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water for the future: capturing seasonal rainfall for future generations

 
steward
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hey ya'll, cassie here. smiley one back in action.

i have the great pleasure of working with Elemental Ecosystems now (a lot of you on here know Zach Weiss i think) and i wanted to share one of our new videos about a project we did in coastal British Columbia. it's a pretty special one, focused on water retention specifically to provide for the clients’ children, and for all future generations that will steward this property.

 
gardener
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I subscribe to his vids. He is one of the greats imo. The greatest in the generation after paul,  sepp, and geoff.. Tell him to make a lot of babies so his work can continue.
 
pollinator
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Thanks for sharing Cassie, I'm also open to answering any questions folks have about the project, if that's of interest.


And wayne, thanks for the kind words as well.
 
master steward
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It's so good to see you on permies again, Cassie! Your dailyishes over the years have me feeling like I know you (...which makes me wonder if people feel the same way about me now that I write dailyishes :o). I see a bio on http://www.elementalecosystems.com/about.html and it says you've got a farm and are raising cattle--so exiting! I hope life is treating you awesomely and returning 10 fold all your smiles.

Zach, I loved your video! I'm wondering what--if any--sort of permits were required to make the pond? Just south of the boarder where I live, we have LOTS of regulations, and I worry that if I made a pond, it would be classified as a wetlands, and would then be protected by our wetland laws and require a wetland buffer zone. Do you know if there a way to make a pond without it becoming a protected wetlands? While I have nothing against protected wetlands, 1/3rd of my property is already protected wetlands, and I'd like to use what I have remaining.

We currently have a small stream fed pond on our property that was dug by the previous owner. He dumped concrete and put a plastic liner in there (which has, of course, degraded), and the pond almost entirely dried up two summers ago. Are there ways people can optimize their current water features to help them retain more water?
 
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Cassie and Zach, It's wonderful to see you both back here!
...and with such forward thinking projects



 
gardener
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Judith,  Nicole and Jocylyn are my imaginary girl friends. Mwah ha ha haa.......
 
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A friend dug a hole in the garden and filled it with water. I think he meant well.
 
pollinator
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Isn't this what beavers do?

I like Zach's videos. I can just put them on at work while I'm doing stuff with my hands.

At least one thread we have here, I think it was the Firestorm thread, was concerned in detail about how reengineering the boreal forest to return more to beaver habitat would result in more water harvesting, more groundwater recharge, and fewer catastrophic wildfires.

As important as it is to address water catchment on property, I think the crucial part happens in the wilds.

-CK
 
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Beautiful and inspiring video!
 
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Thank you for the post. My daughter is studying at Humboldt State - Environmental Engineering.  I hope this grabs her attention.  - J
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Nicole Alderman wrote:It's so good to see you on permies again, Cassie! Your dailyishes over the years have me feeling like I know you (...which makes me wonder if people feel the same way about me now that I write dailyishes :o). I see a bio on http://www.elementalecosystems.com/about.html and it says you've got a farm and are raising cattle--so exiting! I hope life is treating you awesomely and returning 10 fold all your smiles.



Thanks Nicole! From what I've seen you've done a wonderful job with the dailyishes, and I'm certain people feel like they know you because of it too! :)

Yes, that is all correct, I am back living in Montana, on family property, a few hours away from Paul actually, and I'm raising cattle and doing the whole bit! :) Life IS treating me awesomely, and I appreciate you and everyone's support along the way! Truly!


Judith Browning wrote:Cassie and Zach, It's wonderful to see you both back here!
...and with such forward thinking projects  



Judith! Great to get a note from you. :)
 
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Zach Weiss wrote:Thanks for sharing Cassie, I'm also open to answering any questions folks have about the project, if that's of interest.


And wayne, thanks for the kind words as well.


The black stuff in the video is the clay? Did you stumble on it or do a prior deep sampling?
 
Zach Weiss
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Thank so for all the positive energy everyone!

what--if any--sort of permits were required to make the pond? Just south of the boarder where I live, we have LOTS of regulations, and I worry that if I made a pond, it would be classified as a wetlands, and would then be protected by our wetland laws and require a wetland buffer zone. Do you know if there a way to make a pond without it becoming a protected wetlands? While I have nothing against protected wetlands, 1/3rd of my property is already protected wetlands, and I'd like to use what I have remaining.

We currently have a small stream fed pond on our property that was dug by the previous owner. He dumped concrete and put a plastic liner in there (which has, of course, degraded), and the pond almost entirely dried up two summers ago. Are there ways people can optimize their current water features to help them retain more water?



To your question Nicole in this case it is a dugout fed by rainwater so no permitting was required.  BC has some very strong right to farm legislature that really protects the farmer cultivating their land.  I think this is important legislature to be passed everywhere, people have to be able to work with their water and their land to start making an impact.

The US is rivaled only by the EU with regards to litigation and legal/permitting turmoil, it's certainly never easy.  In the US the important pieces are where is the water coming from and what is the volume of earth being moved or water being retained.  If you stay under their limits there is still a good bit you can do.  Often times you just need a geo-technical engineer to sign off on the dam construction when the dam is over a certain size (a very logical thing).  But there are other places where people don't own their own water and so run into troubles impounding it in a water retention feature.  

