Feds funnel $12.3 million to Colo. forest-fire reduction

Feds funnel $12.3 million to Colo. forest-fire reduction

8 May 2009

published by www.denverpost.com

USA — Five hazardous-fuels reduction projects in Colorado forests and grasslands will receive $12.3 million in economic-stimulus money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The department, which oversees the U.S. Forest Service, on Tuesday announced it will spend $224 million on 110 fuels-reduction and ecosystem-improvement projects in 26 states and territories.

Hazardous-fuels reduction includes the removal of trees killed by pine beetles.

“These funds will allow us to move forward with several worthwhile and long-neglected hazardous-fuels projects that will put Coloradans to work and restore Colorado’s forest health,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in a joint news release with U.S. Sen. Mark Udall this morning.

The Colorado projects are:

  •  $4.5 million for the implementation of a community wildfire-protection plan in El Paso County.
  •  $6.3 million for forest restoration and fuels mitigation in Gilpin County.
  •  $500,000 for veterans jobs creation in Dolores County, where returning armed-forces vets will be employed reducing wildland-fire potential in several locations in the San Juan National Forest.
  •  $200,000 for a boundary-identification project in Teller County, in the Pike National Forest, designed to help increase the speed with which it reduces wildland fire risk in the wildland urban-interface zone.
  •  $820,000 for forest restoration and wildland-fire management in the Girl Scout/Long John/Ridgewood Stewardship areas in Teller County. The forest-thinning project will reduce fire risk in two critical watersheds that provide water for Denver, Colorado Springs and the Denver metropolitan areas.

    The Forest Service will ultimately release $1.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds that are expected to create 1,500 jobs for urban youth and individuals involved in urban forestry, restoration projects, fire prevention, roads, bridges, buildings and recreation facilities.

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