Location: RM 271
Colorado State Forest Service Report on CO Forest Health
COMMITTEE ON JOINT AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
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07:31 AM -- Colorado State Forest Service Annual Report on the Health of Colorado's Forests
The chair called the meeting to order and announced that roll call would not be taken because attendance at this meeting is voluntary.
Mike Lester, Colorado State Forest Service, discussed the impact wildland fires and identified the benefits provided by healthy forests. He also discussed the roll of the State Forest Service in wildland fire mitigation and assisting the wood products industry. He also discussed the 2016 State of Colorado's Forest (Attachment A). He explained that the CSF helped prepare Community Wildfire Protection Plans and distributed Wildfire Risk Reduction Grants to help communities. He also responded to questions from the committee about the application and distribution process for the risk reduction grants.
Mr. Lester provided an update on insect and disease in Colorado's forest including , He also discussed the role of healthy forests in protecting Colorado's water supply and the threat of wildfires to this supply. He responded to questions from the committee about the role of warming temperatures on the spread of insects in Colorado, the effect of dead trees on Colorado's snow pack and runoff, the role of timber harvesting in the management of forest health.
Mr. Lester responded to questions from the committee about use of controlled burns to manage forest health and the liability of the State of Colorado when the CSFS manages a controlled burn.
Mary Beth Gufstafson, Deputy Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service submitted a copy of her remarks (Attachment B) identified national forests and national grasslands in the USFS Rocky Mountain Region. She discussed the role of the USFS in maintaining the health of Colorado forest and the importance of healthy forests to Colorado tourism economy and water supply. She also identified the economic benefits of mineral development on federal lands in Colorado. She also discussed the role of vegetation treatment on federal lands to mitigate the risk of wildland fires and identified forest management projects in Colorado.
Ms. Gufstafson responded to questions from the committee about trends in grazing permits on federal lands, collaboration with local governments to mitigate wildland fire risk, the impact of diseases in domestic sheep and the effect on bighorn sheep populations, timber management contracts with private companies, federal appropriations for forest management and fighting wildland fires on federal lands.
Molly Pitts, Colorado Timber Association, identified its members and discussed the role of the association in promoting forest management. She also discussed the importance of forest management on federal lands to the Colorado timber industry. She explained that the Colorado timber industry has additional capacity that could be used to increase timber management on federal lands. She also identified the costs of fighting wildland fires on federal lands and the effect of of such spending budgets for timber management and recreation.
Lylse Laverty, Society of American Foresters, discussed Colorado's forest crisis (Attachment C). He explained that annual net growth of Colorado's forests is 146, 256,000 million cubic feet of wood due in part to annual mortality of 266,113,000 cubic feet of wood. He also discussed the need for additional federal funding for timber management and responded to questions from the committee about the economics of salvage logging.
The committee adjourned.