By Kristin Bednarski
Davey Tree Expert Company, the temporary tree removal contractor hired by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has been selected as the official tree removal contractor for 2013.
The company, based in Kent, Ohio, will be removing trees infested with the Asian longhorned beetle in Clermont County.
Rhonda Santos, public information officer for USDA-APHIS, said Davey was selected from several other tree-removal companies that submitted a bid after the organization posted a statement of work for solicitation.
Santos said they are working to finalize the contract, which will cover the remainder of the year.
“The contract is a base year, one year with the option of two years as well,” Santos said.
Santos said they have been happy with the work Davey Tree Expert is doing in Ohio, and have also heard good things from the public.
“What we’ve heard from residents is that they really like Davey,” Santos said.
Brett Gates, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said Davey Tree Expert was also selected to do additional surveying in the state.
“We have a contract in place with them separate from the removal contract for additional surveys,” Gates said.
Gates said the contract is possible because of additional funding the department received from the state for surveying efforts.
Gates said Davey has already begun additional surveys in the area and will focus on large wooded properties in the coming weeks.
“They are getting some people here on the ground now,” Gates said. “They will be doing training for their personnel and training other crews as they come along in the coming weeks.”
Santos said Davey Tree Expert took over tree removals on a month-to-month basis in October, once the contract with Young’s General Contracting had expired.
She said surveys and tree removals have been continuous through the process of soliciting and selecting a new contractor.
As of Dec. 29, 8,995 out of 9,276 trees infested by the Asian longhorned beetle have been removed in Ohio.
More than 250,000 trees have been surveyed in the area since surveys began in July of 2011.
In May USDA-APHIS officials completed and released a second environmental assessment explaining options for continued eradication efforts in the state.
The public comment period for the second environmental assessment ended July 9.
Santos said officials are currently still evaluating comments and have not decided on what option, if any, they will be selecting for continued eradication efforts in the area.
“We are still in the process of reviewing the comments, and going through the process, on our end, of providing more information,” Santos said.