Johnson County is clearing 24 acres of dead and dying pine trees that will be used to help the University of Iowa meet its alternative energy goals.
The university's sustainability office is cutting and grinding the invasive species-infested trees at F.W. Kent Park near Tiffin. The converted biomass will be burned with coal in the university's steam-generating boilers.
The Gazette reports UI wants to close a gap in meeting 40 percent of the institution's energy needs through sustainable sources by 2020. The county has little funds to clear the environmental wasteland.
The land will be returned to its original vegetation once the pines and spruces are cleared. A county conservation official says the collaboration lets the parties make the best of a bad situation.