It's been more than three years since Marilyn Wyman from Cornell Cooperative Extension raised the alarm about the emerald ash borer. At that time, the danger was imminent but not yet present. The destructive pest was in Catskill and in Dutchess County but not here in Hudson. Since its creation a year ago, the Conservation Advisory Council has been wringing their hands about the situation and fretting about who is responsible for Hudson's ash trees. Meanwhile, in the three years that have passed since the first warning, the ash borer arrived. Hudson's ash trees are infested.
There are several American cities--cities with thousands of ash trees--that have made a commitment to saving their ashes. Here in Hudson, we have fewer than twenty ash trees, but their loss would have a significant impact on the city. Still, coming up with a plan to save them has proved to be a bridge too far.
DPW superintendent Rob Perry has steadfastly maintained that street trees are not the City's responsibility, an opinion recently confirmed by city attorney Ken Dow. Like the sidewalks, street trees are the responsibility of the property owners. The majority of the ash trees in Hudson are along North Front Street, planted in the early 1970s when urban renewal re-imagined a big chunk of Hudson. Those trees, which are now more than forty years old and make that stretch of North Front Street appear lush and welcoming, are the property and the responsibility of the owners of Hudson Terrace and Schuyler Court.
In today's Register-Star, John Mason reports that at its last meeting the Conservation Advisory Council was advised that the ash trees are a lost cause, and the discussion has turned to planting replacement trees: "Council mulls fate of infested ash trees."
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