October - November 2011
Whatâ€™s best for our forest and us?
!"e mountain ,ine beetle is almost insignificant in si3e 4 a little larger t"an a grain of rice6 But its im,act on forests t"roug"8 out t"e western :nited States is "ugely significant6 Millions of trees on t"ousands of acres in western forests are dead due to t"is outbrea? t"at "as e@,loded to e,idemic leAel6 Bf you stand ne@t to an infested tree
you can actually "ear t"e beetles munc"ing on t"e cambium inside destroying its circulatory system and ?illing t"e tree6 Millions of dollars "aAe been s,ent fig"ting t"e small bug and millions more are at ris? if t"e logging industry s"uts down6 !"e Blac? Hills Pioneer is ,ublis"ing an eig"t8 wee? series as?ing E"ow do we battle t"e beetle6F
This special web section will contain all of the Pine Beetle Series and related stories in one convenient document from the Black Hillls Pioneer. Many Lawrence County residents and foresters say time is running out to protect the Northern Hills from devastating pine beetle infestation. Without fast action, they say the area will be covered with dead, dry trees that will present fire and safety hazards. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
!" #$%& '$()*%+*( Bla$% Hills Pi+neer GHI!HJIG HBLLS 4 !"ree years6 !"atLs "ow muc" time forester Bill Coburn giAes t"e Gort"ern Hills before it is infested beyond saAing by mountain ,ine beetles6 Bt may be a roug" estimateN but Coburn is only one of many w"o say t"ereLs not muc" time left before t"e Blac? Hills become t"e Brown HillsN as eAery year more and more ,ine trees wit"er due to beetle infestation6 EOe need to be on t"e ground rig"t nowN remoAing t"ose trees if we want to saAe some of t"em in t"e nort"ern ,art of t"e countyNF Lawrence County Commissioner Bob Jwing said6 EOe ?now w"at it ta?esN and we Pust need to be doing it as aggressiAely as we canNF added !om !ro@elN director of t"e Blac? Hills Forest Iesource Association6 EB donLt want to get to fiAe years from nowN and loo? bac? to nowN and wis" we "ad done more or been more aggressiAe6F Li?e wildfireN t"e beetles "aAe no bound8 aries6 !"ey migrate across state linesN ,ro,8 erty lines and into some of t"e HillsL most ,ri3ed tourism areas6 !"eir destructiAe ,otential is e@em,lified in areas li?e Mount Ius"moreN Harney Pea?
and Custer Pea?N w"ic" are littered wit" t"ousands of redN deadN beetle8?illed trees t"at are bot" an eyesore and a fire "a3ard6 GowN t"e beetles are t"reatening S,earfis" Mountain and S,earfis" Canyon6 Knowing t"e deAastation t"e beetles are ca,able of ,roducingN t"eir t"reat to t"e Canyon in ,articular "as s,ar?ed to action landownersN citiesN county and forestry offi8 cialsN none of t"em willing to ris? losing t"e scenic beauty of t"e ,o,ular tourist destina8 tion or t"e "omes t"ere to deadN falling trees and wildfires6 !"e SaAe S,earfis" Canyon CoalitionN a grou, of local residentsN com,anies and goAernmentsN was recently formed wit" t"e goal of establis"ing t"e best way to ,rotect t"e Canyon and its scenicN enAironmental and economic assets6 Lisa LangerN e@ecutiAe director of t"e S,earfis" Area C"amber of CommerceN esti8 mated t"at about TUVNWWW Ae"icles traAel t"roug" t"e Canyon eAery yearN generating more t"an XY million in reAenue for t"e S,earfis" area6 EZyou can bet t"atLs a "uge economic im,actNF s"e said6 ESo we want to ?ee, t"ose trees beautifully green and as bug8free as ,ossible6F At t"e same timeN t"e Canyon is a ,rime
e@am,le of t"e c"allenges t"at come wit" fig"ting t"e beetles6 Most of t"e Canyon is on Forest SerAice landN wit" ,riAate land inters,ersed t"roug"8 out6 Conflict arises because landowners "aAe a lot of freedom to [uic?ly treat t"eir own land for beetles after an infestationN w"ile t"e Forest SerAice can only act under t"e constraints of time8consuming legal ,rocessesN enAironmental regulations and a limited budget 8 ma?ing t"eir reaction time to a beetle infestation ,ainfully slow to landowners6 Gort"ern Hills District Ianger I"onda HLByrne said S,earfis" CanyonLs s"eer slo,es and cliff faces ma?e treating t"e area on foot almost im,ossible6 Furt"ermoreN t"e same amount of money it would ta?e to treat one acre of infested trees by alternatiAe means li?e "elico,ter logging could be used to treat do3ens of acres on leAeler ground elsew"ereN ,otentially sto,,ing t"e beetles in ot"er "ig"8,riority areas on t"e forest6 AdditionallyN organi3ing any ty,e of tim8 ber treatment t"roug" t"e Forest SerAice can ta?e years due to enAironmental analyses re[uired by t"e Gational JnAironmental Policy Act enacted in U]V]6 !o manyN t"ose years are too ,recious to be lost6 !"e beetles are flouris"ing e@,onen8
tiallyN wit" no signs of slowing down6 Forest Su,erAisor Craig Bob3ien recently re,orted t"at in t"e ,ast decadeN more t"an ^WWNWWW acres of t"e U6Y million8acre Blac? Hills forest "aAe been infested wit" ,ine beetlesN wit" anot"er ^WWNWWW acres currently at ris?6 Bn YWW]N YYNWWW new acres were infested on t"e forest6 Bn YWUWN t"at number Pum,ed to ^^NWWW new acres6 Bob3ien added t"at t"e outbrea? is li?ely to continue eAen t"oug" t"e cycle is in its U^t" yearN w"ic" is longer t"an any of t"e si@ recorded cycles before it6 According to t"e Sout" Da?ota De,artment of AgricultureN t"e first recorded cycle occurred in t"e U_]Ws and ?illed UW million trees6 !"e most recent ,rior to t"e current outbrea? was recorded from U]__ to U]]Y and ?illed `WNWWW trees6 H,inions Aary widely about t"e best way to manage t"e forest for t"ose w"o want to use or enPoy its resources6 !"e best course of action to ta?e is a matter of debate between residentsN industry officialsN goAernmentsN grou,sN coalitions and t"e Forest SerAice6 !o someN t"e current outbrea? is a natural cycle t"at doesnLt need to be controlled6 !"ey say t"at since t"e ,ine beetle is Cont. on Page 2
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
PINE BEETLE !on$in&e( *ro, Pa/e 0 endemic to the Black Hills, it's part of how Mother Nature replenishes the forest, like wildfire. Brian Brademeyer, executive director of the environmental group Friends of the Norbeck, said managing the forest with commercial logging in fact hampers forest health, making it a “tree farm” instead of a true forest. “The forest is managed best that's managed least,” he said, “Human intervention doesn't help any ecosystem … logging isn't going to help.” Brademeyer said that for the forest to reach its full potential, the best thing would be for the logging industry to back out entirely and let nature take its course. He added that logging an area actually slows down the movement of the beetles, causing greater devastation in concentrated areas. Troxel disagreed. “Why would we want to do that? It doesn't make sense to me,” he said. “All of us that live in the Black Hills enjoy seeing a green forest … we like being out in the forest. Why
would anyone want to trade that for a forest that's dead and burned? … We have too much capability to just throw up our hands and walk away and say we don't want to manage our forest. What that's really saying is that we don't care what our forest looks like.” We are at a critical juncture in this battle and time is of the essence. “The clock is ticking,” Coburn said. “We're in the ninth inning, and we don't have a lot of people left in our rotation.” T"is is &"e (irs& ar&i+le in an ei."&/0ee1 series dis/ +3ssin. &"e i45a+& 6( &"e 5ine bee&le e5ide4i+ in &"e N6r&"ern Hills. Ne;& T"3rsday=s ar&i+le 0ill (6+3s 6n &"e e+6n64i+ i45a+& 6( &"e 5ine bee&le. Send 3s y63r +644en&s &6 ne0s?b"5i6neer.+64 6r l6. 6n &6 000.b"5i6neer.+64 &6 56s& +644en&s 6n &"e s&6ries.
October - November 2011
By the numbers... Putting the Black Hills pine beetle epidemic in perspective
Total infested area
Area treated for pine beetles through timber sales
Area currently at risk for further infestation
Private land area in the Black Hills
Approx. percentage of beetles located on National Forest land
Percentage of Lawrence County that’s National Forest
What is the mountain pine beetle? B" MARK 'AN)ERPEN Bla+1 Hills Pi6neer The mountain pine beetle, or Bendr6+&6n3s 56nder6sae, is an endemic Black Hills insect that makes its home primarily in pine trees. About the size of a grain of rice, mature mountain pine beetles burrow just under the bark of a tree into the cambium layer in the late summer months. There they mate and, according to a Colorado State University Extension study, lay about 75 eggs in vertical channels called galleries. Larvae that hatch from the eggs move through the cambium layer during the winter and spring months, feeding on the tree's soft tissue while growing to maturity. The cambium layer acts as the vascular system in the tree, moving water and nutrients from the roots to the canopy. When beetles chew through it, they cut off that system, and the upper portions of the tree starve. The beetles also naturally carry and transmit bluestain fungi to the tree. The fungi grow within the tree and assist the beetle in killing it. The presence of the fungi stains the wood blue, which eventually affects its market value.
Beetles are known to favor dense, old-growth tree stands for infestation. Old trees growing close together compete for nutrients and are therefore not as strong against an attack as younger trees in thinner stands. Pine trees fight against the beetles by producing sap to push them back into the open air. Yellow bulges of sap called pitch tubes accumulate on the bark and are a telltale sign of a beetle-hit tree. Sustained, extremely cold temperatures can also kill the beetles. However, foresters say that temps in the Black Hills don't drop low enough, long enough to be effective in killing the bugs. The CSU Extension study indicated that temperatures would have to drop to 30 degrees below zero and hold there for at least five days for the beetles to freeze. Woodpeckers and various insects also feed on the beetles, though during an outbreak, the number of pine beetles is far too great to be affected by them. Around mid-August, matured beetles exit the infested tree, which is already dead and beginning to turn red or brown. They typically fly short distances to sur-
rounding trees, though with the right weather conditions and wind currents, they can fly for miles. Once they land, they burrow into the trees and the process begins again.
