Forest Service to spend $30 million to fight bark beetles in West

The U.S. Forest Service will spend $30 million to attack the bark beetle infestation that has denuded millions of acres of national forest lands in Colorado.

Colorado senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Democrats, announced today that the agency had allocated the bulk of $40 million in funding to attack the beetle in Colorado.

The $30 million designated for Colorado includes $2 million for the spruce beetle, which is infesting lands in western and southern Colorado.

The Forest Service will form an incident-command team to decide how best to deal with the beetle, Udall said, calling the infestation “one of the West’s biggest natural disasters in history.”

The largest amount will be of the money will be used to deal with the infestation of bark beetle affecting the lodgepole forests of central and northern Colorado, including the White River National Forest.

Udall said he hoped the money would be used to protect forest-surrounded communities from wildfire and damage from falling trees, as well as watershed protections.

The spending will provide jobs to cut down affected trees and haul them off, Udall said.

The funds will be focused in Medicine Bow-Routt, Arapaho-Roosevelt, and White River national forests — which together contain almost 3 million acres of dead lodgepole pines.

The remaining $10 million will be spent in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Wyoming, with the bulk of that money going to the latter two states, Bennet said.


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