Officials are seeking federal emergency funds to reseed the 3,000 acres charred in August's Wasatch Mountain fire.
"The fire destroyed important vegetative cover which leaves the watershed vulnerable to flooding in the event of heavy thunderstorms," said Francis T. Holt, state conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service. "Without treatment, mud and ash could be deposited on farmland, residential areas, city and county roads, irrigation canals, railroads and in Deer Creek Reservoir, which is used for culinary and irrigation water."The Emergency Watershed Protection program, which is administered by the Soil Conservation Service, provides financial and technical assistance for watershed restoration.
Soil conservation officials in Utah applied for a grant of $176,000 on behalf of the Utah Department of Natural Resources and Wasatch County. Under the non-exigency plan, 20 percent of the implementation cost will be paid by the sponsors.
Watershed treatments include range seedings to provide vegetative cover, diversion structures to reduce the impact of heavy runoff and sedimentation fences to control sediment caused by erosion.
Holt said while there is no imminent threat to property or life, but timing is crucial as the best time to do range seeding is between mid-October and mid-November. "Waiting until next spring to seed could significantly reduce the chances for success and will leave the watershed in a vulnerable condition for a longer period of time."