Total acreage of the Black Hills
The mountain pine beetle lives under the bark of pine trees, creating small tunnels called galleries. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
October - November 2011
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
Treat Spearfish Canyon for pine beetles BY JIM NELSON !"ecial to t+e Pioneer !or those thousands of you who recently en2oyed the spectacular fall colors cradled in the deep green of the pine and spruce forest in Spearfish 8anyon this past month: those ;iews may be significantly changed in the next two to three years. ?ou may ha;e noticed in the 8anyon a number of the red-brown pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. Although those areas and numbers are relati;ely small now: they ha;e increased significantly in the past two to three years: especially in the southern part of the 8anyon from the Sa;oy and Bittle Spearfish 8anyon area south to Hanna: although they are appearing in growing numbers throughout the 8anyon. Dnless: for natural reasons out of human control: the beetle epidemic in the Black Hills suddenly reduces its intensity: the 8anyon will see beetle kill expansion that could reach le;els that ha;e hea;ily deforested Harney Peak: Black Glk Hilderness: Hill 8ity areas of the Southern Black Hills: and 8uster Peak: Iystic-Jochford areas of the 8entral Hills. Significant areas of kill exist in the Terry Peak and Deer Iountain area as well as 2ust south of Hanna and the Bead 8ountry 8lub. Mf ma2or concern to the residents of the Northern Hills is the fact that the recently de;eloped OIountain Pine Beetle Jesponse PlanP issued for comment by the D.S. !orest Ser;ice: while proposing newly-focused effort on battling the beetle infestations for QRS:TTT acres of the South Dakota and Hyoming Black Hills: explicitly excludes treatment for Spearfish 8anyon which is right in the middle of the QRS:TTT acres. There is no acti;ity planned for Spearfish 8anyon: either to battle the beetles or to thin the forest there for fuels reductionUfire pre;entionUwatershed protection. The rationale for this position: as stated at the !orest Ser;ice briefings in Spearfish on Aug. QT was that the !orest Ser;ice was looking for the Omaximum bang-for-the-buckP for the resources they ha;e and battling the beetle in Spearfish 8anyon would be too expensi;e. This position essentially abandons Spearfish 8anyon to the spread of the beetle infestation there. This position by the !orest Ser;ice ignores the potential economic impact for the Northern Hills cities and businesses that are economically hea;ily
dependent on tourists and ;isitors to this area. Spearfish 8anyon is a magnet drawing a million ;isitors per year: including the local population: which en2oys the 8anyon and its multiple uses year-round. This !orest Ser;ice economic impact analysis and decision-making ignores or minimiVes the positi;e employment and monetary impact on the local economy: focusing more narrowly on the costs to the !orest Ser;ice of executing those pro2ects. Another point of the !orest Ser;ice rationale for no effort to battle the beetle spread into the canyon is that the terrain is too difficult to get at in order to use their tools and processes to reduceUcontrol the infestations. An article in the Sept. RW edition of the Black Hills Pioneer: Northern Hills District Janger Jhonda M'Byrne: in commenting on the effort to reduce the beetle infestation on Spearfish Iountain: was asked about the danger of the spread of the beetles into Spearfish 8anyon. She stated that Omost of the locations are simply inoperable:P and: OYt's next to impossible to get in there.P Howe;er: in the early RTTTs: the Spearfish 8anyon Mwners Association: in continuous dialogue with the Spearfish Janger's Mffice: began a !YJGHYSG program for 8anyon owners: and the !orest Ser;ice instituted Spearfish 8anyon !uels Jeduction Y: which resulted in approximately one mile of 8anyon slope 2ust north of Sa;oy being thinned from DS Highway Z[A up the slope essentially to the base of the rimrock there. Also: an area at the mouth of the 8anyon 2ust south of Spearfish was thinned on both sides of the 8anyon. A second Spearfish 8anyon !uels Jeduction YY was initiated in RTTS wherein the north slopes of Ycebox 8anyon from 8heyenne 8rossing east for approximately one mile toward Bead was thinned: some hardwood forest areas near Hanna were impro;ed: and the east side of Highway Z[A was sur;eyed back QTT feet from the road from the 8rossing to Sa;oy in preparation for thinning. These efforts employed !orest Ser;ice OHot ShotP crews in the spring and prior to the fire season. Howe;er: in RTT\: these partially-completed efforts were canceled by the !orest Ser;ice in fa;or of a ma2or pro2ect: OHest Jim:P which did not include any effort in the 8anyon: focusing its efforts abo;e the 8anyon rim on both east and west sides.
Yn the past year: the Bawrence 8ounty 8ommission: through its Timber 8ommittee and subse]uently its Pine Beetle 8ommittee: in;ested many hours of specialists' time in creating a prioritiVed map of Bawrence 8ounty: pro;ided to the !orest Ser;ice with the goal being that the !orest Ser;ice would use that prioritiVation to deploy their resources planned for Bawrence 8ounty for beetle control efforts. Spearfish 8anyon was among those priority areas identified by the 8ounty-recommended efforts. Bast year the South Dakota ^ame: !ish and Parks led an effort with the city of Spearfish to reduce the fuels and pro;ide greater fire protection for the south edge of the city: wherein typical e]uipment used for remo;ing trees from steeper slopes was used to successfully thin that area. Yf one looks at the historical pictures of Spearfish 8anyon: one can note large areas around Sa;oy that were timbered for mining operations in the early Z\TTs. Homestake Timber Department thinnedUhar;ested timber from the 8anyon and remote areas of the Hills in;ol;ing difficult terrain. The !orest Ser;ice itself recently used helicopters to remo;e some timber from steep slopes near Hill 8ity in demonstrations of that techni]ue for ;isiting 8ongressional representati;es and Department of Agriculture managers. The !orest Ser;ice funded an assessment of the Spearfish 8anyon en;ironment using !orest Ser;ice experts: many from other national forests: with the results being documented and published in the RTTR Spearfish 8anyon Bandscape Assessment. This Department of Agriculture document essentially noted the forest in the canyon was too dense: too much of it of significantly old growth and much of the spruceUpine forest expanding at the expense of the hardwoods. This team recommended immediate actions to be completed within three to fi;e years: and other longer term actions to impro;e the health of the forest in the 8anyon through thinning: structured fire breaks: insect control: etc. The Spearfish 8anyon efforts described pre;iously were first attempts to follow those recommendations. This document remains a ;alid assessment for the canyon landscape. Also: it should be noted that: in addition to the forest damage by pine beetles: deforestation of the kind seen at Harney Peak: Black Glk: Hill 8ity-Iystic-
Jochford: and 8uster Peak areas: if allowed to progress into Spearfish 8anyon: could also ha;e a ma2or negati;e impact on the Spearfish 8reek watershed. That includes changes in snow holding capability: rates of spring runoff: erosion and silting effects on water ]uantity and ]uality of Spearfish 8reek. This creek and its Hanna: Bittle Spearfish: Annie: Yron and 8leopatra tributaries are fundamentally important to the Spearfish and Belle !ourche ;alley agriculture as well as municipal water supplies to Bead and Deadwood: Spearfish: Belle !ourche and the many wells in the areas ser;ed. These examples are pro;ided to show that: while many areas of the 8anyon may be ;ery difficult to access: there are other large areas that could be effecti;ely treated for beetles to preclude further spread within areas of the canyon. And: these areas need treatment now. As noted in the Sept. RW edition of the Black Hills Pioneer: the time schedule that M'Byrne outlines for treating the beetle infestation on Spearfish Iountain will not pro;ide treatment for the first tree there until a year from now at best. This timeline is ineffecti;e for large areas of Spearfish Iountain: Spearfish 8anyon: as well as the QRS:TTT acres to be e;entually treated under the Iountain Pine Beetle Jesponse Plan. !orest Ser;ice management at the local: regional and national le;el must seek help to relaxUmodify some of their policies to deal with the beetle timeline: which displays geometric _if not exponential` expansion: rather than the current typical !orest Ser;ice timelines for action. Yn summary: Spearfish 8anyon: including Spearfish 8reek isa a uni]ue treasure: its multi-uses en2oyed by millions o;er the yearsb a National !orest and South Dakota Scenic Bywayb a ma2or economic contributor to the cities of Bead: Deadwood: Spearfish and the Northern Hillsb a Hildfire Drban Ynterfaceb a Special Preser;ation Area in the Bawrence 8ounty 8omprehensi;e Ianagement Planb a fa;orite route for motorcyclists: bikers: runners: fisherpersons: climbers: motorists: etc. Yt would seem unacceptable to local and state authorities that the !orest Ser;ice would take a position that it is too difficult and expensi;e to try to apply any beetle control acti;ity to the 8anyon: other than that the 8anyon residents pro;ide themsel;es on their relati;ely miniscule acreage as compared to the go;ernment lands.
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Coalition formed to save Spearfish Canyon from beetle threat !" #$%&#$' ()'*+#$, B"#$%&'("")&P(+,--. SPEARFISH * In order to save Spearfish Canyon from the devastating effects of the mountain pine beetle, the entire Northern Black Hills community needs to be proactive, and put pressure on the Forest Service to react. Because there are no plans to prevent the inevitable infestation, that was the overall message several concerned citizens relayed when they announced the formation of the Save Spearfish Canyon Coalition. Anyone with a vested interest in preventing the Black Hills from becoming the “brown hills” is encouraged to get involved, and support the cause. Their goal will be to convince the U.S. Forest Service that this gem of the Black Hills is worth saving, and formulate a strategy to get it done before it's too late. Men Hehr, a timber staff officer with the Northern Hills Nistrict Ranger Office in Spearfish, said there are no plans to conduct a large-scale timber sale along the scenic byway, a common treatment method used to prevent the spread of the mountain pine beetle. He explained their biggest roadblock when it comes to Spearfish Canyon, is management direction and terrain. “We are very limited to what we can do in the Canyon itself,” he said. “In order to treat the infestation we need to put people on the ground and in some places that's not possible.” He added the Canyon has been identified for visual management, not timber management, which means federal funding is not allocated to conduct treatments to prevent the spread of the mountain pine beetle. Rim Nelson, a longtime resident of Spearfish Canyon, and Bill Coburn, a Black Hills native and certified forester with Neiman Timber Company, attended a Spearfish City Council meeting to inform council members of their organization, and garner people's support. Nelson said there are several thousand trees that are already infested in the south edge of Spearfish Canyon, and because of the lack of treatment, they are spreading at an incredible rate. Coburn, who has experience in pine beetle identification and mitigation, said what they need is time, which is a precious commodity at this stage. “If we're going to do this, it's got to be a community effort,” Coburn said. “It can't just be the Forest Service, it can't just be the state T I think it's really important people grasp how big this problem really is and take action together.” With the support of Uayor Rerry Mrambeck, the entire city council voted to enact a resolution in support of the coalition, with an overall goal to minimize the impact of the current pine beetle epidemic in Spearfish Canyon. City Administrator Roe Neeb said this resolution has been enacted to let the Forest Service know they have the city's support, and will do anything to help. “We are stronger together than we are doing everything separately,” Neeb said. “We are willing to do our share.” Hehr thanked the city council for their support and said the Forest Service will do
“It’s unconscionable, and certainly not acceptable to say there are no efforts to battle the beetles in Spearfish Canyon.” Jim Nelson, Save Spearfish Canyon Coalition
The recently formed Save Spearfish Canyon Coalition hopes to have Spearfish Canyon added to the Forest Service’s pending Mountain Pine Beetle Response Plan. Pioneer photo by Adam Hurlburt the most they can with the budget they have. “The people who work here, work really hard and care about the future of this forest,” Hehr said. The overall objective of the coalition is to convince the U.S. Forest Service that Spearfish Canyon is worth saving from deforestation. Nelson said action is important because the Canyon is a beautiful asset to the Black Hills and fundamental to the economies of the surrounding communities * especially when it comes to sales tax generated by tourism. “It's unconscionable, and certainly not acceptable to say there are no efforts to battle the beetles in Spearfish Canyon,” Nelson said. “If we don't do something right now, the tens of thousands of visitors that come through here every year are going to have to get used to a totally different looking Canyon.” In addition to convincing the Forest Service and state and federal agencies to take action, the coalition will continue efforts to identify infested trees on private lands and remove them. Once that is complete, a strategy map for treating the infesta-
tion in Spearfish Canyon will be developed, and efforts to keep the existing beetle from enlarging their numbers. All the while, inspections will continue in order to identify all new infested trees. Hehr also provided an overview of the efforts made by Forest Service officials to treat infested trees on Spearfish Uountain. Mnown as the Pathfinder Timber Sale, the 1,200-acre treatment area is part of the West Rim Project, which covers Y3,000 acres from O'Neil Pass to both sides of Spearfish Canyon, but does not include the scenic byway. Because of increased concerns regarding wildfire and because the infestation is now visible to area residents, Hehr said the Spearfish Uountain project has been accelerated. He explained the governmental process necessary to complete the timber sale will take almost a year and the goal is to begin treatments by late August or September. “We are moving as [uickly as we can and plan to use every single tool we have available to us to treat as much as we can,” he said. “But because of logging constraints and ground conditions we won't be
able to treat it all.” In response to why the Forest Service cannot begin treatments sooner, Hehr said as a governmental agency, the Forest Service is federal mandated to follow the proper process. Coburn noted that even if the Forest Service has a contract with an operator by a certain time, the purchaser isn't re[uired to remove the trees for three years unless the U.S. Forest Service includes an urgent removal re[uirement. Coburn suggested that instead of conducting a timber sale, officials consider using “cut and chunk,” an onsite treatment method. “If you go this route, we can take care of this fairly [uickly,” he said. “It's a short-term remedy, but it's known to control at least 80 percent of the spread.”
