Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

EAB-with-D-Shaped-Holes and pennies

Photo from Total Landscape Care

We confirmed Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) on the Center’s property in March. EAB is a small invasive beetle that kills ash trees. Its arrival has been imminent for some time, and we’ve spent the last several years planning and launching a comprehensive EAB response plan.

As Milwaukee’s only nature center located on Lake Michigan, Schlitz Audubon is home to an amazing range of wildlife and ecosystems. Our land is special. EAB presents a vast challenge that we are turning into an opportunity to enhance the land for generations to come. But we can’t do it without our members, volunteers, and donors.

Below, you will find some information regarding EAB’s impact, and our plan to enhance the long-term health of the tree canopy, forested ravines, and wetland ecosystems. You’re also invited to attend a presentation by our Director of Conservation, Marc White. During this talk on June 15, Marc will explain our EAB response plan, and how it fits into the long-term land management efforts at the Center.

 

EAB and the Center’s response plan

2030 Plant Cover Types 100dpi

 

35% of Schlitz Audubon’s tree canopy is comprised of a majority Green Ash, followed by White Ash, Black Ash, and a few Blue Ash. Ash took root about 50 year ago, when the land was retired from agriculture. This provided the ideal conditions for ash trees to establish and spread, and is when much of the Center’s existing ash canopy began to form.

Emerald Ash Borer, although a tragedy, accelerates our efforts to create a more biologically diverse landscape. For this plan to succeed, an additional $1.7 million of funding and tripling our volunteer hours will be necessary.

 

Our response plan includes five focus areas

Native Forest Restoration
Last year, Schlitz Audubon planted 2,000 native trees and shrubs, and plans to do so annually for the next 10 years. These trees and shrubs, such as maple, poplar, dogwood, and viburnum, will grow to restore our native forests for centuries to come.

Ash Conservation
The Center has a few rare ash trees on the property, specifically Black Ash, which is uncommon at the Center, and Blue Ash, which is a Threatened Species in Wisconsin. These uncommon trees will be treated individually to conserve them.

Hazard Tree Removal
Trees that may one day pose a hazard will be proactively cut down. Trails will be routed away from locations with high ash density.

Slope Stabilization
Trees play a large role in maintaining the integrity of our slopes, ravines, and bluffs, which are home to our most sensitive and diverse forest habitat. Large ash trees that are critical to stabilizing our bluffs and ravines will be treated to protect them from EAB. These locations will also be planted with a variety of trees that will flourish in these areas, helping to stabilize the soil.

Savanna Conversion
Prior to European settlement, nearly one-third of Wisconsin was comprised of savanna. Oak Savannas are a lightly forested grassland, where Bur Oak is the dominant tree species. Oak Savanna is now one of the two most critically endangered habitats in Wisconsin. Converting areas to Oak Savanna will help conserve our region’s unique ecological heritage.

 

You are a part of the land’s future

The Center needs you – our members, volunteers, and donors – to make this plan a success. Our 185 acres of land is the foundation for everything we do at Schlitz Audubon. Your gifts of time and money will both heal this land and impact our community now and for future generations.