The Reveg Edge, P.O. Box 361, Redwood City, CA 94064 – Office 650-325-7333
Copyright (c) 2020 Craig Dremann, Owner. Since 1992, Restored 800 acres of California grasslands to date.
FIREFIX website—Unearthing the Dormant Native Seeds, to help stop California Wildfires.
The original California's native grasslands and wildflower meadows, produced very little fire fuel-- only equal to one sheet of paper. Those fire-safe native grasslands and wildflower fields, have been 99.99% replaced by the cattle and sheep grazing in the 1800s, with exotic grasses from Europe, that now produce tons of fire fuel per acre.
The introduced exotic grasses, for every foot we allow them to grow before we mow them, produce one ton of fire fuel per acre, so four foot tall wild oats, produce four tons per acre of fire fuel to burn your home to its foundation.
In one 48,000 acre fire in July, 2018 north of Reno next to Pyramid Lake in the sagebrush habitat, the Perry Fire was carried by two inch tall weedy cheatgrass—that is all it took to burn every sagebrush plant to ashes across that entire 75 square miles of mountain.
Fortunately, in 1992 we discovered that the soil on every square foot of that property still contained over 100 dormant native seeds underneath the weed cover, when Craig and Michael Shaw were working on restoring Michael's 70-acre property south of Santa Cruz at 300 Byers Lane in La Selva Beach. In 1992, the property was 99% weed-covered and by proper management of the weeds by frequent mowing, by 2000 the entire 70 acres was 95% native-covered.
No fire, no grazing, no tarping, and no scraping was used, and no native seeds were sown--just proper and frequent mowing that was able to unearth the dormant native seeds, that still existed underneath the weed cover.
The list of the weeds that were managed and the natives that popped up to replace them, is at http://www.ecoseeds.com and the Ecological Restoration journal June 2002 cover article describing our methods, can be found at http://www.ecoseeds.com/shaw.pdf
We estimated at Shaw's the native seeds in the soil had been dormant for at least 100 years, and maybe as long as 250 years-- So we got to work, because the concern that we might be working at the seed viability-limits of some of those natives, and would not rescue them in time, if we did not work quickly.
Concerning fire issues in California, the Ecological Changes nobody talks about today – are those we made in the 1800s? If you view wildland fire videos in California when the fires start, like the CalFire YouTube videos for the Santa Rosa oak woodlands firestorm--you do not see the oak trees on fire, and you do not see shrubs on fire, you see the weed grasses and the eucalyptus trees on fire, spreading those fires to burn homes to their foundations.
That is what happened in the Bennett Ridge subdivision east of Santa Rosa, where my cousin lives. Everyone had cleared defensible space around their homes, with trees and shrubs properly trimmed, and the weed grasses were cut at the end of spring when they started turning brown.
And, everyone thought they were fire-safe for the rest of the year. WRONG!
There were still tons of fire fuel per acre of that cut weed grass straw, ready to burn, and when a spark hit it, spread those fires in that subdivision and burned 70 homes to the ground, into piles of smoldering ashes!
LINKS FOR MORE
1.) Craig's mowing plan, to replace the flammable weeds with the unearthed dormant fire-safe native seeds.
2.) Example from Kite Hill in Woodside--weeds can be converted in a few years, and native seeds that can be unearthed.
3.) What seedlings you want to see each spring, and what you never want to see ever again.
4.) Santa Rosa Bennett Ridge fire results, the cut weed grass straw, wiping out a 70-home subdivision.
6.) Before and after what our California grasslands looked like, and what no fire-person wants to see next to their rig.
7.) Edgewood Preservc, a serpentine grasslands in Redwood City, CA. and what needs to be done, cut the thatch off the seedlings.
8.) How to END or PRESERVE a civilization in one easy step, based on Salalah Oman and the Indus Valley Civilization.
Update January 24, 2020