Resource Conservation District
The 2018 Fire Recovery BMPs Program expended grant funds to purchase the following erosion control supplies for landowners in need:
Wildfire can cause severe soil erosion because it burns the vegetative layer within a given landscape. This layer consists of shrubs, forbs, grasses, trees, and litter, which reduce the intensity of severe storms on the ground below. Plant roots stabilize the soil, while stems and leaves help slow the rate of water, giving it more time to percolate into the soil. This type of soil protection is compromised after a fire.
Following a rain event, erosion potential on fire-impacted land is even greater. The loss of a vegetative layer, coupled with rainy weather can sometimes lead to flooding and debris/mudflows. Erosion can occur immediately after a fire, and can also continue over several years. There are a few methods of erosion control to consider; however, each property has its own set of characteristics and may require particular erosion controls over others.
In response to the recent wildfires throughout Ventura County and Western LA County Watersheds the VCRCD has received "emergency" grant funding from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to mitigate post-fire environmental degradation. The work involves mitigation of erosion on private and public lands through various Best Management Practices (BMPs). The project funding is available for parcels that have been burned in 2018, 2019, and 2020 wildfires.
The project is a continuation of the 2018 Fire Recovery Program (also funded by SWRCB and managed by VCRCD) which purchased erosion control materials such as straw, native seed, wattles, silt fencing, check dams, culvert replacement, and other stormwater BMPs for installation in fire degraded areas. The VCRCD prioritized projects and/or material needs based on potential water quality benefit, availability of appropriate qualified staff and equipment to perform the work, willingness of landowner to proceed with BMPs, and various other conditions. Approximately 2,560 acres (8 projects) in Ventura County were addressed through the program. This year we hope to increase the outreach effort to include a wider swath of restoration, ensuring that regional watershed health remains in-tact and flowing.