Items of Interest

Residents of Wallace, Idaho, now claim that the results of the disastrous forest fires in northern Idaho in 1910 are being made evident in the changed flow from a watershed, then burned over, which furnishes the water supply of the city. This basin included an area of approximately two thousand acres and was formerly well timbered with trees from fifty to two hundred years old. These were almost wholly destroyed by the fires of 1910. It is stated that before the fires the flow of the stream at its lowest stages was never below one thousand miners' inches, the unit of measurement which has been used. Since the fire, the records show, the minimum flow has fallen to about two hundred and fifty miners' inches, and it is now necessary for the company which furnishes water, light, and power to expend a considerable amount of money each year in developing power from steam and to use a considerable part of this power in pumping water. Records of the weather bureau at Wallace show that the precipitation for the years since the fire, has been about normal for the region. This seems to demonstrate the fact that the unevenness in the flow must be due to the destruction of the forest cover of the watershed and not to any change in climate or precipitation. In view of the situation, the forest service has undertaken to reforest the denuded watershed. The planting will probably have no immediate effect, yet it should influence the run-off as soon as forest conditions are restored.

United States secretary of agriculture has written to the forty-eight Governors of states asking them to designate the educational institutions to which funds provided by the Smith-Lever agricultural extension law are to go. This is the first step in putting into effect the law which was approved May 8. This law provides that, under certain conditions, government aid is to be extended to state agricultural colleges in the work of diffusing among the people useful and practical information on subjects related to agriculture and home economics. Each agricultural college in a state is to be paid ten thousand dollars a year by the government, and on that sum there is to be no return of any kind, nor is the state called upon to duplicate that sum. But there must be a duplication of all federal aid in excess of this ten thousand dollars.

Striking facts regarding our forest resources, their value and their waste, are condensed in an eight-page illustrated circular of the American Forestry Association, just issued. The lumber industry is said to employ seven hundred and thirty-five thousand people, to whom are paid annually three hundred and sixty-seven million dollars in wages, the worth of products being one billion two hundred and fifty million dollars. The forests of the country cover five hundred and fifty million acres. The annual loss by forest fires is twenty-five million dollars. Damage from insects and tree diseases, which follow fire, costs each year fifty million dollars. The cost of destruction resulting from floods is not estimated, but is given as "countless millions." It is pointed out that by planting forests, an annual income could be derived in the country of sixty-five million dollars; and by preservative treatment upon timber each year, one hundred million dollars could be saved.

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Annual Meeting of The Mother Church
June 20, 1914

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