Ash Trees marked and scheduled to be removed in Nevada due to Emerald Ash Borer

Article Submitted by City

The emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation that is moving across the country is now imminent in our community. These destructive insects were recently confirmed in Boone and Story City.

Lessons learned in other parts of the country demonstrate that, without costly ongoing treatment, EAB will wipe out our population of ash trees within a decade. During the 1970s, many American elm trees were virtually wiped out by Dutch elm disease. When that occurred, areas of the community that had previously been lined by stately elm trees were severely impacted. That was followed by an extended period of replanting.

The challenge currently facing Nevada is responding to the impending loss of our 370 public ash trees (not to mention the thousands of privately owned ash trees). Given the likelihood of other blights and insect infestations in future decades, it would vastly improve the long-term health of our urban forest if the city turns the EAB challenge into an opportunity to proactively diversify and reforest the city’s inventory of publicly owned trees.

Copper Tree Consulting, with the assistance from an IDNR grant, completed an inventory of all trees in city rights-of-way, in maintained areas of the city’s parks (including along paved trails) and at most city-owned facilities.

On July 27, the City Council approved hiring Copper Tree Consulting to prepare a five-year EAB Management Plan; to begin identifying, mapping and drafting specifications for removal of ash trees. That inventory was used to develop the overall tree management plan for the city. That document includes goals and recommendations for the 370 city-owned trees.

On Oct. 26, the City Council approved the Five-Year Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan and authorized notice to bidders for the first year of removals. According to the 2016 EAB Project timeline, bids from certified arborists and tree services are being taken until Tuesday, Dec. 15. The City Council will consider the bids and be asked to award the project on Jan. 11. The first 16 trees may be removed as early as Jan. 13, 2016.

“With confirmed infestations so close to Nevada, it is imperative that the city act quickly to institute a plan to deal with both the infestation challenge and the reforestation opportunity in a way that is safe, economically feasible, and sustainable,” stated Brandt Jelken of Copper Tree Consulting. Staff believes it is important to clearly articulate the overall goal for this plan, due to the large impact it will have across the entire city.

You can find the plan, the list of the 16 trees scheduled for removal in 2016, frequently asked questions, links to other resources for private properties, and a project timeline on the city’s website at http://www.cityofnevadaiowa.org/nevada-projects.php.

If you have any questions about emerald ash borer, you may contact Public Works Director Mike Neal 382-2621 or Parks & Recreation Director Tim Hansen 382-4352. You can also contact Brandt Jelken of Copper Tree Consulting at 515-559-4152.