Daniel Halsey 's Profile

Daniel Halsey


  • Joined: 02/02/2011
  • Last Updated: 02/02/2011
  • Location: Prior Lake, MN, United States
  • Climate Zone: Cold Temperate
  • Gender: Male
  • Web site: SouthwoodsCenter.com

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    vegarden Ti Lorien, Haiti Quail Springs Permaculture Sailchearnach PRI Tipuana Farm, CA, USA Jubilee Fruits & Vegetables Farm PRI Tap o' Noth, Scotland The Permaculture Research Institute of Hellas (Greece) The Centre for Urban Agriculture in Alberta RT Permaculture Forever Productive Forest Milkwood



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Fascine, Revetments, and Wattle Hurdle

Posted by Daniel Halsey about 2 years ago

This year I have been in Haiti after a downgraded hurricane, and then in New Jersey a week after Sandy.While in New Jersey two tornadoes passed by my old house. What does they have in common?

In each case water was being limited in its flow by developement or the removal natural structures that diffuse its energy. While working in Haiti and trying to build large enough swales to catch water, it was instantly apparent after the 1st 5 inch rain that what we needed to do was slow it down and catch the sediment.

In many cases there is so much water so quickly and so much erosion, that we need to find a way to spread out the energy and give the silt chance to settle. These are like a windbreak with water. The increased deposition, diffuse the focused energy that tears the soil, and reduce the velocity of the water.


The wattle hurdle, used for fencing and building, is what we used in Haiti slow down the water. Like snow fences used in cold climates on the Windward side of a freeway, it catches the drift of sediment and reduces the deposition in the swales below. Also since they are on contour with the swales, the resulting micro-terrace is will be even and prevent gullying.

On the top of this page is a picture of a fascine. A fascine is a long bundle of sticks or brush used to reduce erosion and build sediment, along a contour line in our case. We are using this in a ravine below a culvert to slow flood waters a spring run off.  Overtime this a fill-in around the branches, plants will take root, and the natural berm will develop, slowing water in most cases.

 Another term I learned while working in New Jersey is Revetments.   In civil engineering these are large steps or concrete inclines along the banks of rivers and streams. Gabions are used for this, although of the ones I saw along the river in Port-au-Prince were already being undercut by the floodwaters. Most engineering revetments are smooth and slick only serving to move the water along while protecting the shoreline. Commonly concrete, But in general terms they can be used along any shoreline to decrease the erosion and increase sediment. Like the 1st scene, increase the revetment is a simple T-post along the waterline that is then woven with brush, honeysuckle in many cases.

 Each time the water rises the revetment  gathers more organic matter and small branches, building layers of intertwined sticks which then fill in with silt.

These are fairly simple and slow solutions that will continuously benefit the areas in which they are used, without disturbing the soil. As our weather gets more erratic and extreme, it will be important to do whatever we can to defuse the energy and increase the infiltration of the water while we can. Catch it on the ground, store it in the ground.


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