The Winnipeg Forest Watch surveillance program is designed to educate volunteers in neighbourhoods throughout Winnipeg on identifying the symptoms and damage associated with invasive insect species. Volunteers will also learn how to properly identify these species such as European elm bark beetle, Asian long-horned beetle and emerald ash borer. This information will then be recorded and relayed to Trees Winnipeg and partnering agencies, which will aid in a city-wide forest management program. Volunteers will act as first line of defense against these species and also help to spread vital information about these invasive species to the rest of their communities.
Winnipeg’s urban forest consists of about eight million trees; dominated by native species such as American elm, ash, maples, birch and many others. This urban forest is a diverse environment of both native and ornamental plant species. Over the last few decades, increases in global trade and travel have introduced foreign insects to urban areas throughout Canada; pests to which our native tree species have little or no resistance. Despite the invasion of Dutch elm disease across the continent, Winnipeg has managed to retain over half of its native elm population making its success in managing Dutch elm disease a model for other North American cities.
In the past Winnipeg’s urban forest management programs have been successful because of a high degree of public awareness and involvement in tree health surveillance. Our goal is to reintroduce a city-wide surveillance program to engage Winnipeg residents in the identification and early-detection of invasive insects that threaten the urban forest; thus aiding municipal and government agencies in managing and abating the spread of these organisms and protecting urban trees.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We are looking for volunteers to join our team and keep an eye on trees in their area. Surveys are completed in June and August and routes are custom-made to be close to your home. All the training, field guides, and materials you need are provided free of charge as part of our Winnipeg Forest Watch kit – all we need is your time and enthusiasm!
We offer free training workshops to our volunteers every spring – you can join, or just come to hear more about it!
Email us to sign up for our Winnipeg Forest Watch notification list, or check our website for the latest news, events, and workshops!
LEAST WANTED URBAN FOREST PESTS
These five invasive species are considered a threat to the ecological, economic, and aesthetic value of our urban forest.
Name: Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis)
Guilty of: Killing millions of Ash trees across southwestern Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and surrounding states. The Emerald Ash Borer larvae tunnel through the tree leaving behind S-shaped galleries which can lead to the death of the tree. It has seen spotted as far inland as St.Paul Minnesota indicating that it is moving west.
Guilty of: Invading North America from Eurasian regions most likely by hitching a ride on export ships and cargo. Once here the moths lay eggs which hatch into larvae that aggressively feed on a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous trees.
Guilty of: Destroying a large variety of hardwood tree species in Ontario and certain parts of the United States. The beetle larvae do the most damage as they tunnel and feed underneath the bark of the tree. As they mature they move deeper within the tree which can disrupt sap flow and disrupt the structural integretity of the tree.
Guilty of: Causing the destruction of elm trees by colonizing in drought stressed trees and laying their eggs in the bark. The resulting larvae will tunnel under the bark of the trees thus causing great stress to the tree. The beetle may also possibly be a carrier of the fungus that causes Dutch Elm Disease. The beetle has been found in 21 states and western Canada.