The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development today revised its emerald ash borer quarantine to designate all six quarantined counties in the eastern Upper Peninsula, as well as Houghton and Keweenaw counties, as the same quarantine level (Level II) – effective immediately. This allows for the movement of wood within those counties, but MDARD, however, is asking travelers and residents to continue to not move firewood to help prevent the artificial spread of other exotic and devastating insects and diseases like Asian longhorned beetle, thousand cankers disease of black walnut, hemlock woolly adelgid, oak wilt and beech bark disease. The ban on moving firewood north across the Mackinac Bridge remains in effect.
Prior to this revision, MDARD's EAB interior quarantine divided the UP into two quarantine levels: the portions of Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Houghton, Keweenaw, Mackinac and Schoolcraft counties known to contain EAB were Level II. The balance of those seven counties, plus Luce County, were classified as Level III. This revision effectively merges the two quarantine levels and makes all quarantined counties in the UP Level II.
Additionally, the prohibition on moving hardwood firewood, and the other articles regulated by the quarantine from anywhere in Michigan to the Beaver Island Archipelago, Big and Little Charity islands, North and South Manitou islands and Isle Royale is still in place.
The UP counties of Baraga, Dickinson, Gogebic, Iron, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Marquette remain un-quarantined for EAB.
"MDARD remains committed to protecting the ash resource in the western UP from the artificial spread of EAB and this quarantine amendment simply allows us to focus our attention on that work," says Gina Alessandri, MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. "Although travelers and residents are now able to freely move firewood within the eastern UP and within Houghton and Keweenaw counties, we are urging them not to do so as there are several other invasive forest pests that can hitch a ride on it. Please continue to use only local sources of firewood, burn all you buy, and don't take any unused firewood back home or to the next location."
EAB is an exotic insect native to Asia that attacks ash trees. In its larval stage, EAB feeds undetected under the bark of ash trees, disrupting water and nutrient flow – ultimately killing the trees in three to four years. First discovered in 2002, EAB is responsible for the death or damage of approximately 50 million ash trees in Michigan and surrounding states.
Individuals or businesses found violating the state's EAB quarantine are subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 and jail time of up to five years.
Additional information about EAB, quarantine details, and a map of the quarantine boundaries are available at www.michigan.gov/eab