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Permaculture Creek Repair

Story by Nick Huggins.
Video by Patrick Blampied.

For the past month I have been in and out of airports and driving from one end of the Australian continent consulting and talking Permaculture, and one topic that is of great interest to me – the repair of the Australian Landscape.

Fellow consultant Patrick Blampied came along for the ride, to see what’s required in the first steps of the repair of a 1.5km creek on the South Western slops of NSW, which was damaged when big rains hit in August of last month.

No one could have imagined what would have happened next. And the hardest lessons are always the best and most valuable. Using natural systems and Permaculture Design, we have to keep in mind we are pioneers. Like all pioneers there is no hard or fast rule for this type of work.

This photo shows one of the 16 gabions constructed in a 2 week period. The water in the centre of the photo after the construction works was about 700mm deep and was back flooding 80 – 100m back up the creek and there were already signs of water being sucked back up into the eroded creek banks by capillary action into the subsoil. It was like the land taking a big drink.

Same photo again from the opposite side. You can see between the water and the logs we used pea straw bales and submerged them in the water, unbroken and also broken up with the idea that the silt and sediment would be caught up in the straw and then the pea seeds would germinate and start to accumulate weeds and seeds to bind and filter the water.

After some of the biggest rain since the drought started our work paid off. You can see the sediment that has formed in the middle of the creek. There is over 1m difference in height in the creek now at this spot compared to before construction. Still some bales of straw can be seen, half were washed into the next gabion, still not wasted.

Just think of all that sediment now retained on the property. With a good warm spring this gabion will burst into life with all the silt collected and seeds of the ever ready pioneer species ready to take a foothold.

For some reason I didn’t take a post construction photo of this site. We are now 200m back up the creek and at the site of a natural choke point in the creek. By choke point, I mean a point at where the creek narrows naturally. Using the resources of 2 trees anchored to the creek bank, we locked in 3 large logs between them and then placed 4 large rocks and 5 tonne of small rocks to fill in the gaps on the upstream side of the trees. Again bales of straw were placed to filter the sediment and the water flow. Take note of the small track that cattle and sheep have used behind the willow to cross the creek in the past. Also the natural rock bottom of the creek just too the left, middle side of the photo and see how that rock is pushing the water across to the willow.

Bad news…. The water took a big bite out of the creek bank and caused some damage. This part of the creek had natural granite acting as the bottom of the creek. So what we think happened was the water came rushing down hit the rock and straw bales at the bottom of the picture and found the point of least resistance and decided if it couldn’t take the rocks, it would then instead take the soil.

Yes, lesson learnt. When opportunities coming knocking to do this sort of work and these sorts of results happen, we should let it be known. I don’t mind admitting it. You can’t second guess yourself and you can’t predict the season. As a good friend of mine, Matt Kilby from, said to me on surveying the triumphs and the failures “it’s taken 150 years to get to this level of damage in the Australian landscape, it’s going to take another generation to get us back”. There are no fast track solutions for this sort of work, but small steps over time will get us there.

The key point here in this project is that until you can educate the other property owners higher in the catchment to slow the water in the landscape, repair creeks and deep eroded streams and implement farm pasture regeneration, then the work in this 1.5km of creek will need regular maintenance to ensure their existence over time.

Most of the properties above this creek are flogged sheep properties. And I mean flogged – if there’s any sign of green grass the sheep are sent in to knock it down. As soon as rain hits the dirt, it’s 90% runoff. So it’s like having hundreds of thousands of acres of concrete ground channeling water into a small creek no wider than 2 meters at some points.

Later on in the year we hope to go back and see progress from this latest post-flood work. We contracted a local landscape company just before the willow trees burst their spring buds last month to plant 2000 willow cuttings. We planted them 3 cuttings wide with 1m spacing and 30m across the creek at each gabion, straight on top of our current gabions in the silt and straw bales. So around 200 trees per site. There has not been a season like it, to do this sort of pioneer work in many, many years. What we are hoping the willows will do is to bind our work together into the creek bank and over (tree) time they will form their own natural gabions, collecting dead trees, silt, leaves and restore the creek to a chain of ponds, that will spread the water across the flood plain and pacify the water flow.