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Noem calls for grassroots letter-writing campaign KASHINMTNN, %.'. , U.S. Representative Qristi Noem, R-S%, is calling on concerned citiRens to write President Barack Nbama and Nancy Sutley, his top environment advisor, in support of efforts to stop the pine beetle from further destroying the Black Hills. Noem's call to action is in response to a recent refusal by federal agencies to allow for an expedited process to fight the pine beetle epidemic in the Black Hills. In Uuly, Noem wrote a letter to the U.S. Forest Service and the Khite House 'ouncil on Environmental Wuality asking that they utiliRe their authority for “alternative arrangements” to comply with the time-consuming National Environmental
Policy Act *NEPA+ process and the reZuired approval of an Environmental Impact Statement, which can take over a year. These alternative arrangements would get boots on the ground Zuickly. Noem said her intention was to implement an expedited plan before the beetles could infect more healthy trees in August, but received no decisive response from the agencies until September. In a letter dated Sept. 1\, the Forest Service and 'ouncil on Environmental Wuality wrote that they would not grant the reZuest for alternative arrangements in the Black Hills. “The emergency we are facing in the Black Hills reZuires something more than
SD Dept. of Ag warning against pine beetle cures RAPI% 'IT) *AP+ , The South %akota %epartment of Agriculture is warning Black Hills residents about so-called Emiracle curesE that promise to save a tree after it has become infested with mountain pine beetles. State Forester Ray Sowers says an increasing number of methods are being offered that promise to protect trees by increasing the amount of pitch the tree produces or claiming to infect beetles with a disease that eventually kills them. The beetles have killed millions of trees across the Rocky Mountain region. But Sowers says many of the products and methods have not been independently tested. The Agricultural %epartment says the only effective way to protect a pine tree from the beetles is to spray the trunk of a tree before the tree has been infested.
!"#s%s&e(#)*%+e, se(t#.n%+#**%(.nt)#n )**%.0%t"e 1#ne%2eet*e%3er#es )n5%re*)te5 st.r#es%#n%.ne (.n6en#ent%5.(78ent 0r.8%t"e 2*)(9%:#***s%1#.neer;
the normal regulatory process,” Noem said. “Bureaucracy is keeping us from beating the beetles. The U.S. Forest Service and the Khite House have a process for emergencies such as ours, but so far they have refused to implement it. “I'm calling on every family in South %akota and across our country - anyone who has ever enjoyed the wonder and beauty of the Black Hills - to send a letter or an e-mail to the Khite House today to tell them how important it is that we save this treasure from the pine beetles.” Khen writing the letters, people need to reZuest the Khite House reconsider their denial of an expedited regulatory process for the Black Hills, and more information
about what to include in their letter is available at www.noem.house.gov. Emails can be sent to http^__www.whitehouse.gov_contact.
Letters should be addressed to: President Barac- .bama The Khite House 1`00 Pennsylvania Avenue NK Kashington, %' 20c00 C2airwoman 5ancy Sutley 'ouncil on Environmental Wuality 7e0 Uackson Place, NK Kashington, %' 20c0e
P"rc%ase a *+,on/% or a 0+1ear s"2scri4/ion /o /%e Black Hills Pioneer an9 :e :ill 9ona/e ;<=>> o? 1o"r 4a1,en/ /o /%e @ABn9 Ca,il1 Dea9iness Ero"4F
G??er Hn9s Gc/= I0 Call 642-2761 for details!
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
The high cost of a dead forest !" #$%& '$()*%+*( Black Hills Pioneer NO#THE#N HILLS + When the mountain pine beetles threaten the forest, they threaten much more than the trees. The pine trees of the Black Hills provide many things to its residentsF a renewable resource for the timber industry, grand forest vistas that draw thousands of tourists every year, increased value to the housing market and much more. Treating the forest for pine beetles is unHuestionably an expensive venture, consuming almost JK0 million every year in federal funds + but reports from experts in a variety of fields indicate that the cost of losing the battle could take an even larger toll on the Northern Hills' economy. Tom Shaffer, general manager at Spearfish Forest Products, said the mill's impact to the Spearfish economy ranges anywhere from JP0 million to JQ0 million per year. It provides jobs to almost S00 employees and employs 30 logging contractors. Nort Uohnson, president of Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association, said that South Wakota tourism generated more than JK billion in revenue in S0K0. Of that, almost J700 million was concentrated in the Black Hills, and he estimated that much of the remainder was due to a “drag-through effect” of tourists travelling across the eastern portion of the state on their way to the Hills. In terms of housing, Pattie Parrett, a realtor who represents the Northern Hills Board of #ealtors on the Save Spearfish Canyon Coalition reported that the average
home value in Spearfish Canyon and the greater national forest area range from J350,000-JQ00,000. According to Parrett and Uohnson, the tourism and housing markets have not yet seen any negative impact that can be directly attributed to the beetles. However, both said that an expanding beetle infestation, which Shaffer said is growing faster than the industry can treat it, won't go unnoticed by the markets forever + and studies support a negative trend. With tourism generating tax revenues of about JSQ5 million in S0K0, Uohnson said even a minimal decrease in tourism due to an unappealing, dead forest could have severe repercussions to state and local coffers. “If you were to take even a K0 percent decrease in one year, that's over JSQ million in tax revenues that we as citizens would have to try to come up with to try to keep our state and local governments at the same level. In other words, we'd either have to come up with more on our own, or make more cuts to things like education and health care.” To Uohnson, that could easily become a reality. “Would it be reasonable to think that over a period of years, if the forest became entirely brown and beetle-ridden, that one out of K0 visitors wouldn't come to the Black Hills? I think that's possible,” he said. To Parrett, the housing market could tell a similar story. “There's no crystal ball to say what will happen when our mountains turn brown when we don't manage the pine beetle problem, but it's certainly not going to be as much of an attraction moving out here … if we don't have our beautiful green Black Hills to sell with the views and
A beetle-killed forest could economically impact the Black Hills for decades until new trees replaced it, according to Tom Shaffer, general manager of Spearfish Forest Products. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
October - November 2011
By the numbers...
The average value of a ponderosa pine in the cents Black Hills
60 to 10,000
Trees per acre
$2,000 Cost of helicopter logging
without trucking Cost of conventional logging without trucking Approx. amount spent on beetle treatment annually
(federal) !cc#$%&n( *# *+e -./. 0#$e1* /e$2&ce an% /4ea$5&1+ 0#$e1* 6$#%7c*1 things of that nature,” Parrett said. A S0K0 study performed by researchers from the #ocky Mountain #esearch Station in Colorado and the University of New Mexico Wepartment of Economics concluded that dead trees had significant impact on the value of homes in the beetle-ridden forests of Colorado. According to the study, each beetle-killed tree within K00 meters of a house decreased that home's value by JQ50. Every beetle-killed tree within 500 meters had a JP3 impact, and each one within K kilometer had a JK7 impact. Assuming those numbers are comparable in the Black Hills, one acre of beetle-infested trees could potentially affect home prices by thousands of dollars, especially if that single acre is overstocked with hundreds or even thousands of trees on it, as Forest Service spokesman Frank Carroll said many are. “It's going to be huge,” Parrett said. ”Most people come here to purchase second homes and to retire out hereb they do that because it's so beautiful out here, and they do it for the views.” Not only could the value of homes be affected, but if a home is surrounded by beetle-killed trees, a wildfire could easily destroy the home entire, and in that case, insurance rates in the Black Hills could also spike. Like the current state of tourism and housing, State Farm Insurance Agent Coreen Lerwick said the beetles have yet to affect insurance rates, but the concept isn't unreasonable. “Ultimately if we have fires or trees fall on homes there will be higher rates,” Lerwick wrote. “It's the cycle of mother nature which influences the cycle of insurance claims, which influences the cycle of insurance rates. Many homeowners that I have insured have done great jobs protecting their homes by following the Firewise guidelines. This in turn should help protect their homes from the devastation of fire, wind and the effects of beetleinfested trees.” Within the confines of a strict and limited budget, however, the Forest Service can only do so much. While many overstocked areas are at high risk for infestation, areas like Custer Peak and Harney Peak are already mostly dead, and those trees now present a safety hazard that needs to be treated + and that costs money too. “What we're looking at are the costs associated with see FOREST Page 7
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
FOREST0()&')9#;*=$(3*@%1#*C bug trees,” Carroll said. “Trees falling on power lines, trees falling across trails, trees falling on roads, trees potentially hurting people in campgrounds — all of those things that come with that and the extra expenditures that we have to make where safety is concerned. “A lot of trees are cut, not because they have any commercial value, but because the forest needs to be thinned. The Black Hills is this incredibly prolific forest. When a pine cone hits the ground in the Black Hills, almost all the seeds grow.” That being the case, Carroll said the presence of the timber industry enables the Forest Service to continue managing the forest, just as much as the Forest Service's timber sales help keep the industry alive. “If we lost a third of our budget because something happened to the timber industry and we no longer had the ability economically or physically (to harvest trees), we'd lose 2MM jobs,” Carroll said. He added that the Forest Service employs about NMM full-time and NMM seasonal employees. Neiman Enterprises, the parent company of Spearfish Forest Qroducts, relies on Forest Service timber sales for almost RS percent of the total timber it produces, Shaffer said. Without those sales, the mills would have a difficult time remaining open. “We have 2MM people here (who) have more at stake than just a passing interest, thinking that it's just a natural phenomenon,'” Shaffer said. “For ourselves and our people here, it's their whole livelihood.” At the same time, Shaffer pointed out that pine trees
are a renewable resource, and even a dead forest will grow back eventually. In the interim though, there may be up to SM years when logging stops because it isn't cost-effective, removing the economic benefits the area enjoys from the timber industry. Beyond the industry, tourism and housing, the side effects of commercial timber operations filter into revenue for fuel stations, mechanics who repair logging machinery, restaurants, hotels and many other areas, to the point where accurately estimating the economic effects of the beetles is almost impossible. In essence, the economic viability of the Black Hills area depends in many ways on the health and beauty of the forest. Managing it is therefore a responsibility that falls to more than just one or two entities like the Forest Service or the industry, Carroll said. “If we're able to do our part, which we've proven time and time again that we certainly can U then all of us together can do Vuite a bit about the bark beetles and about keeping the Black Hills healthy and vigorous and green,” he said. This is the second article in an eight-week series discussing the impact of the pine beetle epidemic in the Northern Hills. Next Thursday=s article will focus on the environmental impact of the pine beetle. Send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.bhpioneer.com to post comments on the stories.
