The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has announced that federal grant funds are now available to assist northwest Ohio communities in removing hazardous ash trees along public right-of-ways and replacing them with other trees. The Emerald Ash Borer was identified in Ada last year.

Ada Assistant Village Administrator Eric Martin, who was instrumental in inventorying the ash trees in Ada, and then developing a management plan for those trees, said he was not surprised to see these funds become available.

"I thought that something might show up," said Martin, noting that a similar action had been taken by the DNR in Michigan. "Yes, we will apply," he said.

Martin indicated that there are over 95 ash trees in Ada right-of-ways and in Railroad Park. Naturally, there are other ash trees in the back yards of residents, at Ada War Memorial Park, and on the campus of Ohio Northern University.

As for the trees on Village property, Martin said that he and members of the Ada Tree Commission have been monitoring the progress of the Emerald Ash Borer since last summer. This spring, when the trees begin to green up, Martin will evaluate them again, to see if shoots are growing out of the bark. This is an indication that the ash tree is in the final stages of infestation.

Martin said that the smaller ash trees can be taken down by Ada Village employees if they are not in hazardous areas, such as around power lines. However, this would be as time allows. Larger trees would have to be contracted out to be taken down, at an increased cost to the village. Martin said applying for the grant could speed up the process of removing the ash trees from the village and then planting new trees.

"We already have a proactive approach," Martin said. Having done a GPS map of the ash trees and an evaluation of them will surely be included on the ODNR application, he said. "We can replace trees quicker with this money."

Martin noted that along with sprouts on the ash trunks, another sign of serious Emerald Ash Borer infestation is dying branches that suddenly become brittle and fall off the tree.

He also said that there are treatments available for those who want to try and save an ash tree, but they are not guaranteed and can take years to see results (if any).

In a statement from the chief of ODNR Division of Forestry, David Lytle, said "this two-year effort will help restore tree canopy safety and watershed health within the Western Lake Erie Basin affected by the emerald ash borer."

Grant funds totaling $380,000 will help northwest Ohio communities address the damage caused by the non-native emerald ash borer as it continues its destructive march across the region. In Hardin County, there are only two other confirmed sightings of infestation besides Ada; they are in Taylor Creek Township and in Lynn Township.

Communities in the following counties are eligible to apply: Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot. To learn more about best practices for dealing with emerald ash borer impacted trees, visit the Division of Forestry's Web site at ohiodnr.com/forestry.