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USDA Funds Cooperative Agreement with New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to Advance Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Efforts

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Contact:
Rhonda Santos (508) 852-8044
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced the availability of $1.2 million in funding to be provided to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets through a cooperative agreement to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in New York.

“USDA-APHIS, along with our key partners in New York, has worked hard to contain and eradicate the invasive Asian longhorned beetle,” said Christine Markham, national program director for the APHIS ALB eradication program. “With this funding, we are reinforcing our shared goal of stopping this destructive insect and protecting valued resources. We appreciate everyone's support of this process.”

In fiscal year 2010, through a cooperative agreement, USDA provided the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets $496,000 in funding towards ALB eradication efforts. The cooperative agreement for fiscal year 2011 will provide $1.2 million directly to the state to be used to hire additional state personnel to support survey efforts, as well as support the state's contract to ensure the timely removal of infested trees.

The invasive insect, which attacks healthy hardwood trees, was first discovered in the United States in Brooklyn, N.Y., in August 1996. Currently, 142 square miles are regulated for the beetle in New York. To date, USDA and its partners have removed 8,142 trees in an effort to stop the ALB infestation in New York. USDA and its partners use an integrated pest eradication strategy that includes quarantines to stop the movement of regulated material, visual inspections around confirmed sites to determine the scope of infestations, removal of infested and high-risk exposed trees and treatment of host trees.

The ALB is about 1 to 1.5 inches long, has a shiny jet black body with distinctive white spots and long antennae (often twice the length of the body) that are banded in black and white. ALB larvae bore into healthy hardwood trees and feed on living tree tissue and heartwood. The larval tunneling disrupts the nutrients that flow from root to branch and back again, eventually killing the tree. USDA and its partners are currently eradicating ALB infestations in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. USDA declared eradication of two ALB infestations in Chicago, Ill., and Hudson County N.J., in 2008.

The New York ALB eradication program is a cooperative effort among various federal, state and local agencies, including USDA's APHIS, Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service; as well as the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

For more information about program activities in New York, please call 1-866-265-0301 or
1-877-STOP-ALB. To report signs or symptoms of ALB in New York, or for more information about ALB, please log on to www.aphis.usda.gov, or visit www.BeetleBusters.info.

Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Go to the APHIS news release page at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272, or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).



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