Zach Weiss

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since Oct 20, 2012
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Recent posts by Zach Weiss

Hi permies, it's been a while!

I wanted to reach out to you about a really exciting, important project I have been working on. I love all of your guys work on this platform to restore ecosystems and water, and I wanted to ask you a favor that could do some good. Ten years ago, it was just a dream of mine to build ponds and help regenerate landscapes as his profession, and he has made that happen...but there's only so much a single work crew can do.

My dream for the next few years is to start an online learning and training platform that can teach thousands of professionals how to restore water to landscapes, and help their communities put water restoration into practice.

This platform, I believe, has a ton of potential to decentralize water restoration, but we need to find out who is interested in taking part and more about what they specifically need in a platform like this.

If you are interested, please fill out the short survey below to help us understand what you want in this platform. With your help, we can design better features, courses, and stories relevant to your needs.

Water Stories Survey

If you are not interested in taking the survey, you can just visit our Water Stories Home Page and you can sign up for the newsletter there for updates when we have them. We are going to be launching a Q&A with myself soon, so if you sign up for the newsletter you will get updates about that too.

With Gratitude,

Zach Weiss
2 days ago
I have been blessed with incredible mentors throughout my life, leading me to experience firsthand the magic that happens when humans partner with nature. A world more beautiful than we can even imagine is possible. Yet, if you tune into the news today you are left with snapshots of a world in despair. You see the many environmental and humanitarian catastrophes and conflicts around the world, but what a lot of people don't see is that these are a result of our relationship with water. The severe anthropogenic disturbance of the earth’s hydrological cycle is leading to increasingly extreme climate, and cycles of flood, drought, and fire. However, the ability to rebalance the water cycle and mitigate extreme climate is at our fingertips, but we all need to look first to nature for answers to find the true solutions.

How do we distill this understanding down to the most essential parts, so that it can be easily communicated to others? That was my goal when I set out to do this TEDx talk.

If you are distraught about the state of the world today and looking for tangible actions you can take, this talk is intended for you. If you want to help restore global water cycles and create a world of abundance and health, please share this video as widely as you can. Humans need to know what is possible to move into action. Building awareness about the immense possibilities and potential is the first step.

1 year ago

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.

2 years ago
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!
2 years ago
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.
2 years ago
Sounds like a great time!  I'll be driving cross country between projects in the east and ones in the west, sometime mid to late June.  If the dates coincide I will certainly be stopping in to enjoy in the festivities!
3 years ago
@Peter Kalokerinos

Not sure if you found someone to help you implement Holzer's approach at your place or if you've gone in a different direction but it's looking like I will be coming to New Zealand and NSW Australia for two different projects this December/January.  I would be happy to add your project to the trip if you are still interested as I will already be in the region.  If you're still interested send me a contact form or email through my website:

Elemental Ecosystems
3 years ago
Well this question kind of opens up a can of worms, but long story short the organizers we were working with at that time had their own agenda and Sepp was never on board with offering certification for merely 30 days of workshops and one successful project, even though it was presented to us otherwise.  

Currently I am the only person Sepp has personally certified (he said because I am so talented, his words not mine).  There was the year long training program at the Krameterhof that Sepp used to run, that is now continued by his son Josef, but that is a different experience, more like a PDC - attend, do the basic work, and receive a certificate.

This I can say, I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in ecology, but earning certification from Sepp was at least an order of magnitude more difficult, maybe even two or three. While working on a project with Sepp a couple of weeks ago in Germany he said something along the lines of receiving certification should really mean something, I think that's a big part of why I'm the only one who has received this honor from him to date, he's about as demanding and diligent a mentor as one could ask for, I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Peter, I have a long standing policy of offering a discount for my first project on a new continent, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica are the only ones I have yet to work on. I would be thrilled to help you with your project.

Simone, I'm based out of Montana, very close to Alberta, and I'll be working in British Columbia this September and Saskatchewan next year. I would very much love to help you with your project as well.

If either of you would like to move forward with this you can find out more about my process and contact me through my website.
3 years ago
Based on the past several years I wanted to organize an expanded offering at the Krameterhof for English speakers to gain more hands-on practical experience with Holzer Permaculture. I think there is a tremendous amount to be gained form time observing and experiencing the Krameterhof as well. After talking it over in more detail with Josef we came up with an offering I'm really excited about.

This is going to be a very practice based workshop, come ready to get your hands and cloths dirty over an Intensive 10 days of Permaculture in Practice. We'll go over the Agroforestry systems at the Krameterhof, tap a spring for drinking water, harvest a pond, go over the aquaculture systems at the Krameterhof, Animal Husbandry and humane slaughter, Medicinal Herbs, Forest Gardening, Grafting onto wild fruits, Planning in Permaculture, modeling Water Gardens, and more. I can't express how excited I am for what I think people are going to gain from this opportunity.

Water Gardens at the Krameterhof

European Crawfish a very important and lucrative crop at the Krameterhof

Herb Garden at the Krameterhof

This is a Holzer Permaculture workshop all centered around working with the ecosystem of the farm. Participants will experience some of the inner workings of the Krameterhof; not just in theory but in practice so the body knows it as well as the mind and there is no hesitation for action.

In order to provide such a dynamic workshop we have to limit the number of participants to 25. As this is a first time offering, really the first of it's kind, I expect it to sell out fairly quickly. It's very reasonably priced at 1,120 Euros and right now the USD is particularly strong against the Euro. At the time of this post the workshop costs $1,215 USD.

For more on the workshop or to register:

Click Here

Speck House for Curing Meats

Pear Grafted onto Mountain Ash

Sepp has done an amazing job spreading the vision and strategy to establish these systems, he is the strong pioneer that creates opportunities for greater things. This will be the first opportunity for English speakers to really dive into working with ecosystems farming in an effective way on a long term established model landscape. With both the practice of establishment and then the development and harvesting of the ecosystem I feel we are preparing others to restore and regenerate landscapes as efficiently as possible - developing dynamic and synergistic ecosystems.

5 years ago