Iowa lawmakers will be asked to pump money into an effort to help landowners take action against destructive insects that kill ash trees.
The Coalition for Iowa’s Woodlands and Trees is asking for three-point-eight million dollars in state funding for grants and matching money for federal dollars. Trees Forever is the lead group and president Shannon Ramsay says Iowa’s cities and towns are ill-prepared for the emerald ash borer and need help to inventory trees, remove threatened ash varieties, then replant.
The coalition includes groups from nut growers to the National Wild Turkey Federation. Ramsay says a multi-billion dollar economy is at stake, including wood products, environmental benefits and tourism.
Coalition leaders will be asking Iowa legislators to fund the project after lawmakers convene January 13th. The emerald ash borer is the major concern and Ramsay says cities and towns need help to remove ash trees and to replant.
Among other things, the Woodlands Coalition proposes community grants for tree removal and replacement, rural landowner incentives, technical assistance and monitoring forest health. One estimate finds it will cost more than three-billion dollars to eliminate all ash trees from Iowa’s communities as the ash borer infestation marches forward. There are thought to be more than three-million ash trees in Iowa’s urban areas. Including rural areas, the state has up to 60-million ash trees.