Boulder County puts EAB-killed ash wood to use
Great coverage from KUNC on an uplifting story of lemons to lemonade.
As we know, in 2013 the invasive ash pest Emerald Ash Borer was detected in Boulder County – the furthest west this devastating parasite has so far spread. This prompted a quarantine to prevent ash wood from leaving the county and further allowing the spread of the EAB parasite since no other way has been found yet to stop it.
“The best way to get rid of EAB infested wood] is to grind it up, and that’s the perfect size of material for us to use in our biomass boilers,” said Boulder County Open Space Resource Manager Therese Glowacki. “The quantity of wood that we ground is going to supply the jail with about two months worth of heat.”
Biomass boilers use the thermal energy of burning wood chips to heat hot water in a closed system that then heats the air. Wood from forest thinning operations and from wildfire mitigation around homes up in the high country is typically used to fuel the county’s biomass boilers. The wood travels about 25 miles down to the boiler in Longmont or in Boulder.
Glowacki said an employee realized the EAB wood is kept just a mile away from the jail, so they decided to make some calls to see if they could reduce travel time and cost for everyone.
Entomologists and forestry specialists are predicting an inevitable spread of the beetle, turning thousands of Ash trees into a big headache for municipalities. Boulder’s solution is a way to both honor the quarantine and create a new resource – but is only for wood collected off of city or county property.
“This is a great way to be able to use wood that can’t be taken out of the county for a productive use, and that is heating our jail,” she said.“We have recently met with officials from the city of Fort Collins because they are interested in finding ways to use EAB wood. They are looking at using the biomass boiler system as well.”
Inspiring stuff and encouraging private ash owners to put their EAB-killed ash wood to good use as well!
Concerned about the health and viability of your ash trees?
Try our free Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator tool.
Our dedicated EAB specialist team can give you a range of treatment options –
schedule your free evaluation here or call Arborscape at 303-806-TREE for an assessment!