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Invasive insect will be targeted in Millstone

MILLSTONE – The township has received a $10,000 grant from the state to help protect trees from an invasive insect species.

Millstone Township is one of 18 New Jersey municipalities to be awarded a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and one of five of those municipalities that received a $10,000 resiliency planning grant, according to a press release from the DEP.

On Sept. 6, the Township Committee passed a resolution requesting the Division of Local Government Services to approve inserting the awarded $10,000 as an item of revenue in the 2017 municipal budget.

The grants totaled $391,741. According to the DEP, the awards were issued by the New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program through Community Stewardship Incentive Program grants with the intent of promoting stewardship of community trees and forests.

State officials consider the biggest issue facing forests in New Jersey to be the emerald ash borer, a beetle regarded as an invasive species that can be destructive to ash trees.

The grants will allow local governments to manage emerald ash borers by conducting inventories to identify ash trees in their communities, develop mitigation plans for the insect and reforest their communities if ash trees are removed, according to state forester John Sacco.

According to Millstone officials, a contractor will be hired to perform street tree and tree risk assessment on Carrs Tavern Road, Paint Island Springs Road, Red Valley Road, Olde Noah Hunt Road, Baird Road, Haviland Road, Wagner Farm Lane, Conover Road, Lyle Farm Lane, David Court, Clover Road, Hickory Drive, Carriage Way, Fountain Lane, Michael Court, Lisa Court, Disbrow Hill Road, Huneke Way, Meadow Court, Autumn Court, H. Vanderveer Lane and Timmons Hill Road.

Emerald ash borers have been identified in Monmouth County, according to an Aug. 7 map provided by the DEP. The map does not indicate the insect had been detected in Millstone as of Aug 7, however, emerald ash borers were detected in Allentown in 2015 and in Manalapan this year.

Allentown and Manalapan were the only Monmouth County municipalities listed on the map as having emerald ash borer detections from 2014-17.

The beetle, according to the map, was detected in neighboring Monroe Township, Middlesex County, in 2015, and in the nearby Mercer County municipalities of West Windsor and Robbinsville in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

As of Aug. 7, Ocean County, which borders Millstone with the municipality of Jackson, has not had emerald ash borer detections from 2014 to this year, according to the map.

In addition to Millstone, $10,000 resiliency planning grants were awarded to Long Branch in Monmouth County; Hamilton Township in Mercer County; Woodbury in Gloucester County; and Clifton in Passaic County.

The remaining $341,741, intended as reforestation and tree planting grants, was distributed to Shrewsbury and Spring Lake in Monmouth County; East Brunswick in Middlesex County; Princeton in Mercer County; Bogota, Ramsey, River Edge and South Hackensack in Bergen County; Avalon in Cape May County; West Orange in Essex County; Mountain Lakes in Morris County; Pompton Lakes in Passaic County; and Montgomery in Somerset County.

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