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Sepp making lakes (specifically the hydrological costs)

 
                        
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Notice: I did not realize there was a page 2 well underway when I wrote the following post, now I'm going to backtrack and read that.  The following post was made having only read page 1 of this thread.

--------


I side with the original poster. 

I have not read all of the books nor seen all of the videos.  Of course there are benefits to dams.  Surely there are negative consequences.  If you are unaware of them that does not mean they do not exist.  Do what you will.  Experimentation can be exhilarating.  I imagine it is enjoyable to carve the land into swales and rent backhoes to dig out huge clumps of earth.  "Permaculture" - you attempt to establish a permanent change on the earth.  That is what you are doing.  I believe in cause and effect.

My father paid two gentlemen $3300 USD last month to utilize a bulldozer and track-hoe to re-create a broken down and sabotaged dam on some acreage in south-central Kentucky.  In addition, they flattened/terraced off a hilltop for a two-level garden site.  My father eyes another old run-down pond site on the property, waiting for the day he can hire the bulldozer back in to re-create this pond.  Already there are turtles residing in the marsh.  Are these changes positive?  I do not know.  I know I will grow many food products on the garden site this year.  The orchard will bring tons of fruit years from now.  The pond will feed people and other animals with fish, algae, insects, plants and others I do not know.

I think it is great to have a forum to express opinion.  If you believe in an objective reality, to me, that is simply your perspective.  I hope people understand that the people that have written permaculture books, taught courses, and lectured widely are also human beings.  They are experimenting and learning.  I imagine many of them have a firm grasp on the skill of observation and are able to utilize their brains to process information.  These theories they create come from their understanding of the world.  To each their own.

Good luck creating your swales and dams.  If you want to create nothing and simply observe, good luck to you as well.
 
pollinator
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i have a pond on my property too and the county has put in drainage ditches across our property to a swampy area north of us, however, we aren't depriving anyone downstream of water as ours fills from "floodwater" in the spring that would do more damage downstream than help, and we hold it most of the summer here ..it would just run off to a river that would just be overflowing it's banks in the spring and flooding more homse..so ours has been well thought out, but some people planning on putting in ponds or lakes need to consider their effects downstream (i wasn't suggesting that Sepp didn't)
 
pollinator
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saybiantv, I think the vibraflotation is beyond the scope of most of us and not likely to solve problems we would encounter on our relatively small projects.

I remove the like the other comments here and really each piece of land has to be evaluated regarding the best method.  Machinery costs money to use even if you own it, but with proper thought each piece can be used to advantage I think.  I noticed Sepp used different machines in different videos and think he would make the best use of what he had available.

I build dams in smaller lifts after getting down to the mineral clay layer below.  The vibration and weight of the Bobcat or backhoe are enough for excellent compaction.  I experiment a bit each year not making major changes until I see the effect.  I keep spillways to the side on native soil to prevent washing out the new soil.  My soil is ideal for not losing a water retention improvement and consists of clay and rocks.

Here is a small one I made several years ago for my cows.  The mud in the water is from my dog playing in it otherwise it was clear with mosquito fish in it.  They found their own way from the ponds above.  It is the third in a series.



Steams are only seasonal in this area except my year around spring which does not leave my property.

Egyptian professor friend recommending Catfish in my year round spring pond about 300 feet above the lower pond.



Emerson, I always enjoy your alternative viewpoints and the idea that I may look at things different after viewing it from your angle.
 
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Sepp is coming to Montana to build a pond, I believe.
   I have been wondering about this one.It is located on private lands which are located with in the Indian reservation.The people of the reservation have worked very hard on their water rights treaties.Water standards with in the reservation are much above the states requirements.One must go through the permitting process.The tribes are very protective of their wetlands,streams  and creeks as well as Flathead lake.
Recently there was a gentleman off the reservation who disturbed wet land and was given a 275 thousand dollar fine here in Montana.With out going back to the article it seems he wanted more of a pond area then the stream and wetlands he had..
  So I guess this brought in more curiosity.I cannot say that I fully understand any of what Sepp does in regards to ponds as it has not been something I would be utilizing in my area.
 I know we will be curious to how this will work with in our own area.The small creek that runs through the  place that Sepp is coming to visit does run through tribal lands and goes into Flathead lake.Considering changes to wetlands and creeks that come into the lake affect those of us in the region, yes who "are down stream" it would be nice understand the process more to alleviate concerns.
 
