I wish I could come do the ATC this year! With family and work obligations I just don't have time but hopefully I will be able to make it sometime in the future. I have been interested in the ATC that you offer for the last few years - always looks really interesting. Now that I have my own homestead I think I would learn a lot from it.
Just wanted to make a quick note about water
laws that you two were talking about in the podcast. The US has an interesting system where the western states have one type of water law and the eastern states have a different type. What Josiah was talking about where he just needed to return the same quantity of water back to the stream as he took out is known as the Riparian Doctrine. This is based on old English Common Law and permits anyone with frontage on the water body to make use of it.
However, in the western United States we have what is known as Prior Appropriation. This system allows for the "beneficial use" of water in a "first in time, first in right" setup. Essentially, if you can put the water to use for economic benefit then you can acquire a water right. Water does not need to be returned to the system so it can be used up. Based on "first in time, first in right" those with the oldest water right claims get to use the water first regardless of how it impacts those with newer water rights. The reason for this system in the west is essentially because of the gold rush in California. The first miners needed to move water from rivers/creeks to their mines. This was viewed as beneficial but the water was not returned back to the original system. This eventually resulted in the complex irrigation canal systems we have today and the dams that feed
it with Colorado being the first state to fully develop this system.
With this system in the western United States it does not mater if you have frontage on a stream or not. The rights to the water is based on the beneficial use and how senior your right is compared to other rights holders not on physical proximity to the stream. The result is that someone else likely has senior water rights to the water flowing through your property. You may in fact not have any legal rights to the water flowing through your property unless the water rights were part of the package when you bought the place. The organization I work for has occasionally purchased water rights and retired them in order to protect in stream flows for fish and other wildlife. Bit complex but it works here in the west.
One reason I went with the property I have now is that the stream that flows through it is not recorded on any county, state, or federal map. Due to this I have unlimited use of the stream and I plan to do what I can to improve it. No issues with water rights or regulations for this stream. I work with state permit managers a fair bit for my work and I checked with them about this - from what they could look up my stream does not exist and is therefor not covered by any existing laws. I'm impacted a bit by a wetland buffer but the stream is not currently regulated.
Hope some of you find this interesting. I had to take a water law course for my water resources degree and since then I have always found water law in the United States interesting - especially the difference between the eastern United States and the western United States.
Here is a little bit more info: Water Law in the United States
and I highly recommend this book if you want a detailed but understandable book on water law in the United States: Water Law in a Nutshell