Here are two classic videos about the giant permaculture swales in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, AZ. The swales are now filled with trees and lush grass, and continue to thrive after 80 years with no maintenance. The swales were built in the 1930’s during President Roosevelt’s term to restore the countryside in the Dust Bowl era.
During President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office in 1933, his administration quickly initiated programs to conserve soil and restore the ecological balance of the nation. Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes established the Soil Erosion Service in August 1933. It was reorganized under the Department of Agriculture and renamed the Soil Conservation Service. It is now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
President Roosevelt ordered the Civilian Conservation Corps to plant a huge belt of more than 200 million trees from Canada to Abilene, Texas to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil itself in place. The administration also began to educate farmers on soil conservation and anti-erosion techniques, including crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing, and other improved farming practices.