BAER Treatment Information Update (7-24-11)
Incident: Las Conchas Burned Area Emergency Respon Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation
Santa Fe National Forest
Las Conchas Fire
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Implementation
- BAER Treatment Information -
July 24, 2011
The Las Conchas Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Implementation Team has begun implementation of identified priority treatments in the Las Conchas fire area on the Santa Fe National Forest. These treatments are designed to help stabilize soil; control water, sediment and debris movement; prevent impairment of ecosystems; and mitigate significant threats to health, safety, life, property and downstream values at risk. Contracts are being prepared and equipment and personnel are being mobilized to begin treatment implementation with the goal of completing as much of the priority work over the next few weeks. The initial implementation work and standards to minimize emergency conditions within the Las Conchas fire area includes:
- - Utilizing aerial application of grass seed on moderately and severely burned Federal lands within the Las Conchas fire area. A covering of straw mulch will then be spread over seeded areas to protect the seeds, retain moisture and encourage germination. This combination of grass seed and straw mulch has proven to be very successful in re-establishing ground cover, stabilizing the soil, slowing runoff, and reducing erosion.
- - Aerial seeding on 5,200 acres at a rate of approximately 38 lbs. per acre, or 25 seeds per square foot. The seed mix contains Cereal Barley (40%, or 10 seeds), Slender Wheatgrass (40%, or 10 seeds), and Little Blue Stem (20%, or 5 seeds).
- - Aerial seeding on 20 acres at Pajarito Nordic ski trails at a rate of 25 seeds per acre with 100% Cereal Barley grass seed.
- - Seed mix chosen for this project will germinate quickly with a small amount of moisture, and will serve to stabilize the soil, slow runoff, and return vegetation to the fire area.
- - Aerial application of straw mulch is planned for 1,120 acres, to be spread at a rate of one ton per acre. The straw mulch utilized by the contractor must be certified weed-free according to the standards established by the State of Colorado, which are the strictest weed-free standards. The designated area includes the Pajarito Nordic ski trails.
- Straw mulch application is generally focused on heavily burned slopes where the effects of runoff and erosion are likely to affect property, roads and other values at risk downstream and down slope.
- - Road work has been outlined on approximately 20 miles of National Forest System roads. This work will include culvert removal, in-sloping, out-sloping, and installation of low water crossings.
- - Channel treatments to lessen potential debris flows and slow runoff will include debris removal (mostly trees and limbs) and installation of 10 trash racks. Trash racks are log structures that are installed in channel bottoms to catch debris such as trees, limbs, rocks, and other "trash" from moving downstream, and allow the water to continue downstream at a slower velocity. One or more of these trash racks may also be constructed of metal.
- - Trail work will include reestablishing existing trails and installing water bars to handle runoff.
- - Warning signs and gates will be installed as needed to ensure public safety in the event of flash flooding and dangerous debris flows.
- - Although all Forest Service treatments will occur exclusively on Federal lands, these activities are intended and expected to positively influence adjacent lands under private, state, tribal, pueblo and government ownership.
- - Due to the loss of vegetation in the Las Conchas fire area, runoff will be significantly higher than normal downstream from the fire area during the monsoons. There are risks associated with potential flooding and damage from runoff of debris and sediment.
- - Wildlife biologists from the Santa Fe National Forest have been part of the assessment for the Las Conchas Fire area. As part of their input on the assessment for the treatments, only cereal barley seed will be utilized in the area of the Pajarito Nordic ski trails for protection of the Jemez Mountain Salamander. Plans for this burned area treatment also take into consideration the Mexican Spotted Owl habitat.