Project: High Park
Client: City of Greeley, CO
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Scope of Work: The goal of this project was to continue to stabilize steep slopes within the 2012 High Park Wildfire burn area. The vegetation on the slopes was depleted from fire such that mudslides and potential contamination of drinking water sources were very much a threat. WSRI worked with Mountain West Helicopters to aerial mulch nearly 1600 acres of burn area in 2013, and 567 acres in 2014. Wood mulch was utilized as it holds up against heavy flooding. In the 500 year flood event of 2013, the wood mulch held up almost 100% to the heavy water flows.
Description: After the High Park fire of 2012, the City of Greeley, Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins chose Western States Reclamation to begin the process of planting seeds to bring vegetation back to the barren, fire-scorched area. WSRI responded quickly by aerial seeding and mulching with helicopters to help quickly establish new vegetation and protect exposed bare soil from erosion in High Park. WSRI then provided continuous follow up work to institute growth in the area.
When the rains started falling in the summer of 2013, The downstream residents and government authorities were nervous. They knew that without vegetation to control erosion, there is an exponential amount of flood risk after a major fire like the one that ripped through the area in a one month time frame.
Western States’ crews had continued to work the area continuously and instead of mudslides and massive erosion, the wood mulch and new vegetation held the burn area largely intact through the pounding rains (described by weather observers as a 1000 year flood) and the storm water was effectively managed.
“It was a massive project, we continuously monitored the area and added mulch and seed to new areas in High Park in 2014. I believe this constant management, our experience, and our hard work helped us overcome some genuine obstacles, said Colby Reid, Reclamation Division Manager.
“I am proud of the WSRI team and our approach to this project. We faced some real challenges with the High Park project including tight time constraints, weather, and even packs of “wild” dogs!, and we overcame all of them to make the project a success, all while effectively communicating with the residents and civic leaders”