MUNSTER | Removal of 130 ash trees infected with the emerald ash borer will begin soon now that the Town Council has awarded a contract to a Hobart firm.
Erwin Tree Care Inc. bid $32,655 to remove the trees with diameters between 6 and 36 inches from parkways in town. Other bids ranged from more than $37,000 to nearly $74,500.
The Town Council approved the contract during a special meeting Tuesday. Money from town’s riverboat fund will pay for tree removal.
“That’s a good price to remove those trees,” said James Knesek, director of operations, prior to the vote.
Next fall another 132 infected ash trees are slated for removal, Knesek said.
During last year's inventory, professional forester Gina Darnell, of Forest Resource Planning, found 514 infected ash trees in parkways along the Little Calumet River and Hart Ditch. The inspection, removal of the infected trees and replanting of 140 new large native species were funded through a $20,000 federal grant and a matching $20,000 grant from the Indiana Urban Water Initiative.
Since then, the town must pay to have the remainder of the infected trees removed.
The emerald ash borer is an invasive species. The green bullet-shaped beetle is native to Asia.
Treatment can be expensive and usually is not attempted by municipalities. Infected ash trees will be removed only from parkways, not on private property.
Ash trees were once a popular species planted throughout local communities. However, the invasion of the emerald ash borer in the 1990s has decimated the species.