Sunday, September 18, 2011

Limit Invasive Species, Don’t Transport Firewood

What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:

On the heels of additional discoveries of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle in forests in multiple parts of New York including the Catskill Forest Preserve all New Yorkers and visitors are urged to comply with the state’s stringent regulations prohibiting the movement of untreated firewood, the major vector for the introduction of this insect.
New York’s firewood regulation prohibits untreated firewood from entering the state, and restricts intra-state movement of untreated firewood to no more than 50 miles from its source. The commissioner noted that the restriction is an important tool because Emerald Ash Borer and other damaging invasives such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Sirex Woodwasp are known to become established in new areas when infested firewood is moved from one place to another.

People aren’t being intentionally reckless when they use wood from their own lot or bring it with them across the state to go camping, but everyone needs to understand the potentially devastating effects on our forests and our communities from the bugs that infest untreated firewood. DEC staff will continue to educate and enforce these regulations to help reduce the spread of invasive species and protect the trees and other resources that define New York’s environment, but there is a desperate need for the public’s help in this crucial battlefront.”

For information on the restrictions on transporting firewood, please visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html

Emerald Ash Borer is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black, and blue ash. The first detection of Emerald Ash Borer in New York was in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, in June 2009, it has since been found in the other parts of western New York, the Catskills and the Lower Hudson Valley. More information on the Emerald Ash Borer visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html

To help monitor for Emerald Ash Borer, watch for signs of infestation in ash trees. If it is suspected that an ash tree could be infested by Emerald Ash Borer, go to the websites listed below for more information. If damage is consistent with the known symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer infestation, report suspected damage to the state by calling 1-866-640-0652 for appropriate action as time and resources allow.

DEC, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program and others are working hard to educate the public about the risks associated with forest pests and pathogens, and the actions they can take to help safeguard the Adirondack’s valuable and abundant forests. After more than three years of outreach and education efforts about the risks of moving untreated firewood, DEC is increasing its enforcement efforts and will be actively visiting campgrounds and other places where firewood transport may be occurring to follow-up on compliance with the regulations.

Residents and visitors to the Adirondacks are urged to take the following steps to keep invasive species from spreading to other areas of the state:

* It is best to leave all firewood at home – please do not bring it to campgrounds or parks.

* Get your firewood at the campground or from a local vendor – ask for a receipt or label that lists the firewood’s local source.

* If you choose to transport firewood within New York State:

o It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood’s source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source.

o For firewood not purchased (i.e., cut from your own property) you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Source, and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.

o Only firewood labeled as meeting New York’s heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood’s source.

This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.

Photo: John Warren’s Wood Pile (Courtesy J. Warren).

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