Impact of Spearfish Forest Products to local economy
Impact of Tourism in 2010
B/%+5*6'//,A B%;/%);,* %);*B%5#,*A,,(+'%&'()
Spearfish Forest Products employs about 200 people and annually pays $9 million in direct payroll alone. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
A complicated balance Environment helped, harmed by pine beetles, officials say BY #$%K '$N)E%+EN Black Hills Pioneer !"RTHER! HILLS — As humans, we use the forest in many ways, benefitting from the resources it offers to business, tourism, housing and recreation. Still, we are only one part of a large, diverse population that calls the Black Hills home. We share the forest with the pine beetle as well as the pine marten. Goshawks, deer, elk, trout, even snails and uncountable insects hang their hats in the vast acres of eIually diverse tree species that make up our forest. But finding a proper balance between our uses of it, the lives of other species and maintaining the best possible conditions for the health of the trees, is a complex issue — particularly because the environment affected by the outbreak is also in some ways responsible for causing it. Though pine beetle outbreaks are a natural forest cycle, a number of forest officials said that the combination of a warming global climate, years of drought, overstocked forest conditions and fire suppres-
sion have all helped create a forest environment primed for beetle infestation across the western Knited States. “The mountain pine beetle is natural to the Black Hills — itMs always here,” said Rhonda "MByrne, !orthern Hills Oistrict Ranger. “But (some) climatic or natural event occurred that just got them to where the conditions were right for them, and they just exploded across whole entire western Knited States.” In a public Internet video, Werner SurT, of the Canadian Forest Service, said that warmer winters and longer summers have allowed the beetles to survive through winter months in greater numbers. A study conducted by the !ational Center for Conservation Science and Policy in Ashland, "re., further concluded that dry conditions in recent years have left pine forests starved for resources and therefore highly susceptible to a beetle attack. Combined with a forest of dense, old growth stands — which the Forest Service maintained until the beetle outbreak began in the late XYYZs — "MByrne said the forest environment was in a state that was
highly susceptible to beetle infestation. In many areas, the forest remains in those conditions, which is why the Forest Service has sold tens of thousands of acres in timber sales in the past five years, as both the Forest Service and the timber industry are attempting to thin the forest back to healthy levels. In a natural environment, the forest would thin itself with fire, but due to private land on the forest and fire suppression policies within the Forest Service, fires are by and large prevented or Iuickly stomped out. From the vantage point of some environmentalist groups, though, replacing wildfires with human logging injures the environment, and fire should be reintroduced as a major thinning practice across the Hills. !ationwide, the environmentalist group the Sierra Club has taken the stance that almost all commercial logging should cease in the forest and fire should be reintroduced. Sam Clauson, vice chair of the Black Hills Group of the Sierra Club, said without fire, weMve fallen behind in man-
aging the forest, and the ecosystem has suffered because of it. “Pine are a fire-dependent species,” Clauson said. “They need to be controlled somehow or another [ The pine beetle is sort of saying, MWeMre taking over where the industry didnMt do it, that the Forest Service has not done it. They havenMt thinned properly.M “WeMve controlled fire — and you have to, I suppose — but weMve probably overdone it in a lot of cases,” he added. "ther environmental groups Iuestion the very extent of the damage the beetles are doing to the forest. In a letter commenting on the Forest ServiceMs Mountain Pine Beetle Response Project, which is intended to speed its response to new beetle attacks, environmentalist group Friends of the !orbeck suggested that the ecological conseIuences of a widespread beetle epidemic have generally been “greatly exaggerated.” The group claimed that in many ways, the beetles actually benefit the environSee PINE BEETLES — Page 9
When alive, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere. When they die, they instead release carbon, which could have negative atmospheric effects. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
PINE BEETLES Con$inue( *rom -age 0 !en$% '!on) o$*ers- $*e. ar)0e1 $*a$ 1ea1 an1 1o2ne1 3ee$le $rees 5ro6i1e s*el$er 8or a !0l$i$01e o8 insec$ an1 ani!al s5ecies- an1 $*e 8ire 1an)er o8 a 3ee$le:kille1 $ree $*a$ *as los$ i$s nee1les is lo2er $*an $*a$ o8 a )reen- li6: in) $ree% <Bee$les are no$ 1es$ro.in) o0r 8ores$s > ra$*er- $*e. are crea$in) ne2 ecolo)ical o55or$0ni$ies- increasin) 3io: 1i6ersi$.- an1 i!5ro6in) ecos.s$e! *eal$*-? $*e @or3eck )ro05 2ro$e% <Ai!3er 5ro10c$ion !a. 3e an a55ro5ria$e ac$i6i$. in $*e ri)*$ 5laces a$ $*e ri)*$ $i!es an1 2i$* $*e ri)*$ !e$*o1s- an1 $*ere !a. 3e econo!ic 3ene8i$s 8ro! 0$iliBin) so!e o8 $*e 1ea1 $rees $*a$ are no2 a30n1an$ on $*e lan1sca5e- 30$ 8ro! an ecolo)ical s$an15oin$ $*ere is li$$le or no nee1 $o re!o6e $rees kille1 3. insec$s- an1 $ree re!o6al !a. ca0se ecolo)ical *ar! an1 eCacer3a$e insec$ o0$3reaks%? A*e )ro05 also clai!s $*a$ *ea6. lo))in) !ac*iner. in $*e 8ores$ co0l1 co!5ac$ $*e soil an1 a88ec$ $*e )ro0n1Ds a3ili$. $o re$ain 2a$er- an1 also 1es$ro. $*e *a3i$a$s o8 s5ecies like 5ine !ar$ens an1 )os*a2ks% Brian Bra1e!e.er- eCec0$i6e 1irec$or o8 Erien1s o8 $*e @or3eck- sai1 $*e 3es$ $*in) 8or $*e 8ores$ 2o0l1 3e $o lea6e i$ 0n$o0c*e1 an1 le$ i$ 3eco!e a na$0ral 2il1erness% <A*e 3es$ $*in) F$*e Eores$ Ger6iceH co0l1 1o FisH )e$ o0$ o8 $*e 8ores$-? Bra1e!e.er sai1% <G$o5 $*is roa12ork% G$o5 30il1in) roa1s- s$o5 lo))in) $rees I i$ 1oesnD$ acco!5lis* an.$*in) $*e. clai! $o acco!5lis*%? <A*e. 1onD$ kno2 2*a$ $*e.Dre !issin)- 2*a$ i$ co0l1 3e-? *e a11e1% <A*ere isnD$ an. 5lace .o0 can )o $*a$ *as: nD$ 3een al$ere1%? J*ile 3ee$le:kille1 $rees !a. 3ene8i$ $*e ecos.s$e!K0rB sai1 $*e. also 5resen$ an 0nseen 5ro3le!% ' *eal$*.- )reen $ree 5*o$os.n$*esiBes li)*$- a3sor3s an1 s$ores car3on an1 5ro10ces oC.)en% J*en $*a$ $ree 1ies- i$ s$o5s a3sor3in) car3on an1 ins$ea1 releases i$s car: 3on s$ore in$o $*e a$!os5*ere% Lne 1ea1 $ree !a. no$ 5ose a serio0s en6iron!en$al $*rea$ in $er!s o8 car3on- 30$ across $*e 2es$ern Mni$e1 G$a$es- $*e Eores$ Ger6ice es$i!a$es $*a$ !o0n$ain 5ine 3ee$les *a6e kille1 NO%P !illion acres o8 8ores$- an1 a lar)e 5or$ion o8 Qana1a > incl01in) NO !illion acres in Bri$is* Qol0!3ia alone > *as also 3een a88ec$e1% A*a$ !an. $rees 3eco!in) car3on so0rces co0l1 5o$en: $iall. 5ose serio0s a$!os5*eric iss0es% K0rB sai1 $*a$ in RSST- $*e 3ee$le:kille1 8ores$s o8 Bri$is* Qol0!3ia e!i$$e1 !ore car3on in$o $*e a$!os5*ere $*an $*e re)ionDs en$ire *0!an 5o50la$ion% Ao! AroCel- 1irec$or o8 $*e Black Hills Eores$ Veso0rce 'ssocia$ion- sai1 $*e iss0es o8 car3on release co0l1 3e co!5o0n1e1 i8 $*e 3ee$le:kille1 8ores$s ca0)*$ 8ire% <Wea1- $*e.Dre *ar!80l $o $*e a$!os5*ere% Ln 8ire$*e.Dre 1e6as$a$in)-? *e sai1%
He a11e1 $*a$ <in 8i6e $o OS .ears a$ $*e !os$- $*ose $rees $*a$ *a6e 3een kille1 3. $*e 3ee$les 2ill *a6e 1ie1 an1 8allen o6er on $*e )ro0n1% A*a$Ds )oin) $o reall. increase $*e 5o$en$ial 8or se6ere an1 *i)*:in$ensi$. 8or: es$ 8ires- an1 $*a$Ds 2*a$ *as $*e real 5o$en$ial $o a88ec$ air X0ali$. an1 2a$ers*e1s% A*en .o0 )e$ all $*e s!oke an1 car3on 1ioCi1e in$o $*e a$!os5*ere%? '11i$ionall.- e6er. $ree kille1 3. $*e 5ine 3ee$les is one less $ree a3sor3in) car3on 8ro! $*e a$!os5*ere% A*a$ in $0rn co0l1 a11 $o $*e ear$*Ds e6er:2ar!in) cli: !a$e% Ji$* $*e c0rren$ s$a$e o8 $*e en6iron!en$ 3ein) a 5ar: $ial ins$i)a$or o8 $*e e5i1e!ic an1 3ee$le:kille1 $rees 5ossi3l. *el5in) $o 5er5e$0a$e $*ose con1i$ionsBra1e!e.er e!5*asiBe1 $*a$ lo))in) in $*e 8ores$ isnD$ $*e 2a. $o s$o5 $*e 3ee$le e5i1e!ic% A*e 3es$ 2a.- *e sai1- is $o 3e)in re10cin) )lo3al car3on e!issions 3. no$ 30rnin) oil- an1 also le$$in) na$0re $ake i$s co0rse in $*e 8ores$ $*ro0)* 8ire so ne2- car3on:a3sor3in) 8ores$ can )ro2 3ack in i$s 5lace > an1 s$01ies s*o2 $*a$ i$ 2ill- $*o0)* i$ !a. $ake 1eca1es% A*e !an. 2a.s in 2*ic* 2e *0!ans 0se $*e 8ores$ !akes i$ 1i88ic0l$ $o 1iscon$in0e $rea$!en$- *o2e6er% A*e Black Hills con$in0es $o 3e *o!e $o $*o0san1s o8 5eo5le 2*o in$erac$ 2i$* i$ on a re)0lar 3asis% Je are as !0c* a 5ar$ o8 $*e en6iron!en$ as $*e o$*er s5ecies $*a$ resi1e in i$% 'n1 $o so!e- 8ire is no$ $*e onl. ans2er% K0rB sai1 $*ere are 3ene8i$s $o lo))in) an1 ac$i6e 8ores$ !ana)e: !en$- $*o0)* a1!i$$e1l.- )lo3al a$!os5*eric iss0es can: no$ 3e sol6e1 3. lo))in) alone% <Mn1ers$an1in) *o2 2e can 0se 1ea1 $rees crea$e1 3. cli!a$e c*an)e > *o2 2e can 0se $*e o55or$0ni$ies crea$e1 3. cli!a$e c*an)e $o )ro2 ne2 $rees in re)ions 2*ere $*e. !a. no$ *a6e )ro2n 3e8ore or 2*ere 2e can en*ance 5ro10c$i6i$. $*ro0)* o$*er 8ores$ !ana)e: !en$ o5$ions > is an i!5or$an$ 5rocess in *el5in) 0s 1ecar3oniBe $*e a$!os5*ere-? K0rB sai1% <Eores$s an1 8ores$ !ana)e!en$ 2ill con$in0e $o 5la. a role in $*e 80$0re in in8l0encin) $*e car3on c.cle- 30$ 3. $*e!: sel6es- $*e. canno$ sol6e $*e 5ro3le! o8 8ossil 80el e!issions%? This is the third article in an eight-week series that discusses the effects of the mountain pine beetle on the Black Hills. Next week=s article will discuss the fire danger posed by a heavily infested forest. Send us your comments to newsAbhpioneer.com or log on to www.bhpioneer.com to post comments on the stories.
