(Omaha, NE) -- Over a thousand Ash trees in the city of Omaha will be removed due to damage by the Emerald Ash Borer.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an insect that infests and kills Ash trees. As the tree dies, the limbs become brittle and fall apart, which the city says becomes a public safety danger. "This is a public safety threat that we must take seriously," said Mayor Jean Stothert.
According to the City Forestry Division, 14,569 Ash trees are on public property. The first signs of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation was in June of 2016 and since then over 6,000 Ash trees have been removed.
Some trees were treated against the borer to prolong their lives, but the city will now prioritize removing the trees instead of treating them. “Our first priority was to save the trees, not cut them down,” said Parks Director Matt Kalcevich. “We have unfortunately reached the point where treatment is not an effective strategy. The threat of personal injury and property damage is too significant to delay this work any longer.”
This month, the Omaha City Council approved contracts to remove over 1,300 Ash trees. One contract was awarded to Great Plains Tree Care for $142,718.89. Another 834 trees will be removed by Atrium Tree Service for $185,700. Funding for the tree removal is included in the annual Capital Improvement Plan.
The Parks Department will contact the nearby neighborhood associates with a timeline for work.
The trees are being replaced by the City of Omaha and Keep Omaha Beautiful. Omaha has planted 1,000 new trees and Keep Omaha Beautiful has planted 2,422 trees through its Trees for Omaha program. This program will continue through the next couple of years, according to the release.
(Photo by Getty Images)