Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Threat of the Emerald Ash Borer

On Friday, Gossips published the link to a story on WAMC's Earthwise reporting the findings of a study that provided yet more evidence that street trees contribute significantly to the health and well-being of people living in urban areas. The post was accompanied by this picture, which shows North Front Street, lined with trees.

The picture was chosen quite deliberately, because all of the trees along North Front Street, as well as most of the others planted in the part of the city redeveloped during Urban Renewal, are ash trees, now being threatened by the emerald ash borer.

Gossips raised the alarm about the emerald ash borer in April 2013, after hearing Marilyn Wyman from Cornell Cooperative Extension address the Board of Supervisors' Economic Development & Agriculture Committee. Wyman warned of the imminent danger of the emerald ash borer, which the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation now refers to as EAB. In April 2013, the largest infestation of EAB was in Saugerties and Woodstock, but the pesky insects have since made their way across the river. The detail below, from a map on the DEC website, shows that Mid-Hudson is now one of the largest EAB quarantined areas in the state. The City of Hudson is within those quarantine boundaries.

In April 2013, there were twenty-six ash trees, planted as street trees, in Hudson--all, with the exception of one on Fairview Avenue and another on Glenwood Boulevard, are in the Second Ward. That number may have been reduced to twenty-three this past April, when three ash trees in the first block of Columbia Street, planted along the inner edge of the sidewalk, were cut down. These were the only street trees on the entire block, and the reason for eliminating them is unknown.

Compared with Chicago, where municipal government is trying to defend some 94,000 ash trees that are street trees, defending what is now only twenty-three ash trees shouldn't be an impossible task even for the city with resources as limited as Hudson's, but two years after the alarm was sounded, no obvious action has been taken. There was little evidence that anyone in City Hall was even aware to the threat until the Conservation Advisory Council was created and early on decided to take up the issue of the EAB threat. They have proposed a public awareness campaign and have also talked about organizing a team of tree savvy volunteers to first help identify and locate ash trees in Hudson that are not street trees (and hence would not have been included in the 2007 tree inventory) and then monitor the trees, watching for symptoms of EAB infestation.

The Conservation Advisory Council meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The CAC's next meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 6. If you want to assist in the effort to save Hudson's ash trees, it might be a good idea to show up at that meeting and let your interest be known.

1 comment:

  1. Check your trees now, while the leaves are still attached. Later we can confirm whether or not it's an ash from the bark alone.

    Of course the leaf would be useful to tell which ash it is (best pressed in a magazine), but it's not required seeing as though the borer attacks all ashes alike.

    Black Ash has several more leaflets than the others, but all ashes have the same general compound leaf: