QCA Cities Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

QCA Cities Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer

Posted: Updated:

We've been talking about the Emerald Ash Borer for years in our area. The invasive beetle is only a third of an inch long, but it and its babies can take down thousands of ash trees.

Cities across the QCA are taking action now to either save their ash trees or get rid of them all together. It's an expensive undertaking.

Ash trees are all over the QCA's parks and along city streets.

Scott County's Conservation Board says 90 percent of the trees they have are ash trees, and that would cost a lot to treat and a lot to take down.

We know Davenport is taking trees down, even though some homeowners are paying to keep the trees and treat them. That's about 100 bucks a year.

Burlington told us in the fall that nearly every ash tree they checked had ash borer damage. It will cost them a million dollars to remedy the problem.

Moline is lucky and the parks department says they have less than 500 city-owned ash trees, which they are going to treat for a cost of around $4,000.

Galesburg city leaders voted Monday night to move forward in their fight against the Emerald Ash Borer, hiring on a private company to remove ash trees from city right-of-ways after another company that had been hired to do it earlier this year left town without finishing the work.

It's a job that is simply too big for city crews to handle on their own.

"We plan to remove about 400 trees through contracts over the next 3 to 4 years," said Galesburg Public Works Director Larry Cox. "It is just too big of a workload for the number of people and equipment that we have to do it."

But, with the arrival of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer in Galesburg last year, the city has to move forward with its plan to remove or treat its ash trees before the number of dead trees becomes overwhelming.

"We are trying to get ahead of the curve a little bit and get these trees down before they become dead and dangerous," Cox said.

The city thought it was on the right track to rooting out the problem, hiring on Shelbyville, Illinois-based Clean Sweep Tree Service earlier this year, the lowest bidder on the spring ash tree removal contract. That contract called for removal of 58 of the city's ash trees to start.

But, mid-March, and only mid-way through the work, the city received an email from the company saying they had gone to South Carolina for a job cleaning up from a major storm, taking their equipment with them and leaving Galesburg high and dry.

"They have about 24 trees removed. Just the trees. They haven't done the stumps or the landscape work," Cox said.

And, Cox says the stumps have got to go - and soon.

Not only are they a tripping hazard, they're also a place for the Emerald AshBorer to continue to live, thrive and reproduce. That's not to mention the issue of aesthetics.

"Of course we would like to get the stumps removed and get the area landscaped and looking nice so we can come back in later and plant a tree near that location," Cox said.

So, on Monday night, Galesburg City Council voted to award a new contract for that work - and the rest of what Clean Sweep left undone - to the next low bidder in the original process, Guither Tree Services. City leaders also voted to ban Clean Sweep from submitting bids for Galesburg city projects for the next five years.

"It is always a disappointment when a company backs out on a contract, so we will move on, find someone else," said Galesburg Mayor John Pritchard.

Guither Tree Services should be getting to work on ash tree removal within the next couple weeks, hoping to finish the job by late spring or early summer.

The Public Works Director says most ash trees in the city are likely going to be infected soon, if they aren't already.

In all, Galesburg plans to have about 400 trees removed from city right-of-ways over the next few years and eventually replace them. They plan to treat another 60 or so trees on top of that.

More than 25 million ash trees have been destroyed since 2002 nationwide.

So far, Emerald Ash Borer has been found in eight Iowa communities and just about every county in our viewing area in Illinois.

Powered by WorldNow

805 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803

Telephone: 563.383.7000
Fax: 563.383.7131
Email: news@kwqc.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Davenport, Inc. A Media General Company.