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Paul makes a visit to Brian Hanford's farm in the Central WA for a site review. Part1

Relevant Threads
Brian's Journey https://permies.com/t/110258/permaculture-projects/home-HR-journey-freedom
40 acres https://permies.com/t/59741/HR-homestead-future

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This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Dr. Hugh Gill Kultur
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Eivind W. Bjørkavåg
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Posts: 2167
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Enjoyed the podcast but I did want to mention that Washington actually has a law that allows people to construct ponds as long as they are not in a watercourse. Here is the link to the WAC (text below): https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=220-660-240

WAC 220-660-240
Pond construction.
(1) Description: A person may construct an out-of-channel pond for livestock watering, irrigation, fire protection, or other use. If the pond construction involves diverting water, a water right must be obtained prior to diverting waters of the state. This requirement does not apply to constructing stormwater pond facilities landward of the ordinary high water line.
(2) Fish life concerns: To prevent fish from being injured or killed, a person must physically prevent fish from entering ponds not intended as fish habitat. Ponds can contribute to increased water temperatures and loss of instream flow in a watercourse, which may impact the survival of fish that need cold water for survival.
(3) Pond design and construction:
(a) Do not construct ponds within the watercourse.
(b) Design and construct ponds to protect fish life:
(i) Design, construct, and screen ponds to prevent the entry of fish unless the department determines that the pond will provide beneficial habitat; in which case, the design and construction must provide free and unrestricted fish access.
(ii) Unless the intent of the bypass reach is to enhance fish life or habitat that supports fish life, locate the outflow of the pond (return flow system) as close to the diversion point as possible so diverted water is absent from the watercourse for the shortest amount of time (shortest length of bypass reach).
(iii) Isolate the work area from the watercourse while constructing the pond, diversion system, and the return flow system. Design and construct the pond so the outflow temperature does not harm fish life.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.020, and 77.12.047. WSR 15-02-029 (Order 14-353), § 220-660-240, filed 12/30/14, effective 7/1/15.]

So if Brian or anyone else in Washington has problems with pond construction I would point them to this WAC which should end any regulatory issues assuming the pond is not part of a watercourse (river, stream, wetland -- seasonal or year-round). Though there is some language around fish that could be touchy...

For my restoration work I have built a number of ponds and I only needed permits when I was in a "critical area" (within 200 feet of marine or freshwater shoreline) or working within a watercourse. Currently, I'm in the process of getting permits to build a series of ponds in an old farm field in seasonally wet areas. Unfortunately, these were within critical areas (within 200 feet of the shoreline but not classified as wetland) so I'm having to spend a couple thousand dollars to get 2 required permits. But this is not a big deal since the projects are funded by public grants that have the stated goals of expanding existing wetlands and creating new wetlands. Though I do find it funny that 1 branch of state government is providing funding to make wetlands and the other (county government in this case) is making me jump through hoops to get the permits. But I guess that is a way for local government to get more money from the state government.

But I built a different pond last year with no permits since it was outside of all critical areas and not in a watercourse. The work for that pond was paid for by state funds and inspected when I closed the grant and no one had any issues with it.

Since all of my restoration work is publicly funded I have to be very careful to always follow any legal requirements. All my projects are inspected at the end of them by at least 1 state agency and sometimes more and I'm often working with multiple State, local and sometimes Federal agencies throughout the duration of the project. But I have found that the more I learn about the legal code the better I have been able to work within them and avoid any issues. Permits are not cheap but they tend to be fairly straightforward and last for years giving plenty of time to complete the project.

Next year I will be doing work within a salmon bearing stream which will require State and Federal permits and a few years ago we added brand new channels to an existing salmon bearing stream. I have also installed new bridges, removed culverts, and installed a ford in and over salmon bearing waters. I had to jump through permitting hoops but in the end all the regulators I worked with could see that the projects would benefit wildlife so there was no major issues getting the required permits.

In Brian's case with the idea of a pond that is not connected to the river (so out of the watercourse and therefore not providing fish habitat) and since he already has water rights there should be no issues based on my reading of the WAC. But even for more complicated projects if you just want to eliminate all potential legal issues and challenges you can get most of these sort of projects permitted. Could easily cost a couple thousand dollars but at least you know you will never face legal issues down the road.

Finally, check with local conservation or soil conservation districts. Most counties have one and they are not regulatory bodies but they can advise landowners about what is needed and what is not permit wise without any fear of regulatory issues. Often, these districts also have funding to help landowners with the permitting--the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) also has funding for this. Currently, I'm working with a local conservation district to remove a dilapidated bridge, build a replacement access road, and do some additional instream work. The conservation district is handling all the permits for me including the cost of the permits and getting all the paperwork taken care of. Makes my life easy!

Sorry to go on and on about all this legal stuff but I just wanted people to know about some other options--at least in Washington. I really enjoyed the podcast as always and I like these ones focused on "what would Paul do" on these properties. Looking forward to part 2.
Posts: 3367
Location: Maine, zone 5
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Confused?  Listen to the podcast!!!
Posts: 213
Location: Washington State near lake tapps
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Thanks for all the info on ponds in WA. We will be using the pond for livestock water, so I haven't run in to any problems. And I have started working with the local conservation district and USDA.

It was great having Paul out and my wife enjoyed both him and Jocelyn. It has really helped to cement our ideas and goals having a second opinion on the land.

We have started the pond but are held up now with a bad well pump and the furnace going out. The fun times on the homestead never stop.

Posts: 469
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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Why were detoxification methods for the irrigation water not mentioned? I wouldn’t want to fill a pond with uncleaned pesticide-and-fertilizer-laden water, nor would I want to irrigate much of anything with it. What if the irrigation pipe went to a large swale filled with gravel planted to a mixture of different reeds, including cattails and bulrushes, and with the berm planted to cottonwoods, willows and the like? The swale would get a constant, slow dribble from the irrigation pipe, and the overflow pipe from the swale would have its opening a little below the surface of the gravel, at the opposite end of the swale. This overflow would go to the pond, keeping the pond’s pipe overflowing in turn. The pond’s pipe with now clean and nutrient rich water could go to a food forest swale, with an option to irrigate a garden, on the way. It could even go through a Justin Rhodes style clean chicken waterer first. The chickens situated above the garden are a perfect fertility engine. The cottonwoods and willows could be harvested for coppice firewood, or rough mulch, or animal forage/tree hay.
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