Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week started on May 19 and will continue through May 25, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week.
In observance of EAB Awareness Week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a proclamation urging all New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect trees from infestation that can be devastating to landscapes, habitats and forest product industries. State residents and visitors are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the emerald ash borer and the destruction it causes to trees.
"EAB is a destructive invasive species that threatens the health of our forests, and our goal is to educate residents about how they can help protect our trees," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. "With Memorial Day marking the beginning of the camping season, it is important to remind those traveling in New York state to only use local firewood. By stopping the human transport of this insect and increasing early detection of new infestations, we can greatly reduce the economic and environmental damages this pest can cause."
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said EAB Awareness Week is designed to raise awareness of the need to be on alert for this and other invasive species.
"As vigilant as we in state government are in combating invasives, we also rely on the good work of everyday New Yorkers in helping us detect and rapidly respond to EAB and other invasive species," Aubertine said in the release.
As part of EAB Awareness Week, DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and volunteers will post signs and tie ribbons on more than 6,000 ash trees along select streets and in parks around the state that are populated with ash trees. DEC attached the signs to several ash trees in Albany's riverfront park, the Corning Preserve, on May 20. These signs will be among the hundreds that will be placed around Albany to inform citizens that those ash trees, and all of New York state's 900 million ash trees, could be killed by the emerald ash borer.
EAB, first discovered in New York in 2009, is an invasive insect that kills all types of ash trees. Eight counties in Western New York and six in the Hudson Valley currently have infestations, and state agencies are working diligently to stop the movement of beetles out of these areas in firewood and other wood products. Tens of millions of ash trees have been killed in the U.S. by the emerald ash borer and all of the hundreds of millions of ash trees in New York are at risk.
"I strongly encourage state park visitors to join in fighting the destruction caused by the emerald ash borer, said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "Please do not bring firewood to your state parks. Buy it locally and burn all that you buy."
To help slow the spread of EAB, all citizens are asked to not move firewood and to look for and report the signs of the beetle on ash trees. Citizens should be aware of New York state's firewood regulations, which restrict the movement of untreated firewood to 50 miles, and EAB quarantines, which prevent the spread of potentially infested materials.
New York state's EAB quarantine order was expanded through a state Department of Agriculture and Markets emergency rulemaking effective March 15, 2013. The ruling connected two separate quarantine areas to make one uniform area encompassing all or part of 20 counties south of the New York State Thruway. The quarantine prohibits any movement of live EAB, in any life stage, from the site where they are found. This includes ash logs known or found to be infested from a woodlot, as well as infested firewood.
DEC will place approximately 1,000 purple panel traps in high-risk locations located near densely populated areas throughout the state. These traps have been used for the past several years and have been instrumental in identifying EAB infestations across the state.
To report possible infestations, fill out the Emerald Ash Borer Survey Form at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/72136.html or for more information, visit the DEC website and search "emerald ash borer," or call DEC's toll-free hotline at 1-866-640-0652.