City to em­bark on tree re­place­ment pro­gram

The Niagara Falls Review - - NEWS - RAY SPITERI rspi­teri@post­media.com

Ni­a­gara Falls has cut down about 1,800 of 3,600 trees that have been im­pacted by the emer­ald ash borer.

“Those are ash trees that are lo­cated ei­ther in the road al­lowance or in mu­nic­i­pal parks,” said di­rec­tor of mu­nic­i­pal works Ge­off Hol­man.

“We’re about half­way from re­mov­ing them … and we’ll be look­ing to re­place them over the next cou­ple of years.”

City coun­cil ap­proved $150,000 in its 2017 cap­i­tal bud­get to re­move, re­store and re­plant im­pacted trees.

“We’re go­ing to con­tinue iden­ti­fy­ing and re­mov­ing those ash trees that are at the great­est risk to the com­mu­nity and then em­bark on a re­plant­ing pro­gram,” said Hol­man.

“Sur­pris­ingly we’re get­ting some push back from peo­ple who don’t want trees, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how we come back with some so­lu­tion there be­cause it’s im­por­tant that we re-es­tab­lish the ur­ban canopy in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and hope­fully we’ll come back with a bet­ter so­lu­tion.”

He said some peo­ple are not fond of hav­ing trees around their prop­erty due to leaf col­lec­tion, branches that have to be picked up and tree roots get­ting into sewer lat­er­als.

“There’ s a num­ber of things, es­pe­cial­lyin some of those ar­eas where you have older res­i­dents who don’t want to take on that ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

From an en­vi­ron­men­tal point of view, Hol­man said, the city is “al­ways in­ter­ested in try­ing to re-es­tab­lish our ur­ban canopy across the city.”

“It’s an im­por­tant part, but from a risk-man­age­ment point of view we’ve had a num­ber of claims from street trees drop­ping limbs that take down hy­dro wires and things like that, which puts peo­ple out of power and af­fects them di­rectly, so we’re try­ing to be a lit­tle more proac­tive. We’ve iden­ti­fied the ones that pose the great­est risk and try to deal with them first.”

Ac­cord­ing to Nat­u­ral Re­sources Canada, the emer­ald ash borer was first de­tected in North Amer­ica in 2002, but prob­a­bly ar­rived on the con­ti­nent at least a decade ear­lier. Na­tive to Asia, the bee­tle has proven to be highly de­struc­tive in its new range. Since its ar­rival, it has killed tens of mil­lions of ash trees and con­tin­ues to spread into new ar­eas, with con­sid­er­able eco­nomic and eco­log­i­cal im­pacts.

Cana­dian For­est Ser­vice sci­en­tists es­ti­mate that costs for treat­ment, re­moval and re­place­ment of trees af­fected by the emer­ald ash borer in Cana­dian mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties may reach $2 bil­lion over a 30-year pe­riod. Also ex­pected to be sig­nif­i­cant are the eco­log­i­cal im­pacts of ash tree mor­tal­ity on aquatic or­gan­isms, birds and un­der­story veg­e­ta­tion, cur­rently un­der study.

SUP­PLIED PHOTO

This photo was taken by the city's forestry de­part­ment dur­ing some early emer­ald ash borer in­spec­tions.

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