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Germantown discusses attack plan for emerald ash borer

Board votes down $1,500 proposal to review tree inventory

March 5, 2013

Germantown - Emerald ash borer, the invasive insect that takes down ash trees from the inside out, is creeping close to the village. The borer has been found in neighboring communities in Washington County, prompting Germantown officials to discuss an action plan.

In 2007, the Germantown Park and Recreation Department and Wachtel Tree Service completed an EAB Readiness Plan. The village has now come to a point where readiness will soon have to turn to action, which the Village Board discussed on Monday.

The board voted down a $1,500 proposal from Wachtel that would pay for a review of the tree inventory to create an implementation plan of the more than 4,500 ash trees located on village streets and parks. The board did not see the point in spending more money to re-inventory the trees, saying they know the borer will get to the village and they should go out for bid to select a company to deal with it.

"We should put this out for bid to assess our tree stock to assess for disease," Village Trustee Terri Kaminski said. "We know we have to do that. Why don't we get bids on assessing how bad our situation is."

Kaminski also wants to consult the Department of Natural Resources on best practices in handling EAB, saying more information is needed before they commit money to a company.

"This is a significant problem in Michigan and Ohio," she said. "What are their DNRs doing? There have to be best practices there. I don't feel comfortable spending $1,500 on essentially doing nothing. We should look at who's out there, put it out for bid."

Village President Dean Wolter voted for allocating $1,500 for Wachtel services, saying the trees need to be looked at now to gauge which ones should be cut down and which should be treated.

He said communities don't yet know how to handle EAB and many are taking different approaches to attack the borer - from treatment to cutting them all down. On his own property, Wolter is treating his ash trees, spraying around the base in an attempt to prevent the bug from nesting in the trees and ultimately killing them.

"All Wachtel is saying is at 33 cents a tree they'll look at your database, update it, say what size trees, where they are based on infestation and then work up a way to minimize the loss of trees within your village, but there are no guarantees," Wolter said.

EAB will be revisited at future board meetings once more research is done on companies, as well as plans to handle the borer.

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