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Emerald Ash Borer Problems Continue to Grow in Rochester

April 01, 2019 10:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- In just weeks, tree canopies will start coming to life. Not only do trees give us some much-needed shade on clear summer days, but they also save cities lots of green (money that is!). 

In Rochester, the benefits trees provide is estimated at nearly $2 million dollars a year, which takes into account things like stormwater benefits, natural gas savings, and pollutants removed from the air.

Right now, a major threat is not only eating through one tree species but also eating through the City’s treatment budget. The emerald ash borer (EAB) problem is getting bigger, even though we have had cold enough temperatures this winter to kill off some of the population.

“There is evidence that cold temperatures will actually kill larvae in the trees. However, they never all die. The cold will help and could set back the population slightly, but it is not something that will solve the problem,” said Jeff Haberman, the City Forester for Rochester. “We are going to need $350,000, $450,000 and $600,000 for the next three years … and a decision was made to cap the EAB funds at $275,000 for that same time period so we would fall short.”

On Monday, The Parks & Recreation Department asked the Committee of the Whole members for $40,000 to create an Urban Forest Master Plan. It would be an in-depth look at the tree canopy in Rochester. 

The recommended canopy coverage goal for communities set by the American Forestry Association is 40%. In Rochester, the number is roughly at about 25% but Haberman says that number will drop to 19% or lower if we don’t address the emerald ash borer problem.

A decision will be taken up by the Committee of the Whole at a later date. 

Meantime, Parks & Rec will continue to look at different ways of addressing the emerald ash borer issue with the funds that are available. 

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