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For Release: Friday, May 18, 2012

DEC: Second Annual Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Starts May 20

Governor Cuomo Signs Proclamation to Encourage Residents to Learn About Emerald Ash Borer and Report Infestations to DEC

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week will be held from May 20 - May 26, 2012 to encourage state residents and visitors to become better educated about the emerald ash borer and the destruction it causes to trees, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. In observance of EAB Awareness Week, Governor Andrew M. 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.

"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," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "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."

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 selected streets and in parks around the state that are populated with ash trees.

DEC's Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathy Moser and New York State Forester Rob Davies attached the signs to several ash trees in Albany's riverfront park, the Corning Preserve today in preparation for Awareness Week. These signs are among the hundreds that will be placed in the City of Albany. The signs inform citizens that those ash trees, and all of New York's 900 million ash trees, could be killed by the emerald ash borer.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, "The lives of all New Yorkers could be impacted by the presence of EAB in our state. This pest threatens street trees, parks and forest resources. Therefore, we need to all work together to help slow its spread, this month and every month."

The emerald ash borer, first discovered in New York in 2009, is an invasive insect that kills all types of ash trees. Seven counties in Western New York and five 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 United States by the emerald ash borer and the hundreds of millions of ash trees in New York are at risk.

To help slow the spread of EAB, citizens are asked to avoid moving 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 on the DEC website which restrict the movement of untreated firewood to 50 miles, and EAB quarantines, preventing the spread of potentially infested materials.

In cooperation with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), several partners are placing purple panel traps throughout the state to help find new infestations. These traps have been used for the past several years, and have been instrumental in identifying EAB infestations across the state.

DEC forest health crews are attacking the infestations in all affected counties and the USDA Forest Service is actively participating in the efforts to slow the spread of this insect in the lower Hudson Valley. DEC is conducting surveys to find and cut infested trees and then chipping them to destroy the beetles inside. These crews are also preparing special trap trees in the infested areas so the beetles are enticed to stay nearby, where they can be easily destroyed next year. This technique dramatically reduces the rate of spread of the infestation and keeps it in a location where the trees with beetles in them can be identified.

To report possible infestations, fill out the Emerald Ash Borer Survey Form 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.

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