[permaculture] Fwd: Pathway/Swale

oliver smith callis oliversmithcallis at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 12:38:53 EDT 2006

I'm not sue if this came through before because of an attachment, so here it
is without it.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: oliver smith callis <oliversmithcallis at gmail.com>
Date: Jul 2, 2006 10:53 PM
Subject: [permaculture] Pathway/Swale
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org

Hello All,
This is my first time writing in, I have been reading for several months now
and really enjoy the conversations. I am currently working for an architect
doing "ecological" architecture. We are designing a new school building for
a charter school in my community. As an avid student of permaculture and the
project leader, I am trying to use the school building as a means of
harnessing the resources on site to create a mature healthily yielding
system. The building is at the base of a 200 foot 22 degree slope and I am
trying to convince the architect and the school to cut paths/swales from the
school to the top of the hill which could help reforest the grassy slope and
funnel runoff into a cooling pond in the schools courtyard. I haven't yet
been able to find good visual aids or data illustrating reforestation by
swale on slope and could really use some to show that this is a tried and
true practice. So if anybody out there has anything that could help, I would
greatly appreciate it. We are in a semi arid climate in Utah, near Salt Lake
City and get about 14 inches of precipitation over the year. I calculated
that about 500,000 gallons of water fall onto the slope over the course of
the year. Also, if any of you have had experience cutting swales or paths
into hillsides, I would love to know what kind of price range I am looking
at and if the school can even afford it. Also, about the swale design, is it
realistic to think that I can use it as a path and system of collecting
water for a keyline dam/pond (so that it is not purely on contour- it has
some descent-) and still get some of the water retention of on contour
swales to aid in tree establishment? What slope or other criteria should I
design into the system to meet my objectives? Do any of you know if
reforesting the slope will result in collecting more or less water or if it
will result in warmer or cooler wind movements at the base of the hill? I
have attached a conceptual  sketch of the site, I don't know if that makes
it through the listserve, if it doesn't and you are interested, please email
Much appreciated,
Oliver Smith Callis

"I believe we can accomplish great and profitable things within a new
conceptual framework—one that values our legacy, honors diversity, and feeds
ecosystems and societies . . . It is time for designs that are creative,
abundant, prosperous, and intelligent from the start."
William McDonough

"The only limit on the number of uses of a resource possible within a system
is in the limit of the information and the imagination of the designer...The
yield of a system is theoretically unlimited."
Bill Mollison


(see the "Greening the Desert" flash video below)

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