The Evils of the Emerald Ash Borer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photo credit: unknown

Today is the second day of summer and as you head out with your family and friends to go camping this season it’s important to remember that when you roast your marshmallows over that campfire to start it with local wood.

Your parents may be the stingy type, saving dimes and dollars by clipping newspapers for coupons, and they might think bringing wood they’ve chopped themselves is a great money saving tip. Personally, I can think of a few neighbours back home that would not think twice about the environmental consequences of such actions. The outcome is catastrophic to say the least; this is not an overexcited exaggeration. If you are from Ottawa, you may have noticed the ash trees in your neighbourhood die over the past few years. If you reside somewhere other than Ottawa, Dutch elm disease or Asian Longhorn Beetle may ring a bell.

Needless to say, some time ago people thought it would be a good idea to move wood from an infested area to Sandy Hill and since then the ash population has taken quite a hit. The Emerald Ash Borer when spread to ash has a 95% fatality rate and in order to combat the declining population, the Office of Sustainability is collaborating with Eric Crighton, a professor at the University and a member of Action Sandy Hill, in order to map where the ash trees are located. The goal of this mapping project is to replace as many trees as we can and possibly inject some that are possible to save (they must show no signs of deteriorating before injection, kind of a tricky situation).

The first step for myself, was to meet with representatives from the City of Ottawa, namely a Forester and Landscape Architect that explained the EAB situation and the present strategies in place to combat it. The next meeting was with lovely Nancy Lemay from the GSG Library in Morisset, if you have ever been in a Geography course she has probably lectured once or twice for you. She was able to provide us with .dbf files to map Sandy Hill; she even formatted the files for us (a nightmare in GIS, in case you were wondering). Now we’re prepared to go do some tree identification and plotting, bring it on Emerald Ash Borer- we’re coming to track you down, slow your destruction and save the ash trees!

To see the damages done by EAB and how you can prevent the spread visit:


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