September 2014 Newsletter

September, 2014 Newsletter

Forest Health Task Force   |   Greenlands Reserve   |  Donate Now
Forest Health Task Force Happenings

    Our Volunteer Forest Monitoring Program expands. We have more volunteers, more plots, and more forest stands to monitor throughout Summit County. We plan to keep working until the snow comes. It's hard work but rewarding. Sometimes it seems like there are too many young seedlings to count. One regeneration plot recently counted had over 300 seedlings.
    In certain beetle-kill locations where trees have not been cut there is excellent regeneration with diverse species. In other sites, what looks to be a healthy mature forest from a distance, may not be so healthy. And there are plenty of dead trees, standing and on the ground. In logged locations near Breckenridge, Wildnernest, and Mesa Cortina there is strong regeneration in some locations and not so much in others. We are beginning to learn that forest conditions are varied and continually changing.

    Over the years, (hopefully over the decades) our citizen-scientist forest monitors will be counting, measuring, and photographing; watching our forests evolving and sharing what they learn with forest managers and researchers.
Forest in Transition In one of our monitoring plots in the designated wilderness west of Silverthorne we see standing trees, some dead and some alive. In this area that was heavily hit by the beetle, regeneration is primarily lodgepole and aspen, with some spruce and fir. 

Your feedback can make a difference 

The US Forest Service is seeking stakeholder input on poss7.23.14MtgPhoto1 2ible future forest treatment projects in the Keystone area. The Forest Health Task Force has already formally responded, as have some of our members individually. We encourage those FHTF members and other stakeholders who have not yet commented to do so. Maps showing potential project locations are available. Call the Dillon Ranger District at (970) 468-5400, or stop by the Silverthorne office at 680 Blue River Parkway. We know that our members and volunteers have many various opinions regarding the location, scope, and rate of future forest treatments. It's important that diverse points of view and ideas get to the US Forest Service so that forest managers can consider public opinion as they strive to make financially and ecologically sound forest management decisions.

Collaboration Under Fire

According to the High Country News' recent article, "Lost in the Woods" the widely praised Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) is facing some tough challenges. 4FRI is a collaborative approach toward restoring large areas of northern Arizona forest to a more historic and sustainable condition. The article makes a case that the project has been poorly managed and suggests favoritism may be part of the problem. As with many issues, there are generally two sides to the story. We encourage our readers to respond to the HCN article. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page

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FHTF Newsletters






Foresters Now Monitoring Tree Populations from Space (Scientific American, Aug 6, 2014)
Forests are notoriously difficult to manage. Trees grow slowly, under the influence of variables ranging from global climate to local soil. Yet invasive species, native pests or catastrophic wildfires can spread lasting destruction within days. With 305.5 million hectares of forest in the U.S. alone...READ MORE

How satellites sound fire alarm in tropical forests (, Sep 4, 2014)
At the new national park in Madagascar’s remote Baly Bay, villagers convene for an unusual festival.At this annual event hosted by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the villagers wait for the announcement of a.... READ MORE

Mobile technologies accelerate citizen science (, Sep 1, 2014)
"There's a nationwide trend towards scientific reporting by skilled amateur observers, especially among young Australians," says Professor Hugh Possingham, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). "For the first time



Summit County Community Chipping Program Success!

Here's our news after the first 8 weeks of the 16 week program: 1,172 participating landowners have put out 3,112 piles.  West Range Reclamation has taken 24 semi-size chip trucks (Possum Belly Box Trucks) of Summit County chips to the Gypsum power plant, or 485 “bone dry tons” of chips, which correlates to 485 megawatts of power created.  Finally, we have driven 2,748 miles trolling before and after the crew. Find out more here.

50 Years Later: Honoring the Wilderness Act Through Citizen Science

Before I became a conservation scientist, I was a nature-loving kid who grew up in a family of amateur naturalists. We were always tromping around in natural areas, observing plants and birds or collecting seashells.


Forest News



The US Forest Service’s mission goes up in flames (HCN, Aug 30, 2014)

We’ve written quite a bit lately about “fire borrowing” — what happens when the Forest Service runs out of the funds it’s budgeted for firefighting, which are based on average wildfire costs over the last 10 years. Then it’s forced to start dipping into money meant for other programs, including those intended to reduce the risk and intensity of wildfires. Agency chief Tom Tidwell recently told the Coloradoan, “The reality of... (Go to article)

Role of volunteer firefighters in Colo.'s biggest fires (9 News, Sept 2, 2014)
I-NEWS - Volunteer firefighters have played key roles in fighting some of the most destructive fires in Colorado's recent history. Here is a rundown of the state's largest forest fires since 2010 and the role....  READ HERE

Climate change report projects future of Colorado's water supply, related industries (The Denver Channel, Aug 5, 2014)
Colorado's warming climate is projected to cause significant changes for state's water supply, according to a new study.Released by the Western Water Assessment and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the study echoes many of the predictions included in a national assessment issued by the federal government in May. Both forecast that ongoing warming of the local climate will reduce Colorado snowpack, cause earlier snowmelt andlobe. READ MORE


Colorado River Fight Latino

Feds To West: Colorado River Is Bone-Dry, Prepare To Compromise Over Water Rights (Fox News, Aug 29, 2014)

A top federal water administrator said Friday that several myths stand in the way of broad agreements needed to deal with increasing demand for water in the drought-stricken and over-allocated Colorado River basin. Assistant Secretary of the Interior Anne Castle told the "Business of Water" conference in Las Vegas that there's no one-step way to ....Read the whole article now!



ANNUAL FOREST SUMMIT: Fort Collins, Sept. 29-30

CBBC: October 17, 10am at CMC, Breckenridge

Colorado Watershed Conference, October 7-9, Avon, CO

FHTF Volunteer Opportunities


The Forest Health Task Force works on a variety of forest initiatives in the interest of Summit County citizens and stakeholders. Our work is focused on a healthy resilient future forest. We promote education, volunteer forest monitoring, best science forest management practices, and community-wide collaborative forest planning. Our goal is to create a stronger connection between citizens and the forest lands we value. With these interests in mind, we are now offering a membership status for all interested parties who want to have their voices heard as we bring important forest issues to the attention of forest managers and other decision makers. To become a member or to view our membership form, please go to the FHTF website's Membership Form!

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