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Bugline Paving Sparks Emerald Ash Borer Preparations

Waukesha County is prepping to treat and remove ash trees when paving the Bugline Trail to combat the emerald ash borer, but they won't be the only vegetation to go.

Whether you’re vehemently for or against , the project is sparking a full-on attack against the destructive emerald ash borer and other invasive species.

The bug was sighted for , specifically Mukwonago, just two weeks ago. That makes Waukesha the 11th county in Wisconsin under EAB quarantine, and county officials aren’t taking any chances.

Dave Burch, Waukesha County’s Enterprise Operations Manger in charge of the paving, says as county workers move down the trail during the first phase of the project in 2013, they’ll keep their eyes peeled for ash trees and other invasive species. Those trees and plants will be treated or removed.

“We’re looking at removing invasive trees and treating and removing ash trees as a part of the emerald ash borer problem,” Burch said. “Other communities have been doing the same thing because it’s a problem. Other than that, plant removal will be very minimal.”

Waukesha County Parks Supervisor Robert Garity added additional trees suffering from Dutch elm disease will also be pruned or removed, however, he’s unsure how many trees will be removed in total. Garity assures trail users the tree removal will be at a minimum in order to keep the trail looking natural.

This may come as a relief to Bugline trail users nervous about the vegetation surrounding the trail. Waukesha County is planning to pave and widen the trail , causing concerns about the surrounding trees. However, Burch said the path was originally cleared for 16 feet, so other than the invasive and dying plants, nothing else should be affected.

Even the county’s website says it’s dedicated to preserving the plants"

"It is Waukesha County’s goal to minimize the impact to the natural resources in and around the trail, since the natural character of the corridor makes use of the trail such a special experience. Damage to the landscape from trail washouts and erosion will be significantly reduced through this project. The 10’ wide trail typically runs down the center of a 60-foot wide corridor of County land, and there are opportunities on either side of the trail to preserve vegetation."

And Burch said there’s a broad list of invasive plants that will also be getting the boot as they’re spotted along the trail. Although they don’t present the same danger as the emerald ash borer, their growth is hindering the development of native species. Some of the more prevalent ones are:

  • Buckthorn
  • Honeysuckle
  • Box Elder
  • Thistle
  • Garlic Mustard

And as always, regardless of the protests or trying to stop the idea in its tracks, the project is still moving full steam ahead.

“We're still moving forward on the improvement project, and we're working on the preliminary plans with our staff and consultant,” said Burch. “We have not planned the second public meeting, but it's looking like it'll be in early August. DNR permitting work is being completed for the environmental, so I think we're making some progress and preparing for the next public information meeting.”

Mike B July 06, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Have they released any information on how they are going to do this, meaning specifically where they will start, how big of sections will be worked on at a time, how long the trail in those parts will be closed, etc? Is this going to effectively shut down half of the bugline trail each entire summer since it's going to be repaved?
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) July 06, 2012 at 02:42 PM
No, that info hasn't been released yet. I'm assuming they'll have more specifics to share during that August public meeting. And you're right. The process would be interesting considering how many people use the trail.
erik1779 July 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Paving this trail makes about much sense as Milwaukee putting in there street cars. Why don't any of these IDIOTS listen to people.
WaukeshaDan July 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
from the county website 'Design of the entire length of trail will take place in 2012. Phase 1 (3.6 miles from County Trunk Highway VV in Merton to State Trunk Highway (STH) 164 in Sussex) will be constructed in 2013 and Phase 2 (8 miles from STH 164 in Sussex to STH 175 in Menomonee Falls) will take place in 2014'
Chris A. July 06, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Why don't they just leave the Bug Line alone and put the cash into the multi million dollar Baseball super complex at the Village Park?? I also don't understand what they are doing with the ash trees...is it already a lost cause? We are just going to destroy them all before an infestation? (the invasive species is the "Ash Borer" not the "Ash Tree" itself! Has someone told them that Box Elder trees are all over Sussex too?
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) July 06, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I think they're going to "treat" as many ash trees as possible in hopes of saving them, only because the first case was JUST found in southern Waukesha County. Also, they can't use the money from the Bugline for the park improvement because the paving project is being funded by federal transportation money and other federal funds so the trail complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I wish they could allocate money wherever they wanted, but sadly, they can't. :(
Heather July 06, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Paving the bugline leaves behind the entire heritage of the path. 1. The path was originally a railroad, after this it was conserved by snowmobile groups. Snowmobilers soon allowed horses on it (given that they are pretty much opposite seasonal uses). It wasn't until relatively recently that cyclists and runners became the most frequent users of the trail. 2. Paving the path will make it increasingly warmer as asphalt reflects heat-- the packed gravel right now gives a nice cool path and absorbs water well. 3. Speeds will increase to dangerous levels. By paving the path, you will be (intentioanally) restricting access for snowmobiles and horses and (unintentionally) restricting access for family/casual cyclists. As speeds pick up on the path, it will become less and less a place where families feel comfortable taking young children. Also, a packed gravel path gives the advantage of creating 'awareness sounds', that is you can hear someone approaching behind you-- asphalt paths do not offer this. 4. There are dozens of paved paths in the Falls/Sussex area-- can't you leave us just one unpaved?! We still haven't heard any good reasons to pave the path.
Heather July 06, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Are you kidding me? Why in the world would we need a multi-million dollar baseball super complex at Village Park? Where would they put it, the whole thing is on a slope? Also... we don't need a baseball complex? We've got Trenary, Village, and an 8-field complex off of Mill road. Not to mention the fact that it would make no sense to destroy those beautiful acres in the heart of the Falls. I hope you were joking...
Heather July 06, 2012 at 08:30 PM
...unless you meant Sussex Village Park... do whatever you want over there.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) July 06, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Hahaha - I did - Sussex Village Park. Here are the 3-D renderings they released: (http://patch.com/A-vyvW). They look really cool.
Heather July 06, 2012 at 09:08 PM
That does look nice. I guess I'm not too famililiar with what Sussex has or doesn't have but as long as they are building it on farm land and not tearing down trees to do it, I don't have a problem. haha...I'm quite protective of my Village Park (Menomonee Falls)... grew up playing there... pretty sure it's safe. :)
W . Benz July 07, 2012 at 02:32 AM
At the MF parade Wauk.Co EX said only 1/2 of trail will be paved and stone on the other 1/2 , is this true ?.. I will be calling him on this if this is not true and there were witnesses to his statement @ the parade.
W . Benz August 30, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Dated July 6 2012

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