National News

Emeral Ash Borer a Continued Threat to Trees in the East

Small insects do a lot of damage to trees and our forests. We've seen what the Mountain Pine Beetle has done. And it's moved into the trees in our Front Range communities.

Another insect that keeps our city foresters awake at night is the Emerald Ash Borer. This critter was imported from China and eastern Asia. It probably hopped a ride to North America in a crate.

Emerald Ash Borer was first identified in Michigan. The theory is the borer was doing damage to Michigan ash trees for eight or twelve years before it was officially identified. It's infested over five million trees covering 3,000 square miles. It's also been found in Ontario, Canada, Ohio and states along the east coast.

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Senator Udall letter to Secretary Vilsack

The following letter from Senator Udall to Secretary Vilsack focuses on bark beetles but highlights the Senator's current area of interest with regard to forests:

November 15, 2010

Dear Secretary Vilsack:
As you know, we have been experiencing an unprecedented insect epidemic in the forests of Colorado and Wyoming. The vast scale of tree mortality brought on by the mountain pine beetle has affected over 3.5 million acres of National Forest Service land in Colorado and Wyoming over the past decade. When it finally runs its full course, it is estimated that the vast majority of mature lodgepole pine in these areas will have died.

Senator Udall letter to Secretary Vilsack (Read the full letter here)

Old Trees May Soon Meet Their Match

GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK, Nev. — For millenniums, the twisted, wind-scoured bristlecone pines that grow at the roof of western North America have survived everything nature could throw at them, from bitter cold to lightning to increased solar radiation. Living in extreme conditions about two miles above sea level, they have become the oldest trees on the planet. The oldest living bristlecone, named Methuselah, has lived more than 4,800 years.

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Udall Beetle Bill Wins Key Committee Approval

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall's effort to help Colorado fight the bark beetle epidemic saw a key victory when his bill, the National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act, won approval by the Senate's Energy and National Resources Committee. The bill provides the U.S. Forest Service with additional resources and authority to treat areas affected by bark beetles and other insect-related problems. 

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Air Force conservation programs score widespread victories

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force is trustee to more than eight million acres of land, water and air assets, and is home to more than 70 threatened and endangered species.

Stewardship of these resources, in conjunction with sustainment of critical military mission activities, is a key priority for conservation programs across the Air Force, officials said.

Program achievements during fiscal 2010 were widespread, with many accomplishments in support of endangered species.

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Canadian pricing rules bugging U.S.

The United States accused Canada yesterday of violating a lumber trade deal by underpricing wood from trees killed in a massive insect infestation in British Columbia. Washington filed the complaint on behalf of U.S. lumber producers who say their western Canadian rivals are being subsidized through use of the cheap timber, which they say is prohibited under the 2006 trade deal.

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Forest Service seeks more funds after using $40 million to fight bark beetles

Federal overseers of Rocky Mountain forests said Monday that they've spent $40 million in emergency funds sent from Washington, D.C., to deal with the bark beetles that have ravaged more than 3.6 million acres. But much of this selective tree-removal work — aimed at reducing wildfire risks around towns, power lines and reservoirs — has yet to be done. And regional Forest Service officials now are seeking additional funding for aggressive tree removal next year.

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NASA satellites reveal surprising connection between beetle attacks, wildfire

If your summer travels have taken you across the Rocky Mountains, you've probably seen large swaths of reddish trees dotting otherwise green forests. While it may look like autumn has come early to the mountains, evergreen trees don't change color with the seasons. The red trees are dying, the result of attacks by mountain pine beetles. Mountain pine beetles are native to western forests, and they have evolved with the trees they infest, such as lodgepole pine and whitebark pine trees. However, in the last decade, warmer temperatures have caused pine beetle numbers to skyrocket. Huge areas of red, dying forest now span from British Columbia through Colorado, and there's no sign the outbreak is slowing in many areas.

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Udall will badger Senate for more wildfire funds

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., told reporters Wednesday that he is angry that little of the $30 million the federal government promised for fighting wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming this year has yet to arrive in the state. "It's hot and dry and we have millions of acres of bark beetle-killed trees that could burn," Udall said.

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