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Fitzpatrick & Weller

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Jun 25

Written by: Fitzweller Administrator
6/25/2009 9:06 AM 

Surveys and Monitoring in Cattaraugus County Area To Help Delineate Spread of Invasive Beetle

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced the discovery of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation (EAB) in Randolph, Cattaraugus County. The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black and blue ash. This is the first time it has been detected in New York.

New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk should this invasive, exotic pest become established. This is just the latest in a series of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species detections across New York State, including the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Sirex Woodwasp, Didymo, Zebra Mussels, and Eurasian Water Milfoil. This has prompted the state to strengthen regulations, increase educational outreach, and encourage ways of limiting the unintentional spread of these potentially devastating pests throughout the state.

Commissioner Hooker said, "While this is the first reported finding of the Emerald Ash Borer in New York State, it is not surprising. This beetle has been detected on either side of Lake Ontario for several years now and there is little that can be done to stop the natural spread of this devastating pest. That being said, we will work diligently to learn more about the infestation and try to limit the artificial spread of the beetle here in New York through regulations, surveys and public education."

Commissioner Grannis said, "This is yet another wake-up call for all New Yorkers, that invasive species pose a grave threat to the health of our natural resources and ecosystems, and ultimately, our economy. Tough but practical measures, such as quarantines, firewood regulations, public education and other regulatory actions will continue to be needed if we are to limit the damage from EAB and other invasives."

In 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricts intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source. This was done as a precaution against the introduction and spread of EAB and other invasive species because of the documented risk of transmission by moving firewood.

Commissioner Carol Ash of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, "If not contained, this pest may cause significant ecological and economic harm. Working with our partners, OPRHP will do all we can to protect Southern Tier forests, and in particular, Allegany State Park. We strongly encourage park patrons to join us. Please do not bring firewood to our state parks. Buy it locally and burn all that you buy"

The infestation was initially reported to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on June 15, 2009, by Rick Hoebeke, an entomolologist at Cornell University, after two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service employees recognized damage to some local ash trees just off Exit 16 of State Route 17/I-86. After receiving the report and conducting an initial inspection, an adult beetle from the infested area was submitted with the identification confirmed by the USDA's Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photographs depicting the infestation will be posted to ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dpae/press/EAB   -   Approximately 30 trees are infested or highly suspected of being infested to date.

Jonathan Staples of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said, "The detection of the Emerald Ash Borer could have a profound effect on the state's landscape given the huge number of ash trees located throughout New York. Exotic invasive species such as this need to be closely monitored not only for its potential to spread naturally, but also, the potential for artificial spread through firewood movement and other regulated articles."

For more information, visit the following web pages:
www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/emerald_ash_b/index.shtml
www.agmkt.state.ny.us/CAPS/pdf/Emerald Ash Borer Poster.pdf
Emerald Ash Borer page on DEC's website.

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