Just a few years after the West Fork Complex fire, marked forest recovery can be seen in some areas. Six 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 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.
Volunteers interested in helping with test plot monitoring can sign up by contacting us.