  1. I appreciate you sharing this, Nick. Looks like great work and i bet there is plenty of it out there to be done.
    According to Peter Andrews this type of work breaks 8 laws including planting willows and changing waterflows. Do you expect any problems concerning this?


  2. Sorry if this was explained in the article, but what are you trying to achieve with the gabions? I am very interested in this work and would like to understand the theory of you designs? Cheers

  3. david what he’s trying to achive is rehadration of the landscape ,
    [just think beavers]
    good work nick ,I was there yesterday working on the road putting a 5% crown in the road crossing the creek
    you could try much bigger willow cuttings, layed down in the creek and chose a wider piont in the creek with less volocity for the gabions not to blow out

    think water think gentle !!!!!

  4. Hi Nick

    Good on you for having the guts to have a go.

    Dave’s right on the use of big willow cuttings. You can literally chainsaw off a large limb from one of the trees beside the structure and drop it on the upstream side of the structure and it will send up multiple stems, each of which develops its own root structure.

    Using a natural choke point is another good attempt, but this is only suitable if your structure is raised close enough to the top of the bank for the water to spill out onto the flood plain. Otherwise you’re concentrating a large force in a small space and something’s gotta give. Where you have no other option but to build a structure on a narrow point, there are a number of ways of dissipating the energy of the water, some of which Peter Andrews has included in the NSF demonstration at Mulloon Creek (if anyone is interested in checking out Peter’s work, we’ve got an open day on October 31

    For anyone who wants to have a go, here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
    – the most important factor is to make sure that the toe of each gabion is the same height or lower than the top of the next structure downstream. This means that the water that crashes over the structure will always be crashing into water, which dissipates the energy.
    – more succinctly, wherever possible, crash water back onto water to dissipate the energy
    – when dropping a level, think wide spillway
    – design structures in a way that the land around it stays well vegetated in readiness for the next big event
    – if you are going to use large logs, make sure you have equally large rocks (ie you need at least a tractor to lift them) on top of them, or else they can become missiles in the next large rain event and take out thousands of dollars of fencing for example.
    – weeping willows (Salix babilonica) are the willow of choice as although they are a bit slower growing than the crack willow, they are not on the weeds of national significance list, so are much less likely to be sprayed by ill-informed CMA/Ag departments
    – Although there are some very professional attempts going on to change legislation, at this stage this work is illegal, so don’t go flaunting pictures on the internet ($1 million lawsuits have been slapped for people doing such work on their own land, let alone as a consultant)

    A man I know has been doing this work for the last 30 years, (pretty much) all within regulations. Where he lives, he is allowed to build a creek crossing that is 300mm above the base of the creek with a colvert pipe below. Where he gets sneaky is he then puts a colvert pipe in that is too small (he just says he’s stingy). The creek inevitably silts up behind it, so he then builds another crossing, 300mm above that and so on. Slow and steady….

    All the best

    Cam Wilson

  5. Thanks for your advice, Cam.
    I was wondering if the weeping willow was as good as other willows.
    And im glad to hear there are regulations in place to tweak and justify these practises. Clearly the evidence shows there is no impedment to the water flow.

  6. Has anyone had experience in using fascines in stream repair? They are sort of six feet long bundles of logs basically, and placed not sideways like logs on gabions and “typical” leaky weirs but parallel to the banks, and staked firmly down to keep them from flushing away on a major rain event. It’s a very affordable technique at least for smaller sized streams, especially when you have some well coppicing trees growing locally at the site for material. If you include some resprouting species in the bundles, they grow a strong root mat to hold them down even more strongly.

    Their main principle is the same as with gabions, to absorb the erosive kinetic energy of water while letting it pass through and collect sediment to rebuild the lost soil. That then creates habitat for reeds and natural revegetation to get started.

