City, conservation authority team up to replace damaged trees
Residents eligible for up to $5K to replace trees destroyed by emerald ash borer
The City of Ottawa is teaming up with a local conservation authority to help residents bear the cost of replacing trees consumed by the emerald ash borer.
The city is working with South Nation Conservation (SNC) to offer homeowners half the cost of removing and replacing damaged ash trees.
Ottawa homeowners will be eligible for up to $500 per tree to a maximum of 10 trees.
SNC's Ronda Boutz said it might be too late to stop the insect invasion, but the pilot project could help ease the impact.
"We may not be able to stop, but what we will be able to do is replace the tree canopy we have lost from the ash borer," Boutz said.
The emerald ash borer is a beetle native to Asia that feeds on ash trees. It was first detected in North America in 2002, and has since destroyed millions of trees.
Boutz said the ash borer gradually infiltrates trees, blocking the passage of nutrients from roots to leaves. She said it can take years for a tree to sustain heavy damage, but owners will soon start to notice dead patches.
"Once the nervous system of the tree has been infected or disrupted, there really is no way to reverse that process," she said.
To qualify for the program, infested trees must be inspected by a certified arborist or registered forester, and must be removed and replaced by the same professional.
Boutz said the replacement cost varies widely and depends on how difficult a tree is to remove, and on what size and species of tree is chosen to replace it.
She said SNC has already had a few inquires about the program, which is being offered on a first-come, first-served basis until funding runs out.
"We are not sure how quickly the requests will come in, and how quickly the funds will be exhausted," Boutz said.
In May city council approved $200,000 for its part in the pilot project, which is developed and administered by SNC.
Applications for the program are available on the authority's website.