Some green for the green

Forest Service gets millions from stimulus package

Our nation’s forests are in need of some upkeep.

Twisted roots, hazardous trees and shotty bridge and trail states are becoming an all-too-common sight for many of our nation’s parks.

Thanks to the recent $1.15 billion chunk of change from a stimulus package, the Forest Service is starting to think about fixing some of these problems.

The money, part of Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that he signed last month, is being divvied up- $650 million for road, trial and bridge maintenance,$500 million for fire hazard reductions and $50 million allotted for biomass and other issues.

Percents of the allotted categories will be used for projects in states and private lands, many of which are already planned and in the works. This funding provided the catalyst for these smaller projects to get the ball rolling on things like bark-beetle-bills in Colorado, cleaning up a New Mexico mine and brush and tree clearing in rural Oregon to prevent wildfires.

These individual state money amounts aren’t too shabby either. Take Colorado for instance. They got $5.6 million for national forests in the northern part of their Rocky Mountain state.States are also available to get more future funding as new projects come up.

The money is also expected to create new jobs.

The Forest Service’s goal is to create around 30,000 new private sector jobs over the next two years, according to a message from Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell.

Many of those jobs are expected to go to contractors, as The New York Times notes

In the Forest Service message, Chief Kimbell commented on what the prospects that the money provides.

“We have an opportunity to serve our country in the cause of conservation. Restoring forests and grasslands, reducing hazardous fuels and improving our infrastructure all contribute to our priorities of healthy ecosystems,” she said.

Forest Service doles out stimulus funds (New York Times- Kate Galbraith)

Stimulus money to boost forest work (Summit Daily News- Bob Berwyn)

–Matt Draper