Friday, July 10, 2015

Save Your Ash

At Thursday night's meeting of the Conservation Advisory Council, a topic of discussion was the emerald ash borer, which is making its way east from the Midwest and, having crossed the river, is now a clear and present danger to the ash trees of Hudson and elsewhere in Columbia County. The members of the CAC agreed that they, like other CACs in county, should be disseminating information about the emerald ash borer.

Two years ago, after Marilyn Wyman from Cornell Cooperative Extension made a presentation to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Economic Development & Agricultural Committee, warning of the imminent danger of the emerald ash borer, Gossips published two posts on the subject. The first explained the threat; the second identified the location of ash trees that are street trees in Hudson. The good news is that there are only twenty-six--well, now only twenty-three--street trees in Hudson that are ash trees. The bad news is that, with the exception of one tree on Fairview Avenue and another on Glenwood Boulevard, the rest are along North Front Street and in the neighborhoods created by Urban Renewal.

Whether you live there, drive there, or simply look in that direction from the western end of Warren Street, can you imagine this stretch of Front Street devoid of trees? 

The emerald ash borer is like rabies. There is prevention, but once the emerald ash borer takes hold, there is no cure. Saving these trees should be a cause that unites the community--a cause even more compelling than planting vulnerable saplings where trees have never been before (at least not in living memory), but sadly, although the threat has been known for at least two years, no action has been taken--at least not to Gossips' knowledge--to protect the ash trees in Hudson. It is hoped that the CAC can change that.

Gossips Note: The title of this post is the original name of a coalition of public and private entities in Chicago, dedicated to saving the 94,000 ash trees planted in that city's parkways (i.e., the space between the sidewalk and the street). To learn more about that effort, click here.


  1. My last book is the Sacred Language of Trees, and in it I describe how essential to life and spirit the trees around us are. Please take trees seriously and support their health and well-being. A T Mann

  2. From the EPA publication "Stormwater to Street Trees: Engineering Urban Forests for Stormwater Management" (2013):

    "Trees reduce stormwater runoff by capturing and storing rainfall in their canopy and releasing water into the atmosphere.

    "Tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil.

    "Trees help slow down and temporarily store runoff and reduce pollutants by taking up nutrients and other pollutants from soils and water through their roots.

    "Trees transform pollutants into less harmful substances.

    "Cities employ a variety of measures to manage stormwater runoff. However, most do not take advantage of the stormwater utility benefits trees provide. ...

    "Trees are typically not considered part of either grey or green stormwater management systems; they are generally, and falsely, considered to be of landscaping value. Planting a tree just for landscaping is not taking advantage of the stormwater utility benefits and other environmental services it provides.

    "In urban areas, trees are part of the managed municipal infrastructure. A street tree, which is generally a publicly managed tree found growing within the right-of-way, offers unique opportunities to increase the effectiveness of grey and green stormwater systems. ...

    "With urbanization on the rise and impervious surfaces dominating urban cores, existing stormwater and sewer systems are often inadequate to handle peak flows. ... To reduce pressure on existing systems and increase capacity, cities must consider every available option, especially using trees, to help manage stormwater."