City of Burlington Department of Public Works employee Aaron DeGrave talks to local students during a previous Arbor Day ceremony about planting new trees to replace ash trees in Echo Park due to damage caused by the emerald ash borer. The city is offering a grant program that will share the cost of replacing parkway trees lost to infestation with residents. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

Effort is intended to overcome losses due to emerald ash borer

By Jason Arndt

Editor

City of Burlington residents who had a tree removed on their parkway because of emerald ash borer, an invasive species, can apply for reimbursement if they plant a replacement under a cost share program.

The cost share program launched recently and includes 50 grants of up to $200 per tree.

City staff informed residents through the summer newsletter and plan to notify each eligible resident individually.

Director of Public Works Peter Riggs said in a May 21 Committee of the Whole presentation the program offers benefits for both residents and city staff.

“For the residents, why would they participate in a program?” Riggs asked.

“Well, they get control over the timing, the location and the species of that tree,” he added. “In the past, if we were to reforest every tree that we removed in the city of Burlington, we’d be looking at over $200,000 to $300,000 worth of value that we would have to give.”

Considering the costs, Riggs said, reforesting the city could take years to complete, which could leave some residents who lost an infested tree with limited patience.

“This allows a residents who might not want to wait that long to have a tree planted back in their right-of-way an opportunity to do that and we can help them with that,” he said.

Property owners who lost trees are given first priority and awards are issued on a first come, first served basis.

As part of the application process, residents can select from a list of tree species approved by the Park Board, which consists of more than 40 varieties ranging in size from large to small.

For more information, or to express an interest, residents are asked to contact the Department of Public Works at 262-342-1181.

To read the entire story, see the May 30 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

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