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Building Basins and Filling Them—With Water, Plants, and Birds!

By Kari Hackney   After a complete bust of a monsoon season in 2020, I held my breath in anticipation of what summer 2021 would bring. Rainwater harvesting is a key component in many of our restoration projects. Digging in Tucson can require some serious muscle, so these rainwater basins are a labor of love and the results are well worth it. While many desert plants are known to be a bit slow growing, if planted in a basin they become established fairly quickly. As this year’s monsoon season approached, I hoped for anything but a repeat of last year. Luckily, Tucson’s 2021 monsoon ended as the 3rd wettest on record. The plants, and all those who dug those caliche-lined basins, gave a sigh of relief as our basins filled with water and demonstrated the benefits of creating systems that work with nature rather than against. After: The new Hacienda del Rio basins performed perfectly during a 1.5" rain event. One of the greatest examples of these systems is green stormwater infrastruc

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