20 Aug 2014
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Bugline Paving Sparks Emerald Ash Borer Preparations

Waukesha County is prepping to treat and remove ash trees when paving the Bugline Trail to combat the emerald ash borer, but they won't be the only vegetation to go.

Bugline Paving Sparks Emerald Ash Borer Preparations

Whether you’re vehemently for or against , the project is sparking a full-on attack against the destructive emerald ash borer and other invasive species.

The bug was sighted for , specifically Mukwonago, just two weeks ago. That makes Waukesha the 11th county in Wisconsin under EAB quarantine, and county officials aren’t taking any chances.

Dave Burch, Waukesha County’s Enterprise Operations Manger in charge of the paving, says as county workers move down the trail during the first phase of the project in 2013, they’ll keep their eyes peeled for ash trees and other invasive species. Those trees and plants will be treated or removed.

“We’re looking at removing invasive trees and treating and removing ash trees as a part of the emerald ash borer problem,” Burch said. “Other communities have been doing the same thing because it’s a problem. Other than that, plant removal will be very minimal.”

Waukesha County Parks Supervisor Robert Garity added additional trees suffering from Dutch elm disease will also be pruned or removed, however, he’s unsure how many trees will be removed in total. Garity assures trail users the tree removal will be at a minimum in order to keep the trail looking natural.

This may come as a relief to Bugline trail users nervous about the vegetation surrounding the trail. Waukesha County is planning to pave and widen the trail , causing concerns about the surrounding trees. However, Burch said the path was originally cleared for 16 feet, so other than the invasive and dying plants, nothing else should be affected.

Even the county’s website says it’s dedicated to preserving the plants"

"It is Waukesha County’s goal to minimize the impact to the natural resources in and around the trail, since the natural character of the corridor makes use of the trail such a special experience. Damage to the landscape from trail washouts and erosion will be significantly reduced through this project. The 10’ wide trail typically runs down the center of a 60-foot wide corridor of County land, and there are opportunities on either side of the trail to preserve vegetation."

And Burch said there’s a broad list of invasive plants that will also be getting the boot as they’re spotted along the trail. Although they don’t present the same danger as the emerald ash borer, their growth is hindering the development of native species. Some of the more prevalent ones are:

  • Buckthorn
  • Honeysuckle
  • Box Elder
  • Thistle
  • Garlic Mustard

And as always, regardless of the protests or trying to stop the idea in its tracks, the project is still moving full steam ahead.

“We're still moving forward on the improvement project, and we're working on the preliminary plans with our staff and consultant,” said Burch. “We have not planned the second public meeting, but it's looking like it'll be in early August. DNR permitting work is being completed for the environmental, so I think we're making some progress and preparing for the next public information meeting.”

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