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Outdoor Planning With A Purpose: Permaculture In Moab




Individuals in Moab are redesigning spaces using permaculture principles that protect from environmental stresses like sun exposure and drought.


A few years ago, when the parking lot at Utah State University’s Moab campus needed repaving, Roslynn Brain-McCann, an associate professor in Sustainable Communities Extension, decided to get creative.


With the help of experts and community members, she initiated a redesign of the concrete parking space, using a popular practice known as permaculture.


“Permaculture design has three major ethics and those are earth care, people care and fair share,” Brain-McCann said.  


These ethics encompass the key principles of permaculture. Brain-McCann says this is reflected in the new layout.


“The design plan includes an overstory of fruit trees and shade trees and understories of bushes, shrubs and smaller plants that all serve either one or more functions of pollinator attractors, nitrogen fixers or nutrient accumulators,” she said.


Plants seen around the campus include cherries, grapes, lavender and many more. In addition to the added visual benefits, Brain-McCann says the redesign has helped address issues such as rain flooding in the parking lot, lack of shade and a reduction in water usage during hotter months.


Moab commonly sees temperatures soaring over 100 degrees in the summer. Because of this, the environment is very dry and rainfall is infrequent. The new permaculture design makes spaces more usable and productive under these conditions.

Learn more about USU Extension Permaculture here.