Air Quality:

Emerald Ash Borer - 5 Year Implemetation Plan

The emerald ash borer wasn't identified in Reedsburg, but the city created a strategy for the inevitable invasion.
A plan adopted by the Reedsburg Common Council this week cuts a path between two extremes – indiscriminate removal of ash trees and heroic efforts to save as many as possible. 
The EAB Plan adopted by a unanimous council vote calls for removal of 100 trees per year in parks and along streets, and for chemical treatment of the best park trees to prolong their lives. The plan will cost $20,000 in 2015, and an estimated $100,000 over five years if left unchanged in future years.
“We are a Tree City USA. We should try to conserve what we can,” Mayor Dave Estes said near the end of a 40-minute discussion in which some council members expressed concern about the costs of a consultant’s recommendations.
The emerald ash borer is a beetle native to Asia, but is rapidly spreading across the Midwest. Its larvae feed on tissue beneath tree bark, which kills the tree by disrupting the flow of water and nutrients.
The consultant who surveyed, evaluated and mapped all the city’s park and street trees last summer counted 974 ash trees – 22.6 percent of the total. More than 90 percent are green ash and the rest white ash. The count did not include trees in city-owned natural areas.
Nearly 87 percent of the city’s surveyed ash trees are along streets. The rest are in parks, with a concentration in City Park and Nishan Park, where a sudden loss would be felt for decades.
The consultant outlined various options that all included some combination of treatment, removal and replacement. The estimated five-year costs varied widely, from about $300,000 to more than $600,000. The cost of the work, including a recommendation for chemical treatment of more than 500 ash trees, varied depending on whether it was performed by an outside contractor or in-house by city employees. But even the in-house option would have had the city spending more than $30,000 annually for treatment alone.
If you have questions regarding EAB, please contact the Park and Recreation office at 524-2600.