Mount Prospect and the Emerald Ash Borer

By Justin Kohls for SUST 210 online

A rise in Emerald Ash Borers, found from the Midwest to the East Coast and into Canada, and its influence on community development and beautification has created a communal response in Mount Prospect, as detailed by this recent article.  Residents of this area have come out in protest over the mass removal of their Parkway Ash Trees due to the rise in these exotic beetles.  Their request is to allow residents to treat the infected trees rather than the township’s response of quarantine and removal; however as with other types of community action, many worry that not all residents will spend the time and money on the required treatments.

Map of the Emerald Ash Borer's range in North America, as of 2012

The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in Southeastern Michigan, Windsor, Ontario, Ohio, northern Indiana, northern Illinois and Maryland, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Iowa, and Tennessee.  According to an interstate initiative to better understand this species, Emerald Asher Borer Info, it is believed that they originated on wood packing material in cargo ships or airplanes coming from their native Asia.  The adult beetles simply nibble on the foliage of the trees causing little harm; however, the larvae feed on the inner bark, thus disrupting the trees transporting (mainly water and nutrients) abilities.  Since the first sighting in 2002, the effects of these beetles have included the death of tens of millions of trees, enforced quarantines by regulatory agencies, and high costs to municipalities, property owners and forest industries in the sum of tens of millions of dollars.

The Emerald Ash Borer

Such high costs of maintenance are what have prompted the village trustees of Mount Prospect to seek alternatives to tree inspection and removal; yet residents in some areas who are seeing a majority of their trees decimated by this disease see these initiatives as detrimental to the aesthetics of their community.  Under the proposed ordinance, residents would have the right to treat the trees, after obtaining a permit, and the village would still be allowed to remove a tree if necessary.  Still, questions loom over the challenges involved in getting all residents to adhere to treatments once they have begun.

There will be a public forum on this issue April 4th at the Mount Prospect Public Works/Emergency Operations Center, 1720 W. Central Road, 7p.m.

Submitted 30 March 2011

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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