Virtual Town Hall: 20 Years Later - Municipal Emerald Ash Borer Management & Saving Public Ash Trees for a Sustainable Future

Cohosted by Rainbow Ecoscience and the Society of Municipal Arborists

As we approach 20 years since emerald ash borer (EAB) was first found in the US, what have we learned about this invasive pest and what can we do about it moving forward to protect and preserve our ash populations?

Join us for this virtual Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Town Hall for city foresters, SMA members, tree care and landscape professionals, and property managers as we discuss case studies for effective public programs, the latest EAB research and management approaches, and how private and public entities can work together for a sustainable future.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 8:00 am – 12:40 pm PST

Moderators: Erik Lindberg and Alison Herrell

Free virtual event



8:00-8:10 am – Welcome

Erik Lindberg, Rainbow Ecoscience

  • Introduction of moderator
  • Safety brief
  • CEU process for the day
  • Q&A during each presentation
  • Review the day’s agenda
  • Introduction of speakers, roles, organizations, and bios

8:10-9:00 am – The Science of EAB and Why it Matters for Municipalities

Abstract: During this presentation, Alison will discuss her experiences and practical lessons learned for managing emerald ash borer from a Consulting Arborist’s perspective as the wave of EAB hit the Midwest in the early 2000s. Topics include: • Lessons learned: then vs. now • The impact of EAB on communities, municipalities, and private companies • Case Studies: conversations with homeowners/property owners • Management solutions and best practices for cities just seeing EAB

Alison Herrell, Arborologist, Rainbow Ecoscience

Bio: Alison provides plant healthcare protocol training and support for Rainbow’s clients. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Valparaiso University along with a Masters in Environmental Science from Indiana University of Public and Environmental Affairs. Alison is a board certified arborist with over 10 years of experience including plant healthcare applications, research, and sales. In her free time she enjoys activities such as yoga, hiking, camping and downhill skiing, as well as traveling the world in search of the best foods and beverages.

9:00-10:00 am – The Ashability of Emerald Ash Borer Management: Using a Sustainability Lens

Abstract: As we hit the 20th anniversary of the emerald ash borer (EAB) discovery in North America, what have we learned? What does the next 20 years hold for ash trees? Join us for an interdisciplinary journey using lessons learned with EAB management. See how science has led to effective treatments based on tree size and health as reliable predictors at preventing tree loss. Next, we will explore an ash tree retention and replacement study using tree canopy as a currency to evaluate a no net loss of tree canopy over a 20-year-time period? We will explore EAB decision making by using sustainability constructs. What do we know about social desires, ecologic outcomes, and economic ramifications using an Ash Sustainability (Ashability) Model? Practical findings from field studies will further help with your short- to long-term decisions with ash tree populations.

Richard Hauer, Professor of Urban Forestry, University of Wisconsin

Bio: R Richard Hauer is a Professor of Urban Forestry at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point teaching courses in urban forestry, nursery management, woody plants, dendrology, and introduction to forestry. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, M.S. from the University of Illinois, and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Rich has conducted research in tree biology, urban forest management, emerald ash borer management, trees and construction, tree risk management, and ice storms. He was honored as the L.C. Chadwick Award for Arboricultural Research and the UW-System Regents Teaching Excellence Award. He has published over 180 publications and presented over 440 talks throughout the world. Dr. Hauer is also an Associate Editor of the Journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greenspaces.

10:00-10:10 am – Break

10:10-11:00 am – Comprehensive Approach to EAB Management: Private & Public

Abstract: The emerald ash borer (EAB) is one of the most economically and environmentally damaging invasive species ever to reach the United States. Economic damage of EAB is most severe in cities that lose abundant high-value ash trees growing along streets and in yards. Pest management and economic models suggest that a landscape level approach across all ownerships, including surveillance for early detection, treatment of ash trees with systemic insecticides, and removal of infested ash trees, yields the greatest benefits at the lowest costs. While individual cities can develop EAB management plans that include these measures on public lands, they cannot manage beyond their borders and may not realize maximum benefit.

Ryan Spencer, Director of Municipal Consulting, Rainbow Treecare

Bio: Ryan Spencer is an ISA Certified Arborist and Rainbow Treecare’s Municipal Consulting Arborist. His primary role is to help municipalities and government organizations care for and protect their trees, largely through managing the largest number of municipal emerald ash borer treatment programs in the nation. These programs utilize a public-private partnership to increase homeowner education around emerald ash borer and promote proactive ash management to slow the spread of the pest and reduce public and private tree management costs. Today, Rainbow Treecare has more than 60,000 ash trees under protection, the majority of which are within a partnering city. Ryan received a B.S in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management from the University of Minnesota

11:00-11:10 am – Break

11:10-12:40 pm – Case studies: Unique city approaches to EAB Management with Q&A

(featuring line up of municipal foresters from Shoreview, MN, Park Ridge, IL, and Denver, CO)

Abstract: This session will provide a first hand account of different city approaches to EAB management and what worked, didn’t work, and things learned along the way. Each forester will provide an individual account of how they have gone about management, and at the end, there will be an open discussion with pre-selected questions and questions submitted during the presentation.

Maria Friedges, City of Shoreview, MN

Bio: Maria Friedges has a B.A. in biology from the College of Saint Benedict and is currently working towards a masters degree. Maria has worked at the City of Shoreview for three years as both an intern doing the EAB treatment program and as a natural resources specialist. Her fields of interest are ecology, water quality, and connecting people to nature. Maria is passionate about the city's EAB program after having worked on both sides as a participant and manager.

Joseph Hansen, City of Park Ridge, IL

Bio: Joe Hansen is an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) and holds numerous certifications through the Tree Care Industry Association including Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP). In his previous role as Urban Forester for the City of Park Ridge, Illinois, Joe was responsible for maintaining the urban forest through use of the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan, conducted parkway tree inspections, building plan reviews, assisted with managing contracts and enforced the Tree Preservation Ordinance. Joe is now the Village Forester/Tree Preservation Officer for the Village of Wilmette, Illinois.

Joe was recently elected the Municipal Director for the Illinois Arborist Association and he is also a Task Specialist for the Urban Forest Strike Team in Illinois. He also produces a podcast called The Municipal Arborist where he and guests discuss urban forestry and industry related topics which also provides ISA CEU’s to listeners.

Michael Swanson, City of Denver, CO

Bio: Mike Swanson, Denver City Forester, has worked for City and County of Denver Forestry for twenty-one years, and prior to that worked at South Suburban Parks and Recreation District for eight years. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and currently is in the Urban Forestry graduate certificate program at Oregon State University.