In 2006, the village of Wilmette discovered an infestation of emerald ash borers, an invasive beetle whose larvae consume and kill ash trees. For a community that takes pride in its status as a Tree City USA, and in which 15 percent of its tree population was ash, this was devastating. From 2006 through 2014, the village had to remove over 2,000 dead or infected ash trees from public property alone. Many of these trees had been planted between streets and the Lake Michigan shoreline, where they helped retain stormwater and filter out pollutants. Removing the ashes significantly increased the flow of sediment and suburban contaminants such as car oil solvents, pesticides, and fertilizers into Lake Michigan. Now, thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the village was able to begin replacing the lost trees. Read more here.
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