Town of Oakville launches Oakville Canopy Club!

Leading the municipal battle against the Emerald Ash Borer infestation

With almost 180,000 ash trees at risk, the Town of Oakville is pushing forward on a bold campaign to battle the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Mayor Rob Burton, Members of Council and the Eco Club students from River Oaks Public School launched the Oakville Canopy Club, an innovative community outreach program that encourages residents to save Oakville’s tree canopy from the threat of EAB.

“To become an Oakville Canopy Club member, simply like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. It’s that easy,” Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said. “The goal of the Oakville Canopy Club is to inspire residents to join the cause and prove just how passionate this town is about saving its trees.”

More than 20 Eco Club students decked out in Oakville Canopy Club t-shirts learned first-hand about the importance of trees and the environmental impact that EAB would have on Oakville’s urban forest if the town had chosen not to fight back. As part of the official launch, Forestry staff presented an interactive tutorial to educate students about EAB and demonstrated an ash tree injection with the bio-insecticide TreeAzin that protects the tree and manages the spread of EAB.

“It’s so exciting for our school to be a part of the Oakville Canopy Club,” said Karen Blackwell, vice-principal at River Oaks Public School. “These students are the future of Oakville and we support the town in its goal to save Oakville’s tree canopy so that future generations can reap its benefits. Our students appreciate the opportunity to help spread the word.”

Oakville’s newly launched EAB website provides residents with the tools required to deal with EAB including an interactive map that plots the location of ash trees on both public and private property.

“Whether you have an ash tree or not, you can become a Canopy Club Champion,” explained Mayor Burton “Treat your ash trees, remove dead or dying trees and dispose of them properly, replant a new species of tree, like us on Facebook, but most importantly, tell anyone who will listen. How you help save Oakville’s tree canopy is limited only to your imagination.”

The town’s 2011 EAB Program and Canopy Cover Conservation Approach to EAB Management report, approved by Council on Monday night provides a detailed summary of the town’s position in managing EAB. The town’s goal is to protect 75 per cent of the ash canopy cover on the public road allowance and active parks from EAB. Eighty per cent of Oakville’s treatable ash tree canopy is on private property. Ash trees which are still healthy and structurally sound can be saved if residents know about them and choose to treat them. According to Oakville’s management strategy, 25 per cent of Oakville’s ash trees will be removed because they are so heavily infested that they cannot be saved.

“The town plans to replace dead or dying trees with a new species of tree to meet Oakville’s canopy cover objective of 40 per cent by 2057,” Chris Mark, director of Parks and Open Space said. “This 75/25 option offers the most flexibility for EAB management going forward. If there are more scientific advances made in EAB management, we’ll be in a strong position to take advantage of them.”

To date, Oakville has ceased new planting of ash trees; implemented an EAB trapping project; executed canopy conservation by under planting new species of trees; treated select municipal ash trees with TreeAzin; performed leading-edge EAB research with several partner organizations; became the first municipality in Canada to comprehensively define distribution of EAB throughout a community; and undertaken a tree inventory project. Staff will continue lobbying other levels of government and are incorporating new treatment alternatives as they become available.

Having made its way from Asia in 2002, EAB is a metallic green-coloured beetle that has eaten its way through more than 20 million indigenous ash trees in Canada and the United States. Its presence in Oakville was first confirmed in July 2008 in the vicinity of Eighth Line and Falgarwood Drive.

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For more information:

Janine Ivings
Senior Communications Advisor
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3005
jivings@oakville.ca


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Town of Oakville launches Oakville Canopy Club!