Using Seeds to Help Control a Slide

Caltrans has been using a helicopter to drop seeds onto the area near Big French Creek which slid out and closed Hwy 299 for a good chunk of the winter last year and has continued to cause delays even now.

According to a tweet by Caltrans District 2, they seeded approximately 7 acres with about 14,000 lbs of hydroseed for erosion control.



  • A pleasant theory and I suppose it won’t hurt, assuming they are not sewing a noxious plant. But is it likely that many sprouts can take hold in winter without being washed away? Enough to make a difference anyway.

    • Caltrans uses a flax seed mixture which bonds to the hillside (think egg white consistency ) and have a strict requirement of the seed they use as 99.9% vetted, native seed. Of course, with 1 million seeds cast that means 1000 non-native seeds introduces… potentially.

  • Lundbar Hillbilly

    Hydroseed by helicopter? Wasteful caltrans, wasteful. This won’t stabilize the slide and all of that seed will wash away before it has a chance to sprout. Too little too late.

  • Awesome! Let’s see what invasive species Caltrans spreads this time.

  • I hope this isn’t coming too late. A month ago with time for the seeds to germinate and root, I think, would have been better. Freeze is coming and may very well kill most of the seedlings.

  • last Spring I stopped asked flagger why dont they Gunnite the whole site? He said the slide is in a protected area so Gunnite was not an option! Go figure.

  • What a concept do they want a novel prize or something? Should be using native seed that stuff has a 6 ft tap root

  • Use pot seeds

  • Its all down to rock? Weeds grow in rock cracks, but grass seeds won’t accomplish anything. What stupid botanist/biologist came up with this -rap idea? Years back Malibu had a horrendous mountainous fire storm go thru. Officials proposed does an aggressive growing grass. The enviros said no way. Winter time came and slide after slide occurred. Dummies with their lattees and Priuses.
    I’d say give it a try and see the results. Go for it yuppies.

    • Well this is completely incorrect. After the “firestorm” malibu required native plants only, rain collection and greywater laws were implemented because the invasive grasses created the firestorm and the hydrants ran out of water because everyone had tropical/ wet climate landscaping which caused a lack of pressure in the water lines so that none of the hydrants worked. They have spent great resources in fighting the federal government to have greywater laws for landscaping all before Prius was a sketch concept on the back of a napkin.

  • Dont worry so much, they are using tax funds for it so theres like an endless supply!

  • When SR299 was enlarged (prior to 1973) there were some long stretches of open cut hillsides (I remember on heading east out of Blue Lake there was a stretch that started on the other side of the weight station.
    The planting was done using native plants (seeds) and loving native plants I asked what company had provided the blends. Clyde Robin, I was told. they’re known for providing blends for domestic use, but their site quotes:
    “We have supplied state highway departments throughout the United States, local and state governmental agencies, fish and game agencies, state and federal forest services, and many others. From Mt. St. Helens, to the Oakland Firestorm of 1991, from the Alaska Pipeline to the Olympics in Atlanta, Clyde Robin seeds continue to meet our customers’ needs.”
    They’re not the only company that provides this kind of service, but along with terracing (by state contractors), areas even with poor soil can be seeded productively. The geologists who have been working on the French Creek slide site will advise on the soil makeup and condition.
    It’s not a waste of money if the slope is stabilized some. Current climate forecasts speak of a La Nina winter and temperatures in California closer to average, rather than very cold.

    I remember the one hillside: It would start with lupines, deep blue, almost purple, followed by California poppies (and some Mariposa lilies), then the red clover would bloom and the hillside would be a deep red. The plants were perennials but they also self-seeded, and winds carried the seeds some distance as well. Also, lupines and clover have nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots so they produce some of their own nitrogen for fertilizer. (Hence their choice for a mix…)
    299 heading east from Redwood Creek (where the old 299 had slipped so much it looked like it had been hit by an earthquake) was very unstable and not practical to put in sprinklers and the grasses dried up in the summer. I remember teasels grew in abundance around there, and they helped anchor the soil (and were great for collecting for dried flower arrangements).

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