The following is an update from the Park Service that the City is distributing to the community. Please follow up directly with the Bulls Island Office for questions/concerns.

Please be advised that orange markings on Ailanthus and Ash along the D&R Canal State Park towpath was recently applied.  These orange markings were placed to aid the Park Service in better understanding the costs associated with removing these trees identified as high hazard, diseased or with the potential to be affected by new pests.  *** Unless an immediate hazard presents itself, there is no spring 2020 removal planned ***

The trees are divided into two groups:  approximately 51 Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven), which is an invasive Chinese species that is not native to New Jersey.  Moreover, it is a species is known for attracting Spotted Lanternfly, and if left in place will continue to attract the invasive insect year after year.  The Spotted Lanternfly was initially in Berks County in 2014 and has now been observed in the canal region counties of Hunterdon, Mercer and Somerset.  The insect could impact over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, thus posing a threat to New Jersey agriculture and forests.  The Commission was briefed by the State Forest Service on efforts to eradicate the Spotted Lanternfly on April 18, 2018 at which time Commissioners expressed approval of the proposed response activities.

 Additionally, approximately 43 Fraxinus (Ash) trees have been marked for removal.  As you are aware, Ash trees have been impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002.  EAB has killed hundreds of millions of trees in North America since that time.   While the adult beetles eat ash foliage, they cause little damage.  The larvae however, feed on the inner bark of the Ash, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients.  EAB kills trees within three to four years after detection, and 99% of the Ash trees die after initial infestation.  I am advised from the State Forest Service that trees die from the top down and rapidly become brittle, and potentially risk dropping large branches and tree tops.  The linear and contiguous wooded nature of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park unfortunately facilitates the spread of EAB throughout the park and adjacent areas, while the brittleness of the infested trees poses a safety concern for park patrons in heavily-used areas.  I would also note that the removal of EAB-infested Ash trees throughout the park and including the City of Lambertville has been specifically authorized by the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission (DRCC #16-4938), which was granted a certificate of approval on February 15, 2017 which remains valid until 2022.