$400,000 ear­marked to bat­tle the ash borer

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MARTA MARYCHUK Oakville Beaver

Hal­ton re­gional coun­cil is putting $400,000 to­ward fight­ing the emer­ald ash borer this year.

Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton asked the re­gional coun­cil for the funds at a re­cent meet­ing to help with its 2017 ash borer pro­gram.

Iden­ti­fied in 2002, the emer­ald ash borer is an in­va­sive species that kills healthy North Amer­i­can ash trees.

Once signs and symp­toms of in­fes­ta­tion have de­vel­oped, the tree is usu­ally in se­ri­ous de­cline.

Once dead, ash trees tend to fall within two years, putting pres­sure on Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton prop­er­ties and pos­ing risk to sur­round­ing land, staff and vis­i­tors.

Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton has set out a 10-year ash borer man­age­ment pro­gram on con­ser­va­tion lands at an es­ti­mated cost of $8.4 mil­lion.

The fund­ing would be used to ad­dress the roughly 100,000 ash trees within the agency’s bound­aries that are con­sid­ered at risk.

More than 92 per cent of those are in Hal­ton.

If the re­gion ap­proves the longterm cap­i­tal-spend­ing plan, Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton would use the fund­ing over 10 years to hire ad­di­tional full-time con­tract staff to help re­move in­fected ash trees, as well as con­trac­tor fees for ar­borists.

The money would also be used for spe­cial­ized equip­ment for tree knock-down, in­jec­tions and cleanup, as well as sup­plies to con­trol in­va­sive species.

Dur­ing the first three years, the agency would de­velop a re­sponse to deal with ar­eas of high­est risk, such as camp­sites, pic­nic ar­eas and trail heads.

At the end of the third year, about 30,000 trees would be re­moved at an es­ti­mated cost of $2,708,000.

From 2020 to 2026, the Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton plan in­di­cates there will be a de­creas­ing level of ex­ter­nal con­tract work and in­creased re­liance on in­ter­nal staff re­sources for the wider trail net­work area.

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