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Reducing post-fire runoff and sediment yields

Posted date: January 23, 2015
Publication Year: 
Authors: Robichaud, Pete R.;
Document type: Briefing Papers


Agricultural straw, hydromulch (a matrix of organic fibers mixed with water that binds to soil), and wood shred or wood strand mulches increasingly are being used as postfire hillslope treatments. However, the differences in effectiveness in reducing measured runoff, sediment yields, and peak flow rates among these mulch treatments are not fully understood.

Key Points:

  • Major advances in our understanding of post-fire erosion control treatment effectiveness are helping managers make better decisions.
  • The Hayman hydromulch treatment did not significantly affect runoff and sediment yields. The wheat straw mulch treatment significantly reduced peak flow rates and sediment yields at the Hayman fire.
  • The applied hydromulch had limited residence times on the ground whereas the total ground cover stayed high in the straw mulch catchment – in general, the effects of these mulches on sediment yields corresponds with their longevity.

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