Friday, October 1, 2004

Funds are available to fight pine bark beetles


Applications for grants are now available and being accepted by the Idaho Department of Lands to assist residents of Blaine and Custer Counties who are affected by the mountain pine beetle attack.

The grants are designed to aid landowners who are being heavily impacted by the outbreak of insects and diseases on the SNRA, said Jim Rineholt, grant coordinator for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

?Right now there is a serious outbreak of mountain pine and Douglas-fir bark beetles that is affecting trees on thou-sands of acres in Blaine and Custer Counties,? Rineholt said. ?Private landowners can apply for grants that will enable them to use the funds for cutting and removing dead and green infested trees. The purpose here is to reduce future mortality and promote healthy stands of trees.?

Rineholt said the grant monies can be used to apply preventative sprays, apply pheromone pouches to protect healthy green trees and to plant new trees.

Grant application forms can be obtained by contacting Rineholt at the SNRA headquarters, located eight miles north of Ketchum.

The mailing address is: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, HC 64 Box 8291, Ketchum, ID 83340. Call Rineholt at 208-727-5021 or email to jrineholt@fs.fed.us.

Applications are also available on line at the Idaho Department of Lands Web site at www.state.id.us/lands.

In 2004, as part of the National Fire Plan, the Idaho Department of Lands initiated the Western Bark Beetle Preven-tion and Restoration Project, with funding provided by the U.S. Forest Service.

Seven grants, totaling $450,000, were awarded in the last year. The grants went to six subdivisions, covering 1,435 acres (Iron Creek, Smiley Creek, Crooked, Homestead, Cow Camp and Fisher Creek) and one individual in the SNRA. This year the program is being expanded to include all of Blaine and Custer counties.

Accomplishments to date include the spraying of more than 5,000 trees to protect them against future insect attack, 8,000 green infested and dead trees have been cut and removed off site and another 10,000 trees are currently being cut and removed.




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