Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752|
June 13, 2016
New Permits Available for Forest Products Industry Working within Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Area.
Flight Season Harvest Permits Will Ease Burden on Forest Products Industry and Allow for Year-Round Harvest
State Expands Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Across New York State
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the Department of Agriculture and Markets and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are making available special Flight Season Harvest Permits to the forest products industry working within the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) quarantine areas. EAB is an invasive beetle that damages and kills ash trees. The permits, which are a result of discussions with the forest products industry, will reduce regulatory burdens on producers and allow for the year-round harvest of un-infested ash while maintaining the EAB quarantine.
Commissioner Ball said, “The Department is continuing to work closely with DEC and members of the forest products industry to identify the best strategy to protect the trees in our communities without restricting our producers’ ability to do business. EAB has already destroyed millions of ash trees in New York and it will take ongoing cooperation from everyone in the state to control the spread of this invasive insect.”
DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC, along with its state and local partners, remains committed to identifying, containing and effectively managing EAB. Through regulation, we’ve established specific areas of concern, allowing us to isolate and better control the EAB, which will protect trees and forests and help mitigate environmental and economic impacts.”
Flight Season Harvest Permits
Since the initial discovery of EAB in New York in 2009, the invasive species has been detected in portions of 34 counties. Although the county-by-county quarantine along with enhanced firewood regulations have been effective in slowing the spread of EAB, the efforts have also regulated significant portions of the state that are not currently infested with the invasive beetles.
In an effort to ease the burden on the forest products industry, the Department has set up a limited permit system that will allow, under certain conditions, flight season harvest, transport, and processing of un-infested ash located within regulated areas. Flight season in New York is from May 1 to August 31 and is the time period when EAB adult beetles are emerging from infested wood and flying in search of new hosts.
Authorizing this movement under the established conditions allows for the year-round harvest of un-infested ash, allows landowners and the forest products industry to recover the value of the ash resource, and gives un-infested municipalities additional time to plan for managing the emerald ash borer while keeping the quarantine in place.
John Bartow, Executive Director of the Empire State Forest Products Association said, “The forest products industry and ESFPA have worked for several years with DEC and the Department of Agriculture and Markets on a strategy that results in efforts to contain the spread of EAB in New York while still allowing forest landowners and the forest products industry to operate in New York. This year, the Department and DEC are working with landowners and industry to allow limited and controlled movement of Ash logs during the flight season. Although EAB damage is inevitable and poses a significant threat to New York’s forests, if extra precautions are made to allow movement during the flight season, the economic impact of the EAB can be kept to a minimum and we can salvage some of the trees as well as the livelihood of many New Yorkers.”
The Department will issue individual limited permits during flight season under certain conditions, which can be found here. This limited permit can be requested by emailing agr.sm.EABPermit@agriculture.ny.gov.
The email should include: contact name, organization, address, mailing address, phone, email, location of harvest (GPS and physical address), where the material will be processed and the duration that the permit will be needed. The applicant should also include a brief justification outlining the need for a flight season harvest. The permit request should be submitted a minimum of 14 days ahead of the planned harvest.
Expanding the Quarantine
In an effort to continue to combat the spread of EAB, the State has also expanded the existing quarantine. After conducting extensive outreach to the industry last year, the Department and DEC revised the State’s Emerald Ash Borer management regulations and created 14 restricted zones, including a five-mile buffer area, that allow the free movement of infested materials within those boundaries. Based on recent trapping information and to account for the natural spread of the invasive beetle, the quarantine is now being expanded to include the five-mile buffer area surrounding it.
DEC will continue to survey for EAB statewide and coordinate with the Department to update the restricted zones as necessary. In 2015, the USDA also expanded its federal EAB Quarantine to include all of New York State, and will continue to oversee the movement of ash regulated articles in interstate and international commerce. New applicable state regulations and a map of restricted zones are available here and here.
To help slow the spread of EAB, everyone is asked not to move firewood and to and report the signs of the beetle on ash trees. To learn more about EAB and the threat they pose to New York State, please visit the Department’s website.
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