Forest restoration is desperately needed across the western states and especially here in Northern Arizona. I had a great meeting with Congressman Paul Gosar recently and we discussed many issues, spending quite a bit of time discussing forest restoration and water shed protection. I was pleased to learn of the Congressman’s continued efforts to introduce legislation to address forest health issues.
A recent article in the Arizona Republic points out some of the challenges we face.
I support efforts at forest restoration as well as the draft Flagstaff Regional Plans vision of forest restoration. I have encouraged additional language in the documents water policy section for continued efforts towards forest restoration not only as a component of forest health but as a component of a healthy water shed.
We have all seen the devastating results of 100 years of fire suppression. I believe there is now a willingness to restore our forests to a healthy condition. For far to long there has been to many cases of deliberate efforts to block thinning and other proven techniques by certain environmental special interest groups and the results have been fatally catastrophic.
Last year the Flagstaff City Council understood the direct correlation with forest health and our water shed and sent a $10,000,000 bond question to the voters. The voters overwhelmingly approved this forest restoration and thinning project. As discussed with Congressman Gosar, it’s a shame our City had to take action on Federal lands but was necessary due to Federal inaction.
It’s great to know that Flagstaff has taken a proactive stance with regard to forest health and watershed protection. As a City with many water challenges, including a history of having to import the bulk of our water supply, we need to continue to work on water solutions. Conservation will continue to play an important role and I’m proud that our City has one of the lowest per capita uses of water in the state. We must continue to incorporate a holistic approach to our water challenges including forest restoration, conservation as well as long term development of new water sources.