Ash removal

La Crosse city employee Steve Lawrence cuts up an ash tree threatened by the emerald ash borer along Market Street in La Crosse in this photo from September 2015. The pest was recently discovered in Eau Claire County.

PETER THOMSON, Lee Newspapers

Emerald ash borer (EAB), a beetle that kills ash trees by burrowing through the inner bark and intercepting vital nutrients, has been discovered in the city of Eau Claire, the city’s Department of Community Services said Monday. It is Eau Claire County’s first confirmed EAB presence.

The parasite was found “in a dying ash tree on the UW-Eau Claire campus just south of Water Street,” the city said.

DNR staff collected emerald ash borer larvae from the tree on Nov. 27, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said Monday.

“At this time, City of Eau Claire staff will continue to follow the EAB Management Plan of selective removal and treatments,” the city said Monday.

Chippewa County has been quarantined since September, when emerald ash borer activity was detected in the town of Lafayette. However, until Monday, Chippewa County was surrounded by EAB-free counties. Dunn, Taylor, Rusk, Barron and Clark Counties are still free of infestation, according to a state EAB database.

48 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are now infected, the DATCP said.

In October, the city of Chippewa Falls began treating several of its healthiest ash trees, and removing and replacing ash trees in city boulevards.

Quarantined counties are under strict orders to avoid transporting firewood out of the county, according to the DATCP. Southern Wisconsin is almost completely quarantined, but infected counties are relatively rare in the northern half of the state.

Signs of emerald ash borer activity include D-shaped holes in the tree’s bark, S-shaped patterns on inner bark, cream-colored larvae feeding beneath the bark and metallic-green adult beetles a half-inch long found on the tree itself.

Information on identifying and treating EAB infestation can be found at datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/index.jsp. Residents of Chippewa Falls can contact the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department at 715-723-0051 or email dhebert@chippewafalls-wi.gov to find out if the trees in their boulevard are treatable. Residents should contact the department by the spring of 2018 if they plan to treat their trees, department head Dick Hebert said in October.

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