 
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A few people have brought up the sentiment that they are only stopping seasonal flood water that is of no use to the people down stream anyways, that is the notion that I dispute. I think that assumes a lot of things about the systems downstream that you don't necessarily know. In a long enough river system even a concrete trough with rubble could turn enough seasonal flow into a continuous stream.

H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Damming a stream may have costs downstream.  To me, maintaining or establishing forests appears to have only benefits downstream.

"Forests, in turn, are vital to the water cycle and to water quality. In essence, the forest acts like a giant sponge, filtering and recycling water. Approximately 80 percent of U.S. fresh-water resources are estimated to originate in forests, which cover one-third of the U.S. land area.

Tree leaves intercept water from rain, snow, and fog; the leaves also release water back to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration . Tree roots extract water from the soil while helping hold the soil in place. Forested land reduces the surface impact of falling rain through interception and delay of water reaching the surface. Forestland also decreases the amount and velocity of storm runoff over the land surface. This in turn increases the amount of water that soaks into the ground, a portion of which can ultimately recharge underlying aquifers . Conversely, water from hydraulically connected surficial aquifers may enter streams and wetlands , helping to maintain their water levels during dry periods."

http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/En-Ge/Forest-Hydrology.html#ixzz1KFuAHbZf

Well to you these are only benefits, but to someone else they may be costs. The trees bringing water up to the surface are keeping water from flowing down stream, which isn't good for you if you want water to flow down stream to you, same thing with topsoil.
 
                              
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Emerson White wrote:
A few people have brought up the sentiment that they are only stopping seasonal flood water that is of no use to the people down stream anyways, that is the notion that I dispute. I think that assumes a lot of things about the systems downstream that you don't necessarily know. In a long enough river system even a concrete trough with rubble could turn enough seasonal flow into a continuous stream.
Well to you these are only benefits, but to someone else they may be costs. The trees bringing water up to the surface are keeping water from flowing down stream, which isn't good for you if you want water to flow down stream to you, same thing with topsoil.


What about the argument that trees bring rain to an area? If trees bring rain and that increases downstream water flow, what difference does it make if you have ponds which temporarily harness and contain water?
 
Glenn Kangiser
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Emerson, I think Sepp would agree with you regarding the Government project of planting trees in areas where they should not be all around his place.  The government mismanagement destroyed the natural qualities of the land..... but then again, so do his permaculture techniques and lakes.

I see it as improvement in self support working with nature.  Possibly the solution would be if all human life on earth were to perish then things would go back to nature with man being unable to affect it?

I think we were meant to use the earth to our benefit and improve it without destroying it.
 
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It is a very important discussion, a lot of people feel that if you put dams in the river you are stealing the water from those down stream, and i believe that the systems used by Sepp Holzer and others increase the water availiable to all, so it is important to go into all the details of the subject. You can't just say I dont like to be argued with, you have to prove your case. Dispelling fears is a way to forment the use of a system I think is a way to everyone getting more water.

      It was the experience of people who built ponds in India, in the Thar desert, that reconstructing the ponds that had traditional been there, before the British occupation of india, ponds that filled up in the wet season and dried in the dry season, ponds of a few hectares if it was a village pond and smaller ones on each farm, had a a result the effect of bringing back to life rivers and the wells, down stream that had dried up long ago. This was not a consequence they expected, it was just what happened river that had dried revived six years after the institution of the old ponds and i suppose some new ones.
      Filling ponds in the wet season meant that the villagers did not have to depend on the resevoirs when the dry season started they had their own store of water in their own pond so that alleviates the use of resevoirs and saves some public water ponds reduced  reduced the demand on public water systems. It also meant the land beside the pond was so saturated that wells next to the pond went on giving water all through the dry season also alleviating the demands on public water systems. I believe this testimony, it is why i advocate the use of water harvesting systems. agri rose macaskie
 
Emerson White
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@Endurance, I think that there is a dose/response effect there, a large forrest brings more rain than a patch of trees. This patch of trees no doubt catches dew off the lake at night, but then during the day it evapo-transpires water out into the atmosphere to be rain somewhere else (over the mediteranian?) and does no good for the people downstream. If the trees brought enough rain to be a net positive in water on the system then Sepp could undam the stream and the trees would still water themselves right? At least I think that is the natural logical implication.