    Anyhow, it seems that a lot can be done just by decompacting and rebuilding the structure of the soil (deep ripping and cover cropping) so that it can actually absorb a reasonable amount of the rain instead of turning into surface runoff right away, which overloads the streams and creates gullies, and is very common everywhere there’s cows around.

    I’ve been on a farm that had a 36 hour flooding rain event covering a former floodplain pasture for that period. When the water lever returned to normal, the soil was moist only few centimeters deep, not more than that. On another paddock, not on a floodplain though, but that received same amount of rain, the water had been absorbed into the ground and appeared three weeks later at the bottom of the slope in a chain of ponds system. This field had been excluded from cows and received several cycles of deep ripping and cover cropping.

    There is a lot of experience and hidden success stories out there, great that you guys are taking it into the main stream now! Good luck!

  7. My Friends, I send you this comment with the upmost humility because I know that this could be offensive to your well-intended efforts. I am a professional stream and wetland restorationist with 16 years of experience in the arid southwestern U.S. as well as an avid permaculturalist. I too was once bitten by the Gabion/ Check Dam bug that was promoted in my PDC course. I am here to tell you with all sincerity that Gabions/ and Check Dams always bite back! I commend your use of natural materials rather than mesh baskets and appreciate the apparently well built structures. But please hear me. This type of structure is dangerous, destructive and completely on the wrong track for all but a very few specific stream types. This kind of structure wreaks havoc with natural stream processes that are essential for stability such as flow hydraulics and sediment transport. I can guarantee you that this work will cause long-term instability and degradation, not prevent it. It is stated that you are attempting to deal with excess sediment caused by upland erosion. If that is the case it is essential to deal with the root cause of the erosion rather than the symptoms. Show me a stream with a perfectly flat cross section as you have constructed here. There is no such thing in nature for a very good reason. Streams don’t want to be ponds, they want to be channels to transport runoff and sediment. This is not a repair of the landscape it is an unwise modification. Yes, it is desirable to restore natural systems, capture sediment and moisture, but only in the way a natural stream does it, by building its own floodplain and wetlands as a resilient, efficient and stable storage medium. We can initiate that process but only if we truly understand the complex and powerful variables we are working with. For the good of all creeks and rivers in this world I implore you and you gabion building colleagues to stop committing unintentional creek atrocities all over the world. There is a better way and it is the thoughtful contemplation and emulation natural forms found in living creeks and rivers. Please understand the nature of the problem before you attempt to fix it, Permaculture should have taught us all that. Please believe me because I see this kind of work all over and it always fails when you evaluate the results against a natural stable stream (and I can assure you that I am no purest). Please be honest and post the photos of the resulting bank erosion and down-cutting below structures that will no doubt occur after the next big flood if it hasn’t already. At least one photo shows that this is indeed the case. I encourage all of those who have been ill-advised to use gabions and check dams as the heal-all solution to go to the river for the answer and design systems that work with rather than against the rules of nature. The permaculture ethic requires that of all of us. Stream restoration and stabilization is an extremely complicated science and art not the cookie cutter approach that I have seen so many brilliant, reputable and well-intentioned PDC instructors teach. Take some time and do some research into: “fluvial geomorphology”, Luna Leopold, Dave Rosgen, “natural channel design” and “induced meandering”, and realize that anyone using your approach has much to learn about the welfare of creeks and rivers. Indeed there are hard and fast rules for stabilizing streams, and just because you have not had the opportunity to learn them does not mean that they do not exist. This is a new field, but there are many brilliant people who have have taken the work light years beyond what you are currently advocating. Once again I am making this comment with the hopes of persuading everyone using this antiquated and ultimately destructive technique to learn that there truly is a better way. Learn about it please because our first responsibility as humans on this earth is to do no harm. Best of luck!

