Massive reseeding war begins on charred fire front in Sanpete County
A 180-foot long Ely chain with 60-pound links features steel bars that dig into the ground. On each end it it has 30 more feet of chain — all once used on U.S. battleships.
In its new life, the chain will be dragged behind heavy equipment in the shape of a J, ripping out dead trees in its path.
Bagley said the 24,000 pound chains are highly efficient at upending pesky Juniper bushes that interfere with a thriving ecosystem and can clear a hillside methodically.
For people like Bagley and the others who are so close to this land, the fires — while devastating — provide a blank canvas for them to create new and thriving landscapes, ones replete with native grasses and brush that are good feed for animals, unlike the unwelcome cheat grass that burns from a whisper of a match.
The land will be coddled for two years so the plants can grow. Cattle will be kept away, and when the plants take root, the threat of floods and mud flows will begin to diminish.
Wildlife like deer and elk will once again thrive and have plenty of food to eat.
While this onslaught of reseeding plays out in the far reaches of the state — from Box Elder County in the north, to Price and Huntington Canyon and in the west desert of Tooele County where fires have raged — there is a nagging fear mixed with anxious hope dogging everyone involved:
Water. How much comes, when it comes.
"May and June are critical," Farmer said, stressing the need for life-giving moisture.
On Thursday, with the latest Utah climate and water report released from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the need for a generous helping of snow this winter was no more apparent.
Reservoir storage levels across the state are generally low. The Weber, Bear and Provo River basins are all exceptionally dry.
So far, the water of 2013 is not off to a "great start," according to the report.
"However, conditions looked very good at the beginning of water year 2012 and it turned out poorly — this year could be better. It could also be worse. We will have to play the hand dealt whatever it may be," the report states.
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