In Iowa, nine counties are now confirmed with emerald ash borer, one of the most destructive pests in the United States.
Millions of trees have died because of the insect and that causes billions of dollars in damages. Iowa is no exception and because of the strong presence of ash here, communities are realizing that their trees might be dying out.
Urban Forest Coordinator Emma Hanigan with the Department of Natural Resources says individual towns and cities will have costs varying from several thousand to a few million dollars.
Hanigan says dying ash puts financial pressure on Iowa towns, “Communities usually have a limited budget and the Emerald Ash Borer is not part of their usual budget cycle for forestry. So they’re needing to add their staff time or contracts to their budget to deal with this problem.”
And as ash trees die, they become brittle, Hanigan says, “They can become a hazard to people and property so they have to deal with those ash trees, whether that’s treatment or replacement. And so those extra costs are spendy for a city.”