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Emerald ash borer found near Warner Park

City confirms finding bug that destroys ash trees Tuesday

MADISON, Wis. - Emerald ash borer found near Warner Park

City officials confirmed Tuesday the emerald ash borer, a bug that destroys ash trees, has been found in Madison.

Dane County will now be under quarantine, meaning residents can't take ash wood products or firewood out of the county.

City of Madison officials said they plan to ramp up the sampling of ash trees and begin removing thousands of trees throughout the city this winter. That includes trees that are in poor condition, those under power lines and those under 10 inches in diameter.

News 3 was with a city crew in Berkley Park Tuesday morning where they found ash borer larvae in trees they were sampling in the park.

The first infected tree was found on the city's north side on private property near Warner Park. The arborist who found the tree said he'd been taking seminars on the issue for years, but this was the first time he'd found the bug.

"We found a lot of the exit holes and started digging deeper into the tree," Ernie Pearson with Bassett, Inc. said. "We started finding galleries under the bark, and at that point we contacted Madison Forestry and went from there."

City officials said they have a plan in place for ash borer mitigation.

"If you look at our capital budget you will see that there are funds for addressing this issue in the coming five years," Mayor Paul Soglin said. "We are prepared for this."

Right now there's about $330,000 in this year's capital budget for tree removal and replacement, but much more will likely be needed.

According to the plan required once the bug arrived, the city will need some $450,000 to treat half of the city's forest each year, and about that much to cut down and replace just one thousand trees in a year.

City leaders said at this point they're comfortable moving forward with what is budgeted and will re-evaluate as needed.

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