(WKBW release) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine on Tuesday announced that the state will propose a revision to its Emerald ash borer 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.
According to a news release:
EAB is an invasive, exotic insect that quickly kills all ash trees once it becomes established in an area or community. It was first discovered in the U.S. in 2002 in Detroit, Michigan, and has since been found in 18 states.
This invasive tree and forest pest has killed tens of millions of ash trees in areas where populations have become established. Especially hard hit have been communities which have lost thousands of mature street and park ash trees, often originally planted to replace stately elms killed 80 years ago by another invasive pest, Dutch elm disease. Costs to communities for removal and disposal of dead, dying and hazardous municipal trees, and their replacement is a challenge.
All or parts of 22 counties are included in this expanded quarantine. The emergency rule expanding the quarantine will take effect May 1, 2013 and be followed by a permanent rule-making process. State and federal agriculture 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 at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/PI/eab.html.
This change is based on extensive stakeholder consultation and meetings involving municipal officials, utility companies, environmentalists, forest landowners, farmers, campground owners and wood using businesses. It seeks to provide a measure of predictability for businesses and individuals handling regulated materials while attempting to slow the continued movement of the EAB.
“DEC will continue its efforts to assist communities and landowners prepare for, mitigate and respond to the impacts of EAB’s spread across the state,” said Commissioner Martens. “Ongoing outreach and education are key in these efforts and will continue to be a focus in slowing the spread of EAB. In addition, DEC will continue work with local EAB Task Forces and other partnerships, including supporting biocontrol research activities led by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.”
“We have listened to many perspectives on this issue and continue to be confronted by a very challenging pest,” said Commissioner 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. NYSDAM Inspectors will play an important role in regulating the movement of goods that might spread EAB.”
DEC will also be revising its EAB quarantines, consistent with NYSDAM’s action. Upon approval of this quarantine expansion, the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will follow suit and expand the federal EAB quarantine. 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 (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html) . This was done as a precaution against the introduction and spread of EAB and other invasive species because of the documented risk of transmission by moving firewood. After more than three years of outreach and education efforts about the risks of moving firewood and the state's regulation, DEC will be continuing its 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.
“The emerald ash borer is a serious threat to our urban, suburban and rural forests,” said Diana Hoffman, APHIS’ State Plant Health Director. “By working collaboratively with our State partners, local communities, industries and the public, we can curtail the human-assisted movement of the pest.”