After the Black Hollow Flood through Poudre Canyon and the flash flood warnings going into the weekend of July 31, the concern for more floods is completely warranted. As much as preparation is important, it can be difficult when the conditions jump on you in a second.

That's why the City of Fort Collins has looked into a new strategy in order to combat the severity of effect on communities in the event of another flood. The utilities department with Fort Collins has launched an aerial mulching program.

What is aerial mulching exactly? Well, it's a method that utilizes helicopters to lay straw or mulch and aims to stabilize hillslopes. This also helps reduce long-term erosion that can be caused by forest fires. The goal of this new response effort is to protect downstream communities, as well as protect the river's ecosystem function and health.

Top priority areas that have been identified are more than 10,000 acres in the burn area from the Cameron Peak Fire and about 1,500 acres in the Big Thompson watershed.

The response team has mulched about 445 acres of high priority areas near Barnes reservoir and Peterson Lake Reservoir. Moving forward, the focus will shift to Sheep Creek drainage, between Crown Point and Norman Fry roads.

According to the update from the department, efforts began on July 19, 2021 in the Cameron Peak Burn Area. This is a joint effort operation between the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, City of Fort Collins, City of Greeley and the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition. The City of Fort Collins noted funding for it has come from federal, state, municipal and local foundation and donor sources.

The planned operations are set to continue through the rest of the summer and into fall of 2021. Depending on conditions and progress, efforts may continue into the summer of 2022.

2020 Cameron Peak Fire