The Natural Resources committee of RWEACT is working with the USFS Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Implementation Team to employ actions identifed by the severity of burned areas, Values at Risk, and high-priority restoration projects. RWEACT Project Lead:  Heather Dutton

Map representing the burn severity of the West Fork Complex Fire one year after the fire:

Current Projects:

Water Quality Monitoring

The West Fork Complex fire burned over 82,000 acres of the Rio Grande National Forest.  Much of this area was burned moderate to severe.  Early assessments show there will be increased sediment and debris flow in tributaries and the main stem of the Upper Rio Grande.  The Natural Resources Committee determined it is a priority to monitor changes in water quality in and below the burned area.  The water quality monitoring objective is to document changes in water quality in the burn area and adjacent properties during typical flows and runoff events. 
RWEACT will install 6 water quality monitoring probes that will collect temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), and conductivity.  Data will be recorded every 15 minutes and transmitted with the CDWR gauge data. 

Debris Flow Potential Mapping with the US Geologic Survey

The West Fork Complex fire denuded hill slopes of vegetation and changed soil propertys that affect watershed hydrology and sediment-transport processes, thus increasing the probablility and magnitude of flood and debris flows.  In a partnership with the US Geologic Survey Colorado Water Science Center, RWEACT will perform an emergency assessment for the potential of debris flows following different rainfall scenarios.  The study objective is to estimate the location, probability, and volume of post-wildfire debris flow in the West Fork Complex fire burn area and adjacent properties.  This will provide emergency responders, resource managers, and planners with critical information on the likely locations, estimated probability, and estimated volumn of debris flows.
      Click Here to View the Final Report

Boreal Toad Pond Project



Reintroduction of Boreal Toads in Fern Creek area

Related Documents:


Addressing the Impacts of Wildfire on Water Resources

Fact Sheet No. 6.706 - Colorado State University's "Natural Resources Series | Water"

Contour Tree Felling

Contour Tree Felling is a way to reduce the erosive impact of raindrops and the amount of rain water that runs down a slope by cutting Trees such that they fall perpendicular to the main direction of the slope.

Erosion Control Netting

Temporary erosion control around the home following a fire

Straw Mulching

The application of straw as a protective cover over seeded areas to reduce erosion and aid in revegetation or over bare soils that will be landscaped later to reduce erosion.

Contour Straw Wattles

Contour Straw Wattles are installed in a shallow trench forming a continuous barrier along the contour to intercept water running down a slope.

Soil Quality Resource Concerns: Hydrophobicity

Soils that repel water are considered hydrophobic