Biomass for Energy

Colorado Springs Utilities will be using less coal in the upcoming year.  Their pilot project will study replacing some of the coal at their Drake Power Plant with biomass.  What a great way to use biomass and generate cleaner energy! Read more in the following articles:

Springs Utilities to launch pilot program to burn wood biofuel by the Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado Springs Utilities plans to use less coal next year by KRDO News 13

Colorado’s first biomass plant begins delivering electricity

While some residents in the small Eagle County town worry about the impact on air quality, supporters hail the plant as a way to boost renewable energy and improve forest health. The biomass facility will burn wood to heat water, and the resulting steam will power a turbine, generating electricity.

Read the full Colorado Public Radio story 

A Note from Aspen Hills

Winter is here and its a great time to look at where we are and what lies ahead in our wildfire mitigation efforts.
Here is a pretty comprehensive article (albeit long) on the current state of affairs in Colorado.
There is a good section on a community that achieved the Firewise Community designation and noticed better insurance rates and improved property values, as a result.
It also discusses Gov. Hickenloopers proposal to increase taxes to property owners in the WildlandUrban-Interface…us.
The article is from the Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction paper, so it doesn’t mention the terrific work of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, which is regional.  But our partnership with CUSP has been instrumental in our designation as a Firewise Community, and we look forward to increased cooperation with them, as well as our partners at the Colorado State Forest Service.
Since our community meeting last Spring, we have added 3 more property owner’s to our grant program.  This brings the total number of properties signed up to 35 out of 63 properties in Aspen Hills.  In addition, we now have a better way of communication between property owners for items of community interest, thanks to Vicki Rector!
This year the property owners that signed up to have their work partially or fully contracted will be getting that work done thanks to our friends at CUSP, who will be overseeing the projects.  For the rest of us doing our own work, we have until Feb. 2015 to complete the work in order to qualify for the grant.  Winter is a good time to cut, although it poses some unique problems, especially when moving felled trees in heavy snow on steep slopes!
I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming year, especially in getting out the information on filling out the required paperwork and keeping track of time for the grant.  As you know there is a push in the U.S. Congress to make more funds available for Wildfire Mitigation and both parties seem to be able to agree on that.  I will try to keep track of and publicize any future grants as they become available.
Please have a wonderful Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!
Very Respectfully,
Greg Jones

Udall urges Farm Bill Committee to include forest health provisions

December 5, 2013

Udall Leads Bipartisan Effort Pressing Farm Bill Conferees to Include Critical Job-Creation, Wildfire Prevention Provisions in Legislation

Good Neighbor Authority, Stewardship Contracting Authority Essential to Strengthening Western Forests, Businesses, Communities

Mark Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led a bipartisan group of senators today urging the Farm Bill conference committee to include critical forest health provisions in the final legislation. Udall and the bipartisan coalition said Good Neighbor Authority and Stewardship Contracting – which allows agencies to work collaboratively across state and local boundaries to reduce wildfire risks and promote public-private partnerships to manage forest health, respectively – are essential for Colorado and western communities.

“We urge the conferees to reauthorize and expand Good Neighbor Authority nationally and to permanently reauthorize Stewardship Contracting Authority,” Udall and the senators wrote in their letter. “These programs will streamline federal funds and increase the role of state and local agencies in federal forest management, while keeping our lands healthy, protect communities and save money in the long-term by mitigating our risks for catastrophic wildfires.”

Stewardship Contracting allows the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into long-term contracts to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health. Stewardship contracts create jobs by allowing the federal government to partner with private businesses to clear brush, produce timber products, generate biomass energy, and strengthen forest health. The authority has been used to treat more than 545,625 acres nationwide.

Good Neighbor Authority, which is currently only allowed in Colorado and Utah, allows state foresters to work across local and state boundaries to perform forest, rangeland and watershed restoration services on National Forest System and BLM land.

Udall has introduced stand-alone legislation that would permanently reauthorize Stewardship Contacting authority and successfully fought to move legislation that would expand Good Neighbor Authority. Udall has also been a strong proponent of the Senate’s bipartisan Farm Bill and has partnered with the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to push the U.S. House of Representatives to act and pass a deficit-reducing Farm Bill.

U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) also signed the letter.

To read the bipartisan letter, click HERE.

Wilderness Area Funding

The National Forest Foundation’s (NFF) 2014 Wilderness Stewardship Challenge program is making grants of up to $50,000 available to nonprofits to implement on-the-ground conservation projects that directly benefit National Forest Wilderness Areas.  Proposals require a 1:1 nonfederal cash match and are due January 22, 2014.  Find more information at