October - November 2011
Carbon emissions by the numbers...
50 % 47
Amount of carbon in dry weight of wood
Amount of fossil fuel emissions absorbed by forest gobally
Amount of human carbon emissions that remain in the atmosphere
Cubic tons per year + :lobal BILLION carbon emissions from fossil fuels
Tons per year + Increase in BILLION cabon emissions from 1330-2000
Tons per year + Increase in BILLION cabon emissions from 2000-2003
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
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Merle Bieber, a Firewise employee in Lead, piles debris from treated pine trees after the crew thinned the heavily overstocked stand near the city's water treatment plant. The national Firewise program aims to create a defensible firebreak around homes and communities. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen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ee PINE BEETLES — Page 11
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Fire hazards presented by a beetle-killed tree B" M$%& V$(G*%+*( Black Hills *ioneer
Fire has always been a reality in the Black Hills, like the Grizzly Gulch Fire of 2002, shown here in its early stages. While not connected to the Grizzly Gulch Fire, officials said the pine beetle infestation increases the risk of severe, widespread fire in serious ways. Pioneer file photo
PINE BEETLES Continued from -age 10 few beetle-hit trees in the forest before they multiply. He added that in cases of fire in gray, bare “snag” “We've taken a lot of steps to mitigate the amount stands, the conditions become so extreme that fireof fire haFards to Lead,” Stahl said. “The key to fighters won't even enter the area, even if it's threatthose bug trees is to get them out of the forest. \ou ening a home. can't Rust leave them lay there.” In that case, officials said it's the responsibility of Of course, on the other end of all forest fires is the every Black Hills resident to protect themselves from capability of a forest to regenerate. In a lot of ways, potential fire. fire benefits the environment and gives the forest a “I'm advocating that we get prepared for the worst chance to reset. Areas in the \ellowstone !ational — protect our citiFens by doing everything we can to Forest that were scorched by fire several decades ago prepare for the big fire that will certainly come,” are now growing vibrant, healthy trees. Stiger said. “It's a big RobX it's something that's going Though pine beetles did not infest to be with us a long time. We're Rust \ellowstone, studies show that beetle infesgoing to have to face it, accept it and tations don't affect a forest's regenerative prepare for it.” capabilities down the road. Carroll said that while the Forest But that's only part of the issue. The other Service's policy is to immediately and side of the coin, Stiger said, is that people aggressively establish perimeter control live in the forest now. Homes and communiaround wildfires, the resources to do not ties are located right in the midst of these exist to put a fire truck at every home in fire haFards. the Black Hills, so everybody has a perAlthough the forest may eventually benesonal responsibility to look after themfit from a large-scale fire after a few selves, particularly in the first Y00 feet decades of regrowth, then, we also need to around their homes. Mike consider our own safety. Locally, some citiFens are already Stahl Said Stiger, “There isn't a wildland fire preparing for a potential fire. Programs anywhere in the country that's worth a perlike Firewise in Lead are creating fireson's life, even if you throw in a few homes.” breaks around our communities in preparation for a wildfire. This is the fourth article in an eight5week series Lead City Administrator Mike Stahl, a member of that discusses the effects of the mountain pine beetle Lead's volunteer fire department, said the program on the Black Hills. <e=t week's article will discuss has “absolutely” been a success, though most of the the timber industry and its capabilities in regard to work has been in green areas that were heavily overthe pine beetles. stocked. Send us your comments to newsAbhpioneer.com !ot many pine beetle trees have threatened Lead, or log on to www.bhpioneer.com to post comments Stahl said. About Y0 trees total had to be professionon the stories. ally removed from the South Lead Cemetery, but that has been the largest extent of an attack near the city. [eeping it that way, is a matter of removing the
!ORTHER! HILLS — According to the 7.S Forest Service and researchers at the 7niversity of Montana, the following are the decaying stages of a beetle-killed tree and the fire haFards they present. A healthy tree functions in the fashion of a hydraulic pump, moving moisture and nutrients from the soil to its needles. That tree can be burned, though it is more difficult to ignite than a dead tree. After years of drought, foliar moisture in the tree drops, and various chemicals, oils and resins, which are highly volatile, concentrate in the needles and present a higher risk of fire. When a tree is first killed by pine beetles, the beetles chew through the cambian layer of the tree, effectively cutting off its ability to circulate moisture. A study by the 7niversity of Montana indicated that when the moisture drops to about K0 percent moisture, trees will exhibit “extreme fire behavior.” In this and following stages, fire embers burn longer due to the moisture changes. As time goes by, the green needles dry out and turn red. Those needles burn quickly, explosively, and for short durations. Frank Carroll, of the 7.S. Forest Service, said needles like that can be maRor contributors to sweeping, expansive crown fires. Red, burning needles are also easily lofted into the air, and the increased heat from such a fire allows them to be lofted higher and over greater distances, potentially starting spot fires in other locations. Without fire, though, red needles fall to the forest floor within a few years and leave the trees bare, or in the “gray ghost” state. Sray ghosts, both standing and on the ground, contain about T to U percent moisture, which will increase a fire's intensity when they burn. When a crown fire reaches stands of bare trees, called snags, it usually drops to the ground. Fire can then burn along the forest floor, through the dead needles and down trees, and gray ghosts catch fire like firewood. Large, plate-siFed embers will be lofted from gray ghosts and carried for long distances. Additionally, standing gray ghosts aren't very sturdy, and are prone to snap unexpectedly and crash to the ground as they burn. For that reason, firefighters will not enter a fire in a snag full of gray ghosts, even if it's near a home — which is why the Forest Service strongly encourages homeowners to tend the area around their homes for potential fire risks.
Whether standing, bare, or on the ground, beetle-infested trees present unique fire hazards at all stages. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
Officials: Timber industry can't stop the beetles alone
A feller buncher, like this one owned by Mailloux Timber Company, can fall a full-grown tree in less than half a second. Company owner Jamey Mailloux said his machinery consumes hundreds of dollars' worth of diesel fuel every day. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
Shown here, a boom delimber removes tree limbs to prepare the logs for transportation to the mill. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
October - November 2011
!" #A%K 'A()E%PE( Black Hills Pioneer N"#$%&#N %())S + $he e.istence of a strong ti9:er ind<str= in the >lack %ills has :een identified := forestr= officials as one of the 9ain assets in the fight against the pine :eetlesB :<t the e.plosiCe scope of the infestation has so9e do<:ting whether the ind<str= alone has the capa:ilit= to stop it an=9ore. Fo9pared to the forests of Folorado and MontanaB which haCe :een affected := the :eetles al9ost to the point where there arenHt an= pine trees left for the9 to killB the >lack %ills National Iorest see9s to :e doing relatiCel= wellB eCen tho<gh al9ost a third of the J.2 9illion-acre forest has :een infested. Northern %ills District #anger #honda "H>=rne is one of seCeral forest officials who credit a lot of s<ccess to the ti9:er ind<str= and its logging actiCities in the %ills. NOeople are seeing what the 9o<ntain pine :eetles are doing on the >lack %ills National IorestB and itHs not a good pict<re to look atB :<t ( think we are wa= ahead of what so9e other national forests haCe :een a:le to doB :eca<se we haCe PanQ ind<str=BR "H>=rne said. $he ind<str= can onl= do so 9<chB tho<ghB and officials in the ti9:er ind<str= said the=Hre to the point where the= need to :e e.tre9el= selectiCe of where the= treat the forest for :eetlesB si9pl= d<e to the sheer siSe and growth of the infestation. N$his thing is :igger than what the ind<str= can handleBR said Dan ><ehlerB reso<rce 9anager with Nei9an $i9:er Fo9pan=. NTe need to slow its progressU we need to :e effectiCe where treat9ents occ<r on the gro<ndB and honestl= hope that Mother Nat<re interCenes and helps knock the9 :ack to a 9ore 9anagea:leB realistic o<tlook of o<r f<t<re ti9:er s<ppl= and what we can do.R $he Iorest serCice esti9ated that in 2009B the :eetles infested al9ost 22B000 new acres of forest. $hat n<9:er X<9ped to YYB000 in 20J0B and earl= esti9ates for 20JJ place the new infestation eCen higherB in the range of 50B000-60B000 new acres. Thile the acreage growsB the ti9:er ind<str=Hs capa:ilities re9ain a:o<t the sa9e. $o9 ShafferB general 9anager with the Nei9an $i9:er Fo9pan=B said the ind<str= logged on a:o<t 28B000 acres last =ear. ><ehler added that the= pro:a:l= co<ld haCe 9anaged a:o<t Y0B000 acresB :<t either wa=B the 9ath works o<t to the sa9e concl<sion] weHre falling :ehind. $hat :eing the caseB Shaffer said the ind<str= has al9ost adopted the 9entalit= of NSacrifice a few to saCe 9an=.R So9e landsB he saidB need to :e a:andoned to the :eetles now so we can foc<s o<r efforts in areas where we can still :e effectiCe against the :eetles. ><t 9an= people donHt see it that wa=. Shaffer said people with :eetles threatening or alread= on their land rel= heaCil= on the ti9:er ind<str= to protect the9 fro9 the :eetlesB :<t with so 9an= of the9 in the %illsB and the infestation so widespreadB it X<st isnHt possi:le or econo9icall= feasi:le to :e eCer=where at once. NTe at one point 9ade a decision that weHre going to do eCer=thing we can + :eca<se thatHs where o<r f<t<re liesB is national forest lands + to go o<t and halt the 9arch of the :<gs on Iorest SerCice PlandQBR Shaffer said. NTellB then weHCe got eCer= priCate landowner that wants to get rid of their trees. TeHre s<pposed to saCe thatU weHre s<pposed to saCe F<ster PStateQ OarkU weHre s<pposed to saCe FraS= %orseU weHre s<pposed to saCe eCer=:od= ^ (tHs al9ost like eCer=:od=Hs sitting :ack and waiting for the ind<str= to swoop in and take care of all this st<ffB and we X<st canHtBR he said. NTe canHt do it. Te canHt :e eCer=where at one ti9e.R See PINE BEETLES â€” Page 13
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
!ontinued from Page 0
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“... I think we are ahead of what some other national forests have been able to do, because we have (an) industry”
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2oBe29er c P9ereGer Ce cu2? i2 9as 2o 7e e11ec2iGe? or else CeIre Cas2inB 2i:eEN /his is the fifth article in an eight4wee% series that discusses the effects of the mountain pine beetle on the !lac% 'ills. <ext wee%>s article will discuss the ?orest @ervice and its capabilities in regard to the pine beetles. @end us Bour comments to newsCbhpi4 oneer.com or log on to www.bhpioneer.com to post comments on the stories.
