This USGS aerial image represents a 3 mile stretch of arroyo, roughly 4.5 miles west of Harper Dry Lake in the Mojave River Basin. The dots indicate the 3 sites spaced roughly 1 mile apart, about a twenty minute walk between each.
Upper left Latitude: 35.1009055295, Longitude:
At each of the three sites, six to ten 10" diameter
spheres have been "planted" along the dry wash. The extreme
nature of desert cycles of flood and drought are demonstrated by the
action/inaction of the spheres. During periods of flood, the force
of flowing water will send the spheres downstream, their location
determined by the force and direction of the water. They're ultimate
destination can be expressed as where the water stops. Some of the
spheres are implanted with a small transmitter sending out a high
frequency beacon signal to help guide in their discovery post flooding.
The implanted transmitter tags send their signal 8 hours a day for
6 months of the year lasting from 3-4 years, while the UV-rated, enamel-coated
steel spheres have a material longevity between 5-7 years. Some spheres
may be lost to human intervention or other unforeseen activity, reflecting
the inherent hazards of the area.
Coupled with each group of spheres, is a small underground shelter burrowed out of the arroyo embankment and marked by a 6 foot tall blue pole. The shelters are inspired by Kangaroo Rats, who spend their days inside of their moist and humid burrows, coming out only at night when there is the least chance of evaporation. The simple shelters provide a shady respite, dug into the earth, with primarily north facing views. Corrugated steel pipe serves as a resting lair for one person, while the gravel and stone beneath function as a catchment for seasonal rains. During heavy rains the shelters will be overcome with water; they will be humid so long as their catchments retain water, then dry out over the summer, until the following winter’s rains. Retaining water is a key to survival in the desert. Over the course of a few years, extra plant growth as well as increased animal and insect activity around each shelter is anticipated due to the seasonal water that will be stored there.
“Sites for Flood and Drought” brings the scale of the Harper Dry Lake Basin to bear on the Moisture Project. A wide arroyo, running north west from the north east corner of the Moisture property, provides an interesting path with a variety of plant life and views of geographical features, making a nice walk in the Harper Dry Lake basin. Three sites have been chosen along the arroyo for locating both underground shelters and groupings of floating objects awaiting floodwaters to set them in motion. Both the shelter and sphere elements respond to the cyclical, seasonal water behaviors of the region.