Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
USDA TO BEGIN ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE ERADICATION EFFORT FOR MASSACHUSETTS INFESTATION
WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will execute the eradication of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) from Central Massachusetts as a result of the finding of no significant impact from the recently completed environmental assessment. Infested tree removals in the Massachusetts regulated area currently are scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 5, 2009, weather permitting.
The environmental assessment, titled “Asian Longhorned Beetle Cooperative Eradication Program in Worcester and Middlesex counties, Massachusetts,” evaluated impacts to the human environment if no actions are taken to stop the spread of ALB in Massachusetts and the impact of host tree removal and chemical treatment within the area.
The eradication effort is designed to limit the spread of the invasive ALB and facilitate its eradication within the infested area in Massachusetts. This is critical because the ALB is potentially one of the most destructive and costly invasive species to enter the United States. The insect threatens urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. The ALB also might impact such industries as maple syrup production, the forest products industries and tourism if allowed to spread.
No host tree removals or chemical treatments to fight the infestation have taken place to date. Chemical treatments will first take place in spring 2009.
Copies of the document detailing the assessment can be obtained by writing Carole Johnson, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 150, Riverdale, MD 20737 or via the Web at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ea/alb.shtml.
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