July 19, 2021

Aerial Seed, Mulch Treatments Get Underway at Willow Creek Reservoir

Western States Reclamation began conducting aerial ground treatments in Grand County in mid-July to help burn areas recover from the 2020 East Troublesome Fire. The mixture of seed and mulch in each of the 3,000- to 5,000-pound loads will assist in the restoration of the watershed by combatting erosion and runoff of topsoil, ash and debris, as well as helping bring back vegetation to key portions of the burn scar. Ground treatments are currently taking place around Willow Creek Reservoir, with treatments expected to address other key watershed areas as they continue into mid-August. Altogether, about 2,500 acres will be treated in this initial phase of treatments. 

This project is being funded via the Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which Northern Water and Grand County are co-sponsoring for the East Troublesome Fire recovery area. Because the land treatment is occurring in Northern Water's sponsorship areas, Northern Water is initially responsible for 25 percent of project costs. However, a grant from Colorado Water Conservation Board will be utilized to offset Northern Water’s local match requirement. Grand County is planning similar treatments in its sponsorship areas. 

A lot of acres are being covered quickly, as the efficiency of the ground crews allows each of the helicopters to load up, fly out, release and return for another load all in the span of 6 minutes. Phase 1 is now complete with more than 1,100 acres treated to date. Phase 2 is underway.