Diann Ritschard: Forest to receive beetle-kill tree removal funds | SteamboatToday.com

Diann Ritschard: Forest to receive beetle-kill tree removal funds

Tapping federal dollars

The best way to find projects the government is seeking bids for is to visit http://www.fedbizopps.gov. The site has an online video to guide people in using the Web site. Projects are listed by agency and area. Forest Service offerings can be found under U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. The site has listings for more than 100 government agencies across the nation, with small and large projects.

Each project has a contact person to call for more information, and questions can be submitted via e-mail. For directions about how to register for the bidding process and to get certified, please visit http://www.ccr.gov.

People interested in bidding on projects must first be registered, so it's a good idea to start that process ahead of time and be ready to go when projects are advertised.

The Small Business Administration, at http://www.sba.gov, also offers many free programs to support small businesses.

- Diann Ritschard, U.S. Forest Service

— The U.S. Forest Service has announced its selection of the first 10 percent of projects created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of this initial round of projects identified, the Routt National Forest will receive $2.2 million in ARRA funds to remove beetle-killed trees from roadsides in Routt, Jackson and Grand counties. In addition to providing the opportunity to create or retain jobs to complete these projects, the removal of the dead trees will maintain access for the public, emergency vehicles, power lines and communication sites, all for greater public safety. These efforts also increase firefighter safety and ingress/egress in the event of forest fires, as well as creating fuel breaks to help contain fires.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service received $98 million for “shovel-ready” projects on national forests and grasslands throughout the nation. The Rocky Mountain region received $5.6 million for various projects in Colorado, which will create some new jobs. The new jobs will be private-sector jobs, not government jobs. On the Routt National Forest, the hazard tree removal work, and future work involving stimulus funds, will be mostly contract work.

On the Routt National Forest this year, the stimulus funds will be used to remove roadside hazard trees from Forest Road 100, from Red Dirt to U.S. Highway 40; Forest Road 550, north of Columbine through Whiskey Park; Forest Road 80, from Hog Park to the town of Pearl; and Forest Roads 681, 689 and 600 in the Big Creek Lakes area. These areas total about 1,000 acres, with an estimated 147 trees per acre.

In addition, about half a million dollars will go to the Colorado Youth Conservation Corps – including $238,000 for the Steamboat Springs-based Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – in an ongoing effort to remove beetle-killed trees from developed recreation sites and hiking trails in Colorado. The Routt National Forest has used the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps for a variety of projects in recent years, including trail maintenance, building fences and installing signs and gates.

The USDA and Forest Service are determining how the remaining ARRA funds will be allocated. The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests submitted proposals for various projects, including road work, culvert replacements and other infrastructure work that could be accomplished with ARRA funds.

Under the language of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Forest Service will use the money to create as many jobs as possible to support communities and get money flowing through the economy again. All funds will be spent on specific targeted projects that are, or soon will be, ready to go. Announcements about further allocations will be made in the coming months.

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