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Signup Complete For 2011 Black Hills Forest Initiative


    For Immediate Release: Nov. 16, 2011
    Media Contact: Coe Foss, 605-394-2395

Signup Complete For 2011 Black Hills Forest Initiative

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Due to overwhelming landowner interest in Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Black Hills Forest Initiative, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is no longer accepting new requests for mountain pine beetle spotting and marking activities for the 2011 control season.

SDDA has received requests from more than 2,200 private landowners to survey and mark more than 117,000 acres.  About 91,000 acres remain to be marked.  Since surveying, marking, and control efforts must be completed before the mountain pine beetles emerge from infested trees next spring, remaining resources will focus on completing those tasks.

“The response to the Black Hills Forest Initiative has been incredible,” said Gov. Daugaard.  “Black Hills residents recognize the tremendous threat that mountain pine beetles pose to our forest.  I’m glad we could help so many landowners this year, but a tremendous amount of work remains.”

Signup for the 2012 Black Hills Forest Initiative will continue next fall, after the summer mountain pine beetle flight has ended.

“We’ve seen strong interest in this program,” said Ray Sowers, director of the SDDA’s Resource Conservation and Forestry Division.  “We surveyed property last year for about 500 landowners.  This year, we’ve had requests from more than four times that many.”

The Black Hills Forest Initiative is designed to prevent the tiny insect pest from destroying the forest and its communities by increasing awareness of the problem; engaging homeowners and businesses; coordinating state, county and federal partners; and increasing the resources used to deal with the problem. For additional information on addressing mountain pine beetles in the Black Hills, visit www.BeattheBeetles.com
Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating nearly $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing more than 143,000 South Dakotans.  The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow.  Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sowers (SOW’-urz)