Emerald Ash Borer

Village of Richton Park Emerald Ash Borer

Community Action Plan





Introduction:

The Emerald Ash Borer is an extremely destructive tree-killing insect, which will seriously impact the Village of Richton Park, both, our environment, and our budget. The EAB was first found in Illinois, in 2006, and has spread rapidly, being confirmed in 193 communities, in 22 counties. The Village of Richton Park has 1352 Ash trees, or about 30% of the total 4521 public trees, in parks and on parkways, throughout the Village. Some neighborhoods have a very low percentage, such as Lakewood, where only 10% of the trees are Ash. This compares to areas, such as the Greenfield subdivision, which has about two thirds of its trees planted with varieties of Ash.

The loss of Ash trees in the Village of Richton Park, will have an impact on the quality of life in our community. According to the USDA Forest Service, properly maintained trees are actually worth three times the investment required to plant and care for them. Some benefits include shade, reducing storm water runoff, oxygen production, absorption of pollutants, increased property values, increased mental well-being, contributing to a sense of community pride, and reducing crime rates. Many of these benefits are what makes the Village of Richton Park a desirable place to live.

Ash Tree Inventory of Richton Park:

Area/Subdivision
Total # of trees
# of Ash Trees
% of Ash Trees
East Side-North of Sauk Trail
202
70 35%
East Side-South of Sauk Trail
671
204 30%
Farm Trace
203 87 43%
Greenfield
329 217 66%
Lakewood North
121 19 16%
Lakewood South
1210 125 10%
Las Fuentes
86 5 6%
Lincoln Crossings
502 301 60%
Meadowlake
349 135 39%
Richton Hills
848 189 22%
Total 4521 1352 30%

Costs for Removal and Replacement:

Costs for the removal of Ash trees within the Village, will vary depending on the size of the trees. In younger neighborhoods, Meadowlake, Greenfield, Farm Trace, and Falcon Crest, tree removals should go rather quickly, and cost would be about $75 per tree. For the more mature trees, costs estimates of about $350 per tree would be typical. These costs include the removal, and the stump grinding and restoration. Based on the inventory above, the estimated total for tree removal will be $351,000.00

Costs for replacement trees will average about $175 each, to have planted by an outside landscape crew. Direct costs for one to one replacement, is estimated at $236,600.00. These costs can be reduced by off-setting them with grants and donations. Current grants of 80/20 are available, but are limited by population of our Village, currently capped at $10,000. Due to the high demand for grant dollars among the many communities in the State, grants are not guaranteed, and likely, only about ¼ of applications will receive grant dollars.

Not all trees that are removed will have a replacement tree planted at that site. Considerations for the replacement of trees include the spacing of the trees, the existence of underground utilities, including water and sanitary sewer laterals, distances from corners and streetlights, and placement near driveways and sidewalks.

Disposal Costs:

We currently pile our chips, and have them hauled off site by a wood mulch contractor. This contractor has been listed as a EAB compliant business. These chips are taken at no charge to the Village, and so we are able to save on disposal costs, at this time. As regulations may change, so might our disposal methods, and our disposal costs.

Removal Criteria:

The removal of Ash trees from the public spaces, parks, and parkways, will be done by DPW crews, as long as we can keep up with the demand for removal. Because our crew is limited in size, and has a variety of other tasks to complete, trees will be removed once they are confirmed infested with EAB. If dead or dying trees are not removed in a timely manner, they may become a liability to the Village. If the need for tree removal becomes too great, the Village will need to contract some tree removal, or approve overtime hours for the DPW.

Because Green Ash seems to be more effected by the EAB, than the White Ash, for instance, it will not be the policy of the Village to remove all Ash trees in an area. By removing the dead and dying, and get tree replacements in place, we can minimize the visual impact the widespread removal of trees would have on residential streets.

Infested trees on private property will need to come down, in a timely manner, as well. Our local ordinances may need to be changed, or updated, to include language specific to the EAB, and the regulations that have come about by federal and state agencies, to control EAB. In this regard, the DPW director will need to work closely with Code Enforcement, to follow up on known infestations.

Planting Criteria:

When choosing a site for the planting of replacement trees, spacing, underground conflicts, street lighting locations, and proximity to intersections, will all be considered. This may mean that some trees will not be replaced, once removed. We have many areas of the Village, where large trees are planted 20-25 feet apart, when 40-50 feet is recommended.

Tree diversity is a key element to our reforestation plan. Currently we have three or four trees that make up the largest percentage of the Village trees. It is our goal to work toward a diverse population of trees, so that areas will not be devastated by EAB, Dutch Elm Disease, or some new pest or bacteria. Many forestry experts recommend that no species should make up more than 10% 0f the population, and no genus should make up more than 20%. An example would be that Ash is the genus, and the varieties, green white, blue, etc. would be the species. This is a goal, as stated above, and will take many years to accomplish, given the large number of Silver Maple and Locust trees that populate the Village.

Public Education:

It is important for the citizens of Richton park to be informed about EAB. If they are well informed, they will be more likely to accept what is happening, and cooperate with the Village’s requests. We propose to use the following means of communication, and expand upon them where possible:

a. Display information at public buildings
b. Village newsletter articles
c. Village website
d. Cable TV
e. Public meetings
f. Electronic billboard
g. Direct mailings

Plan Implementation:

The implementation of this plan is to be carried out by the Director of Public Works. He shall work with the Village Manager and the Finance Director, to coordinate the planning and financing of the work plan. He shall inform the Board of the plan highlights, at budget time, annually, and any other time there is a significant accomplishment or change to the direction of this action plan.

Local Codes and Ordinances:

Note: we will insert copies of pertinent Village codes and ordinances, assuring that they have been updated to include the current EAB regulations.