Post-Fire Watershed Rehabilitation
Some wildfires cause little actual damage to the land and pose few
threats, but can cause significant damage that requires special efforts to prevent more problems. Burns expose soil to erosion; runoff increases and causes flooding; sediments move downstream
and damages houses fill reservoirs, and impacts endangered species and community water supplies. Once a fire is controlled, the emergency is not
over, but becomes a task of stabilization to prevent further damage to life, property or natural resources. Stabilization work often begins before the fire is out and may continue for, a year.
The Federal Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to address these emergency situations through its key goals of protecting life, property, and critical natural and cultural resources. The objective is to determine the need, prescribe and implement emergency treatments to reduce threats to life or property resulting from the effects of a fire, and to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources.
BAER teams are staffed by trained professionals, including
hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, botanists, archeologists, and others who quickly evaluate the burned area and prescribe emergency stabilization measures.
In most cases, only a small part of the burned area is actually treated. The most severely burned areas, places where runoff will be excessive, fragile slopes above developments, municipal water supplies and other valuable facilities are the focus. The treatments must be installed as soon as possible, generally before the next damaging storm. Time is critical, if treatments are to be effective.
There are a variety of emergency stabilization techniques that can be used. Reseeding of ground cover with quick-growing or native species, mulching with straw or chipped wood, construction of small straw, rock or log check dams, and placement of logs to keep sediment on hillsides are the primary techniques used. The team also assesses the need to modify road and trail drainage or install debris catchments.
Fill the need for specific skills, such as Soils, Hydrology, Civil Engineering, GIS, survey and mapping that may be missing to complete staffing the full range of talents needed on the interdisciplinary team doing the assessment and report.
Includes all inventory, analysis and development of alternative solutions ready for decision-making by the responsible official. This document generally meets NEPA requirements and serves as the project funding request.
Application of Treatments
Bid on and serve as the general contractor for all or part of the rehabilitation work, which normally consists of erosion control seeding, barrier construction, culvert replacement and gabions. This work can also include archeological and TES studies to document the resource at risk when protection is not practical.
Measuring the results of treatment measures to assess the adequacy of completion of the rehab project or determine the possible need for further treatments over a 3-year recovery period.
Providing materials and onsite training in the Post-fire Watershed Rehab process and techniques for land management agencies, such as Forest Service, National Park Service, Tribes and other large landowners.
Non-fire Watershed Assessments
General needs and condition assessment for distressed lands and watershed of concern, such as advising on the suitability of lands for acquisition and donations, approaches to long-term soil loss, identification of potential downstream effects and concerns.
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We actively support the following local organizations
- Boys and Girls Club of Ventura
- Rotary International
- Ventura County Science Fair
- Ventura Youth Employment Service
- El Rio Royals Jr. Soccer Team
- California Regional Migrant Student Education
We are proud to be members of the following professional organizations:
- American Waterworks Association (AWWA)
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- American Public Works Association (APWA)
- Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County (AWA)
- Channel Counties Water Utilities Association