Team Rubicon will bring a sawyer/swamper crew to Moab. The work will include clearing remaining olive, elm and tree of heaven as well as beginning to take down some of the dead standing cottonwood trees, according to a press release from the Grand County Office of Emergency Management.
Rim to Rim Restoration is working on a overall site cleanup plan with the six property owners and a number of local government organizations.
“This work is the first step in developing a riparian vegetation regeneration plan,” the press release states. “Rim to Rim will be working on this plan in July and August.”
A certified arborist also inspected the creek bottom to assess for hazard trees on June 28. It was found that most trees in the upper end of the site were dead and needed to be removed. Most trees in the middle section of the site were alive and do not need to be removed immediately. The lower section of the site was not assessed, due to the low intensity of the burn in that area.
Vegetation evaluations and fire fuel load assessments have been made in creek bottom areas throughout the community, the press release said. While fuel mitigation in some areas will be quick, others will require longer-term efforts. The school district and the City of Moab are working with the UCC to reduce fuels around the bus shed near Pack Creek and 400 East.
“Other small clearing projects that can have a large impact are planned for later summer and fall on city properties,” the press release said. “Some of the densest and widest olive and elm sections of creek bottom that are also very close to homes lie between the Mill Creek Drive Bridge and Spanish Trail Road. There are over 80 private property owners in that area who own creek bottomland. Improving fire safety, flood flow management and habitat in this several-mile stretch of creek will take some time and cooperation between landowners. Rim to Rim is working with [the Moab Valley Fire District] and others to determine strategic locations for fuel breaks by overlaying hydrant locations with vegetation mapping and property boundaries. Once these are located, a strategy to work with landowners to improve the safety of this area will be drafted. Rim to Rim Restoration, [Fire, Forestry and State Lands], MVFD and Grand County will use this work to augment the Community Wildfire Protection Plan already underway. Property owners in this area should expect to be contacted in late summer to participate in this effort.”