By Tammy Gray —
Navajo County will receive $15,000 from the Arizona State Forestry Division to attempt to develop biomass projects, participate in the Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction project and participate in professional organizations.
Acceptance of the funding was included in the consent agenda for the Board of Supervisors June 12 meeting. Supervisors approved the consent agenda, accepting the funding and the stipulations for spending it.
The money is part of the forestry division’s program for “county environmental programs impacting economic development.” According to documents provided by the county, five eastern Arizona counties, including Apache, Gila, Graham, Greenlee and Navajo, “submitted for approval a joint plan that directed the implementation of projects in the five counties; projects which were designed to show the feasibility and necessity of the multiple uses of our natural resources and renewable energy.”
A total of $75,000 in state funding was set aside, of which Navajo County will receive $15,000, however, that money will be combined with funds distributed to other counties to complete the joint projects. Although divided among the counties, the $75,000 is expected to be used to pay the salary of an individual to direct the projects.
Of the $75,000, a total of $30,500 is allocated for attempts to develop biomass projects. The agreement notes, “The funds would be used to support the staff effort needed to prepare for, advocate, and coordinate and undertake this effort. An effort will also be made to apply for any applicable federal biomass-related grants, should they become available.”
Another $23,500 is allocated for participation on the Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction project. According to the agreement, “The funds would be used to support the staff needed to prepare for, travel to and participate in meetings.”
The final $21,000 is set aside for participation in professional organizations. The agreement notes, “Ongoing EECO (Environmental Economic Communities Organization) leadership and participation in the Governor’s Forest Health Council, the White Mountains Natural Resources Working Group, U.S. Forest Service plan revision efforts, the White Mountain Stewardship Monitoring Board, the 5-County Resource Advisory Council (RAC), the Northern Arizona Wood Products Association and others as necessary.” It also states, “The funds would be used to support the staff effort needed to prepare for, travel to and participate in these meetings.”
Further division of the funding reveals that $54,000 of the $75,000 would be used to pay the base salary of an executive director. An additional $16,200 is set aside for benefits, $1,100 for supplies, $2,400 for travel and $1,300 for “other.”