Money growing on beetle-kill trees |

Money growing on beetle-kill trees


After July 1, $1 million will be available for Summit County homeowner associations to help mitigate the fire danger caused by the pine beetle’s infestation of our neighborhood forests.The money may not last long. And, it may never come back again. As Governor Ritter waits to sign the bill into law – and our representative Dan Gibbs assured us the Governor will sign the bill – area associations should be preparing to request the money, and soon.There are many reasons why we are encouraging total community involvement – and not just because so many of our trees are turning brown. For one, more local participation re-assures the state government that we have a need for additional funds. This month in the Peak 7 neighborhood, a discussion between homeowners should determine if road paving or pine beetle mitigation is the priority – and additional pine beetle funding could mean the neighborhood could do both. Plus, if this region would ever need to ask for more money, legislators would surely ask about how many local residents got involved in the first go-around.Another reason we encourage participation is to help track the results. A few dollars scattered here and there may not make a noticeable impact. But, mitigation work funded widely across the county could create more fire buffers to neighborhoods, provide enough data to be easily tracked – thus giving more hard, statistical reasons for additional funding down the road.It is important to know, too, why this bill passed as groups prepare to request the funding. Legislators approved the bill because Gibbs tied it to Denver watershed concerns (dead trees could mean large forest fires, which would contaminate the water supply). But in the headwaters of Summit County, everything flows downhill from here, meaning any neighborhood group should be able to explain to the state why their work qualifies as watershed protection.

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