Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

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It’s not the latest comic book super villain that we’re worried about, here in Northwest Ohio. No, it’s a little green beetle that, since 2003, has been munching its way through our neighborhoods and Metroparks. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) feasts on our Ash trees, leaving us little choice but to spray a bright red stripe or “X” on the trunks of the mortally wounded flora. The stark tattoo of removal. “The irony of thousands of ash trees being cut down this Arbor Day marks a tragic chapter in the history of Metroparks,” Jack Gallon, President of the Board of Park Commissions wrote in a letter to TCP, “One way we can channel our disappointment in a positive way is to urge our federal lawmakers to close the door to exotic species that arrive on American shores at the rate of one every eight months. The cost of prevention is small compared to the cost to our native plants and animals. Pearson Metropark is proof of what we stand to lose.” The EAB, an exotic Asian pest, was discovered in North America about five years ago, and was spotted in the Detroit area during the summer of 2002. Since then, it has apparently migrated south, infiltrating Lucas County as well as Wood, Defiance, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Henry and Williams Counties. It isn’t the adult beetles that cause the most damage, it’s their larvae. They burrow and nibble their way through the inner bark of Ash trees, affecting the trees’ ability to move the needed nutrients and all important water throughout. What we’re left with are a bunch of trees that are cracked where the burrows have forced the bark to split. And then, we’re left with no choice. It’s just too late. Get out the can of day-glow red because once the tree is infested, there is no saving it. “Perhaps the biggest misconception being perpetuated is that the ash trees at Peason can somehow be saved. Sadly, the evidence refutes that,” claims Scott Carpenter, Communications Manager for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area. “Based on what has happened in Michigan, it is clear that it is too late to protect the trees at Pearson. Once an emerald ash borer infests an area, it is 100 percent fatal to ash trees.” Five species of Ash – 20-30,000 trees – are slated for removal from the Pearson and Oak Openings Metroparks, with Pearson closed until June 30, 2005 and having the priority date of May 15, 2005.

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