Seeding, mulching of burn area begins today
Helicopters are expected to start cruising over the Carson Range today, kicking off at least 15 days of aerial seeding and mulching.
Over the next month, two to three K-MAX helicopters will drop an estimated 6.4 million pounds of rice straw and 96,000 pounds of grass seed across 4,000 acres burned in July’s Waterfall fire.
“We are extremely pleased to see the aerial seeding operations commence,” Carson City Open Space Manager Juan Guzman said. “This is one of the multiple long-term steps that will be needed to protect our watershed, reduce flooding potential and return our scenic view shed to its natural beauty.”
Pacific Erosion Group, LLC of Parker, Colo., was awarded a $1.1 million contract with federal money in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service to spread the seed and straw, using cutting edge, ultra-quiet helicopters.
“These K-MAXs are brand new and very quiet,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Franklin Pemberton. “They don’t have tail routers.”
Although the K-MAX plays a variety of roles, it has earned high praise as a Forest Service aerial firefighter. K-MAXs are also in wide use in logging and construction projects in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
The helicopters are scheduled to fly 15 days within the month. Over the next 10 days, large straw bales will be trucked into a stockpile off of Timberline Drive. The same area will be used as a helipad.
Carl Pence, Forest Service public information officer, said trucks used to haul bales along College Parkway will create increased traffic, and city workers will be on the scene for traffic control.
After it is dropped, the mulch is expected to stay in place for one to two years to slow heavy rainfall, which will help minimize erosion of the bare slopes.
Pence said rice straw is more effective for erosion control than wheat straw because it binds together easily.
“You get lots of wind in the area, so rice straw is the better choice,” he said.
The straw application rate – 30 pounds of seed and 3,000 pounds of straw per acre – is 50 percent higher than standard to compensate for the area’s blustery winds.
Pence said a public information center will be set up at the Timberline Drive site to address residents’ questions and concerns.
Residents can also find updated rehabilitation information at http://www.carsoncityinfo.com
• A public information center will be set up at the Timberline Drive stockpile, helipad site to address residents’ questions and concerns.
• Residents can also find rehabilitation information at http://www.carsoncityinfo.com
Contact Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 881-1217.