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Mayor Announces Special Appropriation for Urban Forestry

February 23, 2011

This article is a City press release. A pdf version of a powerpoint graphic follows the article:

Emerald Ash Borer Attacks 12,000 Street Trees                               

Plan Addresses Safety Risks and Efforts to Rebuild Tree Canopy

Fort Wayne , Ind.Mayor Tom Henry and the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department announced the need for a special appropriation today to address the accelerated rate of tree loss due to the emerald ash borer crisis. 

“This is an issue that needs immediate attention,” said Mayor Henry. “A dead, or even a weakened tree, threatens the safety of our citizens.”

Over 1,900 ash trees have already been lost to the Emerald Ash Borer, a small Asian beetle that hit Michigan first, then arrived in Allen County in 2006. Fort Wayne ’s current inventory of 12,000 street trees is expected to be eliminated in less than 10 years. It is projected that the City will lose 3,000 ash trees a year for the next three years, with another 2,000 lost in the final 4 years. Approximately 1000 ash trees are being treated each year.

The cost to deal with the accelerated loss of trees brought on by the 2008 ice storm and the 2010 drought will surpass the budgeted funds. Today Mayor Henry committed an additional $900,000 to address the issue in 2011 and to replace 1200 trees.

My administration is committed to resolving this issue and based on recommendations from my Tree Task Force, we have developed a plan,” said Mayor Henry. “Our historic tree canopy is important to our community and our neighborhoods, and it’s worth preserving. The immediate, short-term answer is to remove dead trees and stumps for public safety reasons. The long-term solution is tree replacement to maintain our urban canopy. This action is part of a 10 year process that will hopefully yield other funding sources.”

Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll explained that the Department’s existing resources will not be able to keep up with the large number of required tree removals over the next several years and they don’t have the equipment or manpower to remove the stumps.

The wisest course of action is to combine the efforts of both City crews and contractors,” said Director Moll. “We’ll need to contract a consultant to assist with the first 4 – 5 years of the crisis and our existing crane/bucket truck and chippers will need to be replaced to keep up with the extra volume required by the in-house team.”

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia .

 Residents may call 427-6400 for information if they are interested in funding their own tree replacement.

EAB Graphic 02-17-11 

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