Locals are very active in pine beetle battle | SummitDaily.com

Locals are very active in pine beetle battle

Sandy BriggsFrisco

Re: The pine beetle is cyclical and necessary (Daily Mail, July 19)While many the letter writers to the Summit Daily expressing opinions about our bark beetle infestation have contributed to a greater understanding of one of the county’s greatest environmental threats, J.T. Coyote’s recent offering was a tad disappointing. First, neither Governor Ritter nor any other state or local community leader is “gearing up to implement a deadly spraying problem that will adversely affect our environment” as Jack Travis (his real name) claims.The Governor has no authority over the 78 percent of the county under U.S. Forest Service stewardship. The vast majority of tree spraying done outside of federal lands is contracted by private landowners who are attempting to save trees on their property with the most important landscape value. In addition, the Dillon Ranger District, the county and the towns all have conducted limited spraying programs in areas having recreational and scenic importance, with considerable success to date.Ask any professional spray applicator in the county, and he or she will tell you that carbaryl, the chemical generally being used along with a fixative to increase bonding to the bark, does not present any significant hazard to animals (including humans) and plants. The solution is not used near streams, lakes and other water features. Travis’s assertion that most trees attacked by the mountain pine beetle will lose their needles and miraculously come back to life is seriously mistaken. An 85-90 percent mortality rate among mature lodgepole pine is well within the realm of possibility during this current infestation. Due to the enormous population of beetles seeking host trees, the normal mechanism of “pitching out” invading insects with sap is not proving effective. The bluestain fungus carried by the mountain pine beetle also plays a role in cutting off the water supply to infested trees and assuring their demise.I urge Jack to join his fellow residents in telling Governor Ritter that, he, with the help of State Representative Dan Gibbs and State Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald, is doing a good job in marshalling what state resources are available to address our common predicament. County government is certainly doing its part. And it’s a beginning. So let’s be encouraging and applaud those who are trying to help. Editor’s Note: Sandy Briggs is lead organizer with the Summit County-based Mountain Pine Beetle Task Force.The Summit Daily News welcomes letters to the editor, preferably by e-mail to letters@summitdaily.com. Past letters can be read at http://www.summitdaily.com. All letters must be submitted along with the author’s name, hometown and phone number.

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