A confluence of two tributaries, the Cache la Poudre and the North Fork of the Cache la Poudre, near Seaman Reservoir, 60 miles north of Denver, Colorado on Friday, July 20, 2012, have been transformed from clear mountain waters to a nearly black water, heavily laden with ash, silt, and burnt debris that was recently washed down mountainsides by thunderstorms. The mountainsides were burned by the Hewlett Gulch Fire (May 14, 2012), in the Poudre Canyon area. At its peak more than 400 firefighters were battling fires pushed by 50 mph winds. When the last embers were cooled, more than 12-square miles lay blacked at a cost of approximately 3.2 million dollars. The aerial distribution of straw has successfully kept nearby Seaman Reservoir clean for the drinking water of the City of Greeley. Forest Service lands receive straw, while private and other lands receive a seed mix and straw to promote ground cover plant growth on ash-covered lands. In total, 1,800 tons of straw will be applied during the 14-day operation. One quarter of the cost was paid by the City of Greeley and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the remainder. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
May 3, 2014
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