The Fourmile Fuels Reduction Project was named last week as one of 15 projects across the country authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill to receive funding to help improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet.
The USFS will receive $611,000 to reduce fuels on approximately 940 acres of National Forest lands to protect natural resources and human uses from the threat of wildfire. The project will also benefit the Dutton Pipeline and Dutton Ditch, which pass through the area.
“This project will assist the community in affecting an important landscape on the Pagosa Ranger District and I would like to thank all of our partners in this effort,” said District Ranger Kevin Khung.
The NRCS will receive $248,500 to conduct fuels reduction on approximately 150 acres of adjacent private lands in the Hidden Valley Ranch and Eagle Peak Ranch subdivisions, as well as other large ranches in the area.
“We are excited to work with USFS, private landowners and many other partners to address wildfire and forest health concerns on a landscape scale. By working across public and private boundaries we can help create resilient forests and support healthy watersheds,” said NRCS District Conservationist Jerry Archuleta.
Public and private treatments will include mastication and thinning of shrubs, small trees and decadent aspen. Treatments will compliment other hazardous fuels reduction projects in the area, which include 160 acres of biomass removal and utilization under the Pagosa-Area Long-Term Stewardship Contract, 20 acres of thinning completed by the Southwest Conservation Corps on National Forest land and over 450 acres of biomass removal on private land.
The project will build on the ongoing partnership effort that has already reduced fuels in the same area through a Colorado State Forest Service grant and federal match from the USFS. The project has been made possible with help from many partners, including the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, Mountain Studies Institute, National Forest Foundation and the State of Colorado.
For more information, contact Kevin Khung, Pagosa District Ranger, 970 264-2268 or Jerry Archuleta, NRCS San Juan Conservation District, 970 731-3615.