Craig briefs: Senior Social Center to host Tuesday event | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig briefs: Senior Social Center to host Tuesday event

The Senior Social Center will host its weekly Coffee and a Conversation from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Bell Tower Building in Room 200. All seniors are welcome for coffee, card playing and catching up. For more information, call 970-326-3188 or info@seniorsocialcenter.org

Coffee and a Newspaper takes place Wednesday

Join Craig Daily Press Publisher Renee Campbell and Managing Editor Noelle Leavitt Riley for Coffee and a Newspaper where they will discuss the South Beach and the Stewardship Trust. South Beach is an access point to the Yampa River in Craig and is at risk of loosing its protection from the Colorado State Land Board. The conversation will take place at 7 a.m. Wednesday at The Memorial Hospital. The Craig Daily Press will provide coffee and pastries.

Harvesting biomass for energy improves forests

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in December that more than 200,000 tons of biomass were removed from federal lands through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, according to a news release.

BCAP, reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provided incentives for the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands for renewable energy, while reducing the risk of forest fire. This summer, 19 energy facilities in 10 states participated in the program.

"This initiative helps to retrieve forest residues that are a fire risk, but otherwise are costly to remove," Vilsack said in a statement. "In just three months, working with private partners across the country, the program helped to reduced fire, disease and insect threats while providing more biomass feedstock for advanced energy facilities."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency administered the program earlier this year. Eligible farmers, ranchers or foresters participating in BCAP received a payment to partially offset the cost of harvesting and delivering forest or agricultural residues to a qualified energy facility. Up to $12.5 million is available each year for biomass removal.

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Key program accomplishments included removing

■ In Colorado's Front Range, 18,000 tons of trees targeted by the USDA Forest Service to reduce forest fire threats were removed to generate energy.

■ In California's Rim Fire area in Tuolumne County, nearly 100 percent of the USDA Forest Service's targeted 40,000 tons of forest residue was approved for removal and transport to energy facilities.

■ In Arizona, 41,000 tons of forest residue in Apache and Navajo counties were approved for removal and transport to energy facilities. 

■ In Oscoda County, Michigan, home of the Huron Manistee National Forest, 5,000 tons of forest residue were approved for removal and transport to energy facilities.

These accomplishments helped the Forest Service meet or exceed its restoration goals for Fiscal Year 2014, including reducing hazardous fuels on 1.7 million acres in the wildland urban interface and sustaining or restoring watershed conditions on 2.9 million acres, resulting in 2.8 billion board feet of timber volume sold. To further support this program, the Forest Service has entered into a three-year, $1.5 million agreement to provide technical assistance to the Farm Service Agency as they implement BCAP on National Forest System lands. This will enable the development and execution of biomass sales, and help open and support new and existing markets for biomass products.

USDA will issue a final regulation this winter to incorporate BCAP updates established in the 2014 Farm Bill. The next funding opportunity will be announced once updates are incorporated.

For more information on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap or contact a local FSA county office at http://www.offices.usda.gov to learn more about BCAP.

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