By Carly A. Mullady
Chicago, IL (January 22, 2008)- The emerald ash borer is doing more than bugging south suburban officials. Mayors from several suburban municipalities Tuesday joined arborists, tree enthusiasts and concerned residents to learn about plans to fight the destructive little creature. To help out with the battle, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Illinois is receiving $1.5 million in federal funding for emerald ash borer prevention measures.
The borer is a bright green bug that burrows into ash tree bark, preventing the tree from bringing water from the roots to the branches. This bug has destroyed more than 12 million ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana since it was discovered in 2002 in Michigan. “In Illinois, one of every five trees is an ash tree, and that’s what this bug has on its menu every day,” Durbin said.
After being infested, trees typically die within three years. The borer migrates in a half-mile radius each year. Durbin said costs to cut down and replace trees can be burdensome on municipal budgets. This is where Durbin’s Invasive Species Revolving Loan Fund comes in. The bill is designed to help municipalities handle costs to manage the borer’s affect on trees.
This low-interest revolving loan fund would support purchasing equipment to destroy infested trees and to replace trees within quarantined areas of municipal land. Communities would have 20 years to repay the loans. Money was earmarked for Illinois so communities can get the equipment to stop its spread.
Edith Makra, community trees advocate for the Morton Arboretum, said professional arborists are trying to keep up with the emerald ash borer. She advised residents to turn to professionals if they see the “capital D” shape the borer leaves in trees or the crevices left in tree bark.
Senate Farm Bill Passed- Includes Funding for Forestry and for Communities to Manage Emerald Ash Borer