From Southern California to the rockies of Colorado, the bark beetle has destroyed forests. The beetles kills drought-suffering trees unable to defend themselves fully with sap. The dead, brown trees turn into virtual matchsticks. Forest fires come next with massive erosion following that destroys water supplies.
Enter forest mantenance. Getting the dead trees out of there, or cutting them up in strategic ways.
Harris Sherman, the U.S Dept. of Agriculture underescretary spoke to the National Ski Areas Association conference in Florida. Sherman is asking the help of both the ski industry and water providers to help with the gigantic task of forest maintenance.
Bruce Finley of the Denver Post writes:
The problem is erosion of sediment, which clogs water-supply reservoirs and delivery systems as it did after the 2002 Hayman wildfire southwest of Denver. Today, with more than 17 million acres of national forest killed by the beetle epidemic (3.5 million acres in Colorado), authorities are bracing for fires that could cause more erosion in watersheds.