LBL’s ice storm debris being sold as firewood
by Franklin Clark, Reporter --
Apr 06, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the 2009 ice storm hit Trigg County and other counties in Kentucky and surrounding states, it left hundreds of thousands without power, caused the deaths of 36 people just in Kentucky and left a great deal of damage and debris.

And while most of that debris in the city and county have been cleared away, much of the wood from the trees in Land Between the Lakes that were torn down in the ice storm still remains.

Nicole Hawk, public affairs specialist for the Forest Service LBL area, said that what debris remains to be cleared is probably going to be in the LBL area.

LBL Biomass Forrester Jaime Hernandez said that when the ice storm hit in late January 2009, debris covered about two-thirds of LBL, including 200 miles of roads, 100 miles of trails and on the facilities and recreation areas, and that for the two months after it hit, their primary goal was to clear debris from the facilities, roads and trails.

Those areas were cleared by April 2009, and since then the Forest Service has had a number of ways of dealing with the debris, including prescribed burns, said Hernandez, who added that there was at least one wildfire that also took care of some of the debris.

Trigg County Emergency Management Director Randy Wade said that in the months after the ice storm, the debris was cleared from the roads and other areas in the non-LBL part of the county. “But it will be years before all of it is cleared,” he also said.

One of the problems is that the trees that were felled become lighter as they rot, and their limbs make their way toward creeks and other waterways, clogging them and exacerbating flooding during heavy rains, said Wade.

This year and in past years, the county has hired contractors to clear this debris, and there is grant money available to offset those costs.

Cadiz Public Works Director Kerry Fowler said the vast majority of the debris was cleared from the city in the two – three months after the ice storm.

LBL officials sold 600,000 board feet of usable timber, or about $30,000 worth, to timber companies last winter, and that money was used improve 300 acres of grassland habitat inside the park, Hernandez said.

“It’s unfortunate that the ice storm happened … but at the same time, we’ve been able to improve some of the habitat here,” said Hernandez, who also said that because the timber was salvage material, they sold the timber more less than the market price for new timber.

For the remaining debris that isn’t usable for timber, the park sells $20 firewood permits that allow for at least one truckload per person, said Hernandez.

At a recent Trigg County Fiscal Court meeting, magistrates approved of a biomass project for the Trigg County Hospital, wherein wood chips from LBL would be used to heat the water to create steam for the hospital’s boiler system.

Hernandez said that when that or other biomass projects are completed, some of the debris might be converted to wood chips, but they aren’t at that stage yet, as the wood chips would decompose by the time the projects are completed, at least if they started making chips out of the debris now.

“While the debris piles might not be aesthetically pleasing, some of the wildlife is using them,” said Hernandez.

In particular, he said that said piles are used by rabbits, various reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and some songbirds.
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