A pretty little insect called the Emerald ash borer is doing a big ugly number on ash trees across much of the East. State ag and environmental departments have trying to find ways to check the invasion since it was found in Michigan during 2002.
EAB quickly kills all ash trees once it gets established. To date, 18 states are trying to quarantine the movement of trees and firewood to check the spread. This week, New York State proposed expanding its quarantine areas, adding another 22 counties. The change will affect utility companies, environmentalists, forest landowners, farmers, campground owners and wood-using businesses.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and New York State Department of Ag Commissioner Darrel Aubertine propose to revise New York's EAB quarantine order to include all of the state south of the New York State Thruway, and east to the state border, except for Rockland, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City.
All or parts of 22 counties are included in this expanded quarantine. The emergency rule will take effect May 1. State and federal ag inspectors will be issuing new compliance agreements for facilities affected by this change. More information on regulated articles and how to comply can be found here.
"We have listened to many perspectives on this issue and continue to be confronted by a very challenging pest," says Aubertine. "This configuration will assist in our efforts to slow the movement of EAB while mitigating some of the economic issues created by the prior quarantine configuration."
Emerald ash borer was first detected in New York in 2009 in Randolph, Cattaraugus County. It has since been found in 12 other NY Counties: Ulster, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Steuben, Genesee, Erie, Orange, Albany, Niagara, Dutchess and Tioga.
In 2008, New York adopted regulations that banned untreated firewood from entering the state and restricted intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source. DEC will be continuing its educational outreach and "Don't Move Firewood" efforts and will continue its enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of untreated firewood into and around New York.
DEC urges citizens to watch for signs of ash tree infestation. If damage is suspected in New York State, call DEC's emerald ash borer hotline or submit a report here.
To learn more about emerald ash borer, the firewood regulation, or how you can help slow the spread, please call the DEC's toll-free EAB/Firewood hotline at 1-866-640-0652 or visit the DEC website.
For a big picture look at the situation and the latest information, click on EAB. It's a joint effort between U.S. states, Ontario and Quebec. The website covers Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec.