Parks and Open Space Manager Charlie Fagan, right, Metro District board members and WinterBerry homeowners discuss the eroding hillside on Buffalo Trail.
Article and photos Lorraine Masonheimer
Morning sun crested over the WinterBerry hillside, warming the sparse, fledgling blades of native grasses. The few clumps of grass that grow here cling to the steep slope—a sea of gravel, sand and prairie dog holes. The grass, or lack of, is at the heart of the erosion problem for residents of the WinterBerry community. The Village Homes development is located at Monarch Boulevard and Buffalo Trail.
For residents who back to the hill, rocks and mud-caked backyards have become a real problem. The Castle Pines North (CPN) Metro District received complaints regarding the open space area last fall as record rainfall and heavy snow caused more damage.
On April 23, members of the Metro District Board took to the hillside along Buffalo Trail to discuss the erosion with nine homeowners. Metro District Parks and Open Space Manager, Charlie Fagan, outlined a solution.
The hillside is a multi-layer problem. To stabilize the ground, the rodent population has to be controlled. For more than a year, Colorado Pest Management Company has been removing the rodents from the hill. A method to quickly grow seed on a steep slope must be found. Soil and seed have to withstand heavy rains. The Metro District hired American Civil Constructors (ACC) to come up with a long-term and cost-effective plan.
The recommended solution will introduce new top soil, non-irrigative native grass seed, soil amendments and a blanket to control erosion. Challenged with a steep slope, ACC recommended Flexterra® FGM and Sustane®; two products many states use for vegetating rough terrain. Upon application, the seed immediately bonds to the soil. The blanket holds the dirt, speeds up seed growth, and absorbs five times its weight in water.
The homeowners acknowledge the Metro District inherited the problem after the developer’s attempts to reseed the area failed. “Twenty-five homes are affected by the erosion. The WinterBerry project is our top priority,” Fagan said. “Our immediate goal is to provide a better environment for roots to grow before we can stabilize the soil.”
The Metro District Board will evaluate all options, and a decision is expected sometime in June.
For additional information about the hillside, contact the Metro District at 303-688-8550 or email Contact by email. To learn more about Flexterra FGM and Sustane, go to www.flexterra.com and www.sustane.com.