By India Futterman ’19
Emerald ash borer, an invasive species of beetle that arrived in the United States in packing material from Asia, has officially arrived in Dutchess County. During the summer of 2017, Elise Chessman ‘18 and India Futterman ‘19 set out to map the infestation among the street ash trees of the City of Poughkeepsie. Prior to their survey, it was fairly clear that EAB was present in the City, though the extent of its damage and its potential to spread were essentially unknown.
Working with data from the City of Poughkeepsie Shade Tree Commission’s 2006 street tree inventory, ash tree points were plotted in ESRI ArcMap 10.4.1 using address geocoding. Using the ArcGIS Collector app, tree locations were ground-truthed in the field. All 387 ash trees in the City were visited and assessed for symptoms of EAB infestation, such as D-shaped exit holes, vertical bark splitting, and crown dieback. All observations and other data collected were recorded using the ArcGIS Collector app. Each tree was photographed using, and these images were stored within ArcGIS Online. The data collected helped inform a management plan also created by the Environmental Cooperative, which will be shared with the City of Poughkeepsie to be implemented accordingly.
The results of the survey indicate that EAB is firmly established among the ash trees of the City of Poughkeepsie. About 9% of all ash trees display definitive symptoms of EAB activity, while over half show clear signs of stress, which are likely due to the presence of EAB. Infested ash trees are scattered throughout the City rather than clustered in a “core” of infestation, indicating that EAB has the potential to spread to almost every ash tree in Poughkeepsie. While many hoped that Poughkeepsie’s ash could be saved, these results show that it is simply too late to treat the majority of ash trees to protect them from EAB. Instead, most of the City’s ash will have to be removed and replaced in subsequent years as they continue to succumb to this invasion.
This Project has been funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.