© (TC Media photo - Keith McAuliffe)
Pictured here are Cassandre Denis (left) and Bianca Cristina Ramirez (right), measuring ash trees on public and private property.
With the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) appearing in Pierrefonds and Pointe Claire in late May, two West Island cities are becoming proactive in the fight against the exotic beetle that’s ravaged nearly 100 million trees in North America.
Both Dorval and Beaconsfield are the latest municipalities west of Montreal to kick-start an inventory program to gage the number of ash trees on private property.
A Dorval official told the Chronicle four interns in urban forestry will go door to door at the end of June to compile a list of various species of trees.
“Having an inventory of all the trees on private property will help us have a better idea about what is at stake concerning the threat caused by the emerald ash borer,” said Sebastien Gauthier, the city’ spokesperson. “It will also be very useful if, down the road, we get hit by another threat on another type of tree.”
According to Gauthier, an infestation of EAB has yet to be reported in Dorval. The city, which has implemented preventive measures related to the EAB since 2012, estimated 1,200 ash trees in parks and public fields and approximately 5,000 on private property.
“In all cases, it will allow us to act faster by knowing the numbers that we have for each type of trees,” Gauthier added.
At the start of May, the city proceeded with the treatment of ash trees on public territory.
Meanwhile in Beaconsfield, three university students have undertaken the heady task of compiling a list of ash trees on private property, before the bug makes its first-ever appearance in the city.
According to Caterina Pompeo, the city’s spokesperson, the measure is one of preparation.
“We know that the bug cannot be confined and if and when it does arrive, both public and privately-owned ash will be affected,” said Pompeo, adding “the inventory will allow us to measure the impact the EAB will have on Beaconsfield’s urban forest.”
The inventory, carried out by students Cassandra Denis, Blanca Ramirez and Christina Agtarap, is seen as the first step in a long line of defence against the EAB, an exotic beetle which reportedly immigrated to Michigan, U.S via a timber shipment.
“Should the need arise, we want to be able to advise citizens who have ash trees on their property that they are in an infested area and should take the proper steps to slow down the disease,” said Pompeo.
There are a total of 3,179 ash trees on public property.
Pointe Claire was the second city in the West Island to fall prey to the bug, when two ash trees on a Hymus Boulevard private property were removed and destroyed last week following a successful surveillance initiative.
In April, Pierrefonds, an ash tree on public property in the Bois-de-Liesse district was removed and destroyed after city officials discovered the presence of the bug.
Dorval is organizing two information sessions on the EAB June 18-19, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in French and English, respectively, at the Sarto-Desnoyers Community Centre (1335 Lakeshore Dr.).
Biologist Micheline Lévesque will explain how to recognize the insect and how to slow down its progression.
Follow @AAbbondanza1 on Twitter!