@Glenn, I never thought to quote Sepp, excellent point!
 
rose macaskie
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      I used to think that a object falling out of a window fell at a set speed and later in my life heard that it accelerates all the way down, so if it falls from very high and has a long way to go before it reaches the ground it will go faster and faster as it goes down and hit the ground a great speed. If it is a river that is going faster and faster it will erode its bed faster and my reason for putting obstacles in my river was just to slow it down a bit I already have a big enough precipice in my garden.
      The factor what do i mind more about, more erosion or a drop or two more water in my resevoir has to be factored in to this discussion. Erosion takes land away from farmers and breaks down roads.

        If you put obstacles in a river then you will slow up its course, you dont take water out of the river you just slow it down.
        The obstacle in a river  that holds up the flow a bit, till the river fills the space behind the obstacle and over flows over the top of it, make the stream wider. If the river can't go so fast it has to go somewhere so it widens out, so if you slow it down it widens and will carry more water for each yard of stream, a bigger volume but this volume is moving slower than the thin stream, same quantiy of water but less speed.

      The bed of the river that is absorbing water will absorb more water than a thinner bed, but if you think how big the areas are that are irrigated for crops in comparison  that little bit of extra absorption of river water is not much. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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emerson white,
    Do you live in Anchorage' I said Anchorage when i should have said istambul vI am ashamed to say,is that why you mention anchorage?
    My traditional formal, normal, book on agriculture, produced by the government of north america for an editorial of mexico venezuela spain and colombia. Americas agricultural department talks of swales and of building structures across gullies to stop erosion by stopping the water concentrating in rills that dig into the earth, it is why agricultural experts are called agricultural engineers here in Spain they know about the earth and when it will give and what to do to stop it giving and how to stop mudslides in the possible, and how to retain more water on the land. It is possible, i should think, that swales could cause a mudslide. Still this is a book for farmers not for resevoir owners and i have here the name of this book because i do cite my sources sometimes. Manual de Conservation de Suelos. Servicios de Conservation de Suelos,Departemiento de agricultura de los Estados Unidos de America. uteh noriega editores, with a prologue by the famouse North America savior of soils, suelos in spanish, Hugh Hammond Bennet.
  All that the permaculturist do is to give everyone the knowledge farm experts have about swales, berms and water coservation, did not Bill Mollison go to university to study all this stuff up and add it to his observations and great creativity about land restoration?  agri rose macaskie. 
 
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endurance wrote:
While not Sepp-style lakes, I know the Anasazi Indians in the four corners region used check dams on seasonal streams for corn (maize) cultivation.  Archeologists have revealed that they would build a rock dam in small dry gullies and over time, silt and soil would build up behind these creating a level piece of land.  They would plant corn in these level spots and as thunderstorm season rolled around, the check dams would capture and hold water in the soil like a sponge, allowing the corn to grow. 



To me, this is preserving top soil, protecting downstream water quality, and taking advantage of surplus in a dry land when it becomes available.




This is actual method is employed by =http://www.kniferiver.com/Pages/default.aspxKnife River Materials at some of their sites near the rivers in my region for that very reason.
 
                                
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Is there not some way of diverting a portion of water away from seasonal rivers without stopping them or damming them up? Observe where the water floods on your land, build a little off-shoot creek that leads to a pond without building a barrier in the actual river? Is this too much work, too expensive?  Does it have other consequences that make it not worth the effort?  Disclaimer:  I really don't know a lot about this, just seems like if the concern is depriving water from folks downstream, but you're suffering erosion from a flooding river, not to mention having to contend with drought conditions you're compelled to do something.  So why not just "puff, puff, give" so to speak.  Take a little bit off the top and get out of the way as the rest runs down the line.
 
master pollinator
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It might be more like "take a little off the bottom" if one uses a permeable barrier like a gabion or check dam which allows much of the water to continue on but slows the water and allows silt to settle out.

 
Emerson White
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@Rose, yes, Anchorage, Alaska, USA. But I went to college in Durango Colorado, which is a fairly dry but sparsely forested clay soil environment, high desert. Yes, swales do reduce erosion, and in general an environment with swales is going to be more productive than one with out. I'm just trying to get people to internalize the notion that these technologies, which can be so very useful, have impacts that others might consider negative. It's the philosophy of "TINSTAAFL" (there is no such thing as a free lunch).

