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USDA BEGINS TREE RESTORATION IN MASSACHUSETTS_ - ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE-IMPACTED AREA

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Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175
Andrea McNally (301) 734-0602

ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE-IMPACTED AREA

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) cooperative eradication program will begin to restore the tree canopy in Worcester, Mass., by planting 150 trees this spring. APHIS and its cooperators are currently eradicating an infestation of the invasive insect in the Worcester area.

The Mount Avenue neighborhood in Worcester's Greendale area will be the first to receive ALB program restoration trees. Homeowners will select from an array of tree species that are not vulnerable to ALB infestation such as oaks, beech and linden trees and will work with program personnel on placement of the trees on their property beginning in May. The number of trees each homeowner receives will be coordinated through consultation with ALB program personnel and will be determined by the terrain and soil conditions on the land, the location and species of trees already on the property, and adjacent properties and the number and size of trees removed through ALB eradication efforts.

This initial planting of 150 trees is just the beginning of the tree restoration in the Massachusetts ALB impacted area. The ALB program will plant up to 1,500 trees within the host removal area between now and spring 2010, and in the coming years, will dedicate a portion of the overall program funding to tree restoration to areas directly impacted by tree removal within the 64-square mile Massachusetts-regulated area.

Several additional tree-planting efforts are also underway in the ALB-regulated area, including the Worcester Tree Initiative and efforts by the City of Worcester to replace street trees. Homeowners who receive trees through the Worcester Tree Initiative or purchase their own may receive trees from the ALB program restoration effort. However, ALB program personnel may determine that a property planted with trees from other sources could not sustain additional trees. In such cases, homeowners would not receive ALB program trees.

The ALB program is a cooperative effort between USDA's APHIS, USDA's Forest Service, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) the City of Worcester and the towns of Holden, West Boylston, Boylston and Shrewsbury. For more information on the ALB, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov and click on Asian Longhorned Beetle under “Hot Issues” or visit the Massachusetts DAR site at http://massnrc.org/pests/alb/ for more information or to report an ALB sighting. The ALB program phone number is (866) 702-9938.

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