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The grayish blue discoloration commonly found on lumber that has been infested by the mountain pine beetle, is caused by a microscopic fungus. Pictured is a ponderosa pine tree cut out of the Black Hills. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
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BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Forest Service ‘optimistic’ about success against pine beetles
B" #$%& '$()*%P*( !lack Hills Pioneer !"#T%&#! %I))* — The .lac2 %ills !ational 8orest faces some serious challenges in terms of combating the mountain pine beetle@ but its managers say there is hope of successB In terms of the beetle epidemic@ 8orest *uperDisor Craig .obFien said that with the Dariety of resources aDailable to us@ we can be optimistic about successfully preDenting the total infestation of the forestB IIJm of the belief — and I will say this is a shared belief among a lot of people who are wor2ing on this — that in the .lac2 %ills@ we haDe the ingredients in place to haDe the best chance of being successful in haDing a healthy forest@ of really any place that I 2now of in the Kest thatJs being threatened right now@L .obFien saidB To achieDe that success@ the 8orest *erDice has formulated a strategy for responding to the beetles@ but it will also ta2e cooperation with goDernments@ landowners and other entities across the forestB The Kestern .ar2 .eetle *trategy@ published by the 8orest *erDice in Muly@ identifies three main IprongsL or considerations in treating for the beetlesN human safety@ forest recoDery after a deDastating infestation@ and long-term forest resiliency through thinning and treatment methodsB .obFien said the 8orest *erDice treats for safety first@ in areas li2e campgrounds@ trailheads@ roads and the wildlandOurban interface where public communities meet forestlandB %e added@ though@ that many of those areas arenJt facing serious public safety threats right nowB IP*afetyQ is our first priority@ but itJs the smallest part of what we do on the .lac2 %ills@L .obFien saidB IKe donJt haDe many areas li2e that because weJDe been able to manage so much of the forest in adDance of the beetlesB IKe are really wor2ing to loo2 at the areas that are both most at ris2 and where the public resource Dalues are the highest — said differently@ where weJd haDe the greatest conseRuence if we didnJt ta2e any actionBL *trategically@ .obFien said the most effectiDe place to be — and where the 8orest *erDice is trying to be and remain — is in the Ileading edgeL Fone@ which is the area beetles are approaching but haDe not yet reachedB *trengthening the forest in those areas will presumably preDent the beetles from eStending any farther@ protecting the forest from further infestationB .ut the cumbersome regulations by which the 8orest *erDice must abide sometimes 2eep it from getting to leading edge Fones before the beetles do@ and .obFien said some of the leading edge Fones that were identified earlier are filling up with bug-hit trees pretty Ruic2lyB Telayed action is nothing new for the 8orest *erDice@ which is hampered by federal regulations@ budget processes and litigation from outside sourcesB ApproDing a timber sale can ta2e yearsB *ometimes plans need to adapt during that
time to meet new threats@ but regulations preDent a Ruic2 change in directionB IItJs li2e the Titanic - if you see a threat coming at you@ how hard is it to change course and do something differentV ItJs not Dery easy@L said !orthern %ills Tistrict #anger #honda "J.yrneB .obFien said that the W2Y@000-acre [ountain \ine .eetle #esponse \ro]ect@ along with Darious other pro]ects that amount to about 200@000 acres@ will help decrease response time to newlyhit areas and increase the ability to create a beetle-preDenting barrier of thinned@ healthy forest in leading edge FonesB *ome of those pro]ects could haDe boots on the ground by summer of 2012B .obFien said that approDing that many acres for a Ruic2 response is critical to staying ahead of the spreading infestationB IKe haDe ]ust got to loo2 at eDery possible stand that could be threatened here and analyFe this now@L he saidB II donJt thin2 we can PassumeQ that this is moDing at such a pace that we can 2eep up with itBL "J.yrne said the 8orest *erDiceJs main defense in battling the pine beetles is the timber sale@ which allows the timber industry to harDest trees on federal land and what ma2es thinning in leading edge Fones possibleB [aintaining those timber sales in adDance of the beetles is Iclearly our niche here@L .obFien saidB Kithout timber sales@ which actually create reDenue for the 8orest *erDice@ then the .lac2 %ills would haDe to rely on federal funding to fight the beetles@ as many other forests in the _B*B doB And federal funds are in short supply these daysB _nfortunately@ while the .lac2 %ills has sold more timber than any other forest nationwide in the past fiDe years@ the beetles are still adDancing@ and the timber industry has limits to what it can economically log on the forestB In other words@ the timber sale canJt be our only preDentatiDe measure@ and "J.yrne said the 8orest *erDice recogniFes thatB The 8orest *erDice is wor2ing with priDate landowners and Dolunteer organiFations to find a solution for how to best treat the forestB A lot of landowners and Dolunteers haDe come forward in the past siS months@ ardently trying to help the 8orest *erDice remoDe beetle2illed trees from national forest landB .ut there are time-consuming processes for that tooB Khile "J.yrne and .obFien said they are impressed with that effort forest wide@ itJs not as simple as handing a Dolunteer a hardhat and chainsaw and setting him loose in the forestB )egal Ruestions need to be answered firstN what degree of training will Dolunteers need to undergoV Kho will pay for itV If a Dolunteer is in]ured on the forest@ who is liableV IKe are trying to find some instrument that will let the 8orest *erDice wor2 with these other entities ` so that the timber sale contract isnJt our only option@L "J.yrne saidB I#ight now weJre loo2ing through law regulation policy that affects the 8orest *erDice@ seeing if thereJs some way thatJs legal out there for us to be able to do itB Ke really want to be able
Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien inspects a map identifying beetle-hit trees near Custer Peak. Bobzien said there is hope of success against the pine beetles. Pioneer photo by Mark Watson
The Forest Service treats the beetle-hit areas for public safety first. Here, Forest Service fire crews chip harvested beetle trees near Roubaix Campground. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen to wor2 with them@ but itJs the mechanics of trying to be able to do that ` All the federal processes@ the laws that we haDe to meet@ theyJre there for a good reason@ but it ta2es time to get through themBL Along with Dolunteers eager to help are those eager to offer adDice@ which in turn generates a wide Dariety of ideas and Dalues about the best treatment strategies and most critical areas to protectB .obFien said there is no uniDersal strategy for eDerybody to follow@ because the beetles affect different ]urisdictions that haDe different priorities and methodsB That said@ .obFien said there is a need for cooperation and forest-wide prioritiFation of areas that need to be treatedB IThe reality of it is that we do haDe to prioritiFe areas@ by loo2ing at the Dalues at ris2 and the conseRuences of not going there@L .obFien saidB IKe clearly haDe to do thatB Ke do that on a daily and wee2ly basisBL
Those priority areas naturally shift as new beetle attac2s appear or eSisting ones eSpand@ and eDen as funding is allocated and spentB *afety is always the top priority@ but .obFien said the 8orest *erDice will also wor2 to protect the economic@ recreational and enDironmental assets in the forest as well@ because eDen though fighting the beetles is tough to do with limited funds@ doing nothing could end up costing eDen moreB This is the sixth article in an eight-week series that discusses the effects of the mountain pine beetle on the !lack Hills. Next week's article will discuss treatment options and tactics in combating the pine beetle. Send us your comments to newsAbhpioneer.com or log on to www.bhpioneer.com to post comments on the stories.
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Forest Service pushing to mitigate pine beetle damage South 'akota offers a backdrop of magnificent vistas for Americans to enjoy. Amid that scenery is the Black Hills National Forest, which provides more than B00 miles of trails, 1B,000 acres of wilderness and, like all national forests, serves as an economic lifeblood to rural communities. Unfortunately, the mountain pine beetle has reached epidemic levels in some or most of the ponderosa pine stands on about 400,000 acres of the 1.G million-acre national forest. Let me assure you that we take this infestation seriously and have been working with local, state and other community leaders to address this situation. Since the bark beetle epidemic began in 1JJ8, the Forest Service has aggressively planned and implemented effective projects to mitigate the damaging effects of the bark beetle on the Black Hills National Forest. Those efforts include removing individual trees to improve the health of the remaining stand in high value areas and cutting and dropping thousands of infested trees to reduce actual or anticipated spread of the beetle. While the size and scope of the bark beetle epidemic is beyond all our abilities to stop, significant effects are being made to mitigate its impacts. In the last five years, the Forest Service has commercially thinned more than 100,000 acres of the Black Hills National Forest, improved forest vegetation and wildlife habitat, reduced fuels on 400,000 acres and marked more than 1P0,000 trees to kill beetle larvae in more isolated
beetle-infested areas. These treatments have been effecSome have offered procedural shortcuts as the answer, tive in the areas implemented. but our experience shows that an adaptive management In addition, this past September the Forest Service, approach will enable us to move quickly to address hot along with Gov. 'ennis 'augaard, announced RB million spots and the highest priority areas. In the interim, as the in cooperative federal grants for community assistance. project comes fully onboard, we are using all our availThat money will pay for a variety of high priorable resources and have projects in various ity projects, including hazardous fuels reducstages of planning and environmental reviews tion, state fire assistance, hazard assessments, to stay fully engaged. Longer term, the agency insect and disease surveys and monitoring syshas a broader bark beetle strategy for the West, tems, and promotion of active management which will ensure the agency has the wheretechniques that all address the beetle infestation withal to address the ongoing threat. and lead to a healthy forest. I know there is a lot at stake, both for the This past October, the Black Hills National forest and for those South 'akotans who rely Forest sold more than GP million board feet of upon a healthy forest for their livelihood. beetle-killed trees and is marking additional South 'akota is a land rich in resources and beetle-killed trees in active timber sales area. history. The Forest Service will continue its Over the next several months, forest land manefforts to protect the Black Hills and other beeTom agers will enter newly infested areas to mark tle-infested areas throughout the West because Vilsack more trees for sale, which once removed, will healthy forests are critical to the well-being of help reduce bark beetle threats and ensure that our country's health and welfare. The Forest local sawmills have a continuous supply of timber. Service is working diligently with partners to ensure And we aren't done yet. As evidenced by the continuing South 'akotans and all Americans will enjoy the State's devastation caused by the tiny, prolific pest, we don't have precious natural resources for generations to come. years for the normal process of mitigating forest problems. That's why we proactively developed the Mountain !o# %ilsack is ,-e /ni,e1 2,a,es 2ecre,ar4 o5 Pine Beetle Response Project, which is an innovative, 67ric8l,8re9 â€œbreak the moldâ€? approach that will allow a timely, effective response to new outbreaks.
