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Protecting Monroe's ash
Monroe has more than 670 ash trees on its terraces and in parks, which will be threatened by the arrival of the emerald ash borer. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - The city now has an emerald ash borer management plan.

Parks director and city forester, Paul Klinzing, presented the plan at the Board of Public Works meeting Monday, July 1, preparing the city for a pending emerald ash borer infestation, which has already reached the Green-Rock county border.

The little iridescent green-and-ruby flying bugs may have already found their way into Green County ash trees - they just have not been discovered yet.

"EAB will eventually make an appearance in Monroe," Klinzing wrote in the plan's executive summary, "and it will have an aesthetic effect on our community and a fiscal impact on our city's budget for many years."

Klinzing isn't making promises to save any of the more than 670 ash trees the city has on terraces and in parks, nor the untold hundreds - or thousands - found on private properties.

A tree of "any size and any age can be hit," he told the board members.

But he hopes to manage the cost of the removals.

Managing the EAB infestation consists of a 10-year, preemptive removal plan, as well as selective treatment. Based on this year's contracted price of $400 to remove a 16-inch diameter tree, Klinzing estimated the 10-year removal process could potentially cost $271,000.

The proposed plan calls for removing about 36 ash trees and treating 36 trees per year, which would cost about $20,000.

Treatments have seen some success in Milwaukee, some board members noted. But Klinzing said treatment is not a guarantee and is often used for prolonging a tree's life to help spread out the removal costs and work over time.

After EAB is found in a community, "the first year or two are slow," he added, "but by the third year, you can't keep up."

The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging communities to have a plan in place, Klinzing said.

Treatments range in prices, and Klinzing discovered through the village of DeForest that treating a 16-inch diameter tree would cost $92 to $178, which would protect the tree for two years.

About 390 smaller ash trees found in the city were planted between 1996 and 2006, before the emerald ash borer threat became known and the practice stopped. Large ash trees, about 220 of them, were likely planted in the 1970s as replacement trees after the Dutch elm disease hit the city.

Disposal of the infested wood is also a challenge, because the state regulates the movement of EAB infested materials. The county will be quarantined. Hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock, ash logs or timber cannot be transported out, without a compliance agreement with the Department to Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The city currently has an ordinance dealing with the management of Dutch elm disease and is amending its ordinances to manage EAB activities. Authority will be needed to declare infested or dead trees on private property as a public threat, so they can be removed. And the city will need to assure the infested wood is not moved outside the quarantined area.

Several options are available to process the infested wood, which will kill the EAB or interrupt its life cycle.

The city does not have a regular, formal inspection program to look at every ash tree, but city park staff do monitor them. Declining trees will be removed. A best practice is to plant a replacement tree, but it won't be an ash tree.

The city asks Monroe residents to report a suspected EAB-infested tree on private or public property by calling the DNR EAB Hotline at 1-800-462-2803 and the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department at 608-329-2460.

More information about the emerald ash borer can be found online at, the EAB portal for Wisconsin and on the Wisconsin DNR EAB website.