Saving Jeffco’s forest health

Amy Woodward
Posted

Jeffco residents can anticipate a new slash disposal initiative presented by county commissioner Don Rosier, and contrived by Indian Hills resident, Bret Roller. The Forest Health Initiative in partnership with the Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield could create a countywide sustainable solution for greenwaste and slash collection, processing and biomass composting.

There are still many steps that need to be taken to get the initiative through, but commissioner Rosier said Jeffco residents could see 40 slash collection sites by the summer of 2014.

“Jeffco never had a comprehensive plan,” Roller said, who has worked in various forestry industries and holds a degree in natural resource management.

“They’ve taken steps in the right direction, but it hasn’t been enough,” Roller said.

The initiative proposes 40 year-round collection sites where slash will be processed.

The processed material will then be hauled down to the botanical gardens site at Chatfield on a 4 acres parcel of land, where it will be laid into wind rows.

As it stands, Jeffco residents take their slash to one of three temporary sites once a year and the county contracts with an outside vendor to haul the material away in two days’ time.

“It creates a real pressure on Jeffco residents,” Roller said.

Compost collected will provide Jeffco residents an opportunity to purchase the soil; it could also provide a fundraising opportunity for local fire districts. Jeffco residents could purchase a $20 coupon from their local fire district which will give a date and time for their drop-off. The fire district will receive $10 from the coupon to go towards their department.

“I don’t know if this is possible, but this is the idea,” said county commissioner Rosier, who stated he still needs input from the county attorney.

Rosier has looked into grant opportunities to help fund the initiative which needs equipment such as grinders, tractors and dump trucks with a cost of a half million dollars.

“Currently there are grant opportunities at the department of natural resources for equipment to do exactly what is proposed,” Rosier said.

“Slash disposal is sort of near and dear to my heart,” Roller said. “It’s an opportunity to do the objectives of thinning the forest, making the forest healthier, and keeping Jeffco residents safe from forest fire and getting compost back into the ground.”