The Village of Evergreen Park recently received a government grant that will help preserve some of its trees from a deadly beetle.
Mayor James Sexton and trustees announced last week, that the village had received a $10,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture to protect trees from the emerald ash borer beetle. As part of the Illinois Urban Forest Restoration program, Evergreen Park will spend about $9,000 of village funds, The Reporter reported.
Gavin Yeamin, certified village aborist who works with the village Public Works Department, said Evergreen Park has 650 ash trees and the grant will go toward removing 200 that reside on public property, and replacing 105 other types of trees.
"We submitted a plan of action. We took a pretty aggressive approach," said Yeamin, to ridding the village of the problem." Evergreen Park was one of six villages in the Chicago area that received the grant.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the emerald ash borer is a small, metallic-green beetle that's native to Asia. It produces a larvae burrow in the bark of ash trees, that causes the trees to starve and eventually die off. The department confirmed in a 2006 news release that the beetle had made it's way to Illinois. Evergreen Park is now considered part of a statewide quarantine zone, Yeamin said, although village Public Work Department workers have not yet found trees that are definitely affected, according to him.
"Even if you don't have a confirmed emerald ash borer in your town, since we’re in the quarantine zone and it seems imminent that it’s going to be here before long we can proactively start removing these trees and they will fund to replace these trees," said Yeamin.
"We have been honing in on this and making it a priority," said Sexton. "We see this as becoming a very large problem in the not so distant future."
Sexton said the village will not remove trees on private property, but will help residents identify affected trees. The village said it will begin removing and replacing trees during the spring.