Study: Pine Beetles Not Helping Water Flow In Colorado

· Dec. 22, 2015, 2:43 pm
Photo: Pine Beetle kill (AP Photo)AP
Pine trees in the White River National Forest near Frisco, Colo., glow rusty red after being killed by the mountain pine beetle in this file photo.

A new study indicates that isn't happening.

Pine beetles in Colorado have impacted an area about the size of Connecticut. Researchers hoped the beetles would actually help with a persistent drought across the west. That's because a lack of healthy trees would allow more water to flow into streams and reservoirs.

"The extent of mortality was so great that it pushed the forest structure from a sweet spot for water production to an environment where we really didn't get more stream flow," said Paul Brooks, a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah.

Brooks hopes his study will help inform tree-thinning methods that would improve forest health and increase water for people downstream. 

You care.

You want to know what is really going on these days, especially in Colorado. We can help you keep up.  The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!