Federal bill to fight Emerald Ash Borers in WNY

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jun 06, 2016

On Monday, Mark Brand, the Forestry Manager with Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, was using a saw to girdle a tree in Delaware Park. It’s a process that could save thousands of ash trees in Delaware Park from being killed by Emerald Ash Borers.

“You ruin the tree in the spring time and all season long. It sends out chemicals that attract adult Emerald Ash Borers. Comes the winter time, we’ll remove this tree and get rid of all the eggs,” Brand said.

This is just one way the forestry manager tries to keep emerald ash borers from spreading in Buffalo’s largest park. However, the insects are rapidly killing thousands of ash trees across Western New York.

Emerald Ash Borers create these maze designs in trees known as larvae. They prevent nutrients from traveling from the roots to the top. This is just one of 50 million trees across the country that’s affected.

“One adult can lay up to a hundred eggs. I would easily say there are thousands of larvae in some of these trees,” Brand said.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said the U.S. Forestry has federal funds earmarked to battle the invasive beetles. But it’s now being redirected to help with wildfire expenses out on the west coast.

“That is because of budgetary constraints. It’s not able to request additional disaster funds the way say F.E.M.A. does,” Schumer said.

The senator is now proposing an Emerald Ash Borer Bill that could send millions of dollars to help stop this growing problem in Western New York.

“This should be something I that will pass and I’m going to use whatever clout I have in the U.S. Senate to do my best to get it in the upcoming appropriations bill in the next few weeks,” Schumer said.

Ash trees are typically used for fire wood and Louisville Sluggers. According to Senator Schumer a baseball bat maker in Utica, New York had to stop using ash wood because of this problem.