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Friday, July 21, 2006
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) today confirmed the emerald ash borer (EAB) has been located in Evanston.
The infestation was discovered by a City of Evanston Parks/Forestry Division employee while assisting in an extensive survey initiated as a result of an infestation in Wilmette. Beetles were found in seven trees located in Lovelace Park, located at Gross Point Road at Thayer Street in the far northwest area of Evanston. In addition, the emerald ash borer was discovered in a tree on private property on the east side of Gross Point Rd. at Thayer St.
EAB is a destructive, non-native pest that feasts on ash trees. The first case was detected in June in Kane County. A week ago, the insect was found in Wilmette. A quarantine zone has been established around 51 square miles of Kane County to contain the spread there. Once the survey in Cook County is complete, the quarantine will be amended to reflect the infestation in Wilmette and Evanston.
"The initial EAB find in Wilmette included 16 infested trees within a five block area," IDOA Division Manager of Natural Resources Warren Goetsch said. "We have now found 30 infested trees within two communities, all within a ¾ mile radius of the original detection. At this point we don't know how much farther the infestation will reach, but we can't stress enough how important community participation is in fighting the battle against the emerald ash borer."
"Evanston staff will promptly respond to all suspected sightings of the EAB," Douglas J. Gaynor, Director of the City of Evanston's Parks/Forestry and Recreation said Department, said. "After EAB was discovered in Wilmette, we received calls from residents to report suspected cases. At first, sightings were reported at intersections without any ash trees in the vicinity.
Residents are becoming better at recognizing ash trees and more of them know that the EAB is smaller than a penny. We expect the number of false sightings to decrease as more people become educated." Large posters with color photos and EAB information packets are on display at Evanston libraries and community centers. In addition, residents are encouraged to visit www.emeraldashborer.info to view photographs of the insect and learn more about the EAB's life cycle.
"The good news is residents and interest groups are on the lookout. The faster we can detect and respond to a positive case, the better chance we have of isolating and containing the pest," Mark Younger, the City of Evanston's Arborist, said.
The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. While the beetle does not pose any direct risk to public health, it does threaten the tree population. Since the emerald ash borer was first confirmed in the Midwest in the summer of 2002, more than 20 million ash trees have died.
Evanston has 4,059 ash trees on its parkway and in its parks, which is about 12 percent of the city's 33,000 public trees. Additionally, there are thousands of ash trees on private property in Evanston. Ash trees were widely planted in the city and in much of northeast Illinois because they are fairly inexpensive and generally quite tolerant of soils and climate in this area.
In 1999, the City of Evanston created a policy whereby any tree species that made up more than 10 percent of the overall population would no longer be planted on public property. This means the City has not planted any new ash trees since 1999. This effort to further diversify the overall tree population was specifically aimed to minimize the effects of an infestation.
Evanston residents with questions are asked to visit the City's web site, www.cityofevanston.org, call the Evanston Parks/Forestry Division at 847-866-2912 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steps residents can take:
The City of Evanston Parks/Forestry Division believes that public education about EAB offers the best hope for preventing its spread throughout the region. It is asking property owners to:
HELP MONITOR AND REPORT - Learn about EAB, check your ash trees for the pest and call us at (847) 866-2912 if you believe you have found either the insect or an infested ash tree. We'll respond promptly to all such calls.
STAY INFORMED AND FOLLOW DIRECTIVES FROM THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE- Check for periodic updates at these websites: www.cityofevanston.org, www.agr.state.il.us and www.emeraldashborer.info.
REFUSE TO MOVE FIREWOOD OR PURCHASE ASH WOOD - Use only local firewood (even when traveling), and burn the wood on site or leave it when you move on. Especially, don't bring firewood or logs from other states, or any areas that may become quarantined in Illinois, to Evanston. Do not purchase any firewood containing ash wood until further notice.
CARE FOR ASH TREES- Call the Parks/Forestry Division if a public ash tree seems sick or needs maintenance. Care for private trees routinely, using ISA-certified arborists when hiring tree care companies.
PLANT FOR DIVERSITY- Do not plant ash trees. Plant underutilized tree species instead.