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GLIN==> Local Groups to Receive Funds for Ash Borer Projects




Local Groups to Receive Funds for Ash Borer Projects

(Ann Arbor, MI) - Two local businesses, a research team, and one city
department will be able to help bring some economic and environmental relief
to a region devastated by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) thanks to funding from
an Ash Utilization Options Grant from the Southeast Michigan Resource
Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council.

The RC&D, by implementing a grant from the USDA Forest Service Economic
Action Program, will be awarding a total of nearly $200,000 to four projects
that will demonstrate the potential benefits of recycling the woody material
created by the EAB infestation. Sam Sherrill, Associate Professor at the
University of Cincinnati and author of Harvesting Urban Timber, served as an
advisor on the grant award committee and summed up the importance of this
issue by saying, "We should treat urban green wood as a resource rather than
a waste."

Morse Brown, Chairman of the RC&D Council, explained, "The utilization
project focuses on two fronts. We hope to encourage the recycling and
utilization of EAB-infested trees, while also supporting research into new
wood treatment and marketing opportunities. We are quite satisfied in our
selection of the City of Detroit, LaMont Brothers Tree Service, and Last
Chance Logs to Lumber for their utilization proposals and in the choice of
MSU's forestry research plans to fulfill these objectives."

The grant recipients were selected through a competitive application process
where business plans were judged on their ability to create new value-added
products from removed ash wood, reduce green waste disposal costs for local
communities, serve as a demonstration for other regional businesses and
municipalities, and generate new job opportunities for local residents. The
groups selected for funding exhibited a strong ability and desire to
implement projects that will provide both economic and environmental
benefits to Southeast Michigan.

Last Chance Logs to Lumber, a portable milling operation from Livonia and
recipient of the Michigan Senate's White Pine Award for Environmental
Excellence, will pick up waste ash logs from municipalities, private
residences, tree services, county and state parks, and other milling
operations. They will process the logs into usable lumber and market them to
the makers of cabinets, furniture, pallets, railroad ties, and other wood
products.

LaMont Brothers Tree Service, Inc. of Whitmore Lake will extract logs from
Michigan Department of Agriculture EAB Disposal Sites to produce grade
lumber and railroad ties. LaMont Brothers has been practicing this type of
resource recovery on a small scale in their business for years; this grant
will enable them to expand their recycling practices while saving the state
substantial disposal costs.

Michigan State University's Department of Forestry will begin a
comprehensive research project that will identify effective treatments to
kill the EAB in harvested logs, demonstrate the feasibility of producing and
manufacturing new value-added ash products (such as flooring, paneling,
fences, and outdoor furniture), increase awareness of ash as a valuable wood
resource by creating a product demonstration site, and examine the economic
costs and benefits of creating new ash products.

The City of Detroit's Department of Public Works will divert one of its
forestry crews to participate in the R.A.P. for Detroit program ("Re-using
Ash Productively for Detroit"). This program will allow the city to process
a portion of its ash tree removals into lumber. This lumber will be used for
signs, backstops, bleachers, picnic tables, and benches throughout many
different city departments, saving the city an estimated $100,000 a year in
materials costs. 

The Emerald Ash Borer, an exotic pest from Asia, was first identified in
Michigan in the summer of 2002 and has killed six million ash trees in
Southeastern Michigan to date. "This demonstration project is a great step
toward reclaiming these trees from the waste stream and presenting the
economic viability of this valuable resource," said Anthony Weatherspoon,
Forest Products Specialist with the Michigan DNR.

Currently, much of the organic waste that is created in the maintenance of
urban and community forests is sent to landfills. Unfortunately, this
"waste" often includes large sawlogs that could provide valuable lumber,
branches that could be used for firewood, and assorted chips that could be
sold for mulch. The RC&D Council hopes that this project will create an
infrastructure to support recycling of these valuable woody materials in
Southeast Michigan, thereby reducing the burden on local landfills, creating
a new market for quality wood products, and supplying an additional source
of revenue to urban areas.

Additionally, the RC&D Council plans to use grant funding to provide wood
recycling training opportunities to local green industries and
municipalities. These training sessions will focus on topics such as log
grading, log storage, and value-added markets. The Council also plans to
implement an inventory of Southeast Michigan's urban forests to determine
the extent of the damage that EAB has done to the area's resources. This
inventory, which will capture the quality, volume, and value of urban trees,
will provide important baseline data that could be used by communities to
more effectively market recycled wood products.

The Southeast Michigan RC&D Council's mission is to help the people in
Lenawee, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties
to conserve and protect their natural resources in a way that will improve
the community's economy, environment and quality of life. For more
information about the Ash Utilization Grant projects please see the RC&D's
website at www.semircd.org or contact the Council's Natural Resources
Specialist, Jessica Simons, at the USDA Ann Arbor Service Center
(734-761-6722 X105).





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