There are LOTS of problems with our current wetland legislature, namely that it doesn't allow for regeneration, enhancement, or expansion.  Yes as you are describing can happen, but if it is a permitted (or doesn't require a permit) water body that is man made you have a strong case.  That's unfortunately how our legal system works, nothing is ever as cut and dry as it seems.

There are also laws that require homeowners to remedy resource concerns for themselves of their neighbors when a problem is recognized.  In your case you have very good cause to come in and rix everything, in your case possibly rebuilding the pond as an earthen feature.  These are the only types of water bodies that really aid in watershed restoration and climate balance.

Chris, yes this is exactly what beavers do.  But we killed off all of the beavers and drained the wetland for arable land for agriculture.  That's why it is urgently necessary for humans in modern times to act as the beavers did, re-hydrating land and acting as keystone species for the regeneration of the earth's organs.

I like the beaver habitat in the boreal north idea, that could really have some merit!
 
pollinator
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I have friends! Yeeee!!!


Yes, you have friends, Nicole! Even in the Netherlands
 
pioneer
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Laurent Voulzy wrote:

Zach Weiss wrote:Thanks for sharing Cassie, I'm also open to answering any questions folks have about the project, if that's of interest.


And wayne, thanks for the kind words as well.


The black stuff in the video is the clay? Did you stumble on it or do a prior deep sampling?



In the video, Zach tells you that they hit a layer of clay which they were careful to segregate for use later in dealing up the pond.  So that must be the blue black layer that is visible in the video footage.

Btw, Zach, great video, both content and production.

Sincerely,

Ralph
 
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Loved the video Zach, thank you for posting Cassie!

I'm curious, would you happen to know what the yardage limit for an earthworks project is for it to not need a permit up where this project was installed?

We've run up against this barrier many times down in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in California, and are constantly weighing the pros and cons of trying to dig an illegal but regenerative hole in the ground for a reasonable price, or attempting to go the legal route while often being forced to install things like concrete spillways, not to mention vastly inflated permitting costs (CA is crazy). I'm really inspired to see that someone, somewhere got one in! Also really appreciate the parent's ethic an aim to put today's capital to use creating an abundant future for their children and extended family. I feel like that's our generational calling if we're willing to step up and answer it.

Great work!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Can you dig a basin instead of a hole?  It's landscaping!  



https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/plant-lists-resources/rain-garden-planting-zones/
 
Zach Weiss
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Casey Pfeifer wrote:Loved the video Zach, thank you for posting Cassie!

I'm curious, would you happen to know what the yardage limit for an earthworks project is for it to not need a permit up where this project was installed?



Hi Casey,

Yardage limits vary greatly depending on location and regulations, California, for example, is 500 cubic yards. I feel so very sorry for the people of California, they live in a truly dire situation with dysfunctional and idiotic representation. The watershed degradation there is on par with Syria, yet the regulations are so extensive they actually prohibit restoration or regeneration. For a project we are currently working on in California the permitting for the water body will likely cost more than building the water body itself. This kind of stupidity, in a region where this work is so desperately necessary, I cannot understand.

 
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Zach, tell us more about the permits etc please.
 
John C Daley
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Nicole, can you submit some photos and details of the soil around the 'pond' you speak of please?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Sure! I have gravely loam soil, so it's well draining. There's mostly grass, pond plants that I can't ID, water lillies, salmonberries and--I believe--sitka willow growing around and in the pond. I'd say the pond is about 1,000-1,400sqft. No idea how many gallons it hold. The "right" (south) side of the pond is pretty shalllow and slopes, while the "left" side is maybe 4.5-6 feet deep when it's full. The previous owner of the land dug a ditch through the wetlands to collect water to funnel via a culvert into this pond that he dug with a excavator, and the stream flows out of it. The stream/ditch he dug to fill it runs our whole rainy season (so September through at least May. June-August there's really no water other than the occasional rain (maybe a total of 3 inches during those months), and that doesn't make the stream flow)

Here's the pond in the winter



And here it is in the summer, when it was so dry that there was just a small puddle of water at the bottom. I'm sorry that I don't have a more detailed picture of it at this state.



I'll attach some more pictures down below. What other infomation would be good to know?
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ducks entering at the shallower/less-steep side
 
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Paul Chambers on YouTube tells of all the ways he captures rain water and uses it.Also he is seen in "Living Big in a Tiny House" You Tube channel.
 
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Hi everyone I have a huge problem I have a very high water table. My grass is constantly Soaked .The ducks started picking at the dirt where they found a little bit of water and created a 5 x 5 pond for them selves pretty neat how nature passive way of helping yourself. I have 7 acres and I would like to put in at least an acre and a half . . I’ve been reading some posts and people are saying start out by digging a hole and And see  holds water. Does anybody know how much it would cost to To dig out a 1 acre pond may be an acre and a half thanks Tommy
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Thomas Brincat wrote: Hi everyone I have a huge problem I have a very high water table. My grass is constantly Soaked .The ducks started picking at the dirt where they found a little bit of water and created a 5 x 5 pond for them selves pretty neat how nature passive way of helping yourself. I have 7 acres and I would like to put in at least an acre and a half . . I’ve been reading some posts and people are saying start out by digging a hole and And see  holds water. Does anybody know how much it would cost to To dig out a 1 acre pond may be an acre and a half thanks Tommy



Hi Tommy, if you are interested in having Elemental Ecosystems help with your pond situation, you can email us at office AT elementalecosystems.com.
 
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