TreeVitalization Grant Award
In 2017, the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority removed dead ash trees that were positioned at twenty-three (23) planting stations located throughout the flood protection system. These planting stations were installed atop the levee crest as part of the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project, which occurred from the mid 1990's to the early 2000's.
The planting stations were installed as a public recreational feature and contained ash trees, juniper shrubs, benches, informational kiosks and trash cans. The ash trees that were originally planted in the 1990's became infected with the emerald ash borer, an insect that arrived in the United States from China in 2004. During design, the Authority selected a tree that had a shallow root structure and was disease tolerant. Unfortunately, the emerald ash borer feeds on the tree's transporting tissue, eventually killing the trees.
The Authority used in-house personnel to remove and dispose of the ash trees and to grind down the stumps. The trees were replaced with a mix of hardy species that included Red Maples, London Planetree, Hackberry and Accolade Elm to build diversity in the planting stations. The new trees were planted in April 2018 by Tree Tenders, trained in-house personnel under the direction of a Penn State Cooperative Urban Forester. The Authority is the recipient of a 2017 TreeVitalize grant in the amount of $5,100, through the Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council, which covered the cost of the new plantings.