I am worried about the ash trees. They are so common in the Midwest and such an important part of the ecology that I cannot conceive of them not being around. Maybe something can be done to stop the emerald ash borer. We understand a lot about the bug. There must be weak points that can be attacked. You can see some of the wonderful ash trees along Austin St in Milwaukee. They were planted in the 1970s to replace the doomed elms. I sure hope they don’t suffer a similar fate. Below shows how the city is trying to save them.
There is some good news too. Milwaukee is managing parks and land better. I have seen lots of rain gardens and areas allowed to be more natural.
Below are pictures from along Lake Michigan. This used to be a kind of maze of jetties and erosion along with managed lawns and beaches that helped cause that erosion. Today it is much more natural. You can see that black locusts and cottonwoods have colonized the sand and grown along the hillsides. Their network of roots will hold the soil and suck up the water before it can loosen the dirt.
The sand you seen in the picture used to be Bay View beach. I swam there when I was a kid and as a teenager tried always w/o success to meet girls there. It was kept clear of brush and looked like someone who had never actually seen one might imagine was a California beach. It is better left to nature.
I don’t believe, however, that it has been just “left to nature.” This is managed. Someone at the Milwaukee County Park system actually knows what he/she is doing. It takes a little bit of planning to make spontaneity like that work. Kudos.