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Beetle infestations, water supply, water quality

Staff Writer

On Tuesday, April 9, the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership (SJHFHP) (previously the Mixed Conifer Working Group), Firewise Communities of Southwest Colorado (Firewise), and the Mountain Studies Institute (MSI), will offer presentations by Western Water Assessment discussing the effects of beetle infestations on water supply and water quality.

The purpose of the community meeting is to discuss the water-related impacts of bark beetle infestations in the San Juans and the Rocky Mountain West with representatives of various interest groups and the community.

“On this particular presentation, I am very excited about the collaboration between many diverse groups to help sponsor it. I’m very excited to hear what effects bark beetles have on the watershed.” Bill Trimarco, Firewise coordinator, explained.

According to members of the SJHFHP, the goals of the community meeting include:

• Share what scientists know and don’t know about the potential water impacts from bark beetle infestations in lodgepole and spruce-fir forests.

• Share observations and concerns from community members and local professionals about the current spruce beetle infestation in the San Juan Headwaters.

• Learn about SJHFHP and Firewise, upcoming events and opportunities.

Aaron Kimple, project manager of MSI, described this event as a, “coming out party for SJHFHP.

“We plan this to be one of many education outreach opportunities in the community,” Kimple explained.

“Anybody who has gone over Wolf Creek has seen the devastation of the bark beetles — but how many of us have wondered what other effects it will have?” said Trimarco.

The Bark Beetles and Watersheds Open House on April 9 will take place at the Ross Aragon Community Center in the West Conference Room, 451 Hot Springs Blvd., from 6-7:30 p.m.

The event is open to the pubic and there is no registration required. Participation in meetings and events is encouraged.

For more information, visit the San Juan Headwaters group homepage at www.ocs.fortlewis.edu/mixedconifer/, as well as Firewise of Southwest Colorado’s homepage at www.southwestcoloradofires.org. Interested parties can also contact Aaron Kimple at akimple@mountainstudies.org.

Melissa.Stedman@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on April 4, 2013.