Fixed wing aircraft drop in the upper San Pedro Canyon area. It takes six of these planes to keep up with one of the heavy lift helicopters.
Ray Ford

Los Padres National Forest announced on Monday afternoon that the aerial hydromulching process was complete. The hydromulching – the spraying of a slurry on land that had been burned by the Gap Fire in order to stabilize it and prevent rain-caused erosion this winter – began on September 24 and utilized six small airplanes and one helicopter, which collectively made 3,238 flights and delivered 3.5-million gallons of the teal-colored substance. Los Padres National Forest spokesperson Kathleen Good said the estimated cost of the project was $4.8 million.

The slurry contained recycled paper, wood fiber, and water. Though it does not contain seeds or fertilizer, it is designed to help seeds and roots of native plants to get established. The public will be restricted from entering areas on which the hydromulch was sprayed for a year, as people treading upon that ground would reduce the slurry’s effectiveness.

“We hope people will understand the importance of protecting the mulch over the winter and that they will abide by the closure. Anyone who violates the closure is subject to a fine and damages,” said Santa Barbara District Ranger Cindy Chojnacky in a press statement. .


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