Department of Natural Resources efforts to hunt for the emerald ash borer have turned up no evidence of the insect in Wisconsin state parks. The DNR cut down and stripped the bark off 53 trees in 21 state parks this fall, as part of efforts to search for the tree killing beetle. Forest health protection coordinator Jane Cummings-Carlson says there's no sign of the insect, yet. But officials know it will eventually make its way into Wisconsin.
Parks were selected based on their risk for the beetle to be transported into the state on firewood. Cummings-Carlson says even though no evidence was found, the beetle could already be here. It's just not present in large enough concentrations yet to show up in the surveyed areas.
With an estimated 717 million ash trees in the state, Cummings-Carlson says the insect could devastate parts of the eco-system, so the state needs to prepare for its eventual presence. Officials plan to do regular monitoring next year as well.