Mitigation funds would help defray cost of planting new trees in public spaces
The Village of Grafton has requested financial assistance to help offset destruction caused by the emerald ash borer.
The Village Board recently passed a resolution seeking a $20,000 mitigation grant to defray the cost of new tree plantings.
The grant, which would be awarded by Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission and Department of Natural Resources, is designed to help municipalities diversify their urban and community forests.
Terms of the matching grant require applicants to pay 25% of the total cost, meaning Grafton must contribute $5,000.
In a report to the board, Interim Public Works Director Bob Dreblow said the village would cover its share through in-kind contributions of labor and equipment.
“Receiving this grant would allow the Village of Grafton the opportunity to further enhance its urban forest diversification efforts, which have been ongoing for over 10 years,” Dreblow stated in the grant application.
Plans call for the village to replace ash trees in street locations that were removed this year after being killed by borer infestation. The replacements would include 14 different species of trees planted by village staff in 2017.
The new trees would be 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
In his report, Dreblow said the village’s 2017 capital improvement budget should include $12,000 for the purchase of street trees.
By applying for the grant, Grafton joins other local municipalities and Ozaukee County in requesting funds to mitigate the ash borer’s impact.
The City of Port Washington last week agreed to seek a Forest Service grant to provide as much as $20,000 to replace trees killed by the infestation.
The borer, which has taken a devastating toll on communities across the country, was first reported in Wisconsin in 2008. The insect was discovered near Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville and has since migrated throughout Ozaukee County.
The borer, which is one-half inch long and one-eighth inch wide, infests all types of Fraxinus ash trees, including green, white and black ash.
The insect burrows into the bark and lays eggs. When the larvae hatch, they chew through the interior, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients to the tree and eventually killing it.
Chemical treatment of trees has shown success in fighting the infestation. However, officials said the mortality rate among untreated trees is 20% to 30% within the first seven years after the infestation is reported and increases to 80% or more within eight to 11 years.
In response, many communities have adopted programs that call for the treatment of selected trees in public areas and removal and replacement of others.