Emerald ash borer Emergency Order expands to include York County towns

September 18, 2018

For more information, contact: John Bott, john.c.bott@maine.gov at 207-287-3156

Public Informational Meeting to be held in Lebanon on October 1

AUGUSTA - In response to the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) infested trees in western York County, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Bureau of Forestry Director has expanded the Order Area in the Emergency Order to Stop Movement of Ash first issued in August of this year. The Emergency Order restricts the movement of certain ash (Fraxinus spp.) products and any untreated firewood from EAB infested towns in Maine.

Current Order Area Towns:

AROOSTOOK COUNTY towns of Frenchville, Grand Isle and Madawaska

YORK COUNTY towns of Acton, Berwick, Lebanon and Shapleigh

To protect the ash resources of the State of Maine from the unrestricted spread and establishment of a dangerous tree-killing forest pest, the Director of the Maine Bureau of Forestry has taken action and issued the Order pursuant to authority granted by 12 M.R.S.  § 8305. For more information about EAB, or to view the full text of the order, visit the Department's EAB information page: www.maine.gov/eab.

BACKGROUND

The emerald ash borer is a highly destructive, introduced pest of forest and ornamental ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). Since its initial detection in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002 it has spread rapidly. As of September 2018, it has been found in 35 states, and 4 Canadian provinces.

Ash trees infested with EAB may die within two to three years. From 2002 to 2018, EAB has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in infested states and provinces, and has cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries hundreds of millions of dollars. In response to the significant ecological and economic threat posed by EAB, Canada and the state of Michigan established EAB quarantines in 2002. In 2003, the United States Department of Agricultureā€”Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) established a federal quarantine to restrict movement of potentially infested material.

Federally regulated materials include the emerald ash borer; firewood of all hardwood (non-coniferous) species; nursery stock, green lumber, and other material living, dead, cut, or fallen, including logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips of the genus Fraxinus. Unless infested states restrict internal movement of potentially infested ash material, the federal government will designate the entire state as a quarantined area, which designation will subject the state to federal regulations restricting interstate and international commerce of ash material.

In late May 2018, an established EAB infestation was detected in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada, approximately 500 yards from the Maine border (www.maine.gov/eab). Subsequent multi-agency surveys detected lightly-infested ash trees in Maine immediately across the river from the Edmundston infestation near the Frenchville/Madawaska town line. In early-August purple trap surveys revealed that EAB is also established in the town of Grand Isle. Most recently adult emerald ash borers were recovered from traps in Acton and Lebanon, York County, Maine close to the towns of Berwick and Shapleigh.

Ash trees comprise 4 percent of Maineā€™s hardwood forest, are a valuable timber species, and are also an important street tree. EAB threatens all species of ash trees (except mountain ash) and could have significant ecological and economic impacts on the state. There are no practical means to control EAB in forested areas, though pesticide treatments can protect individual trees. To date, emerald ash borers have been found in a fraction of a percent of the ash resource in Maine.

The detection of emerald ash borer in York County will impact individual landowners, communities, and wood industry in a variety of ways. For example, moving firewood from the order area is prohibited; woodlot owners, foresters, and loggers involved in ash harvests will see a change in markets and the loss of a valuable timber species; rapid ash tree decline may threaten infrastructure and public safety.

Informational Meeting in Lebanon October 1

Officials from the DACF Maine Forest Service (MFS) and Division of Animal and Plant Health, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and USDA Forest Service will hold an information session in Lebanon, ME on Monday, October 1st, 2018 starting at 6:30 pm, at the Lebanon Elementary School, 65 Upper Guinea Rd, Lebanon, ME.

The purpose of the public meeting is to provide background information on the insect; an update on the response to the detection of emerald ash borer; and discuss impacts on movement of wood products. Although the beetles were found on traps near the western border of York County and the order expansion only affects four towns, due to the size of the county it is likely that all of York County will be included in future state and federal quarantines.

Stay informed

Parties interested in receiving updates regarding EAB in Maine can subscribe to the Departmentā€™s electronic bulletin list "Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)." Subscriptions are available through e-mail or text message (SMS) at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDACF/subscriber/new.

To assist wood processors in complying with the order requirements, the MFS will provide a list through electronic bulletin of active forest operations within the order area. You can subscribe to this Maine Forest Service list topic ā€œMFS Forest Operations Notification System (FONS) ā€“ EABā€ at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDACF/subscriber/new.