The Grand Mesa's old growth spruce forest is at increasing risk from spruce beetle infestations and more needs to be done if a catastrophe is to be prevented, aides to U.S. Michael Bennet were told in Delta on May 31.
During a "listening session" stop in Delta, Bennet staff aides Sheri Cogley of Grand Junction and Grant Colvin from Washington, D.C. were told that the Grand Mesa's spruce cover is seriously threatened by the pest that has laid waste to almost half of the 600,000 acres of spruce cover in the Rio Grande National Forest.
In addition, the rest of the spruce cover in that forest could be gone within the next five years.
Another online source reports that more than half of the Rio Grande forest's 530,000 acres of mature spruce has been killed.
Speakers at the listening session event were not required to identify themselves.
The GMUG's Grand Valley Ranger District issued its plan for treatment of spruce beetle and Sudden Aspen Decline syndrome (SAD) last August.
The operations plan calls for "selective treatment" of spruce beetle infected trees: removal of individual trees and small stands before beetle infestations can spread.
Bennet's aides were told that NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act which sets requirements for public involvement and comment on large timber sale proposals, is hindering the small-scale efforts needed to act quickly to combat spruce beetle at this stage on the Grand Mesa.
Wide-scale blown down events, called "wind throw," have in recent years provided breeding and incubation grounds for the spruce beetle's multi-year life cycle allowing the devastating pest to develop new generations which eventually break out into swarms that overcome healthy trees.blog comments powered by Disqus