make it quicker, and how can you be sure it's the right one?

it's not just "where will the water come from" that seems to be the easy part. it's "where will the water go"  after it forms a stream, how would it deliver water to important areas? i mean "the grass gets brown in the summer"  well.... how would a stream help that? unless that stream was planned to irrigate (passively of course)  without making a swamp land


paul, you mentioned "the man who planted trees"    it's probably my favorite film.
 
Posts: 488
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Fun! 

http://www.save-the-rain.com/world-bank/

use this address:
1515 Spurlock Road Missoula, Montana 59802

 
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Birdman wrote:

where is the water going to come from? 



Air and sky.

Lack of water in most desert areas is not due to lack of adequate rainfall, but an inability to store the water and use it appropriately. Rate of water loss due to evaporation/drainage is greater than the rate of deposition, creating a moisture deficit. Many deserts are man-made.
 
pollinator
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Don't plant junipers, they suck up a lot of water - http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1757
 
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Where I grew up, in California, it was very dry and the dunes were very sandy.

To get dune grass going they used to dig a hole, line it with plastic (Biodegradable? I do not know) and plant dune grass above it.

What rain was gotten would collect underground above the plastic, and provide water for the young grass. By the time the plastic broke down the dune grass was established with deep roots and it no longer needed the extra water. And, the clumps of grass expanded, gradually stabilizing the dunes.
 
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“What remains of our once rich land is like the body of a sick man, with the fat and soft earth having wasted away and only the bare skeleton remaining.  Years ago, many of the mountains were arable.  The valleys that were full of rich soil are now marshes.  Hills that were once covered with forests and produced abundant pasture now produce only food for bees.  Once the land was enriched by annual rains, which were not lost as they are now, by flowing from the bare land into the sea.  Once the soil was deep, it absorbed and kept the water, and this water soaked into the hills and fed springs and running streams everywhere.  Now abandoned shrines at these dried up springs attest that our description of the land is true. 
Plato (427 - 347 BC)

 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Mark Vander Meer wrote:
“What remains of our once rich land is like the body of a sick man, with the fat and soft earth having wasted away and only the bare skeleton remaining.   Years ago, many of the mountains were arable.  The valleys that were full of rich soil are now marshes.  Hills that were once covered with forests and produced abundant pasture now produce only food for bees.  Once the land was enriched by annual rains, which were not lost as they are now, by flowing from the bare land into the sea.  Once the soil was deep, it absorbed and kept the water, and this water soaked into the hills and fed springs and running streams everywhere.   Now abandoned shrines at these dried up springs attest that our description of the land is true. 
Plato (427 - 347 BC)



Thanks for that.

I spent some time at a friend's place in the greek islands... what plato said is still true on that island 2400 years later.  In antiquity the small island supported a population of 60,000...ancient terraced hillsides everywhere, the vast majority now barren. The springs dried up.  Now the pop is about 2,000 sustained by imports from the mainland, tourism and Eurozone bailouts. 
 
Mark Vander Meer
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Where I live we are seeing this same trend, going at a fast pace.  I've seen at least 10 major streams disappear over the past 20 years.  I’m sure it’s a very common occurrence everywhere.
 
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I just want to say that I love this idea, it is a sound idea.  I wish I could afford some land in a decent area. As it is, I can't, so all I could afford was land in a bad area from every angle concerned.  4 - 7 inches of rainfall per year.  Let me repeat, 4 to 7 inches.  Some years have less than 1 inch rain in the past, after overgrazing took over the plain.

Does anyone know of land for free?

Seriously.  I'm not joking.

There's got to be some people who want good organic food in their neighborhood but don't want to do the work themselves (addicted to high stressful jobs and the money they make) but might split off some land for someone who wants to feed their village.
 
Terri Matthews
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Some people hire out to be caretakers of other peoples land: often the pay is a free place to live, and being allowed to garden isnot unusual. There is a magazine out, I THINK it is called caretakers journal and I THINK it is on-line.
 
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You have alot of great ideas here Paul.  I agree that it will work.  Anything better than dried up grass is improvement,  so it WORKED.  Some people seem to have gotten hung up on the flowing stream thing.  If a creek there flows for a month or all year is not really the point.  Making a creek where there is none now is the point.  Holding back the limited water that the site gets so that the land can use it and support a variety of plant life is the point.  And YES that will work.  Swales,  ponds,  trees ect will all combine to make that work.  I really think that you have gotten a project on your hands here Paul.  Maybe you need to talk to the City Planners and see if they will give you and a group of New Volunteer the right to take this barren 400 acres and make it into a show place.  Great educational tool for the local schools.  I wouldnt hold your hand to the fire about the 5 year thing,  take all the time you need,  start with Baby steps and show everyone the progess.  Take alot of pictures and show the befor and after.  Now that I have put in my 2 cents worth,  I will be quiet. 

