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$14 million dedicated to battle bark beetles in Idaho

Thu., Jan. 14, 2010, 12:07 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service will get an additional $14 million to battle bark beetles in Idaho, where the bugs have chewed through 1.3 million acres, leaving mountain sides covered with red and dying trees.

Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, made the announcement Thursday. The additional funding was hailed by Idaho Congressmen Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson, who lobbied for the money.

The $14 million will be used to improve watersheds, restore forest health and treat affected acres.

Bark beetles lay their eggs inside of trees, eventually killing them by restricting the trees’ ability to draw water. Though endemic to the forests, beetle outbreaks have increased in recent years as a result of milder winters.

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