In August 2015, Town Staff and Council began planning for the imminent removal of all ash trees in Fort Erie due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation. EAB is an introduced insect pest from Asia that attacks and kills all species of true ash trees.
Town staff estimate that approximately 16,500 ash trees in Fort Erie are infested; with about 80 per cent of them located on private property. The mortality rate of EAB infested trees can happen as fast as one year; however, it typically occurs within 2-3 years. As a result of the EAB infestation, Town Council has increased the annual tree trimming and removal budget from $173,700 in 2015 to $579,000 in 2017.
“Approximately 50 per cent of all ash trees on public property are completely dead. Therefore, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to protect our community by removing dying and infected trees from our parks and roadways as soon as possible,” said Mayor Wayne Redekop.
In order to help save on costs, Town staff concentrates on the bulk removal of ash trees within neighbourhoods where a higher density of ash trees exists. These bulk removals have proven to be a more cost effective way of removing higher volumes of ash trees within specific neighborhoods. The average unit price per tree is less than 65% of the cost of selective tree removals.
In 2016, the Town executed a tree removal program in South Fort Erie and Crescent Park neighbourhoods. Staff will be removing the balance of EAB infested trees in Crescent Park later this year, followed by block removals in Thunder Bay and Ridgeway. The Town Arborist will select the best species of tree for replanting in each specific location to ensure Fort Erie has a more biodiverse urban forest in the future.
While the Town will be removing select trees from public property, Fort Erie residents and businesses are reminded that it is their responsibility to manage or remove trees on their own properties. Since some tree removal companies offer discounts for multiple tree removals in the same area, Town staff recommends that residents speak with their neighbours to see if they are also looking for tree removal services before booking an appointment.
For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer program in Fort Erie, please call 905-871-1600 or visit www.forterie.ca.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: July 31, 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Janine Tessmer, Communications Advisor