Insects and disease are facts of life for the trees in our forests and over time the trees have developed resistance, or at least a tolerance, to many of them. But when a new, unfamiliar organism comes along, and those trees have no defenses, the results can be devastating. Chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, and the gypsy moth are three examples of invasive species that have seriously impacted trees in Vermont, and all three were introduced and/or transported by people. One current threat to trees in Vermont, also introduced and spread by people, is the emerald ash borer (EAB). While EAB has not officially been observed in Vermont, many consider it just a matter of time before it is found.
There are going to a lot of conversations about this little green beetle in the months and even years to come, as Weston confronts the possibility of forests without ash. Representatives from the Weston Selectboard, Conservation Commission, Road Crew, and our Tree Warden recently attended a regional workshop on EAB and strategies for dealing with infestations.
Purple traps have been hung for the last several years, with color and scents EAB finds attractive, but none have been found so far. Whether or not EAB has arrived in Weston, there are things everyone can do to prepare. One of the first is to learn more about EAB, and the Vermont Department of Forests has prepared a useful fact sheet to get started. Open a copy or download your own here:
With such high mortality, it is important to identify where our ash trees are and how many we have that will pose hazards to utilities, infrastructure and people as they decline. Using the same platform The Field Guide to Weston is built on, the Weston, VT Ash Tree Survey aims to show the distribution and densities of ash trees in Weston. Anyone can contribute to the survey by uploading pictures of ash trees, filling in some information and “pinning” the location on the map. See our Field Guide to Weston page for more on using this system. Stay tuned for more on ash trees and the emerald ash borer in our area and remember, EAB can travel 65 miles per hour!
The snow from those heavy, wet storms we had in December condensed into a thick layer of ice, making it hard for some creatures to find food. Additional accumulations haven’t made things easier, especially for animals like turkeys who have to scratch for a living until the spring buds begin to swell.
How rough a winter was it for the turkeys? Without a count of surviving birds there’s really no way to tell, and we would like you to help us conduct a tally of turkeys by recording what you see in The Field Guide to Weston.
Sign up or sign in, upload photos, mark your sighting on the map and record some notes. Let’s see how many turkeys made it through winter and where they are!
The best time to think of a flood is before it happens and the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has announced a series of ice jam/spring flood summits throughout the state in March. Town and city officials will receive updates on local flood outlooks and discuss available state resources in case of flooding or other disaster. This is the second year DEMHS has sponsored these summits.
It may be hard to imagine flooding with the rivers covered in ice and the woods full of snow, but the rivers are going to thaw and the snow is going to melt. How to deal with extra water as it moves from Point A (upstream) to Point B (downstream) is the subject of Flood Ready Vermont, a website with a wealth of information about preparing for and dealing with floods in our state, including many lessons learned in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. Irene was not Vermont’s first big flood event and certainly won’t be the last, but perhaps the next one can be less destructive and disruptive to lives and infrastructure. Continue reading