PS,  Sorry,  I am too far away to help Volunteer
 
pollinator
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I met someone who has built deep (3 feet or so, still they fill up after a deluge) swales over about 3 acres of his land (in the Missouri ozarks), over the last ten years. He says that not only do the trees downhill have a more even water supply and the grass stays greener during drought, but also a creek bed that only flowed after a heavy rain for a few days ten years ago now flows on average ten months a year, only drying up in mid/late summer. He also has had a couple springs appear that weren't there. I have made several swales over the last year but haven't noticed any difference yet, but the most substantial ones were just dug this past winter and we haven't had a rain intense enough to come close to filling them yet, so I'll see how they fare after that.
 
                                              
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  what a great thread!!!
 
master steward
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I uploaded a podcast I did with Maddy Harland, the supreme ruler of Permaculture Magazine.  She talks with me mostly about permaculture stuff, and just a tiny bit about the magazine and books in her queen-dom.

We start off talking about her visit the mighty, the glorious, the amazing Sepp Holzer.  She went to a desert in portugal where Sepp did his thing (tamera).  Once again he brings lakes to the desert, and shows how to grow all of your favorite garden plants without irrigation in a desert.

We talk about vegetarians keeping pigs.  And I tell my story about Sepp Holzer, pigs, blackberries and a vegetarian

We then talk about farm income models that Sepp advocates and Sepp's book that has recently been translated to English.

Maddy has a new blog at Mother Earth News.

We talk about the works of Ben Law and Patrick Whitefield.
 
paul wheaton
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Talked about this a bit in podcast 018

 
pollinator
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Paul's presentation on Replacing Irrigation with Permaculture at the Inland Northwest Permaculture Convergence: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/508-podcast-087-replacing-irrigation-with-permaculture/

Paul talks about bringing creeks back.
 
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Well, I think you have it right. We just got a place where you can see where the water travels at each melt or good rain. The guy next door says"water used to run under their house from his land but they rased the grade so it runs around now. The earth is silt, clay than hardpan. I think I could do a lot with a shovel but if I take the tractor out there?

I like what you're thinking!

 
pollinator
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that fella from India (in another thread) basically brought water to a dry area by plantinig trees, and the water just came..might also happen in the gully?

as for the article on succession, there is one error I might mention..not all pioneer trees are unpalatible for wildlife..

in Michigan we have aspens as pioneer trees, and they are heavily grazed by  deer here, but they are spread by root runners, and everytime a shoot is grazed off..hundreds pop up..so they never get completely grazed off..

If you cut an aspen tree ..in a few months you'll have hundreds of baby aspens all over the place..they  may all have one main parent tree and all be interconnected below ground.

so don't be fooled by thinking that pioneers are all unpalatable to grazing animals.
 
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I would have to say that cattle should be an integral part of the process. Greg Judy of Green Pastures Farm has done just what you are describing by managing cattle. Here is an hour long presentation by Greg describing his management. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6HGKSvjk5Q I'll be doing an internship with him this Winter/Spring.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Here in my region Tallgrasses, such as Switchgrass, will be a good choice for creek planting. They have massive root systems.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Chris Stelzer wrote:I would have to say that cattle should be an integral part of the process.



Would sheep work if the carrying capacity is too small to handle cattle?

 
Chris Stelzer
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Yes, Sheep can work, but cattle are better because they are heavier, and eat more grass, which produces waste with more soil microbes. The impact is really what heals the land and awakens the soil microbes.
 
Tyler Ludens
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There's not much grass for them to eat yet...

 
Chris Stelzer
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Ok, there are a few options. 1) let the grass grow, so I'm assuming you'd have to seed the area. Or, 2) buy round hay bales, roll them out, right next to each other and use electric fence to control their access to the hay. Manage it in such a way where 30% of the hay is beig soiled and tramped onto the soil surface. It will start to break down and the seeds in the hay will germinate with all of the nice organic matter that was trampled by the sheep/cows. Limit them to an area for no more than 4 days, then move them, while preventing access to the area they were previously in. I hope that helps!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you that is probably good advice but the hay available here in round bales is the invasive exotic Bermuda Grass which we under no circumstances want on our land. There is virtually no native hay available, certainly not for an affordable price. We feed a small amount of alfalfa which is not sustainable. We might be able to use your suggestions by feeding tree branches and using sheep fencing, not electric fencing, strung between trees. I'll look into the logistics of this when we get down into the creekbed to clear some cedar this winter. Maybe we would be able to seed native grasses into the trampled alfalfa and branches. I'd like the sheep to be doing something beneficial!
 
