Ritter seeks $55M for projects in state’s forests

Gov. Bill Ritter is pressing the federal government for $55 million for forest-management projects in Colorado.

Ritter asked for the funding when he met in Washington, D.C., with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during that National Governors Association winter meeting last weekend.

The U.S. Forest Service this year set aside $40 million to deal with the bark-beetle infestation in the Rocky Mountains. Of that amount, $30 million is to be spent in Colorado, including $2 million to be spent on the spruce beetle attacking forests in western and southern Colorado.

That money is to be used for emergency projects needed to protect towns, roads, watersheds and other areas.

The Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the Forest Service estimates additional projects worth $55 million will be needed in fiscal year 2011.

Ritter, according to a statement, urged Vilsack to continue funding for programs, such as the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. That program can aid collaborative efforts on the Uncompahgre Plateau and along the Front Range.


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