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USDA Announces Start of Tree Removal Efforts in Ohio Due to Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestation

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Contact:
Rhonda Santos (508) 852-8044
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2011--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today it will begin tree removals for the eradication of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) from regulated areas within Clermont County, Ohio. Tree removals are scheduled to begin the week of Nov. 14, weather permitting.

APHIS will move forward with conducting tree removals from the area, as a result of a finding of no significant impact from the recently completed environmental assessment. The environmental assessment, titled “Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Efforts in Clermont and Brown counties, Ohio,” evaluated impacts to the human environment if no actions are taken to stop the spread of ALB in Ohio and the impacts of tree removals within the area. Tree removals will be conducted by a contracted licensed tree removal company. Program officials will be on location daily with each contractor removal crew.

“Tree removal is an essential component for the successful eradication of ALB,” said Christine Markham, APHIS national director of the ALB cooperative eradication program. “We appreciate the partnership with local and federal partners as work continues to contain and eliminate ALB within the Clermont County regulated area.”

Prior to the start of removals taking place, program experts will hold a public meeting to present current plans for beginning the removal process and answer questions. The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, at the Grant Memorial Building, 235 W. Plane Street, Bethel, Ohio.

Surveys by ground and aerial survey staff continue in and around the regulated areas within Clermont County to identify infested trees. As of Oct. 16, 4,895 infested trees have been identified within Tate Township, and 27 infested trees in Monroe Township. The eradication process consists of establishing a regulated area around the infestation, surveying of host trees, removing and chipping infested and high-risk trees, grinding or treating stumps of infested trees and regulatory activities to prevent unintentional human assisted spreading of the infestation. These actions are necessary to eradicate the ALB from Ohio, as well as to prevent the spread of the invasive insect. Until full eradication occurs, survey, regulatory activities and public outreach will continue.

The public can assist eradication efforts by allowing program officials access to their property to evaluate susceptible trees for any signs of ALB infestation and/or to remove ALB host trees designated for removal.

APHIS is working cooperatively with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Forest Service, and local officials on ALB eradication efforts.

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