By Margaret Buranen
Erosion Control magazine, the
official journal of the International Erosion Control
Camp Pendleton Fire
After a fire burned 115 acres at Camp Pendleton in
California, the US Marine Corps called up Hydrosprout of Escondido,
CA, to restore the land. Hydrosprout, owned by Larry and Suzanne
Brendis, drafted S&S Seeds in Carpinteria, CA, to provide the
products required for the job.
"We used wood-fiber mulch,
paper-fiber mulch, binder, and seed that was site-collected from
Camp Pendleton," says Mark Webster, operations manager at
Hydrosprout. "All products were from S&S Seeds."
Founded in 1975, S&S Seeds is a
wholesale company that supplies wildflower, grass, shrub, and
California native plant seeds to companies working in reclamation,
erosion control, and landscaping. S&S carries seeds from more
than 900 species of plants.
Premeasured wildflower and other
seed mixtures are available. However, S&S is best known for
custom designing seed mixtures for specific projects.
The company's seed experts consider
climate, soil type, available moisture, and other factors. If
necessary, they secure permission to collect seeds onsite so that
the native plants will thrive there.
"We use S&S seeds often; they
are the largest native seed supplier in the Western states. They
carry or can collect a wide variety of native seeds," Webster
His Hydrosprout crew took three
weeks to complete the project at Camp Pendleton, using two Bowie
Imperial 300 hydroseeding machines. The rugged terrain meant that
the area was inaccessible to the machines, so the seed mixture was
spread from a helicopter.
"Mixing of the hydroseed materials
was also a critical part of the project. We had to make sure it was
the right consistency for the helicopter's bucket to pick it up out
of the mixing tank that our hydroseeding machines were feeding,"
He notes that "the weather
definitely could have played a role in this project. Fortunately
for us, we had awesome weather that didn't interfere with the
helicopter's ability to perform." The site's inaccessibility meant
that "we did a lot of hiking through the mountainous terrain to
make sure we were getting good coverage from the helicopter drops,"
"Taking on a project of this
magnitude can be a little stressful at times. What was amazing
about it was that once we got going each day, we got into a good
rhythm with the helicopter contractor and our crews that were
mixing the hydroseed," Webster says. "We completed the project
ahead of schedule with no complications. It was a very rewarding
project for Hydrosprout."
Of hydroseeding, Webster says, "All
of our business deals with erosion control. Vegetation resulting
from hydroseeding is the best line of defense for erosion
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