Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today announced the United States Forest Service (USFS) has awarded the Pagosa Area Biomass Long-Term Stewardship Contract to J.R. Ford and the Pagosa Land Company. The 10-year contract will allow the company to extract forest material designated by USFS for removal to promote forest health and convert the material into electricity.
“This project will bring new jobs to the region, create a healthier forest for the surrounding communities, reduce wildfire risk and generate a new source of renewable energy,” said Bennet. “It’s a commonsense program with the potential to be a model for the restoration of forests in Colorado.”
“This is an excellent example of local businesses improving forest health, creating jobs and saving taxpayers money,” Udall said. “Ford and his company’s work will not only help reduce the risk of forest fire in the National Forest, but it also will save the taxpayers money. I hope the U.S. Forest Service will continue to encourage innovative, fiscally prudent projects like this moving forward.”
In addition to improving the condition of the forest lands in Pagosa Country, the project could inject at least $1.2 million into the economy each year through wages paid to local workers, according to the Pagosa Sun. The Pagosa Land company expects to treat 1,500 acres per year.