@ Nerdmom, it is a matter of degrees, If you dig a pond and divert the whole of a stream into it it will be largely as if you built a dam on the stream (except for the sake of animals that might have walked along it) if you dig a hole and divert none of the stream then it's as if you did nothing. I just look around and see a great many people talk about greening the desert as if we were making water out of magic, rather than what I consider a more prudent view, which is using water that was there in a different (and hopefully more efficient) manner.

@Ludi, even that is the same thing to a different degree. In some parts of the world they have taken slow moving streams and ditches and lined them with trowel smoothed concrete in order to speed up the water so that the farmers at the other end can get more of the sediment (and probably more importantly the water) themselves.
 
                              
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Emerson White wrote:
I'm just trying to get people to internalize the notion that these technologies, which can be so very useful, have impacts that others might consider negative. It's the philosophy of "TINSTAAFL" (there is no such thing as a free lunch).


There's no free lunch with our existing agricultural system either.  The small scale projects most folks are implementing will have minimal impact on the downstream environment and a greater impact on the global environment that going with the status quo, IMHO.  Flying and trucking our food thousands of miles a day, millions of miles a year has a far greater impact than my swale, pond or terraces.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Emerson White wrote:
@Ludi, even that is the same thing to a different degree. In some parts of the world they have taken slow moving streams and ditches and lined them with trowel smoothed concrete in order to speed up the water so that the farmers at the other end can get more of the sediment (and probably more importantly the water) themselves.




In my opinion it is not even slightly the same thing to a different degree.  Trowel-smooth concrete lining a stream is in my opinion nothing like placing a permeable barrier in a stream.  Channeling streams is, in my opinion, an horrifically bad practice which destroys watersheds.


Reference:  "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands" by Brad Lancaster

In my opinion, greening the desert can make water "as if by magic" because as others have pointed out already, trees  attract atmospheric moisture, pull moisture from deep in the ground, and hold moisture in the soil.  Trees can cause it to rain in a locale, and removing trees can cause it to stop raining in that locale.

Reference:  "Permaculture: a designers manual" by Bill Mollison
 
Tyler Ludens
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Nerdmom just posted a link to this video series which gives scientific support for the benefits of slowing water in seasonal streams:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYMTEB8WgrY&feature=youtu.be

It seems to me if the benefits of a practice far outweigh the costs, it can be considered a net benefit.  That is, since the practice of slowing water in a seasonal stream enables water to remain in the stream year-round, providing those downstream with more available water, this seems to be a benefit with no likely cost.
 
Emerson White
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@Endurance, there certainly is not, but I think your highlighting that is a part of the attitude that I want so desperately to remove from permaculture. I hear so often A has these bad characteristics, so B is the answer. Right now I'm pointing out that B is not completely free of negative characteristics and I feel like it would be fallacious to take that statement as an endorsement of A, just like I feel like the statements about how bad A's downsides are shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of B. It is an argument form known as an appeal to consequences and is generally known as a fallacy of weak induction.

Let me try and explain in a couple of tables.
If you ask the average permie they will give you a story like this to explain the situation.

If you head down stream and find a conventional farmer this is the story that they will tell you

And the story I want people to look at is the whole story

I firmly believe that the only way to fix our problems is to try and get as accurate an assessment of them as we can, and face up to the difficult choices we have to make.

@Ludi, See above, yes it has costs, but it has benefits too. If you wrap a small high mountain stream around to the other side of a ridge where you are that silt can benefit you greatly, remineralizing your soils. It has costs, but my point is that the fact that something has costs does not necessarily make it a bad idea because everything has costs. TNSTAAFL.

As to atmospheric moisture there isn't a whole lot of that to be had in the deserts typically, I think most of the moisture we are talking about comes from our naturally bad accounting skills as humans. Sepp's Portugese lake (reservoir really) spills water into the air which the trees then grab out and dump on their roots, but if not for his lake there wouldn't be enough water passing by to meet the needs of the trees.

I'm not saying that there is no benefit to slowing streams, just that there is a cost associated with those benefits. Incidentally I'm watching that video (well listening as I type) right now and I am not yet swayed terribly by it as a scientific source.

