Washington, March 30, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) together with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) today announced its 2015 plans to address the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation in Clermont County, Ohio. APHIS and its partners have been conducting eradication efforts of this destructive tree pest in Ohio since its detection in 2011.
The ALB eradication program uses an integrated approach to eradicate the beetle, which consists of quarantines, visual surveys of trees, the removal of infested and high-risk host trees, and the application of pesticides. Currently, 61 square miles are under regulation in Clermont County in Tate Township, Monroe Township, and Stonelick/Batavia Townships.
In 2015, the program will continue to survey host trees within the regulated areas. Surveys are conducted year-round by specially trained federal, state and contracted ground survey crews and tree climbers. The program will also continue for a third year to apply pesticides in the regulated areas in Monroe and Stonelick/Batavia Townships. Repeating pesticide applications once a year for three consecutive years ensures that pesticide is adequately concentrated to protect the tree. The program will not apply pesticide treatments in Tate Township this year, as surveys and infested tree removals remain the priority, but will continue to evaluate the use of treatment applications annually. Infested tree removals will continue throughout the year as infested trees are detected, and high risk host tree removals will continue with the property owner’s permission. In addition, program staff will continue to monitor the regulated areas, respond to service calls, and conduct training sessions for compliance agreements. Compliance trainings are available for businesses and individuals who perform work that may involve moving wood materials in the regulated area. To register, please call 513-381-7180.
The program continues to host open office hours every two months, and residents are also welcome to make an appointment to come into the office to meet with a program staff member. The next open office hours will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the program office, which is located at 1761 State Route 125, Suite C, Amelia, Ohio 45102.
The goal of the ALB program is to eradicate the pest in the United States. To achieve this goal, the program develops and implements science-based eradication methods. APHIS continues its work developing pheromone traps to lure and capture the insect. The program will place traps in Ohio by June. Other projects include regulatory treatments for wood and nursery stock, and looking at chip size and grinding techniques to deregulate host material. APHIS continues analysis to determine how fast the insect spreads on its own, evaluates host trees the beetle attacks for preference and range, and conducts DNA analysis and behavioral experiments.
APHIS is also continuing to seek public comments on the draft programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) for the national ALB Eradication Program. The draft EIS analyzes the potential effects of eradicating ALB should the beetle be discovered elsewhere in the continental United States. Any interested persons are invited to comment, and APHIS will consider all comments received on or before April 27, 2015. You can view and comment on the EIS through www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0003.
USDA partners with federal and state agencies and municipalities to eradicate ALB and protect our nation’s urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources. These partnerships benefit the health of our environment and reduce threats to other areas. Support from the public is also crucial in achieving eradication. Residents are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. Firewood and other regulated articles are currently prohibited from leaving the regulated areas. For more information about the beetle and program activities, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov or www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com or call the Ohio ALB Eradication Program directly at 513-381-7180.
Finally, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is taking applications through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which is a special initiative to provide financial and technical assistance to improve forests where trees have been lost to ALB. Funding opportunities are available to landowners in the ALB quarantined areas of Clermont County. Applications are due by April 17, 2015. For more information or to apply, contact Lori Lenhart with NRCS at (513) 732-2181, ext. 102 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Tim Wilson with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at (937) 378-4920 or by email at Tim.Wilson@dnr.state.oh.us.
APHIS is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: APHIS, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).