Chris Stelzer
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Yes that sounds good but labor intensive, the fencing part. You could always chip the wood you cut it down, and spread that. The key (in my opinion) is first, you need organic matter. Then soil microbes and ground cover. Imagine your gully with 18" tall grass. You'd move the sheep in, at a high density and let them graze 60% of the grass, trample 30% and leave 10% standing. The sheep are fed, the soil is covered with grass and there is 10% for native species/seed growth. The soil microbes need the grass to be in contact with the ground so they can break then down. That is why I made the hay suggestion. I guess you could plant something with a large amount of biomass that grows quickly and "chop and drop" that. Organic matter and soil cover! good luck!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Can't chip the wood, don't have $ for a chipper.

That's our main problem at this point - we don't have spare $ for chippers, hay, etc, and don't have a lot of physical strength to do the work. Need to come up with ways to get the animals to do most of the work somehow...

 
Chris Stelzer
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Oh! Just thought of an idea. Get some free junk hay or straw that has been rained on and ruined. You might find some around your area. You can spread this out using a spike through the center of the round bale, chain the ends around the spike and drive whatever vheicle you have to spread it out. Or just roll it down the hill. Then you bring the sheep in at a high density and feed them the alfalfa mix you mentioned earlier. Straw is really cheap, if you can't buy it I'd look into finding some like I mentioned. This way it's free and the animals do the work! Really let the sheep trample the hay. How does that sound?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Still the danger of importing Burmuda grass from the hay..... There's no straw in my area that I have ever seen.

 
Chris Stelzer
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Humm.. I'm running out of ideas. I think if you get any sort of organic matter that your sheep can trample onto the soil surface will be beneficial. You could also put some seeds in a supplemet (if you do that) to spread the seeds, saving you any work. Best of luck and let us all know what you come up with.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you. You've given me some ideas.

 
Suzy Bean
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Paul, Caleb, and Krista review The Man Who Planted Trees in this podcast: podcast

In the film, the main character is able to bring back the creeks by planting trees.
 
Suzy Bean
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Paul and Jack Spirko talk about "lessons from the forest" in this podcast: podcast.

They talk about the relationship between trees and water.
 
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i like this jack sparko guy hes pretty fun to listen to
 
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Brenda Groth wrote:that fella from India (in another thread) basically brought water to a dry area by plantinig trees, and the water just came..might also happen in the gully?


There's a plant 'pathogen' that causes this phenomenon. The life history of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae is linked to the water cycle by The ISME Journal -Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. =)
 
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I thought I'd my two cents into the mix here. Got to the thread in a very odd round about through a Dailyish. So I know everybody is moved on three years later but...

We've done this. We are making an emphemeral (runs when it rains) arroyo turn into a intermittent (runs for a period of time after it rains) system, moving to perennial flow (should happen within next two years).

Slow the water down, encourage the species you want, graze correctly. That's it.

Check it out: http://tatesmith11.wix.com/regenstewardship#!portfolio/znxwd

We've done a lot of work in our 14" precip zone in Southern Colorado and have made water come from "nowhere".

The question came up multiple times in the thread from somebody who got grey labeled, "Where does the water come from" and everybody's answers were right, water does fall from the sky! COOL!

But water also comes up from the ground. It's not just deep aquifers. There is a retention in the soil. So, as paul alluded to with his sponge metaphor, when you over soak the sponge, the water dribbles out.

By slowing the water using Hydraulic Energy Dispersion methodology (the politically correct way of saying planting water), you hydrate the sponge. You do this long enough and the sponge stays wet and dribbles. The infrastructure you built sustains the dribble through drought because soil holds a lot of water!!

Oh wait, that's where grazing comes in. As all of us know, increase the OM, increase water holding capacity. Proper vegetation management furthers the effectiveness of HED projects. Otherwise, eventually your soil profile dries up again and you have start over with 7 years of energy dispersing in order to get your sponge rehydrated and dribbling. If you have effective HED infrastructure in place, and proper veg management on top of the HED infrastructure. You can withstand any drought. Or at least bounce back quickly when the rains do come.

It's possible, our once intermittent stream now runs 8 months out of the year, 2014 it ran 5 months, in a few years it will run year round for the length of our property.

We can make creeks run again and make new ones show up. Eden is never that far away, you just have to take the first step to get there.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I can't tell you how encouraged I am by your post, Tate! Though we don't have the advantage of control of a large watershed like your example, I think we can get some permanent water in the two seasonal creeks that meet on our place, by implementing some of the strategies you show on the website.
 
Tate Smith
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That's awesome Tyler! If you ever want to chat one on one about your projects. Just shoot me an email on permies or on the website and we can email back and forth or whatever. It's always great to brainstorm with different people.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you!

 
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