The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the environmental assessment for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication program in Charleston, Colleton, and Dorchester counties in South Carolina. Although the beetle is not known to be in Dorchester and Colleton counties, APHIS included the two additional counties in the environmental assessment because some of the infested trees are close to these county borders.
APHIS made the draft environmental assessment available to the public for a 30-day public comment period beginning on August 18, 2020, and received comments from two people who both supported the eradication effort. APHIS’ response to comments is in Appendix 3 of the final environmental assessment.
APHIS will proceed with using the preferred alternative, which is an eradication strategy similar to those used for other ALB infestations in the United States. The strategy includes removing infested trees and using, with the landowner’s permission, a combination of tree removal, tree girdling, and chemical treatment for trees that are within a half-mile radius of an infested tree. If the landowner does not give permission for chemical treatments, the program will continue to survey and inspect trees, and remove or girdle them only if they become infested.
The Finding of No Significant Impact and the environmental assessment documents are available on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/ea/alb-ea or from USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, 4700 River Road, Unit 137, Riverdale, MD 207371229.
PHOTO CREDIT: USDA APHIS R Brad Thompson