Edit: By way of example I give this statement that they hold up as proof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfbpaN6b78g&NR=1#at=57 I'm sure that I could stick a pump into the river and pump the water through a sprinkler system onto a property and make my property green, though that would probably contribute to making a downstream property more brown.
 
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Egypt benefited from the washing away of Ethiopia for thousands of years (Nile Floods)
Building the Aswan Dam deprived them of the benefits, but Ethiopia is still washing away

besides "no free lunch" is the saying "changing things makes them different" and some of those changes are unforseen
 
Tyler Ludens
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duane wrote:
Egypt benefited from the washing away of Ethiopia for thousands of years (Nile Floods)
Building the Aswan Dam deprived them of the benefits, but Ethiopia is still washing away



There's a good amount of evidence now, I think, that large dams are in the long run not beneficial to the watershed (folks upstream and downstream).

Small dams, check dams, and permeable barriers don't seem to have these negative effects because they do not obstruct much water.
 
Emerson White
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
There's a good amount of evidence now, I think, that large dams are in the long run not beneficial to the watershed (folks upstream and downstream).

Small dams, check dams, and permeable barriers don't seem to have these negative effects because they do not obstruct much water.



There are benefits both upstream and down to large dams and costs both upstream and down to small ones. It's only a matter of degree. I suspect that when the large dams come down in hundreds of years that they will have built a marvelous pile of extremely high quality, rich, river silt. And that this will be mined and spread on farm fields to restore fertility.
 
                                
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You know what?  I think this is going to be an issue that has to be dealt with community by community.  Obvious of course, but in order to do that, as usual we are probably going to have to totally shift what we think of when we think of community.  Water is life, more than figuratively, but literally also and so these communities should be founded around watersheds.  So maybe a group of 200(that's a modest, rural figure) people live in a particular watershed.  If they aren't providing food for each other in one large area, then it stands to reason that they will at least have to cooperatively work together to manage the water.  Of course you can't have one person dominating the management of water by way of geography, but in order for people to survive, there must be some level of management going on.
This discussion so good you guys.  I'm sure people have discussed in detail forming communities around land management and ecology, but for someone who hasn't lived anywhere near the desert since she was 10 or in a rural environment ever, this is useful stuff.  I always think about water in terms of defending it, not of managing it.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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duane wrote:
Egypt benefited from the washing away of Ethiopia for thousands of years (Nile Floods)
Building the Aswan Dam deprived them of the benefits, but Ethiopia is still washing away

besides "no free lunch" is the saying "changing things makes them different" and some of those changes are unforseen



The people of the nile didn't have to deal with industrial ag chemicals.  The people of the nile also starved when the river didn't provide the silt needed, hence why Egypt attempted making dams, and changing several river flows.

 
Emerson White
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Mekka Pakanohida wrote:
The people of the nile didn't have to deal with industrial ag chemicals.  The people of the nile also starved when the river didn't provide the silt needed, hence why Egypt attempted making dams, and changing several river flows.



I don't see what the lack of agrochemical has to do with the subject I'm afraid. The site in Portugal also lacks agrochemical contamination to my knowledge.
 
                                
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Mekka Pakanohida wrote:
WOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!  Someone gets it!   
That's the point and literal basis of permaculture.  Literal chapter 1 of the Permaculture Designers Manual stuff.



I know, I know, it's obvious.  I've just noticed that sometimes in debating an issue, this understanding doesn't seem to be  inherent.  That we probably are going to stop pretending as if we are operating in a vacuum as so many growers do now and start governing ourselves collectively without instruction or arbitration from external groups.  
For, when you do think collectively you probably wouldn't just dam up a waterway without input from your neighbors, you wouldn't use fertilizers that your neighbors don't use and don't know about, probably wouldn't even plant a hedgerow without consulting your neighbor.
 
Emerson White
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Nerdmom wrote:stop pretending as if we are operating in a vacuum as so many growers do now and start governing ourselves collectively without instruction or arbitration from external groups.



Agreed
 
rose macaskie
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endurance,
  Your stop dams that hold up water, the ones you mention are connected with the sand dams of some part of Africa, i think you would find them if you tapped the words "sand dams" and pressed search on  you tube.
      Sand dams are dams built with the intention of getting a build up of sand upstream of the dam . The sand that builds up on the upstreams side of the dam holds lots of water, also held in by the dam and the villagers can get to this water in the dry season by digging a hole in the sand. The advantage of having water in sand being that mosquitos don't like living in sand. So for the Anasazi indians, the stop dams accumulated a build up of wet silt upstream of the dam that thye could use to grow crops on in the dry season and in sand dams the build up of wet sand is usefull as a source of water in the dry season.

