The Imprinting Foundation



May 31, 1996

  PROJECT LEADER: Robert M. Dixon, Ph.D, Ph.D.



To demonstrate Low-Cost/Low-Water Methods for establishing Native Vegetation in Tucson Urban Areas and on the Tucson Water Farms in Avra Valley. Methods will include land imprinter seeding and contour bramble barriers. Land imprinting has been successfully tested at several locations within the Tucson AMA beginning in November, 1978. This project is directed to the transfer of this technology to the Tucson AMA and elsewhere to, in turn, achieve the inherent water conservation benefits. Additionally, restoring natives plant communities in Avra Valley will greatly increase rainwater infiltration and subsequent groundwater recharge from 25 to 50-year rainfall events.



Land imprinting with seeding has been successfully tested on large land areas within the Tucson AMA beginning in November 1978. In chronological order, these include 2 locations along Reservation and Manville Roads (200 acres each), several locations on the Agua Blanco Ranch (500 acres total), 3 locations on the Continental Ranch (600 acres total), 5 locations along the CAP, San Xavier underground aqueduct (200 acres total), and 2 graded areas in the Santa Catalina Foothills (60 acres total). All of these projects were highly successful in establishing vegetation on barren ground without irrigation. Research has shown that such revegetation will increase infiltration at least tenfold or enough to prevent water runoff and flash flooding from even high-intensity rainfall events.

In recent years, and currently imprinting technology is being transferred to the desert regions of southern California through on-site demonstrations and slide lectures. The applicant and coworkers do about 5 of these demonstrations annually mostly during the fall and early winter before the onset of the rainy season. Similar demonstrations are needed in the Tucson AMA to help transfer this technology to funding agencies and organizations, and revegetation contractors.



Major steps are listed below in chronological order.

•  Select plant species to be included in the seed mix and purchase seed.

•  Imprinter seed (Nov-Dec) several demonstrational areas in Avra Valley. Combine with contour ridges and bramble barriers.

•  Install several bramble barriers at a Tucson urban site.

•  Install supplemental irrigation systems on ½ of the bramble barriers at the Tucson site.

•  Measure rainfall and irrigation amounts.

•  Monitor the progress of revegetation by periodically determining the population density for each seeded species plus growth rates.

•  Determine water-use efficiencies 1 year after seeding.

•  Periodically, conduct field tours of the newly established demonstrational areas plus some at the prior projects listed under the heading "Background."

•  Periodically, present slide lectures on this project and the "Background" project.

•  Publish the results of this project.



• Develop an ecologically sound seed mix

•  Purchase seeds

•  Impose field demonstrations

- purchase equipment

- rent equipment

- repair & service equipment

- design land treatments

- operate & maintain equipment

•  Purchase & install raingauges

•  Install seep irrigation systems

•  Determine water flow rates of irrigation systems

•  Determine the need for supplemental irrigation of bramble barriers as a basis for irrigation scheduling

•  Collect rainfall data after each event

•  Monitor each irrigation

•  Monitor the progress of revegetation

- plant stands by species

- plant heights by species

•  Conduct field tours

- advertise

- prepare schedule & handouts

- arrange for transportation, food, water, etc.

•  Give slide lectures

- advertise

- select slides

- prepare handouts


• Publish and present results

-  do literature review

-  prepare & submit abstracts

-  prepare papers

Quarterly reports will be prepared to keep the Arizona Department of Water Resources appraised of progress in task achievement.

a.  Personnel

- labor cost: 8,000

- consulting fees: 2,000

Total $10,000

b. Supplies

- seed: 2,000

- equipment: 2,000

- irrigation: 1,000
  Total $ 5,000

c. Construction

- imprinters: 2,000

- seeders: 1,000

- land shaping: 2,000
  Total $ 5,000



This project is expected to benefit the Tucson AMA by:

•  Greatly reducing the amount of water required to establish and maintain vegetation in urban land areas.

•  Decreasing bare soil evaporation and increasing groundwater recharges in the Tucson water farms in Avra Valley.

