GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management plans to begin aerial reseeding operations this week of the Pine Ridge Fire burn area to take advantage of snow cover and the spring growing season.
The lightning-ignited Pine Ridge Fire burned 13,920 acres northeast of Grand Junction consuming public and private land. The intense heat of the fire destroyed vegetation creating conditions prime for high erosion, habitat loss and weed infestation. This is the second reseeding operation concerning the fire. The first reseeding took place in late summer consisting of a sterile annual designed to hold soil and slow erosion until a native species mix could be applied.
The scheduled reseeding operation will consist of three seed blends. A Broad Site Blend will be placed on areas of the burn with the deepest soils and the greatest potential for growth. A Steep Slope Blend will be dispersed on steep, rocky and shallow soil areas that have a lower potential for growth. Some areas of the burn area have very poor soil conditions that are prime habitat for noxious weed infestation. In those areas, a Harsh Soils Blend is planned. Mixtures of native perennial grass, forbs and shrubs comprise the Broad Site and Steep Slope blends. The Harsh Soil Blend contains some non-native perennials designed to slow infestation of noxious weeds.
Aircraft will disperse the seed placing a high priority to reseed while snow remains on the ground. “Past experience shows us that we experience the greatest seeding success when we disperse seed on snow” said Jim Dollerschell a rangeland management specialist with the BLM. According to Dollerschell the seeds collect heat and infiltrate through the snow to the soil surface. “Seeds reach the soil after freezing temperatures of the winter leave cracked and softened soil structures giving seeds adequate water and optimal soil contact.” Several inches of snow remain on the ground on the Pine Ridge burn area.
Reseeding flights are scheduled to originate at Walker Field Airport in Grand Junction approximately 13 miles southwest of the burn area.
For more information, contact Christopher Joyner BLM Public Affairs Specialist at 970 210-2126.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.