There is regret, there is deep regret, and then there is the Emerald Ash Borer

Friday, June 22, 2012

Last summer I wrote about my project concerning the Emerald Ash Borers in Sandy Hill- mostly how Jon pimped me out to a prof and his student to look into the situation (because of my mapping expertise). I spent some time hitting the pavement, plotting out where the ash trees were, and locating spaces to plant new trees to replace the canopy cover that would be eliminated by this pesky invasive species. After identifying the areas, we went door to door and spoke to residents about planting a tree on their property with the help of a City grant. It went pretty well, I had some neat conversations with residents, I was able to breathe some fresh air, and I had a change of scenery from the office.

It was great to be done with that project, knowing that the Action Sandy Hill community group had my finalized map in their hands. Effectively they could go about informing more residents and even inoculating trees that were significant to the community and had shown no signs of infection. Inoculation is rather expensive but it can be used for trees that were described to me as being monumental- like an old ash tree in a park that provides canopy cover. Anyways, I left my finished product in their hands with my hopes held high for the ash in Sandy Hill.

Cut to this morning when I get an email in my work inbox:

“The Ottawa area is being invaded with Emerald Ash Borers (EAB) and damage caused on campus is substantial. In order to limit the spread of this pest and to prevent incidents, the University of Ottawa will initiate an ash tree replacement program to resolve the problematic EAB issue on campus. EAB is highly destructive and the only approved treatment in Canada would be unsuccessful due to the severity of this infestation. The ash will be replaced by a wide variety of trees specially selected to proliferate in the surrounding conditions and avoid similar epidemics. The program will be underway within the next few weeks and will spread over 2 years. For more information on EAB, please visit the City of Ottawa’s page:”

Not news for myself, so I speak with my boss because I was wondering if somehow it was linked to my project from last summer. Unfortunately it isn't; some large ash trees on campus have been infected and now they must be removed and replaced.

Le sigh, all last summer I was so worried about Sandy Hill that I had completely waved the possibility of the campus even having ash trees. It’s weird how you don’t think these things will happen to you, on your own campus… but they do. Alas, hopefully we will plant some new trees that will be resistant to people’s ignorance [a.k.a transporting invasive species and assisting in their proliferation].


~meriss - campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - Living with Insects Blog

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