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Fighting effectively BY MARK 'ANGERPEN Black Hills Pioneer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
Donnie Quaschnick hunts for pine beetles under the bark of a beetle-killed tree. Quaschnick's property, near Custer Peak, was largely overrun after the beetles infested the mountain. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen >:0/182/C'>1C'7.'0.<69.<'/:'1?'=.K'1?'/K:'/0..?'5.0'-63<0.<'/0.1/G .<@'76/':38C'2='/-.'/0..?'10.3H/'23=.?/.<'C./A %.9J'?12<'/-1/'K2/-'1';:69-.0'=0:>'/-.'9:63/C@'813<:K3.0?'913 5609-1?.'/-.'9-.>2918?'1/'/-.'?/1/.'72<'5029.A'S501C.0?'/:'1558C'/-. 9-.>2918?'10.'18?:'1;128178.'=:0'6?.'=0..':='9-104.'=0:>'/-.'9:63/CA $-.'9:?/':='?501C234'/0..?'1;.014.?':6/'/:'17:6/'^_'5.0'/0..@ %.9J'?12<@'13<'/-.'9-.>2918?'3..<'/:'7.'15582.<'.;.0C'C.10@'50.=.0G 178C'7C'J63.A'B../8.?'234.?/'/-.'9-.>2918'1?'/-.C'7:0.'23/:'/-.'/0..@ 13<'%.9J'?12<'/-.'9-.>2918?'10.'.3;20:3>.3/188C'=02.3<8C'13<'K:3H/ -10>':/-.0'132>18?A S501C234'2?'>:0.'/-13'YZ'5.09.3/'.==.9/2;.@'76/'<6.'/:'/-.'9:?/ %.9J'0.9:>>.3<.<':38C'6?234'2/'/:'50:/.9/'-24-G;186.'/0..?A O-.0:>:3.?'/-1/'1//019/'7../8.?'/:'1'?>188'10.1'>24-/'18?:'7. 6?.<@'K2/-'23=.?/.<'/0..?'7.234'96/'13<'0.>:;.<':39.'/-.'7../8.?'10. <:3.'>:;234A'B:0.?/.0'B288'L:7603'?12<'/-1/'>./-:<'9:68<'7.'6?.< 23'?/..5'10.1?'82J.'S5.10=2?-'L13C:3@'K-.0.'8:44234'.X625>.3/ 913H/'0.19-@'76/'2/'K:68<3H/'7.'9:?/G.==.9/2;.':3'1'8104.'?918.A N:/'188'9-.>2918'/0.1/>.3/?'10.'.==.9/2;.@'/-:64-A'A88.3'13< %.9J'K103.<'14123?/'/-.'6?.':='0.5.88.3/'5-.0:>:3.?@'K-29-'9:>. 23'519J./?'/-1/'10.'?/158.<'/:'1'/0..'13<'50:>2?.'/:'4610<'14123?/ 23=.?/1/2:3A A88.3'?12<'/-1/'=2.8<'/.?/?'/-0:64-:6/'/-.'51?/'=2;.'C.10?'14123?/ /-.'9-.>2918'b.0723:3.'-1;.'50:;.3'/:'7.'>:?/8C'23.==.9/2;.A ,-.0.'23.==.9/2;.'/0.1/>.3/?'10.'15582.<@':0'.;.3'2='.==.9/2;. /0.1/>.3/?'10.3H/'15582.<'50:5.08C@'/-.'9:3?.X6.39.?'9:68<'7.'<20.@ K2/-'7../8.?'>:;234'23/:'13<'/-0:64-':/-.0K2?.G<.=.3?278.'?/13<?A O3'1'8104.'?918.@'/-1/H?'7..3'/-.'91?.'23'?.;.018'10.1?'10:63<'/-. =:0.?/A $-:64-'?.;.018'10.1?'10:63<'L6?/.0'O.1J'K.0.'?1;.<'=0:>'/-. 7../8.?@'/-.'>1N:02/C':='2/'K1?':;.0063@'13<'K2/-'2/'K.3/'/-.'/0..? 10:63<'813<:K3.0'P:332.'c61?9-329JH?'50:5.0/CA c61?9-329J'82;.?'3.10'L6?/.0'O.1JA'%2?'50:5.0/C'2?'?600:63<.< 7C'B:0.?/'S.0;29.'813<@'13<'/-.'1<;139.':='/-.'7../8.?'190:??'/-. >:63/123'-1?'>1<.'50:/.9/234'-2?':K3'50:5.0/C'<2==2968/@'/:'?1C'/-. 8.1?/A (3'/-.'?.;.018'C.10?'?239.'/-.'23=.?/1/2:3'/::J'-:8<'13<'/-.'B:0.?/ S.0;29.'71//8.<'9:60/'91?.?'13<'0.4681/2:3?'/:'.?/1782?-'/0.1/>.3/':3
Custer Peak is one area almost entirely killed by pine beetles, but one area was largely untouched after it was thinned. Courtesy photo by U.S. Forest Service
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Pictured here, trees that have been cut and chunked quickly dry out, killing the beetles in the tree. Researchers say the method is up to 90 percent effective. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
Drawing battle plans !" #A%& VA()*%+*( !"a$% 'i"") Pioneer !"#$%&#! %())* + $he ./ght aga/34t the 5ou3ta/3 8/3e beetle4 /43;t ho8ele44< but =e >o have a 4tee8 h/ll to @l/5b a3> 3ot 5u@h t/5e to rea@h the to8< .ore4t /3>u4try o../@/al4 4ay. $o get there< they 4ay /t;4 t/5e to >e@/>e =hat;4 5o4t /58orta3t to u4 a3> @a3 4t/ll be 4ave>< the3 /58le5e3t a @oor>/3ate>< .ore4tD=/>e 4trategy to a@h/eve 8r/or/t/Ee> goal4 .or 8rote@t/3g the Fla@G %/ll4 .ro5 the beetle4. HWe 3ee> to Ju/t talG/3g about /t. We 3ee> to 4tart 8rea@h/3g a 4trategy<K 4a/> Da3 Fuehler< re4our@e 5a3ager =/th the !e/5a3 $/5ber Mo58a3y. HWe;> l/Ge to have a @oor>/3ate> e..ort N =here everyD th/3g /4 @o58le5e3t/3g ea@h other. $hat;4 =hat ( .eel /4 la@G/3g overall.K $hat< a3> 4o5eo3e to lea> the @harge /3 .or5ulat/3g a3> /58le5e3t/3g that 4trateD gy. Who that lea>er 4houl> be 4houl> be /4 >ebatable. Oa3y lea3 to=ar> the Pore4t *erv/@e< a4 /t /4 the 8r/5ary la3>hol>er /3 the Fla@G %/ll4. Fut the Pore4t *erv/@e ha4 8u4he> .or lo@al @o3trol /3 Qur/4>/@D t/o34 that have >/..er/3g 8r/or/t/e4. #e4our@e4 .or ./ght/3g the 8/3e beetle are3;t eRa@tly 4@a3t< but they are 4@attere> a@ro44 tho4e Qur/4>/@t/o34. $he @ou3ty< 4tate< Pore4t *erv/@e< 8r/vate la3>o=3er4< bu4/3e44 o=3er4 a3> the t/5ber /3>u4try are all a@t/vely /3volve> /3 battl/3g the beetle< but are3;t 3e@e44ar/ly @oor>/3at/3g =/th ea@h other a@ro44 the boar>. HSMoor>/3at/o3T /4 @r/t/@al< but =hether /t;4 8o44/ble or 3ot /4 al=ay4 the Jue4D t/o3<K )a=re3@e Mou3ty Mo55/44/o3 Daryl Uoh34o3 4a/>. H( th/3G o3 a lot o. o@@a4/o34< you >o3;t 4ee that D you 4ee everybo>y go/3g the/r o=3 >/re@t/o3.K Pore4t *u8erv/4or Mra/g FobE/e3 4a/> that the =/>e var/ety o. 4taGehol>er4 br/3g a =/>e var/ety o. 8r/or/t/e4 to the table< 4o o3e u3/ver4al 4trategy 5ay 3ot be 8o44/D ble. HWe @oul> have a 4trategy =here =e =oul> have a h/gh agree5e3t o3 our a48/D rat/o34 a3> goal4 N but =he3 =e have 4o 5a3y 8ubl/@ value4 a3> re4our@e4 at r/4G ba4e> o3 =here 8eo8le re4/>e /3 the Fla@G %/ll4< ( bel/eve that =e =oul> o3ly be able to 4tay at that h/gher Sa48/rat/o3T level<K FobE/e3 4a/>. $he Pore4t *erv/@e;4 We4ter3 FarG Feetle *trategy re.le@t4 that h/gher level. $he 4trategy 8r/or/t/Ee4 area4 o3 the .ore4t ba4e> o3 8ubl/@ 4a.ety< .ore4t re@overy a3> lo3gDter5 .ore4t re4/l/e3@y. V4 /t;4 a 3at/o3=/>e 4trategy< /t >oe43;t />e3t/.y a3y 48e@/./@ area4 o3 the Fla@G %/ll4 !at/o3al Pore4t< but /t @a3 be a88l/e> to h/ghDr/4G area4 a4 the beetle4 48rea>. Fut Fuehler a3> .ore4ter F/ll Mobur3 are a>vo@at/3g that a 4/3gle< u3/./e> 4tratD egy /4 8o44/ble< a3> /3 .a@t @ru@/al to our 4u@@e44. Fuehler re@e3tly 8re4e3te> to the )a=re3@e Mou3ty Mo55/44/o3 a 8rel/5/D 3ary 4trategy .or treat/3g the e3t/re .ore4t. $he 4trategy 4eg5e3t4 the .ore4t /3to three >/..ere3t Eo3e4 D re4/l/e3@y< re4tra/3D /3g a3> re@overy D .or treat5e3t< a3> 4eJue3t/ally 3u5ber4 the5 .or 8r/or/ty. $he re4/l/e3@y Eo3e /4 g/ve3 the h/ghe4t
The mountain pine beetle epidemic threatens many aspects of the Black Hills economy and environment. Pictured, Josh Brewer monitors incoming lumber at Spearfish Forest Products. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen 8r/or/ty a3> /3@lu>e4 the Fear )o>ge Oou3ta/34 a3> outer e>ge4 o. the %/ll4 3orth o. !e=@a4tle< Wyo.< to #a8/> M/ty. $he 4trategy />e3t/./e4 tho4e area4 a4 be/3g u3>er /55/3e3t threat or alrea>y 4ho=/3g 45all 8o@Get4 o. beetle4 that @oul> ea4/ly a3> Ju/@Gly eR8a3>. $reat5e3t /3 the re4/l/e3@y Eo3e =oul> be 5o4tly =/th ha3> @re=4 a3> @ha/34a=4< =/th the target o. treat/3g at lea4t WX 8erD @e3t o. />e3t/./e> 8r/or/ty 4/te4 /3.e4te> =/th 4urv/v/3g beetle4. $he Eo3e .or54 a 4ort o. hor4e4hoe arou3> the re4tra/3/3g Eo3e< =here Fuehler 4a/> the t/5ber /3>u4try =oul> .o@u4 5o4t o. /t4 e..ort4. $he Eo3e ha4 4/g3/./@a3tly h/gher 8o8ulat/o34 o. beetle4 a3> =oul> be th/33e> =/th heavy logg/3g eJu/85e3t by the t/5ber /3>u4try< aga/3 a/5/3g .or a target o. WX 8er@e3t treatD 5e3t /3 8r/or/ty 4ta3>4. $he re@overy Eo3e 4/t4 at the @ore o. the %/ll4< 4tret@h/3g 4outh .ro5 Mheye33e Mro44/3g to Qu4t 3orth o. Mu4ter. Feetle4 /3 that area are too 8o8ulou4 to be e..e@D t/vely @o3trolle>< Fuehler 4a/>< 4o the 5aQor/ty o. =orG there =oul> be 4a3/taD t/o3 o. >ea> area4 .or ./re 5/t/gat/o3 a3> 8ubl/@ 4a.ety. Fuehler 4a/> the Fear )o>ge Oou3ta/34 are the 8r/5ary .o@u4 o. the 4trategy< be@au4e /t;4 the gree3e4t .ore4t that re5a/34 /3 the Fla@G %/ll4< a3> 3ee>4 to be 8rote@te> be.ore /3.e4tat/o3 eR8lo>e4. *8ear./4h Oou3ta/3 a3> *8ear./4h Ma3yo3 are al4o =/th/3 the re4/l/e3@y Eo3e< but the /3>u4try /4 u3able to treat the5 be@au4e the Pore4t *erv/@e ha43;t a88rove> a t/5ber 4ale there yet D though *8ear./4h Oou3ta/3 /4 8art o. a t/5ber 4ale o3 the ra>ar .or Vugu4t YXZY. !e/5a3;4 4trategy borro=4 heav/ly
