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BIOCHAR PROJECT 7-1-14

The Salmon-Challis National Forest has partnered with Lemhi County, the University of Idaho Nancy M. Cummings Research Extension and Education Center (NMCREEC), England Sawmill and the Youth Employment Program (YEP) to move the biochar production concept forward in Lemhi County.

The project demonstrates the potential use for woody biomass debris generated from Firewise Community projects, timber sales or fuel reduction projects on public and private lands in Lemhi County. Firewise projects are coordinated through the Lemhi County Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) office.

The biomass is converted to biochar using a pyrolizer plant located at the England Sawmill and may also be converted to compost at the Lemhi County landfill. Monitoring plots will be performed at NMCREEC on various proportions of mixed biochar and compost to determine the benefits of application to agricultural soils in Lemhi County.

John Hall, Director NMCREEC, is providing project design and implementation for scientific process and data collection on variations of compost/biochar mixes on agricultural plots.

Additionally, UI will establish protocols for use on disturbed areas based on Hallís experience in mining reclamation and reestablishment of vegetation on disturbed sites.

Agricultural plots will be evaluated and harvested to determine vegetation stand health and yield. Disturbed plot sites, if tested, will be evaluated for percentage of germination and plant stand density.

In addition to producing the compost/biochar materials, the project will provide job opportunities through the YEP and local production of a video describing the entire demonstration project.

Other students in local schools will work in greenhouses to establish production parameters; all while learning about biochar and composting processes thus acquiring knowledge of emerging biochar technology.

For further information on this project, please contact the Salmon-Cobalt Ranger District at 208-756-5200.






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