State officials have a warning about a threat to millions of Iowa trees. Officials in Iowa say they’re on the look-out for a nasty pest that has destroyed millions of ash trees in states like Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The Emerald Ash Borer feeds on the trees and eventually kills them.
Iowa’s state entomologist Robin Pruisner says it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the Iowa border, "It’s not a matter of if, but when". Pruisner says the biggest threat in Iowa is at campgrounds. Authorities are watching for vehicles from those "infested" states, making sure they don’t bring in firewood that could spark an outbreak here.
Pruisner says EAB has destroyed 25 million ash trees in Michigan alone, and officials there can do little about it. "There are many treatments under research in those infested states, both preventative and curative, and honestly there’s nothing with much hope on the horizon at this point in time," Pruisner says. Pruisner an EAB outbreak in Iowa would be devastating for the environment, but also from a financial standpoint.
She says, "If we have an infestation, and have serious damage, municipalities will have to find a way to have those trees removed quickly. If we clear-cut the ash, that’s an even bigger bill for somebody to pick up". At risk in Iowa are approximately 15 million urban ash trees and 50 million rural ash trees.