Colorado Forest Restoration Institute - USAID Roundtable - March 11

Amanda Bucknam of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute gave a preview of their 2010 conference entitled, “Beyond the Bugs: The Future Range of Variability of Communities and Forest Landscapes.” Co-sponsored by the Colorado State Forest Service, USDA Forest Service, Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and the Society of American Foresters, the event is scheduled for April 19-21st at the Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The purpose of the forum is to provide a focused learning and discussion about possible future ranges of variability of post beetle forest development, desired conditions for the next forest and forest-reliant communities, and strategies to achieve these desired conditions.

Amanda also spoke about the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilities for use as heat, power, biobased products or biofuels. Initial assistance will be for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) costs associated with the delivery of eligible materials.

The Colorado Farm Service Agency contact is Billy Merritt at 720-544-2887

Lyle Laverty spoke about a program he is working on with the Salvation Army and the US Agency for International Development that will utilize beetle kill wood from Colorado to construct transitional housing in Haiti. The wood framed structures include a corrugated metal roof and plastic sheet siding to enclose an 18 square meter space. A universal housing design standard for all NGOs operating in Haiti would assure lower costs and ease of construction. Lyle’s proposal specifies a 10,000 unit project costing between $15-17 million. A prototype is currently on display in Fairfax, VA.

As an item in a recent Salvation Army newsletter further explains, “the proposal would use salvaged timber killed by mountain pine beetles in Colorado. This would create jobs in Colorado while providing a green and environmentally conscious solution for the use of the wood. TSA would train crews and hire local workers in Haiti to construct the shelters which would not only provide jobs, but also provide technical skills for Haitians to use in future construction projects. These transitional housing units will provide a safer and more structurally sound environment than has been available to many Haitians.”

For the Summit County Citizens Voice and Bob Berwyn’s take on the story, click here: Colorado beetle-kill wood headed for Haiti

Lyle’s news prompted a discussion about the high cost of transporting lodgepole pine logs from Summit County to Intermountain Resources in Montrose, the only major sawmill operating in Colorado.  One suggestion was to assess the viability of a transportation cooperative among local tree service companies to make the haul to Montrose or to Saratoga, Wyoming should that mill be restarted.

Dan Schroder introduced himself as the new CSU extension agent for Summit County, a post that has been vacant since 2008. While the service will continue to offer the popular master gardener and cooking programs, emphasis will be on forest health education and support, including the seedling tree and forest restoration grant writing workshops coming up later this month.

Mike McHugh of Aurora Water introduced the roundtable to an ongoing continuing education initiative the utility has been conducting entitled “Forests to Faucets.”

Aurora Water began “Forests to Faucets” in 2006 and along with their partners at Project WET and Project Learning Tree, they have been providing Aurora teachers with an in-depth education about water and water-related issues by taking them literally from the forest to the faucet. During the three-day workshop, teachers explore water related topics such as where their water comes from, how water is treated and the importance of a healthy watershed. They visit forest fire burn areas in the upper South Platte watershed. Teachers learn about water quality testing at Aurora Reservoir and water conservation techniques at Aurora’s Xeriscape gardens. The workshop concludes with a tour of a water treatment plant.

Andrew Quinones, project manager at Proper-T-Solutions, a Colorado property management firm operating in the Denver and Summit County areas, was present as a new roundtable participant.