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View Diary: Canal Restorer to River Restorer? (39 comments)

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  •  I do something like that (4+ / 0-)
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    eOz, gmoke, KenBee, Odysseus

    My parents live on property in the Texas Hill Country that has been in the family for 150 years. Overgrazing and then neglect turned it into a juniper covered wasteland with terrible erosion. It is typical to see a small clump of grass with soil 3-4 inches above the surrounding bare ground, showing how much has been lost to erosion. Gullies were all over the property, and huge holes were developing in the valleys where the gullies emptied.

    When I took over maintenance, one gully had eaten a seven foot deep hole about ten feet back into the bank. I followed the gully back up the hill, chopping the junipers and packing branches into the gully. Where there were enough rocks, I piled them in loose dams to slow the water flow. Back up the top of the hill, I aggressively cut junipers, leaving them as buffers to break the raindrops' impact.

    A few years later, native grasses have returned to the hilltop. With their deep roots, lots of the rain drains into the soil rather than all ending up in that gully rushing down the hill.  The rain that does go down the gully travels slower, soaking in, and allowing grass to establish rather than just being washed away. The big hole at the bottom has stabilized, and grass is starting to emerge from the exposed soil.

    That's the oldest example, but I have experimented with different techniques all over the property. To see green grass in August during a drought just blows my tiny little mind.

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:38:40 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Stewardship of the land is so important (3+ / 0-)
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      grubber, gmoke, Odysseus

      Those of us who own land need to find ways to improve it.  I don't run our family farm, but my brother has talked a lot about not wanting to see the ditches filled with top soil again after a gully washer.  It's tough, though, to make enough money to stay alive for the small farmer.  Tending the land and knowing its ways and becoming in harmony with it takes patience and a sense of attachment to the place en toto.  

      I admire your stewardship.  I hope you diary about your various experiments and their results.  Farmers need to know what works and what doesn't, and those of us who don't farm need to appreciate the care and hard work truly tending the land takes.  I admire my brother's tenacity and dedication to managing the land for the rest of the family with good stewardship practices.

      Keep experimenting!  The land, and the planet, will thank you and bless you.

    •  Holistic Management (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eOz, grubber

      Anybody managing herd animals should be aware of Allan Savory's Holistic Management techniques which return herd animals to the migratory patterns they evolved with.  This allows them to improve the land quickly.  By continuously moving the herd, the topsoil is broken up and fertilized with manure so that grasslands can come back.

      •  To an extent (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eOz, Odysseus, gmoke

        Rotational grazing has certainly proven its worth, and the extremely intensive version that Savory suggests may be needed in extreme conditions, but I think most situations can see the bulk of the improvement with much lower labor input.

        We don't have livestock currently, just 'critters' and deer, but we have many areas that have gone from 5% to 60% grass coverage in just a few years once the competition from junipers was reduced. This during an extremely hot and dry period.

        Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

        by grubber on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:42:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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