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Council tackles invaders

Protecting the city's natural assets took priority Tuesday night for the Superior City Council. With emerald ash borer wreaking havoc in southeast and southwest Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan, its long been ass...

Protecting the city's natural assets took priority Tuesday night for the Superior City Council.

With emerald ash borer wreaking havoc in southeast and southwest Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan, its long been assumed it's just a matter of time before the invasive green beetle makes its way to the north woods. Infestations have been found as far north as Brown County in eastern Wisconsin.

That possibility prompted the city's Urban Forest Committee developed a plan in the event the destructive Asian beetle makes its way this far north.

And soon the city will have a tool to aid in the destruction of the pest to reduce the spread of the shimmering green beetle.

Councilors approved the purchase of a wood chipper designed to abate the problem.

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"This chipper has the unique ability to chip trees that we cut down to one inch by one inch by one inch, which is considered acceptable treatment of ash trees infested by emerald ash borer," said Mary Morgan, Parks and Recreation administrator and city forester. "Now we don't have the ash borer in our community yet that we know of but it is making its way through Wisconsin and Minnesota. And this particular purchase will position us to address an infestation in a satisfactory manner."

The city is able to take advantage of the Minnesota state bid to get the chipper for about $40,391.

The cost will be offset by lease costs that have climbed close to $40,000 in some years, said Superior Mayor Dave Ross.

"This chipper will increase our efficiency immediately," Morgan said.

But preparing in the event emerald ash borer reaches Superior wasn't the only invader the council addressed Tuesday night.

The council also approved the use of "Rodeo" herbicide to combat giant reed grass on the Wisconsin shore of the St. Louis River adjacent to the Superior Municipal Forest. The grant-funded project to remove the invasive aquatic grass is being conducted by the Lake Superior Research Institute.

Paul Hlina of LSRI said the goal is to replace the giant reed grass with native aquatic plants. The University of Wisconsin-Superior research institute is also working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and reaching out to Minnesota in an effort to prevent re-infestation of the invasive species, he said.

The council also addressed another invader in the forest - illegal dumpers.

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An experiment to prevent illegal dumping in the pristine 4,600-acre forest in the spring is about to become regular solution.

The council approved closing North 42nd Street west of Albany Avenue to Badger Drive in April and May every year, when illegal dumping is at its worst.

Last spring the city placed concrete barriers on either end of the street to prevent vehicles from traveling along the remote path through the forest on the edge of the St. Louis River in an effort to prevent piles of garbage and demolition debris from cropping up.

"This was successful," Ross said.

"It was a good idea," Councilor Chuck Hendry said.

Related Topics: SUPERIOR
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