[permaculture] You don’t know what a stream looks like.
woodsjay at cox.net
Sat Sep 16 14:20:32 EDT 2006
I've stopped hunting for squirrels and have spent time thinking about how to
include them in nut and fruit pit planting more effectively.
On Monday 11 September 2006 20:34, Keith Johnson wrote:
> You don’t know what a stream looks like. A natural North American stream
> is not a single, deeply eroded gully, but a series of broad pools, as
> many as fifteen per mile, stitched together by short stretches of
> shallow, braided channels. The banks drop no more than a foot or two to
> water, and often there are no true banks, only a soft gradation from
> lush meadow to marsh to slow open water. If soil washes down from the
> steep headwaters in flood season, it is stopped and gathered in the
> chain of ponds, where it spreads a fertile layer over the earth. In
> spring the marshes edging the ponds enlarge to hold floodwaters. In late
> summer they shrink slightly, leaving at their margins a meadow that
> offers tender browse to wildlife. An untouched river valley usually
> holds more water than land, spanned by a series of large ponds that step
> downhill in a shimmering chain. The ponds are ringed by broad expanses
> of wetland and meadow that swarm with wildlife.
> Until the arrival of Europeans in North America, this vision was, almost
> without exception, what streams looked like. They were transformed into
> the gullied channels we mistake for the natural state of streams soon
> after the killing of millions of beaver. Most European settlers never
> saw the original condition of our watersheds, because the trappers came
> before them, a deadly colonial avant-garde that swept relentlessly from
> Atlantic to Pacific coast and hunted the beaver to near extinction.
> Deeply gullied ravines had been the norm in an anciently beaver-cleared
> Europe, and they quickly became the norm here too. Removing the beaver
> drastically altered and simplified the landscape.
> (Read the rest of the story here)
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