The implementation of ESR projects requires a variety of different techniques. From ground drill seeding, aerial seeding, Heli-mulching, and fence repair all are used to ensure the implementation of effective ESR projects.
This page is designed to give a brief overview of the various techniques used in ESR project implementation.
Rangeland Drill Seeding
Drill seeding is a typical ESR project ideally implemented from September to December following the wildland fire. Drill seeding is an effective method of establishing seeded species that compete against annual invasive plant species, such as cheatgrass. Although, drill seeding is limited to slopes less than 30% and extremely rocky terrain, there are other methods that can be used for steep slopes and high elevations.
Aerial seeding another method of seeding rangeland that is otherwise inaccessible to drills due to steep, rocky terrain. Seeding can be implemented using a fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter that is calibrated to release seed at specific rate. Each wildland fire is unique, therefore specific plant species are selected for seeding depending on a number of variables. Some of these variables include: the potential for wind and water erosion, soil type, the potential for the area to naturally recover, wildlife habitat values, fire history, the seeding method, burn severity, and precipitation zones, just to name a few. Aerial seeding is most successful when it is completed from September to February following the wildland fire and preferably with some snow on the ground.
Where soil erosion potential is high after a wildland fire, there are soil stabilization techniques that can protect water quality, property values, and human life and safety. Examples of these projects include spreading straw mulch on unstable slopes (as seen here in Water Canyon)
, straw bale check damns, or straw wattles
Heli-mulching is an effective soil stabilization technique that can cover a large portion of burned area and can immediately create ground cover before plants begin to establish in the spring. With this technique, a helicopter drops many small bales of weed-free straw from a large net attached to the aircraft. Global Position System technology is used to precisely position the location of straw bale drops. This technique was used on the 2007 Thomas Fire on very steep, upper watersheds where soil erosion and sediment movement had the potential to damange downstream properties. In this case, straw mulching immediately protected the soil surface, improved water infiltration, and created ground cover before winter and spring precipitation.
ESR projects also include repairing/installing minor facilities and range improvements. The most typical projects are repairing or replacing burned wooden fences and constructing temporary fences to protect recovering vegetation from livestock grazing. Other examples of minor facility projects could include replacing burned picnic tables or kiosks in a campground or installing safety signs to warn the public of dangers in a burned area.
For more information about emergency stabilaztion and rehabilitation of rangelands follow the links listed below.