TWO RIVERS, Wis. (NBC 26) — In Two Rivers, dozens of trees are at risk. It's all because of an invasive beetle that eats the living part of the wood.
"They will actually kill ash trees, which are a decent size of our urban forest, the trees in our communities and in our natural areas," City Director of Parks and Recreation Mike Mathis said.
The invasive emerald ash borer has been in Two Rivers for years.
So on Tuesday night, Mathis presented a plan to the Environmental Advisory Board. The first goal is to count the number of ash trees.
"There's active infestations in trees and things like that," Mathis said. "We've had trees die. We've cut trees or removed trees because of the emerald ash borer."
Mathis says crews have already been spraying some ash trees in the area, which can provide protection from the insects. But others are vulnerable.
The plan also is to cut down ash trees that would pose a safety risk if they were to fall.
"We've gotta start taking action if we're gonna get rid of the trees," Mathis said. "They pose a safety hazard and storm hazards; all different types of issues."
The parks and rec department is aiming for a grant through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
"You see in the middle of the crown of your trees some dead branches starting, it could very well have emerald ash borer[s]," Mathis said.
In 2020, city council member Darla LeClair says Two Rivers increased its environmental fee to include 35 cents per month in support of tree planting.
"We do plan on having an insert in our utility bills that's gonna give people a lot more information about the environment around here," she said.
While the emerald ash borer threatens the city’s plants, LeClair says protecting trees is a priority.
"The environment is one of the prime concerns," she said.