By Beacon Staff
City-ordered tree removal along Harrison Avenue initially delayed during the subzero freeze that overtook the Midwest last month, is now underway.
The two-week-long operation by Fairfield-based logging company Brown's Tree Service is part of the Harrison Avenue Reconstruction Project and will clear room for a retention pond that will funnel stormwater as part of the city’s sewer separation project. The city contracted the tree service for $98,000.
The work, which includes a rolling one-block street closure as crews move between Summer Street to Main Street, will be finished two weeks after it started. Due to Indiana bat migration, the trees have to be cut by next month, and the stumps will be removed afterward.
The Indiana bat is a federally endangered and protected species and will start roosting in trees as Spring arrives. A single tree, or group of trees, can support 100 or more reproducing bats. If the trees are removed before the bats roost in the spring for mating, the bats will simply choose another tree for roosting.
A portion of the timber being cut down sits on land east of James Madison Middle School, which was formerly owned by the Burlington School District. The city purchased the land so the trees could be removed. The rest of the trees are along Harrison Avenue.
The ongoing, 20-year sewer separation project is necessary due to requirements set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Photo: A tree along Harrison Avenue, its limbs shorn, waits to be removed as the crew from Brown's Tree Service Friday, March 5, takes a quick lunch.