•  Facilitating transfer of new water conservation technology which is applicable to the Tucson AMA and elsewhere.

The Imprinting Foundation, based in Tucson, does not have the funds to implement this project without conservation assistance grant money from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. That is why the Foundation is currently doing its demonstrations in southern California where funds are available from a variety of government agencies and private organizations.


Technical Papers

Dixon, R.M. 1966. Water infiltration responses to soil management practices. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison. 175p.
Dixon, R.M. 1975. Design and use of closed-top infiltrometers. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 39: 755-763.
Dixon, R.M. 1977. Air-earth interface concept for wide-range con- trol of infiltration. Am. Soc. Agric. Engin. Paper No. 70-206.233p.
Dixon, R.M. 1980. Land Imprinter. U.S. Patent No. 4185655. U.S. Patent Office, Washington D.C. p.14-22.
Dixon, R.M. 1983. Land imprinting for controlling infiltration and desertification processes. Am. Soc. Agric. Engin. Paper No. 83-2514, 15p.
Dixon, R.M. 1988. The air-earth interface model: Surface microroughness and macroporosity. Agronomy Abstracts. Am. Soc. Agron. p. 274.
Dixon, R.M. 1990. Land imprinting for dryland revegetation and restoration. In: Environmental Restoration: Sciences and Strategies for Restoring the Earth, edited by John J. Berger. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
Dixon, R.M. and A.B. Carr, 1991. Designing land imprinters for ecological restoration. In: Agronomy Abstracts. Am. Soc. Agron., Madison, WI. p.329.
Dixon, R.M. and A.B. Carr, 1994a. Land Desertification and Revegetation: The Air-Earth Interface Model. Proc. 4th Int. Conference on Desert Development, p. 589-595. Int. Desert Development Commission, Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agricolas, and Comision Nacional de Zonas Aridas. 25-30 July 1993, Mexico City, Mexico.
Dixon, R.M. and A.B. Carr, 1994b. Imprinting Technology for Restoring Vegetation on Degraded Drylands. Transactions of 15th World Congress of Soil Science. Vol 7b: Commission VI p.274-275. Int. Soc. Soil Sci. and Mexican Soc. Soil Sci. 10-16 July, Acapulco, Mexico.
Wolf, E.C. 1987. On the brink of extinction: Conserving the diversity of life. Worldwatch Institute, Paper 78, 54p.
UNEP, 1992. Earth Summit: Convention on Desertification. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3-14 June. 44p.

News Reports

March, 1977. Land Imprinter Seen as Boon to Semi-Arid Rangelands.
Arizona Farmer-Ranchman. Vol. 56, No. 3, p. 5. Phoenix.
March, 1977. Land Imprinting Circle Plow. California Farmer. Vol. 246,
No. 5, p. 38-39. San Francisco.
July 22, 1977. A New Ranch Implement for Increasing Infiltration After Range Reseeding. Western Water Stretcher. Drought Information Program, Utah State University.
October, 1977. Land Imprinter Makes Good Impression. Arizona Farmer-Ranchman. Vol. 56, No. 10, p. 14, 16-2, and 52.
1978. Agriculture and Food Supplies. Britannica Book of the Year. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. p. 176. Chicago, Toronto, London, Geneva, Sydney, Tokyo, Manila,
January 7, 1978. New Tillage Implement. California Farmer. P. 21. San Francisco.
February 9, 1978. Land Imprinter for Arid Country Developed by Arizona Scientist. Livestock Weekly. P. 14. San Angelo, Texas.
February 10, 1978. His Device Will Help Desert Drink Up. Tucson Citizen. Vol. 108, No. 35, p. 17A. Tucson, Arizona.
March 9, 1978. A Land Imprinter Operating in the Revegetation of Rangelands: TV News Report. KOLD Channel 13 News Program, Bob Cooper, reporter, 5:00 PM, Tucson, Arizona (filmed near intersection of Drexel and Houghton Roads).

The Imprinting Foundation
1616 E. Lind Road
Tucson, AZ 85719

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