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Pine beetle plan wins national recognition

PIERRE -- Gov. Dennis Daugaard's action plan to combat the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills has earned a 2012 Innovations Award from the Council for State Governments.

The Governor's Black Hills Forest Initiative was recognized as an outstanding government initiative, one of two winners in the Midwest category. The Innovations Award is given to a state program that exemplifies creativity, effectiveness, newness, transferability and significance.

The Black Hills Forest Initiative is a multifaceted effort to leverage state, private and federal resources to address the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Daugaard has pledged $4 million over three years to assist landowners with surveying and marking infested trees on their properties as well as providing a 50 percent cost-share for tree removal.