OK, here goes! This is about the biggest and craziest idea I have ever thought of so far! For the online PDC that I am taking with the Permaculture Education Center (PEC), I have just decided on where my site is going to be; I am going to design a permaculture system for Galveston, TX, and I am going to submit the design plan to the City Council and Mayor's Office of Galveston.
Currently, the Galveston Bay area is in need of some loving. They have been slow to recover because of the bureaucratic stuff involved with recovery has given Katrina damaged places priority over Ike victims which is described in the Chronicle's report titled Missing Our Fair Share. We have had unusually large blooms of seaweed washing onto our shores which is described here. We are desperately in need of storm surge protection, and we have a host of issues from pollution to sea life. At the moment, I see this as an opportunity to push permaculture out there and to pioneer the field of aquatic permaculture.
Everyone is welcome to help in the design process!
Create a permaculture design plan for the Galveston area. This idea could then be adapted and adjusted for aiding people all along the coasts of the world. This idea will be especially important since the majority of the world lives in coastal areas. A plan to protect and feed coastal people sustainably will be vital.
My proposal is to create an initial design plan within about three weeks, and hopefully, collaborate with a bunch of experts and submit the finalized plan within a month of finishing the initial design.
The current objective of the plan is for the Galveston Bay area. This will then be expandable for climates around the world.
I am hoping by offering our plan for free to the City of Galveston we will be able to slide along the governmental tracks faster, but we can hold off on the issues of land and money for later. Right now it is only in the conception and design stage.
Outline of plan:
1) Develop and hatch idea on permies.com
2) Integrate and collaborate with permies.com community with tons of updates along the way
3) Submit initial design plan in about three weeks or less when near end of PDC to the permies.com community and PEC
4) PDC is over, and I will begin contacting experts to get their backing and expertise so we have weight in our proposal
5) Collective melting pot of permies.com and experts discussing permaculture plan for Galveston Bay
6) Once plan is finalized, it will be submitted to the City Council and Mayor's Office for discussion and approval
7) Then, the ultimate fun begins: implementing the plan!
EDIT: Deleted email address and updating status of project as cancelled. Maybe in a four or five years from now I can start to make an impact. For now, building up my credentials is critical along with helping in smaller ways.
I froze GoogleChrome three times trying to add topography data in a single upload with the climate data, so it will have to be in separate posts.
All designs begin with observations, so here we go!
Observations of Site:
Every time I think of Galveston, I think of the book "Isacc's Strom" (chilling!)
Dave - best of luck on your project - I'm glad to see someone taking on a big project. For my online PDC with Geoff Lawton, I did my neighborhood (160 acres). I'd love to see how your project turns out!
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
Thank you John!!! I like what you've suggested, and it will be integrated into the design!
Here is a list of things to be found at the site and their properties (input is what the items need, output is what they produce):
-roads and cars (inputs: time, money, people, asphalt, concrete, metals, oil; outputs: oil leaks, CO2, trash, people)
-tourists (inputs: food, oxygen, water, shelter, money, transport, community; outputs: urine, feces, CO2, money, ideas, labour, attention)
-beach and shoreline ecosystem (inputs: sunlight, water, air, circulation, food, connections; outputs: water, air, food, money, beauty)
-wind (input: infrared radiation and Earth's tilt; output: air and some water circulation)
-homes (inputs: money, time, structural materials; outputs: beauty, money, community, shelter)
-seaweed (inputs: water, air, sunlight; outputs: good NPK values, habitats, food)
Here is a list of some initial design elements and their properties:
-Mangrove trees (inputs: water, salt, sunlight, CO2; outputs: protection, habitat, fodder, oxygen, beauty, salt, cleaner water)
-Calamus Americanus (inputs: water, sunlight, CO2, some soil; outputs: medicine, oxygen, habitat, cleaner water)
-Mangrove Oysters (inputs: water, plankton; outputs: cleaner water, habitats, food)
-Weeping Willows (inputs: water, sunlight, soil; outputs: beauty, shade, cleaner water, rooting hormone, habitat)
The government actually has done some good work. I just found out about the Web Soil Survey, and it provides information about many places' soil types. This makes designing for sites from a distance a little bit easier.
For the site I am designing for, according to the Web Soil Survey, the beach homes are in a Mustang-Nass complex which means that they are in a loamy sand, and about where the dunes are it transitions into a mostly sandy composition which they simply called beach soil. The site's soil pH ranges from 6.6 to 8.6 around the homes and between 7.4 to 9.0 near and at the beaches.
Here is a list of the goals for the design I will be making and finding organisms for:
-habitats for complex species interactions
-storm surge protection
Here's a list of saponin producing plants. The saponins are what make them soapy/shampooey plants. It also gives them their anti-septic/bacteria/fungal properties.
I've included more than just the ones for my climate in case other want to ideas, too:
There are probably many many more plants that could go on the list. This is just a few of them. For more information on the chemistry behind this, go to the Seoul National University's College of Pharmacy, they have a powerpoint here.
It doesn't freeze in galveston?!?!?!?!? If not then your options for planting are wide open.
A business plan will be a must for your situation.
If you would like a kind of template for a business plan take a look at my business plan at Permies forum!.
Keep in mind that this is a work in progress and is not yet complete.
It seems to me that approaching them from an angle of conservation may be best. Restoring the native ecology while implementing a resilient food system. Creating jobs, stimulating the local economy, and at the same time improving infrastructure. Actually now that I think of it Infrastructure may also be a focus point. You know, preventing another Katrina.
