CREEDE, COLO., (August 6, 2015) — Just past the two-year anniversary of the West Fork Complex fire, marked forest recovery can be seen in some areas.   Ten test plots were installed by community volunteers following the 2013 wildfires to gauge differences in forest recovery based on the types of land treatment. There are two sets of plots with different slope and aspect that examine differences in seeding and mulching applications, including hydro-axing, wood straw mulch, hydro-mulch, mulch pellets, and a control “no treatment” plot. Monitoring and research efforts continue every other month during the summers, led by the RWEACT Natural Resources Committee and the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project.
 
Over the past 2 years, all of the test plots have seen a significant increase in both plant cover and diversity. This increase has been most dramatic in the plots that received seeding and mulch treatments. Mulch cover on all treated test plots has decreased with the most significant decrease occurring in the hydro-mulch test plots.
 
This project is a partnership with RWEACT, the Rio Grande National Forest, Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, and many more partners.  RWEACT (Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team) -- together with the Rio Grande National Forest and funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Management – works to promote partnerships and actions that provide for public safety and resiliency of communities and watersheds of the Rio Grande Basin in Colorado. Volunteers interested in helping with test plot monitoring can sign up by contacting Emma Regier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.