FREMONT – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect was discovered during an inspection in an Omaha park in 2016, and they say it will inevitably make its way into other parts of the state.
The EAB is a native of Asia and is believed to have arrived to the U.S. on solid wood packing material. Its introduction has resulted in the loss of millions of ash trees. Currently the City of Fremont is within a Quarantined Regulated Zone for the EAB. A proposed resolution to respond to the EAB problem in the city was presented to the Parks and Recreation Board at their regular meeting on Tuesday night.
Some of the items in the proposal include completing a tree inventory of all the ash trees on City-owned land, update and annually review a map marked with each ash tree, remove every ash tree within the next five years, as well as replace the infected trees on each Right of Way, and other options.
Assistant City Administrator Shane Wimer says when looking over the proposal a few things stood out as important to him.
“We have a $6,000 budget, which I hope goes through, for tree replacement because we’re going to have some areas that are going to look barren once those trees are gone,” said Wimer. “So we’re going to need to replace them with newer and healthier trees. And I think that’s vital for the city. Also we only have a two-person forestry crew. So they’re going to be very busy and they are going to try to get to all of these diseased trees as quick as possible.”
Wimer adds that EAB can be an expensive issue to resolve, especially for other areas that did not anticipate or plan for it. But he says while there will be some challenges for Fremont, the city is doing all it can to be prepared.
“It is happening. Every ash tree is going to get the bug. You can’t stop it. It’s here,” said Wimer. “It’s just a matter of time before your tree becomes diseased. So the challenges will be the five year plan. But we are ahead of the game by having the wood chipper. We’ve been looking forward and projecting these things.”
The proposed resolution of the EAB problem is still a working document, and there is no scheduled date for when it will be brought to the City Council.