Recent Colorado Parks and Wildlife research has demonstrated that seeding over a rough surface of large mounds and holes rather than a flat surface can speed the restoration of wildlife habitat following disturbance from oil and gas development. See the Strategy Choice Study
section off the Wildlife Habitat Research
However, the process of creating a rough surface is slow and expensive, requiring a backhoe to scoop out each hole individually.
In an effort to reduce costs and save time, CPW personnel recently collaborated with WPX Energy Rocky Mountain, LLC, and developed a new implement that makes the process simpler, and much more efficient.
This new implement, called the pothole seeder, uses rotating, notched disks to dig holes, and mound the excavated soil in the interspaces between each hole. With a broadcast seeder mounted to the top, the implement prepares the soil and seeds the ground in a single, efficient step. A trailer towed behind the implement drags chains on the ground to help cover and incorporate the seed into the soil.
The pothole seeder was successfully tested in a rangeland restoration project in November 2012 at Horsethief State Wildlife Area. The seeder performed well during testing, producing holes about 25 cm deep, in a checkerboard pattern. The holes will catch moisture, helping establish desirable perennial plants at this arid site.
Danielle Johnston, CPW Habitat Researcher, Rob Raley, WPX Energy Environmental Specialist, and Pat Brown Sr., Roustabout Specialties welder, all worked together to design the seeder. WPX Energy provided funding, and Ivan Archer, CPW Property Technician, tested the seeder.
Anyone interested in learning more about the seeder may contact Danielle Johnston