      It does make a difference what you do in your farm however small, or could. You call yourself endurance, you have to go on trying against all odds if you have endurance, can you think how sepp holzers farm gives testimony to the effectiveness of organic and permaculture farming so no one can scoff at it as useless. Each person who acheives something in this feild proves that it is not only a geniuse like Sepp who acheives a lot it is a lot of other people, maybe we are all geniuses if we make the effort to prove it. agri rose macaskie. .
 
Emerson White
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A number of people have talked about the benefits of providing the downstreamers with a steady supply of year round water, well I've just remembered that that is a huge problem for the Grand Canyon ecosystem. So big in fact that the feds have been trying to rejigger their flood schedule in order to mimic the natural flood cycle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon#Federal_protection
 
Posts: 556
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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It seems like the exact location and hydrology would play a role in the usefulness and function of any earthworks.Often such knowledge takes years of observation.Acadamia can only ofer so much.Raising hydrology would allow for more edge habitat.Beavers were doing that for us(here in NA)before.The natives here kept some streams free of beaver dams for salmon.So weather a dam is functioning for ones benefit and the effects it has is site dependent and better observed on a regular basis.Europeans had destroyed many of their salmon stocks before Sepp came on the scene so he can do more changing without a visable effect on rare species because they are not there anymore.He lets pigs into wetlands.Not that some of this cant go on but if you do anything en-mass than problems become more visable so part of his success is the uniqueness of his project in relation to surrounding land management.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mt.goat wrote:
It seems like the exact location and hydrology would play a role in the usefulness and function of any earthworks.



Definitely, and this fits into the "long and thoughtful observation" concept of permaculture.

 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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Really good things said in the last three posts. To my view this whole thread looks more like a riff against the deification of Holzer-inspired methods around here to the point that people are jumping into conversations threatening to commit seppuku if anyone so much as questions His Word any further. I think certain parties may be mistaking what is simply unbiased discussion and analysis of Holzer's methods and their applications/implications as character critisism or a call for his head.
 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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There is a huge literature on the effects of basin hydrology on aquatic ecosystems (particularly urbanization -- but that's a sidetrack).  In PNW USA small dam structures on streams frequently interrupt anadromous fish migration.  On the other hand, our local historic landscape to which aquatic ecosystem adapted had <1% overland flow, so detention for percolation is a valuable strategy where surface runoff is anthropogenic.  To evaluate effects you'd be looking at 'peak flow frequency' ('flashiness' and 'channel forming flows') as well as 'summer base flow', as well as nutrient and temperature characteristics.

EDIT - in retrospect a pretty geeky post... but the language is useful for accessing available literature.  Changing hydrology from the status quo can throw a whole downstream channel system out of equilibrium with unintended consequences.  Be careful out there... I struggle not to replicate the arrogance that got us into this ecological mess.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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@Paul Cereghino, Awesome post.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11361
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
739
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Paul Cereghino wrote:
In PNW USA small dam structures on streams frequently interrupt anadromous fish migration. 



In my region, fish trying to migrate up a creek better have legs and carry a big canteen. 

 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Paul Cereghino wrote:EDIT - in retrospect a pretty geeky post... but the language is useful for accessing available literature. 



Did you realize that just because I said it was a great post? 'Emerson likes it, it must be impenetrably dense and obtuse, what can I do to abrogate that problem?!?!'
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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"The amount of ploughed land increases every year as the use of the tractor spreads so there are more and more bits of earth being heated with the direct rays of the sun on a thermal mass heat accul¡mulating material like the earth, while our cooling system has stoppèd working."

