The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Warren County. While not unexpected given the EAB’s spread, this marks the first confirmed case of EAB within the Adirondack Park. The affected trees were identified by Department of Transportation personnel at the Warren County Canoe Launch on the Schroon River in the town of Chester. A sample has been sent to Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Lab for further review.
“New York State is at the forefront of invasive species monitoring and prevention and this latest find of EAB, while concerning, also hardens our determination to do all we can to protect our natural resources from their destructive effects,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “DEC and our partners will continue our significant investments in finding strategies that mitigate and address invasive species in our environment and raise public awareness so that all New Yorkers can take part in helping to protect the Adirondacks and our entire state.”
State Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Our knowledgeable and professional staff take great care in their environmental stewardship, and this discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer in Warren County is another example of our team’s collective commitment to protecting the environment. New York State is a true national leader in the fight against invasive species, and we will continue to work with our partners at DEC to protect and enhance the environmental progress of the Empire State.”
EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American native ash species. EAB larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, disrupting the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree often within a few years. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive 1/8-inch, D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inches long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. These insects may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves.
Ash represents approximately seven percent of all trees in New York State, with a smaller percentage present in the Adirondacks. Urban and suburban communities face particular risks, as ash is a common street and park tree and has been widely planted as an ornamental tree in yards. Locating infested sites early can significantly delay the loss of ash trees and decrease the subsequent costs for their removal and replacement. Although ash trees and wood are no longer subject to quarantine in New York State, DEC invasive species regulations prohibit most movement of EAB and other prohibited species, with some exemptions for identification and disposal. DEC firewood regulations regulate the movement of untreated firewood of all wood species to prevent the spread of invasive tree pests, including EAB. DEC recommends that wood from ash trees that have been infested and/or killed by EAB be left or utilized on site or chipped to less than one inch in at least two dimensions to prevent further spread.
“It’s very sad to hear that the Emerald Ash Borer has reached Warren County,” said Stony Creek Supervisor Frank Thomas, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. “The spread of this invasive will be absolutely devastating to our ash trees and substantially degrade our beautiful forests.”
“Sadly, we cannot turn back the clock and stop Emerald Ash Borer from entering the Adirondack Park,” said Tammara Van Ryn, Manager of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP). APIPP will assist DEC in surveying this new site to determine how widespread the damage is. “However, firewood is often a source of Emerald Ash Borer and residents and visitors can help reduce the future spread by using local firewood instead of transporting it from other areas.”
To support New York State’s overall effort to combat invasive species, the 2019 State Budget included a total of $13.3 million in the Environmental Protection Fund targeted specifically to prevent and control invasive species. This funding is providing critical support for prevention and eradication activities through programs like the Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) that protect against threats to New York’s biodiversity, economy, and human health. Other long-term efforts are also helping to target EAB and enable some ash trees to remain in the landscape, such as USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ)’s initiative to release five different species of parasitoid wasps to control EAB across the current range, including in New York.
DEC encourages residents of Warren County to pay close attention to signs of EAB and report potential detections to the agency. Occurrences of any invasive species can be reported to the DEC’s Forest Health Diagnostic Laboratory by emailing photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org. New invasive species sightings can also be reported directly to New York’s invasive species database through the iMapInvasives mobile app. For more information, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/.