One of the issues left behind by the High Park Fire is erosion. Anyone who has driven through the fire area has seen the resulting piles of ash and mud along the county’s roadways.
Erosion is bad for property, and it’s very bad for water quality in the Poudre River.
Fortunately, there’s a company that can help control erosion. Chris Vigil, owner of Noble Erosion LLC, has first-hand experience with erosion control in the wake of the fire, since his family lost a home in Glacier View Meadows. He treated a demonstration area on the family property and has seen a “dramatic difference” in the treated area’s recovery.
Severely burned soil becomes “hydrophobic” – that is, the charred surface cannot absorb water, so rainfall or snowmelt runs off in sheets, taking with it ash and new vegetation. Chris’s first job is to break up the hydrophobic soil so water can be absorbed.
After that, Chris employs several techniques depending on the topography.
On steep terrain, he hand-broadcasts native grass seed and rakes it in. Wood mulch or erosion-control straw blankets hold the seed in place. For gentler slopes, Chris is able to use a seed drill, then he spreads straw over the area and crimps it in.
If property is covered with burned trees, Chris uses them for erosion control. He cuts and limbs the trees, then places them horizontally on the hillside where they slow water movement and catch the ash. The limbs are used as well. They’re wrapped in jute netting, creating “organic burritos” that are laid in gulleys to catch sediment.
Erosion control needs to be done before next spring’s runoff, Chris noted, or the snowmelt will move “massive amounts of ash downstream.”
For more information, contact Noble Erosion at 303-523-3963 or visit www.NobleErosion.com.
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