It was most effective in promoting vegetation regrowth, said Greg Kuyumjian, a hydrologist with the Santa Fe National Forest who formerly worked in the White River National Forest office in Glenwood Springs. Kuyumjian
was also sent to help fight the Coal Seam Fire that broke out June 8 and burned some 12,000 acres and destroyed 29 homes.
"We struggled with a quantity versus quality problem" during the Los Alamos hydromulching, Kuyumjian
said."Sometimes there would be less put down per drop so we could do more.Where that occurred, it was not that effective" in stopping heavy rains from forming 12- to 20-foot deep gullies on steep slopes burned in that fire. Kuyumjian
also said in areas where trees were more dense, leaves and needles prevented about half of the hydromulch from reaching the ground.
"But I don't think you'll find that would be an issue in areas like Red Mountain," he
said, where few trees survived.
What encouraged Kuyumjian about the Los Alamos hydromulching was increased ground cover in the years since the fire.
"With the mulching, we had about 55 percent cover before our summer rains hit, and about 80 percent by the end of the growing season in 2000," he
Even on very steep slopes, Kuyumjian
said ground cover reached 50 percent by this year.