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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Since 2002 the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation's Bureau of Forestry has been working closely with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture to prepare for the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive species of beetle from Asia that destroys the Ash Trees that it nests in. The EAB was first spotted in the United States in 2002 in Ash Trees in Southeastern Michigan. On Thursday Morning the City confirmed that the EAB has arrived in Chicago.
Last Thursday, June 12, 2008, a beetle resembling the EAB was captured on Chicago's South Side in a tree at 29th and State Street. Since many beetles resemble this pest, it was sent off for confirmation. The City has since then confirmed it is indeed the Emerald Ash Borer and on Wednesday, June 18, 2008, Streets & Sanitation officials spotted another EAB emerging from a downed tree limb on the same site.
Streets & Sanitation Commissioner Michael J. Picardi, senior managers from the department's Bureau of Forestry, local officials, and representatives from the Federal and State department's of agriculture were on hand for the Thursday morning announcement.
"We have been working with our federal and state allies to implement an EAB Management plan designed to protect our urban forest while combating the spread of the EAB in our area." stated Commissioner Michael J. Picardi. "This promises to be a much tougher fight than we had with other invasive insects because the EAB is aggressive and Chicago has a large population of Ash Trees."
The host tree at 29th and State where Chicago's first EAB was found was also the first tree slated to be taken down in Chicago due to infestation by the EAB. City Forestry crews will also be surveying the immediate area to see if any other trees are infested and need to be addressed.
The City's broader game plan is to actively manage the EAB response through a multiple strategy approach. This will include a citywide survey of all Ash Trees over the next 12 weeks to identify which trees are infested and which aren't.
Any limbs determined to be hazardous will be immediately removed and our inspectors will continue to monitor these trees for accelerated decline. Any trees found to be dead or in accelerated decline will be removed and chipped.
Trees that are found to be in good shape and free from infestation might be determined to be good candidates to be saved through the use of an internal insecticide called "Tree-age" that has just recently been approved for use by the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture. Because the City must wait for the next dormant period to use the product, trees will not be able to be treated until September.
Streets & Sanitation's Bureau of Forestry has been preparing for the arrival of the EAB in Chicago since it was first discovered in 2002 by working closely with their State and Federal counterparts. In 2003 the City imposed a ban on the planting of Ash Trees in the public way. The City has also been using traps to detect the presence of the EAB and will expand the use of these traps to 114 locations throughout the city. An Emerald Ash Borer found in a trap could indicate a presence up to 1 mile away
The EAB is responsible for destroying over 20 million trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, and Canada. Beetle larvae feed under the bark and outer sapwood of the ash tree, producing galleries that eventually kill branches and entire trees.
In Chicago, ash makes up around 19% of the City's street tree population or about 96,000 trees. When adding an estimated 500,000 ash trees from private property to the total, ash trees become one of the most common trees found in the City.
For More information on the Emerald Ash Borer residents can visit Streets & Sanitation's home page at www.cityofchicago.org/StreetsAndSan