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Emerald Ash Borer found established in NY Catskills

From the New York Department of Environmental Conservation

-- A well-established Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation in northern Ulster County that includes land within the Catskill Park's Forest Preserve has been discovered. EAB is a small, destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black and blue ash.     

The discovery comes as a result of DEC, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets and the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service survey following the initial discovery of an adult EAB specimen in Saugerties July 15.

The  EAB discovery occurred within the boundaries of one of the state's two constitutionally protected forest preserves, and may be related to the transportation of firewood into the area which causes the spread of the pest.

Additional investigative surveying of the initial site and the surrounding area, is being conducted.  Evidence of EAB has since been found at a total of 19 sites spread over an area of approximately 15 square miles, encompassing the Ulster County towns of Saugerties, Ulster, Kingston, Woodstock and Hurley. Infested trees are now estimated to be in the hundreds and the center of the infestation appears to be in the vicinity of the hamlet of Ruby.

EAB has also been confirmed in two new counties. A specimen on private land in Catskill, Greene County, was confirmed and may be an extension of the Ulster County infestation. The agencies confirmed the presence of EAB in a federally-deployed trap on a public right-of-way in Caledonia, Livingston County. Staff are continuing surveys to delineate the EAB presence in those and surrounding areas.

"New York and our partners are evaluating options available to us and learning from the experiences of other states that have battled EAB," according to      Robert K. Davies, New York's State forester. "Our strategy will focus on measures that have been shown to slow the spread of EAB infestations. Meanwhile, in order to protect our forest resources, we want to re-emphasize that the public can help by complying with our restrictions on firewood movement."

It is suspected that the spread of EAB is primarily due to the movement of infested firewood and wood products from one place to another. The recent discovery of EAB within the Catskill Forest Preserve is a reminder that many of New York State's forests and parklands are high-risk areas due to firewood movement by campers. Identification of dead and dying ash trees, especially within popular campgrounds and parklands, may require additional measures to ensure the safety of campers and other visitors.
    
New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about 7 percent of all trees in the state.
 
DEC is receiving significant cooperation from the state Department of Transportation and Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and numerous other educational and not-for-profit partners. In response to the new EAB detections, DEC has also requested assistance from the state's Forest Products Industry in restricting the movement of ash.

In 2008, New York established firewood regulations that prohibit out-of-state transport of untreated firewood and intra-state movement of untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html ). Visitors to campgrounds in New York should get firewood at the campground or from a local vendor. Ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.

Firewood transported within New York  must have a receipt or label with the firewood's source, and it must remain within 50 miles of that source. For firewood not purchased (i.e., cut from personal property) one must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Source http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfisscert.pdf,  and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination. Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source.

For more information online, see  www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/emerald_ash_b/index.shtml,
http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/CAPS/pdf/Emerald%20Ash%20Borer%20Poster.pdf , and http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html.

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