Erosion prevention in Waterfall fire burn area pays off

After 24 hours of driving rain and bone-numbing chill, sun broke through the gloom Wednesday afternoon to reveal a somewhat waterlogged Carson City in good post-storm condition.

For the last three months, city work crews and state prison crews have been placing wattles - hillside erosion barriers - along slopes throughout the Carson Range facing the city in Kings Canyon, Ash Canyon, Vicee Canyon and the Timberline and Lakeview areas. And all that work has paid off.

Carson City Public Works operations manager Tom Hoffert reported no mud slides occurred in the Waterfall fire burn area Tuesday or Wednesday because of the city's efforts to prevent flooding downhill from barren slopes on the west side of town.

Crews have also placed log erosion barriers in the same areas, where runoff could cause large debris such as tree limbs and rocks to wash down slopes.

"We haven't noticed any damage to the erosion barriers," he said. "They're holding up just fine."

As with any rainstorm, he said, the storm drainage system and Ash Canyon Creek intake facility at the Quill Water Treatment Plant had to be cleaned by city work crews.

Intake filters on three dams at the base of the Carson Range used to bank water for the city have also been filled with debris from Vicee Canyon Creek, Hoffert said, and city crews are working to clean them out.

State prison work crews have also finished digging 12-foot berms behind the Quill Water Treatment Plant in Kings Canyon to prevent debris from contaminating the plant's two full reservoirs.

Throughout the winter, city staff will continue to monitor storm damage and place additional wattles and logs where they are needed. The National Forest Service will also remove dead trees in burned areas and use them for lumber.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Wendell Hohmann said local weather conditions will be dry but partly cloudy for the next few days, with the snow level remaining at 5,000 feet and high temperatures in the upper 50s.

Scattered showers are expected to return this weekend, he said.

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at or 881-1217.


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