Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

February 12, 2013

Precious resource

TAHLEQUAH — Water may soon become as precious a resource as oil, and area residents who recognize that possibility met Monday to inspect a keyline water management system.

Property owner and certified farm-scale permaculturist Julie Gahn hosted fellow land owners to follow up on the topographic water flow system she’s established on her 30-acre property south of Double Spring Creek. Gahn started the project after attending a course taught by Restoration Agriculture Institute President Mark Shepard, whose 106-acre perennial farm is viewed by many as one of the country’s most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects.

Gahn led the group on a short hike along a sloping 800-foot ridge on her property to show those in attendance the layout of the water management system that maximizes resources. Shepard, who homesteaded in Alaska for eight years before establishing his Wisconsin New Forest Farm, walked Gahn’s property swale, searching to pinpoint the “sweetspot keyline,” or the feeding point of the water dispersing system.

“The sweetspot keyline pond ended up right next to an existing pond,” said Gahn. “Mark doesn’t do a lot of planning on paper, which is different than other permaculture designers. He’s very connected to the land. He just goes out there and really feels the land. You just have to walk it and figure out the right spot.”

Shepard’s repeated treks were to locate low places where the ground is moist and often has thick vegetation. A sort of cascading system of sloped mounds of dirt is then developed around one embankment that serves as natural water storage.

Shepard’s restoration agriculture practice converts natural ecosystems to fields for the production of crops or livestock, while rebuilding the local ecoystem.

“What inspired me to work with Mark is my family is from western Nebraska, and they’ve [planted annual crops] for years and years,” said Gahn. “They irrigate out of the Ogallala Aquifer. I came to understand from my uncle that there is no plan and no process for determining how much water is in that aquifer and how much water the farmers use.”

Gahn is concerned about the depletion of aquifers.

“There’s no system, and that’s kind of terrifying to me when you think about how fast that aquifer is going down,” said Gahn.

“So when I read that Mark had figured out that chestnuts and things like hazelnuts can replace things like soybeans in terms of nutrition and calories, [I decided to follow his lead].”

Gahn uses a perennial system now.

“You don’t have to plow up the ground every year and lose top soil,” said Gahn. “You’re actually creating top soil with these [nut] trees and their leaves.”

Fellow restoration agriculture farmer-in-training Kathryn Hardage lives in Texas, but owns property in southern Missouri, where she and her husband plan to establish a sustainable summer camp.

“Those of us who are taking permaculture design [courses] are looking at ways of living sustainably and contributing to the environment,” she said.

“Our land is completely different from this. It’s a different ecosystem. It’s a different habitat. It’s completely forested. So I’ve been corresponding with Mark [Shepard] to find out the first steps that we can take.”

Permaculture is the ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor, according to the www.Perma Culture.org. The concept instructs people how to build natural homes, grow their own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, and catch and store natural water resources while building communities.

To learn more about Shepard and restoration agriculture, go to www.Restoration Ag.org.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Stocks