  8. G’day Creek Rat,
    What we are trying to achieve here in Australia is to restore the floodplain that was until quite recently the way our landscape hydrated itself.
    Unlike in America, there is very few natural rivers. You may generally find them here in areas of high rainfall. Outside of this, our landscape moved water and fertility around on higher ground thanks to plants that recharged the soils by distributing the water across the ground. Its very flat here.
    This is all explained in Peter Anderws book Back from the Brink. Back in Gondwana times when Australia was connected to Antarctica, it can be seem that the mountains from the south feed a large floodplain over which was most certainly Australia.
    100 million years is a long time.
    So since human intervention reconnected with Australia, the land has lost most of its plants. Especially in the last 150 years. The gabions are seen a catalyst for change. Given freedom of expression, plants will begin to take over and restore the riparian areas.
    You may see areas undergoing similar changes close to the Rockys, or on parts of your floodplains.

  9. Howdy All –

    I appreciate the discussion, especially Creek Rat’s comments and warnings. Our firm AppleSeed Permaculture is at an early stage of experimentation with various methods to halt erosion and restore natural stream function…

    On one site we’re using check dams on one part of the property and induced-meander baffles and weirs on another. I’m looking forward to documenting the results of each method of time and sharing back with this community. I can say that the induced meander methodology (free guidebook download from Bill Zeedyk and the Quivira Coaliltion here: is brilliant and is perfectly in line with permaculture principles.

    Anyone else have experience with either side of this discussion?

    AppleSeed Permaculture

  10. Hi water rat.

    Thanks for your comments. I totally agree with what you have said when you are approaching a landscape with a mature river system, and from what I saw on the u-tube clip of the stream shape and shape of the country feeding this particular creek, I think your comments are justified in this instance.

    However, I do believe that there are situations where gabion like structures can perform a very beneficial role.

    To begin with, it’s worth heading back to your geomorphology books (or any old geology book really) and having a look at the stages of erosion of a river valley, from youthful, to mature to old age. Most of Australia’s water courses are what you would call bloody old age, typified by very broad floodplains that were swampy meadows when Europeans arrived.

    Rather than trying to shed water and sediment, our very old, often dry and nutrient poor landscape (no geological uplift or ice age for 300 millions years in most parts) had evolved to catch and store every bit of water and nutrient possible.

    As I mentioned, when Europeans first arrived and explored much of our continent, rather than finding creeks, they encountered what was described as a chain of ponds, each held in place by a marshy plug of Phragmites and Typha reeeds (evident in the writings of many Australian explorers and unconditionally confirmed by science). These ponds were just the tip of the iceberg though, as they indicated the height of water in the floodplain (soil storage is definitely a sensible place for a hot dry continent to store the majority of its water).

    When a large rain event would come along, the water would hit each wetland, begin to rise and then spill onto the floodplain in a passive and wide sheet of water. Fast moving water was not a feature of these sorts of landscapes.

    Unfortunately, when cattle and sheep were introduced, very soon they grazed and trampled the reeds to death. Hence, the plug was released and suddenly we had fast moving streams for the first time, concentrated between the banks, which predictably cut down and eroded in no time at all.

    Now, rather than the ponds hydrating the landscape by moving water laterally into the floodplain, the opposite occurred. The lower the erosion gully cut, the further down the floodplain was drained. To put it in short, the eroding of our streams has dehydrated the Australian landscape. (I’ve put together a slideshow of the whole process which I’ll post soon on the Forest edge blogre when I stop having so many problems with my internet connection)

    Peter Andrews is an Australian who is of the calibre of the great water folk you have mentioned. His ability to read the landscape and understand water movement is quite phenomenal, and he has done exactly what you recommended, observing how intact river systems work. However, in this case he was dealing with a river that was supposed to be something different.

    As you rightly pointed out, building gabions can be a dangerous business. Engineers don’t spend years at University for no reason.

