$400,000 earmarked to battle the ash borer
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.