Quarantine on emerald ash borer spreads to Orange County

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:05

Invasive beetle found in West Point prompts new state order restricting movement of ash products WEST POINT — New York on Aug. 24 added Orange County to its eastern state quarantine area to prevent the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer, a tree-killing beetle. The emergency quarantine restricts the movement of ash trees, ash products, and firewood from all wood species to limit the beetle's introduction to other areas of the state. The eastern quarantine area includes Ulster and Greene counties. The amended order includes updated rules and regulations. It will go into effect on Sept. 3. A total of 19 counties in New York will be quarantined. "Together with our state, local, and federal partners, DEC will continue to work proactively in an effort to slow the spread of [the beetle] around our state and slow ash mortality in our communities and forests," said Joe Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "We are committed to combating the threats invasive species like EAB pose to the health of our natural resources and ecosystems, and ultimately, our economy." Control of the beetle will require additional surveying, monitoring, establishment of "trap trees," removal of infested ash trees, quarantines, firewood regulations, public education and other regulatory actions, he said. On July 13, an adult beetle was discovered in a purple prism trap hung in an ash tree at the West Point campus. The trap is a tool used to detect new infestations. An investigation by the conservation department's regional staff, Cornell University and West Point Natural Resources staff did not find any infested ash trees or the possible source of the beetle's introduction. Movement of ash products restricted The quarantine order restricts the intrastate movement of certain "regulated articles" — for instance, ash trees, certain wood products, and the emerald ash borer. The order defines regulated articles as: Entire ash trees of any size, inclusive of nursery stock Any part of ash trees, including leaves, bark, stumps, limbs, branches, and roots Ash lumber or ash logs of any length Any item made from or containing ash wood Any article, product or means of conveyance determined by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, or the conservation department to present a risk of spreading the infestation Firewood from any tree species Wood chips and bark mulch from any tree species larger than one inch in two dimensions, whether composted or uncomposted The order prohibits the movement of regulated articles within and beyond Orange County without compliance agreements issued by the state agriculture department or U.S. Department of Agriculture. It also restricts the movement of the regulated wood products into or through the quarantine district by requiring several provisions including listing the origin and destination of shipments, and prohibiting transporters from unnecessarily stopping while traveling through the quarantine district. For the full order, visit the conservation department's Web site at www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/eabquar082011.pdf. "Cooperation and collaboration is the cornerstone of the EAB Program," said Yvonne DeMarino, the state plant health director. "We all need to work together to support detection and control, and prevent the human-assisted spread of EAB." The amended order also prohibits the movement of ash logs into the eastern quarantine district from Pennsylvania. The reason for prohibiting such contiguous movement in the eastern quarantine district, which is now allowed in the 16-county western quarantine area under state permits, is that the beetle's detection in these isolated eastern counties is a separate, "satellite" infestation that did not originate from and is not connected with the western district. Prohibiting contiguous movement from Pennsylvania into the eastern district will help prevent the movement of infested material into New York and prevent its spread across the Hudson River to east-of-Hudson New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. The contiguous movement prohibition will also help isolate this infestation while the state works to contain and slow the spread of the beetle. The emerald ash borer was first detected in New York State in the town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009. Since then, infestations have been confirmed in eight other counties including Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, Greene, Ulster, Erie and Orange just last month. Since its discovery in southeastern Michigan in 2002, the emerald ash borer is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees in the United States. The beetle has been detected in 15 states and two neighboring Canadian provinces. This insect primarily spreads when firewood and wood products are moved from one place to another.