    However, for the past 30 years, Peter Andrews has successfully created gabion-like structures that are held together by willow roots, which mimic the role of the original wetlands. (For those Aussies who are anti willow, they are a temporary bio-engineering element, which if managed correctly can transition towards reeds taking over.

    Because of the simplicity of the structures (they can be built with a tractor bucket and a bunch of willow logs and cuttings), coupled with what could be called an abrasive personality (often the case with pioneers) towards those bureaucrats who do not share the same level of understanding of the Australian landscape, what he does is still illegal. However, it’s had amazing results (ie his land is bright green whilst those all around are bone dry and in drought) and a number of influential Australians have gotten behind him to help change this legal situation.

    I’m lucky enough to live at Mulloon Creek which is owned by Tony Coote. Tony is one of the people to get behind Peter, and we have been allowed a trial of his work on 3km of creekline. Despite the water authorities not allowing Peter to go as high as he would have liked (to allow the water to spill onto the floodplain), which means the force of the water is still concentrated within the walls of the sizable erosion gully, all except one of the 30 or so structures have held together beautifully for the past few years, at times with one to one and a half metres of water heading over the top. He’s managed this by following the rules I mentioned in the other comment I made above (as well as a lifetime of observation and experimentation).

    We have an Environmental Science PhD student from ANU (Australian National University) doing studies on various aspects of the creek, and so far, a couple of interesting findings are:
    – the pisometers are showing that the water in the floodplain is rising, fed by the lateral movement of water from the created chain of ponds
    – the volume of water entering and exiting the property is the same amount, but rather than a dry erosion gully in between big events like it was before, the creek now flows year round.
    – In only three years in what was predominantly a dry creek bed, the macro-invertebrate levels have flourished and are now equal to or greater than (one of the rare) intact chains of ponds that exists nearby.

    One of the problems is that Peter has outlined the theory, without the specifics of how to

    I have had a good flick through Bill Zeedyk’s Induced Stream Meandering book and can see the value of his approach. It’s clear that what he produces would certainly increase the ecological function of certain river systems, but in this case, where our aim is to actually re-hydrate the floodplain, I cannot see his approach being as effective.

    Not all of our landscape is made up of floodplains though. There are plenty of river systems that look just like what you described, so I’d love it if you could write a bit of an article outlining some of the better approaches to that sort of river system. Maybe you could even take your rat mask off and reveal your true identity too.

    In my opinion, one of the biggest things for Permaculture folk to take from water rat’s comments are the fact that you cannot be a black belt in everything. And if you are not a black belt in stream hydrology, it’s a dangerous place to play, not just for yourself but others and the landscape. We have to be humble enough to recognise that we are generalists, and if you wish to be a specialist-generalist (oxymoronic I know), then get close to those who are skilled in that particular art, and learn from their mistakes before you invariably repeat them.

    All the best,

    Cam Wilson

  11. Good one Nick, thanks for doing this story. It is great to see you are following Geoff’s call to show everything, good and bad, win, loose or draw. Creek rat’s comments have brought some interesting thoughts and some new resources to study, thanks for that. David, Ethan and Cam have added brilliantly to highlight for us all, the very important design consideration of, “Where in the world are you?”. Context is always very important.

