AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Environment Division held a public presentation of the emerald ash borer survey results that was conducted in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the United States Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the survey was to determine the extent of emerald ash borer infestation for the development of plans that will help mitigate its impact on the community of Akwesasne.
The survey found that the emerald ash borer is spreading from the northwest to the southeast at an increasing rate, with the greatest densities now located in the areas of Raquette Point and Rooseveltown. The infestation is projected to continue increasing over the next few years and will affect 90 percent of all ash trees in Akwesasne. As the emerald ash borer spreads, public hazards will be posed when limbs become brittle and break off before the tree eventually falls.
“The survey helped identify areas with the greatest infestations that were not previously located through our annual trapping efforts,” Environment Division Assistant Director Les Benedict said in a press release from the Tribe.
“The survey’s findings discovered that the infestation is still in the early stages, but is progressing farther east. This information has been helpful in developing mitigation plans that will assist in reducing the threat that the Emerald Ash Borer poses.”
To help reduce the spread of the emerald ash borer and the risks associated with dead trees, one measure being implemented by the Tribe’s Environment Division is for the safe removal and replacement of ash trees located alongside Akwesasne’s roadways, particularly along Route 37. The highway spans nearly 7½ miles from the western portion of the community to the east and includes an estimated 200 ash trees that were planted when the road was rebuilt in the 1980’s.
In advance of the emerald ash borer ’s spread eastward in Akwesasne, the Environment Division is conducting a call out for property owners along Route 37 who are willing to have an ash tree safely removed and replaced with another tree type. Replacement trees may include maple, oak, hop hornbeam, blue beech, sassafras, hickory, horse chestnut, patriot elm, flowering crab, hawthorn, catalpa and osage orange, and more, depending on matching soil conditions.
The responsibility of maintaining and caring for the replacement trees, or any remaining ash trees, rests with the landowner. For one time however, the Environment Division is providing property owners with the chance to help improve street tree health by having an ash tree removed and replaced at no cost. Property owners have until Sept. 30 to express their desire to have an ash tree safely removed and replaced.
Community members should take note that there are no plans to treat ash trees with pesticides or to have them removed from an individual’s property once the infestation and damage begins.
For more information about the ash tree removal project, call the Tribe’s Environment Division at 518- 358-5937 or visit their office during normal business hours at 449 Frogtown Road in Akwesasne.