Mikhail Mulbasicov

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since Jul 24, 2019
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Recent posts by Mikhail Mulbasicov

I guess this will be my project thread.

Area gets a decent amount of rain for a "dryland strategy" project .... about 14"-16" annually IIRC.
Most of it in what I would call the late summer ("monsoon" is what they call it here locally).
Most of this area has great potential, but has been heavily impacted by cattle.
Some of the privately held smaller parcels withOUT livestock look great.
Most of the public range land get over grazed ....its hit and miss.

The north 1/3 of the property is fairly flat, becoming almost completely flat to the west side (Road).
The southern 1/3 is a little slopey and rolling .... the east border also has some slope.

Its evident the neighbor to the east has been letting his cattle come through the gate !
I'll have to secure that.  Secure existing barbed wire.
Then get out there with a laser level/transit..... see what we can do.

I'd like to establish an orchard of some sort in the flat area.
Possibly later a home-site.
This property currently is about a 2 1/2 drive from where I live....that might change of course.
3 weeks ago

Kim Goodwin wrote:This guy did a lot of earthworks on his property for his Geoff Lawton PDC.  He is in Concho AZ, up in Apache County.
I hope he puts another update out soon.  His design has been in play, what, 6 years now?

Thanks for that.  
That property is not hard to find on Google Earth.
The swales don't look like they've spurred much vegetation...(in the swales themselves).

But yes, this type of thing.   Before and After photos and documentation.
Hard to find anything.

But admittedly, Concho (and most of far NE AZ) is brutal area to try to do 'anything' in my opinion.
His property is fairly ideal for that area, because of access to off site water.
That land is cheap up there (for reasons), most of it looks like Mars, so you see a lot of people try permaculture designs and/or living-off-the-land type things.
They only get 10"-12" of rain, its cold (6000'+ elevation), and its always windy, heavy clay denuded soils and/or basalt rock .... just brutal.

kevin stewart's property sounds interesting.  
And yes, trying to plan out/survey the swale routes without destroying any existing vegetation is rough.

Beth, thanks for all the info.   When I have spare time on my hands, I DO in fact fish through those sources and links you provided.....

To all, if I do not respond, I'm either swamped at work .... or making plans for the property.
Any hints or advice is really appreciated.
3 weeks ago

Beth Wilder wrote:Hi, Mikhail! I don't have any for-sure examples for you (although there are at least a few smaller scale projects in southeastern Arizona), but I have some potential places to start looking:

  • Brad Lancaster, Tucson-based author of the Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond books, has an online list of demonstration projects in Arizona here (I don't see any in New Mexico);
  • Bean Tree Farm north of Tucson was designed by Barbara Rose (part of the Sonoran Permaculture Guild) using permaculture principles and "welcom[es] rainwater into the landscape through gently placed earthworks, cisterns, and organic mulches, increasing soil health and habitat for native and drylands-adapted species," and workshops and a farmstand welcome guests to the location;
  • Gary Paul Nabhan's orchard farmstead, Almuñia de los Zopilotes, near Patagonia uses "water-harvesting strategies... to reduce on-farm groundwater and fossil fuel uses," maybe including swales?;
  • one of Nabhan's latest books, Food from the Radical Center, mentions the traditional stone checkdams built in the West Turkey Creek watershed of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona by rancher Valer Clark of the Cuenca de los Ojos Foundation and her El Coronado Ranch to return water to the landscape (pp. 46-51 of the hardback edition) -- I realize this isn't swales, but it's in the family of water management to revegetate arid lands. I believe the ranch has a guesthouse for game bird hunters, etc. so maybe you could see that in person, too, should you wish it; and
  • Not sure at what scale, but Marcia Gibbons of Ransom Ranch somewhere near Bisbee is doing really cool things at her earthship homestead that may involve swales, although I think she's doing more bio-intensive gardening than, say, arid lands sunken bed monsoon gardens. Not sure, but she has an open house potluck the first Sunday of every month.

  • I hope that's at all helpful. Best of luck with your property! Are you in the Tucson area? [Edited to clarify details of (re)sources.]

    thanks for responding.  Seems like Brad's work (that I can access on the net / no books yet) is mostly centered around urban projects.  
    I've been through that link, with all of the demo-sites in and around Tucson.   Mostly landscaping and smaller scale urban stuff from what I remember.

    The El Coronado Ranch thing sounds very interesting, and more of the scale I'm interested in it sounds like.

    Years ago (like decades) before I was .... ummm... much less "environmental aware" I was wondering around south-eastern Arizona, I came around what could be described as some shallow but very long rock dams that looked ancient.  I wonder if that's the same thing (West Turkey Creek reference).  I'll check it out, see if I can find it again.  From what I remember, that area was beautiful and lush (at the time).

    Thanks for all the info.  I really appreciate it.

    I'm really from the Phoenix Area.  
    But I work (and "play") a lot in Southern Arizona.  
    Have some land down there.
    1 month ago

    Phil Stevens wrote:Hi Mikhail, and welcome to permies. If you're talking about the gabions along the Altar Wash in Buenos Aires, those are drop structures put there to try and heal the downcutting of the arroyo by trapping sediment, spreading and slowing flows to increase infiltration, and improve the habitat. Not swales, though.

    Not talking gabions and/or rock dams.  

    Moreso asking about swales on contour, for rainwater collection/storage/soil building/etc ... (not irrigated swales).

    There might be some good examples on the Empire-Cienega Ranch...I seem to recall talk about it years ago but memory is a little hazy on details.

    I'll check that out.  I know where that is, I've been there a couple of time for work funny enough.  Thanks.
    1 month ago
    Do you know of any good documented examples?
    Not irrigated swales ... but rainwater catchment strategy to establish vegetation, and help with water storage/inflitration.

    (please don't say those CCC non-swales in Tucson, those are really poor examples)
    (they are basically a glorified rancher's stock tank/pond ... they dammed up a wash)

    I've google-searched the hell out of it ... can't find nothing.

    Thinking about doing this on my property in AZ.
    It would be nice to get some data on this method, ya know, before and after pics .... documented results.

    If this thread goes no where, this will be my placeholder/log of sorts for my own project.

    Any info would be appreciated!

    1 month ago