The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confirmed Tuesday the discovery of two new cases of emerald ash borer in Dane County, according to a release.
The emerald ash borer is a jewel beetle species that feeds on ash trees, and has killed hundreds of millions of the trees in North America. Dane County Forestry staff found the invasive insect last week at a campground near the town of Burke and in a construction zone near the village of McFarland.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the county continues its efforts to repair the species' damage to trees in the area.
“Sadly what we planned for many years ago has become reality in more of our parks,” Parisi said in the release. “We know invasive pests like the emerald ash borer can do a lot of damage in short order and that’s why the County has worked these past few years to quickly plant healthy replacement trees and remove infected ones.”
According to the release, the county has removed 300 ash trees to date.
Madison replanted nearly 500 trees in 2015 to replace those that had been removed, according to the update.
“We’ve planted several hundred new trees on county properties where we felt there would be the greatest impact by the emerald ash borer,” Dane County Parks Director Darren Marsh said in the release.
The county recently received a $25,000 state grant for additional staff to manage the local effects of the species, as well as a $10,000 donation from the Madison Community Foundation to support the planting of trees in certain county parks.
The funds, added to the county’s tree planting budget of $40,000, are part of the collective community effort to fight the emerald ash borer, according to the release.
A pilot wood recycling program will also begin this year to counteract the expected waste from tree removal, in which the ash tree lumber will create new products such as park shelters.