When you move to a new area, it takes just a little bit of effort to become oriented to the new eco-system and reap the rewards (Obtain a Yield).
I moved to Breckenridge, Colorado a few weeks ago, and I’m stoked! Breck is a ski town at 9,600′ above sea level. This can mean a number of things for permaculturalists including dry air, dry soil, shorter growing season and variable water levels. For me it means a ton of fun and some interesting R+D challenges.
One of the first and most valuable things I did so far was to find out about the watershed here. Mine is the Blue River Watershed and it has a Non-profit doing work to protect and restore it. Ecstatic that the headquarters for the group is only a few miles down the road from my place.
As designers, we want to place elements in their best relative positions. Perhaps it is too dry for flora or fauna in one gully, and maybe we want to side step an upstream EPA Super Fund site. Maybe if we slide over a little bit, we’ll be at less risk for fire damage.
All worth things of considering, and if you want to get involved with some permaculture oriented projects, it is very valuable to know where the water goes.
Here are some links you can use to find out more about water where you live.
EPA – Surf Your Watershed
USGS – Science in Your Watershed
WikiWatershed.org – Advanced GIS tools for watershed mapping if you want to geek out!
Weather.gov – Percipitation maps – Customizable maps!!
P.S. – In Colorado we have some draconian laws regarding water management. The enforcement budget for these laws is near zero.