A partnership between South Nation Conservation (SNC) and the City of Ottawa is working to curb the spread of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer across Canada's capital region, through the Ash Tree Replacement Program.
Through the program, local property owners could be eligible to receive up to $500 in cost-share funding towards the removal and replacement of an infected ash tree on their property -- a maximum of $5,000 per landowner.
The City of Ottawa funding is limited to a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Ash Tree Replacement Program returns in 2019 following a successful pilot in which 469 ash trees, infected by the Emerald Ash Borer, were recently replaced with locally sourced trees on private properties across rural and urban Ottawa.
First discovered in Ontario in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle, native to Asia and thought to have been shipped in untreated wooden packaging materials, that now feeds on North American ash trees. The beetle has killed millions of ash trees across Canada and continues to spread to new areas, posing major environmental and economic threats to urban and forested areas.
"Forests and trees offer many social, economic and environmental benefits to communities," said Ronda Boutz, SNC’s Team Lead of Special Projects. "We're doing our part to support communities replace infected trees and lost tree canopy."
Boutz also warns of the dangers that dead ash trees can pose when still standing in residential or public spaces.
"They could fall down onto structures and homes, which can be hazardous to people and property," added Boutz. "But the residents in Ottawa have shown to be both passionate about protecting their property and the environment which is very encouraging."
To qualify for funding, a licensed forestry professional or certified arborist must confirm a tree's infection and perform any work related to its removal.
Residents may choose their replacement trees so long as they are native species of either potted stock or caliper-sized, and they must be planted on the applicant's private property.
For more information on the Ash Tree Replacement Program and to access the application form, please visit www.nation.on.ca/eab, or call 1-877-984-2948, ext. 286.