Rochester Parks & Recreation gives infected trees new life

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(ABC 6 News) – According to a Rochester City Ordinance, ash trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer must be destroyed. Now, the city Parks & Recreation department is working to keep that wood from going to waste, giving infected trees new life.

The Quarry Hill Nature Center is just one place in Rochester where dead ash wood is being given new life.

Emerald ash borer is a big problem in southeastern Minnesota.

Once an ash tree dies, the wood becomes brittle and the overall tree creates danger of collapse.

But, instead of burning the dead trees, Rochester Parks & Recreation is trying to eliminate wood waste.

“There’s a coordinated effort between the county and city to try and come up with ways to remove wood from the debris stream,” says Jeff Haberman, a city forester. “Emerald ash borer has killed so many trees that there’s this bottleneck right now unfortunately at most of the wood recycling facilities in town.”

Through reclamation projects, the ash wood is able to create something new, while also reducing wood waste.

“We’ve taken a particular interest in trying to reuse the wood in as many ways as we can,” says Haberman. “We’re using it to create benches in our parks, we’re milling lumber out of ash wood and not only using it in interior projects but also making enclosures around porta-potties for the parks system. The most unique example in my opinion is that its been turned into baseball bats by the Roosters baseball team here locally.”

In the long term, Rochester Parks & Recreation hopes these projects will significantly reduce wood waste in the city.

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