During the first rounds of mulching in 2021, about 2,500 acres of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land and about 2,500 acres of private property were treated, courtesy of funding support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. The EWP program offers assistance to help local communities relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by wildfires and other natural disasters that might impair watersheds.
In 2022, about 7,500 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USFS lands were treated via funding agreements with those two agencies.
In addition to support from BLM, USFS and NRCS, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) also contributed dollars to support both 2021 and 2022 efforts.
This 3-minute video, featuring Northern Water’s Curtis Hartenstine and Kimberly Mihelich, provides a close look at the East Troublesome mulching operations that took place during the past two years.
With mulch operations now complete, Northern Water is currently partnering with CWCB and Colorado State University to conduct post-mulching surveys that will help determine the effectiveness of the treatments. The data eventually compiled during these ongoing East Troublesome assessments is expected to provide some of the most detailed information to date regarding aerial mulching’s impacts on burn scars.
In addition to the post-mulching surveys, various other projects will remain underway in the East Troublesome burn area, including continued installation of debris booms and berm structures, watershed restoration work, and run-off and debris clean-ups, among other efforts.