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Superior, WI - The reality of the destructive Emerald Ash Borer is now becoming very real in Superior -- and it's only going to get worse.
City officials told FOX 21 Wednesday that the invasive beetle would be devastating to thousands of ash trees.
But that message didn't seem to click until the trees began to be chopped down.
And as FOX 21's Dan Hanger reports, the city is up against time before the Borer starts dangerously dropping trees on its own.
For 10-year-old Sophia Penney and her mother Nina, Superior living means enjoying the outdoors.But there's a big problem that's really starting to bug them.The city is chopping down and chipping away thousands of emerald ash trees that have fallen victim to the Borer.
"They're smaller than a penny and their green. So, you really can't tell if they're there or not until you get a sign that says they're gonna cut them down," said Sophia Penney.
"It's just sad that we lose all of these trees in the whole city of Superior," said Nina Penney."Douglas County is currently under quarantine. Ash residue cannot leave the county unless it's been properly treated," said Mary Morgan, the head forester for the city of Superior.
Morgan says the city is in a race against time before the massive ash trees start falling down on their own as the beetle's effects set in.
"The DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator has advised us not to wait and to act quickly so we don't have a public safety issue on our hands. There will come a moment when it will get ahead of us," Morgan explained.
But what's already ahead of the city is the staggering financial cost.Taking down 3,000 trees adds up to $1 million, and it's another million if they want to replace them.And to put that into perspective, the city's annual tree-planting budget is only $5,000.
"Our budget is so modest. Unless the common council allocates more resources, it will be very difficult to replant very soon or immediately," Morgan said.
It's a major change in landscape for Superior that's not only affecting the city's wildlife landscape but the quality of life as well.
"A lot of memories on these trees, like climbing them ... and just the bug ate them and it's all gone," Sophia said.
Besides the city-owned Ash Trees, there are thousands more affected in people's backyards.You can click here to be directed to a list of resources to help homeowners.Also, the leftover tree stumps around town will be dealt with by the city at a later date.