  12. I suppose it is like anything else, context defendant (I know a guy who decided to build a cob house after taking a course in oregon (Zone 8). He lives in zone 5 and had frost in his house the first year, not enough insulation, too much thermal mass) Anyways we worked on items like this at Lost Valley in Oregon and had success with wire basket gabions that did not stretch across the whole stream rather acting more in terms of induced meandering. The smaller stuff we did install blew out including some pretty chunky stuff that we thought would never leave. However these wire baskets, shaped into essentially a big boulder, were able to push water away from the straight down cutting bed. It began to knock over standing dead timber turning it into large woody debris. LWD is missing so much in those forests because of the lack of old growth and the continual replenishment of huge trunks to stair step the water. All in all, we are trying to accelerate succession when we do this kind of work. Succession happens in streams as well as forests or prairies. These big floods that create downcutting are acts of disturbance wiping away biodiversity within the water. Where I come from the best way to help out the streams is to introduce beavers. Maybe in that part of Auz it is some logs, some keyed in stones, and some straw bails. Be sure to plant it out after the next rainy season with some cattails or reeds as y’all call em. At the end of the day, yes there is no magic bullet just like swales, maybe keyline is more appropriate or maybe rotational grazing, or maybe a combination (diversity principle). I guess that is my beef with all of this, we often forget the principles when we are doing this. Should we not be trying to meet the function with several solutions. Ok actually maybe they are with the bamboo being used as well but just not sure from the video. How bout compost tea spraying in the catchment or rotating the animals. All of this is a bandaid to a broken hydrological cycle. Overall I applaud the video, the effort and i hope yours turn out better than Geoff’s. Please document with a blog or more postings. And folks when you are posting about somebody’s project on a permaculture forum, evoke principles not just technical stuff as that is all so context dependent.

  13. Fascinating discussion. Since no one has posted this, I’ve gotta ask the question that flows out of the above comments logic of defending gabions against Creek Rats’ critique: if Australia is such a globally specialized and unique landscape necessitating gabion use, why are we permaculturalists spreading the use of gabions around the world? Just asking.

  14. Further to Doug’s comment, I’d like to see what kind of design it will take to ensure what happened at Quail Springs doesn’t happen again.

    Both Doug and I (and Geoff) have been to this site. It’s a canyon in the upper Cuyama Valley in California.

    It would be a tragedy if the recent event that destroyed all their hard work was repeated in a few years from now.

  15. Hi Craig

    Interesting you should mention Quail Springs. I have been thinking a lot about the recent tragedy of Quail Springs over the past several days along with this discussion on gabions. My heart goes out to Warren and rest of the gang there. When you and I were at Quail Springs (taking a PDC from Geoff) I walked the incised river channels (all of them including the feeding tributaries) several times over those 2 weeks. A couple of months prior to that I had attended a truly profound workshop on Induced Meandering by Craig Sponholtz in New Mexico. Craig is a long time student and collaborator with Bill Zeedyk and Dr. Dave Rosgen. Also attending Craig’s workshop was Scott Pittman, Brad Lancaster and Larry Santoyo (3 long time names in permaculture). I think its fair to say that all the 45 or so people at Craig’s Induced Meandering workshop had our perceptions and understanding of how rivers and streams work and watershed catchment and restoration shaken up in good ways. I remember Brad saying to me as we built a number of Induced Meandering structures that the work was so hopeful. So, it was with this fresh set of Induced Meandering and Rosgen Stream Classification eyes that I walked those incised channels of Quail Springs a few months later.

    I want say here that Craig’s workshop and the concepts were very new to me when I arrived at Quail Springs so I didn’t really feel competent enough to “promote” the concepts at Quail Springs but…I saw the possibilities of a completely different approach (from the then Quail Spring gabions) to how to reconnect the deeply incised channel bed back up to the floodplain a meter or two higher by imagining taking all the rocks in the gabion cages and redistributing them as a series of meandering pattern 1 rock high point bar baffles and riffle weir structures. I could actually see that Meandering Pattern starting to form in some parts of the incised channels as the river was trying to “heal” itself through its river succession patterns from incised, erosion, unstable to meandering, stable, reconnected floodplain (moving through Rosgen River Classification stages).

