Story by Lourice Angie
Before the start of the Warwick Town Board meeting on Thurs., Oct. 12, there was a presentation by Warwick Shade Tree Commissioners Matt Doiron and Karen Emmerich. The topic of discussion focused on the past, present and future of the “Emerald Ash Borer” or EAB, a non-native, very small but destructive metallic green colored beetle with a coppery red or purple abdomen. It is known to be native to parts of Asia, including China, Japan and Korea. It is presumed that the EAB was likely present for ten years prior to detection.
It was first identified in the Detroit area of the U.S. in July of 2002. In October of 2002, the insect was discovered in Windsor, Canada. The beetle can fly very far distances with a flight capability of five miles. It measures anywhere from half an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide and has four life stages: adult, egg, larva, and pupa. The insect infests and kills all North American ash species (Fraxinus), therefore all native ash trees are susceptible. Adults are known for leaving distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of tree branches and trunks.
Commissioner Doiron explained to the Board that through his years of work with the NYC Parks Department and here in Warwick, he has monitored the spread of this insect that is causing what he describes as a ‘catastrophe’ to the ash tree population. Adult EAB beetles live for two to three weeks. During that time, females lay 65 to 90 eggs. In the summer and fall, larvae form S-shaped galleries by feeding under the bark cutting off the trees nutrients. The larvae go through the pupation process to become adults. It usually takes two to three weeks for the pupae to become adult beetles.
Adults begin to emerge in mid-to-late May and continue into August. Doiron says the dead ash trees immediately start to break and fall down. Unlike many other species of tree that retain structural integrity long after dying, the ash trees present a high failure risk as soon as the limb/tree dies.
There are only two known options to address this issue:
- Have the DEC treat the infested trees with an insecticide to preserve, such as Emamectin benzoate trunk injections. This can become costly over time because the injections last for only two years.
- Remove trees proactively or retroactively. Any tree that is infected must be removed. Dead ash trees will not stay standing very long. A potential liability can result if dead material is not addressed promptly.
Doiron says that it’s not a question of if, it is a question of when, and he urged the Board and the public to educate themselves thoroughly and begin thinking of a removal plan. He predicts that the Town of Warwick has between two to five years to start a remedial process.
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said that they did not have a sense of an inventory. Commissioner Karen Emmerich said that the Shade Tree Commission has applied for grant to conduct an inventory of the trees in our parks and along certain right of ways in Town. Although that does not provide the entire number and type of trees, it’s a start.
“We have to know what we have first; then we can go from there,” said Emmerich.
Preparing properly will ultimately prevent long term damages. Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton thanked the Shade Tree Commission and said he appreciates the valuable information and work that went into the presentation. Sweeton anticipates receiving additional data from the commissioners so that it can be shared with the public on their website.
Friendly Visitor Program
Supervisor Sweeton announced that the Friendly Visitor Program will hold their next volunteer training on Mon., Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. This will be part one of the two-part training to be held at the Albert Wisner Public Library, located at 1 McFarland Dr. in Warwick. So far the program has 70 volunteers, but additional volunteers are still needed. Sweeton encourages members of the community to help spread the word. For more information or to R.S.V.P., call 986-1124.
Pine Island Young Citizen Achievement Award
Supervisor Michael Sweeton congratulated Robert Maslanka and Alex Gutierrez, who have been chosen to receive the Pine Island Young Citizen Achievement Award. Both young men were commended for managing their academic responsibilities, along with service to the community.
2017 P.I. Distinguished Service Award
Supervisor Sweeton announced that Kathy Brieger has been selected as the 2017 Pine Island Distinguished Service Award winner for her tireless work, volunteering and admiration for the community. Kathy has always devoted herself to helping farm workers and their families by providing health services, nutrition, counseling, serving hot meals in the winter, finding housing, transportation, after school activities and more for these families.
Migrant farm workers work long and hard hours in the black dirt fields, making it difficult to find childcare. The summer enrichment program offered peace of mind to these families and enriched the lives of 100 children. On behalf of the citizens in the Town of Warwick, Sweeton congratulated Brieger on this prestigious achievement.
2017 P.I. Citizen of the Year
Warwick Town Deputy Supervisor Jim Gerstner announced that John Redman, who has volunteered for the Pine Island community for many years, has been named as the 2107 Pine Island Citizen of the Year. Redman is the President of Union Square Group, LTD., an award winning creative and production services company in Pine Island. He was past president of the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, and he serves as President and Vice President the Florida Board of Education, now in his sixth term. John Redman serves as the President of the Orange County School Board and he was commended for his work with the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen, helping with the homeless and much more.
O&R Distribution Line Maintenance
Supervisor Sweeton reported that O&R Utilities will begin conducting distribution line maintenance in the Town. The project is expected to begin on or around Mon., Oct. 23 at Big Island Rd., Wheeler Rd., Round Hill Rd., Micks Ln., Mt. Eve Rd., and the Pulaski Hwy areas. The work will be done by the Nelson Tree Service. The company will meet with the Town for a briefing of the work.
As soon as the Supervisor has received additional information, he will announce it to the public and include it in his weekly newspaper column, which appears in the Warwick Valley Dispatch. Sweeton added a special thanks to the Warwick Valley Dispatch for publishing his column.
Town Clerk’s Report
Warwick Town Clerk Eileen Astorino reported that fees collected for the month of September were $9,813.94 and fees paid out were $17,628.55. Astorino also announced that Thurs., Oct. 12 was the last day for donation drop offs going to the Puerto Rico Relief Effort. All Town Clerks in Orange County, including the Sheriff’s Department, collected donations in support of the cause. The National Guard will pick the items up by truck and drive them to Stewart Airport to be transported to Puerto Rico. Astorino said a large amount of supplies were collected in all. The Board was pleased with the efforts.
Next Town Board Meeting
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Thurs., Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick.