The emerald ash borer continues to create headaches in cities where ash trees used to thrive. Roughly 14,000 ash trees will have to come down in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to the invasive insect, and city officials are scratching their heads over what to do with the felled timber. In the state of Nebraska, nearly 47 million ash trees are at risk.
The city aims to remove and replace the trees at a pace of 1,000 a year. The plan is to convert most of the wood into chips for landscaping and animal bedding, but city officials are interested in partnerships with other local governments or private groups to find other uses.
“We’re trying to figure out if there’s some beneficial use for it,” said Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln.
Some communities dealing with the same issue have partnered with amateur woodworkers. South Sioux City, Nebraska, built a small energy facility that converts ground-up wood into a gas that produces electricity for a local campground. South Sioux City also signed a power purchase agreement with Green Star Energy to build a larger wood-gas facility capable of generating up to three megawatts of electricity, which feeds into the city’s grid.