.ro5 the 8r/3@/8le4 o. the Vlberta [la3< 8ra@t/@e> by Ma3a>a;4 Vlberta *u4ta/3able #e4our@e Develo85e3t. Fuehler a3> Mobur3 4a/> /t;4 al4o the G/3> o. 4trategy the Fla@G %/ll4 3ee>4< but ha43;t yet 4ee3. H(t;4 go/3g to @o5e =/th 4o5e 4a@r/D ./@e4<K Fuehler 4a/>. HWhe3 you looG at the 4@o8e o. th/4 8roble5< Sthe !e/5a3 4trategyT 3ee>4 to be ./3eDtu3e> a3> /t 3ee>4 to be 8r/or/t/Ee>< but /t /4 /3 a 4e34e @reat/3g =/33er4 a3> lo4er4.K Mo58la/3t4 =/ll u3>oubte>ly ar/4e a5o3g tho4e =ho lo4e< Fuehler a>>e>< but hav/3g a 4trategy to @r/t/Jue /4 better tha3 3ot hav/3g o3e at all. HWe have3;t 4ee3 a3yo3e @o5e out =/th a3yth/3g el4e /3 ter54 o. a 4trategy<K Fuehler 4a/>. HWe have3;t ha> a3y .ee>D ba@G .ro5 the >/..ere3t orga3/Eat/o34 o3 the 4trategy that =e 8ut together. SWe =rote th/4T to have .urther >/4@u44/o34. (t;4 3ot 8er.e@t< /t 5ay 3ot =orG\ =e >o3;t G3o=. Fut 3obo>y;4 @o5/3g .or=ar> =/th try/3g 4o5eth/3g 3e=.K Oaybe the 5o4t @r/t/@al 8art o. the 4trategy /4 that =herever treat5e3t4 are a88l/e>< they 3ee> to rea@h the WX 8er@e3t treat5e3t thre4hol>. H(. =e;re 3ot gett/3g WX 8er@e3t So. /3.e4te> tree4T< =e;re =a4t/3g our t/5e<K Fuehler 4a/>. &/ghty 8er@e3t /4 the a5ou3t @ha58/D o3e> /3 the Vlberta [la3< =h/@h Mobur3 4a/> /4 ba@Ge> by 4@/e3@e a3> ha4 bee3 >e5o34trably 4u@@e44.ul /3 the Ma3a>/a3 .ore4t4. *u@@e44.ully rea@h/3g that 8o/3t /4 go/3g to taGe everyth/3g =e have< Fuehler 4a/> D volu3teer4 =/th @ha/34a=4 @utt/3g /3@/8/e3t beetleDh/t tree4\ the /3>u4try taG/3g largeD4@ale treat5e3t4\
eve3 the 8re4@r/be> bur3/3g o. 4la4h 8/le4. V3> 4o5eo3e 3ee>4 to be at the hel5< 5aG/3g 4ure th/3g4 get >o3e r/ght. Mobur3 8ulle> 3o 8u3@he4 =/th =ho 4houl> lea>. WorG/3g =/th YXX] /3.e4taD t/o3 ./gure4 D YXZX aer/al 8hoto4 are 4t/ll be/3g 8ro@e44e> by the Pore4t *erv/@e< 5o3th4 a.ter they =ere ./r4t taGe3 D Mobur3 >el/3eate> 5ore tha3 ^<XXX 45all area4 o. /3.e4tat/o3 /3 )a=re3@e Mou3ty alo3e. V3> 5o4t o. the5 =ere o3 Pore4t *erv/@e la3>. H(t 4houl> be the Pore4t *erv/@e< be@au4e 8r/5ar/ly every o3e o. the5 /4 o3 Pore4t *erv/@e )a3>4<K Mobur3 4a/>. HSFutT there;4 3o 4trategy out there .ro5 the Pore4t *erv/@e< that ( @a3 >eter5/3e< that =e;re go/3g to taGe @are o. tho4e.K (3 a lot o. =ay4< the t/5ber /3>u4try /4 u3able to lea>< be@au4e /t @a3;t 5a3age the .ore4t =/thout 8er5/44/o3 .ro5 the Pore4t *erv/@e. V@ro44 the .ore4t< other4 have taGe3 a lea>er4h/8 role /3 45aller area4. H( th/3G there alrea>y /4 a @lear lea>er /3 )a=re3@e Mou3ty< a3> that;4 the @ou3D ty<K Uoh34o3 4a/>. HWe;ve bee3 try/3g to taGe a lea>er4h/8 role =/th /t .or 4everal year4 3o=< a3> =e;re >o/3g that through our 5arG/3g e..ort4 a3> @oor>/3at/3g =/th the other age3@/e4. We;re =orG/3g o3 4o5e 5utual agree5e3t4 =/th the Pore4t *erv/@e =h/@h =e th/3G =/ll be very be3D e./@/al /3 the e..ort to @o3trol the 8/3e beetle.K $he 4tate ha4 al4o bee3 8roa@t/ve =/th the beetle ./ght th/4 year< e4tabl/4h/3g a @o4tD4hare treat5e3t 8rogra5 .u3>e> by _Z 5/ll/o3 /3 4tate .u3>4< a 8ro8o4al by `ov. De33/4 Daugaar> .or _a 5/ll/o3 See PINE BEETLES â€” Page 18
BLACK HILLS PIONEER PINE BEETLE SERIES
October - November 2011
PINE BEETLES !"#$%#&'()*+",)P./')01 more in beetle-battle funds for the Wildland Fire Suppression Division in fiscal 2013, and an informational website at www.beatthebeetles.com to keep citiAens informed and up-todate on the fight. CEverybodyFs doing something,G Coburn said. CI just donFt see the urgency from the Forest Service toward this issue that you see from the counties and the industry K and the state.G In general terms, BobAien said the Forest Service can adhere to an overarching strategy, but it canFt infringe on local jurisdictions by tossing their lands out of treatment Aones through prioritiAation - though he added that areas within the Forest ServiceFs jurisdiction should be and are prioritiAed to make treatments as effective as possible. Responsibility for treating the forest is Cshared where we have common interests, and dispersed where there are uniNue interests,G he said. Spearfish Canyon is an area of uniNue interest. The Forest Service has said that the walls of the Canyon are too steep to treat with ground-based logging eNuipment, and helicopter logging isnFt cost-effective when money could be used to cover more ground in more accessible areas. Tom Shaffer, general manager of NeimanFs, agreed. CI think theyFd spend a boatload of money for getting nothing out of it,G Shaffer said. But the Save Spearfish Canyon Coalition is ready to spend thousands of dollars to protect the corridor from pine beetles, in hopes of preserving its scenic beauty and keeping the folks who live there safe from wildfires and dead, falling trees. Coordination across organiAations is a complicated process, which adds to the difficulty of formulating an effective, universal strategy - especially when agencies canFt agree whether we even need one. With the beetles continuing to spread exponentially, though - officials say they infested another 67,000 acres of forest this year, up from 44,000 acres in 2010 - the clock is ticking in the battle with the beetle, and how we move forward will be critical in determining our success against them. This is the final article in an eight-week series that discusses the effects of the mountain pine beetle on the Black Hills. What do YOU think? What needs to be done to battle the beetle? Log onto bhpioneer.com or send your comments to news@bhpioneer to let us know!
A forest-wide beetle treatment strategy proposed by the Neiman Timber Company would prioritize the Black Hills into three zones â€” mitigation and recovery would be the focus of the central zone, heavy treatment logging would occur in the surrounding areas, and the outer edges would be treated by hand crews for small, incipient infestations. Courtesy image
Jeff Gies, assistant fire management officer with the Forest Service, investigates a beetle-killed tree on Custer Peak. Some forestry officials say the Forest Service should lead a conglomeration of all Black Hills stakeholders in combating the pine beetle, but Forest Service officials said leadership needs to be dispersed where interests are unique. Pioneer photo by Mark VanGerpen
Pine Beetle Series