Protecting Kanata's canopy from ash beetle, KLCA, Ecology Ottawa host joint meeting on March 27

EMC news - The emerald ash borer has moved into the community and a meeting this month will discuss the options on dealing with the destructive insect. 

The Kanata Lakes Community Association and Ecology Ottawa will host a meeting on March 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mlacak Centre, hall D, to discuss the options to save Kanata's canopy.

"The emerald ash borer is becoming a fairly large issue as they move into Kanata," said Adam Caldwell, vice-president of environment for the KLCA. "The meeting will be answering a lot of questions, dealing with misconceptions."

The meeting will also give communities the opportunity to co-ordinate efforts to reduce the impact of the emerald ash borer.

The city is monitoring, injecting or cutting down ash trees on public land, but homeowners are responsible for treating or removing any tree on private property. 

"We'll be talking about the financial aspect as well," said Caldwell. "It can put a 10 to 15 per cent dent in your property value, losing a large tree like that." 

Aside from the financial aspect, a healthy canopy also strengthens biodiversity and acts as a buffer in severe weather, managing water runoff and helping disperse heat. 

The panel will include:

- Jason Pollard, senior forester with the City of Ottawa's forestry planning and protection 

- Trevor Haché, policy co-ordinator for Ecology Ottawa and Tree Ottawa program lead 

- Sarah Dehler, vice-president of the Briarbrook and Morgan's Grant Community Association

"It's an opportunity for the public to come out and put questions to the experts," said Caldwell. "Ultimately, it has to be dealt with one way or the other."

The emerald ash borer is a non-native beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees. According to the city's website, the insect has an average life span of 12 months, but can survive for up to two years. 

The larvae feed under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the circulation of water and nutrients, eventually killing the tree. 

Once the beetle matures, it chews its way out of the tree. 

The top branches of ash trees are normally the first to die, indicating an infestation. Infested trees usually die within one to three years.

"Almost a third of Ottawa's tree canopy is in jeopardy," said Caldwell. "The damage from the emerald ash borer can be both ecologically and economically severely damaging."

Visit kanatalakescommunityassociation.com or ecologyottawa.ca for more information.