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October 14, 2013

CCE plans program on invasive pest

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The Daily Star

---- — A program on an invasive insect, the emerald ash borer, will be offered this month to instruct municipal and other officials on the best practices for fighting the pest, according to a media release from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego Counties. 

The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, is an Asian beetle that infests and kills North American ash species (fraxinus) including black, blue, green and white ash. According to the release, “this is the most devastating forest pest the region will have ever experienced, surpassing even the impact of the chestnut blight and Dutch Elm disease.” 

The release stated that EAB has killed more than 50 million ash trees in the Midwest and Northeast; that most ash trees dies within two to four years of infestation; and that the pest puts as much as 15 percent of New York’s forests at risk. 

Officials warned in the release that, “the seriousness of this situation cannot be overstated. The time to act is now,” adding that “the worst strategy is to do nothing.” 

Dead ash trees pose a public health hazard in populated areas as well as along town, county and state highways. A recent EAB economic analysis nationwide shows that 51 percent of EAB management costs are incurred by local governments and nearly 40 percent by homeowners.

The workshop, scheduled for 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in Acra, will feature Cornell University forest entomologist and EAB expert Dr. Mark Whitmore, who will speak about what municipal, highway, and forest communities can expect physically, logistically, and financially with and without EAB mitigation measures in place. Ethan Angel from the state Department of Agriculture & Markets will discuss rules and regulations around the EAB quarantine; a representative from the state Department of Environmental Conservation will address ash utilization.

According to the release, the emerald ash borer has been detected in Schoharie and Otsego counties, as well as elsewhere in the region. 

The program is presented in partnership with the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership at the Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra. Registration is required. To register and/or for more information and directions, call the Agroforestry Center at (518) 622-9820, ext. 25, or email rrb23@cornell.edu.