    I want to stress that I don’t consider myself an expert at all in Induced Meandering or the Rosgen River Classification system but I could see another way to work with the at times extreme power of the Quail Spring rivers. When I was in New Mexico Craig showed us a number of “structures” as he calls them (Induced Meandering baffles and weirs, sheetflow conducting Media Lunas, stream headcut healing Zuni Bowls) that he had built over the years. One of the things that was striking was how the extreme water flow events hadn’t destroyed those structures. They were intentionally built to handle normal “bank flow”, building sediment over time into stable river point bars and riffles but literally “flying under” the powerful force of extreme flooding events. The gabion structures are much much higher. The way I imagine gabions is they butt up like a fist against the full force of the river under extreme flooding events. The battle between (hu)man and nature begins. As Rosgen (I think) said if you directly compete with the power of a river the river will always win. During Craig’s workshop Scott Pittman said that what Craig was doing was like Aikido with water. Funny, because a couple of years later when Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier released the Induced Meandering book the title is “Let the Water Do The Work.” I live in the central highlands of Mexico. Since Craig’s course I’ve found out that Bill Zeedyk was here 15 years ago and worked with about 400 poor campesino woman and children (the men were all working in the USA) building over 11000 small river structures across a 200 sq kilometer watershed. Those structures are now “invisible” but still there under the sediment build up.

    As I said, my expertise is not water (I’ve gone deep [pun intended] into soil) but I know enough to know there is something profoundly important going on in this Induced Meandering group of folks in the US southwest that Craig Sponholtz, Bill Zeedyk (and Creek Rat above seems to be) are a part of. I think permaculture needs to pay strong attention to it.

    My hope would be to have Craig go to Quail Springs and do an extensive Induced Meandering workshop (or two) with a lot of people building river structures. I think those techniques could offer some hope for repairing long term the recent damage. I would encourage people generally to get Bill Zeedyk’s book and read it several times (its dense) and if you can, go do a workshop with Craig. Hauling, piling and building a Media Luna or Zuni Bowl or Baffle lets your body know what this stuff is and how it works.

  16. That’s great Craig. Thanks. I hope Warren and other Quail Springs folks find this whole discussion useful in moving forward. And yes, the beauty of these bits and bytes moving across wires.

  17. Hey all,

    Just thought you might like to know that we have the pleasure of hosting Craig Sponholtz for several three day workshops here in Australia. One in Mudgee NSW from the 3rd to the 6th of April and another in Dimbulah QLD from April 11 more information on


  18. Late to this discussion, you must excuse my relative current disinterest with the finer points of wetland rehydration. My special issue is too much regionally polluted water, plus dire human disregard for the tributaries that feed a city drinking supply before drifting through to the (sic) protected Bayou below.

    BTW, We’re into the third week of Geoff’s PDC and I’m excited to share with this group of considerate river rats who might actually have the insight to steer me straight through the marsh pits and eroding narrows. For decades poor folks in Pine Bluff have been using their tributaries as catchments for rubbish in part because no one is around to explain why this is an absolutely terrible thing to do. My proposed ‘solution’ is founded around a premise that is roughly 50% social evolution and 50% real science. And, there is a lot of USDA money available for this kind of research innovation through the “Land Grant” status of UAPB, the local State University. Your input could assist me in packaging it for the Gods of high finance. Plus, the basic system is essentially dirt cheap.

    My premise is that by placing numerous huglekultur mounds, (which in many cases may only be accessible from the front,) up against the established hill top Bayou edges I can visually reeducate people to completely rethink their city’s purpose moving forward. In just two short years, clean food could be growing quite plentifully throughout this nutrient desert. Much of the regions soils are notably polluted, enough so that I could taste a caustic tinge before and after ingesting their revered mustard greens. (It’s just downstream from the notorious P.B. “Agent Orange” arsenal, like, DUH!)

    Many of you have seen Sepp’s project in Montana, with the winding mounds, spacious trails and water features. These proposed target locations would read very much like that, which has some civic leaders excited from the start. Bordering the riparian-zone in this manner has potential advantages for sequestering the wildlife, although seeing hundreds of joggers along the new wood chip trails will not appeal to some of the migratory birds.

    Prepping the soil for a food forest with comfey and clover is relatively within my gardening expertise. My question is, where among this mix do I want, and/or NOT want to nurture proliferate N-sequestering trees? Also, are goats a good means of thinning the understory as opposed to a track hoe, considering the disturbances either means will introduce?

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