Hewlett Gulch FIRE WATERSHED &
SEaman Reservoir Protection

City of Greeley's Milton Seaman Reservoir

City of Greeley's Milton Seaman Reservoir


Project Summary

The Hewlett Gulch Fire burned just west of Fort Collins, Colorado in the spring of 2012. It burned 7,685 acres, mostly in ponderosa pine on north-facing slopes, but also in some shrub communities and grasslands. Most of area of high burn severity was within the immediate drainage area of Milton Seaman Reservoir, which is owned and operated by the City of Greeley. The City of Greeley hired JW Associates to review the BAER, complete an analysis of the situation, and provide recommendations on protection measures that would protect water supplies. 

JW Associates completed a small watershed hazard analysis and developed targeted recommendations. Projects that were implemented included; 

  • aerially applied wood mulch in targeted areas
  • seeding of native plants in selected locations
  • directional felling of burned trees into targeted gulleys to reduce erosion

One of the watersheds that drains directly into Seaman Reservoir experienced high burn severity on steep slopes just above the stream. That stream filled with sediment above Milton Seaman Reservoir and created an unstable sediment fan that extended into the reservoir. The next phase of this project was to stabilize the sediment fan. The project involved the following;

  • Creating an armored channel through the sediment fan to minimize erosion from runoff events
  • Planting native plants, willows, and seeding to protect the flatter portions of the fan from erosion
  • Application of geotextiles and willows to stabilize the face of the sediment fan