Fairly poignant.
 
rose macaskie
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      M. Edwards, Gosh, you are the first person who really seems to think there might be somthing in the idea bare earth may increase global warming. I do know cities are hotter than the country because of all the thermal mass materials in them that get heated by the sun, and i have looked up earth in the context of its thermal mass qualities and they were given to be somehting like bricks if i remember right. , they are called islands of heat in this context so having such material in the sun does make a difference  and a big one, Madrid gets very hot in summmer compared with the countryside around it stays hot all night long which does not happen in the coutry here, the bricks take so long to give off their heat apperantly tar mac takes the bucket for heating up. Tthe buildign materials getting hot in the city is the reason why Obama had a paint your roof white to reflect the sun away from it project.
        I have not painted my roof white scared of the local authorities who would say it was out of keeping with the rest of the village it is cowardly of me.
        I have some cousins, step cousins called Edwards if i remember right.
      The great thing about it is, it should not be too hard to cure. Traditional Spanish farming has sheep eat the stubble of wheat feilds after eating seed filled pastures up the mountains, so as to seed the wheat feilds, that lie not totally fallow, because the sheep seed them in this way, for two years. Unfortunately a lot of farming is no longer traditional here.  That is sheep seed balls for you, it is a cheap method. Though i have read about it there was not a description of the timing of taking sheep to feed on the mountain pastures full of seed and then taken to the village wheat feilds.
      I have seen sheppherds take the sheep through the stubble when they bring them home at night, one flock after another, so I wonder if that is how its done.
      The more expensive way would be to plant clover or some such. A book i read that talked about seeding land left fallow, in the context of bettering the soil with a green manure, said you could collect the seed of some weed that seems suitable to you, and that the farmer could collect it himself, so it need not cost anything. I dont know how easy that is though i did collect a bit of my own clover seed last year and it was not too hard. It would improve the soil at the same time as blocking the sun off from shining on the soil. agri rose macaskie.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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@Rose, it was a joke

As for the albedo affect and the heat problem, yes the earth heats up during the day, but that bare earth also sends more heat off as night sky radiation. When a tree turns light into sugar that sugar is later burned letting the heat out. If you stop water from going over a waterfall into the ocean and use that to grow plants you can help fix more carbon, but if you rob water from Peter to pay Paul you will not increase vegetation.
 
rose macaskie
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      Sepp did say in one video that he bought someone elses wells, so he got water that way. I dont think he is daming seasonal rivers, arent seasonal rivers a hot country thing? Are the rivers in the Austrian alpes seasonal? Isn't Sepps only real water problem that south facing slopes are inclined to be dry and his is a very steep one so it would be easy for all rain to be run off and not run in to his soil. I went to look at the steep path down my slope in a downpour and the water was running down it instead of soaking into the land.
      In the video of Sepps on youtube that is in Spanish, in which he is advising some people in the hills of South America, he talks about the importance of the water of the mountains not running to the streams too directly  as that causes flash flooding down stream, and we have all heard of the floods in South America on the news.  
     I always saw the idea of collecting water as a wet season one. It would not be so hard for the authorities to mention on what days you could fill your ponds and on what days you could not.  In a place that had plenty of water in winter you could let people fill ponds all through the winter and if there was a dry winter they could always put in place a embargo on collecting water. They do have a system of saying whether or not you can water your gardens in summer in the village a notice set up in each town hall, so that sort of thing is not unknown here.
      In the mountains in Gredos they have a arab irrigation system, canals that can take water from the rivers to the feilds, you open a flood gate in the small irrigation canals and flood your feild in spring to irrigate it.  I dont know how they decide on when you can and can't take water from the canals, but there do exist systems for this sort of t ing which are bound to be regulated in the town halls. Every small village has a town hall here.
 i had not invisaged filling ponds from rivers just lettign them fill in athe rains but in India one of the types of ponds that are traditional in villages are those filled from the rivers.

        The ground is also, as is a sand filter, a natural filter, so if people can get the rain to soak through their land and seep out into rivers instead of running over it down hill then the rivers will be cleaner. Plants like cattails also clean a lot of rubbish from rivers, they digest detergents, which means they break down the molecules in detergents into there component parts and then take the parts they want, as do Paul Stamets oyster mushrooms with hydro carbons, petrol, turning them into carbohydrates, oyster mushroom bodies and so do the bacteria at the feet pf cattails and maybe they digest medicines too, which is one of the things that have to be cleaned out of drinking water but not rain water. I am getting a bit off topic. The earth would filter out the bacteria in any animal or human manure that might end on the feilds and so in the rain water and considering how green with nitrates our rivers look in documentaries of rivers and the lands they pass through, a popular sort of  Spainish documentary,  the water needs filtering. agri rose macaskie.
       
 
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