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History of EAB in New York State

Initial Discovery and Confirmation

A tiny emerald ash borer sits in the palm of a hand.
The emerald ash borer is very small. This adult beetle found
in Randolph sits in a forester's palm.
  • The infestation was initially reported to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on June 15, 2009, by Rick Hoebeke, an entomologist at Cornell University, after two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service employees recognized damage to some local ash trees just off Exit 16 of State Route 17/I-86.
  • After receiving the report and conducting an initial inspection, an adult beetle from the infested area was submitted with the identification confirmed by the USDA's Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • On June 17, 2009, DEC issued a press release announcing the first confirmation of the Emerald Ash Borer in NYS.
  • On July 24, 2009, DEC issued a press release announcing a quarantine to Prevent Spread of Emerald Ash Borer.
  • July 31, 2009, DEC sent a letter sent to the wood products industry advising them to contact either DAM or APHIS plant protection agent in order to continue handling regulated articles from the EAB quarantine district.

DEC Established an Incident Command Center In Little Valley

In response to the discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer's presence in Randolph, DEC immediately established an Incident Command Center at DEC's Little Valley sub-office. The command center is serving as the local coordination hub for a multi-agency, collaborative response by state and federal partners to characterize the extent of the infestation and to limit its spread.

Cooperating partner agencies included:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • New York State Department of Transportation
  • New York State Emergency Management Office
  • USDA Forest Service
  • USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • The Seneca Nation

Steps Taken to Address First Infestation

  • Together, the partner agencies identified above conducted field investigations to determine the age and extent of the current Emerald Ash Borer infestation found in Randolph. To date, that investigation has confirmed the insect's presence in a 10 acre area in the Town of Randolph, Cattaraugus County, New York.
  • Aging of the infestation is in progress, and is currently estimated at five to seven years.
  • 39 infested trees have been cut and chipped.
  • Approximately 1,191 Emerald Ash Borer traps have been placed within a 7 mile radius of the initial discovery site. The purple traps are sticky and contain a chemical lure that attracts adult Emerald Ash Borers.
  • A visual survey within the 7 mile radius area for infested trees has been completed, and no additional infested trees were found. Information from this survey will determine the extent of the infestation.
  • A private forestry firm called Forecon, Inc. has been hired to inspect and remove the purple traps. All traps are expected to be inspected and removed by September 7.
  • 59 ash trees observed within the 7 mile radius showed signs of decline and required closer inspection. Those trees were labeled as suspect trees. To date, 41 of those trees have been inspected with the use of bucket trucks and showed no evidence of EAB. The remaining 18 trees will be inspected when landowner permission has been secured.
  • The Regulatory Inspection team has also inspected 55 logging sites, lumber mills, campsites and firewood producers.
  • In cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension, DEC held a public meeting on July 14th at the Randolph Fire Hall to inform area residents on activities taken to address the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Staff from DEC and Cornell University gave a presentation that covered Emerald Ash Borer biology, insect identification, tips for landowners tips, methods for controlling the further spread of the insect, and status of the multi-agency response effort in Randolph.
  • NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and DEC are now working with firewood producers, loggers and sawmills to assure compliance with the quarantine in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. Road checks by law enforcement officials have begun to monitor ash and firewood movement.

Initial Quarantine

  • The quarantine district was expanded in September 2010.
  • Monitoring of the traps and suspect trees will begin in mid August, 2009. Information from this survey helped determine the next steps of the continued response strategy.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) enacted a quarantine encompassing Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties that restrict the movement of ash trees, ash products and firewood from all wood species in order to limit the potential introduction of EAB to other areas of the state.
  • The state's quarantine order requires restrictions on the intrastate movement of certain "regulated articles" - for instance, ash trees, certain wood products, and the Emerald Ash Borer. The order specifically defines regulated articles as:
    • Entire ash trees of any size, inclusive of nursery stock.
    • Any part of ash trees, including leaves, bark, stumps, limbs, branches, and roots.
    • Ash lumber or ash logs of any length.
    • Any item made from or containing ash wood.
    • Any article, product or means of conveyance determined by APHIS, NYSDAM or the Department to present a risk of spreading the EAB infestation.
    • Firewood from any tree species.
    • Wood chips and bark mulch from any tree species, larger than 1 inch in two dimensions, whether composted or uncomposted.
  • New York's order prohibits the movement of regulated articles within and beyond Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties without certification or compliance agreements issued by DAM or APHIS. The state order also restricts the movement of the regulated wood products into or through the quarantine district by requiring several provisions including, but not limited to documentation listing the origin and destination of shipments, and prohibiting transporters from unnecessarily stopping while traveling through the quarantine district.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Has Proclaimed May 20 - 26, 2012 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

DEC staff hanging an information tag on an ash tree

The goal of Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week is to encourage state residents and visitors to become better educated about the emerald ash borer (EAB) and the destruction it causes. In observance of EAB Awareness Week, DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and volunteers posted signs and tied ribbons on more than 6,000 ash trees along select streets and in parks around the state. The signs will inform the public that those ash trees, and all of New York State's 900 million ash trees, could be killed by the emerald ash borer.

In addition to hanging the yellow tags, DEC and partner organizations continue detecting and responding to EAB infestations across New York State. A few of the activities from EAB Awareness Week are described below.

  • DEC staff tagged a handful of trees in about twenty five state campgrounds across the Catskills and Adirondacks.
  • In Albany on Friday May, 18, DEC staff including Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources, Kathy Moser and New York State Forester, Rob Davies, tagged trees through the Corning Preserve, Washington Park and various streets throughout the city. One hundred of Albany's approximately 800 ash trees were tagged.
  • Students at Sherburne-Earlville High School were presented with information about the Emerald Ash Borer, other invasive insects and EAB Awareness Week. Advanced Placement Biology students then identified and tagged ash trees in an effort to raise awareness about the impacts associated with EAB.
Information tag

The Governor stated in his proclamation that:

  • New York's 900 million ash trees are important because they enhance air and water quality, contribute to the overall environmental balance, beautify recreational destinations and wildlife habitats, and add to property values and local economies.
  • In addition, ash trees constitute an average of four to seven percent of urban street trees in New York and they are beneficial to residents by helping to reduce heating and cooling costs, reducing air pollution and storm water runoff, and adding to the aesthetic quality of our towns, cities, and neighborhoods.
  • The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect that destroys native ash trees, and it is known to exist in Cattaraugus, Steuben, Ulster, Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Greene, Erie, Orange, Albany, Niagara, and Dutchess Counties.
  • Public awareness of the various means through which the beetle is commonly spread, such as through the transport of firewood, and about the need to stop the spread of the beetle is beneficial to the entire State.

Read the Press Release about Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week.