I'm looking for input on everything. The more the merrier. In the outline of the goals for the design, I will be looking up plants for each purpose and posting them for everyone to see. If you think any section that I post could be improved, please, I would like to hear as much feed back as possible! Next, I will be posting all of the food organisms (more than just plants) that I can think of that would work in my climate. Then, I'll do the same thing and list all of the things I can possibly think of for each section of the design goals. This way, most of my research will be complete. From there, I'll be proceeding to how the pieces that have been listed out will fit together. Then, when I make my zone map, I'll begin placing the species on the site. Feel free to critique each listing of species as I post them; the more feedback, the better.
The sea berries are heavily planted along some European coasts. They seem to thrive with the salt spray, growing into dense thickets. The berries will stay on the tree all winter in that climate, providing food for many birds.
If that sea almond is the same as is common in the Bahamas, I have seen them growing right next to the sea. During storm surges, their drip zone is often under sea water.
Either one of the two might be a good choice for stabilizing the soils in that environment.
Scratch rhubarb, it needs zone 7 and colder climates. It needs snowy winters so it can go dormant and it doesn't do well in the heat.
But where you have scratched the rhubarb, put in some more lemongrass. I have had it come back from freezes, but more often than not it dies completely. Since you can go a few years between real hard freezes, it should work well for you. Plus, it is a great mosquito deterrent. Plant it around all those water features, and people won't get eaten alive when they go out in the evenings.
Also, watercress needs flowing fresh water to do well. Since you don't have that, you might want to plant upland cress instead. It is a vigorous reseeder, and will have no problem establishing itself. If you need seed, send me a PM with your address, I have plenty to give away.
I haven't considered what earthworks would be placed in the design yet because I'm still trying to find a site to base the design on. That's why I'm doing the organism lists first. As for the aquatic species for storm surges, we have thought of mangroves, willows, mangrove oysters, calamus americanus, and sea buckthorns. What earthworks and aquatics are you thinking of?
It'll probably be a long time before this ever gets to the implementation stage. So, I'm doing this one step at a time. Right now, myself and anyone interested are listing out species. This is essentially the research phase. Once I find a site, i will be able to start the designing.
Thank you for inviting me. The only problem with that is my parents do not allow me to use Facebook. They, like good parents, are concerned that I might get stalked on Facebook and then something bad happen to me. They're worried about the Facebook security issues, and I kinda am, too, since so much has been going on lately with security breeches.
Good to meet you....It is technically my group because I created it on Facebook but it is an Open Group so that people can find us. If spammers show up, I will close the group. There are ways to keep your profile hidden or anonymous on Facebook to other people (but not Facebook itself, who will be tracking all web sites you visit so they can serve you up some delightful ads and even your phone data if you use your mobile phone to access Facebook). For example, you could create a fictitious name and data for your profile. Once you connect with any friends there, you begin to lose what little control you have - any apps they subscribe to typically have access to all their friends info (e.g. - your fictitious data). But, if you are online at all - and that includes email accounts - any info you have online is not truly private. Bottom line - if your parents don't want you on Facebook, I suggest you honor that. We can stay in touch via email and phone - you have my contact info (provided offline), which is my real name, email, and phone number....Peace, Dana
Ok, thanks. I'll stay Facebookless. Keep checking back here and telling me what you think. I'll be posting updates as I progress through my PDC and collect more information about Galveston Island and the species that will work.
There was some mention of sea weed washing up on the beaches and asparagus as a possible food crop. That seems to to together very well. If tourist beaches are being cleared of washed up sea weed it could be used to mulch asparagus. The asparagus ferns would catch blowing sand into dunes and the roots would stabilize the sand from water washout. When the plants mature the first flush of stalks could be harvested.
We have had good success here on Puget sound on sandy soil mulched wit sea weed.
It would be kinda unnecessary to list out every species for this because technically all organisms cycle nutrients.
So, I'm skipping a few functions ahead; I'm adding a link to the Poop Beast thread and the Poop Beast podcasts part 1 and 2 and the Pee Pee Monster thread because these topics are relevant to waste treatment. Here are some waste treatment organisms (aquatic and terrestrial):
Marsh plants (e.g. cattails, pondweed, coontail, hydrilla, stargrass, starwort, watermilfoil, eelgrass)
Bald Cypress (cute knees)
Common rudd (fish)
Common dace (fish)
Common roach (fish)
Tons of bacteria and protozoa
I think I was a little redundant listing this function since many of the saponin containing plants would be antiseptics; however, any ideas on plants that could be used like one would with alcohol on a wound would be appreciated. Any ideas?
We kinda got a headstart on the last three items I listed for the organisms that the design will need functions for:-waste treatment
-habitats for complex species interactions
-storm surge protection
On habitats for complex interactions, as long as all the species already talked are placed in positions that are conducive for establishing connections between the organisms, a complex food web will build itself.
On storm surge protection, we have talked about mangroves, weeping willows, calamus americanus, sea buckthorn, sea berries, and sea almonds. Many of the marsh species could also fit in for this.
On support species, I am kinda at a loss because a link to legumes has already been added and the storm surge protectors will also help control erosion and provide groundcover. Any ideas of what support species could be added?
A site on or near Galveston Island is still to be determined, but I have made a first draft of what the storm surge protection setup could look like. I also was recently informed that every now and then Galveston freezes for a while. The clover and bastard oleaster were added for nitrogen fixation, and the comfrey was added as a dynamic accumulator. Any suggestions on coastal nitrogen fixers?
Quick reassessment of using a biological system for storm surge protection:
-pros: easier to build, less expensive, provides jobs, stacks functions (e.g. food, medicine, materials), provides habitats, cleans water,
-cons: displaces local organisms, nativist organizations against exotic species, could be susceptible to diseases (though mitigated with diversity),