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CR Trades Trees for Ash Borer Prevention

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Today, Cedar Rapids started its fifth round of Ash Tree removal. Its part of a multi-year plan to prevent an outbreak of the Emerald Ash Borer. It's an exotic beetle that infests and destroys Ash Trees, and it's been spotted just one county away from Cedar Rapids.

This morning, crews took down a tree that used to be front and center on Pineview Drive in Cedar Rapids. Last year, a bunch of trees were taken out down the block and most of the remaining trees are Ash Trees. That means that they will also eventually have to go.

All it takes is a cut here, a snap there and repeat, about 10,000 times over the next five to ten years. All to keep one pest out of town.

"What we are trying to do is to eliminate the weakest of the trees so that when the infestation comes, it slows it down," said Cedar Rapids Maintenance Manager Craig Hanson.

And its not a matter of if, its a matter of when. The Emerald Ash Borer was found this year just 20 miles from Cedar Rapids in Cedar County. Hanson says it means it will be here in the next year years, assuming it doesnt have help.

"It really only takes one truck load or one car taking a load of firewood with a piece of infested wood and it can move hundreds of miles in a single shot," said Hanson.

Last winter, the city took a handful of trees from Jordan Lunsfords front yard.

"They just seemed to break a lot, so it was kind of dangerous," said Lunsford.

That means the landscape is changing.

"As the seasons change, you can look down the road and see all the fall colors or the snow was awesome when it would settle on it," said Corinne Krcywycki, who has lived on the block for the past 30 years.

When the old trees are taken down, theyre replaced by new saplings. But the old wood doesnt go to waste. It ends up at the compost facility as firewood and wood chips.

"They dispose of it and turn it back into mulch for people," said Hanson.

The key is to not take all the trees out at once. Thats so in 40 years, they all mature at the same time. This work is strictly preemptive. So far there havent been any Emerald Ash Borer sightings in Linn County.

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