DRG experts worked with city officials in Aurora, Colorado to develop an urban foresty management plan to battle against the impact of EAB.
In September 2013, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was discovered in Boulder, CO—not far from the City of Aurora. Aurora has a proactive urban forestry program and cautiously watched EAB move throughout the Front Range region. In 2019, Aurora contracted with Davey Resource Group (DRG) to develop a strategic plan that addressed managing EAB within their city limits. To develop such a plan, Aurora wanted to know the possible number of ash trees that are within the city on private property. Given the budget of the project, it was determined that utilizing i-Tree Eco would produce the best estimate of the number of ash trees throughout the city.
The i-Tree Eco project was completed with DRG staff in partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). SCA members were paired with a DRG inventory arborist to collect data within randomized plots scattered throughout Aurora. Permission to enter private property was granted on-site by property owners.
Once the data was collected, DRG was able to analyze the costs of managing ash trees on both public and private properties. That analysis is key to determining the budget numbers the city needs to support their own efforts at eradicating both the pest and the damaged trees. The city’s own inventory data also played a role in determining costs of management.
The final report included a full i-Tree Eco report sharing the benefits of all trees within the city limits. The report also includes the scientific background of EAB, the harm it can cause to the urban forest, and the effects of treatment versus non-treatment. The final part of the project was the development of a slideshow for delivery by the urban forestry team to a variety of audiences to share the story of EAB in Aurora and pursue funding recommendations from the EAB plan.